You know the ones I’m talking about. The guys who, despite a lack of any spectacular on track performance, continue to find quality rides. More specifically I am talking about the Reed Sorensons and Casey Mears of the world.
Casey Mears joined Richard Childress Racing this season after stints at both Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing. In the previous six seasons and 216 starts Mears collected one win, 12 top-5s, 42 top-10s and three poles. So far this season Mears has one top-15 finish and not much else.
Let me remind you that just last season (literally a couple of months ago) with this exact same team, Clint Bowyer won a race, scored seven top-5s and 17 top-10s. He ultimately finished the season 5th in the points; one of three Childress cars to make the Chase in 2008.
This season with a completely new team Bowyer currently sits second in points behind Jeff Gordon. Mears is back in 25th.
I think Casey Mears has talent. He wouldn’t be where he is if he didn’t. But in his third opportunity to prove himself, Mears only continues to show why he does not deserve the opportunities presented to him.
Reed Sorenson has three full Cup Series seasons under his belt. During his time in the Cup Series, a total of 109 starts (prior to this season) Sorenson has five top-5s, 14 top-10s and one pole. That boils down to an average career finish of 25.3.
With the newly formed Richard Petty Motorsports (or Gillett Evernham if you like) Sorenson has one top-10 at Daytona, a 21st, 34th and 33rd in the races that followed. He is 27th in points, firmly behind his teammates AJ Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne (who is in 9th).
While Sorenson’s previous ride at CGRFS wasn’t championship caliber, he certainly should have been competitive, and he just wasn’t. In fact his average finish has gotten worse every year he has been in the Cup Series.
It is hard to justify having Sorenson in a car full time while AJ Allmendinger, who has run better, is stuck with only a part time deal.
It is rare in life that people get second chances to prove what they can do. It is especially rare in a business that is all about performance and results. Reed Sorenson is now on his second chance and he isn’t doing much with it. Casey Mears squandered his second chance, and is now on opportunity number three.
The season is still early so both of these guys have time to turn it around, and I really hope they do. If something doesn’t happen for either this season though, their respective team owners seriously need to consider their value to the organization as a whole.