With the emphasis on winning in 2014, a team like Richard Petty Motorsports needs to step up their game. To remain competitive, RPM has to contend on a whole new level this season. They haven’t been known to rack up the wins, so doing everything in their power to make that more of a possibility is crucial for their success. Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola both have the talent to get to victory lane so proving that will be important for them in 2014.
For years, Ambrose has been improving his oval-racing skills. The skilled road racer has become more and more competitive on the oval tracks and continues to improve as the experience flows. The road courses are still his specialty, making him a threat each every time the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sonoma or Watkins Glen. Ambrose has been working on becoming more of an overall racer and now with the new Chase system, he needs to put what he has learned into action. If he can do so, greatness will come his way sooner than later.
My Prediction: 2014 will be the year where Ambrose finally breaks through for a win on an oval track. He will score a road course victory too, making him a lock for the Chase.
Coming off two rather consistent seasons, Almirola must have high hopes for 2014. He has been right on the edge of being competitive for a majority of his career, so one breakthrough victory could bring great things for the No.43 team. A season in which winning will be rewarded more than ever brings opportunity for Almirola. A gamble late in a race or an event which the team is very strong in can easily put him in victory lane. The chances seem to be greater than ever for the famed No.43 car to return to the winner’s circle. If Almirola has the confidence needed to win, watch for him to grab a victory this season.
My Prediction: Almirola comes close in a race or two, but can’t get to victory lane this season. He will be right on the edge of the Chase, but without a win, it’s virtually impossible for him to get in.
More and more each season, Richard Petty Motorsports is gaining the resources and experience needed to compete with the bigger teams in NASCAR. The team is relentless in building up the organization and that has to pay off soon. If RPM can take the appropriate risks this season, they will succeed. Getting to victory lane is a definite possibility for the team as is making the Chase. All of this requires the team to be on top of the ball all season long. This is something they are completely capable of achieving.
By Jason Schultz
Follow him on twitter @NASCARJason