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Lots of Pressure on BK Racing’s Two Raw Rookies

February 2nd, 2014 at 1:50 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

BK Racing has had a roller coaster first two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. Prior to the 2012 season the team bought old Red Bull Racing chassis and had just a month to get prepared for the season. Former driver Travis Kvapil said the team was handed the keys to the old Red Bull Racing shop just one month prior to the 54th annual Daytona 500. 

The team had to be very conservative through the first few races as finances were tight and racecars were few and far between. Drivers Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil did a nice job with the start up team and the teams finished 28th and 32nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner points respectively. The teams beat some well established NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams in the first season. 

'David Reutimann' photo (c) 2012, Mike Kalasnik - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Even after the success the team decided to part ways with the 23-year-old Cassill. Cassill helped drive the #83 team to 32nd in owner points and had done well for a start up team. It was a head scratcher to some but the team must have expected better than what was done by Cassill. The team hired veteran Sprint Cup Series driver David Reutimann.

Reuitmann's resume prior to BK Racing was impressive. He had two career Sprint Cup Series victories in his five seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing. After discussions of a contract extension with the organization fizzled in late 2011 MWR decided to release Reutimann and go with the veteran Mark Martin leaving Reutimann on the outside looking in. After spending one season at Tommy Baldwin Racing, Reutimann signed with BK Racing and there was some expected improvement on the #83 team for the 2013 season. 

Expectations, though, did not pan out like expected. The team struggled terribly throughout the season and both teams had new crew chiefs by July expecting things to improve in the second half of the season. They didn't and after a miserable season in which both teams finished 34th or worst in owner points in 2013, both Reutimann and Travis Kvapil have been replaced by rookie drivers in 2014. 

Alex Bowman will drive the team's #23 entry, as the team changed their number from #93 to #23. Driving the #83 Toyota will be Ryan Truex, as both drivers are considered pretty much 'raw' rookies heading into the 2014 season. 

Bowman ran the 2013 season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and he finished 11th in points for RAB Racing. He impressed enough to earn the ride but many would argue Bowman needed another year or two in the Nationwide Series before making the jump to the heavier, faster Sprint Cup Series racecars.

The same can be said for Bowman's 2014 teammate Ryan Truex. Truex has had some experience driving stock cars making just 35 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series prior to making his Sprint Cup debut in 2013 for Phoenix Racing. Truex, who is the younger brother of Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr, is a two time K&N Pro East Series champion and has shown some things in the lower levels of racing. 

However, it's all different when it comes to the highest level of the Sprint Cup Series. BK Racing had a lot of mechanical issues in the 2013 season and if that happens again the team could find themselves in a similar situation in 2014. The team gets their engines from Triad Racing Technologies but work on the engines in house. While in the long run that could really help the team, it hurt the team deeply in 2013 and got them off to a horrid start which the team could never recover from. 

Can these raw rookies at BK Racing finish higher than 30th in owner points in 2014? We'll see but if they don't judging by BK Racing's track record it could be a one and done season for both of the young drivers. 

Tags: Alex Bowman, BK Racing, David Reutimann, landon cassill, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Ryan Truex, Travis Kvapil

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