michaeljohn wrote:i dont know what to make of this whole thing, im not gonna get all excited and think it will be 2003 all over again, time has passed and both of them have changed, personally would have liked to see them bring in someone new.. What if it doesnt work out?? will there be posts screaming for Mb's head, or does this mean ryan isnt what we all thought he was, maybe he is just average, this is not me hating, but being realistic....
I don't think anyone should expect a 2003 again. Is important for Ryan fans to realize what they had going on that year. First, in the earlier years of the Dodge motor since coming back to Nascar - it was very strong against the existing Ford and Chevy motors at the time, and Penske was using Jasper to build and tune the motors, they came up with a package that was as good or better than anyone for a few years.
The aerodynamics of those earlier Dodges was also very good. But, there were a few other big things that Penske and Borland were doing in 2002-2003 that brought all the success. One was using a trick smaller carburetor that still generated nearly the same power but helped fuel mileage significantly, this was actually a 12 team "secret" and was not shared with the 2 team, this was a huge reason for the Rusty-Ryan feud when Rusty found out about it later in 2003. Also, the gear rules were wide open back then, and Borland/Penske really had this figured out too. Penske was also ahead of the game and spending big money on trick suspension and shocks.
Low and behold each of these 3 advantages that Penske exploited were essentially nullified by Nascar rules changes starting in the 2004 season. The news had gotten out about the carburetor anyway so any team could have started using it, but then they mandated rules on the gears and shocks which really hurt Penske. Then the new Dodge body in 2005 was a dump truck aerodynamically.
Since this time I don't think Ryan's ever been in a car with built-in advantages like we'll see Johnson or Hamlin seem to consistently have. I think years of being in a bad car slowed him down too to a degree, he hasn't had that constant practice of running a car to that extreme limit, like JJ has had for a decade.