Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.
Darrell Waltrip: If you asked Jack Roush and Jeff Burton, both are probably relieved that this opportunity has come along. It's been rumored for a long time that Burton was going to go to Richard Childress Racing, and I felt like it would happen sooner than later.
Roush has been running that car basically out of his pocket all year long with very little sponsorship. As a driver, I hated being sponsorless, not because of how much money they brought to the table or how much they could help my race team, but because a sponsor gives a driver an identity. A driver likes to have some continuity and be identified with a car and a sponsor. The worst thing a driver of Jeff Burton's caliber can have is a white car.
As we've seen recently, part of winning races is getting your sponsor in Victory Lane. Part of being a driver is selling product and working with a sponsor and the people that they bring to the races. When you don't have a sponsor, and you're driving a white car, it can be very discouraging.
Drivers change teams in the middle of the year or with a few races left in this season to get acquainted with their new organization. They build a foundation and get a head start on next year. You get introduced to your sponsors and get squared away with your crew chief in a new system.
Carl Edwards is going to do a great job. I think that's a good move. Obviously, young drivers, like Edwards, are waiting in the wings. Chip Ganassi has two or three guys, like Reed Sorenson, waiting in the wings. Hendrick Motorsports has Kyle Busch and development programs with Blake Feese, Boston Reid and Kyle Krisiloff. Roush has two or three drivers, like Edwards.