NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2010 NASCAR Driver Review: Andy Lally

Andy Lally

2010 Ride: No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet
2010 Primary Sponsor: TaxSlayer.com
2010 Owner: Kevin Buckler
2010 Crew Chief: Dan Stillman
2010 Stats: 7 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 3 DNFs, 51st in points

High Point: Lally’s road-racing expertise came into play in August, scoring what became a season-high 18th-place finish in only his third Cup career start. Add to that fact Lally passed 15 cars from his 33rd starting position, and you wouldn’t blame him if he chose this particular race as a high point.

Low Point: Lally’s oval-track debut in Cup, a 37th-place result at New Hampshire in June proved a major letdown. Most people drool over that type of opportunity, especially replacing Bobby Labonte behind the wheel. But Lally? Lack of funding meant he had to pull the car in early, completing only 142 of 301 laps in one of three start-and-park efforts he pulled this year.

Summary: Lally’s eight-race career does not have many highlights yet, although contending for wins is probably not the next step in line for TRG, either. From a driver’s point of view, Lally was able to dip his toe in the water, as it were, at the Sprint Cup level to gain more experience. More importantly, from a team perspective, the driver was able to do his bit to keep the team within the Top 35 in owner points, securing them a spot on the grid for the first five races of 2011 while searching for sponsorship.

Team Ranking: Lally was one of eight drivers to get behind the wheel of the No. 71 this season. Labonte ran the bulk of the races, 19, while Lally (7) and Landon Cassill (5) are the only others to run more than a single race for TRG. That said, Lally did not produce results that were markedly better or worse than anyone else, even the 2000 Cup champ. In fact, his average finishing position is only a few ticks lower (32.1 for Lally vs. 29.6 for Labonte).

Off-Track News: Lally competed full-time in the Grand Am Rolex series, Continental Sports Car Challenge and American Le Mans Series in 2010. The sports-car ace won three races in Grand Am, finishing 11th in the standings on the strength of nine top-10 finishes.

2011 Outlook: Lally’s NASCAR plans are unknown at this point. TRG officials have said he’s a candidate for the No. 71 Chevy full-time next year, a job that may be dependent on the Long Island native’s ability to raise funding. Should the deal come through, Lally would become the first driver to declare for 2011 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year.

2010 Frontstretch Grade: D+

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