The news of Kurt Busch and Roger Penske's mutual decision to dissolve their relationship appears to have major local implications.
Multiple respected media outlets, including this report from Sirius Speedway, are pointing to Unadilla's David Ragan as the chief candidate to take over the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge in 2012. Ragan lost his ride with Roush-Fenway Racing when Atlanta-based UPS decided to scale back their NASCAR Involvement from a primary sponsorship to an associate partnership on Carl Edwards' machine.
If Ragan is confirmed as Busch's replacement, it would ensure not only that there will be a Georgia native competing full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but also that he will be in one of the circuit's top rides. While he largely struggled in his five seasons as driver of the legendary No. 6 Ford for Roush, moving to the two-car Penske outfit would allow him the opportunity race for a top-tier team without getting lost in the shuffle alongside superstars like Edwards and Matt Kenseth.
Such a decision will no-doubt be largely maligned, given Ragan's inability to succeed in Roush's Fords, but onlookers will be wise to wait and see how the arrangement works out before making any premature judgements. The change of scenery could be all Ragan needs to live up to the expectations placed upon him when he took over Mark Martin's ride as a rookie in 2007. In any case it will allow him to grow within a more compact environment than found at Roush, and the clean-cut, polite Georgian will likely be a better fit for Pennzoil after a year of embarassment from the volatle Busch.