Nascar Weekly News and Notes
by Nascar Handicapper Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
So we all thought that Hendrick created the power team, right? Wrong. Well, at least I think so now. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are quite possibly two of the best drivers to ever set foot in a racecar. But if you take a real look at where the team has moved since making substantial changes, there is no domination like there was last year. In fact, a single man is dominating the series: Kyle Busch. Wasnt he just a Hendrick teammate like a year ago? So Hendrick decided to move on from Busch, who seemed to wreck more cars than he brought back to the garage after a race. But since moving to Gibbs, Busch has now become unstoppable. He has four wins. Thats four wins in the Cup series. That doesnt count his wins in the Nationwide and the Craftsman Truck Series.
That being said, do you think that Hendrick made a good decision? I know that this is not the popular thing to say, but Earnhardt just may not be quite as talented as Busch. In fact, its hard to deny that fact this year. It seems like ever since Daytona ended, everyone in the Hendrick garage has struggled. From Jimmie Johnson to Jeff Gordon, there have been more problems this year than theyve probably ever had to deal with mechanically. There just seems to be something missing every week during the races. Their cars arent matching up to those Toyotas that Gibbs is running for the first year.
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Speaking of Toyota, there are rumors flying that Stewart may become an independent agent, much like what Dale Jr. did last year before moving to Hendrick. I dont know if that is necessarily the best move for Stewart. Toyotas seem to be throwing out 5 or more horsepower greater than the other manufacturers. That is why Busch drove away with an almost 8 second lead last weekend. These cars are not regulated in the way that I would think NASCAR would regulate them. NASCAR continuously tries to even the field, but knowingly having that much more horsepower is a significant advantage for any driver. Regardless, Stewart leaving Gibbs could be quite a fallout for the team. Although it may not be the greatest move for him, Joe Gibbs may not care enough to stop him. Stewart and Gibbs have gained a lot from each other and parting ways would not be the end of the world.
What may be pushing Stewart out the door is the fact the Joe Gibbs hand picked this guy, Stephen Logano, basically to be the next Jeff Gordon. Critics, fans, officials, and even drivers are saying that this kid is amazing. He made his NASCAR debut in the Nationwide series last weekend with an impressive 6th place finish. Gibbs points out that no matter what series Logano runs in, he succeeds and wins it. The best qualities about Logano are the fact that he communicates with his team, knows his cars, and doesnt necessarily have that attitude that Busch, Stewart, and Hamlin have that the fans love to hate. Wait a minutewould this even work in a Gibbs stable?
This kid just turned 18. That is the only reason for his delay into the NASCAR circuit. Many wanted him here sooner. I wouldnt be surprised to see him finish out his practice in the Nationwide series this year and move onto Cup by next year. Evidently, hes just that good. From what I saw last weekend, he really is that good. Stewart needs to watch his back if he does, in fact, plan on staying with Gibbs. Somebody is going to go because Logano has a one-way ticket to privilege with this team.
I think the days of a reigning Hendrick car are over. Gibbs seems to have the most stable garage right now. Hes got the drivers. Hes got the ones with the potential. And he sure as heck has the equipment and money. If these guys maintain the track that they are on, the whole team will be unstoppable. Just look out for Tony Stewart running on his own. That could be just plain dangerous.
See you next week!
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