Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hendrick Domination

Hendrick the Invincible Team

Hendrick Motorsports has dominated Nascar all season. It is plain to see they know a lot more about the Car Of Tomorrow, or the COT, than the other teams. There are 36 races this season and we have completed 35. The last race is at Homestead. Of the 35 races, the Hendrick group has won 18 of the races...almost half of the races. Kyle Busch, who leaves Hendrick next year, won the first COT race, which tells us the Hendrick guys have done their homework on this new car. Of those 18 wins, Jimmie Johnson has won 10 of them. He has amazing talent. Jeff Gordon has only won 6 this year. Jeff Gordon, however, has won the most poles this season with 10 poles. He was very good early on, but lately, it has been Jimmie who has been impressing us. Jimmie has won the last four races. It seems like nothing they do could possibly go wrong. It is not surprising who is leading the championship points. Jimmie Johnson is leading with Jeff Gordon in second. It is pretty clear, though the Chase is still not over, who will win the Championship. Jimmie is ahead by 86 points. And guess who won the championship last year? Yep, you guessed it Jimmie Johnson. It is no surprise who the last driver to win back-to-back titles was...Jeff Gordon. There is a pattern here. Maybe we should go back and see how they got so good.

The Beginning

When Jimmie Johnson was first starting out in Nascar, he struggled like any rookie today does. He was driving in the Busch Series. One day he got up the nerve to walk over to Jeff Gordon and plain out asked him for advice. Gordon kept in touch with him and later offered him a driver development deal.

They are still close friends today. As we have seen many times this year, often teammates aren't close at all, so it is strange to see them both friends on and off the track. Because they are teammates and they do share information, I think that is what makes them unbeatable. They get the same cars from the same place. The difference is just that the drivers like different setups. A lot of the members on the teams work for both Jimmie and Jeff. For instance the other day on NascarNow, they said a guy works for Jeff all through the practices and everything, but when it comes Sunday, he changes tires for Jimmie. It shows they don't keep a lot of secrets from each other. They come into every race knowing what the other driver has.

The Key to Success

At a recent test in Atlanta, both Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson decided to skip it because they were in the middle of the chase, and they wanted their team to rest up. At last weekends race in Phoenix, after Jimmie Johnson won, Jeff Gordon came over and praised him and basically said that it's over. He wasn't saying that he was giving up just that Jimmie's team is so good, and it is plain to see that they, Jeff and his team, aren't keeping up. That right there is what I think makes that team so successful. They have a lot of respect for one another. They are professionals. they are mature, and this shows that this is what makes them so successful.

Jimmie had never won at Phoenix, but he did get his first win there this past weekend. He also has never won at Homestead, but in an interview this week, he said he truly feels like he can win Sunday. If he does win Sunday, that will be his 5th win in a row. He has already joined a list of greats who have the most wins in a row. His career is not yet at its peak though. He will continue to be an amazing driver along with his teammates. I feel sorry for the guys competing against him.

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