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What does front row start mean for 5 and 88 teams?

By admin | February 6, 2010

By Richard Allen

In the grand scheme of things qualifying on the front row for the Daytona 500 does not guarantee anything other than a front row start in the Daytona 500. However, for the teams of Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Saturday’s qualifying results must have been very satisfying.

As is often pointed out, the shops at the Hendrick Motorsports’ compound are separated. The cars of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are housed in one building while cars are prepared for Martin and Earnhardt in another.

Typically, when people speak of the success at HMS they point to the 24 and 48 teams and their eight championships. The 5 and 88 bunch are often spoken about as an after thought. That was especially true before Martin arrived to pilot car #5.

Finally, the ‘second garage’ is getting the bulk of the attention at HMS after Martin took the Daytona 500 pole position and Earnhardt grabbed the outside front row spot.

“When we get to California, Las Vegas and them other places we’ll see what we’ve got,” Earnhardt commented when asked if his team had turned a corner.

“It’s a small step in the right direction but we’ll try to keep it going,” he added.

Junior is absolutely correct in pointing out that the ‘real season’ begins when cars get to the more aero-dependant 1.5 to 2 mile tracks. The 24 and 48 cars may or may not continue to run well on those tracks. However, the Daytona 500 is the most important race in NASCAR. Winning that race can define a career.

Sitting on the front row is a badge of honor that can be worn for an entire week leading into the big race. For this coming week at least, the 5 and 88 teams will having the bragging rights among the HMS shop.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “What does front row start mean for 5 and 88 teams?”

  1. midasmicah Says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Mark Martin will be fine and I’m really pulling for Junior this year. I’ve never been a big junior fan, but when you look at what he’s had to go through being Dale Sr’s son, I’m really hoping he does better. Last year he looked like he wasn’t having any fun. It would be good for him and nas$car for him to do better this year.

  2. Ginger Says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you midasmicah. It’s so nice to hear from a non-Jr fan who still wishes him well.

  3. Overra88ted Says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    For the 88 team qualifying second means nothing. In the Bud Shootout Jr. was a non-factor, using his God-given average at best talent to drive it straight to the back. Jr.’s 11th place finish was the result of a multi-car last lap crash, not because of talent.

  4. earl lewis Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 12:27 am

    why does everyone think, that daytona is JR’s track???? hes not one this race , since like 2004 or 2005???i believe jeff gordon is the most dominant at this track????

  5. NA$CAR Oldtimer Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Overra88ted needs to realize that the shootout car had a completely different chassis than the 500 car. Last season was one of frustration, anger and loss of selfconfidence for Jr. He has come through it stronger and will win multiple races this year. The Jr. haters are not going to be happy when he proves them wrong!

  6. nryant Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I dont know why people like over88ted hate jr so much you cant say he is going to suck because the season hasnt even started yet and your still putting him down.

  7. Jhall Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 9:26 am

    First off earl needs to learn how to spell……. If you can’t spell won right you can’t comment. Next Jr. has talent…. He is something like 5th or 6th among drivers since 2000 in wins. You can discard that

  8. earl lewis Says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    FIRST OFF JHALL, i never spelled anything wrong!!!! so correct yourself bud, thats the first thing for you to do ok! so jhall, lets continue, shall we??? jr will not make the chase again this yr, and all his teammates will!!! jr is the CABOOSE of hendrick motorsports!!! do you know what a CABOOSE is???? jhall???

  9. bryant Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 9:44 am

    And I like how everybody points out how bad jr did in the shootout but he still finished better than half the field and even better than jimmie johnson.

  10. Jhall Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Earl…. one? won? I rest my case