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Has HMS stopped sharing information with Stewart?

By admin | May 17, 2010

By Richard Allen

As I have said many times before, I am the mistrusting type who often falls for conspiracy theories. With that said, I have wondered lately if Tony Stewart is getting as much help from Hendrick Motorsports as everyone seems to think.

Take a look at the statistics compiled by Stewart in the time since he began driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the first 26 races of 2009, he won three times, had 13 top-5s and 18 top-10s. He was leading the points going into the Chase for the Championship cutoff by more than 200 points over the competition.

Since then, Stewart has won once in Kansas last fall. He has nine top-10s over the last 22 races. He has ten finishes outside the top-15 in that same time span.

While Stewart has been known as a slow starter throughout his NASCAR career, 2010 has been especially slow. Until the Autism Speaks 400 in Dover, he had gone six consecutive races without a top-15 finish. That was the longest the two time Sprint Cup champion has ever gone with such a poor streak.

Perhaps only one time this season has Stewart looked dominant. He has led only 104 laps so far in 2010, the vast majority of those coming in one race at Texas. He currently ranks a somewhat disappointing 14th in the standings.

It is well known that SHR receives both cars and engines from Hendrick. Also, a good number of employees and technical support come from the sport’s top organization.

So, has HMS stopped sending the same level of support to its subsidiaries?

Conspiracy theories aside, I think there may be a logical reason for the team’s slide. When crew chief Darian Grubb and the other former HMS employees first came to Stewart-Haas they were up to speed on the latest tricks of the trade that the Hendrick crews were using. However, as time goes by, things change. The HMS teams developed new ideas and left their former cohorts out of the new loop. Thus, SHR has fallen a bit behind.

Keep in mind that SHR driver Ryan Newman did win in Phoenix earlier this season. However, that was the result of a green/white/checkered situation and he only led a less than dominant four laps in that race. Otherwise, Newman’s season has been filled with inconsistency as he sits 13th in the standings.

So, are the recent struggles of Stewart-Haas Racing the result of their parent company not revealing all of their trade secrets? I don’t know for sure but I would guess that it is possible, along with a little bad luck and improvement by teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Penske Racing South.

There is a bright side to consider here. Even with their struggles, the two SHR cars are easily within striking distance of the all important top-12.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

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 |

7 Responses to “Has HMS stopped sharing information with Stewart?”

  1. The Old Guy Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    It does appear as such, doesn’t it? I think Stewart was stealing too much of the thunder last season.

  2. Bill B Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    They must have stopped sharing information with Mark Martin too.

  3. Fran Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I think they stopped sharing when the Chase started last year. I thought they would start back at the beginning of this season. It looks like NOT.

  4. gopapa Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Ditto Bill B.

  5. Steve S. Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Gotta remember, Rick Hendrick is first and formost a carsalesman (and convicted felon as a bonus) and a miracle survivor of cancer…. once his home prison sentence was over. So yes I am surprised that Tony’s actual mileage may vary, now that the 30 day trial is expired.

  6. Overa88ted Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Maybe Hendrick is giving the Stewart-Haas team information and equipment from the #88 team.

  7. CTCrush Says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I think it could have something to do with funding issues. Ryan’s car wasn’t fully sold this year and Tony needs sponsorship for 1/2 of next year. It also doesn’t help that Bobby Hutchens wife passed away.