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« Apparently, sandbagging has just become an issue in NASCAR | Main | NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2013 announced »

Hendrick’s 48 and 88 teams outperforming teammates

By admin | May 22, 2012


By Richard Allen

In the first three years that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove for Hendrick Motorsports, his fans often complained that their favorite driver was at a disadvantage because his cars were housed in the so-called ‘cursed’ garage at the team’s sprawling complex.

Perhaps this season is proving that theory correct. Although Junior has yet to win a points paying Sprint Cup race in 2010, he did win the Sprint Showdown and one segment in the Sprint All Star race this past Saturday night. And much more importantly, the popular driver is currently ranked third in the Sprint Cup standings after logging four top-5s and eight top-10s in the season’s first eleven races.

At the end of the 2010 season, veteran crew chief Steve Letarte was named as the new pit boss for Junior’s struggling No. 88 team. Essentially, Junior’s team was swapped for Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team and his car was moved into the same shop with that of five time champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus. Since that time, the 88 team has shown marked improvement. A Chase for the Championship spot in 2011 and this season’s results clearly show that.

And along with Junior’s marked improvement, the No. 48 team of Johnson has made plenty of news for their success over the past couple of weeks. One week after notching the 200th win for the HMS organization in Darlington, Johnson scored a $1 million victory in the Sprint All Star race in Charlotte.

The season got off to a tumultuous beginning for the 48 team when they were deemed to have illegal C-posts on their car for the season opening race in Daytona. Fines, suspensions and points reductions were handed down by NASCAR but the bulk of those sanctions were overturned after an appeal.

Since that initial ruling against them, the 48 crew has come roaring back into contention. After once being in negative numbers in regard to their points total, Johnson now ranks fifth in the standings. He has the one official win along with five top-5s and eight top-10s.

But contrary to the success of the 48 and 88 teams is the lack of success being experienced by the two teams working out of the ‘cursed’ garage at HMS. The No. 5 car of Kasey Kahne and the No. 24 car of Jeff Gordon are housed together and they have each suffered through less than stellar seasons so far.

After getting his HMS career off to a miserable start with four finishes outside the top-25 in his first six starts, Kahne has recovered to post five consecutive top-10s. Still, he ranks only 16th in the Sprint Cup standings.

But the most inexplicable story among the HMS drivers is that of Gordon. The four time champion and winner of 85 career races is mired in the worst slump of his career. Bad luck has plagued the future Hall of Fame driver virtually all season as he has managed only two top-10 results and ranks 24th in the standings despite having strong cars almost every time he has taken to the track.

Clearly, two teams at Hendrick Motorsports are performing better than the other two in 2012. Is there a cursed garage there? That’s unlikely but it is unusual that the results would work out the way they have.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “Hendrick’s 48 and 88 teams outperforming teammates”

  1. Patricia Campbell Says:
    May 23rd, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I still don’t believe #24 gets all info from #48. Someone lies, just a little. CHAD of course comes to mind. The Jeff and Casey house is falling apart. Change needs to looked into NOW. All is not well at Hendrick Motor Sports.

  2. Offkilter Says:
    May 23rd, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I dont think the 88 and 24 swapped. I think martin got the crappy 88 chasis along with lance mcgrew last year and gordon got the 5 chasis along with alan gustofson. This year francis relieves mcgrew of his duties as crew chief and all 4 cars are fast again. Too bad kahne and gordon are snakebit.

  3. daniel braun Says:
    May 23rd, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    This is a simple problem that start with how the hendrick shops are set up with the 48 and 88 cars prepared in one shop and the 24 and 5 prepared in a different shop by different people than the 48 and 88. In late 2010 the 24 and 88 switched shops. Since then the 24 and 5 have been struggling will the 48 and 88 have been excellent. while before late 2010 the 48 and 24 were the best cars with the 5 and 88 lagging. There’s your problem.

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Excuse me, my Roses don’t need to taste like Potato Chips, and I prefer that Hendrick’s Lore is more like Junior Johnson’s vs. Petty Family and RCR’s is more like the Wood Brothers. A lot of folks would not agree, but, people need to see different brew within reason.

  5. Tyler West Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Honestly I am so sick of everything and everyone kissing Hendricks rear. He’s not the only person to have bad things happen to him or his team. Everything now is geared toward Chevy and Hendrick Motorsports. It’s sickening. Give me a break. We get it! Hendrick is loaded and everything is roses, WOOHOO!!! Get over it and move on. Without Chad Knaus that team would be allot different. That is a fact. Chad should make more money than Johnson.

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