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Might Johnson or Kenseth benefit from team orders over the next two weeks?

By admin | November 7, 2013

Might there be an incident of team orders like those by MWR in Richmond over the next two weeks? 

By Richard Allen

In response to a piece I posted on Wednesday evening(Kenseth vs Johnson just doesn’t seem like a rivalry), one of my readers posted a comment in which he stated his belief that Toyota drivers might very well offer assistance to Matt Kenseth in an effort to help him win that manufacturer’s first Sprint Cup title. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver currently trails Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson by seven points. Those two competitors have separated themselves from the rest of the Chase for the Sprint Cup pack.

Jesse’s comment:

“It’s all about Toyota making sure all their drivers finish behind Kenseth in the next two races, you can count on it. They want this more than the teams want it. The billions they spend to say built in America, playing the national anthem in their tv ads. their engine factory that no other company has, it seems like every race is paced by them. What a joke Nascar has become”

In response to that comment, a reader identified as Pokey declared that more than just the Toyota drivers could be involved team assistance in Phoenix and Homestead.

Vote in the poll at the right to voice your opinion on whether team orders will come into play——————————–>

Pokey’s comment:

“Jesse, you will probably have tunnel vision before you die. You did not notice that Jimmie, Junior, and Kasey all suffered from “slumps” over the last month before the Chase? All were trying to help Jeff Gordon make the Chase. I took a Brian France intervention, but he got there. Do you think any of the other six Hendrick drivers (yes, six and even more among the field fillers) will finish ahead of Jimmie this week? Unless he wrecks or blows his engine, you can bet against that just as easily as you can bet Kyle and Denny will finish behind Matt. You are correct that, if Jimmie still needs to have a great finish at Homestead, the last race will be a parade of Chevys protecting Jimmie and Toyotas protecting Matt. Lat I looke, there with be at least 18 Chevys and maybe 12 Toyotas at Homestead. YOU do that math and stop dumping on my driver, Matt Kenseth, for no reason other than you like worthless Government Motors products.”

Just a few short weeks ago, team orders were very much at the forefront of NASCAR-based discussion. It was determined by the sanctioning body that Michael Waltrip Racing had engaged in such activities during the Chase deciding race in Richmond. That organization’s Martin Truex, Jr. was removed from the playoff and fines were doled out.

But even with that incident still easily within the memory, would team members be willing to “help” a fellow driver with the same emblem on the front of his car?

If so, can we expect to see JGR drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin “protect” Kenseth? Would the MWR drivers assist their fellow Toyota campaigner after having been punished just a short time ago?

And of course, Johnson would have plenty of helpers from his Hendrick Motorsports stable as well as that of sister organization Stewart-Haas Racing, if they opted to do so.

Some fans have implied that Jeff Burton did this very sort of thing back in 2011 at Phoenix when Tony Stewart got by him on the last lap. Of course, if this were to happen over the next two weeks, it doesn’t have to be that obvious. A driver could start dropping back well before the final lap to assure that a teammate would finish ahead.

The best case scenario for the next two weeks would be for Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth to race it out for the Sprint Cup title without the aid of any other drivers. However, to believe that such orders are not at least possible in this era of mega teams would be naïve, especially with so much money and prestige on the line.

Let’s watch to see if anything suspicious takes place.

Check out my NFL and NCAA football picks and a story on Nick Saban to Texas here—> Allen Sports Page

Topics: Articles |

10 Responses to “Might Johnson or Kenseth benefit from team orders over the next two weeks?”

  1. Robert Green Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Anything is possible at this juncture… Just so long as one of the Chasers isn’t taken out by a questionable “accident”. I’ll be in attendance, we’ll see…

  2. Anne Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I always thought it was good strategy, but with Richmond and the declarations from Nascar of any help being bad and getting Jeffery into the Chase by decree. I say they better not, but of course Nascar won’t do a thing. Pokey is 100% correct with his observation of the slumps from other HMS drivers before Richmond. Does anybody really believe JJ was in a slump..come on. Then Nascar goes on to state that Gilliand and team Penske did nothing wrong (which according to the rulebook was correct, teams have moved over for years…see Tony Stewart)but they put them on probation anyways, which the kinds gesture was not needed. Nascar set a bad course by caving to the social media mob mindset. Most of which I dare say don’t know a lick about what they were complaining about. That is in the past the future is now and Nascar if it has any intergrity left, should stay the course , every driver 100% and no help. This should be interesting, but it won’t be suprising, unless they actually stick to their word and drop the hammer if found out. And for the record, I see nothing wrong with what Nascar said was wrong, I think its smart, why wouldn’t you?

  3. Bill B Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I wouldn’t call it team orders but, two years ago when Stewart and Edwards were battling it out, it sure seemed like most of the field was letting them pass easily and not racing them at all. So nothing would surprise me but I think any team orders will be well disguised and subtle.

  4. Bill B Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Oh yeah. Assuming Jimmie’s “slump” was designed to help Jeff get in the chase don’t you think they would have been smarter about it than finishing in the 30’s? Afterall, he only had to finish one spot behind him to make it work. It seems that if that were the case they wouldn’t have been so blatant about it. But those that hate HMS or Gordon in particular see what they want to see and interpret what they see to support their argument.

  5. jerseygirl Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    We saw this over and over again when Roush’s Ford’s were dominant, they would trade the lead back and forth to gain the bonus point for leading a lap. I thought that was irritating then but no one called them out on it so NASCAR thought it was OK I guess.

    Then you had the nonsense that happened at Richmond. I disagree with Anne simply because Chad quite often uses the races between the time they are locked into the chase and Richmond to “test”. That’s one of the things that makes the chase championship’s bogus in my mind. If they had to race over the full schedule, the 48 team wouldn’t do that.

    I would really like to think that team orders won’t come into play but I believe it is more than likely that it will - either that or everyone will simply pull over and/or tiptoe around the 2 contenders as they have in other years. That’s another reason why the “chase” annoys me. No one, not the drivers or the media, seem to actually worry about the race, it’s all about the chase points.

    I don’t expect to give more than a glance at the next 2 races. I don’t really want Toyota to win the chase but I’m not a Johnson fan, so I’m not excited about watching Mr. Anti-Excitement win his 6th 10 race trophy.

  6. Steve Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 9:18 am

    If teams are “protecting” their driver, doesn’t that violate the 100% rule, because surely if you are trying to protect a certain driver, you aren’t giving it 100% effort yourself.

    You can bet that Nascar will look the other way unless there is a major uproar from one of the big team owners. But if there is, this should be an interesting last couple of weeks. Hey maybe its worth tuning in the last few races after all.

  7. midasmicah Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 10:05 am

    If anyone who watches nas$car doesn’t believe team orders will come into play (again), they’re pretty naïve.

  8. Ken Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    It gets really bizarre when people blame Jack Roush for for any of NASCAR’s problems. Every team, including the Almighty Hendrick Motorsports, has had teammates slow down to let their teammate lead a lap to get bonus points.

    As for “Roush’s Fords were dominant”, when was this? Roush has never benn “dominant”. The organization has had good years, but Roush was never a dominant powerhouse like Hendrick, who has 11 championships in the last 18-years, including 6-in-a-row from 2006 to 2011. And yes, I am including Stewart’s 2011 Championship as a Hendrick Championship.

    As for team orders, I am willing to bet that if the Toyota teams work together to help Kenseth, there will be something said by NASCAR. However, if the Chevrolet teams band together to help Johnson, NASCAR will turn a blind eye.

    One last point, in 2014, there will be two U.S. built manufacturers in NASCAR. The 2014 Ford Fusion production has been moved from Mexico to Flat Rock, Michigan. And last time I checked, Michigan was in the U.S.

  9. Offkilter Says:
    November 9th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I say this with tongue- in-cheek in good fun Rich when i peck out the following. I wish for the following events to take place during the last race @ Homestead so you hit the mother-lode of your dreams. The 20 car dominates a single file no-passing race. The 48 goes a lap down late. Mr. Hendrick gets caught on camera nodding up at race controll and a caution comes out for debris. 4 toyotas get caught for speeding on pit road. Green flag drops, the 24 uses up the 20 and ends Kenseth’s day. Matt interviews and shrugs it off to a racing deal and congratulates team 48… Vanillaishly. The green falls again with 10 to go and the 48 passes everyone in nine laps, the 88 being the leader. Half a lap to go, the 48 slows enough for the 88 to pass back and win. The 24 and 5 get top 10 finishes. After the race, Danica climbs out of her car in tears after another mistake on her part racing hard for p25 and states she is going back to open wheel because she can’t hack it in cup. Harvick and younger Busch jump out their macines and point fingers and throw water bottles at each other until their crews arrive to intervene which then cues them actually trying to get at each other. JR slips up and says “sh-t” in victory lane again as JJ and Kenseth hug just before JJ and Knauss lift trophy #6.

  10. Offkilter Says:
    November 9th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I truely wish for the 48 and 20 to not have any bad luck these last 2 races because anything less than it coming down to the last lap of Homestead to crown the champion will be a let down.