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Lessons learned in NASCAR 2009: Hendrick still dominates

By admin | December 5, 2009

Now that the season ending banquets are behind us we can officially lay the 2009 NASCAR season to rest. So, what did we learn from this past year of racing?

I have complied a list of lessons learned from the 2009 season. Over the next several days I will publish this list.

Here is one of my thoughts on the list of lessons learned from 2009:

Lesson #1- We learned, or actually had reaffirmed, that not only is Hendrick Motorsports the top team in the sport but that they completely rule the roost. Aside from the unprecedented act of Jimmie Johnson taking his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title for HMS, that organization scored a totally dominating 1-2-3 finish in the final standings. Drivers Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon aided Johnson in completing the sweep.

And more, not only did HMS itself have a strong performance but its subsidiary team, Stewart-Haas Racing, won the ‘regular season’ championship and placed both of its drivers, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, in the Chase for the Championship playoff.

Just a very few years ago NASCAR seemed to have at least four super teams that could each claim at least some piece of the supremacy in the Sprint Cup division. Roush Fenway Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing at one time seemed to be near the same level as HMS, but now, not so much. Granted, those teams have won races and qualified for the Chase. However, it now seems as though any success these others may have could be a product of the fact that HMS simply can’t win ‘em all rather than those teams stepping up to claim their place at or near the top.

Needless to say, any team not named Hendrick Motorsports or closely associated with Hendrick Motorsports has a great deal of work to do this off-season if they are to work their way into championship contending status in 2010.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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One Response to “Lessons learned in NASCAR 2009: Hendrick still dominates”

  1. Marybeth Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    This has not worked out for Jr. at HMS, for what ever reason. 2 years is a more than fair trial. Dale Jr. needs to be free from HMS. RCR stepped up his game and fielded 4 competitive cars. HMS, for all of their vaunted resources and depth can’t…? Even with all of the money that Jr. is bringing into HMS, RH won’t spend any of it to hire Jr. a top tier cc like Addington.
    RH has certainly let enough other drivers go and it is time for him to let Jr. go.
    I know that RCR has 4 cars now, but there is talk of lack of sponsorship for the 4th. Jr. could probably get sponsorship or bring Amp &/or Nat’l Guard with him.
    I would be happy to see him back in the #8 car. DEI’s Jeff, said that they would welcome Jr. back with open arms. I am sure that he could be more competitive there! Surely Chevy would like to see Jr. run competitively again. Perhaps Teresa is ready to sell 51% of DEI now. It would make him a teammate of JPM and I think that that would work out well.
    And personally, I would be happy seeing him go to Toyota. After all he has done to help Chevy sell cars and trucks, selling the new Camaro at the CMA awards in Nov. being the latest, and they give him junk & R&D test cars for JJ, Jr. owes Chevy nothing. Gibbs has 3 cars and could field another car. JD said a few weeks back that he is thinking of going to a 4th car. KB’s wins did not take off until he went to Gibbs. Getting out of HMS was the best thing that ever happened to him. He could be driving the HMS R&D car for Jimmie.
    In 2007 in F1, Alonso moved to McLaren. It became apparent by summer that the role FA had envisioned for himself, the 1st driver, when he signed the contract, was different from the one Ron Dennis saw, 2nd to Hamilton. RD realized that this is not what FA had signed the contract for and that he was not being fair to FA and was able to man-up and gentleman enough, fair enough, to let FA go after only 1 year on his contract. Hopefully RH can rise to the same standard.