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 â€˜regular seasonâ€™ 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 canâ€™t win â€˜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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