OPINION: Do not crown Hendrick simply but
To win a NASCAR Cup Collection race today, you need to undergo Hendrick Motorsports. 4 straight wins, 4 straight 1-2 finishes. Seven wins in 16 races to steer all groups.
Intermediate race wins? Test. Brief tracks? Executed. Street programs? They’ve taken the final two of these.
Hendrick drivers have made dominating races look simple, and the reigning sequence champions have a leg up on the competitors. These not related to them are as soon as once more fed up with their success as if it’s the early 2000s when Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson weren’t leaving a lot on the desk for the competitors.
All of the laborious work from the lean years is now bearing fruit in an enormous manner. Hendrick has 4 automobiles able to successful anyplace, and it’s an in-house battle of who comes out on prime on any given weekend.
It’s good to be Hendrick Motorsports, even when there may be nonetheless a have to be cautious. The NASCAR season is an extended one; it’s one of many longest in skilled sports activities, and people on prime in June might simply be scratching their heads after the finale in November.
For now, sure, successful a Cup Collection race goes by means of Hendrick Motorsports however successful the Cup Collection championship is just not a accomplished deal.
It says so much in regards to the priorities and focus of Jeff Andrews, government vp and basic supervisor at Hendrick Motorsports, and everybody at Hendrick that one in all his first feedback within the winner’s press convention at Sonoma Raceway was in regards to the playoffs. He might have, and possibly ought to have, been gloating, hardly in a position to hold from grinning and basking within the California sunshine, given the trajectory the corporate is on.
“We’re having fun with the experience, however we certainly know there’s plenty of work left to do,” stated Andrews. “We want this sort of momentum and pace arising in October and November.”
There are classes to be realized from declaring favorites or writing off a group too early. We’ve seen it earlier than. Kevin Harvick final season, proper? When Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing ripped by means of the common season, some prematurely etched their names on the trophy, just for Harvick to fail to make the Championship 4.
All through the 2018 common and postseason, the narrative was all in regards to the Massive 3 of Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. When it got here time to resolve the title, Joey Logano retitled it “the Massive 3 and me.” Then the missed Logano left the competitors behind to assert the title. When he later posted an image of himself, his spouse Brittany, and the Cup Collection championship trophy on Twitter with the caption, “The Massive 3,” it was a mic drop second and a reminder to all about how improper they have been.
Hendrick and Elliott weren’t among the many favorites going into the playoffs final yr. However Elliott and the No. 9 group acquired sizzling when it mattered – as is important for a playoff format – by successful three of the season’s remaining 5 races.
Prefer it or not, successful the Cup Collection championship comes all the way down to what you do in three race increments through the remaining 10 weeks of the season. Hendrick Motorsports may be standing above all proper now, nevertheless, it might be silly to crown them.
“When the playoffs begin, plenty of bizarre issues can occur, and you need to take what you may get,” stated Truex after Sonoma. “Fortunately for us, we now have some good tracks within the playoffs, which is at all times good. They’re (Hendrick) robust, and we undoubtedly have to hold engaged on it.”
Satirically, this season has already seen the headlines modified greater than as soon as round who the favorites are. It wasn’t that way back Joe Gibbs Racing was given the nod when Truex gained three races in eight weeks. Denny Hamlin was sizzling, sizzling, sizzling at first of the yr with eight top-five finishes in 9 races, however all of a sudden his seemingly insurmountable level lead is dwindling. Hamlin has one top-five end within the final seven races.
All of that is to say it’s far too early to surrender on this season regardless of what the Hendrick drivers are doing. Sustained excellence is tough, be it by means of the years or a single season.
“It’s not going to be one simple factor the place you say, ‘Oh, there it’s,’ however over time, we’ll shut the hole,” Logano stated. “It occurs on a regular basis. Bear in mind, a few years in the past, we have been saying Hendrick couldn’t win a race and now have a look at them, so it goes in cycles, and we’ve simply acquired to maintain working laborious to get again on prime.”