How Do You Spell Manufacturer Dominance? C-H-E-V-R-O-L-E-T

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2009

Never in their wildest dreams did the founders of the Chevrolet Motor Company, Louis Chevrolet, William Little, and Edwin Campbell ever expect that the car they manufactured back in 1911, would be leading one of the largest racing series 97 years later.

Team Chevy Impala SS is once again continuing their winning ways, while leading the manufacturer’s standings after 26 races behind their trademark slogan, “An American Revolution.”

Not that a revolution will get started anytime soon, but you have to give credit to the other manufacturers who are not willing to let this championship slip away so easily, and make it a walk in the park for the Chevy boys.

Chevy continues to dominate a sport that for a while looked like there would be a new sheriff in town, when Ford came on strong last year trying to break their six-in-a-row win streak, only to fall short during the chase for the Sprint cup championship.

Ever since NASCAR started handing out the award in 1952, Chevy has won an unprecedented 32 championships, which also include over 970 races won, topping Ford who is next on the list by 276 of their own.

In this decade alone, Chevy continues to back up their dominance with seven out of nine championships, as they relentlessly lead the way in a series where anything can happen.

With Buck Baker being the very first award winner back in 1957, Chevy has never really looked back but instead has continued to build on a winning formula that keeps them ahead of this high stakes game of cat-and-mouse.

General Motors Corporation, one of the largest automakers manufactures of cars, and trucks in over 34 countries worldwide to go along with its global headquarters in Detroit.

GM employs 244,500 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries.

In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling.

GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany.

It’s easy to see why they pride themselves on perfection, when it comes to putting their manufacturer logo here in the NASCAR racing series.

With the addition of Tony Stewart taking over 50 percent of the helm at CNC/Haas racing this past year, along with bringing ex-Penske driver Ryan Newman along for the ride.

It’s no wonder that GM Racing NASCAR Group Manager, Pat Shuy is so optimistic about the team’s chances of winning the Sprint cup championship this year.

"Congratulations to all the Team Chevy contenders in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship! This year Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, and Juan Pablo Montoya have shown that they have what it takes to win a championship.”

Shuy also added that, "A quick look at the statistics shows that it shouldn't be a surprise that we're well represented. A Chevrolet driver has gone to victory lane 12 times in the Sprint Cup Series this season, and Chevy holds a commanding 35 point lead in the Manufacturers' Cup standings."  

"Team Chevy drivers have led 3722 of the 7326 laps run this year. Our drivers have occupied a total of 125 of the 260 possible top-10 finishing positions. This is truly a dominant group of teams,” Shuy said.

Shuy finished off by saying, "Our group has a broad range of skills and engineering tools that complement our teams’ internal resources in that area. It’s a combination that has helped make Chevy the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR.”

Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS, is the No. 1 seed with four wins to-date in 2009.

In 25 starts at NHMS, Martin has eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes with two poles. Martin, who is probably this year’s sentimental favorite to win the championship even though his season hasn’t been one of consistency, and it showed in his top five, and top 10 finishes.

But what he lacked in that area, his experience and knowledge were once again the deciding the factor, along with his four wins it to get him a berth in the chase.

Martin had this to say about this year’s chase contenders, "Anybody that's in the Chase can win this thing. All they have to do is get on a 10-race roll. I'm telling you anybody in this Chase can win. I know the last few weeks we've raced to win but we've been real careful too. Now we can go do our thing.”

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Old Spice/ Office Depot Impala SS, is the No. 2 seed with three wins to-date in 2009. In 21 NHMS starts, Stewart has two wins, 11 top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes with one pole.

Stewart who has not followed his usual protocol from years past by starting slow, and gaining momentum as the season comes to an end.

Instead he brings with him finishes of 17th, 33rd, 11th, and 17th in his last four races since his last win at Watkins Glen. Now even with that streak of bad finishes, Stewart is still very optimistic about his chances at possibly winning a third championship.

Stewart also likes the fact that the first chase race is at a track that he enjoys racing at.

"I like starting (the Chase) at Loudon. It's a track that we run really well at. It's been good to us in the past. Hopefully if we have a good run there it will set the tone for the last nine weeks. I feel like it's one of our better tracks.”

Jimmie Johnson, No 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Impala SS, will start the Chase as the No. 3 seed with three wins to-date in 2009.

In 15 NHMS starts, Johnson has two wins, four top-five, and 10-top-10 finishes. Johnson is by far this year’s favorite to win his fourth championship in a row.

When you look back at the previous three championships, it’s easy to see that the 48 team knows how to build momentum as the chase progresses.

Knaus and Johnson have almost perfected the perfect recipe to winning championships once the chase begins, and that is something that has not been found in any other team.

Their results alone speak for themselves, especially when you look back to the last three years.

“You come into the Chase with whatever momentum that you have had the last couple of tracks. I feel that we have been decent and I am optimistic for the Chase, but again you don’t know. So we just need to give 100 percent every week and see where we wind up. Nobody has had a clear advantage."

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, is the No. 6 seed for the start of the Chase with one win to date in 2009. In 29 starts at NHMS, Gordon has three wins, 13 top-five, and 16 top-10 finishes with three poles.

What more can be said about a driver who already has four championships under his belt. When you look back to the era in which he won them, it’s easy to say that Gordon has the most experience, as well as the knowledge of what it takes to stay on top of his game.

Gordon showed the fans that he is still very much a championship contender, when he once again led the point standings early on in the season.

“I am excited about these next 10 races, I can't wait. I know we didn't win as many races as we wanted to during the first 26 but I think our team showed just how strong we are and I think we are going to give these guys a lot to think about over these next 10 races. This team is solid and I think we have a great shot at it."

Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Impala SS, is the No. 10 seed in the 2009 Chase. In 15 NHMS starts, Newman has two wins, five top-five, and nine top-10 finishes with four poles.

If a change of scenery ever came at the most opportune time for Newman, it was this season. Newman has always possessed the skills that are needed to be successful in this fast paced sport.

And Stewart knew that Newman was more then just your everyday average finish type of driver, when he chose him to be his teammate.

Just how far he will go in the chase, and how much success he still has in him has yet to be seen.

“It seems like whenever I’ve had a long streak of not winning I’ve won at New Hampshire. We have got to pick up our performance a little bit. I mean if you look at the last few races we’ve gotten better, but if you want to win this championship statistically it takes a lot better finish than what we've been getting."

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, starts the Chase as the No. 11 seed. In five previous NHMS starts, his best finish was 12th in the 2009 spring race.

Montoya has stuck to Ganassi’s side through thick and thin, and now all of that patience has finally paid off. In a day and age when most of the fans were looking for EGR to fail, along comes Montoya to save the day.

We heard the stories that Theresa Earnhardt was running the team into the ground, and that she was giving her late husband a bad name by her business decision to merge with Chip Ganassi.

If there was ever a smile coming down from up above, I’m sure it’s from Dale Earnhardt Sr himself. Being a champion himself, Montoya still understands the significance of what a championship means, even though he has yet to win one in the NASCAR series.

“If you look at a championship, it’s still numbers. It’s just the average number needs to be a lot better than what it was to making the Chase."

Montoya also added, "I think it’s a good testament for the whole Target team and everybody at Earnhardt-Ganassi to show everybody that we made it into the Chase and everybody this year thought we were going to be horrible for us and to get a car in the Chase is huge."

So as the manufacturer wars continue to heat up, along with battles that will take place to see who will be victorious at the end of the season.

Don’t be surprised to see the bow tie brigade, follow a pattern that has taken them beyond what their founding fathers ever thought possible.

Whether it’s done through change, destiny, or even the desire to continue to want to be the best, Chevy is highly favored to win its seventh straight manufacturers title.

And even though the C.O.T. has robbed the cars of their unique personalities that each one had, Chevy along with the other manufacturers has managed to keep the NASCAR tradition alive.

A tradition by not allowing change to get in the way of the continual pursuit, of bringing their best products out week after week. NASCAR racing, “Does it get any better than this?”


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