Rick Hendrick Has the NASCAR World in the Palm of His Hand

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 20, 2009

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 15:  From left, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, team owner Rick Hendrick, and Jeff Gordon, Driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet speak during the NASCAR Championsihp Contenders Press Conference on November 15, 2007 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Can Rick Hendrick, along with his engine and chassis package sweep all ten chase races?

Or will Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, or Joe Gibbs Racing decide enough is enough and dethrone an owner who has taken great pride in taming a sport, that at one time was untameable?

As far as manufacturers go, Chevy is holding strong to the top four spots with all three of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers who made the chase, also in that same top four.

Never in the six year history of the chase has any team ever shown such dominance this early on, and if this keeps up NASCAR just might have to rename the chase the Rick Hendrick Invitational because the only other driver who is even remotely close is Kurt Busch in a Dodge.

And not to be mistaken, I did say Kurt and not brother Kyle who for some unforeseen reason decided not take part in this years chase.

And yes this is the same Kurt who won the chase in its inaugural season back in 2004, but missed out on last years party as all Dodges failed to make the post season chase festivities.

Busch won his championship while driving for Jack Roush, and at the same time giving the man in the hat his second consecutive championship with the help of Matt Kenseth who won it in 2003.

So much has changed since then, especially when you think about what has happened to Roush Fenway so far this season, with Greg Biffle as their only hope sitting in seventh 268 points away from Jimmie Johnson.

Last year at this time Biffle and his teammate Carl Edwards, were looking like they were about to gang tackle Johnson and take his lead away.

But that was not so as Johnson got his crew chief Chad Knaus involved, and the both of them worked their magical touch to keep the championship trophy in Johnsons grasp.

And once again it’s hard not to notice that the Hendrick boys, along with Montoya in tow are being selfish holding onto five out of the top six spots, and not allowing another manufacturer to come close to the territory that they are rightfully claiming.

Joe Gibbs Racing is only represented by one driver in the chase (Denny Hamlin), unlike last season when all three of his drivers, quickly bunched up the bottom half of the 12 when the season finally came to an end.

Denny Hamlin, who led the charge finishing eighth in the standings, was followed by Tony Stewart who finished ninth, and last but not least was Kyle Busch who ended up 10th after dominating the first 26 races.

JGR is once again having their share of problems with Hamlin dropping two spots in the chase to 11,th 372 points away from chase leader Jimmie Johnson after his second disappointing DNF in as many weeks.

Hamlin is also the only JGR driver who made the chase this season, making this his fourth appearance and second with Toyota.

For reasons beyond any fans way of thinking, Toyota has yet to find their rightful place within the wonder world known as the chase for the Sprint cup championship.

And with that we can’t forget about Team Red Bull driver Brian Vickers, who has been very silent since the chase began five weeks ago.

Vickers, who beat fellow Toyota driver Kyle Busch for the honor and the chance to represent Toyota along with Hamlin, has yet to lead a lap or finish within the top 10.

So don’t go blaming Hendrick or his group of drivers for winning races and making it look easy, especially when every team who made the chase was given the same opportunity to excel during the last 10 races.

But instead maybe its time for the other teams to step up their games and try to catch them, since all Hendrick did was open the floodgates and his drivers responded by mastering it and taking it to the next level.

Now putting all the conspiracy theories and the controversy to the side for just a brief moment, take a minute and ask yourself, “Would I be putting the same blame on my favorite driver if he was dominating a season in this same way?”


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.