Chevrolet is dominant
Published 12:00 am Friday, May 25, 2007
Chevrolet teams, most specifically Hendrick teams, have dominated the NASCAR season.
Through the first 11 races, the bow ties brand has visited Victory Lane 10 times. Only Ford driver Matt Kenseth has kept Chevrolet from sweeping the season by winning at California.
More importantly, nine of the 12 drivers currently eligible to compete for the championship during the Chase drive Chevys.
Why the big disparity? Many will say that there is a huge aerodynamic advantage, or disadvantage, and that is causing the difference. That argument holds no water when it comes to the new car. Those are all identical body styles, other than the manufacturer-specific nose.
Denny Hamlin, one of the Chevy drivers in the top-12, was asked about the dominance and I think he had the best answer of all. Chevy simply has the better teams and drivers right now. Everyone else is chasing Hendrick. Those teams have won all five “winged car” races and three more races using the traditional car.
Two years ago, the Roush teams were the hunted. With half of the chase field owned by the Cat in the Hat, Jack Roush, and all the talk was the technical advantage of the Fords. Everything goes in cycles.
Speaking of the COT, NASCAR announced this week that the COT will be the only car on the track next season. The drivers wanted it, the owners wanted it and it only makes sense.
Now, the big question….can we just call it “the car” now. It’s not tomorrow any longer.
Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see exactly where Dale Earnhardt Jr. lands for the 2008 season. Rick Hendrick indicated that he didn’t have room on his roster for Junior, but don’t think for a minute that Hendrick couldn’t find a way to make that happen.
The three big Chevy teams – Hendrick, Gibbs, and Childress —continue to be the leaders. However, keep an eye on Bobby Ginn.
Once Junior’s decision is finalized, you could see a domino effect that could involve five or six drivers. Greg Biffle is already in the rumor mill, heading to DEI as Junior’s replacement. Gonna get real fun pretty soon.
The Memorial Day tradition, the Coke 600 at Charlotte, continues Sunday night. Kasey Kahne swept the Lowe’s races last season and before that, Jimmie Johnson won four in a row at his sponsor’s namesake track.
Kahne was been slumping badly this season and this could be just the trick to get him back on track. Don’t look for it, though. Kahne might end up being one of those every other year kind of guys.
Last week I said that I wouldn’t bet against Johnson until he proved he could be beaten. Well, Kevin Harvick proved that last Saturday night during the All-Star race, even though Johnson finished second. Hopefully, this race will be more entertaining than that race.
Maybe the Busch brothers will tussle again or maybe Juan Pablo Montoya will be involved in a wreck. Oh, wait; there is no maybe to that one. Bet on Montoya wrecking someone, probably in the first 50 laps.
My pick to win Sunday night is Tony Stewart.
Have fun, enjoy the race, but please be careful on this Memorial Day weekend.
Jeff Findley can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.