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Friday, August 14, 2009

Hendrick dynasty will continue, Johnson boldly predicts

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jimmie Johnson may be mild-mannered, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t confident.

The three-time defending champ said Friday at Michigan Speedway that the team he drives for, Hendrick Motorsports, which has eight Cup championships in the past 14 years, will continue to be the best team in NASCAR for years to come.

“I don’t know if anyone can beat Hendrick Motorsports over a long period of time, the way Rick has built this organization and the way people are united. Over time, they will succeed more than anyone else, I believe,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to take anything away from the other teams. Roush one year had all five cars in the Chase. There are points other teams can hit. Over time, Rick’s way, the system, the people, what he’s built is going to consistently keep Hendrick Motorsports at the top.
“I wouldn’t want to race against him.”

That doesn’t mean he’s taking for granted that he will win a fourth straight title. That’s in large part to the awesome success of Tony Stewart this year. Stewart has put on a clinic, racking up top-5 after top-5, and Johnson knows that level of performance is what it will take to win the title.

“We’ve just got to outrun (Tony). We have to score more points. You can’t count on anyone having bad luck,” Johnson said. “Tony is very smart. He knows how to win races and win championships. So it really comes down to outperforming Tony or whoever that guy may be. It certainly looks like Tony is the guy to beat, but there’s a lot of racing between now and then.”

Big field trying out for Nationwide race
A total of 51 cars will attempt to qualify Saturday afternoon for the Nationwide race at MIS. There are plenty of field-fillers for sure, but it’s still refreshing to see so many cars trying to make the race with the economy being the way it is.
Even a champion like Tony Stewart understands that the start-and-park teams are a “necessary evil” with the economy’s current condition.
“The unfortunate part is the start-and-park guys can’t afford to buy all the tires and buy a new engine every two weeks. It’s a necessary evil for those people. It’s not the most advantageous for the series, I would rather see 43 start the race that only have 34 or 36 teams. You can’t hold it against them.”

Can Roush teams step up at MIS?
This week offers a great chance for Roush Racing to step up and reclaim the track where they once dominated. Carl Edwards has won here before and is long overdue for a win. Greg Biffle also has a great history in the Irish Hills, as does Matt Kenseth. Roush, a Livonia native and a player in the auto industry, is especially proud of his wins here and would love another one.
Though Edwards hasn’t won this year, he has solidly placed himself in the Chase and has been a threat many times. On Friday at MIS, he said his focus is on making the Chase, and winning wasn’t his main concern right now, but anyone who knows Edwards knows that his desire to win is intense ... so look for him to contend on Sunday.


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