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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't cry for Rick Hendrick over his little losing streak; No. 200 and a lot more wins are coming soon

I’m surprised that I am writing this, but Hendrick Motorsports has not won a race in the past 13 Cup events. Some might argue they support Tony Stewart’s team enough that Stewart-Haas wins should almost count as Hendrick wins, but the actual Hendrick cars have not been to victory lane since last fall at Kansas (That being the 48, 24, 88 and 5 cars).

So here we are at Kansas, back at the scene of that last win, and this little slump goes to remind us just how dominant Hendrick has been in the past. For most teams, saying they having won for the past 13 races wouldn’t mean much. It would probably be normal actually, for all but the top few teams, since there is so much competition and so many people can win each week.

But for Hendrick, this kind of streak just doesn’t happen -- they win races early and often. The last team losing streak of this length was a decade ago. So that means that for the past decade, basically every single month of racing has featured a Hendrick win.

Now do you see why Jimmie Johnson won so many titles and Hendrick remains the gold standard among Cup teams? The irony of it all is this slump comes at a time when Rick Hendrick is trying to get his 200th win in the Cup series ... an astonishing number. And he had it in his hands a few weeks back with 3 drivers up front; until all hell broke loose and his drivers leading the race got wrecked on a restart.

Don’t cry for Rick, though. He will get No. 200, possibly even this weekend, and a lot more after that. And while other teams may have been stealing the Victory Lane spotlight this year, there is no doubt based on their on-track performance each week that Hendrick has one of the most impressive teams this year, possibly even the best despite the lack of wins, and will be around to battle for the Cup at year end. (only dark spot is Kasey Kahne, who has had buzzard’s luck so far in 2012, but even he should turn things around at some point this season.)

To put it plainly, if you’re able to complain just because you haven’t won in a couple months, while many other teams complain because they haven’t won for much longer spans, you’re not doing so bad after all.

And once this little losing streak is broken, don’t expect a repeat of it anytime soon. Between Johnson, Gordon, Kahne (and maybe even Dale Earnhardt Jr. if he keeps up his hot streak), the number of Victory Lane celebrations Hendrick teams will be plentiful well into the future.

I am someone who would definitely like to see another team step up to the Hendrick team's level and take them down a peg, as I think it would be good for the sport.

But the reality is no one hs done it (like I said, Tony Stewart’s surge last year could probably be attributed to Hendrick equipment). Greg Biffle is leading a Roush brigade that is trying its best to do it this year, but unless they can keep up that momentum all year, Hendrick and Hendrick-supported teams like SHR will still be the ones to beat come championship time.

And this little 13-race skid will be just a faded memory.

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