The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Life in the Fastlane: Hendrick’s horrors

Johnson and Busch have a lot of work to do to get back on track for the Chase

Hendrick Motorsports is in a world of hurt right now. With three drivers in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Chevy powerhouse was more like a house of cards at Sunday’s Sylvania 300 in Richmond.

While Jeff Gordon’s third place finish in the race allowed him to jump five spots in the points standings to fourth, teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch both had early wrecks and found themselves sitting in ninth and 10th, respectively.

The jury is still out on whether a team can bounce back if they have one bad race in the Chase.

Many believe teams can get away with one “mulligan,” because everyone is bound to have one, while others believe the competition is so fierce and constantly getting tighter there is no room for mistakes.

The reality of it is it depends on the driver. The more experienced drivers have a greater ability to bounce back from a bad race, while younger drivers don’t have the experience to get back on track when they have a bad finish.

Kyle Busch will not be able to get himself out of this rut. He is 146 points behind leader Kevin Harvick, and his brash and aggressive driving style won’t allow him the patience to points race. Busch has improved and matured tremendously this season, both on and off the track, but this young 21-year-old needs more experience behind the wheel before he can become a true Chase contender.

Johnson, however can rebound. While the No. 48 team has had tremendous success in 2006, it has always revolved around adversity.

Crew chief Chad Knaus was suspended for the first four races of the season, and Johnson was still able to pull off wins at Daytona and Las Vegas.

The team has earned the reputation of being able to pull off top 10 and top 15 finishes even when the car isn’t running well or when it experiences trouble early on in the race. Johnson has yet to have a DNF all season, and his team can and will bounce back from his rough ride in Richmond.

Johnson has come up too short to many times for him to give up now. The team has been too strong all season and with the 1.5-mile tracks coming up, Johnson’s specialty, don’t count the 48 out yet.

NASCAR heads to the high-banked one-mile oval in Dover, Del. This could be bad news for the other Chasers.

In June’s race Johnson spun out early in the race, but was able to fight back for a sixth place finish. Watch for Johnson to make a huge comeback at Dover and get the No. 48 car back in the mix in the points standings.

While Johnson will be fighting to get back in the points battle, points leader Kevin Harvick will be fighting to keep his lead. Harvick has been under much scrutiny this week after Speed TV reported he and Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton manipulated their wheels to gain an advantage by altering the tire’s air pressure.

RCR and NASCAR both have denied the report, and Harvick was quoted saying he believed the rumor was spread by another team trying to discredit the No. 29.

Harvick is at the top of the NEXTEL Cup points for the first time in his career, and has a 619 point lead in the Busch Series standings. Expect Harvick to come out fighting and prove to his naysayers that he is a fair competitor and deserves his spot in the Chase.

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