Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yo Baby, Yo Baby, Yo baby


Hendrick Dream Team.

Two out of four good drivers is fine with me. Go #5 and #88 .
"Can Hendrick's 'Dream Team' set new standard?
By Sporting News Wire Service
January 24, 2009
09:41 AM EST" NASCAR.COM - Can Hendrick's 'Dream Team' set new standard? - Jan 24, 2009

Will this finally be the year all four Hendrick Motorsports entries qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup?

Team owner Rick Hendrick certainly thinks so.

And if you had seen the dog-and-pony show at the Hendrick shop on Wednesday -- one of the whistle stops on the four-day Sprint Cup Media Tour in Concord, N.C. -- you'd think so, too.

Up on stage in front of a packed house, dressed in starched, white shirts that differed from each other only in their sponsor logos, sat the four drivers who will fly the Hendrick colors in 2009: Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, arranged in stair-step order according to height.

If ever there was a "Dream Team" in stock-car racing, this is it -- with no apologies to the talent at Roush Fenway Racing and elsewhere. Among them, the four Hendrick drivers have racked up 174 Cup victories and seven championships (four for Gordon and the last three for Johnson).

These are familiar faces, even to a casual fan of stock-car racing -- with one exception. Jimmie Johnson looked more like Jeremiah Johnson with his dark, 60-day growth of beard. For Johnson, it has become custom not to shave during the offseason.

Martin is the latest addition, and in Hendrick's mind, he's the missing puzzle piece that will elevate all four teams to the same level of excellence. Pure and simple, Hendrick expects Martin's team, led by crew chief Alan Gustafson, to make the Chase this year.

He expects Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. to do the same in their second year with the organization. They did so last year in their first season with Hendrick.

"I absolutely do," Hendrick affirmed. "You can't help bad luck, and you can't help things that can happen along the way, but I am convinced after watching Mark Martin and Alan Gustafson -- how good he is -- and Tony and Dale.

"For a four-car lineup, you couldn't ask for a better mix than this. If we give them what they need, and we're planning on it, I'd be disappointed -- barring bad luck. Any one of those teams that didn't make the Chase would be a disappointment."

For his part, Gustafson is thrilled at the prospect of working with a driver with Martin's talent and pedigree.

No comments: