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Hendrick Motorsports proves it's the team to beat

By Carlos Mendez Fort Worth Star-Telegram Published: October 28, 2012

But while Hendrick produced five championships in the past six years, Gibbs hasn't had a championship since 2005. Roush hasn't had a champion since 2004.

Hendrick has 10 of the past 17 Sprint Cup titles, won by either Johnson, Gordon or Terry Labonte.

The other championships in that span belong to Gibbs (three), Roush (two), Robert Yates (1) and Stewart Haas (one).

Johnson has a chance to make it 11 out of 18. He enters today's Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway in second place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, seven points behind Keselowski, with four races to go.

A victory here for Johnson is more than possible. Hendrick cars have won 18 times at Martinsville since 1984. Johnson and Gordon have 13 victories between them here since 1996.

”It's a team sport, it's not just the driver getting the job done in the car,“ Johnson said. ”It's the people preparing the race cars, it's the pit stops, it's crisis management, which we had last weekend. I would expect that out of the top team, and I certainly expect it out of my team.“

Hendrick put all four of its cars in the Chase this season, including its newest driver, Kasey Kahne, who has won twice this year after winning only once in the previous two years with Red Bull Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who despite missing the past two races with a concussion, has 10 top-5 finishes this season.

If there is a mystique about Hendrick, it is showing.

”When you're in a good, solid and well-performing organization, got four teams in the Chase, it speaks volumes about what kind of race team you have,“ Gordon said. ”That in itself gives you a slight advantage. You've got a five-time champion in Jimmie Johnson, a four-time champion in myself, and you look at Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the kind of years that they're having and the type of talent that they have, a lot of people outside our organization look at us as the powerhouse and say, ‘Wow, you just can't ever count them out.' So that definitely gives you a bit of an advantage, yes.

“But the way we look at it is, the only advantage that comes is when we perform and in how we build our race cars and constantly try to keep up with the competition …. We know when we don't do that, we've let ourselves down …. because we have the resources to do it.”

MCT Information Services

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