I know you’ve heard it all week long, but in the sixty-one year history of Nascar, no one has done what Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Hendrick team did this year. The closest anyone had come before was three in a row. Not only did Jimmie Johnson make history but so did Hendrick Motorsports by taking the top three spots in the points for the 2009 Nascar season with Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon taking the second and third spots.
Well, the 2009 Nascar season is over until Daytona in February at least as far as Cup racing is concerned. Of course there are still some things to take care of, like the banquet in Las Vegas this next week, which will be a first for Nascar, too. That in itself will be a new experience for all of Nascar and the great thing is that much of the goings on can be seen on Speed TV, in particular the banquets at the end of the week.
As for the race at Homestead, there isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t already been said or that won’t be said again and again in the coming week. As a Nascar fan, I do have a few “after thoughts” on the final results for the year.
First, there are a couple of ways to look at the way the top three Hendrick teams performed in the last couple of races. In my opinion, I really do think they were being a bit conservative. Whether or not their performance in the Chase gives insight as to how they will perform next year I can’t say, but I do think Hendrick Motorsports has a lot left to show for next year. Some of their inside people admit that a couple of the other teams had found a lot of speed by the end of the year, but they were confident they would be able to begin trying some of the things they had to put on hold to maintain their 1-2-3 finish at the top of the points in the Chase.
It’s also just my opinion but I do think Jeff Gordon was a bit disappointed with how they finished out the year, even though I know the #24 team was happy to finish third in points. I also think Mark Martin would have liked to have finished on a stronger note in the race at Homestead than he did. One thing I do know for sure, is that all of Hendrick Motorsports, and that includes Dale Jr, is looking to lead the way again next year. Whether or not they will remains to be seen. I do think they know things will be a bit tougher than they appeared to be this year, but I know they won’t just show up expecting to have the rest of the field covered when the 2010 season starts at Daytona in February. They will do what they have to do to be as competitive as they possibly can.
Some teams to look out for in the 2010 season would be Stewart/Haas Racing, Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing. All of those teams made great strides in becoming more competitive in the last half of the season, especially Penske and Childress. I know they’re working on it, but the Roush teams have a lot more work to do.
Even though the season is over for a while, “Just a Fan’s View” isn’t going to just disappear until Daytona. I just won’t necessarily be doing two a week. I do have some special things planned and a couple of other announcements in the coming weeks, so be sure to check in often during the off-season.
From this fan’s view, it looks like next year could shape up to be one of the most competitive years in Nascar ever… but, like everything else in Nascar… that remains to be seen…
See ya next time… Rusty
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© November 28, 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman