In the boldest move of the 2010 NASCAR silly season Rick Hendrick, Owner of Hendrick Motorsports has made a move that is sure to rock the Sprint Cup garage. Just days after Jimmie Johnson won his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the team will be switching up shop partners.
Jimmie Johnson’s team will be moving in with Dale Earnhardt Jr in his #88 Chevy, but the #88 crew chief Lance Mcgrew will be moving out. Mcgrew will head up the efforts of the #5 Mark Martin team and be replaced on the #88 by Jeff Gordon’s crew chief Steve Letarte.
Mark Martin’s crew chief Alan Gustafson will be moving over to the same shop as his #5 Chevy, but he will no longer be the crew chief. Gustafson will now head up the efforts on the #24 team.(see fig1 to avoid confusion)
#5 Chevy, driver – Mark Martin,
Crew Chief – Lance McGrew
#24 Chevy, driver – Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief – Alan Gustafson
#48 Chevy, driver – Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief – Chad Knaus
#88 Chevy, driver – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief – Steve Letarte
In an effort to restructure the teams and strengthen the overall ability of each team, Hendrick Motorsports has made bold moves before. The latest of which was switching over the wall crews on the #48 and the #24 with two races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. This has to be one of the boldest moves ever.
The only team staying intact is the #48 with crew chief Chad Knaus. The shop shift is the only change there and is a move that should have been made a long time ago. It’s always been talk among fans that the #48 and the #24 received the best equipment. The lack of effort to give the #5 or the #88 better had always been in question.
Now all the cards are on the table and it’s obvious Rick Hendrick is looking past the NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet for 2010 and thinking about where he wants to sit for the banquet in 2011.
Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson moving over to the #88 shop, now known as the 48/88 shop with crew chief Steve Letarte should give Dale Jr everything he needs to be successful next year. Letarte has proven himself. And Chad Knaus in that shop removes any question that remains.( see fig 2 …again to avoid confusion)
#48 Chevy Jimmie Johnson – Crew Chief Chad Knaus
#88 Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Crew Chief Steve Letarte
Mark Martin moving over to the 24 shop, now known as the 5/24 shop should mix it up a little there. Gordon and Martin just need good equipment. Martin can work with any crew chief and Gordon needed some life breathed into his #24 team. Gustafson may be the guy to do it. (see fig 3…need I say it, because I am confused)
#5 Chevy – Mark Martin Crew – Chief Lance McGrew
#24 Chevy – Jeff Gordon Crew – Chief Alan Gustafson
“This will improve us as an organization, across the board,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren’t where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We’ve made the right adjustments, and I’m excited to go racing with this lineup.”
That’s the word from the guy with 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. We’ll see what happens in Daytona.