A Shift of Power: Joe Gibbs Racing Has Passed Hendrick

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By Aaron Burns

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t watch a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

I can, however, remember the last time a non-Joe Gibbs Racing car won.

It was Joey Logano at Bristol in late August. Before that? I don’t know, maybe Jimmie Johnson sometime last year.

JGR has had a stronghold on victory lane for months now.

The four-car team of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth has combined to win 12 races this year, including nine of the last dozen.

In that timespan dating back to late June, only two other drivers have won: Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona in July, and Joey Logano at Watkins Glen and Bristol in August.

So one Hendrick Motorsports win (Earnhardt) and two for Team Penske (Logano). That’s it. None for Stewart-Haas Racing since Kurt Busch on June 14, and none for Richard Childress Racing since the last presidential election.

Or something like that.

I initially thought JGR’s hot streak – they only won two races last year – involved two things: determination stemming from Busch’s comeback from injury, and the track-specific aero packages that JGR used to run the table at Kentucky, Indianapolis, Michigan and Darlington.

But those races have come and gone, we’re back to the aero package used earlier this season and JGR’s guys have still outpaced everyone.

They’ll enter the second race of the Chase ranked 1-2-3-4. It could stay that way for weeks. Would you be surprised?

Remember the last time Hendrick’s four cars were all at the front? It’s been a while. Kasey Kahne’s been so far behind Earnhardt, Johnson and Jeff Gordon this season that he could probably catch up to them faster if he just called a cab.

Or asked a JGR driver for directions as he lapped him.

But Kahne’s not the only one who’s had a rough go of it lately. SHR’s Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick have also struggled, and Roush Fenway Racing has fallen to third-best in the Ford camp.

Meanwhile, Gibbs’ team has soldiered on, collecting Cup trophies like they’re XFINITY trophies.

And there’s no end in sight.

 

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