Arguably Hendrick Motorsports has been the most dominate and successful race team in NASCAR for the last 15 years. HMS has set the bar extremely high for every other Sprint Cup team to try to attain, winning nine Sprint Cup championships in the last fifteen years! Having said all that, can HMS continue to be the dominate force indefinitely? If not, then who will be the next race team to carry the banner for NASCAR?
Looking at the lineup of youthful drivers that Joe Gibbs Racing have assembled for their Sprint Cup cars, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch, they just might be the next dominate Sprint Cup team.
Denny Hamlin (Dastardly Denny Hamlin)
The 29 year old’s first full year in Sprint cup driving the JGR #11 FedEx Toyota (formally Chevy) was 2006, where he won the Rookie of the Year award. He has raced in a total of 144 Sprint Cup races in the past four years, and logged 79 top ten finishes in those races. That means that 54.8 % of the time Hamlin has finished in the top ten, very consistent. Additionally, that means that more than half of the races Hamlin has put himself in a position to possibly win the race!
In Hamlin’s first restrictor plate race, The 2006 Bud Shootout, he was able to notch a victory and be the first Rookie of the Year candidate to win The Bud Shootout in NASCAR history.
Hamlin has logged 8 Sprint cup victories in his career to date.
A note on Hamlin.
After the 2009 season Denny had the right medial meniscus repaired surgically. Additionally this past weekend Hamlin tore the ACL in his left knee. Surgery for that injury is presently delayed until the end of the 2010 season. Could this be an injury that will affect Hamlin’s perormance? Time will tell!
Joey Logano (Sliced Bread)
With announcement by Tony Stewart that he was leaving JGR at the end of 2008, Joe Gibbs Racing was forced to rush Logano into the driver seat of the #20 Home Depot Toyota, well ahead of the initial plan!
Logano’s first major victory in NASCAR came during the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway in just his third start in the Nationwide Series in 2008. Logano made history with that victory making him the youngest person to win a race in the Nationwide Series. In 2009, Logano wins a rain shortened Lennox Industrial Tool 301 at Louden, NH, again making him the youngest driver to win in the Sprint Cup Series.
In spite of the quick promotion to Sprint Cup in 2009, Logano recorded 1 victory and 6 top ten finishes in the 36 race schedule. More impressively, Logano’s numbers in his full year in the Nationwide Series, 2009, reflected 6 victories and 27 top ten finishes in the 35 race schedule. Not bad for a 19 year old kid!
Kyle Busch (The Las Vegas Weasel)
This phenomenally talented race driver has accumulated some mind boggling numbers in just his five seasons at the top levels of NASCAR.. The combined victories from all three elite series, Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Trucks adds up to 61 victories! That is for only five seasons!
Busch won the 2009 Nationwide Series championship without competing in the entire 35 race schedule! Between the JGR #18 Z-Line Toyota and the JGR #20 Game Stop Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing completely dominated the Nationwide Series in 2009 with a total of 22 wins out of 35 races!
Kyle Busch has all the racing tools to be the next dominate driver in the Sprint Cup circuit. Move over Jimmie Johnson, he is coming through!
Just imagine, if JGR could get the performance from their Sprint Cup teams in 2010 similar to the results that JGR received from the their two Nationwide teams in 2009, winning 22 out of 36 races, then Joe Gibbs Racing is a force to be reckoned with for 2010.
Who you think is the heir apparent to possibly replacing Hendrick Motorsports as the dominate race team in Sprint Cup?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!