(WOMR file photo)
It would appear that Hendrick Motorsports, in particular Jimmie Johnson, is thawing out, and emerging from the winter freeze. Two races in a row have found the HMS Lowe’s #48 Chevy driving into Victory Lane, Darlington and last night the All-Star race at Charlotte.
In beating Brad Keselowski to the finish of the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway by .841 seconds, Johnson won the exhibition event for the third time — tying Dale Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for most victories in the event.
The All-Star Race win and accompanying seven-figure first prize ended a spectacular eight days for Johnson, who delivered victory #200 to owner Rick Hendrick May 12 at Darlington and on Thursday night cheered his crew to its first victory in the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge in Charlotte, N.C.
All told, Johnson won $1,071,340 for his third win in 11 All-Star starts.
“It means a ton to me,” Johnson said of tying Earnhardt and Gordon. “Those are two of the greatest drivers that have ever been in a stock car. I want to set my goals high, and I want to be considered one of the best to sit in a stock car, and the only way you can do that is by winning big races and piling up those stats.”
The All-Star Race victory was the seventh as a car owner for Hendrick, who sat on the window ledge and took a ride on Johnson’s winning Chevrolet after the race.
“That was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in racing,” quipped Hendrick, who caught his foot in the dash while straddling the window.
All-Star race format review
Reviewing the All-Star race I thought that it was, somewhat dull, not the normally exciting race as in years gone by. I truly hope that Bruton Smith and associates will tweak the format to create a little more excitement, like some of the past All-Star races. Most notably is the very first night All-Star race back in 1992. The last 1/2 of a lap with the duels between Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Kyle Petty dueling in turn four, and the actual finish with Kyle Petty and Davey Allison dueling at the finish line for the win was an actual “on the edge of your seat” finish! That kind of hard racing is what this race has been noted for. Unfortunately that level of intensity never matriculated last night!
Coke 600 prediction
Having critiqued the All-Star race, I will turn to my attention towards my prediction for the Coke 600. It is my opinion that you must beware of two HMS cars. The most likely to return to Victory Lane, Sunday night, will be the winner of the All-Star race last night, “Mr.Five-Time”, Jimmie Johnson. However, another HMS car was equally fast throughout the five segment format last night. It was the 2012 ol dark horse, and favorite son of JUNIOR NATION, Dale Earnhardt,Jr.
It will be quite interesting to see the strategies that will unfold in the longest race of the NASCAR season next Sunday night at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!