April 17, 2010
By Brenda Benedict
It has been a week of celebrating at Stewart-Haas Racing as they returned to North Carolina from Phoenix where #39 Ryan Newman scored his first victory since joining the team. Employees at the Stewart-Haas garage have been treated to a week of 'thanks' for their hard work and dedication.
Stewart-Haas is just in their 2nd second year of racing and this is their fifth Sprint Cup victory. Of course, Stewart-Haas is not just a typical new team in NASCAR. They have help and assistance from with Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick provides them with engines and technical assistance.
Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's premier team and they just took a step this week that will help continue that legacy well into this decade. Hendrick's current stable of four drivers represents several different ages and career expectations.
This week Hendrick signed driver Kasey Kahne. Kahne, a talented young driver, will bring much success when coupled with Hendrick's outstanding equipment and support.
Hendrick Motorsports is an illustration of a concept that is true in many areas of life.
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
In my work in the field of literacy, this concept is often quoted to illustrate what happens when someone is successful at learning to read. Because they are doing well, they read more. By reading more, they increase their skills and become better readers.
The same concept works for those who are not successful at learning to read. They fall further and further behind because they are not spending their time reading and in turn, their skills fall behind those of the 'rich'. Not rich in money but rich in their reading experiences. Being rich in reading experiences leads to you becoming a better reader.
Hendrick Motorsports is becoming richer because they have successful drivers who in turn bring in more sponsorship dollars. This additional revenue leads to better equipment and more wins which brings in more money and sponsors. Hendrick can then afford to secure more and better talent -- and the cycle just keeps going.
Hendrick Motorsports became 'richer' by signing Kasey Kahne as their fifth driver. A team is only allowed to field four cars under current NASCAR regulations and so Hendrick must find room in their stable for Kahne.
Mark Martin, currently their oldest driver, has stated he wants to be done after 2011 with a full-time schedule so Hendrick is faced with the problem of finding Kahne a ride for the 2011 season and then he can move into Hendrick to replace Martin. Most observers of NASCAR agree that Kahne will probably spend 2011 at Stewart-Haas, which is a satellite team of Hendrick, and they currently have two cars competing.
I question whether the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports is a good thing for NASCAR and their fans. Many fans are becoming tired of seeing Jimmie Johnson continue to win race after race. There has been lots of complaining about Johnson's success in the blogging world.
So far this year, Hendrick engines have won four of the first seven races. And last year they sustained a high percent of wins throughout the entire season winning 13 of 36 races-a whopping 36 percent.
All of this success adds to Hendrick's ability to bring in sponsorship dollars. Clearly the rich continue to get richer. But is this good for NASCAR?
The NASCAR organization recognized the need to spread the wealth among multiple teams when they instituted their rule limiting teams to four cars. But teams and owners have found a way to circumvent this rule by establishing 'technical relationships' between teams. So they are following the letter of the law but really, the spirit of the law is not being carried out. But in the long run will this be a good trend for us, the fans of NASCAR. I don't think so. And there are many who agree with me.
Let me know what you think.
You can follow me at Twitter @nascarfaithful
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.