NASCAR

Distractions will hurt Gibbs teams

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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If you are going to contend for the championship, you don't need to have distractions, and I see distractions popping up all over at Joe Gibbs Racing. The organization already announced that they're going to start a third team so general manager Jimmy Makar and president J.D. Gibbs are starting to put that squad together. Tony Stewart is going through some of his "bad boy" situations, and it doesn't help because you don't know what he's going to do from race to race. Where does that leave Bobby Labonte? He needs support and consistency in every facet of racing to allow the 18 team to be a good race team. I don't know that Labonte and crew chief "Fatback" McSwain can work through these distractions within their organization. Plus I wonder about Joe Gibbs getting into football season and not having as much time to referee at his shop.

Nothing good can come from Oval Office visit

Kathy from West Palm Beach, Fla.: News reports have circulated that Tony Stewart had a confrontation with Brian Vickers after the race in Sonoma. In your opinion, is it time for NASCAR to suspend Tony for a race — similar punishment that was meted out to Kevin Harvick and Jimmy Spencer?
Speed Mail Jeff Hammond
Jeff Hammond: NASCAR has to evaluate each situation individually. I don't think that they can back off if they feel like the situation warranted severe punishment. NASCAR shouldn't be squeamish or reluctant to do something if it makes the sport better, and if it is a move that the sport needs. Like everything else, we've got to get both sides of the story, but any time that you're bringing drivers inside the Nextel Cup transporter at the end of the day, nothing good can come of it. I haven't seen very many occasions when NASCAR calls you over there and doesn't say somebody did something wrong. The severity of the punishment? I guess we're going to have to wait and see. Depending on who you talk to, this thing escalated into more than just a verbal discussion between Vickers and Stewart. Let NASCAR make the call to what degree it went. I wasn't there. I didn't see it. That's the reason why I'm not going to say what I heard FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led to two of DW's three Winston Cup championships as his crew chief. They also teamed to win the 1989 Daytona 500. For Jeff Hammond's "Real Men Work in the Pits" magnets, Hollywood Hotel hats and more, check out www.dwstore.com.

For photos and appearances, visit Jeff's web site www.jeffhammond.com.

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