HAMMOND: More changes after futile fuel cell

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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.

As we've seen over the last two years, nobody can pass a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car. A DEI car can't even pass another DEI car. 's restrictor-plate race dominance continued at Talladega on Sunday, and his teammate had a strong sixth-place run. was in the hunt all day until his miscue in the pits, but he still finished eighth and had a really good race car. They've got their act together. With the impending body location rules changes, it'll be interesting to see how strong the DEI cars will be by the time they get to Daytona. I'm sure there are a lot of manufacturers and teams that hope they'll stub their toes between now and February so they can get around the DEI cars when it comes time to win a race.

Charlotte should be full of SPEED Channel surprises
At Charlotte, you never know what's going to happen and who's going to be where. I think our qualifying show on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on SPEED Channel is going to be really fun on Thursday night because NBC announcers Benny Parsons and Allen Bestwick are going to be our pit reporters. That's going to be neat. And don't be surprised if ol' DW may come by. He's going to be in town. He may drop in and say hello. We've got an autograph session over at the Bass Pro Shops in the afternoon prior to Trackside on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET at the dirt track. It's kind of nice to be back in the Queen City and racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway again. Ask Jeff and Larry a question. Check for their answer on or .

NASCAR needs to make more changes

DEI will be able to figure out how to maintain their dominance with the new body location rule, but the more important question is: What other changes will NASCAR make over the next three months before we return to Daytona on Jan. 4 for testing? What kind of kick-out and spoiler changes will NASCAR make? How will NASCAR mix the pot between now and then because you're not going to make believe that NASCAR's not going to stir the pot once they go back, review the tape and figure out how we can break DEI's stranglehold on this type of racing. They've been in the catbird seat for a long time now, and with the exception of this year's Daytona 500, they've totally controlled the superspeedways.

Fuel cell can't change pack mentality

The fuel cell, whether it's 13 or 22 gallons, isn't driving the race car. The drivers, the spotters and the teams did a really good job of taking care of business and protecting one another on Sunday. Their diligence, not the fuel cell, prevented the "Big One" as it's called. Within a matter of two or three laps after a green-flag pit stop, we still had a pack of 30 or more cars pretty much all day long. The only time the fuel cell played a role was at the end of the race when the teams that didn't do a very good job of planning their strategy, and , got caught short. The guys who did their homework and kept their noses clean all day benefited from the new gas tank, especially Dale Jr., and . These guys saw the big picture, did their homework, and they covered the bases. The drivers did a really good job.

Hendrick: Latest super team to stumble with engines

Hendrick Motorsports thought they did the right thing when they made an engine change across the board, but at Talladega, all six Hendrick engines had problems on Sunday. It could be an indication of a bad batch of a part, or it could be that someone in the engine shop hasn't figured out their tolerances. Whatever the problem was you can rest assured that by 6 p.m. Monday afternoon, Randy Dorton and his group had identified it, and they started to rectify it, especially if that part or component will affect the engines this weekend at Charlotte. I wouldn't be worried about that problem biting them again because that's one thing I do know about Dorton and Hendrick personnel. They do not leave any stone unturned, and they will feel confident that their stuff will run 500 miles this week and for the rest of the year. At one time or another this year, all these big teams have had engine problems. Roush Racing had a problem at Kansas and Robert Yates and Joe Gibbs had problems earlier this year. Engine trouble got behind the 8-ball early this season. These guys live and learn. The bad thing about Hendrick Motorsports' problem is it picked a bad time to rear its ugly head. It took away opportunities for and to win. And it didn't take them totally out of the points race, but it really handicapped them with the number of races we've got left to go. I'm sure they're licking their wounds, but they'll come back. And they'll be O.K. For more information about NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Hammond, including photos from his past and present days in NASCAR, check out

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