After Sunday’s victory at Michigan, where Jeff Gordon joined teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson with three wins for the season, a lot of race fans are asking me if Gordon’s No. 24 bunch is the best of the four Hendrick teams right now. My answer to that question is simple. I kind of think Jeff Gordon’s team is the best team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series right now — period.
The driver and team simply aren’t making any mistakes. They only have three finishes outside the top 15. We say it all the time, but that is what makes a championship. None of those three finishes were because of the way they performed. They are simply that solid right now, no matter the type of racetrack.
I think Jeff would tell you he still needs a little fine-tuning in the restart area. Granted, the restart at Indianapolis and the restart Sunday won him both races, but he knows he can be even stronger there. His pit crew isn’t making any mistakes. Crew chief Alan Gustafson is on his game making some great calls.
The 2014 season for the No. 24 team is the sum of all the parts. The new rules package for this season seems to be right in the group’s wheelhouse. To be fair, as anyone can see from the wins in 2014, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing have all gotten their arms around the rules package this year.
I just think that Jeff’s confidence is at an all-time high in many, many years. Those race cars that Alan and the No. 24 team are giving him each and every week are fast and reliable. Even though Jeff is still flirting with some back issues, like he did in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he is feeling the best he’s felt in quite a while.
Overall the biggest piece of the puzzle is confidence across the board for that driver and that race team. That’s why I definitely think they are the best team in the Hendrick stable right now, and probably the best in our sport, as well.