All-Star Race provides chance for teams to catch up

BY Jeff Hammond • May 13, 2009

What you saw Saturday night from the Hendrick powered cars is no different than what we have seen in years past say from the Dodges, the Fords or the Toyotas — dominance.

Look at last year, everyone was screaming that Toyota was going to ruin racing. They are going to do this and they are going to do that. Well Chevy, Ford and Dodge all stepped up and got much, much better.

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The thing to remember is that historically we see from track to track a different manufacturer dominate. These next two weekends it is going to be hard to bet against the Chevrolets of Jimmie Johnson. He and crew chief have Lowe's Motor Speedway figured out. It's their house.

That being said you never know who is going to be the surprise, because again, look at last year when Kasey Kahne came out of nowhere to win. This year with the improvements we are seeing out of Penske Racing and we know that the Richard Petty Motorsports camp is also getting ready to switch over to the new Dodge engines too, the surprise winner could come from those two groups.

It's just the way it is.

Everybody is working every day trying to get something on the other guy. I can guarantee you that people like Jack Roush and Doug Yates will be talking about what they need to do to help their teams because they have been struggling. They haven't been showing the power that they once had.

Earlier in the season when they were trying to show some power, well, they were having engine issues. If they can figure out how not to have those issues, then I look for them to make a resurgence. The All-Star Race this weekend is a short race so you can gamble on some things. Remember, it's not a points race so if you want to try something, this weekend's the time to do it for all the manufacturers. So I think we can see some surprises this weekend and it doesn't have to be a Hendrick car.

T-Rex was developed by Hendrick Motorsports under the guidance of Jeff Gordon's crew chief Ray Evernham. Folks, it was a piece of work. It was the ultimate combination of chassis, aero and engine development. It definitely took the gray area in the NASCAR rule book to a whole different level. In the end, it was just sheer domination by that race car.

Back in 1985, we at Junior Johnson's were ahead of the curve when we were probably one of the first teams to ever build a specialty car for an event and it just so happened to be the inaugural of The Winston. We had the help and support of Chevrolet. They worked very diligently with us. We spent months with their people building, refining and testing that car perfected for that one event. In the end, it proved to be one of the finest race cars we ever had. Not only did it win the Winston but it went on to win two more events during the course of the year.

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