Hendrick, Gibbs master Gen-6 early
Personally, I am still hesitant to say any one organization has a stranglehold on this new Generation 6 car and what it wants. With that said, though, all the arrows are pointing to Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports as your front-running candidates.
The reason I say that is we have now completed seven NASCAR Sprint Cup points races in 2013. Hendricks and Gibbs teams have won three each. The only other organization to win a race this year is Roush-Fenway Racing, with Carl Edwards at Phoenix.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other teams capable of winning right now. Last Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, you saw how well Martin Truex Jr. ran, as well as Joey Logano. It’s just the fact that both Hendricks and Gibbs seem to have their arms around this new car and are cashing in here early this season.
The weather was awesome in Texas on Saturday night, and we had an unbelievable crowd, too. It was our first 500-mile race since the Daytona 500. It also marked our first points race under the lights with the Gen-6 car.
This weekend, we head to Kansas. Like Martinsville two weeks ago, like Texas last Saturday night, Kansas is yet another track that these drivers, crew chiefs and teams are collecting valuable notes to be used later in fall, when they come back to these same tracks in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
These other teams better keep their eyes on that No. 18 car. If you look at Kyle Busch’s last 11 races, which obviously include the last four races in 2012, he has nine top-five finishes. For the other two races, at Daytona he had a great run going and a chance to win, but an engine failure ruined his day. Then at Phoenix, he had to start the race in the rear of the field because of an engine change and really was over-driving his car to get back to the front.
Sure, Jimmie Johnson is leading the points and Brad Keselowski is in second right now. I’m just saying keep your eyes on Kyle, because after our second race of the year, he was outside the top 30 in points and now he is in the third spot. That’s pretty impressive.