[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”256″][/media-credit]Jeff Gordon let the cat out of the bag, so to speak this week. Well, it was no secret, for that matter. For a long time, it has been said that Stewart-Haas Motorsports Racing got parts and supplies from Rick Hendrick’s organization, but the denials were sharp that the two teams were separate. A telling interview with Gordon this week muddied the water somewhat.
It seems that Gordon has been asked by several teams to get on his radio channel for drafting purposes and Gordon was not good with that at all. The list of teams that Gordon is willing to talk with includes teammates Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Mark Martin, but he added Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman to the mix. Interesting, isn’t it?
“We had people coming to us last week wanting our radio approval, and we’re like, ‘No,'” Gordon said. “We’re not ready to do that. Having somebody be able to get on your channel is more complicated than some people are making it out to be. I’m not for that. We want to stay in control of what’s said and be able to talk to the crew chief. I have one of the best spotters, so I want my spotter to be leading the way as much as possible. So we’re very hesitant when it comes to that.”
Back long ago, Jack Roush was told he could only have four teams. At the time, he had five, so one had to go. He was grandfathered in for a time, but on a date certain, he had to reduce to four teams. So, Roush did exactly that, which left Jamie McMurray’s No. 26 entry out in the cold. Roush sold that team to another owner, as he was told to do.
He developed alliances with Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing, but never denied that he was supplying cars to those teams. On NASCAR radio and in other places, people were led to believe that Stewart-Haas was totally independent of Hendrick Motorsports except that HMS supplied engines and chassis to Stewart-Haas. Seems that there is more to it than that.
Roush pretty much is the Ford Racing program, supplying engines and chassis to his own Roush-Fenway racing team as well as Front Row Motorsports, the Wood Brothers, Richard Petty Motorsports, and now the TRG team. Formerly, he supplied the same services to Yates Racing, the team left behind when Robert Yates left the business to son Doug Yates. Chevrolet, on the other hand, has strong teams in HMS, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, and Richard Childress Racing, who operate as separate entities, except for the fact that engines from EGR are supplied to several teams. They always find a way around the rules, don’t they?
The difference is that it appears there is more to it than that. The fact that Gordon (and maybe other Hendrick teammates) are going to work with Stewart-Haas means that maybe Stewart-Hass is Hendrick Motorsports in kind of a disguised way. Seems that way.
I find it interesting that all this came about. Despite NASCAR’s rule, a little interview with the former champ showed us what we all knew. Rick Hendrick has six teams. Roush has more than that. Why didn’t they just leave things alone? In the name of competition, they tried to change the domination of one owner over the little guys, and what did they get? More domination. Watch them at Talladega this weekend and see who lines up with whom. That might be more interesting than the race itself.