Customer success ‘good news-bad news’ for Hendrick Motorsports

It might be wise for the Stewart-Haas guys to soft-pedal the Hendrick relationship, publicly at least.

Here’s a piece of friendly advice for Kurt Busch, Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at Martinsville: Keep the comments about the value of Hendrick Motorsports equipment to a minimum.

That, of course, runs contrary to a driver’s ingrained tendency to thank everyone who had a hand in his visit to Victory Lane.

In at least three separate post-race interviews, Busch used the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mantra in explaining how Hendrick chassis and motors helped him beat Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson to the finish line in the STP 500.

Race winner Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Busch is the second Stewart-Haas driver to win this year in a “customer car” supplied by Hendrick. Yes, Stewart-Haas does its own preparation and set-up, but the baseline product is the same as that used by Hendrick Prime.

Back in 2010, Jeff Gordon said that the Hendrick relationship with Stewart-Haas wasn’t a problem, even if Stewart-Haas was winning, unless “they’re winning and we’re finishing second.” That’s what happened on Sunday.

So far this year, Stewart-Hass has two wins with two different drivers (Busch and Kevin Harvick) and, presumably, two spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

For Hendrick, only Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been to Victory Lane.

So it might be wise for the Stewart-Haas guys to soft-pedal the Hendrick relationship, publicly at least.

Remember, Rick Hendrick scrapped his engine deal with Joe Gibbs Racing in the mid-1990s when Bobby Labonte started beating Gordon a little too often.

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Commentary
Tags hendrick motorsports, jimmie johnson, kurt busch, martinsville, nascar-cup