WDBJ7 Sports Staff
3:34 PM CST, January 23, 2013
Rick Hendrick is hoping stability brings him another NASCAR championship in 2013.
All four drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne – and their crew chiefs return.
“Any time you can go into a year without any driver or crew chief change it’s a good thing,” Hendrick said. "I really think this is going to be a banner year."
BEAMER VISITS HENDRICK
Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer stopped by Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. Jeff Gordon said Beamer talked a lot about loyalty. WDBJ7’s Travis Wells will have more on this story Wednesday night at 6. We will post more here later.
Right now, there are sponsorship spots open on Junior's ride. The No. 88 car is not sponsored in 13 races in 2013.
Rick Hendrick says that they are just waiting on the right sponsor, and are very close on "two or three" sponsors. Hendrick says they are looking at sponsors beyond 2013, and want to make sure they have the right fit.
DECK LID SHORTAGE
While everyone is raving about the new Generation 6 cars, there is a slight problem: the cars aren’t ready yet. A deck lid shortage has slowed things down.
Some teams were concerned about the shortage. Hendrick Motorsports decided to improvise. HMS built their own deck lids, and are waiting for the replacements to come in. Hendrick believes the cars will be ready in time.
“When you have to build 40-some it’s a thrash,” Hendrick said.
JUNIOR ON GEN 6
Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave his stamp of approval on the new Generation 6 cars. He's very happy with them, and says the new cars are "very forgiving" in the corners.
Junior was asked about his wreck during testing recently. He said it was the most embarrassed he's been in a long time.
Jimmie Johnson says he’s relaxed going into this year. Johnson, who won five straight Cup championships from 2006-2010, said he didn’t how much pressure there was to continue the streak until it was over.
He said it feels good to not be carrying any “baggage.”
KAHNE MAKES MEDIA DAY DEBUT
In his first year with Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 Kasey Kahne had to miss the NASCAR Media Tour. But he had a good excuse – jury duty. Kahne was asked whether or not the defendant was found guilty. The verdict?
“Yea, we definitely found him guilty.”
Jeff Gordon said the Car of Tomorrow never fit exactly right, kind of like a cheap suit.
"Except mine was about five sizes too big," said Gordon, poking fun at his height. "We made (the Car of Tomorrow) a really good race car at the end but it took a while."
Day Three of the NASCAR media tour started with some news from the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team.
Jamie McMurray has a new sponsor.
The Earnhardt Ganassi team is now getting its engines from Hendrick Motorsports. The Earnhardt shop used to build the engines for Earnhardt Ganassi.
“It’s a big deal for the guys in the shop. It’s a lot more work than you would think, switching. Even though you’re not switching brands,” driver Jamie McMuray said.
McMurray said he was very pleased with the amount of time that the Hendrick crew spent with the Earnhardt Ganassi crew.
McMurray also has a new sponsor. His new Cessna-sponsored car was also unveiled Wednesday morning in a Concord, N.C., airport hangar, alongside team owner Chip Ganassi’s new private jet and helicopter.
Team owner Felix Sabates said since all the team’s crew chiefs and drivers are back, there is much reason for optimism in the shop.
“That’s a miracle in this business,” Sabates said.
Later Wednesday night we’ll be meeting with Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing.
- On Monday Tony Stewart said he has ruled out running in the Indy 500 this year. However, he did not rule out entering the Indy 500 in the future.
- Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are teaming up to endorse Goody's. That just so happens to be one of Martinsville's sponsors.
- Instead of giving media a gift, Hendrick Motorsports donated money that will benefit the families and victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last month in Connecticut.
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