Chevrolet's Domination To Be Challenged
June 19, 2007
At the ongoing Nextel Cup Series, Chevrolets have been dominating by winning thirteen out of the fourteen point races so far. This domination is what Ford, Dodge and Toyota are planning to challenge at the upcoming Citizens Bank 400 which is scheduled to take place on the 17th of this month at the Michigan International Speedway. While the speedway will be held at the hotbed of the Big Three, so far, Chevrolet cars remain to be the only car to beat this season.
Aside from winning all but one race this season, the Chevrolet Impalas have taken most of the top five finishes in all races. The domination of Chevrolet cars in this year’s Nextel Cup Series is apparent in the fact that the top twelve spots in the standings are occupied mostly by Chevrolet teams. In fact, out of the twelve drivers leading the season, ten are driving Chevrolet Impalas.
The leader, Jeff Gordon, racing for Hendrick Motorsports, is driving a Chevrolet. This goes true for Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Mark Martin. The only non-Chevrolet driver to place in the top twelve are Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards - both driving a Ford.
“We've had a great start to the year, but we want to carry it up to and through the Chase”, says Jeff Gordon. The co-owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon is currently tied with teammate Jimmie Johnson in number of victories this season. Johnson is last year’s winner of the Nextel Cup Series.
Dodge and Ford drivers though have history on their side. Since 2001, no Chevrolet car has won a race at the Michigan International Speedway. The last Chevy driver to post a win at the circuit is Jeff Gordon when he took the win on June 10, 2001. For eleven races, either a Dodge or a Ford car has won at the track in Michigan. This means that the struggling Toyota teams will have to contend with Chevrolet’s domination as well as history being on the side of Dodge and Ford and both of which call Michigan their home.
The only non-Chevy car to win a race this season is the Ford driven by Matt Kenseth at the Auto Club 500 - the second race of the season held at the California Speedway. After that race, Chevrolet has affirmed its dominance by winning all races and taking numerous top five finishes. “Certainly we realize there's a little work to do to be a contender for a win every week like (Gordon) and some of them guys,” says Kenseth.
Meanwhile, Gordon is keen to extend Chevrolet’s winning streak on board his Chevy Impala, the performance of which can be likened to a Chevy light truck with a Chevrolet pickup throttle body assembly. “We've been competitive almost every race,” says Gordon. “When we weren't, we either worked really hard on the car throughout the race and made it better, or my crew chief, Steve Letarte, made the right call in the pits to give us a shot at the win or a good finish.”
Meanwhile, Dodge’s hope of breaking the dominance of Chevrolet was strengthened by Dodge Charger driver Ryan Newman who posted back-to-back second place finishes. Mike Accavitti, the Dodge brand director, has this to say: “We're not going to count on breaks. We're going to count on performance, and our performance is improving.”
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