CONCORD, N.C. — Wasn’t Jimmie Johnson supposed to be in a slump?
The six-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has gone from being winless entering the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 to having three victories — more than any other driver this season.
“The success that we’ve had as a team, kind of hitting our stride and getting to victory lane three times in the last four weeks, our teammates and their success, the company, and you look at our engines in our cars and what they’re able to do, Rick gives us all the tools to go out there and do our jobs and to have everything so fast and so good, you want it to last forever,” Johnson said after winning on Sunday at Michigan Int’l Speedway. “We know that it won’t, but it’s just a good time to sit back and reflect and enjoy it.”
It’s not just Johnson that is on a hot streak. It is the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization. The team has won the last five points-paying Sprint Cup events, with Jeff Gordon (Kansas) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Pocono) also picking up victories for the perennial Sprint Cup powerhouse.
Gordon, Johnson and Earnhardt are also at the top of the Sprint Cup Series standings, with winless Matt Kenseth the first non-Hendrick driver in fourth.
The road to the Sprint Cup championship will go through Hendrick Motorsports.
– We have to give a call to Daniel Hemric, who captured the 48th running of the Redbud 300 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway last Saturday night.
It’s truly shocking that Hemric, who has won major late model championships in 2013 and 2012, has failed to catch on with a full-time NASCAR operation. In addition to his victory in the Redbud 300, Hemric also has three PASS South victories so far this year.
Hemric is also racing weekly during Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout, competing in the Legend Car Masters division. He opened the Summer Shootout schedule with a victory June 9.
– It’s shocking that Rick Eckert, who has won races with nearly every major dirt late model sanctioning body in the country, had never won a DIRTcar Summer Nationals event until last weekend. He changed that with a victory at Wisconsin’s Cedar Lake Speedway last Friday, then followed it up with his second victory two days later at Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway.
– Congratulations to Paul Menard for making a return trip to victory lane Saturday at Michigan Int’l Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The last time Menard visited victory lane in the Nationwide Series was 2006 when the series still raced at The Milwaukee Mile.