Roush/Hendrick have a monopoly on winning

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005

The Roush/Hendrick dominance of NASCAR continued last week at Pocono. Carl Edwards’ victory last week marked the 12th time in 14 races that a driver from either Roush or Hendrick ended up in victory lane. In fact, six of the top 10 finishers at Pocono and four of the top five in the points standings are either Roush or Hendrick drivers.

I don’t think it is coincidence that these owners happen to have the two largest teams on the circuit. Roush fields five full-time teams while Hendrick fields four teams and Terry Labonte on a part-time schedule.

What does this mean? It means testing opportunities and information sharing. That fact has caught the attention of the other team owners who are trying to play catch up.

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There is a sense of urgency for Robert Yates to add a third team, Ray Evernham to add a third team and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to add a third team. For the 2006 season, all three are on schedule to add to their stables. The days of single- or even two-car operations seem to be a thing of the past.

If corporate sponsorship funds don’t dry up, you should see more and more teams expand to multiple-car operations.

Edwards showing last week why is the next big star in NASCAR by winning at Pocono and his second race of the year. Brian Vickers finished a career-best second and Joe Nemechek posted a solid third place finish. Jimmie Johnson increased his points lead to 123 over Greg Biffle coming out of Pocono. Elliott Sadler, Edwards, and Mark Martin round out the top-five.

Just when you got used to the Nextel Cup name, word is that the series will change monikers again for the 2006 season. Several months ago, Sprint and Nextel merged and the NASCAR Sprint Cup looks to be on the horizon.

Looks like the &uot;David Stremme to the number 40 car&uot; rumor will be made official this weekend. Also a joint sponsorship with Coors Light and Lone Star Steakhouse will be announced. This change could very well break the ice for a flood of driver changes for the 2006 season.

This week the guys travel to Michigan for the Batman Begins 400. This is a wide and super-fast two-mile oval. Pole Position speed will be well over 190 mph and speeds will reach close to 200 during the race. Since this track is near Motor City Detroit, teams want to perform well in front to the home offices of the manufacturers. A Ford driver will win this race and, surprise, it will be a Roush driver. My pick to win the race is Martin. In 38 career races at Michigan, Martin has four wins and 25 top-tens. Martin should also solidify his spot in the chase for the cup with a strong performance this week.

The television coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on FOX and the race should begin at 2:10. Enjoy the race and happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

Jeff Findley is the publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in Ahoskie, N.C.

His racing column regularly appears in newspapers across the Southeast. He can be reached by e-mail at