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Letarte to the 88!


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And the 88 into the 48 shop! Yes!




It didn't take long for Rick Hendrick to shake up Hendrick Motorsports, even though Sunday brought a fifth Cup Series championship to Jimmie Johnson and a 10th to the organization.


Two days after the season came to a close in Florida, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday afternoon it would shuffle the driver-crew chief pairings for drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin.


Earnhardt's crew chief, Lance McGrew, moves over to the No. 5 team of Mark Martin; Steve Letarte moves from Jeff Gordon's No. 24 team to Earnhardt's No. 88 team; and Alan Gustafson becomes Gordon's crew chief after two years with Martin.


Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, winners of five consecutive Cup championships, will remain paired. Johnson won six races in 2010; the other three Hendrick drivers were winless. Gordon made the Chase; Martin and Earnhardt did not.


In addition to the personnel moves, the cars of Gordon and Martin will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt and Johnson will be in the 48/88 shop. Previously the 24 and 48 cars were built in the same building, and the 5 and 88 were together.

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Honestly force, I don't see another crew chief change helping Junior beat Jimmie Johnson for a title. In fact I don't see anyone beating Johnson (excuse the innuendo) next year either. Five titles in a row is something unheard of since the days of Richard Petty, and I'm not sure he even pulled it off. The 48 team isn't done yet IMO. Gordon can't do it, Hamlin can't do it. Harvick can't do it. Stewart can't do it, Kenseth, Edwards, Biffle of Roush Racing can't do it either.


Jimmie is a force that can't be denied.

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Five titles in a row was unheard of EVER. And so was four. Yarborough was next closest with three in a row.


And, to be honest, I don't care. I just want to see competitive racing from the 88 again; I haven't in two years. I think it'll make Gordon better (so do most writers I've seen so far) because Gustafson is definitely a bright young guy. The bigger thing is getting the 88 into the 48 shop. That's absolutely huge.


Gotta feel for Martin a little bit, though. Kinda feels like he's been shafted. McGrew, too, considering that Kahne will almost definitely bring Kenny Francis with him.

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