NASCAR

Johnson in slump as the Chase nears

It has been a rough few weeks for Jimmie Johnson.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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The No. 48 team has obviously struggled the last few weeks in so many different ways. So you ask yourself: Do they need a strong run Saturday night to get themselves pointed back in the right direction and get some positive momentum going?

There’s honestly two ways I look at answering that. First is the obvious – yes, they do need a strong run. There are a lot of positives that go along with them making that happen if they can. Are they better served going looking for a four-leaf clover? Maybe go rabbit hunting for that lucky rabbit’s foot? Where’s the golden horseshoe now?

They definitely need a momentum chance and that can come in a number of ways. The biggest, of course, would be a win. Second would be a strong run Saturday night. Honestly, if they could just get some good luck for a change, I think that would go a long way for that team. They just need something to break the cycle of somebody wrecking in front of them, or an issue on pit road or even an engine failure. Heck, just having a race that is uneventful would be a step in the right direction for the No. 48.

It just seems of late that no matter where he is or what he is doing, Jimmie simply can’t catch a break. They have to turn their mojo around and get pointed in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong; they still have the speed in the car and they still have the ability to get it done on pit road. They just need something to happen besides what’s been happening to them.

IT ADDS UP

Where did your favorite driver finish in the 2013 final standings?

Starting up front, especially this weekend at Richmond, will go a long way for them. When they start up front they usually are very difficult to handle. It’s when they don’t start up front that their Achilles Heel is glaring. You also have to factor in, simply, the luck of the draw. This new qualifying format has hurt the No. 48 but it’s also hurt other teams, as well. Like anything else, it has helped some while it’s hurt others. I think we can safely say it has hurt the No. 48 to a certain extent.

Obviously, with only 11 races left in the season, expect anything to happen, but I fully expect a lot of teams will be going to NASCAR to lobby during the offseason to put qualifying back the way it was. I still don’t think the “Go or Go Homers” are still getting a fair shake, either, so that needs to be addressed, I believe. There’s a certain balancing act that needs to be re-evaluated in my book.

I still think today’s qualifying procedure doesn’t have the “Wow” factor that it should have. I just think there’s more out there we could be doing to put on a good show for the fans each and every week.
 

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