NASCAR Notebook: Hendrick happy with Gordon decision
BY TINA AKOURIS email@example.com September 15, 2013 11:10PM
Drivers start the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race after a rain delay at Chicagoland Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Joliet, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Results from Sunday’s Geico 400 were unavailable because of rain delays.
Updated: October 17, 2013 6:29AM
When a driver doesn’t make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, there are more ramifications than mere disappointment within a race organization.
There’s also the business and sponsorship side of it.
It’s huge,” Rick Hendrick said. “You don’t want a sponsor to feel like they got robbed.”
Hendrick has all four of his drivers in the Chase — Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Khane, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, who was added to the Chase as the 13th driver on Friday.
But before Gordon was added, there was tension and dissension from one of Gordon’s sponsors. And Hendrick was feeling the heat.
“AARP (Gordon’s primary sponsor) was calling me all week (and) they were very disappointed and upset,” Hendrick said. “But everybody is happy now. It’s just a lot of excitement for the sponsors on the car.”
Hendrick gave his first public comments Sunday on NASCAR’s rulings following the Richmond race last weekend. He thinks NASCAR CEO/chairman Brian France did the right thing with Gordon, Michael Waltrip Racing and the new rules for drivers and teams to give 100 percent every race.
“Brian is putting his foot down and we’re going to see a lot tighter reigns on what’s going on on the track,” Hendrick said. “He stepped up and said, ‘I made the decision and this is the way it’s going to be.’ ”
Green means go
During the drivers meeting NASCAR official David Hoots explained a tweak NASCAR is making to restarts. The change became effective with the GEICO 400.
Once the green flag is dropped for the restart, the race is on. The driver in second place can overtake the lead driver before the start-finish line, but only once the green flag is dropped. The catch, though, is that drivers need to maintain their line and can’t go from low to high and vice versa until passing that start-finish line.