Jimmie Johnson: Hendrick better off without chassis/engine alliances such as Stewart-Haas


Jimmie Johnson believes it would benefit Hendrick Motorsports to be selfish when it comes to sharing equipment and data with other teams.

Johnson shared the belief while addressing whether he thought Hendrick should try to lure another Sprint Cup team to buy its engines and chassis and fill the void left by Stewart-Haas Racing, which will move to Ford in 2017 after being aligned with Hendrick’s Chevrolets for several years.

Chip Ganassi Racing also uses engines built by Hendrick, which has a multimillion-dollar business as a supplier.

“It’s tricky,” Johnson said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “If (owner Rick) Hendrick can raise the money to not have that relationship, I think for us, selfishly it is better not to.”

Johnson detailed how Hendrick sometimes gets the short end of the sharing arrangement with SHR.

“Just to be selfishly speaking on Hendrick Motorsports, the Stewart-Haas relationship, we didn’t get their data,” he said. “We didn’t share their data. They had ours. So it was a fantastic situation for them. They had our best stuff, and then they have a huge engineering staff, and they can take Hendrick’s best equipment and refine it and make it better.”

Hendrick general manager Doug Duchardt clarified Johnson’s point of view after practice, noting that the information exchange between Hendrick and Stewart-Haas flowed much more freely until this season.

“The relationship from a data standpoint was a two-way relationship,” Duchardt said. “They received our information. We received their information. That’s the way it had worked from the time I’d been at Hendrick Motorsports (in 2005). Obviously, the beginning of this year, when they made their announcement to Ford, that changed things. The bottom line is as partners, we exchanged data between each other.

“For sure, this year, they haven’t gotten (our data), and we haven’t gotten theirs. So that got shut off before Daytona.”

Johnson likened his team’s situation to the alliance between Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing, which joined together this season. Furniture Row Racing is a one-car team that has four wins this season with Martin Truex Jr. Johnson’s three wins this year are the only victories for Hendrick while Stewart-Haas Racing, another four-car team, has five wins.

Johnson said Stewart-Haas also was strengthened by the addition of Kevin Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers in 2014, bringing the team its second Sprint Cup title.

“Before Rodney Childers and Kevin Harvick were at Stewart-Haas it worked pretty good for us,” Johnson said. “We had a bunch of income for the company, didn’t have to worry about racing for wins or championships against the Stewart-Haas equipment, but those guys changed the game and bringing Kurt Busch and Tony (Stewart) himself and all that is there you start questioning the relationship and if it really is the right thing, especially, with us not sharing the data.”

Johnson made similar comments at the Chase for the Sprint Cup media day in September, saying these type of relationships between team are “a slippery slope.”

“I understand the business dynamic, but it’s tricky,” Johnson said in September. “It hurts to be outrun by somebody in your equipment. But Ganassi, as well. They’re a big company with a lot of smart people, and we’re handing them a race-winning package that they’re then making better.”

Johnson said Friday that Hendrick “would always like to have some people running our engines and trying to do durability stuff on new motors that are coming out.”

The six-time champion pointed out there likely always will be smaller teams using Hendrick equipment, “but a team at that high of caliber (of Stewart-Haas Racing), I believe we would look really hard before we made that decision again.”

Results, point standings after Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell led a race-high 120 laps to win the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. It’s his second career Xfinity win.

Bell beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson, Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

Elliott Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Click here for the race results.


Elliott Sadler continues to lead the point standings through eight races. He has a 29-point lead over Bell.

Completing the top five is Tyler Reddick (-31 points), Daniel Hemric (-38) and Justin Allgaier (-48).

Click here for the point standings.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell fended off teammate Noah Gragson to break through and win his first Xfinity race of the year Friday night at Richmond Raceway.

Bell led the final 79 laps around the .75-mile track to score his second career win. He had finished in the top five in four of the first seven races this season.

“That was pretty special there, buddy,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “Had to work for it. My teammate was really good and I knew throughout both practices that both of our cars were going to be really strong. Joe Gibbs Racing has been producing really, really fast Camrys for last couple of weeks and it’s really shown.”

Gragson placed second in his first career Xfinity start. He bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty early in the race.

He hounded Bell for much of the last 15 laps, but could never pull even with him.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Gragson told FS1 of his first series start at the short track. “I found a little something in the track, a little speed there at the end of the second stage on old tires. I kept it in my memory bank until the end and I told me team, ‘I got something, when it’s time to go tell me when.’ About 18 to go, I told them, ‘Can’t wait any longer, I don’t have any more patience.”

Gragson, who drives full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, led 10 laps.

The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

With his third-place finish, Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Bell, Sadler, Tifft and Cindric will be eligible for the third Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Talladega.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Elliott Sadler, first stage win of season

MORE: Race results, points

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric earned his first career top five after starting from the rear for an unapproved adjustment … Matt Tifft earned his fourth career top five … Ryan Truex placed seventh to give Kaulig Racing its fourth top 10 of the year. It earned five last year … Jeremy Clements placed eighth, earning his first top 10 since he won at Road America in August.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After winning Stage 1, Daniel Hemric lost his right front tire with three laps to go in Stage 2, but made it to the end. He finished 29th, four laps down … Justin Allgaier spun after ramming into the back of Spencer Gallagher with 86 laps to go. Chase Briscoe was also received damage in the incident. Allgaier finished 14th. Briscoe placed 26th.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My wife’s already spent it.” – Elliott Sadler to FS1 after winning the Dash 4 Cash bonus.

WHAT’S NEXT: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. ET on April 28 on Fox.

Starting lineup for Cup race at Richmond

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Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will start on the front row for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Truex won his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kyle Busch, who is trying to win a third consecutive race, qualified 32nd.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Martin Truex Jr. wins pole for Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

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Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway, winning his third pole of the season.

Truex claimed the pole with a speed of 123.859 mph around the .75-mile track. The Toyota Owners 400 will mark Truex’s 450th Cup start. Truex had DNFs in the last two races.

“It’s definitely been a crappy two weeks,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “But that’s part of racing. This team, I’ve got so much faith and confidence in them and everything we’re doing. You can’t let those kinds of things get you down. It was nothing we did, just circumstances. Just proud of the effort today.”

The pole matches Truex’s total from last year.

Chase Elliott qualified second (123.621 mph). The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Ryan Blaney will start 12th, followed by Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson.

Daniel Hemric will start 22nd in his first Cup start.

Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski both failed to advance out of the first round. Keselowski will start 28th and Busch will start 32nd.

“We didn’t make a mock run in practice and then we thought the spread would be about three tenths (of a second),” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It wasn’t, it was faster than that. We only ran two laps trying to make sure we preserve out tires for later on deeper into the session. A bunch of those guys ran three laps and obviously we needed that third lap. It would have picked up. For some reason the tire here today, even in race trim, your fastest lap was the seventh lap. So just takes awhile for everything to come in. Just trying to short cut it a little bit and it didn’t work out for us.”

Click here for qualifying results.