The Hendrick conundrum is officially in full effect.
After Saturday’s race in Kansas, we will be 42 percent of the way through the Sprint Cup regular season. That’s 11 of 26 races and certainly a representative sample of what to expect this 2014 Sprint Cup season. With that in mind, it’s fair to ask the following question. What happened to Hendrick Motorsports?
Hendrick is winless in the last ten Sprint Cup races. Kasey Kahne is outside the top 20 in points. Jimmie Johnson has never been this late in a season without a win, and Jeff Gordon conversations revolve around the 20 year anniversary of his first Sprint Cup win. The data suggests a down year.
The Oddsmaker Logic:
The odds suggest the exact opposite. Kevin Harvick is the favorite at Kansas at 5/1. Johnson is the second favorite at 6/1, a number he’s been close to at every race not held at Talladega. Jeff Gordon, who has three wins in his last 82 starts, finds himself at 8/1, the third favorite next to Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are in the next lump of drivers at 12/1.
Oddsmakers assume a comeback. Is Kansas the right track? Among active drivers, Johnson leads the field. Gordon is fourth. Kahne is ninth, and the #88 is 12th. Solid? Of course. A slam dunk? Not at all, especially with the success of Ford cars at Kansas. By the way, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards are 20/1. Wow that’s amazing.
The Wild Card:
Fuel duels have been on the minds of many Sprint Cup fans recently, and fuel has been a factor at Kansas. Both Richard Petty drivers, in Fords, are 100/1 or higher. Chase contender Austin Dillon is 100/1. AJ Allmendinger is 200/1.
The week will come when some wild card claims a win because of a fuel duel or crazy pit strategy that worked. When that happens, the odds will smile brightly upon those who took the plunge. Those taking the plunge on Hendrick might smile at the win, but they won’t love the odds they receive this week. Here’s how Hendrick teams and your favorite driver stack up at Kansas. Enjoy night racing, and insert a random catchphrase here.