Hendrick's success with rear suspension has other teams scrambling UPDATE Rex Stump is the Hendricks's suspension engineer. He is the one that designed Jeff Gordon's "T Rex" car several years ago that NASCAR told them never to bring to the track again. In fact Rex was banned from the track for a while by NASCAR. Hendrick hired him from GM when Rick was playing with Corvettes and GM sent Rex to help him with setting it up.
08/05/12 There aren’t many secrets in the Sprint Cup garage, so when the Hendrick Motorsports cars appeared to have a little different rear suspension than other teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, teams took notice.
The rear suspension is an area of focus of teams, and NASCAR tried to eliminate some of their more creative measures with rules changes earlier this summer. But Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin certainly noticed something different in the HMS cars last week—Jimmie Johnson won while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and Jeff Gordon was fifth. Hamlin admitted Saturday he didn’t know exactly what the Hendrick teams were doing. That’s not a good sign as the Hendrick camp has confidence in its setups heading into the Pennsylvania 400 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
“I think what we had at Indy will cross over very well here,” said Johnson, who was fourth at Pocono earlier this year. “We didn’t have that kind of speed when we were here the first time, but I think we’re a little smarter. “We went back to Indy and perfected things and are certainly hoping for the same thing here.”
It’s not a surprise that teams are working on the rear suspension, which could help with how the car turns through a corner and the momentum a car has when it hits the straightaway. Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle said his team worked on new rear suspension during the tire test Monday at Michigan.
“We are working hard on trying to figure out what they are doing and we have a little of it—maybe not what they had, but our own version of our rear suspension, working hard at it,” Biffle said. “We learned a little bit at Indy and learned some more at Michigan. … I think we are gaining on what they have or what we are doing is getting is closer.”
No one has suggested that Hendrick is doing anything illegal, and the type of suspension the team uses could also depend on a driver’s feel of the car.
“I don’t think we were quite that far (as) they were,” said Tony Stewart, whose organization gets its cars from Hendrick. “But they’re not doing anything that’s illegal. They’re doing everything within the rules. “So it’s just whatever package you’re running that’s working for you.”
Hamlin is trying to decipher that package.
“Whatever they’ve got working in the back of their cars is working well for them,” Hamlin said. “It’s up to us to identify it and figure it out and get better. “They’ve done their homework and it paid dividends (for Johnson) last week and I’m sure it will this week.”
At least one Hendrick driver is claiming it’s much ado about not all that much.
“Creatively, the guys are really smart and they are coming up with some things that are making our cars stand out and do the things balance wise that we are looking for,” Gordon said.
“I don’t think we are head and shoulders above anybody. … Sometimes I think some of those comments are made just because people are getting beat and they don’t like it and want to try to bring attention to something that is probably not there.” Sporting News