Volume III, Issue 11, Page 13
With John Carollo

I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Chevys and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Three-Peat for Johnson and the Lowes Chevy!!!

Well, Brothers and Sisters of the beloved BowTie, our heroes, Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and the Hendrick Motorsports, Lowes #48 team done did it. They drove themselves into the NASCAR record that was held solely by ol’ Cale Yarborough for exactly 30 years. Gimme an amen!

Now, we’ll get into all the cool stats next month in our annual, ‘Here’s How Bad Chevy Kicked Everybody Else’s Ass This Year’ report. But for now, let’s just talk up some of the lesser known facts about this swanktified event of winning three NASCAR Sprint Cup titles in a row. And let’s start back when Cale did it first – also in GM cars with Chevy motors. Junior Johnson Mountain Motors to be exact, but that’s another story best told by Brother Jim McFarland.

Back in those days when everybody lined up to take the green, there were only ‘bout half a dozen ol’ boys that you’d figure on wining. The same was true for winning the championships. These days, when they take the green, you’re looking at about two dozen ol’ boys that are truly capable of bringing home the trophy. So it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that winning one NASCAR title these days is harder than keeping jobs in the United States, much less three. Now, factor in winning three in a row and you got yourself sumptin’ better than fresh biscuits.

And didja know that NO Crew Chief has ever won three championships in a row? Never! Even when Cale was the man, he worked with different Crew Chiefs. So not only is tying Cale’s record hot stuff, but having ol’ Chad ring that bell like nobody before is a hot damn, too. We get a kick outta Chad, he’s like an old hound dog that don’t know no better. He just keeps on digging and digging. Yeah, he steps on NASCAR’s toes now and then and they gotta put him on Double Secret Probation. But he comes back and keeps whipping the competition’s butt raw.

But didja know there was a time when Chad and Jimmie didn’t get along so good? In fact, for a spell, it looked like owner Rick Hendrick was gonna have to split ‘em up. He even set up a meetin’ so he could do just that. It was in 2005, the year before they started winning. It became the stuff of legends and, the way Rick tells it, was pretty dang funny. When we ask him about it, he usually says, “You mean the cookies and milk?” Yeah, Boss, that’s the one. Can you tell the kind folks that gem?

So Rick sets up his story by saying, “You know, and I’ve seen this happen many times with drivers and crew chiefs, they start to kind of irritate each other and the communication goes away. One day they love each other and one day they hate each other. It was getting to the point where Chad and Jimmie were having more bad days than good days. But then on a good day it was almost a love fest.”

Then he gets to the good part, “I called them into my office and we had some of these plates that had Mickey Mouse ears and some cookies and milk and (I) said if we’re going to act like kids we’re going to have cookies and milk and we’ll have some down time where we can talk about what you don’t like about each other because they really weren’t opening up.”

Well, we don’t need any rocket folk to know his kiddie trick worked out just fine. But it came close to being the end of that pair and ol’ Rick knew it. So he says, “You know, usually you can’t fix those deals but we talked about it, the communication between the two and what irritated them, and I’m really glad they both made steps to fix it because it takes both people to want to make it work.”

But like any relationship from drivers and Crew Chiefs to me and the Ex’s, it’s a crap shoot. And ol’ Rick lucked out that day, right, Rick? He says, “From that day on there’s still times, but they have learned to kind of live with each other and how they like to communicate with each other so that was a big turning point. Actually the meeting was supposed to be how we split the guys up and which team they were going to go to.” Wow, that paid off better than having NO investments on Wall Street.

Like we said, we’ll talk more about what this team and the other Chevys did next time. Right now, we gotta talk about what else we’re gonna be thankful for this Turkey Day. For one thing, we’re sure glad common sense or whatever it took to kill those plans to merge GM with Chrysler happened. Chevy and Dodge? Are you freakin’ kidding me? I ain’t had so many nightmares since that chick with the green teeth told me she was with child and I couldn’t ‘member that oh-so-special Saturday night at the Dew Drop Inn.

Anyway, I gots to tell ya, the thought of a 2010 CorViper with a LS Hemi done gave me another nitro ulcer and even turned my store-bought hair gray. Man, that was close! I DID NOT want to write stories about Chevargers or Dodgerolets or whatever cockamamie name they’d have if’n those two got hitched. Now, I guess Dodge is talking to Nissan but who gives a rat’s ass.

And speaking of the unholy combo of Chevy and Dodge, Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates and their Dodge team done merged with our friends at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Yep, its official and I reckon somewhere, there’s a man spinning like a top over this ‘un. No word on what kinda car the new DEI/Ganassi team will run but we’re thinkin’ this one will need more than just more cow bell. We’re watching this deal…  

 

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