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Jimmie Johnson Indicates HMS Did Not Receive SHR Data, HMS GM Says Otherwise
- Updated: October 14, 2016
By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — At the end of 2016, Stewart-Haas Racing will be switching from Chevrolet to Ford, leaving behind a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports that has lasted since SHR’s inception in 2009. Jimmie Johnson, who won last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was asked what the importance is to HMS and if they need to seek out another partner to continue the data sharing.
“Just to be selfishly speaking on Hendrick Motorsports the Stewart-Haas relationship we didn’t get their data,” said Johnson. “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.”
This was quite the revelation considering that the assumption and understanding had always been that HMS and SHR were sharing their data, but Johnson stated that this was not the case.
“You know before Rodney Childers and Kevin Harvick were at Stewart-Haas it worked pretty good for us,” Johnson continued. “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 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. There were some things going on that were helpful and data was moving around a little bit, but they really had all the rights to our stuff; we didn’t have the rights to theirs.”
General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports Doug Duchardt clarified those comments, stating that the technical alliance had always been mutual between the two organizations.
“This morning Jimmie (Johnson) made a comment in the media center about Hendrick Motorsports relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing and how that worked in the past,” said Duchardt. “I just want to clarify something that Jimmie said. That is simply that the relationship from a data standpoint was a two-way relationship. The received our information, we received their information. That is the way it had worked from the time I have been at Hendrick Motorsports. That is basically it. We received information from Stewart-Haas when we worked with them. Obviously, when they made their announcement to Ford that changed things. But the bottom line is that as partners we exchanged data between each other.”
Duchardt did acknowledge, however, that the relationship between the two teams has been different in 2016 given the revelation that SHR is switching manufacturers next season.
“I have told Jimmie what I was going to come and explain here, but yeah for sure this year they haven’t gotten our and we haven’t gotten theirs,” Duchardt continued. “That got shut off I think before Daytona actually. That has been straightforward between Stewart-Haas and us and Zippy (Greg Zipadelli) and I worked through that. That was, from my standpoint, very straightforward.”
Following his third win of the season, Johnson is locked into the Round of 8, which starts in three weeks at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson was eighth fastest in the first NSCS session. The fastest SHR driver was Kurt Busch who was second quickest.