No longer are a pair of four-time NASCAR Cup champions forced to co-exist at Hendrick Motorsports - not since Jimmie Johnson made it five in a row last year to continue his hot streak. Yet halfway through the 2011 season, the defending champion has taken just a single win while his team-mate Jeff Gordon has been to Victory Lane twice - something he has not done since 2007, when he was Johnson's biggest title rival.
A poor ninth place in the championship was all he could muster in a win-less 2010, but this year, when the likes of Penske and Roush Fenway have raised their respective games considerably, Gordon has been the only multiple winner on a Hendrick roster that also includes Dale Earnhardt Jr and Mark Martin.
This has been a year of change for Gordon inside Rick Hendrick's organisation as his team (that of the #24 car) was moved within the headquarters. The outfit operates its four teams from two dual buildings; one that used to be the 24/48 (the car numbers of Gordon and Johnson) shop, and a similar one just beside, known as the 5/88 shop where the cars of Martin and Earnhardt were prepared. Since 2001, when Johnson's team was started, his cars had been prepared under the same roof as Gordon's but this season the #24 car is being run alongside #5, while Earnhardt's car is now part of the renamed 48/88 stable.
While all the nuts and bolts come out of the same machines and fabrication shops for the four-strong fleet of Chevrolet Impalas, for many years it is the 24/48 shop had been perceived as Hendrick's core, with six titles being won by it during the past 10 years.
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