NASCAR At Pocono 2012: Hendrick Motorsports On A Roll

Heading into Sunday's NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway, there is no doubt which team is the favorite to win the Pocono 400: Hendrick Motorsports, the same team which has won every race for the last month.

It's a far cry from earlier in the year when one of the most asked questions in the garage was, "What is wrong with Hendrick?"

And as the races clicked by each week with a Hendrick car failing to win, many believed the four-car organization was mired in a slump of some sorts. After all, it's not often that it takes 10 races before a Rick Hendrick-owned car goes to Victory Lane.

But the funny thing is, since that elusive first victory of 2012 at Darlington – the 200th in its illustrious history – Hendrick hasn't stopped winning.

So what has changed and how has a team which many perceived to be behind the eight ball gone from being winless in 10 races to undefeated in the last four (counting the non-points All-Star Race)?

Because it wasn't as if Hendrick had completely fallen off the map, even when they weren't winning. Since the green flag dropped in Daytona, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have all been consistently competitive and fixtures at or near the front of the field (though Gordon, for a variety of reasons, hasn't necessarily finished up front) and the same can be said recently of Kasey Kahne – once he was able to shake off his early season setbacks.

"I think we've really gotten our act together," defending race winner Gordon said Friday at Pocono. "We didn't start the season on top of our game, but in great fashion for Hendrick Motorsports, everybody has been working really hard since the start of the season to try to find a little bit more speed and grip in the cars. Over the last month, month and a half we have done that. It is showing with all the cars."

With the Sprint Cup Series now halfway through its regular season, there is a lot to like about where Hendrick finds itself with both Earnhardt Jr. (third in points) and Johnson (fifth) comfortably inside the top 10 and Kahne in Chase contention thanks to his win at Charlotte.

"It does go through the organization," Johnson said Friday. "When any member of the team runs well or wins, all the other drivers, crew chiefs and engineers focus on that setup and what in that setup worked for them and what can we apply to our car, or do we need to completely get rid of what we were using and go that route. It stimulates conversation and also direction."

And as Hendrick has resumed its winning ways, the question is no longer "What's wrong?" but "Will they ever lose?"

"You just hope that you can maintain that or continue to improve on that as the season goes on to stay ahead of the competition," Gordon said. "This sport is so competitive. Not everything works at every track. The last couple of races...we've been to, there is no doubt our equipment is really good right now."

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