Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Gordon's team hires new spotter
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jeff Gordon will have a new spotter starting this weekend at Pocono Raceway, a move the team believes will help the four-time NASCAR champion snap the longest losing streak of his career.
Hendrick Motorsports hired Jeff Dickerson Wednesday, moving quickly to grab the spotter after he unexpectedly parted ways last week with Kyle Busch. Dickerson had been with Busch since his early days at HMS, and the driver often credited Dickerson for guiding him on the track to several victories.
Crew chief Steve Letarte said after listening to tapes of Dickerson, he believed the spotter could be the key to helping Gordon close out races. Gordon is winless since Texas in April 2009, a span of 49 races.
Gordon has eight runner-up finishes in that span, and five third-place finishes.
"The sport has changed a lot over the last few years, with double-file restarts, the wave-by, the very aggressive finishes and the way races are ending," Letarte said. "The weaker side to the 24 [team] -- we had very good cars -- but we've been short in winning races. All that stuff, Kyle has been great on and some of it has been his spotter.
"I think Jeff Dickerson suits the style of racing that we see now."
Dickerson replaces Shannon McGlamery, who began spotting for Gordon at the start of the 2007 season. McGlamery still will be a mechanic at Hendrick Motorsports, building the cars for Gordon and teammate Jimmie Johnson.
"Shannon is a very good spotter, but I think Jeff Dickerson is one of the best," Letarte said. "The spotter is the third musketeer on the radio, and when he became available, I listened to a lot of tapes, I did a lot of research, and although the timing was short, I recognized his style will help us build upon our continued communication improvements."
Dickerson and Busch have not discussed why they split. Dickerson became Busch's business manager and agent following his 2007 firing at Hendrick Motorsports, negotiated Busch's deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, and continued to represent Busch until this past winter.
Since the start of this season, his only duty had been spotting for Busch.