:cue creepy horror music...wait, is that redundant?: I know I haven't updated in eons, but you KNOW I couldn't just sit here and zip my lip about the pit crew change.
Predictably, I'm going to defend Chad's decision. Yes, I think he did the right thing. The crew hasn't been up to snuff all year, and they've had plenty of chances to pick it up, but they haven't. I think that's the main reason I support this: it wasn't just an off-day for them; it was the final straw in a whole hay bale of screw-ups that broke the camel's back.
I also like that they're making changes now instead of waiting until the season's over just so they wouldn't hurt anybody's feelings. If improvement is not an option at this point, and you've got a championship on the line, you need to do what you have to do to ensure a win. It's not like they're taking a risk - the 24 crew has (obviously) been working together all year and have proven themselves to be fast. Now, if Chad had decided to just switch a few of the 48 crew guys out for some new ones at this point in the season, you bet I'd be questioning the heck out of that move, but here you've got a whole crew of guys who are used to working together on a daily basis. No prob. Does it look desperate? Maybe a little. But hey, if they've got a weakness, and it's this late in the season, I'd rather they try something drastic to fix it than just sit back and watch the championship slip away.
Now, as for this "win and lose as a group" stuff... I think there are two qualities that set Hendrick apart from the rest: their relaxed, positive attitude and the frank, business-like environment at the shop and the track. I am a firm believer in the power of working in a positive atmosphere; nobody benefits from added stress. If I had the choice between working at Penske or Hendrick, I know which one I'd choose, and it wouldn't be just because HMS has won more Cups recently.
Moreover, I think what enables them to maintain a relaxed, team-player atmosphere is that second quality, professionalism. Hendrick's goal is to win, and if a team member isn't contributing to that goal, they can expect to be replaced. It's nothing personal; it's just how things have to be in order to get the job done, and everybody knows that. This is all to say that if you're going to win and lose as a team, first you have to be a team. If you're not able to go the extra mile and pick yourself up when you know you haven't been doing your absolute best, there's just no room for you on the team. If you're doing your best, then yes, you win and lose as a team, but if there are improvements to be made and you can't come through with them, then you're not really functioning as a team to start with, in my opinion.
Do I feel bad for the 48 guys? Yeah. That's gotta suck to know you and your entire crew just got replaced by someone else's, and it must especially sting for the members of the crew who have been there long enough to have 4 Cup trophies sitting on their mantles and who know they're giving 100%, but they've also got to know that it was the right thing to do at the time to ensure Jimmie a good finish and possibly a championship.