DARLINGTON, S.C. – With Jimmie Johnson’s win Saturday night in the No. 48 Lowe’s Kobalt Tools Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports recorded its 200th points-paying victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, marking a major milestone for the organization and car owner Rick Hendrick.
JOHNSON AT DARLINGTON: With three wins at Darlington, Johnson now ranks third among active drivers at the 1.366-mile oval. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Kobalt Tools Chevrolet has seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 14 Cup starts there.
STAT LEADER: When it comes to NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present), Hendrick Motorsports leads all Sprint Cup teams in wins (200), top-five finishes (818), top-10s (1,352) and pole positions (181). Hendrick is NASCAR’s all-time leader in poles and top-10s, while ranking behind only Petty Enterprises in Cup wins. The Petty team recorded 268 Cup victories in more than half a century of competition. Hendrick Motorsports’ first season was 1984.
MILESTONE WINS: Hendrick Motorsports’ first win came April 29, 1984, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Geoff Bodine at the wheel. Jeff Gordon notched the team’s 50th on March 24, 1996, at Darlington Raceway and its 100th on June 10, 2001, at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson scored the 150th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Eight drivers recorded their first career Cup wins while driving for car owner Rick Hendrick: Bodine, Kyle Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Casey Mears, Jerry Nadeau, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers. Gordon and Johnson have raced for Hendrick for their entire Cup careers.
DRIVERS AND TRACKS: Since being founded in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has sent 15 Cup drivers to Victory Lane at 25 different racetracks (see full lists below). The organization has scored double-digit Cup wins at nine tracks, including a team record 18 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hendrick has won at four inactive Cup racetracks: Nashville, Tenn., North Wilkesboro, N.C., Riverside, Calif., and Rockingham, N.C.
CREW CHIEFS: Hendrick Motorsports’ crew chiefs Alan Gustafson, Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus have combined to win 76 of the organization’s 200 Cup victories. Knaus’ 54 wins are the most for any crew chief in Hendrick’s team history, edging Ray Evernham, who recorded 47 during his time with Gordon. Gustafson owns 12 victories, while Letarte has 10. Kenny Francis is in his first season with driver Kasey Kahne at Hendrick Motorsports.
HAT DANCE: Over the years, the Victory Lane “hat dance” has become a NASCAR tradition where winning teams celebrate the moment by wearing a variety of hats for post-race photographs. Since Gordon won the organization’s 100th Cup race in 2001, Hendrick Motorsports’ teams have worn more than 50,000 Victory Lane hats.
WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 28 straight seasons (1986-2012), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Bodine won Hendrick’s first Daytona 500. Bodine won three races in 1984 before scoring three runner-up finishes but no wins in 1985.
ONE-TWO FOR 150: Johnson and Gordon crossed the finish line first and second in March 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Johnson earning Hendrick Motorsports’ 150th Cup win. The organization has recorded 15 of its 31 all-time one-two finishes during this last stretch of 50 wins.
ALL-TIME WINS: In 2011, Gordon and Johnson improved on NASCAR’s all-time Cup wins list. Gordon’s victory in September at Atlanta Motor Speedway marked the 85th of his Cup career and moved him into third on the all-time list. With 56 career Cup wins, Johnson moves into sole possession of eighth on the all-time wins list.
GOOD MIX: Short tracks, intermediate ovals, road courses and superspeedways are all on Hendrick Motorsports’ résumé when it comes to wins. Overall, Hendrick has 89 victories on tracks between one and two miles in length; 54 on tracks longer than two miles; 42 wins on tracks shorter than one mile; and 15 on road courses.
TWO LEFT: There are only two active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. Those venues are Homestead-Miami Speedway, which hosts the Sprint Cup season finale, and the newly added Kentucky Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports has three runner-up finishes at Homestead, with Johnson taking second there most recently in 2010. Johnson scored Hendrick’s best finish at Kentucky when he crossed the line third in the track’s inaugural race in July 2011.
HISTORICAL FINISH: Hendrick Motorsports’ best team finish happened in February 1997 when the organization was a three-car operation. Gordon won the Daytona 500 and was followed across the finish line by teammates Terry Labonte in second and Ricky Craven in third.
CHEVY CONSISTENCY: Since founding his team in 1984, Rick Hendrick has partnered with Chevrolet and contributed 200 of the manufacturer’s 691 Cup victories. Chevy won its 35th Sprint Cup manufacturers’ championship in 2011.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES WINS (BY DRIVER):
Jeff Gordon: 85
Jimmie Johnson: 56
Terry Labonte: 12
Tim Richmond: 9
Darrell Waltrip: 9
Geoffrey Bodine: 7
Mark Martin: 5
Kyle Busch: 4
Ricky Rudd: 4
Ken Schrader: 4
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 1
Casey Mears: 1
Jerry Nadeau: 1
Joe Nemechek: 1
Brian Vickers: 1
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES WINS (BY TRACK):
Auto Club: 9
New Hampshire: 8
Watkins Glen: 6
Las Vegas: 5
North Wilkesboro: 4*
*Denotes inactive venues.