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BURNS: Around The Track

Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte NC. (HHP/Harold Hinson)

Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick comprise the current Hendrick Motorsports lineup. (HHP/Harold Hinson)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Contrary to popular belief, success isn’t guaranteed when a NASCAR driver signs with Hendrick Motorsports.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson just make it seem that way.

Gordon’s 90 wins and Johnson’s 69 victories put the two Hendrick drivers at the top of the 30-year-old race team’s all-time wins column. Who is third, you ask?

Terry Labonte, with 12 wins in a Hendrick car. No other Hendrick driver has reached the double-digit victory total.

It’s a testament to how difficult it is to win in any car – and just how good Gordon and Johnson are – that they’ve had such longevity and such success with HMS since their first starts with the team in 1992 and 2001, respectively.

Only Johnson (six titles), Gordon (four) and Labonte (one) won a championship with the team. Other high-profile drivers, though, have had great seasons with Hendrick.

Darrell Waltrip won six of his nine races with Hendrick in a star-studded 1989 season that also saw him claim the Daytona 500.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five wins with Hendrick. Three have come this season, including the Daytona 500 in February.

Mark Martin won five races in 2009. The great Tim Richmond – who passed away 25 years ago Wednesday – had a seven-win season in 1986, that like Earnhardt’s 2014, included a Pocono Raceway sweep and a win at Daytona. But Richmond’s came in July.

The presumptive favorite to become the next great Hendrick driver, 18-year-old JR Motorsports Nationwide Series rookie Chase Elliott, seems headed to HMS in the coming years. Will he become the fourth driver to win at least 10 races for Hendrick?

We’ll find out soon. In the meantime, here’s a listing of every driver who has won a race for the powerhouse team in order of number of wins. Number-crunching becomes much easier once you get past Johnson and Gordon.

But isn’t that always true?

Driver – Wins – Championships – Daytona 500 wins with Hendrick

Jeff Gordon – 90 – 4 – 3

Jimmie Johnson – 69 – 6 – 2

Terry Labonte – 12 – 1- 0

Darrell Waltrip – 9 – 0 – 1

Tim Richmond – 9 – 0 – 0

Geoff Bodine – 7 – 0 – 1

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 5 – 0 – 1

Mark Martin – 5 – 0 – 0

Kasey Kahne  - 4 – 0 – 0

Kyle Busch – 4 – 0 – 0

Ricky Rudd – 4 – 0 – 0

Ken Schrader – 4 – 0 – 0

Casey Mears  - 1 – 0 – 0

Jerry Nadeau – 1 – 0 – 0

Joe Nemechek – 1 – 0 – 0

Brian Vickers  - 1 – 0 – 0

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by on Aug 14 2014 Filed under Columns, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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