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Hendrick Motorsports Wraps Up Successful 2004

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 2, 2004) – Hendrick Motorsports concluded its 20th anniversary season on Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, putting the wraps on one of the most successful years in the organization’s history.

All in all, Hendrick teams won 22 races and 14 pole positions across three different series, while competing for championships in NASCAR’s top-two divisions.

Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon led the way in the elite NEXTEL Cup Series, finishing second and third, respectively, in the standings.

With a circuit-leading eight victories in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolets, Johnson posted one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory.  He tacked on a pole, 23 top-10 finishes and an amazing 20 top-fives.

Johnson ended the year with a flourish, winning four of the final six races and coming within eight points of the NEXTEL Cup championship with a second-place finish at Homestead.

Gordon logged five wins and half-a-dozen poles with the No. 24 DuPont team.  The four-time champion nailed down 16 top-five results and an astounding 25 top-10s, leading all NEXTEL Cup drivers in that category.

Coming up just 16 points shy of his fifth Cup Series title, Gordon finished third in the season finale, marking the fifth time in the final 10 races that he finished in the top-three.

Brian Vickers learned a lot in his NEXTEL Cup rookie season, winning two poles and notching four top-10s after winning the NASCAR Busch Series championship for Hendrick Motorsports in 2003.

Driving the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolets, Vickers finished the year 25th in NEXTEL Cup points.

Two-time champion Terry Labonte finished out 2004 with six top-10 results and a 26th-place finish in the standings for Kellogg’s Racing.

Announcing in October that this season would be his last as a full-time driver, Labonte will return on a limited basis in 2005, with a 10-event schedule planned in the No. 44 Chevrolets of Hendrick Motorsports.

Technically a rookie, Kyle Busch certainly didn’t act like one in his first 34-race effort on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit.

The 19-year-old Las Vegas native rewrote the record books in the 2004, shattering rookie marks for highest points finish (second), pole positions (five), top-10 finishes (22), championship points (4,943), laps led (1,104) and races led (21).

Busch, who also tied Greg Biffle’s 2001 first-year records for wins (five) and top-fives (16), will once again compete for rookie honors next season, this time in the NEXTEL Cup Series as he slides into the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolets for 2005.

Hendrick Motorsports also entered 11 ARCA Series events this year, posting eye-opening numbers, with four victories and 11 top-10 finishes.

Busch won the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, while Blake Feese launched Hendrick’s new driver development program with an April victory at Nashville Superspeedway.

Kyle Krisiloff picked up a win at Chicagoland Speedway, a runner-up finish at Nashville and another top-10 at Lake Erie, while Boston Reid added three top-10s, including at top-five at Toledo.

Hendrick teams swept ARCA’s superspeedway events, with Feese adding to Busch’s Daytona triumph by winning at Talladega in October to grab his second first-place finish of the year.

Hendrick Motorsports 2004 Statistics*:

Victories:  22
Pole Positions:  14
Top-Fives:  58
Top-10s:  91

* NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and ARCA Series combined.

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