Hendrick Motorsports reaches historic start, eyes milestone win
KANSAS CITY, Kan.—As Hendrick Motorsports continues to pursue its 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup win, there is one milestone the organization will check off this weekend when its drivers line up at Kansas Speedway – its 3,000th start. Hendrick Motorsports enters Kansas with 2,999 starts and will leave the site of its 199th Sprint Cup victory with 3,003, the most among any team in NASCAR.
Fans can watch the action live Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
The string of entries dates back to Feb. 19, 1984, when Geoff Bodine lined up for the fledgling race team at Daytona (Fla.) International Superspeedway. Bodine finished eighth that day. Since then, Hendrick Motorsports has recorded 10 Cup championships and 199 victories during 28 seasons of racing. Here is a glimpse at some of those milestones and moments told through memorable starts:
No. 8: Bodine scored the first win for Hendrick Motorsports (then called All-Star Racing) on April 29, 1984. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet started sixth that day at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and led 55 laps on his way to Victory Lane.
No. 759: One of the most memorable starts of Jeff Gordon’s career happened during his second full season with Hendrick Motorsports. On Aug. 6, 1994, Gordon lined up on the second row at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Hendrick Motorsports’ 759th start. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet went on to lead 93 laps and won the inaugural Brickyard 400.
No. 1,150: Gordon started fifth and led 64 laps en route to winning a landmark fourth consecutive Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Sept. 6, 1998.
No. 1,308: Gordon drove the No. 24 Chevrolet to make NASCAR history on April 16, 2000, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway when he won his 50th career race. With the victory, Gordon became the youngest Cup driver to accumulate that many career wins.
No. 1,743: Terry Labonte won the final Labor Day weekend Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Aug. 31, 2003. The victory marked his last as a Hendrick Motorsports driver as he drove the No. 5 Chevrolet to Victory Lane.
No. 2,259: Jimmie Johnson earned the 150th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson led 89 laps in the No. 48 Chevrolet that day
No. 2,386: During the 2007 Sprint Cup season, Hendrick Motorsports recorded a single-season team record for wins (18). Johnson scored the final victory of the season when he took the checkered flag at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 11, 2007.
No. 2,450: Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his first Cup win as a Hendrick Motorsports driver when he drove the No. 88 Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2008.
Nos. 2,845-2,848: Team owner Rick Hendrick watched Hendrick Motorsports become just the third team in NASCAR history to start 1-2-3-4 when his cars qualified at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2011. Gordon started from the pole, but Johnson went on to win the race, with Gordon third, Earnhardt fourth and Martin eighth.
No. 2,947: Johnson drove the No. 48 Chevrolet to Victory Lane on Oct. 9, 2011, to record the 199th Sprint Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson started 19th before working his way up to lead 197 laps on the way to Victory Lane at the tri-oval track.
No. 2,980: This season, Kasey Kahne earned his first pole position driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for start No. 2,980 on March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne toured the 1.5-mile racetrack in 28.35 seconds at roughly 190.456 mph to post a new qualifying record for Vegas and collect his third career pole there.