Hendrick Motorsports' 2012 season by the numbers
LAS VEGAS – The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season was a memorable one for Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson notched the team’s 200th win; all four drivers qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup; and Jeff Gordon checked another track off the organization’s resume, to name a few highlights. While the drivers spend this week participating in the NASCAR festivities in Las Vegas, here is a look at some of those moments by the numbers:
3 – All four Hendrick Motorsports teams won at least one Sprint Cup race in 2012, marking the third time that has happened since the organization expanded to a four-car operation in 2002. Hendrick Motorsports also put four teams in Victory Lane in 2006 (nine combined wins) and 2007 (18 victories).
4 – The number of pole positions each earned by Kasey Kahne and Johnson throughout the 2012 Cup season. The teammates finished the season tied for first among Cup drivers this category. Four is also the number of Hendrick Motorsports drivers who made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, a first for the organization.
5 – Johnson ended the season with five wins, tying him with two competitors for the most victories recorded during the 2012 Cup season. Most recently, Johnson won back-to-back races from the pole position at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 28 and Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4.
8.8 – Kahne held the best average starting spot throughout the 2012 season and scored Hendrick Motorsports’ first pole position at Las Vegas in March.
10 – In 17 post-season statistical categories, a Hendrick Motorsports driver led 10 of them. Johnson, who finished the season third in the points, was ranked first in nine, including driver rating. Kahne took top honors for average starting position.
11 – Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup season without winning a pole position (1984-2012). This year, all four of the organization’s drivers combined to earn 11 poles. Johnson and Kahne contributed four apiece, while Gordon scored two and Dale Earnhardt Jr. one. Hendrick Motorsports has recorded 10 or more pole positions in a season six times in its history, notably scoring a team record 16 as a two-car operation in 1986. Since going to a four-car operation in 2002, Hendrick Motorsports has had all four of its drivers record pole positions in 2005 (five poles) and 2010 (five).
21 – Earnhardt drove his No. 88 Chevrolet to record 21 straight lead-lap finishes this season. The streak dated back to an 11th-place result last November in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and ended with a fourth place result at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. Earnhardt was just one race shy of breaking a tie for the all-time record held by his teammate. Gordon posted 21 consecutive lead-lap finishes in 1998-99.
27 – Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 27 straight seasons (1986-2012), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick Motorsports’ first Daytona 500. The organization won three races in 1984 before scoring three second-place finishes but no victories in 1985, its only winless season.
200 – Johnson recorded this milestone NASCAR Sprint Cup victory for Hendrick Motorsports on May 12 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet led 134 laps en route to earning his 56th career win and his third at the Track Too Tough to Tame.
23,147 – Gordon paced the field three times for 14 laps to win the season finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway and move into sixth for all-time laps led with 23,147. The victory at Homestead was a first for Hendrick Motorsports and Gordon, and the duo has won at every track on the Cup circuit except Kentucky (added in 2011).