CONCORD, N.C. -- On this day in history, Hendrick Motorsports recorded not one but two wins at Talladega Superspeedway. The organization dominated the spring races from 2005-06 with Jeff Gordon winning the 2005 race and Johnson zooming across the finish line first in the 2006 race.
May 1, 2005, saw Gordon as the reigning champion for the spring Talladega event. He rolled off the grid in second and led a dominating 139 of 194 laps on the 2.66-mile oval. However, 12 lead changes, 25 incidences including a massive accident that took out multiple contenders, and overtime pushed Gordon to the limit.
He held off two other competitors to secure his second spring Talladega win in a row.
"This is the most dominating performance we've ever had on a plate track,” Gordon said after the race. “Talladega is not a handling tracks. It's pure speed and man, this car had it."
Exactly one year later, it was Johnson’s turn to become the Talladega king. The race was delayed one day after rain soaked the Alabama track, making it one year to the date that Gordon had his win.
It marked Johnson’s first win at Talladega and third victory of the season. It wasn’t until the final laps of the race that Johnson was able to surge ahead after taking a more conservative approach during the 188-lap race.
Johnson pulled up on teammates Gordon and Brian Vickers and was able to use draft force from another competitor to surge ahead. Vickers finished in third place while Gordon fell back to 15th.
In total, Johnson led three laps during the entire event.
“All of the key players were in there and fighting hard,” he said after the race. “You’re driving and making your plan and the others are working on different plans. People around you make decisions and definitely influence how you finish.”