Jimmie Johnson’s victory at Michigan International Speedway last weekend was an important win for himself, his crew chief Chad Knaus and the rest of the No. 48 team. Not only was it Johnson’s 69th career win, it also was his third first-place finish of the season and first Cup victory at the Irish Hills track.
But it was even bigger than that.
When Johnson cruised his No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS across the finish line on Sunday at the Irish Hills track, he didn’t just win a race for the No. 48 team – he gave the 500+ employees of Hendrick Motorsports their fifth straight victory of 2014.
“Everyone is really putting out a lot of effort right now and it’s paying off,” said team owner Rick Hendrick after Johnson’s win at the two-mile oval.
Hendrick Motorsports’ line of victories began with Jeff Gordon’s win at Kansas Speedway on May 10, and was followed up with back-to-back wins from Johnson at Charlotte (North Carolina) Motor Speedway on May 25 and Dover (Delaware) International Speedway on June 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. contributed a win to the ongoing trend on June 8 at Pocono (Pennsylvania) Raceway, which preceded Johnson’s most recent victory at Michigan.
This weekend at Sonoma Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports will be chasing its sixth consecutive win this season, a NASCAR modern era (1972-present) record set by the organization itself in 2007. During that year, the Hendrick Motorsports teams combined to post separate win streaks of four, five and six races apiece, which ultimately led to Johnson winning the 2007 Cup championship.
“Rick [Hendrick] gives us all the tools to go out there and do our jobs. And to have everything so fast and so good, you want it to last forever,” Johnson said.
Hendrick Motorsports’ winning streak may not last forever, but another win for the organization this weekend would tie a record that has the potential to remain unmatched for a long time.