WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – When Chase Elliott made his way to Victory Lane Sunday at Watkins Glen, it marked a milestone moment in Hendrick Motorsports history.
The third-year driver captured his first career NASCAR Cup Series win, and in the process gave Hendrick Motorsports its 250th Cup Series win.
"What a great win," Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said. "It feels so good to get a win for Chevrolet and for our sponsors. Really happy for SunEnergy1, NAPA, Hooters and everybody on Chase’s car – 250 is a lot of races. I guess it means I’m an old man.”
The organization is now just the second team in series history to reach that mark, and ranks second all-time behind only Petty Enterprises’ 268 wins.
“We've been stuck on 249 for a while, and certainly very aware of that,” said No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson. “It's a huge honor to be the crew chief on the car that wins that 250th for Hendrick Motorsports. It's absolutely a culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Hendrick Motorsports’ 250 victories have come via 17 different drivers. That number ranks second among organizations all-time behind only the Wood Brothers team, which has put 19 different drivers in Victory Lane.
And all 250 wins have come behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.
“On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, I am extremely pleased to congratulate Rick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports family on this tremendous accomplishment of 250 race wins,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president, performance vehicles, and motorsports. “This major milestone is the result of years of passion, persistence, and teamwork to get the job done. We are especially proud of the fact that all 250 wins have been in Chevrolet race cars. Rick’s passion for the brand and dedication to putting Chevrolet in Victory Lane has been relentless. As a key partner and respected friend, we salute you.”
The momentous win extended the organization’s all-time Cup Series record to 16 victories on road courses, though it was the first win at Watkins Glen since Jeff Gordon visited Victory Lane at the venue in 2001.
In the meantime, the organization amassed 147 wins on 21 different tracks between wins at the New York road course.
Elliott’s win gave the Hendrick Motorsports another record as well, as he became the ninth different first-time winner to race for the organization. That sets a new mark in the Cup Series, with Roush Fenway Racing now second with eight different first-time winners.
Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, three Hendrick Motorsports teammates finished in the top 10 for the first time this season, and their average finish was 8.25 – the organization’s best mark of the year.
That momentum continued this week with Elliott's win, and teammate William Byron joined him inside the top 10. A Hendrick Motorsports driver has led laps in each of the past five races, and the organization has also captured a stage win in each of the past three races – all of which were won by Elliott.
"This is the right time to be closing the gap and building that momentum," Hendrick said. "I’m so proud of all the folks at Hendrick Motorsports for keeping their head down and working hard."
The owner said he hopes this weekend's milestone win will only serve to keep the organization on the upswing as the playoffs approach.
"We know we still have a lot of work to do, but this is going to motivate our people to just step it up again," Hendrick said. "It’s a great shot in the arm for the whole organization.”