CONCORD, N.C. – This weekend, the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begins at Martinsville Speedway, and it’s a track Hendrick Motorsports has dominated over the years.
At the 0.526-mile paperclip, the organization has team records for wins (24), top-five finishes (78), top-10s (124) and laps led. The 24 wins are the most by any team at any track all-time, ahead of Junior Johnson and Associates' 21 wins at Bristol. Hendrick Motorsports' 20 wins at Dover International Speedway and 19 wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway are third and fourth all-time, respectively.
See below for more key numbers, stats and figures on Hendrick Motorsports’ history at Martinsville Speedway.
- The paperclip has been the site of many first-time achievements for Hendrick Motorsports, including the organization's first NASCAR Cup Series win in 1984 with driver Geoff Bodine. That race also marked the first laps led by the then-one-car team. Darrell Waltrip earned his first of nine wins for Hendrick Motorsports at the Virginia track in the September 1989 race and Chase Elliott made his first career NASCAR Cup Series start for the organization on March 29, 2015.
- Starting with its first win at the track in April 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has won 35 percent of the races at Martinsville (24 of 69). It has won at least one race there in 19 of the 35 seasons since and gone on a three-race win streak at the track on four different occasions.
- The organization has swept the top two finishing positions five times and had at least one car finish in the top 10 in 61 of 69 races since April 1984. Hendrick Motorsports' 9,241 laps led at Martinsville make for 27 percent of the total laps led (34,395) at the track since the April 1984 win. The organization has won at least one race at Martinsville in five of the last six seasons.
- The organization's 24 wins at Martinsville have come courtesy of five different drivers: Jimmie Johnson (nine), Jeff Gordon (nine), Waltrip (four), Bodine and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The five different winners are tied with Junior Johnson and Associates for the most at Martinsville. Hendrick Motorsports is the only team to have multiple drivers with at least six wins at a single track. With a win this weekend, Martinsville could become the 10th different track where Hendrick Motorsports has won with at least six different drivers.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads all active teams in short-track wins all-time with 50, 15 more than the next closest team, Joe Gibbs Racing.
- Since the Watkins Glen race weekend at the beginning of August, Elliott has won three times – the first three wins of his NASCAR Cup Series career – and earned eight top-10s, six of which were top-five finishes. The No. 9 team is on quite a run, advancing to the Round of 8 in the Cup Series playoffs – one step closer to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- At 22 years, 10 months, 23 days old on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Elliott became the second-youngest driver to earn three wins, 11 top-two results and 33 top-five finishes – Kyle Busch ranks first in all three categories. Alan Gustafson was the crew chief for both Elliott and Busch’s first three wins. Elliott is the youngest driver in Cup Series history to reach 56 top-10s. With Elliott’s three wins all coming in the 2018 season, he has set new track records at Watkins Glen, Dover and Kansas for being the youngest NASCAR Cup Series winner at each.
- This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 begins. Since the start of the playoffs in 2017, Elliott has earned six top-two finishes, tied for the most with Busch and Martin Truex Jr. This season alone, the driver of the No. 9 has already collected three top-five results in the playoffs – tied for the most with Truex and Joey Logano – and is currently the only driver to win more than one race in the playoffs.
- With only a nine-race span between his first and third win, Elliott joins the ranks of Tony Stewart (seven races) and Bobby Labonte (nine races) – both of whom are NASCAR Cup Series champions – for the fewest number of starts between their first three wins in the modern era (1972-present).
- Elliott’s top-10 percentage on the next three Round of 8 tracks, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, combined is 62.5 percent, the best of all playoff drivers. His top-five percentage for the Round of 8 tracks combined is 31.25 percent, ranking him second among the playoff drivers (Busch is ranked first at 44.16 percent). Elliott has led laps at all three tracks for a total of 292 laps (Martinsville – 143, Texas – 9, ISM – 140). He finished in the top 11 in each of the three races on the tracks in the Round of 8 earlier this season.
- In the last 11 races, Elliott has earned six top-five finishes, which is the most among all drivers during that span. He also secured eight top-10 finishes and three wins, both tied for the most.
- Elliott finished inside the top 10 in two of the last three races at Martinsville Speedway. In the one race he finished outside of the top 10 – the playoff race at the track last season – he led 123 laps and was spun from the lead with three laps to go, ultimately finishing 27th.
- Elliott is currently on a streak of three straight top-five finishes on short tracks, marking the longest active streak in the Cup Series. He has earned four top-10s on short tracks in 2018, tied for the second-highest total behind Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick's five. No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson has won twice at Martinsville.
- At the short track where William Byron attended his first NASCAR Cup Series race as a fan in 2006, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has two starts at Martinsville Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series, where he earned finishes of third and eighth and one start in the Cup Series. In the snow-delayed Cup race in the spring, Byron earned a 20th-place finish.
- The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team has finished every race at the 0.526-mile paperclip – never earning a single DNF in 47 races with Gordon behind the wheel and four races with Chase Elliott. Byron kept that streak alive in the spring and he’ll certainly hope to continue it this weekend.
- Johnson’s most recent win at Martinsville came on Oct. 30, 2016. The win – his second of three in the playoffs that season – catapulted him into contention in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Johnson earned his record-tying seventh championship.
- Johnson is responsible for nine of Hendrick Motorsports’ 24 wins at Martinsville. The total is tied with Gordon for the third-most at the track behind Richard Petty's 15 and Waltrip's 11. Martinsville is one of four tracks at which Johnson has earned at least seven wins. He has won three of the last 12 races at Martinsville and is currently on a streak of four consecutive top-10s on short tracks, tied for the second-longest active streak behind Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer's six. His four top-10s on short tracks in 2018 are tied for the second-highest total behind Harvick and Bowyer's five.
- Johnson has led 2,862 laps around Martinsville Speedway, making him sixth on the all-time list. He is 103 laps away from eclipsing Petty to break into the top five of most laps led at the venue. NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough is the all-time Martinsville lap leader with 3,851 laps led.
- Experience goes a long way in the NASCAR Cup Series, and on the next three upcoming race dates, Oct. 28, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11, Johnson has a total of five wins throughout his career. On Oct. 28, he won at Atlanta in 2007 and Martinsville in 2012; on Nov. 4, the No. 48 team won at Texas in both 2007 and 2012; and on Nov. 11, Johnson crossed the finish line first at ISM Raceway (formerly Phoenix) in 2007.
- Alex Bowman has five previous starts at Martinsville Speedway in the Cup Series. Earlier this season, the No. 88 team started 16th and finished seventh. It marked Bowman’s first top-10 effort of the 2018 season.
- So far in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports has collected 11 top-10 finishes on short tracks. Bowman has contributed three top-10 finishes to that number. Earlier this season, the No. 88 team finished seventh at Martinsville and went on to finish fifth at Bristol in the spring. At the second event in Bristol, Bowman crossed the line eighth.
- With Elliott earning his first three Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen, Dover and Kansas, Hendrick Motorsports now holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Bowman wins at Martinsville, it will extend the record to the 10th time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports.