CONCORD, N.C. – As 2018 comes to a close, we thought we would look back on an eventful year at Hendrick Motorsports.
Take a trip down memory lane with the top stories of the year on HendrickMotorsports.com.
This summer, Hendrick Motorsports launched a brand-new Spotify account, and to mark the occasion, all four drivers and some special guests shared their very own playlists. Among those guests was Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, whose eclectic music taste featured artists ranging from Zac Brown Band and Brad Paisley to Steve Winwood, Jimmy Buffet and Otis Redding.
Back in April, Brooke Knaus shared the exciting news that she and her husband, Chad, were expecting a baby boy. Kipling “Kip” Wolfgang Knaus was born on Aug. 28. The crew chief shared some insight into life as a dad in a #MorningsWith segment a few months later.
Using a unique infographic, HendrickMotorsports.com previewed the upcoming April race at Talladega Superspeedway, where an all-time record six drivers have contributed to the organization's 12 wins at the track. In the race, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman both took home top-10 finishes.
After teasing a mysterious collaboration, seven-time Cup Series champion Johnson and two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso finally announced a historic car swap at Bahrain International Circuit. Check out a photo gallery and a video featuring some highlights of the car swap.
2018 was a big year for Hendrick Motorsports when it came to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. First up, champion crew chief Ray Evernham was officially inducted into the Hall, giving a memorable speech on stage in which he made sure to thank Jeff Gordon for everything the two accomplished together.
In March at ISM Raceway, a strategy call on pit road to take just two tires allowed William Byron to take the race lead for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career. In the process, he became the third-youngest driver to lead 15 or more laps in Cup Series history and the second-youngest to lead laps at ISM Raceway.
After his monumental first Cup Series win – which happened to be Hendrick Motorsports’ 250th – Chase Elliott ran out of fuel on his victory lap. It ultimately made for an iconic moment, as his seven-time champion teammate was able to pull up behind him and push him to Victory Lane.
To kick off the season, Alex Bowman captured Hendrick Motorsports’ fourth consecutive Daytona 500 pole – the organization’s all-time record 12th Daytona 500 pole. Bowman became the third-youngest pole winner in Daytona 500 history in the process.
Elliott unveiled his throwback No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Darlington Raceway with help from his father, Bill, and uncle, Ernie. The ride was modeled after a paint scheme that Chase’s late cousin Casey drove back in 1993.
Leading into the opening race of the season, fans were granted a unique opportunity thanks to a Facebook Live video. “This was kind of cool because this was our first meeting together prepping for the season, getting everybody in one room and just trying to go through all the logistics,” No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb said at the time.
Elliott’s Watkins Glen win was a historic one for Hendrick Motorsports, as the organization became just the second in Cup Series history to reach 250 or more wins. Those wins have come via 17 different drivers, which is the second-most all-time.
Evernham sat down to discuss the legend of the No. 24 team’s famed “T-Rex” car, which won the 1997 All-Star Race. “It ran one race, it dominated that race, and was banned by NASCAR,” Evernham smiled. “That part of it’s true.” The car can be seen in the Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store on campus in Concord, North Carolina.
In 2019, Knaus will serve as crew chief for Byron and the No. 24 team. Kevin Meendering will take over as crew chief for Johnson and the No. 48 team. Former No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb will be promoted to technical director, an executive leadership role supporting the organization’s engineering and vehicle development resources.
In May, four-time champion Gordon became a first-ballot Hall of Famer as part of the class of 2019. And it wasn’t the only Hall of Fame Gordon joined – he was also inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in March.
In March, it was announced that Johnson and the No. 48 team would have a brand-new primary sponsor for the first time since 2001 starting in 2019. A few months later, that new partner was announced. Ally Financial will join Hendrick Motorsports as the full-season primary sponsor of Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team in 2019 and 2020.