CONCORD, N.C. – Dover Motor Speedway has been a track of great success for Hendrick Motorsports over the years. Jimmie Johnson's 11 wins are the most by any driver at the "Monster Mile" and the organization has tallied 21 wins there.
In last year’s race at the Delaware track, the organization did something it had never done in its storied NASCAR Cup Series history. On May 16, 2021, Hendrick Motorsports swept the top four positions in the running order of a Cup Series race. A 1-2-3-4 finish by one team had only been accomplished three previous times. DePaolo Engineering did it twice: The first coming on Dec. 30, 1956 (at Titusville-Cocoa Speedway in Florida), and the second on April 7, 1957 (at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina). Roush Fenway (now-Keselowski) Racing accomplished it on Nov. 20, 2005 (at Homestead-Miami Speedway).
PHOTOS: Hendrick Motorsports celebrates historic win
At Dover, Alex Bowman won the race for Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Larson placed second, Chase Elliott finished third and William Byron rounded out the top four. On the day, the organization led 382 of 400 laps and its 95.5% mark for that race stands as the second-best percentage of laps led in team history (with only this year’s spring race at Martinsville Speedway topping it).
"Every time you’re in a race, you like to see them run 1-2-3-4," team owner Rick Hendrick said afterwards. "The feeling is unbelievable. It was probably the longest last hundred laps that I’ve ever seen in a race just because I kind of wanted to see it so bad."
The first two stages were largely controlled by Larson. Thanks to a great pit stop and service under caution that put him out front, Bowman was able to control the final 97 laps while his teammates ran right behind him.
"I think looking back at post-race, we all immediately understood and realized how special it was," Bowman said when looking back on the Dover result during a media availability earlier this month. He also acknowledged that he was so focused on holding off Larson for the win that he didn't realize the team had finished 1-2-3-4 until the race was over.
"Some things that we got to do throughout the week, like the photo we were able to take on Monday morning and stuff like that, was really cool. It was pretty special to be a part of that and be on the front side of that, as well."
The company's historic finish was celebrated on campus that week. For Byron, the result was a sign of how the four teams had gelled together.
"I think it was a sign of strength and what we’ve built with teamwork," Byron said earlier this month. "The four of us work so closely and so well together that it feeds off of each other. Iron sharpens iron and I feel like we continue to work together and put ourselves further towards the front."
Elliott, who is the longest tenured member of the Hendrick Motorsports driver lineup, couldn’t believe that the organization hadn’t done that before.
"I remember that just being the first thing that kind of came to my mind," Elliott said. "I’m just like – man, of all the years and success of Hendrick Motorsports and all the great things that have been done with the organization, I was just blown away that they had never ran 1-2-3-4 before. I thought it was great. I was super proud of everybody for achieving that top to bottom. From the crew members, to the drivers, to everybody that works at the shop that doesn’t go on the road – it was a big deal as an organization to sweep a weekend like that. I’m proud to have been a very small part of it. It was fun."
The Dover victory kicked off a run of six straight points-paying victories (as well as an All-Star Race win) for the group. Those wins included the Coca-Cola 600 that marked the historic 269th Cup Series triumph for Hendrick Motorsports and saw the organization surpass Petty Enterprises atop the list.