CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports eclipsed several major milestones in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
At Texas Motor Speedway in September, William Byron delivered the 300th Cup Series win for team owner Rick Hendrick. The victory came two years after the organization passed Petty Enterprises mark of 268 Cup Series wins to become the winningest team in premier series history. In total, 20 drivers have won Cup Series races at Hendrick Motorsports and the team stands at 301 wins following the completion of the 2023 season.
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Three weeks earlier at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Larson’s win to open the playoffs also marked the 500th national series win for the Hendrick Motorsports engine department. That group currently builds engines for more than just the four Cup Series cars for Hendrick Motorsports. JTG Daugherty Racing and Spire Motorsports used Hendrick engines as do NASCAR Xfinity Series teams JR Motorsports and DGM Racing. Through JTG’s win with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the 2023 DAYTONA 500, the engine shop earned its eighth win in "The Great American Race." At the close of the 2023 season, the engine shop has accumulated 506 national series wins.
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Each driver knocked down a notable mark as well in 2023. Larson made his 300th Cup Series start in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Entering 2024, he is 444 laps led from crossing 8,000. He has led no fewer than 635 laps led in the past three seasons.
In October at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, Chase Elliott reached over 5,000 laps led and all of the circuits out front have come at Hendrick Motorsports (ranking third behind Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson). The 2024 season will see Elliott make his 300th Cup Series start, which is currently slated to occur at the Coca-Cola 600. Crew chief Alan Gustafson made his 650th Cup start atop the pit box at Talladega Superspeedway in April and he will make his 700th start in 2024 (currently slated to come at Michigan International Speedway in August).
Byron made his 200th career Cup Series start in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He also recorded the 100th win for the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet with a triumph at Darlington in March. That legendary car number now sits at 103 wins in the Cup Series, which is the third-highest mark among numbers. Byron is responsible for 10 of those victories, while Gordon recorded 93 of them.
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Alex Bowman started the year off with his record sixth-straight front-row start in the DAYTONA 500. Dating back to 2018, he has started first or second in that season-opening points-paying event. The 2024 season will see the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 make his 300th Cup Series start. That is scheduled to come at Dover Motor Speedway in April, which is the site of the Bowman-led top-four sweep for the organization in 2021.
"I think in life, business and definitely in sports, you've got to have milestones and you have to have goals to reach every year or every week," Hendrick told HendrickMotorsports.com. "You think about winning 500 races with the engine shop and 300 wins in the (NASCAR) Cup Series. I never dreamed we would win 10 or 15 races. Let alone 300. All the poles and laps led. We are getting so close to setting another high mark.
"It is all about people. Getting the best people, having people working together and having good talent. The key is for everybody to work together and share best practices. I don’t know where the top of the mountain is but we are going to keep striving and moving that goalpost. Every time we hit a mark; we’ll move it a little higher. I think all of our people expect that and we love that. We love the challenge and when there is a high-water mark, we go after it."
There are several marks on the horizon for the 2024 season. Hendrick Motorsports needs four poles to reach 250 in the Cup Series. The team also needs 243 laps led to cross 80,000 laps led in NASCAR's premier series. In January, the seven-time championship-winning duo of Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They will become the ninth and 10th full-time personnel members at Hendrick Motorsports to be enshrined in the Hall. Knaus continues his work with the organization as the team’s vice president of competition.