MARTINSVILLE, Va. – "You just cannot plan it any better or script it any better."

The words of team vice chairman Jeff Gordon were the perfect summation following William Byron's NASCAR Cup Series win at Martinsville Speedway on Hendrick Motorsports' 40th anniversary weekend at the track. The victory was emotional for the team, as Byron held off teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott in a NASCAR overtime finish. As if penned by a legendary screenwriter, the organization finished 1-2-3 at the Virginia short track – the first top-three sweep in track history – and placed all four cars in the top 10. 

"There's not a person in our organization who didn't realize how much winning today was going to mean to Rick Hendrick, Linda Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports," Gordon said. You look at William. He's been stepping it up at the big milestone wins for this company."

RELATED: Scenes from victory lane at Martinsville

Team owner Rick Hendrick was initially slated to drive the pace car ahead of the race but he could not attend the race as he recovers from knee replacement surgery. He watched the race from home with family, rewatched it on Monday morning and estimated he had over 240 text messages to respond to. Throughout the day on Sunday, Hendrick constantly communicated with Gordon, receiving updates and videos from the track. He couldn't believe how the day turned out for the team. 

"I was in shock," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to let myself believe that it (a win) could happen and then we were running all in the top eight. Then, we were leading and the caution came out (setting up an overtime finish). You know how those green-white-checkered (finishes) will end up especially at a track like that. When it was all over, I couldn’t have imagined.

"You plan all this. You take all these people there. You do all that to celebrate (the 40th anniversary) but if you had one car that had a shot to win, you’d be really happy. It turns out that we had multiple cars that could win the race. I am still having a hard time believing it. The day was almost like divine intervention. How in the world did it all end up like that on a day like that?"

Hendrick says victory caps off 'special day'

Everything about this weekend had extra meaning and significance behind it. Ruby is the color associated with 40th anniversaries. Accordingly, the cars, team hats and driver firesuits were all in ruby red. Linda Hendrick's name was over the door on the No. 5 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to honor her contributions to the Hendrick businesses. Chase Elliott's helmet had a star for every Hendrick Motorsports win and the championships were designated in gold. Martinsville has been the team's winningest track, as their 29 victories are the most by any team at any track. Hendrick grew up in Palmer Springs, Virginia and the first race he attended was at Martinsville. He considers it a home track. The 0.526-mile venue is nearly as associated with the organization as any driver.

This took place just three weeks shy of the 40th anniversary (April 29) of the team's first win with driver Geoff Bodine. He was a co-grand marshal with Gordon and reunited with the original No. 5 pit crew. Back in 1984, Bodine's victory saved Hendrick from closing the doors and the rest is history. Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for wins (305), poles (249), championships (14), laps led (80,453) and many more statistical categories. 

"Linda and I were talking about it yesterday. There's so many twists and turns in life that could have taken you someplace totally different," Hendrick said when reflecting on how things might have turned out if his team hadn't won at Martinsville in 1984.

RELATED: See every win for Hendrick Motorsports | Look back at all the Martinsville wins

The Martinsville spring race served as the centerpiece of the 40th anniversary celebration. It was the eighth race on the schedule, just as the 1984 race was the eighth race that year. The team worked with track president Clay Campbell and his group to create an unforgettable experience. Seven buses carrying 1,500 employees, friends and family of Hendrick Motorsports were part of a company outing planned for the better part of the year. They sat and stood in turn two in the team's hospitality section, overlooking the site of that inaugural win adorned in ruby red shirts to cheer the group on during Sunday's race. 

"It's pretty surreal," Gordon said. There are just so many things wrapped up in the emotions of what today meant, from just the time spent with Rick and Linda (Hendrick) planning for the 40th anniversary to talking about all of our drivers who have won, what Martinsville means to this company, planning this day and having all of our folks here.

"I don't even know where to begin. There are so many things that are special. I immediately looked up on the hill and saw all those ruby red shirts just going nuts."

Winning crew chief Rudy Fugle was pumped up to see the Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group teammates out in full force. 

"You see our strength off of turn two today," Fugle said of the employees, family and friends section. "If I were a competitor, looked up off of turn two and saw all those people there, I'd be imitated by that. It was amazing coming out of the trailer; all those people were already there.  I'm proud to have all those people behind us and helping us."

RELATED: Short-track strides show in spades for Byron

Byron's series-best third of the season was his latest milestone moment at Hendrick Motorsports. He kicked off the 40th anniversary with a win in the 2024 DAYTONA 500 on the same day as the company's first Cup Series start (Feb. 19). Last May, Byron earned the 100th Cup Series win for the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway and in September, he scored the 300th premier series win for the team at Texas Motor Speedway. After doing a burnout on the front stretch, Byron drove over to turn two and did another smoke show in front of all the employees. 

“It’s awesome and way bigger than me,” Byron said. There are so many men and women to whom this is a tribute with all the hard work in the shop. They have built something so special over the years. I am thankful to be a part of it and drive the No. 24. It’s pretty special.”

The 1-2-3 finish by Byron, Kyle Larson and Elliott was the fourth top-three sweep in team history and the third in the last four years for the squad. With Alex Bowman’s eighth-place finish, the team placed all four entries in the top 10 at Martinsville for the sixth time in team history. 

RELATED: Hendrick Motorsports achieves first 1-2-3 sweep in Martinsville history

“Awesome to have a Hendrick Motorsports top three on a day like today, with what it means to the company and celebrating 40 years,” Larson said. “Having all the Hendrick Motorsports’ employees here with their families to celebrate with. We are excited for Hendrick Motorsports and I am happy to contribute to a good day.”

While Elliott would have liked to be the driver who delivered the noteworthy victory, he was happy for the organization’s milestone day and glad one of his teammates could win. 

“Congrats to William and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Rick and Linda, Jeff (Gordon), Jeff (Andrews, team president and general manager), Chad (Knaus, vice president of competition) and all the people who put this together for us. They have an unbelievable program and we are all proud to call it home.”

A photo with all four drivers, the executives and everyone from the company in attendance was the capstone to a day to remember for years to come. 

“To see our folks rally behind this milestone and this moment,” Gordon said. Get on buses early this morning and come up here. Listen, the music was going. They were partying up there pretty early. They had a good time.

“To cap that off with the victory, like what this is going to do for our company is incredible, right? To be able to engage them with a day like today and our history, but also making history at the same time.”