Hendrick Motorsports is in a company of all of its own with 300 victories in the NASCAR Cup Series. The major milestone was reached by William Byron at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.
This latest accomplishment for the organization comes just over two years after Hendrick Motorsports broke the all-time wins mark of 269 victories by surpassing Petty Enterprises with Kyle Larson‘s dominating triumph in the 2021 Coca-Cola 600. The Concord, North Carolina, based team stands alone as the lone premier series organization to cross 300 wins.
“300 is just such a milestone,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “When you put that distance on Petty‘s record (of 269) by a pretty good margin and at the rate we are going, we are just adding to it. Young drivers and young crew chiefs. (Team vice chairman) Jeff Gordon is here helping. I don‘t know where we are going to go and I am not going to set a goal because the goal for me is just winning.
“If we can win races every year and compete for championships, the numbers will come. 269 was in my brain for a long time and I didn‘t think we could ever get there. I just owe it all to the people here and the drivers along the way. It is unbelievable to be at 300.”
Byron’s win at Texas saw the driver of the No. 24 take the lead with six laps to go. After restarting from fourth, he got a big run on the inside of the leaders and used that to propel to the point position for good. Besides the significance of the milestone win for the company, the victory puts Byron into the Round of 8 of the 2023 Cup Series playoffs — one step closer to reaching the Championship 4.
“It’s really special,” Byron said of being the driver to deliver the 300th Cup Series win for Hendrick Motorsports. “Growing up a Hendrick Motorsports fan, I watched win No. 200 on TV when Jimmie (Johnson) won that race. I always felt like obviously the gold standard was Hendrick Motorsports. So, if I could ever drive for them, once I started having success in my own career, that was the goal.
“When I met Mr. Hendrick when I was 14 at JR Motorsports I told him that. That was a goal to drive for him. I didn’t have a lot of confidence that that would work out, but I was going to put it out there. When we met again when I was 18 and running the (NASCAR CRAFTSMAN) Truck Series and sat down, I just had the confidence that he was going to take care of me and he was going to put me in the right places to succeed.
He committed to me and even through my rookie season, 2019 and all those years that I was kind of struggling, he just committed and kept encouraging me. I’m super thankful to him, and to give him 300 is really cool.”
This milestone comes just three weeks after the engine shop recorded its 500th national series win with Larson‘s victory at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 3, 2023.
Hendrick Motorsports‘ history of winning dates back to its first season in 1984 when Geoff Bodine won at Martinsville Speedway on April 29, 1984. The win was the first of the 300 that the organization has racked up and it also came at the team‘s winningest track, where it has gone on to win a series-best 28 times. The team has 36 multi-win seasons and has posted a win in all but one season.
“I am excited that it allows us to tell the story of our history, the drivers, the crew chiefs and the people that have contributed to that,” team vice chairman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon told HendrickMotorsports.com of reaching the 300-win milestone. “That is going to take us into next year with the 40th anniversary and all the celebrating we get to do there as well.”
Over his storied NASCAR Hall of Fame career, Gordon tallied the most wins for Hendrick Motorsports with 93 victories. From his first full-time season in 1993 to today in executive role, the four-time Cup Series champion has been apart of the organization for 268 of its wins. During that time, Gordon has seen how the organization has risen to become the gold standard in NASCAR and in racing.
“I love what Rick always says. When he was a kid growing up, when he came into NASCAR, its Petty Enterprises and the number of championships and the number of wins. That was the benchmark. Something that I don‘t think anybody thought would be touched,” Gordon said. “I think that‘s the way Rick looked at it from a car owner‘s standpoint. Yet, we were able to get to 269 (wins) in 2021 and lead in that category. That says a lot about this organization, the professionalism, the performance level and the culture of what Rick has created and been able to maintain for almost 40 years now in the sport.
“That win number is a reflection on a lot of people‘s hard work, creativity and great talent that we have here behind the wheel as well as working on the cars. I think it super cool. It is a big number. 300 blows your mind. To think that, just two years ago we were at 269 and now here we are.”
Jimmie Johnson won 83 times for the organization and earned the team‘s 200th win in 2012 at Darlington. He spent 20 years with Hendrick Motorsports and is responsible for half of the squad‘s 14 Cup Series championships.
“As everyone knows that has worked at Hendrick (Motorsports), it is such a family-orientated organization. We all take so much pride in the long history Hendrick Motorsports has had, the winning ways and the culture,” Johnson said. “It is just such a special feeling and I am very thankful to be a part of it. It is just crazy to think 300 (wins). It is wild to think of not only the race wins but the many, many championships.”
For Johnson, the success of Hendrick Motorsports comes back to Hendrick and his leadership.
“The greatest success of Hendrick Motorsports is Rick‘s love and passion for it,” Johnson said. “He is the face. That‘s probably one of the most important aspects I think to rally a group of people around you. He just has an ability to do that like no one else.”
As the team owner describes it, the race team’s success over the years is entirely about the people.
“I think any business that you’re in, it’s about people,” Hendrick said. “We take care of our people, and we treat everybody like a family. I grew up on a farm and that’s one thing my dad taught me is you have to depend on your neighbors. I’ve had that philosophy all of my adult working life.”
In its 39-year history, 20 different drivers have accounted for all of the organization‘s wins. The team has won at 31 different tracks and in seven different car numbers. The current driver lineup of Chase Elliott (18 wins), Larson (16 wins), Byron (10 wins) and Alex Bowman (seven wins) have accounted for over one-sixth of the team‘s victories.
“When you think back and you look at the list, every one of them is special,” Hendrick said of the milestone. “Some a little bit more than others for different reasons but a win is a win and that‘s what‘s got us to 300.”
As the first Cup Series team to crack 300 victories, Hendrick Motorsports is in a class by itself. That is a position that the NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner hopes continues well into future.
“I‘d like to think our legacy will be that we will be in a position to win so many that nobody will ever break it,” Hendrick said. “People say records are made to be broken but we took a long time to break Petty‘s record, so I hope it will be a long time to break ours, if they can do it.”
— Hendrick Motorsports —