Finishing 1-2-3 would be unprecedented, too

November, 4, 2009
Johnson, Martin & GordonMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireWith Jimmie Johnson, bottom, poised to win the title, Mark Martin, left, in second and Jeff Gordon third in the standings, Hendrick Motorsports could have the first 1-2-3 finish in Sprint Cup history.

Jimmie Johnson is almost assured of an unprecedented fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title, but Hendrick Motorsports has another dominance record it can achieve.

Rick Hendrick can become the first team owner in NASCAR history to sweep the top three spots in the standings.

With three races remaining, Hendrick drivers hold down first, second and third with Johnson, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon, respectively.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who drives for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, has the best shot to break up the party. He's fourth, 47 points behind Gordon.

Tony Stewart is fifth, 40 points behind Montoya, but technically, Stewart also is a Hendrick guy. His Stewart Haas Racing team shares a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, using Hendrick chassis and engines.

If Stewart passes Montoya, Hendrick cars would be four-for-four at the top. Hendrick is the only organization to claim the top two spots in the standings since the modern era began in 1972.

Terry Labonte won the 1996 championship when teammate Jeff Gordon finished second. Gordon also was second to Johnson in 2007.

Multi-car teams were rare back in the day, but a triple sweep almost happened in 1956. Buck Baker won the title driving for legendary car owner Carl Kiekhaefer. Teammate Speedway Thompson finished third.

Herb Thomas, who was second in the standings that year, drove a third Kiekhaefer Dodge for more than half the season. But Thomas ended the year in a Chevrolet he owned.

Chevrolet drivers hold the top five spots in the standings heading to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The last time the top five drivers ended the year in Chevrolets was 1980.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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