Celebrating Hendrick's 200th

May, 15, 2012

One of the interesting aspects of NASCAR is that it is both a team and individual sport.

There's only one driver in the car but countless people put in the work at the body shop, engine shop, on pit road and atop the pit box. Not to mention people who sell the sponsorship to get the money to get the equipment to get speed and results.

So that's why we celebrate Hendrick Motorsports' 200th win. Because it's not only a win for Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick, it's a win from A to Z in that organization, something special that countless people have been involved in for nearly 30 years.

If you didn't know (then you better recognize), Johnson's Southern 500 win on Saturday was the 200th for the organization, meaning it joins the now-defunct Petty Enterprises (separate from the current Richard Petty Motorsports) as teams to reach the 200-win plateau.

To put it in perspective, only three other teams have even reached 100 wins: Junior Johnson's team (132 wins), Roush Fenway Racing (127) and Richard Childress Racing (100).

Fifteen different drivers have won Cup races for Hendrick, from Jeff Gordon and Johnson, who have combined for more than 70 percent of those wins, to drivers such as Casey Mears and Jerry Nadeau, who each won one apiece.

Among the other four teams with 100 wins, only Johnson's teams had more than 10 drivers win. Petty and Roush each had eight, and Childress seven.

Trivia break: After Gordon and Johnson, which driver had the most wins for Hendrick?

Feels Like The First Time

NASCAR Sultan of Stats Mike Forde sent out an incredible stat sheet of everything you wanted or wished to know about Hendrick Motorsports' 200 victories.

In there is a breakdown of every driver who got his first win for Hendrick Motorsports, eight drivers total.

But I dug a little deeper, embraced my inner dork and referred to a spreadsheet to find out that it's the most first-time winners in Cup history by any team.

Take the other two active teams with more than 100 wins. Seven of the eight drivers to win for Roush Fenway had never won before, while five of the seven winners for Richard Childress Racing picked up their first win for RCR.

Trivia break: Who is the only driver to win for Roush Fenway Racing who had previously won for another team?

But Something On Johnson

Johnson's win moved him past Rusty Wallace into sole possession of eighth all time with 56 Cup wins.

This, of course, begs the question of how high Johnson can get on the all-time wins list.

It's fun to speculate but tough to figure out which numbers to speculate with.

For his career, Johnson's win percentage is around 15 percent, which equates to 5.4 wins per 36-race season. But he's won only three of 47 starts over the past two seasons, a 6.4 percentage and 2.3 wins per season.

From there, I'll let you draw your own conclusion, but let's pick a point in the middle which accounts for declining numbers as his career goes on, let's say 3.5 wins per season for the rest of his career.

Once again, highly speculative, but let's say he drives until he's 45, since not everyone is Mark Martin. So he'll retire after the 2020 season.

My speculation puts him between 86 and 87 wins -- enough to move past Jeff Gordon's current mark ahead of all but Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Trivia break: Who is next on Johnson's checklist, the driver seventh all time in Cup wins?

Trivia Break Answers

1. Terry Labonte won 12 races, the only other driver in double digits.
2. Jamie McMurray won for Chip Ganassi before going to Roush Fenway.
3. Dale Earnhardt is seventh with 76 wins, still 20 ahead of Johnson.

Matt Willis | email

ESPN Staff Writer
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.



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