Another Milestone for Mr. Hendrick
Leave it to Jimmie Johnson to break a dry spell and capture a milestone moment: he’s done it twice now.
When Jimmie captured Hendrick Motorsports’ 199th victory in October of 2011, it seemed likely that win No. 200 was right around the corner. But it took 16 races for “Mr. H” to return to victory lane (a long dry spell for the storied owner). In May of 2012 Jimmie won the Darlington Southern 500 to snap the streak and earn Hendrick his 200th win.
Last week in Indianapolis Johnson ended another dry spell for a milestone moment. Before Sunday’s Brickyard 400, Hendrick’s last top five finish was at Michigan in June. And it just so happened it was the organization’s 999th top five. The five races between Michigan and Indy were tumultuous for the team: their worst since 2000. In flies Jimmie Johnson, and in typical Superman style, he saved the day and gave Mr. Hendrick his 1,000th top five finish.
Johnson’s first top five was the 421st for the organization. In his seventh start, he finished third at Atlanta in 2002.
Johnson also gave Hendrick Motorsports their 500th top five with a victory at Pocono in August of 2004.
Team Lowe’s Racing’s third place effort in Indianapolis marked Johnson’s 214th career top five, making up 21.4% of all of Hendrick’s top five finishes, second only to Jeff Gordon’s 325 top five’s, naturally equating to 32.5% of the total Hendrick count. Twenty other drivers have driven Hendrick Motorsports into the top five.
Johnson was proud of his team’s effort to rally from a mid-race speeding penalty which set the Lowe’s Red Vest No. 48 back:
“We’ve been working really hard to get our cars where they need to be. We’re still not happy, but we’re getting closer. I’m very proud of the effort today. Unfortunately a mistake on my part in that second segment, trying to get in the pits I got dinged for speeding and then rallied from like 24th back. So, I’m just very proud of this race team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and I’m very proud to run this red car and represent all the men and women who work in Lowe’s stores all around the country. We got third but I wish we would have gotten a win…This Chevy was running good. Once we got back into that lead pack of cars, we were good to go. It’s just so unfortunate about our speeding penalty. I was just digging hard and we got it done.”
Johnson also mathematically clinched his spot in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup last Sunday, becoming one of five drivers to have done so thus far in 2016.