Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) has always been one of the premier teams in the top division of stock car racing. Much of the success that has come their way in the modern era of the NASCAR Cup Series is attributed to Jimmie Johnson.
The racing legend started a run of title wins in 2006 that lasted up until 2010. It was a golden run for HMS on all fronts during that period, but Johnson directly influenced their success with the title wins.
HMS owner Rick Hendrick was asked by Jeff Gordon in an interview about which NASCAR driver surprised him the most. Needless to say, it was a certain No.48 who stormed his way through the Cup Series to make his name.
When Hendrick was ‘scared to death’ regarding Jimmie Johnson
Mr. Hendrick stated, “I guess Jimmie, I mean you know he winning all those championships. The five back-to-back was kind of unreal. I remember we were scared to death, we didn’t have a sponsor and we put him together.”
Gordon then expressed that Johnson’s feat surprised him greatly as well.
Johnson had just started off his career in the year 2002 and was a rookie back in the day. Despite that, he had a stellar season which consisted of three race wins, as he finished fifth in the season’s drivers’ standings.
“And then he comes out and wins races and then the championships. So that was probably the biggest surprise,” concluded Rick Hendrick in response to the question.
Johnson’s consistency elevated the status of Hendrick Motorsports
Johnson did not have a spectacular final season with the team in 2020. Regardless, no one would disregard his years of service to one of the most successful franchises in Cup Series history.
Of the 256 Cup Series wins Hendrick Motorsports has since its inception, Jimmie Johnson scored 83 of those. Barring the last three seasons, he had the knack of winning at least one race every season. His frequent appearances in the top-5 charts of every race made it more special.
It is not difficult to see why there is such a wonderful relationship between both team and driver.
If Rick Hendrick had the choice of going back in time to hire a driver for his team, he would certainly not hesitate to pick the modern-day legend that is Johnson.