Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Championship Notes

10TH TITLE: Hendrick Motorsports now is NASCAR’s all-time leader in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner championships with 10 after Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team earned their fifth consecutive series title Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports previously was tied with Petty Enterprises, which earned nine Cup owner championships.

THE OTHER GUYS: With its fifth straight championship, Hendrick Motorsports becomes one of just four teams in major American professional sports to have scored five or more titles consecutively. The Boston Celtics posted eight NBA titles in a row starting with the 1958-59 season and ending in 1965-66. Hendrick now is tied with the New York Yankees, which earned five World Series rings from 1949-53, and the Montreal Canadiens, which scored five Stanley Cups from 1956-60.

COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports’ 10 total Sprint Cup owner championships are tied for eighth behind the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadiens (24 Stanley Cups), Boston Celtics (17 NBA titles), Los Angeles Lakers (16 NBA titles), Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cups), Green Bay Packers (12 NFL championships) and Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups). The St. Louis Cardinals own 10 World Series titles.

American Muscle

ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2010 Sprint Cup car owner championship is the 13th for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR’s three national series, extending the team’s all-time record. Richard Childress Racing ranks second among owners with 11 combined titles. In the car owner category, Hendrick has won 10 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship, which came in 2003.

KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: Chad Knaus is the only crew chief ever to win more than two consecutive Sprint Cup titles (he now has five in a row), and his championship total (also five) ranks him second all-time among crew chiefs in NASCAR history. Only Dale Inman (eight titles) has more.

FIVE-PEAT: Johnson is the first driver in NASCAR history to capture five straight Sprint Cup titles and the first champion in the Chase format to overcome a points deficit going into the final event. Johnson, however, is not the first driver ever to come back and win a championship. Most recently, Alan Kulwicki rallied from 30 points down going in to the 1992 season finale to win it all.

TWO TO GO: With a fifth title, Johnson breaks a tie with teammate Jeff Gordon to become the Sprint Cup championship leader among active drivers and third all-time. Johnson is two titles shy of NASCAR’s all-time leaders, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, who scored seven apiece during their Hall of Fame careers.

DRIVE FOR FIVE: Winning five straight championships is a first for Hendrick Motorsports, which previously was the only NASCAR team to have achieved four titles consecutively. In addition to Johnson’s 2006-10 run, Hendrick scored four in a row with Gordon (1995, 1997 and 1998) and Terry Labonte (1996). No other team has won more than three Sprint Cup championships in consecutive seasons.

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Johnson isn’t the first driver in motor sports this year to come back from a points deficit and capture the series championship in the season finale. John Force (NHRA Funny Car), Sebastian Vettel (F1) and Dario Franchitti (IndyCar) join Johnson in coming from behind to capture their series championships in the final race of the season. Force trailed first by 37 points going into the Nov. 14 finale, when he rallied to win his 15th Funny Car title. Vettel made up 15 points in F1’s season finale on Nov. 14, while Franchitti overcame a 12-point deficit on Oct. 2 to capture the IndyCar championship in the last race of the season.

WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient team in major American professional sports, earning 10 titles since its inception in 1984 for a 37.04 all-time title-winning percentage. The Celtics rank second with 17 titles in 65 seasons (26.15 percent), while the Yankees are third with 27 World Series championships in 107 seasons (25.23 percent). Hendrick has won 10 of the last 16 Sprint Cup championships (1995-2010), putting the team’s title-winning percentage during that span at 62.5.

SINCE 1984: No other major American professional sports team has earned more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, the organization’s inaugural season. In that time, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned eight championships and the Chicago Bulls have collected six titles. The New York Yankees and Edmonton Oilers have scored five titles apiece.

STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup campaign without winning a pole position (1984-2010). The team scored five this season, including two from Johnson.

APPROACHING 200: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 25 straight seasons (194 victories from 1986-2010), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick’s first Daytona 500.

ANOTHER ONE FOR CHEVY: Chevrolet captured its 34th Sprint Cup manufacturers’ championship this season after winning 18 races. Johnson led all Chevy drivers with seven victories.

*When referencing “major American professional sports,” the following have been factored in: Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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