Rick Hendrick Reveals Why Jimmie Johnson Surprised Him the Most at Hendrick Motorsports

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December 22, 2020 6:40 pm

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.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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.

READ MORE – Why Jimmie Johnson Picked the Number ’48’ for His Car When He Joined Hendrick Motorsports

Bhargav Gopal

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune. Bhargav is quite a genius in his field, having won the All-India Marketing Case Study Competition 2015. He also loves to combine his love for marketing and sports by taking part in competitions like Knockout: Sports Marketing Case Study by IIM Ahmedabad.

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