Let the party begin for Hendrick Motorsports.
Though it took longer than team owner Rick Hendrick expected, 16 races and seven months to be exact, it was fitting that the organization’s 200th win came at NASCAR’s most historic track — Darlington Raceway.
“I didn’t think it was ever gonna happen,” Hendrick said. “I thought we were going to haul around those (200-win) hats forever. Man, I’m so proud of these guys. ... It’s just been so special.
“I wanted to win it in Martinsville because of the (plane) crash up there and that was our first race (win on April 29, 1984). We looked like we had it done. But when you think of the tradition of Darlington, it couldn’t have come at a better place. I’m glad it’s over.
“I just want to thank everybody — those folks that gave it their all, gave their lives in ’04, my family, my friends, this is a special night and we want to remember them.”
Not surprisingly, Jimmie Johnson, who amassed the last five of Hendrick’s 10 Sprint Cup championships, also provided win 200 for his owner and in dominant fashion by leading the final 44 laps to the finish. Johnson’s 56 career wins broke a tie with Rusty Wallace for eighth on the all-time win list.