By admin | March 26, 2010
By Richard Allen
Quick, name the track in which Hendrick Motorsports has won the most races? If you said Martinsville, you’re correct. In their history, HMS has tallied eighteen victories on the flat, tight half-mile.
Martinsville was the site of Rick Hendrick’s first triumph as a car owner with Geoffrey Bodine behind the wheel of the #5 Chevrolet. Since that day in 1984, Mr. Hendrick has entered victory lane with a total of four drivers. Jeff Gordon has won seven times on the southern Virginia track for HMS while Jimmie Johnson has added six victories for the organization.
Even though Martinsville has provided some of Mr. Hendrick’s finest moments as a team owner, it was this track that no doubt provided the worst moment of his life as well. In October of 2004, a plane crash claimed the lives of Hendrick’s son Ricky as well as other family members as they traveled to the track for a race. In a cruel twist of irony, Johnson won that race, but there was no victory lane celebration on that day.
Hendrick Chevrolets have scored three wins in the last four races on this part asphalt, part concrete racing surface with Gordon and Johnson sharing the load.
This week a new element will be thrown into the mix. NASCAR has replaced the rear wing on the Car of Tomorrow with a more traditional spoiler.
Mostly with Johnson, HMS dominated the wing era in the sport. However, there is little reason to believe the change will slow this organization down. They won numerous races before the wing ever came to NASCAR. And more, whenever there is a major change, the teams with the most resources tend to do best. No team has more resources at their disposal than HMS.
While there are a number of drivers who could win this Sunday in the Goody’s Pain Relief 500, a Hendrick win is about as close to a sure thing as there might ever be in NASCAR.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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