NASCAR: Ranking The Greatest HMS Drivers Of All Time
Today Beyond the Flag will look into ranking the top-five drivers to ever race for Rick Hendrick at Hendrick Motorsports.
A team that has won 245 Sprint Cup Series races which include 12 car owner championships. Hendrick Motorsports debuted in 1984 and has gone on to become one of the biggest names in NASCAR history.
Although a tough task, we gave it our best shot to rank the drivers who have exhibited the most talent, helped the company, and have had success on the track. It was a tough task to pick five drivers out of one of the better teams in NASCAR, but we gave it our best shot. With that being said, here are our top five Hendrick Motorsports drivers of all time.
Dale Earnhardt Jr
5. Geoff Bodine
Geoff Bodine was one of the pillars of the foundation of Hendrick Motorsports and if it weren’t for him, who knows where the team would be today. Rick Hendrick is notorious for telling the story of how Geoff Bodine helped save his business by winning in the teams first ever race Martinsville in 1984. Hendrick had plans to shut the team down for a little while after the Martinsville race but with Geoff Bodine winnings, the team was able to get sponsorship and continue to pursue the success it has achieved today.
Bodine won seven races driving from 1984-1989 for Hendrick. Although he does not have the amount of wins to some other drivers not on this list, what he did for the organization in 1984 by winning at Martinsville and saving the team has to be applauded.
4. Tim Richmond
Tim Richmond joined Hendrick Motorsports to work with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde in 1986 which turned into one of the greatest seasons in Hendrick Motorsports history. Richmond won 7 races in 1986 and finished 3rd in the championship standings. He won the most races in NASCAR that year and made headlines by battling week in and out against Dale Earnhardt. Richmond has won two races in 1987 with Hendrick Motorsports in only 8 races which is when he started to battle the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS.
Richmond’s spot on our list comes from his pure talent. Although there are drivers who didn’t make our list who won more races at Hendrick Motorsports, we believe Richmond would have won many more races and possibly a few championships if he had not gotten sick. Tim Richmond was one of the greatest drivers that we unfortunately did not get to see live out his prime.
3. Terry Labonte
Terry Labonte joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1994 with already a championship under his belt which he won ten years earlier in 1984. Labonte helped solidify Hendrick Motorsports as one of the better teams in NASCAR along with young up and coming Jeff Gordon. The 5 car always showed a tremendous amount of consistency, and Labonte really set the tempo for a driver who showed much patience and earned a tremendous amount of respect.
In 1996, Labonte won Hendrick Motorsport’s second championship which would be apart of four straight championships for the organization. He won 12 races for the team during his time at Hendrick Motorsports and drove for the organization full time from 1994-2004 and then went on to do some research for the team part time in 2005 and 2006.
2. Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson was considered a steal for Hendrick Motorsports when he came to the organization in 2001 and has become won of the greatest drivers not only in Hendrick Motorsports history, but in NASCAR history as well. He has won the most championships with the organization with seven and shows no signs of slowing down still today. He has won 80 races for the organization and will continue to climb on the all time win list.
He has multiple prolific events for the organization, including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 500, Southern 500, and Coke 600 multiple times. Johnson also won Hendrick Motorsports 200th overall win as an organization, his ability to win anywhere will have him go down as one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history when it’s all said and done.
1. Jeff Gordon
With his career coming to an end in 2015 and again in 2016, Jeff Gordon is undoubtedly our number one all-time driver in Hendrick Motorsports history. Starting to race in the Cup Series in 1993, Gordon has gone on to win four Cup Series championships. His 93 wins rank third in NASCAR history, and you can make the argument today that he is the greatest NASCAR driver of all time.
Gordon won the team’s first championship in 1995 and followed that up by finishing second in 1996 before winning the teams third and fourth championship in 1997 and 1998. He won his fourth championship in 2001 and is still a force to be reckoned with in the series today. He has won the Daytona 500 three times, the Brickyard 400 5 times and has also captured the Coke 600 and Southern 500. With Gordon’s prolific career coming to an end, he will go down as one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history and is our number one driver in the history of Hendrick Motorsports.
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