Who has really ruled the NASCAR world?
Hendrick Motorsports has 199 NASCAR Cup victories and 10 Cup championships.
Richard Childress Racing won its 100th Cup race this year and has six Cup championships and four Nationwide titles. It still has a chance to add a seventh Cup title this season.
Roush Fenway Racing has 125 Cup wins and 299 across all three of NASCAR’s national touring series. Roush’s Carl Edwards currently leads the Chase and hopes to give Roush its third Cup championship and sixth overall.
Are these the three greatest teams in NASCAR history?
If not, how do they stack up against the greatest ever?
Here’s a look:
1. Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick’s 10 Cup championships matches the 10 won by Petty Enterprises, but Hendrick’s came in the most competitive era in NASCAR history and include a remarkable five straight by Jimmie Johnson – arguably the most impressive record in the sport’s history.
Hendrick also has won Cup titles with three different drivers – Johnson, Jeff Gordon (4) and Terry Labonte – and rolled up an impressive victory total with two of the greatest drivers of the current era – Gordon and Johnson.
It also has won a Nationwide Series title (Brian Vickers) and three NASCAR Truck series championships (Jack Sprague).
Hendrick has 247 wins across NASCAR’s top three series, including 199 Cup victories, which is second all time.
But more importantly, Hendrick has built a dynasty by dominating the most competitive era in NASCAR history.
2. Petty Enterprises
Until the rise of the Hendrick dynasty, Petty Enterprises was the NASCAR organization by which all others were measured.
Led by Richard Petty, the sport’s all-time winningest driver, the Pettys compiled 268 Cup wins.
And between Richard Petty and his father, Lee, the founder of the organization and patriarch of the Petty family, it won 10 Cup championships from 1954-1979 – before the birth of the NASCAR Nationwide or Truck series.
That Petty Enterprises dominated the sport for so long makes it a strong candidate for the top team in NASCAR history.
3. Richard Childress Racing
When Richard Childress gave up on a struggling driving career, he decided to focus his attention on building a successful career as a team owner.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Perhaps the biggest move Childress made was attracting young driver Dale Earnhardt.
With Earnhardt behind the wheel, Childress won 76 races and six Cup championships.
Perhaps Childress’ greatest challenge was keeping his organization together after the tragic death of Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500.
But spurred by Kevin Harvick, the feisty young driver Childress chose to replace Earnhardt, RCR has not only carried on but remained a strong contender.
Childress won its 100th race this year – 18 of those victories by Harvick – and still is in contention for a seventh Cup championship.
RCR also has been a force in the other top NASCAR series as well, winning four Nationwide titles – two driving championships by Harvick and two owners titles – and one Truck series title with Mike Skinner.
RCR has 180 victories across the three series.
4. Roush Fenway Racing
Though Roush has won just two Cup titles, what it has done across all three NASCAR touring series is remarkable.
Roush has 299 total victories – 125 in Cup, 124 in Nationwide and 50 in Truck.
Roush’s two Cup titles came in 2003, with Matt Kenseth, and 2004, winning the inaugural Chase for the Sprint Cup with Kurt Busch. Carl Edwards is in position to win a third this season.
Roush also has two Nationwide championships with Greg Biffle and Edwards and a Truck series title with Biffle.
Though Roush trails the top organizations in Cup championships, it has set the standard for excellence across all three top NASCAR series.
5. Junior Johnson and Associates
Junior Johnson’s organization was to the 1970s and ’80s what Hendrick has been to the last two decades.
In a 10-year period, Johnson won six Cup championships, with Cale Yarborough winning three straight from 1976-78 and Darrell Waltrip winning three from 1981-85.
Prior to NASCAR’s era of three major touring series, Johnson’s teams dominated its top circuit for two decades, compiling 132 Cup wins.
Yarborough won 28 races over his three championship seasons while Waltrip had two 12-win seasons.
Oh yeah, and Johnson, the NASCAR Hall of Famer, also won 50 races as a driver, 13 in his own car in 1965.
6. Joe Gibbs Racing
Some men are just natural-born leaders. Put Joe Gibbs at the top of that list.
Gibbs won three Super Bowls as an NFL head coach. When that phase of his career came to a close, he turned his attention to NASCAR, where has won three Cup championships.
Gibbs won the title in 2000 with Bobby Labonte and again in 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart.
Along the way, he has established one of the most dominant teams in NASCAR, with Joe Gibbs Racing rivaling Hendrick, Childress and Roush among the sport’s elite teams.
Gibbs has 93 Cup wins and 68 in the Nationwide Series. He also has won three Nationwide titles – a drivers championship with Kyle Busch and two owners titles.
Holman-Moody – owned by John Holman and Ralph Moody – was a force in all forms of racing as the factory team for Ford.
Along with Petty Enterprises, it dominated NASCAR in the 1950s and ’60s with some of the top drivers of the era.
Holman-Moody won 96 Cup races with such star drivers as Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, Dick Hutcherson, David Pearson and Bobby Allison.
Pearson won 16 races and the Cup championship for Holman-Moody and Ford in 1968 and another 11 races and the Cup title again in 1969.
8. Wood Brothers Racing
Though the famed Wood Brothers have never won a Cup championship, they have 98 Cup wins, the latest coming in this year’s Daytona 500 with rookie driver Trevor Bayne.
Of the team’s wins, 43 came with Pearson in the 1970s, when the Wood Brothers challenged the Pettys for NASCAR supremacy.
Had they chosen to run a full schedule, the Wood Brothers may have challenged Petty for the Cup championship. Instead, they ran select races, focused on superspeedways and won some of the sport’s biggest races.