99 Down, 1 To Go

HARRISBURG, N.C.- - Hendrick Motorsports is just one win away from becoming only the second motorsports operation to reach 100 Winston Cup wins in NASCAR's modern era. The 17-year-old organization claimed three wins in its first year of operation- the only team in the modern era to do that- and hasn't slowed since.

"It will be an exciting achievement for Hendrick Motorsports to reach 100 wins in the modern era of NASCAR," said Rick Hendrick, CEO of Hendrick Motorsports. "It's a great testament to the talented drivers, crew chiefs and chassis and engine builders and everyone who has worked at Hendrick Motorsports that helped us get to this point."

Hendrick Motorsports claimed win number 99 when Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag yesterday during the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo is one of three cars HMS fields in NASCAR's Winston Cup series- a fourth car, #48, with driver Jimmie Johnson will run a limited schedule in 2001 and full schedule in 2002. Also competing in full schedules are: #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo with Terry Labonte; and #25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet Monte Carlo with Jerry Nadeau. Together, the trio accounts for 66 of the organizations' 99 wins, and 61 of those wins have come within the last five years.

"We're especially thrilled to have achieved so many wins at a time when NASCAR's Winston Cup Series is more competitive than ever," said Hendrick, whose organization employs more than 300 at its 67-acre racing complex in just north of Charlotte.

Only Junior Johnson holds more wins in the "modern era" as team owner than Hendrick Motorsports, with 135 wins from 1972 to 1994. In stock car racing's early days, Winston Cup- then Grand National- teams raced as many as 61 races in a single season; that changed to 31 races a season in 1972 and has hovered around that number until this year's increased 36-race schedule. Other teams posting high win numbers in NASCAR's modern era of points competition include Richard Childress Racing (70), Petty Enterprises (63), Woods Brothers Racing (61), Roush Racing (49) and Robert Yates Racing (49).

When Rick Hendrick founded Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, called All-Star Racing in its first year of operation, the car dealership owner was simply looking for a way to enjoy his passion for racing. When Hendrick's first NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine took three checkered flags and three pole positions that inaugural year, he set a fast pace and high standard that future HMS drivers would follow.

Hendrick brought those high standards to the behind-the-scenes activities, as well, and has built one of racing's top facilities. All HMS race cars are constructed start-to-finish at the complex, and more than 400 engines are built on-site each year, with the organization leasing some of those engines to other NASCAR teams.

The backbone to the success of many race teams is often the crew chief, and Hendrick Motorsports is no exception. Ray Evernham (47 victories and three Winston Cup championships with Gordon) and Gary DeHart (one championship with Labonte) share some credit for HMS's impending 100th win for their crew chief duties at Hendrick Motorsports in recent years, and the organization started 17 years ago with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde and car builder Robert Gee.

Hendrick Motorsports also has had some of the circuit's top drivers behind the wheels of its cars. Contributing to wins at Hendrick Motorsports were Bodine (7), Tim Richmond (9), Darrell Waltrip (9), Ken Schrader (4), Ricky Rudd (4), Gordon (54), Labonte (11) and Nadeau (1).

En route to helping Hendrick Motorsports reach its 99 wins, Gordon and Labonte were setting records of their own. In 2000, Gordon became the youngest driver to achieve 50 Winston Cup wins. He also set a record for consecutive victories on road courses (six), and he and Labonte- who holds the record for most consecutive Winston Cup starts with 655- combined to bring home to HMS four consecutive Winston Cup titles. Gordon won the championship in 1995, 1997 and 1998 and Labonte claimed his second title in 1996. In 1997, Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Jack Sprague won that series' championship (his first of two with HMS), making Rick Hendrick the first team owner to win two NASCAR touring division championships in one year.

Other team notables include Gordon's win at the inaugural Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis in 1994- he's recorded two wins and three poles in seven visits to the track- and the team's history at the competitive Daytona SpeedWeeks events. Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports Winston Cup teams have won the Daytona 500 four times with 14 top-five finishes, four poles and three outside poles. The teams have registered four wins in each of Daytona's non-points events-- the 125 Qualifying event and the Budweiser Shootout (formerly the Busch Clash).

In 1997, Hendrick Motorsports Winston Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven finished 1-2-3 in the Daytona 500. Gordon went on that year to record his second championship.

Hendrick Motorsports already has two wins this season- not including Gordon's victory at The Winston- 11 top fives, 14 top 10's and one pole position. Its 98th NASCAR Winston Cup victory in a points race came at this year's UAW/Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas, where Gordon won the event and the No Bull Bonus $1 million. It was Gordon's first win this season, but Rick Hendrick is confident that there is at least one more win for HMS in this 36-race season. "Last year was a rebuilding year for Hendrick Motorsports," said Hendrick, whose teams brought home four wins in 2000. "We're very optimistic about 2001, and we're looking forward to celebrating that 100th win."

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