FORT WORTH, Texas (April 1, 2008) -- Hendrick Motorsports heads into the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway looking to regain its momentum. Six races into the Sprint Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports finds itself in an unfamiliar place. The...
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 1, 2008) -- Hendrick Motorsports heads into the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway looking to regain its momentum. Six races into the Sprint Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports finds itself in an unfamiliar place. The powerhouse team that claimed 18 Sprint Cup victories in 2007 is winless thus far in 2008.
Two Hendrick Motorsports drivers have found Victory Lane at "The Great American Speedway!"with Jimmie Johnson claiming the most recent Sprint Cup win at TMS in last fall's Dickies 500. The win catapulted Johnson into the championship lead that eventually led to him claiming his second consecutive championship. Dale Earnhardt Jr., the newest addition to the Hendrick Motorsports stable, claimed his first career Sprint Cup win in the 2000 event at TMS.
"We haven't started off the season like we would have liked, but we're making progress and gaining on it," Johnson said. "We've been off with our speedway program this year, but we've been testing a lot recently trying to find the right setup that will work for us. I feel good with the package that we're bringing to Texas this weekend. Hopefully we can be standing in Victory Lane again in Texas like last fall."
In nine Sprint Cup starts at TMS, Johnson has posted one victory, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
For Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon, conquering Texas Motor Speedway has been a challenge. In 14 Sprint Cup starts at TMS, Gordon hasn't found Victory Lane, but has posted five top-five and seven top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in 2002. He was especially strong in last year's Samsung 500, leading a race-high 173 laps en route to a fourthplace finish.
Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway remain the only two tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit that Gordon has yet to win at.
"There are a lot of teams that have stepped up their programs this year," Gordon said. "Gibbs, RCR, Roush Fenway and a few others are really strong right now. They've got good drivers, good crew chiefs and great resources. We've been off a little bit with this new car at the speedways this year, but everyone at Hendrick Motorsports is working hard and we'll get our speedway program turned around. We've had strong runs at Texas, but just haven't been able to win there yet. Texas is a tricky, very fast track and we just haven't found the right setup yet to get to Victory Lane there. Maybe this weekend we can."
In 11 Sprint Cup starts at TMS, Earnhardt Jr. has one victory, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Earnhardt Jr., formerly of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., will be making his first Sprint Cup start at TMS with Hendrick Motorsports in Sunday's Samsung 500. Casey Mears, the fourth driver in the Hendrick Motorsports stable, also has posted solid numbers in Sprint Cup action at TMS. In eight starts, Mears has scored four top-10 finishes, including two among the top five.
In all, the current driver roster at Hendrick Motorsports has made 42 Sprint Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway with two victories, 14 top-five efforts and 25 top-10 finishes.