Celebrating Hendrick drivers through the years
Bodine, pictured here with team manager Harry Hyde, brought a then-fledgling Hendrick Motorsports its first taste of success in its debut year of 1984. His three wins that season kept the team afloat and launched it into the sport's upper crust.
Bodine scored seven of his 18 career wins, including the 1986 Daytona 500, driving for Hendrick from 1984-89.
Richmond, a brash Ohioan, joined Hendrick's organization in 1986 to form a two-car attack, back when multi-car teams were a relatively new trend. Richmond posted nine of his 13 wins in Hendrick equipment. His bright career was cut short by his death from AIDS in 1989.
Hendrick himself suited up for a pair of starts in 1987 and '88 at the former Riverside International Raceway in California, recording finishes of 33rd and 15th in his only driving appearances in NASCAR's premier series
The NASCAR Hall of Famer spent his next-to-last season in NASCAR's premier series driving for Hendrick in 1987. He finished second three times that season, including this runner-up effort in the '87 Daytona 500.
Waltrip, shown here with Hendrick in the 1990 preseason media tour, helped Hendrick Motorsports expand to a three-car operation for the 1987 season. Waltrip stayed with Hendrick through the 1990 season, claiming his lone Daytona 500 victory during a six-win 1989 campaign in the Tide-sponsored No. 17.
The veteran racer competed from 1988-96 for Hendrick Motorsports, winning four times during his tenure with the team. Schrader won the pole for the 1988 Daytona 500 in his first start for the team, then broke through for his first victory at Talladega Superspeedway later that year.
Well, sort of. Hendrick served as a technical consultant for the 1990 motion picture 'Days of Thunder,' starring Tom Cruise as aspiring driver Cole Trickle. Cruise drove Hendrick-prepared cars in the filming, and the two reunited with his Trickle's fictional No. 46 entry at Daytona in 2009.
Rudd signed on with Hendrick Motorsports in 1990, completing four seasons before leaving to form his own race team. Rudd won one race in each of his seasons with Hendrick, during the heart of a 16-year streak of at least one victory per season.
Hendrick's eye for talent didn't miss in the early 1990s when he hired a young sprint-car driver with California and Indiana roots. The deal led to Gordon's remarkable 93-win career, which spanned from 1992-2016 and included four series championships and three Daytona 500 wins.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner made his only NASCAR start in the 1993 Daytona 500 in a car supplied by Rick Hendrick. He was saddled with a crash-related 36th-place finish.
Unser did not drive the primary car pictured, resorting to a primarily white Chevrolet as a backup car in the 500.
Labonte connected with Hendrick Motorsports in 1994 for an 11-season full-time run that included the 1996 series championship. That stretch of longevity also included his final victory -- in the 2003 Southern 500 at Darlington -- and this farewell in 2006.
The Maine native, now an analyst for FOX, drove for Hendrick in 1997 and for part of the '98 season. The latter included a brief change of Hendrick's No. 25 to No. 50 to commemorate NASCAR's golden anniversary season.
Dallenbach, who also made the jump to the broadcast booth after his driving days, rounded out the '98 season and the full-time 1999 campaign for Hendrick Motorsports. He managed one top-five finish in 50 starts for the team.
Nadeau took the wheel of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 25 Chevy during an 81-race stretch from 2000-02. That span included his lone premier series victory in the 2000 season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Forming the No. 48 team with a partial ownership stake for Jeff Gordon brought Jimmie Johnson to NASCAR's top division full-time in 2002. That relationship sparked one of the most successful careers in NASCAR history, with seven series championship and 80-plus wins and counting.
Johnson also brought Hendrick his milestone 200th victory at NASCAR's top level, leading to this celebration at Darlington Raceway in 2012.
The veteran Florida native drove Hendrick's No. 25 in a brief stint from 2002-03. That pairing included one of Nemechek's four career wins, a May 2003 triumph at Richmond Raceway.
Hendrick fielded its No. 25 for Brian Vickers from 2004-06, a three-year full-time run that delivered the young driver his first victory in controversial fashion. Vickers nudged teammate Jimmie Johnson's second-place car into leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s, bumping his way from third place to first on the final lap at Talladega in October 2006.
Busch helped establish Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota's place in the sport later in his career, but it was Rick Hendrick who gave Busch his first premier-series start as a 19-year-old in 2004. Busch drove three full seasons (2005-07) for Hendrick Motorsports, taking Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in '05.
A two-season partnership (2007-08) gave Mears his breakthrough triumph in NASCAR's top division. The emotions overflowed for Mears, who hugged teammate Jimmie Johnson in Victory Lane after winning the 2007 Coca-Cola 600.
Earnhardt's buzzed-about free agency period in 2007 came to an end with his decision to join Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt retired following the 2017 season and now works in the booth for NBC.
Keselowski drove for Earnhardt's JR Motorsports team and made just nine starts as a prospect for Hendrick Motorsports in the premier series. He instead made the full-time jump with Team Penske in 2010.
The NASCAR Hall of Famer had a late-career resurgence with Hendrick Motorsports, winning five times and finishing second in the series standings in his first season with the team (2009). He drove two more years for Hendrick before eventually hanging up his driving gloves in 2013.
Kahne entered the Hendrick Motorsports camp in 2012, taking the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet from Martin. He netted six of his 18 career victories for his team owner.
Hendrick tapped a next-generation star as his choice to replace the retiring Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevy. Elliott, who won the NASCAR Xfinity Series crown as a first-year driver in 2014, corralled Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors (2016) in the premier series at age 20. He now drives the No. 9 Chevrolet.
Elliott gave Hendrick Motorsports its 250th win by scoring the first NASCAR Cup Series win of his career at Watkins Glen on Aug. 5, 2018.
Byron began driving in the Cup Series for Hendrick in 2018. He won Sunoco Rookie of the Year in 2018 and then won his first Cup Series race in 2020 at Daytona International Speedway with Chad Knaus atop the pit box.
Bowman filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016 when Earnhardt was sidelined with a concussion. That led to a full-time job in the 88 after Earnhardt retired. Now, Bowman will move to the No. 48 to replace the legendary Jimmie Johnson in 2021 as Johnson steps away from a full-time role.