Throughout the last few laps of the race, Johnson took a gamble on fuel but it all paid off at the end. For the last few caution flags the No. 48 team stayed out and turned off the engine during cautions to save fuel.
In the post race press conference Johnson and Hendrick were thrilled about the win and that it was a long time coming.
“Yeah, just very proud of the effort that the whole 48 team put together,” said Johnson. “We’ve been awfully close to winning the 200th for him the last month or two. Very happy that we closed the deal today.”
Johnson was up front for a good portion of the race and led several laps. Heading into a Green-White Checkered, Johnson managed to win over Denny Hamlin, who is also chasing a 200th win for the No.11 team. Hamlin finished right behind Johnson in second and is still in pursuit of number 200. The win at Darlington is also Johnson’s first of the season.
Hendrick Motorsports has reached a new milestone in achieving its 200th win. They had to wait plenty of months to reach it since their last win came at Kansas Speedway in 2011 with Johnson.
Owner Rick Hendrick thought that the milestone win would have came earlier at Martinsville.
“You know, I thought we had it done races back,” said Hendrick. “Martinsville was one that I thought would mean so much, the first one, to get 200 there. Because of the accident there, it was going to be special.”
The 200th win at Darlington is among several other accomplishments by Hendrick Motorsports. Since the team first began in 1984 as All- Star Racing it has captured many of NASCAR’s prestigious titles. Since 1984 and the team’s name change in 1985, Hendrick has won six Daytona 500 titles, seven Brickyard 400 wins, and nine Coca Cola 600 victories.
Back on April 29, 1984 Hendrick Motorsports got its first win at Martinsville Speedway with Geoff Bodine. Bodine also won the team’s first Daytona 500.
Other accomplishments include ten Sprint Cup Series owner’s championships. From 2006 until 2010 Hendrick Motorsports won five Sprint Cup titles with Jimmie Johnson.
In 200 wins, 25 of them have been at different tracks. 34 wins have been from the pole and eight drivers got their first win with Hendrick Motorsports. Those drivers were Geoff Bodine, Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.
“ I’m just proud of these guys and the whole organization,” said Hendrick. “You want to thank everybody from Harry Hyde to Tim Richman and Geoff Bodine, all the guys along the way that won races. You think you’re going to get there and then you think you’re never going to win another one when you get to 199. Really proud. This was a heck of a race tonight.”
Brian Berg Jr also contributed to this story.
Follow Brian Berg Jr. on Twitter @brian_jr1