​Johnson Makes History With Se7En: Jimmie Johnson

ks_nscs_johnson_101416HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – 2016 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES

JOHNSON MAKES HISTORY WITH SE7EN: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, earned a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with his first-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. He joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty as the only drivers in history to win seven Cup titles and became the first driver to do it since Earnhardt in 1994. Johnson’s former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon ranks fourth all-time with four Cup championships.
RECORD 12TH TITLE FOR HENDRICK: Johnson’s 2016 Sprint Cup title is the 12th for Hendrick Motorsports and car owner Rick Hendrick, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January. Hendrick is the all-time leader in Sprint Cup owner championships and remains the only owner to win titles with three different drivers: Johnson (7), Gordon (4) and Terry Labonte. He has 245 Cup-level race wins as an owner, ranking second all-time and first in NASCAR’s modern era.
ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2016 Sprint Cup car owner championship is the 15th for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR’s three national series, extending the team’s all-time record. Richard Childress Racing ranks second among owners with 12 combined titles. In the car owner category, Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also won a NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship in 2003, giving the organization 16 total national series titles.
ONE DRIVER, ONE SPONSOR, ONE TEAM: Lowe’s has been the No. 48 team’s primary sponsor since its inception in 2001. The home improvement retailer has been Johnson’s only primary sponsor for 15 full seasons (2002-2016), encompassing all seven Sprint Cup championships, 80 race victories and numerous milestones, including two wins in the Daytona 500 and four in the Brickyard 400. Hendrick Motorsports’ relationship with Lowe’s is one of the longest-running driver-team-sponsor partnerships in NASCAR history.
KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: With seven career Sprint Cup championships, crew chief Chad Knaus ranks second all-time behind only NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman, who earned eight Cup titles as a crew chief. Knaus is now the only crew chief to win seven titles with one team and driver, and he holds the distinction of being the only crew chief to win more than two Cup titles in a row, a feat he accomplished when he coached the No. 48 team to five straight from 2006-2010.
KNAUS’ CAREER: Knaus has led the No. 48 team since Johnson’s 2002 rookie year in the Sprint Cup Series. In that 15-season span, he and Johnson have won seven titles and posted an average finish of 3.4 in the championship standings.
#SE7EN A SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Johnson began using the hashtag #se7en as a tribute to Ricky Hendrick, the late son of car owner Rick Hendrick. Early in his racing career, Ricky Hendrick drove a No. 7 car and later a No. 17, and he developed a habit of writing out the number with a “7” in place of the letter “V.”
YOUNGEST TO SE7EN: At 41 years old, Johnson is the youngest driver to win seven Sprint Cup championships. Petty earned his seventh title in 1979 at age 42, a little more than two months after Johnson was born. Earnhardt was 43 when he won his seventh title in 1994.
SHORTEST SPAN: Johnson’s seventh championship came 10 seasons after his first title win (2006). That marks the shortest period of time between the first and seventh title in history. Petty’s final championship came in 1979, 15 seasons after his first title win (1964), and Earnhardt earned his seventh championship in 1994, 14 seasons after his first (1980).
CUP VICTORIES: Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 245 Cup victories in 33 seasons, a figure that leads all teams in NASCAR’s modern era and ranks second all-time behind Petty Enterprises (268 wins). This season, Hendrick Motorsports posted five victories with its Chevrolet SS race cars. Hendrick Motorsports has been with manufacturer Chevrolet since its inaugural season in 1984.
COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports’ 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships are seventh all-time behind the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadiens (24 Stanley Cup titles), Boston Celtics (17 NBA titles), Los Angeles Lakers (16 NBA titles), Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cup titles) and Green Bay Packers (13 NFL championships).
WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient championship team in major American professional sports, earning 12 titles since its inception in 1984 for a 36.4 all-time title-winning percentage. The Boston Celtics rank second with 17 NBA titles in 70 seasons (24.3 percent), while the New York Yankees rank third with 27 World Series championships in 116 seasons (23.3 percent). The Los Angeles Lakers rank fourth with 16 NBA titles in 69 seasons (23.2 percent) and the Montreal Canadiens are fifth with 24 Stanley Cup titles in 107 seasons (22.4 percent). Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 of the last 22 Sprint Cup championships (1995-2016), putting the team’s title-winning percentage during that span at 54.5.
SINCE 1984: No other major American professional sports team has earned more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, the organization’s inaugural season. In that time, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned eight NBA championships and the Chicago Bulls have recorded six. The New York Yankees, San Antonio Spurs and Edmonton Oilers have tallied five titles apiece since 1984.
ROAD WARRIOR: Along with Johnson and Knaus, car chief Ron Malec has been on the No. 48 Lowe’s team road crew for all seven championships. Malec started working as a mechanic with Johnson in the ASA Series in the late 1990s. When Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports, Malec came on board. As car chief, he manages the crew members who work on the car both at the team facility in Concord, North Carolina, and during each race weekend. He is responsible for the preparation of the race car and seeing it through technical inspection.
CHAMPIONSHIP STREAKS: Prior to Johnson’s run of five consecutive Sprint Cup titles from 2006-2010, Hendrick Motorsports scored four in a row from 1995-1998 with Gordon (1995, 1997 and 1998) and Labonte (1996). No other organization has won more than three Sprint Cup championships in consecutive seasons.
STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup season without winning a pole position, recording at least one for 33 consecutive years (1984-2016). The team scored four in 2016, including one from Johnson, one from No. 88 team substitute driver Alex Bowman and two from Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott.
WIN STREAK: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 31 straight seasons, the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick Motorsports’ first Daytona 500.
YEAR IN REVIEW: In 2016, Hendrick Motorsports amassed five wins, four pole positions, 28 top-five finishes, 56 top-10s and 1,355 laps led. The five wins came at five different tracks — Atlanta, Fontana, Charlotte, Martinsville and Homestead. The win at Martinsville propelled Johnson to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he won the organization’s 12th Sprint Cup Series championship.
*When referencing “major American professional sports,” the following have been factored in: Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League.

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