Hendrick Motorsports' historic 1-2-3-4 finish at Dover in 2021 – Hendrick Motorsports

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CONCORD, N.C. – Dover Motor Speedway has been a track of great success for Hendrick Motorsports as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Jimmie Johnson’s 11 wins are the most by any driver at the “Monster Mile” and the organization has tallied 22 wins there
In the 2021 race at the Delaware track, the organization did something it had never done in its storied NASCAR Cup Series history. On May 16, 2021, Hendrick Motorsports swept the top four positions in the running order of a Cup Series race. A 1-2-3-4 finish by one team had only been accomplished three previous times. DePaolo Engineering did it twice: The first coming on Dec. 30, 1956 (at Titusville-Cocoa Speedway in Florida), and the second on April 7, 1957 (at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina). Roush Fenway (now-Keselowski) Racing accomplished it on Nov. 20, 2005 (at Homestead-Miami Speedway).  

PHOTOS: Hendrick Motorsports celebrates historic win

At Dover, Alex Bowman won the race for Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Larson placed second, Chase Elliott finished third and William Byron rounded out the top four. On the day, the organization led 382 of 400 laps and its 95.5% mark for that race stands as the second-best percentage of laps led in team history (with only the 2022 spring race at Martinsville Speedway topping it). 

“Every time you’re in a race, you like to see them run 1-2-3-4,” team owner Rick Hendrick said afterward. “The feeling is unbelievable. It was probably the longest last hundred laps I’ve ever seen in a race just because I wanted to see it so bad.”

VIDEO: Rewatch the race on ‘NASCAR Classics’ website
Larson largely controlled the first two stages. Thanks to a great pit stop and service under caution that put him out front, Bowman led the final 97 laps while his teammates ran right behind him. 


“I think looking back at post race, we all immediately understood and realized how special it was,” Bowman said when reflecting on the Dover result. He also acknowledged that he was so focused on holding off Larson for the win that he didn’t realize the team had finished 1-2-3-4 until the race was over. 
“Some things that we got to do throughout the week, like the photo we were able to take on Monday morning, were cool. It was pretty special to be a part of that and be on the front side of that as well.”

RELATED: Bowman set to make 300th Cup Series start
The company’s historic finish was celebrated on campus that week. For Byron, the result showed how the four teams had gelled together. 
“I think it was a sign of strength and what we’ve built with teamwork,” Byron said. “The four of us work so closely and well together that it feeds off each other. Iron sharpens iron and I feel like we continue to work together and put ourselves further towards the front.”
Elliott, the longest-tenured member of the Hendrick Motorsports driver lineup, couldn’t believe the organization hadn’t done that before. 
“I remember that being the first thing that kind of came to my mind,” Elliott said. “I’m just like – man, of all the years and success of Hendrick Motorsports and all the great things that have been done, I was blown away that they had never run 1-2-3-4 before. I thought it was great. I was super proud of everybody for achieving that top to bottom, from the crew members to the drivers to everybody working at the shop that doesn’t go on the road. It was a big deal to sweep a weekend like that. I’m proud to have been a small part of it. It was fun.”

The image of the scoring pylon with all four numbers atop is part of the decor in team vice chairman Jeff Gordon’s office.
“When you are a four-car operation and I’ve seen Rick (Hendrick) go through this over the years and now I get to experience it too, it is rare where all four have a great day,” Gordon said. “You might get two that are competing up front. One of them wins and one of them is disappointed because they finished second or third. Then, you get one or two that didn’t have a great day. Something happened to them and you want to revel in the win, but you are consoling those who didn’t have a good day and trying to balance that out.

“That was one of the days I remember in our history. Not everybody was still happy because somebody didn’t win, but it was just a wow moment. We’ve always said having all four cars coming across the line together would be great. This is as close and as good as it’s going to get. That was an amazing day.”

RELATED: Key numbers and statistics to know in Hendrick Motorsports’ history
The Dover victory kicked off a run of six straight points-paying victories (as well as an All-Star Race win) for the group. Those wins included the Coca-Cola 600, which marked the historic 269th Cup Series triumph for Hendrick Motorsports and saw the organization surpass Petty Enterprises atop the list. That season, the organization went on to win its 14th Cup Series championship, its second-most number of races won in a season (17), and lead its most number of laps in a year (4,119).

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