Hendrick Motorsports is aiming for win No. 200

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
When Jimmie Johnson won last Sunday's race in Kansas, it was his second win of the season and that win brought him back into the top 3 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup points standings. His victory was also the 199th win for Hendrick Motorsports. This weekend, Johnson starts 9th for the Bank of America 500. Most of the fans and some media counted him out of the Chase this year; some believe he shouldn't win a sixth Cup, it would be bad for the sport. Others disagree. A sixth Cup title would be miraculous and historical and even if Johnson does not win it, he's still young enough to win another Cup title in the coming years.

This season, three Hendrick drivers are in the Chase and sitting on the outside is Mark Martin. He's not going to end his season with a championship title at HMS, though he's been in the top 20  for the entire season. He qualified 13th for Saturday night's race.

Jeff Gordon has three wins already this season and has reached a career-high 85 Cup wins. In the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Gordon has been bouncing around the points; he's in 10th going into the Bank of America 500 and qualified 23rd. "We are missing something today," he told reporters, "We have been off all day, in practice and we tried to get more out of it there. I thought that lap was better than that, so we will see where it ends up. We certainly gave it our best effort. Last time we were here I thought we qualified pretty good. Qualified on the pole here last year at this race, we expected a little bit more out of it."

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s winless streak keeps on growing, up to 123 races. Sounds harsh to say, but the facts are facts. Tonight he qualified 15th for Saturday night's race. Last May, he lost the Coca-Cola 600 by thousandths of  a second, by only one turn - because he ran out of fuel. The question is, can he redeem himself this weekend? A reporter asked him tonight, "Does this place owe you one, after the spring?" Earnhardt responded, "Well, I won't say it owes me one, but we are due a win and we are going to work our tails off to get one before this year is out." Earnhardt Jr. is 43 points behind the leader; he could gain those points in one race. In the next three weeks, he's racing at his best tracks, Charlotte, Talladega and then Martinsville. "We've had some pretty fast cars, some quick enough cars to have some good finishes," said Earnhardt prior to last week's race in Kansas. "Man, I would like to win a race before the year is out and I think we can do that as a team. I feel confident that we can do that. I don't think it's over by no means."

A celebration is in the air this season for HMS. It could be Johnson winning a sixth title, Gordon winning his fifth, Earnhardt winning his first race in three years and his first Cup title, Martin winning his first race in 75 races but either way, whoever wins next, HMS will have 200 wins, which is the most of any team.
Hendrick Motorsports is aiming for win No. 200 Hendrick Motorsports is aiming for win No. 200 Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, October 13, 2011 Rating: 5