The regular season for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a quarter of the way done with seven of the 26 races completed. Let’s take a look at how Hendrick Motorsports has done so far this season.
Best performance: Jimmie Johnson, Texas
Just when it seemed like the entire NASCAR community was doubting the No. 48 team, they proved everyone wrong again. Johnson scored his first win of the 2017 season at Texas and quieted the doubters.
“I guess I remembered how to drive; and I guess this team remembered how to do it,” Johnson said after the race. “I’m just real proud of this team. What a tough track and tough conditions.”
Worst performance: Jimmie Johnson, Atlanta
How can one driver have both of these categories? Well, that’s just the season Johnson has been having. In the first race under the new rules package, at a track where he won the 2016 race, many thought Johnson would play a factor.
The fact that Johnson finished one lap down in 19th spot had many scratching their heads. Fast forward to a few weeks later and Johnson is in victory lane, at a 1.5-mile speedway, all under the new rules package.
Overachieving driver: Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott sits second in the driver standings. His next closest teammate is Jimmie Johnson, the 7-time champion, in 11th spot. Elliott has five top-ten finishes to start the season, three top-five finishes, one pole and has led 169 laps.
Underachieving driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Most NASCAR fans and media members thought there would be some rust to shake off as Earnhardt began the 2017 season after missing 18 races in 2016. Earnhardt finds himself 20th in points with just one top-ten finish, that as in the last race before the holiday break, a fifth place finish at Texas.
It is still very early in the season to count Earnhardt out from making the playoffs, however, it is a quarter of the way through the regular season. The next few tracks have been some of Earnhardt’s best and they include Bristol, Richmond and Talladega.
Best team: Chase Elliott
At this point in the season it isn’t foolish to pick against Jimmie Johnson’s team, even with his recent win at Texas. Elliott is putting together a great start to the 2017 season that is starting with fast cars during practice, good qualifying runs, and strong race strategy decisions.