Joe Gibbs Racing matches owners’ win total of Junior Johnson

(Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
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Junior Johnson’s last victory as an owner in the Sprint Cup Series came 22 years ago on Sept. 4, 1994.

On that day, Bill Elliott drove the No. 11 Budweiser Ford into victory lane in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The victory, Elliott’s 40th of his career (and last until 2001), was the 132nd Sprint Cup win by Johnson as an owner. Twenty-nine year earlier, Johnson earned the first one himself, winning a Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1965.

In 1994, Joe Gibbs Racing was still in its infancy, competing in only its third seasons in the Sprint Cup. But like Johnson, Joe Gibbs’ first win as a team owner came in Daytona in the 1993 Daytona 500, with Dale Jarrett clinching his second career win.

At the time of the 1994 Southern 500, JGR still only had one victory. That changed five races later in the Mello Yello 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jarrett won the race under caution, a week after failing to make a race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Johnson’s last season as an owner came in 1995, but JGR would grow into one of the top teams in NASCAR. On Sunday, Carl Edwards‘ win in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was the 132nd Sprint Cup win for JGR.

That puts JGR in a tie for fourth on the all-time wins list for teams.

Edwards’ win, JGR’s fourth of the season, puts the team within three of Roush Fenway Racing’s total of 135. It was Edwards himself who got Roush to that total when he won at Sonoma in 2014, his last season with the team before joining JGR in 2015.

It has been 64 races since that Sonoma victory. In the meantime, JGR has won 18 times. None of those wins came in the 2014 season after Edward’s Sonoma win.

JGR’s 132 wins have come with Edwards, Jarrett, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, and Joey Logano.

Ahead of Roush on the wins list is Hendrick Motorsports with 242. That is 26 wins away from the top mark of 268 wins by Petty Enterprises, which ceased operations in 2008.

The next stop on the Sprint Cup circuit is Richmond International Raceway, where JGR has recorded 10 wins, a tie for second most in its history with Pocono Raceway.