When Kevin Harvick crossed the finish line first Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it not only continued the dominance of the sport’s Big 3, it also continued Hendrick Motorsports’ winless drought.
The organization, which has won a record dozen Cup titles, has gone 36 races — a full season — without a series win. Monday was the one-year anniversary of Kasey Kahne’s overtime victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports has not won since, leaving it at 249 career Cup victories (ranking second to Petty Enterprises’ 268 wins on the all-time list).
This is the second-longest winless drought for Hendrick Motorsports. It had a 40-race drought that went from June 1991 at Sonoma to September 1992 at Richmond. Ricky Rudd snapped the organization’s drought the following race at Dover.
“We’re working really hard right now on our performance from the entire organization side,” said Jeff Andrews, vice president of competition at Hendrick Motorsports, on a periscope video posted by the team Wednesday morning. “Everybody is working really hard to get us back to the standards where we expect to be.”
While Hendrick searches for its next win, it could celebrate Chase Elliott winning a stage last weekend at New Hampshire — the first stage a Hendrick driver has won this season.
Elliott scored his team-high fifth top-five of the season at New Hampshire, placing fifth.
“We took a step in the right direction,” he said after the race.
His best finish this season is a runner-up performance at Richmond. Short tracks have been good for Hendrick Motorsports this season. Jimmie Johnson’s best finish of the year is third at Bristol. Alex Bowman’s best finish of the year is fifth at Bristol.
Johnson, Elliott and Bowman are in a position to make the playoffs. They hold what would be the three final spots. Bowman, who holds what would be the final playoff spot, has finished 11th or better in four of the last five races. He holds a 28-point lead on Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a 29-point lead on Paul Menard for that spot.
Johnson was 10th at New Hampshire and also saw signs of progress.
“Top five right now on sheer speed is something we are achieving and trying to get to,’’ he said at New Hampshire. “All-in-all we had a good day, always could be better, but a nice solid step forward.”
WINLESS STREAKS BY ORGANIZATION
0 races – Stewart-Haas Racing
1 – Furniture Row Racing
2 – Joe Gibbs Racing
10 – Team Penske
19 – Richard Childress Racing
30 – Chip Ganassi Racing
36 – Hendrick Motorsports
39 – Roush Fenway Racing
42 – Wood Brothers Racing
71 – Front Row Motorsports
142 – JTG Daugherty Racing
147 – Richard Petty Motorsports