Hendrick puts four cars in the top 10, but not in the top spot

From the Marbles

Most times when a team owner puts all four of his cars in the top 10, you'd expect it to be a cause for celebration. But then again, most times a team owner isn't going for his 200th career win.

The four cars owned by Rick Hendrick all finished in the top 10 of the speedy and drama-free Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas, but since not one of them snagged the top spot, Hendrick remains stuck on 199 wins.

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Still, seeing Jimmie Johnson in second, Jeff Gordon in 5th, Kasey Kahne in 7th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 10th, Hendrick had to be reasonably pleased. Yes, Greg Biffle won, but three of the four drivers saw significant jumps in the standings.

Johnson rose two positions to 8th place, Gordon jumped four spots to 17th, and Kasey Kahne rode an uncharacteristically high finish to improve four spots to 27th. The only driver not to improve his position was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who remains in second place behind Biffle, now tied with Matt Kenseth.

What does this mean for Hendrick as a whole? It's good news for an organization that's had precious little of that this year. Johnson, based on past performance, is a near-lock for the Chase, and Junior would have to go into a slide to give up his spot. But Gordon remains almost one full race's worth of position, 41 points, out of the 10th spot, and Kahne is far worse, 88 points behind the final Chase spot. That means both will need to win their way into the Chase. It's doable, but very tough. Still, nights like Saturday in Texas will give the team hope.

As for the 200th? We may be making more of it than the drivers: "To be honest, it hasn't played much on my mind because I just want to win and I know winning is what my job is about, winning is what Hendrick Motorsports is about, and if we win we'll take care of the 200th," Johnson said after Texas. "I think about it more after the fact, not leading up to or during the event ... Whenever it happens is going to be very special for the company."

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