Christopher Bell won the Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, and he punched his ticket to the championship four. This marked the 200th Cup Series win for Joe Gibbs Racing, which put the organization on a historic list.
There are now three teams that have topped 200 Cup Series wins in NASCAR history. Petty Enterprises was the first with 268 wins, starting in 1949 with Lee Petty and ending in 1999 with John Andretti. Petty Enterprises ultimately closed in January 2009 before merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and becoming Richard Petty Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports was the second team to top 200 Cup Series wins. Geoffrey Bodine won the organization’s first three races during the 1984 season. Many others contributed over the years while capturing numerous championships.
Chase Elliott won HMS’ 268th race during the 2021 season. He captured the rain-shortened race at Circuit of the Americas and helped HMS tie Petty Enterprises. Kyle Larson then won the Coca-Cola 600 and broke the all-time record.
Fast-forward to the 2022 season, and HMS now sits at 291 Cup Series wins after Alex Bowman, William Byron, Elliott, and Larson combined to win 11 races. The organization is now within reach of becoming the first to ever reach 300.
Multiple Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers Delivered Wins in 2022
The championship-winning organization entered the 2022 season with a big opportunity. JGR had 194 career Cup Series wins, and it only needed six to reach the historic mark set by Petty Enterprises and matched by HMS.
Denny Hamlin, who has 48 career wins with Joe Gibbs Racing, was the first to move the team closer to 200. He won the spring race at Richmond Raceway and punched his ticket to the playoffs. Kyle Busch then added a win of his own two weeks later at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt).
Hamlin returned to Victory Lane at the Coca-Cola 600, which took JGR to 197 wins. Bell has since taken care of the rest by winning three races. He punched his ticket to the playoffs at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He then won the cutoff races at the Charlotte Roval and Martinsville Speedway.
There is one race remaining in the 2022 season, which will provide JGR with an opportunity to reach 201 Cup Series wins. Bell, in particular, will remain in pursuit of this as he tries to capture the championship for the first time in his career.
The Historic Win Continued Bell’s Unprecedented Streak
There are multiple drivers that have entered an elimination race below the cutline and in need of a strong performance to move on to the next round. One prominent example is Kevin Harvick, who won the Phoenix elimination race after sitting below the cutline. He went on to win the first Cup Series championship of his career.
Chase Elliott is another example. He pulled off this feat in 2020 after sitting well below the cutline entering the elimination race at Martinsville Speedway. He moved on to the championship four for the first time in his career with a win, and then he captured the season finale at Phoenix Raceway to win the championship.
Bell actually pulled off this feat twice in the same season. He headed to the Charlotte Roval in a must-win situation after a wreck at Texas Motor Speedway and a 17th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway. He then used a tire strategy to take the lead late at the Roval. He avoided the chaos of Turn 1 and held off Harvick for the win.
The Round of Eight started with another major issue. Christopher Bell was caught in an incident where Bubba Wallace wrecked Kyle Larson. This ended his day and dropped him well below the cutline once again.
Bell finished 11th at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he was still in a must-win situation heading toward Martinsville Speedway. The odds were against Bell repeating his feat, especially after he qualified 20th overall. However, Bell methodically worked his way through the field and chased down Chase Briscoe after the final restart to take the lead for good.
“It’s pretty cool to see Christopher earn those two wins to advance into the Round of Eight and now into the Championship four,” Kyle Larson said after the race. “That’s a pretty spectacular job with what he did there today to get to the lead earlier around the midway point, and there again late. It was fun to be a part of the battle. I was hoping I could edge him out, but it’s really cool to see the job that him and his team did the last month or so.”