On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series team Hendrick Motorsports made history by becoming the first team to complete the legendary 24 Hours of LeMans, the most prestigious endurance race in the world, in the centenary event. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion turned team owner Jimmie Johnson along with 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button and two-time LeMans 24 Hours winner Mike Rockenfeller completed the race.

The Garage 56 initiative, a partnership between NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Goodyear, Chevrolet, and the World Endurance Championship, culminated several years of development.

The team finished the race in 39th place out of the 62-car field and completed 285-laps of the 8.4-mile track.

Speaking about making history at LeMans with the NEXT GEN Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 which was specially adapted to complete the 24 hour race, NASCAR Chairman Jim France said:

That was unbelievable, “That was thousands of hours of hard work by hundreds of people that went into making this thing happen. And then the way the team and the pit crews and everybody performed all week, it was just fantastic.”

“I hope my dad and my brother are somewhere up there looking down and smiling, but the goal when we set out was to try and finish the race running at the end and not be last. And we accomplished that.”

Legendary NASCAR Cup Series team owner, Rick Hendrick commented saying:

“It makes me proud for our sport. “The last thing I’d want to do is for us to come over here and fall on our nose. That’s what I was worried about. From the very beginning with Chad (Knaus) and Greg (Ives), I said we’ve got to do this right. We don’t spare any expense. Our NASCAR teams can do any kind of race they want to do. I mean, they got the talent, they’ve got the engineers, and they got a lot of smart people and they can do whatever.”

Chad Knaus, VP of Competition with Hendrick Motorsports, who oversaw their Garage 56 project was delighted with how the 24 Hours of LeMan went.

“I feel like we had already captured the trophy right when they dropped the green flag. “The thing I’m most proud of is that this wasn’t really anybody but a few people’s full-time job. Everybody accepted this task as a passion project and something that they wanted to participate in. And when you get people like that put together, you can do anything.”

Jimmie Johnson, who completed the final 90-minutes of the race was delighted as he was able to run in the wet, at night, and on the historic race track in the NASCAR speaking following the race he said:

“My heart is full. “For all the reasons we know – coming here with NASCAR, Hendrick, Chevrolet, Goodyear. Many of the people here working were on different teams that I won races and championships with. There were so many familiar faces, to have this experience was just off the charts. My bucket is full. I’m really happy.

“The fan reception – whether it was at the parade, or on the cool down lap just now. Even the corner marshals were going nuts. Everything was just incredible.”

Two-time LeMans 24 Hours winner, Mike Rockenfeller who conducted the majority of the testing of the NASCAR commented saying:

“It’s amazing to finish the race, that was priority number one,” Rockenfeller said. “I think it’s something I will look back to later on with my kids and always will be high on my memory in terms of high level races I did. It has been such a great team, not only my teammates, but everybody on the team. The full journey, I mean, what can I say? I made a lot of friends. And I think we did a good job.”

Jenson Button was delighted with the effort of the Hendrick Motorsports team saying:

What amazing people. “To take their Cup car and turn it into an endurance car for Le Mans, it’s staggering. They’re the best in the business, I’m proud to be working with these guys.

“It’s difficult because there’s so much emotion, we’re all tired. And this is it. You know what I mean? This is it. This is the last time this car is racing. So it’s kind of sad, but then you just got to think about living in the moment.”

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