Most popular of 2014: Articles
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.— With an exciting 2014 coming to a close, we're taking a look back at what you, the fans, made the most-popular content on HendrickMotorsports.com all year long.
It's a way to reflect back on key events throughout the calendar year, and may even bring back a few memories you'd forgotten about.
We already took a look at the most popular videos of 2014, so let's continue with the seven most popular articles of the year.
One of the most memorable races of the 2014 season for Hendrick Motorsports came at Martinsville Speedway. Ten years after a tragedy, the organization honored those that were lost in Victory Lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home his first-ever win at the track, with teammate Jeff Gordon just behind him in second.
“That means so much to Hendrick Motorsports,” Gordon said at the time. “That’s the best way we can possibly pay tribute to those that we lost here 10 years ago. To have a one-two finish, it’s pretty awesome.”
At the start of the season, it was announced that No. 88 crew chief Steve Letarte would be leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the conclusion of 2014 to take on a new role with NBC Sports. In July, Letarte's replacement was named. It was none other than Greg Ives, a race engineer for Jimmie Johnson's historic run of five consecutive Sprint Cup championships, and in 2014 a championship-winning crew chief for Chase Elliott in the now-XFINITY Series, running for Earnhardt's JR Motorsports.
“Greg was our number-one choice,” Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick said at the time.
November provided a lot of big news for the No. 5 team, the first of which was a realignment of personnel. Hendrick Motorsports named former No. 5 crew chief Kenny Francis to the new position of vehicle technical director, and announced his replacement as Keith Rodden. Rodden previously worked at Hendrick Motorsports and had built a relationship with Kahne as a team engineer from 2004-13. In 2014, he was the crew chief for the No. 1 team at Chip Ganassi Racing, where he won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, earned two pole positions and helped driver Jamie McMurray set a career-best season in laps led.
After winning the 2014 Sprint Cup championship, driver Kevin Harvick credited six-time champion Johnson for helping him deal with the stresses of vying for the title.
“Jimmie was in my trailer as much as many of my teammates, and calling me and on the phone – doing all the things that it takes to tell me what I needed to do today,” Harvick said of his longtime friend.
In September, NASCAR announced the 2015 racing package for the Sprint Cup Series, which included nearly 60 enhancements and a number of notable rules including the elimination of team-facilitated private testing.
"I think NASCAR's goal as always is to create great racing and competition," Johnson said at the time. "I think that as a group, NASCAR owners and drivers have spent more time in coversation working on 2015 plans and beyond than ever, so hopefully the product really translates to the track and we put on a good show."
To kick off the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, all four Hendrick Motorpsorts drivers took part in the Chase Across North America, which sent competitors all across the country—and even into Mexico and Canada.
Among the highlights were Johnson's appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and Earnhardt's trip to the couch on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
The most popular story of 2014 on HendrickMotorsports.com just so happened to deal with arguably the most prestigious award in motorsports. At the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2014 Awards Luncheon, Earnhardt was surprised with the honor of the 2014 National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers Award for outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing.
Earnhardt made sure to thank the fans for helping him accomplish so much to this point in his career.
"You are what makes NASCAR what it is," he said. "Your contributions to the sport are endless. You do it with your time, your energy, your money, your livelihoods, and all you ask in return is that we go out there and give our very best."