CONCORD, N.C. — The first thing Rick Hendrick thought about Sunday night as Kyle Larson crossed the finish line to win the Coca-Cola 600 was April 29, 1984.
That's when Hendrick won for the first time as a NASCAR Cup Series owner as Geoff Bodine drove to victory in the Sovran Bank 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Little did Hendrick know that 37 years later, his team would have more wins than any other in series history. Larson's dominant victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway gave Hendrick Motorsports its record-setting 269th, passing Petty Enterprises a week after tying the Cup Series mark with Chase Elliott's win at Circuit of the Americas.
"Unbelievable," Hendrick said. "I can't get in my brain around it right now."
NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France congratulated Hendrick in a release: "With nearly 40 years of excellence, Hendrick Motorsports has set the gold standard for race team success. Rick Hendrick has already cemented his legacy as a NASCAR Hall of Famer, and now adds another incredible accomplishment to an exemplary NASCAR career."
Hendrick said he's glad to have the record behind him. He also quickly praised Richard Petty for his role in NASCAR.
"Richard Petty is the king of NASCAR, and he has done so much for this sport," Hendrick said of the 83-year-old North Carolina native who won seven Cup Series titles as a driver, a record shared with the late Dale Earnhardt and former Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson, who retired after last season.
Hendrick called it "pretty neat" that Larson broke the record driving a No. 5 Chevrolet — just like Bodine all those years ago.
"It feels great to be the guy to help Mr. H. break that record," Larson said.
Hendrick said he didn't care which of his four drivers won Sunday, as long as one of them did — and it seemed all four of them had that chance. It was an impressive night for Hendrick Motorsports with all of its drivers finishing in the top five: Elliott was second, William Byron fourth and Alex Bowman fifth.
Kyle Busch was third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota.
It also was the sixth win in 16 races this season for Hendrick — and this one wasn't even close. Larson, who joined teh organization this season, ended six years of struggles at Charlotte, leading 328 of 400 laps and winning four stages.
Larson's previous best finish at Charlotte was fifth in 2016, and he had only one top-10 finish at the Coca-Cola 600. Larson dominated most of the year's longest race, becoming the first driver since Busch in 2018 to sweep every stage. It gave Larson a series-high 10 stage wins this year.
"He is an awesome talent, as you see by some of the moves he makes," Hendrick said. "And he wants to win and is super dedicated. He is all business."
Busch seemed resigned to the fact he wasn't going catch Larson even with about 100 laps remaining.
When asked after the first three stages by Fox Sports commentators what he had to do catch the leader, Busch joked "I'm going to have to wreck him — they're too fast."
In a year of parity in which 11 drivers won in the first 14 races, Larson became only the third driver with multiple wins this season. He also won in Las Vegas in early March.
JGR's Martin Truex Jr., a two-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, was one of the favorites Sunday. His hopes ended when his left front tire went completely flat with 60 laps remaining and his pit crew struggled to remove the tire from the rim, ruining any chances of winning.
Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon was sixth as Chevy took five of the top six spots. Roush Fenway Racing's Chris Buescher had the top Ford in eighth.
JGR's Denny Hamlin, who won seven races last season, was seventh as he continues to search for his first victory of the year with 16 races in the books. Hamlin simply hasn't had much success at Charlotte, failing to register a Cup Series win in 30 starts. He finished seventh.
Said Hamlin on his radio with about 70 laps to go: "I'm doing all I can, but what I've got is not good."
More than 50,000 fans attended after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted about a week before the race.