Who Is Hendrick Motorsports Best Driver?

Clayton CaldwellCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Hendricks Motorsports drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Mark Martin pose for the media to honor Rick Hendrick prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 7, 2009 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's best team. They have the best cars, the best engines, the best owner, the best crews, the best crew chiefs, and most importantly, the best drivers.

Who is Hendrick's best driver? That's up for debate with the reasurgence of Mark Martin.

Jeff Gordon has been the face of Hendrick Motorsports since he came to the team back in 1993. He's been simply incredible. Gordon has 82 wins, four championships, three Daytona 500's, four Brickyard 400's, and several other big wins in his career. In Gordon's 17 full seasons, he's finished in the top ten in points 15 times.

People argue however that Gordon is on the "decline." He hasn't won a championship since 2001 and has only one win in his last 55 starts. His back is bothering him, which is concerning people, and can you believe the "Wonder Boy" is 37 years old now? However, Gordon is still sitting second in points and is putting himself in great shape for the chase in 2009.

Jimmie Johnson is Gordon's sidekick. He and his number 48 team have won the last three championships and have 42 wins in his first 274 career starts, by far more then anyone in that span in the modern era, other then Gordon.

Johnson and his team are the model in NASCAR right now and people argue he is the best driver in the sport. He won the Daytona 500 in 2006 and has kissed the bricks twice. Johnson has also put himself in great shape for the championship run, as he sits third in the points with two wins and 20 points in the chase.

Johnson and Gordon were the class of Hendrick Motorsports until now.

Mark Martin has made a huge impact at Hendrick Motorsports. Mark has four wins in 19 starts this year, surprising many. The No. 5 team had only won five races in the last six years, and Mark Martin has made that fact a distant memory. Things have seemed to click for Mark at Hendrick and has the most wins of any driver in 2009. He is also putting himself in great shape for the chase, if he gets a little luck on his side.

Mark got off to a miserable start and has realed himself back to 11th in the points and if he makes the chase, would go into New Hampshire as the points leader.

So who is Hendrick's best driver? Johnson, Gordon, or Martin? Only time will tell!