We've already seen what could happen if Kurt Busch showed up at the Hendrick Christmas party, and his arrival to the Hendrick equipment stable raises an interesting question: Where would he rank among the drivers in Hendrick stuff in 2012?
The immediate reaction is to say that the lineup of drivers in Hendrick supplies is "the best ever," but this era of widespread equipment purchasing is still something fairly new in the Sprint Cup Series. "Incomparable" is probably a better word.
Eight drivers will be in Hendrick equipment next year -- seven full-time -- and the addition of Busch means that the three drivers who have won Chase championships will be in Hendrick built cars in 2012.
Yes, you read that correctly. Matt Kenseth is the last champion who won't be in Hendrick equipment when the calendar flips.
With the addition of Busch to Phoenix Racing, drivers in Hendrick equipment have 13 titles and an even more staggering 253 wins. 253! Of the seven full-time drivers, Kasey Kahne has the fewest number of wins. And he has 12.
Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports): 85 wins, 4 championships
Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports): 55 wins, 5 championships
Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing): 44 wins, 3 championships
Kurt Busch (Phoenix Racing): 24 wins, 1 championship
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports): 18 wins
Ryan Newman (Stewart-Haas Racing): 15 wins
Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports): 12 wins
So, how would you rank them? Does Johnson's achievements in his shorter career trump Gordon's number of wins? Is Stewart's success in many different types of cars more impressive?
A different question may be more intriguing: Who would you consider to be the "worst" driver in the Hendrick supplied lineup? Of course that's not a diss, but rather a complement to the entire lineup. It'd be like picking the worst-looking Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated model. Personal preference may have more of an influence than any arbitrary factors, and at the end of the day, you're still picking from the top .0001 percent.
Ponder the thought as you sit by the fire and sip on your egg nog and drop us a line below.