Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Ready to Big 2017

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Charlotte (WSLS-10 Sports)- Hendrick Motorsports reputation of excellence continued last season as Jimmie Johnson ended his 2016 campaign winning his 7th cup title.

"Being consistent week in and week out is so difficult to do, we at a very high standard for ourselves at the 48 and is hard to believe that we've been able to win a couple races each and every year. I want to keep that streak alive but so much of the pressure we put on ourselves comes from the culture at Hendrick Motorsports and our own success, explains seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson.

The Hendrick team was without one of its components for much of the season. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat the second half of the season with a concussion.

"I was able to sit back and realize parts of it I was taking for granted and so I can go into this season with a bit better appreciation I think for what I had, where I was, what I was doing, " says Earnhardt Jr.

Junior's return to the sport was promising. He finished second in qualifying locking him into a front row spot for the Daytona 500.  The pole-sitter for the season opener? Teammate chase Elliott.

"It's cool to share the front row with a teammate, that's the biggest thing i look at with that, Dale is a good guy i'm happy to share the front row with him but happier to beat him obviously. Regardless who it is it's what you're trying to do, you know." says Elliott.

With two drivers leading the pack in the 500, Hendrick Motorsports is starting this season--how it ended a year ago-- on top.