Rick Hendrick was not sipping wine in Sonoma today watching all four of his Cup drivers finish inside the top 15, and there was a good reason fo rthat.

The relationship between Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports is a long and beautiful one. Aside from the obvious seven NASCAR Cup championships together, the two sides have managed to work together outside of the American stock car series. That was on full display today in France, as the Hendrick Motorsports Garage 56 program started, and finished the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnson was one of three high-profile drivers that added to their lengthy resumes this weekend.

The special entry in this year's race was referred to as "Le Monster" partly because it was so much different than the 61 class prototype vehicles entered. While the team was not able to finish in the top half of the field, they did come close. Running as high as 27th at various points in the endurance race, they ultimately finished 39th overall (10th in GTE class) after having some driveline issues in the final few hours of the event.

It was a landmark achievement for Hendrick, who congratulated Johnson as he crossed the finish line. "How does it feel to take the checkered flag at Le Mans?" he asked on the radio. Johnson's response was simply, "Awesome." Both Hendrick and Johnson went down this path because of the belief and trust they have in the other. The return of NASCAR after a 47-year absence was a smashing success.

There was a familiar face in the garage, as Hendrick had Chad Knaus on board to help orchestrate the project. He told Johnson's longtime crew chief to spare no expense. He was determined to make this a dream come true. "The last thing we were going to do was come here and fall on our nose," Hendrick said.

Johnson detailed the team's thinking process leading up to the race. "We were laughing at ourselves when they were changing the transmission because the goal was only to finish, and then after the first laps on track, we thought ‘Maybe there’s more for us’ and over the course of the week, we started the race with the desire to win the GT race."

The veteran and now NASCAR team owner continued. "My heart is full, for all of the reasons we know. Coming here with NASCAR, Hendrick, Chevrolet, and Goodyear. Many of the people here working were on different teams that I won races and championships with. There were so many familiar faces, to have this experience was just off the charts. The fan reception was amazing. Even the corner marshals were going nuts. Everything was just incredible. My bucket is full. I’m really happy."

Even at the age of 47, Johnson is not ready to hang up his helmet. "I wish we could come back and do it again. This moment, like with everybody, I hate that it is over. Like, I hate that. We had such a good time. I hope to come back without a doubt and do this race again." After two years in IndyCar, the Indianapolis 500, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and now the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Johnson is just enjoying life right now.