Joseph Riddick Hendrick IIIBirthplace
Warrenton, North CarolinaAge
Palmer Springs, Virginia
Rick Hendrick is a self-described “gearhead” who turned his passion for the automobile into successful business ventures in the retail automotive and professional auto racing industries.
Raised on a farm near the small community of Palmer Springs, Virginia, Hendrick worked on and raced cars under the watchful eye of his father, “Papa Joe.” After high school, he pursued a co-op work-study program with North Carolina State University and Westinghouse Electric Company in Raleigh, North Carolina.
While in Raleigh, Hendrick opened a small used-car lot with established dealer Mike Leith. Its success convinced Leith to name him general sales manager of his new-car import operation at the age of 23.
In 1976, Hendrick sold off his assets to purchase a struggling franchise in Bennettsville, South Carolina, thus becoming, at 26, the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States. His influence sparked a dramatic sales increase as the once troubled location soon became the region’s most profitable.
Bennettsville’s success was a precursor to Hendrick Automotive Group, which today operates collision centers, accessories distributor installers and more than 120 retail franchises across 13 states. It currently is the largest privately held dealership group in the country.
Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hendrick Automotive Group generated a company record $7.55 billion in revenue in 2014 after selling 184,000 vehicles and servicing more than 2.3 million cars and trucks. Hendrick leads the organization, which employs more than 10,000 people, as its chairman.
In 1984, Hendrick founded Hendrick Motorsports. Today, the original race shop overlooks a state-of-the-art facility with 430,000 square feet of workspace on 140 acres in Concord, North Carolina. It houses more than 600 employees to support four full-time Chevrolet teams in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Now one of the sport’s premier operations, Hendrick Motorsports has garnered a NASCAR record 14 national series owner’s championships and 15 overall. Its roster of stock-car drivers includes Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Hendrick is second on NASCAR’s all-time Cup victories list (1949-present) and leads all owners in modern-era wins (1972-present). His teams have won at least one Cup-level race each season since 1986 – the longest active streak – and averaged more than 10 points-paying wins annually over the last decade (2005-14). He is NASCAR’s all-time leader in Sprint Cup owner’s championships with 11.
A leukemia survivor, Hendrick in 1997 chartered the Hendrick Marrow Program, a nonprofit group that works in partnership with the Be The Match Foundation. He also is involved with the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte and various other charitable endeavors.
Hendrick is a recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, NASCAR’s Bill France Award of Excellence and The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is bestowed upon outstanding North Carolinians. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.