Rick Hendrick Proud of 150th Win, Looking Toward 200th
- Mar 16, 2007
- Team Hendrick
CONCORD, N.C. (March 16, 2007) – Jimmie Johnson’s winning performance Sunday at Las Vegas marked the 150th points-paying NEXTEL Cup Series victory for team owner Rick Hendrick.
Hendrick, who founded Hendrick Motorsports as All-Star Racing in 1984, has averaged one win every 4.906 races in his 736-race career and leads all owners in modern-era NASCAR victories.
But the six-time Cup-level champion didn’t start out with expectations of such success. When he entered his first Daytona 500, his only hope was qualifying.
“I remember being at Daytona in 1984 and thinking about how hard it would be to win one race,” Hendrick said. “It’s really humbling to think about. I never dreamed we’d win this many.
“When we started, I was hoping we could win one every year. It’s getting more and more competitive, but I’d like to think we can get to 200.”
Hendrick’s 150 Cup victories have been amassed by 12 different drivers, and he says that fact in itself is a tribute to the collective attitude of his extended family—the employees of Hendrick Motorsports.
“It says a lot about the attitude of the folks who have been here and been a part of it,” he said. “There’s been a lot of input from a lot of people. If you look at everyone who has been here, it’s amazing.
“I’m proud of the relationships we’ve kept with all those guys, some still in the garage area. Ray (Evernham) and I are still very close. Ricky Rudd is a great friend. Ken Schrader is like a part of our family. I take a lot of pride in that.”
Hendrick didn’t witness his 150th win in person. Instead, he was at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., wearing his other hat as chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. He was there honoring high achievers at his car dealerships.
It wasn’t the first time Hendrick missed a milestone win. He was in church when Geoff Bodine won the company’s first race in 1984 and in the hospital with his ill father for the team’s 100th victory in 2001.
“I guess it’s not meant to be,” Hendrick joked. “When we hit 199, I guess I can’t go to the track until we hit 200. But I’m glad we got it, whether I was there or not.”
Well into his third decade of NASCAR racing, Hendrick remains more motivated than ever and doesn’t plan to deviate from the simple approach that’s made him a champion.
“I’m very competitive, I want to win and I don’t like getting beat,” Hendrick said. “But at the same time, what keeps me going are the people who have worked hard and built it.
“We’re one big family. We take it one week at a time, one race at a time, one championship at a time. Just show up, compete and do the best we can.”