CONCORD, N.C. -- For Rick Hendrick, it’s always an exciting moment when one of his four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LEs cruises into victory lane after a long day of racing. However, Sunday’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a little more personal.
Hendrick saw his flagship No. 5 Chevrolet take the checkered flag after driver Kyle Larson dominated the field throughout the day. The white, blue and red-accented HendrickCars.com scheme made its track debut Sunday in a subtle nod to Hendrick’s late son, Ricky Hendrick.
“My wife and I were watching. It was emotional. It was joy. It was so many things,” Hendrick said. “I love those colors. When we were going to be on the car, I mean, I wanted to run that paint scheme with that number. That meant a ton to me (Sunday) and to my family just to honor our son. I love the paint scheme, anyway. But Kyle made us proud.”
It only took Larson four races with Hendrick Motorsports to notch his first win, making him the fastest driver in the organization’s history to earn a victory. The win also was a first for Cliff Daniels as a crew chief.
“Kyle is so talented, to get in a car that he's never been in before, tracks he's seen but not in our stuff, I've just watched him over the years and I know how talented he is,” Hendrick said. “Cliff has a really good team. I didn't really expect for it to come this quick because I just thought it would take more time to gel. … Cliff is just a great young man. To win in the fourth race, especially when you don't have any practice, you just show up and race, it's really been awesome. I think they're going to have a lot of success together this year.”
Larson’s huge win comes just one week after William Byron took the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick is hopeful the early-season success will translate throughout the year.
“I just feel like the chemistry is so good right now,” Hendrick said. “I don't know if I ever remember it being any better across the board with all four cars. Two cars sometimes, then one car winning them all. But now we've got a really good balance. Everybody's excited. I'm excited.”