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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Friday night, Rick Hendrick officially joined the exclusive club of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

He was introduced by two drivers who between them have earned 11 NASCAR Cup Series championships racing for the Hendrick Motorsports owner -- Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

"More important than the wins and the championships is the person behind them," Gordon said. "Some know him as a champion, some know him as a winner, most of us simply know him as Mr. H. Now, that H takes on a new meaning -- Mr. Hall of Famer."

Linda Hendrick then stepped to the podium to present the Hall of Fame ring and officially induct her "best friend and sweet husband" into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Standing onstage, Rick Hendrick scanned the crowd.

"I am so humbled to be here tonight," he said as he opened his speech. "I look around this room and look at the front row here and all of these legends that I grew up idolizing in a sport that I idolized."

The honor, he said, belonged to his family and everyone that has helped him reach that stage Friday night.

"When I think about accepting this award tonight, I think about all the people that have been involved in Motorsports. I can't name them all. I won't even try," he said. "You know who you are. Every person from the very beginning to today. Everyone that laid a brick is part of this."

It marked an achievement that Hendrick said he never would have believed could be a possibility for "a kid growing up on a tobacco farm in rural Virginia that dreamed about racing, just racing and hot rods and waiting for Linda -- those were the three things -- always wanting to be involved in racing somehow."

But 245 wins -- and a record 12 Cup championships -- later, and Hendrick is a Hall of Famer.

"I'm just a lucky, lucky man," he said, "to be able to live a dream."