CONCORD, N.C. – This summer, Hendrick Motorsports has launched a brand-new Spotify account, and to mark the occasion, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers and some special guests are sharing their very own playlists.
This week, it’s Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick’s turn.
Hendrick’s playlist features arguably the widest range of music so far in the summer music series. And the NASCAR Hall of Fame owner said his taste has always been diverse ever since he began listening as a kid growing up in rural Virginia.
What he describes as the “crazy variety” in his music ranges from legend Roy Orbison and Motown artists like The Temptations and Otis Redding in the 1960s to today’s headliners such as Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley and Florida Georgia Line. His favorites include everything from Three Dog Night, Bob Seger and ABBA to Steve Winwood, Billy Ocean, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith.
“I looked back the other day at some of the stuff I’ve downloaded and it’s pretty amazing,” he smiled.
“I never could play an instrument, but I love music.”Rick Hendrick
Raised on a farm near the small community of Palmer Springs, Virginia, Hendrick didn’t recall his father listening to much music. But his mother and aunt were crazy about Frank Sinatra.
The Rat Pack singer and AM radio were his introduction to the power of music.
“I grew up in a very rural area, and on an AM radio all you got was the news and farm reports,” he said. “But, at night, you’d tune into ‘Cousin Brucie,’ who played all the hits. All my friends and I would always listen to that.”
As Hendrick began developing his own music taste, his love of cars was never far removed.
“I was heavy, heavy into the Beach Boys because I dreamed about going to California and driving hot rods,” he said.
The marriage between music and cars has always been a strong one for the champion owner.
Track by track on his playlist, Hendrick said he can always remember the period in his life when he first heard the song. And even those memories often include a car.
Take Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” for example.
“I remember pulling up at the lake in a Corvette just about blowing the speakers out listening to that,” Hendrick laughed.
And it’s cars – particularly his personal collection – that have helped Hendrick’s connections in the music industry grow deeper.
“That’s how I met Zac (Brown), he came to see the cars,” Hendrick said. “Same with Brad Paisley. (Vice chairman of NASCAR) Mike Helton called and said Brad wanted to come check out the cars and we became immediate friends. The two guys that I just really bonded with were Zac and Brad.”
Dozens of artists have come to visit Hendrick’s car collection, from Winwood – who Hendrick acknowledged left him starstruck – to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.
“For those guys to come and want to see my stuff and meet me, it’s humbling,” Hendrick said, “I’m always idolizing them.”
And those relationships have led to some unique opportunities, including Hendrick making cameos in several music videos like Paisley’s “Old Alabama,” which was filmed at Hendrick Motorsports, and “Sunday Finest” by Brown’s side project, Sir Rosevelt. Hendrick also lent classic cars to Darius Rucker for the “Together, Anything’s Possible” video.
The relationships have likewise helped the owner continue to add to his impressive assortment of music memorabilia – a collection that began when Geoff Bodine won at Nashville Speedway in 1984 and earned a guitar as a trophy. Then, driver Tim Richmond brought Hendrick a guitar signed by Springsteen, and it grew from there.
Today, he has hundreds of autographs ranging from a banjo signed by Earl Scruggs to an electric guitar signed by Jimi Hendrix – a special gift from his wife Linda – and a custom instrument made specifically for Hendrick after the organization’s 200th NASCAR Cup Series win.
“I met Chris Stapleton and got a guitar signed. He and Justin Timberlake did this unbelievable duet at the CMA Awards, so we got him to sign it, too,” he recalled. “Boy, Chris is a great person. So talented. He’s another one that’s a car guy and we really hit it off.”
Personal relationships aside, it’s the music that speaks to Hendrick. When Byron shared his playlist, the driver said that he enjoys hearing all the different stories songs can tell.
For Hendrick, it’s about where the music can take him.
He listed a personal favorite category that he calls “songs that take me to the ocean,” from “Toes” and “Knee Deep” by Zac Brown Band to “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills and Nash, which he called his “favorite blue-water song.”
“If I could do something that I’ve never done in my life, it would be sit on the edge of the ocean and play a guitar,” he said. “I’ve taken lessons a couple of times and don’t have the gift. But I think it would be so cool to be able to be on the water and just play.”
Cars and racing have played a major role throughout Hendrick’s life. And music has always been along for the ride.
“I never could play an instrument, but I love music,” he said. “It soothes me, and I can drift away from all the things that I’ve got to do. It takes me to a quiet place.
“Linda will tell you, I’m in the house, I’m in the pool, I’m on the boat – I’ve got it cranked all the time.”
Listen to Hendrick’s full playlist here.
Stay tuned next week when Alex Bowman steps up to the plate with his Spotify playlist.