MATTHEWS, N.C. (May 23, 2005) - In a formal ceremony attended by state and local dignitaries, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) honored the late Joe Hendrick on Monday, as the college broke ground on the automotive technology center that will bear his name. The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Levine Campus of CPCC in Matthews. Among the speakers were prominent state and local government and business leaders, including North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, Speaker of the North Carolina House Jim Black, Matthews Mayor Lee Myers and Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports. Also attending were Tommy Norman, chairman of the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation and Ralph Pitts, chairman of the Central Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees. The official groundbreaking ceremony was conducted by Hendrick and CPCC president Dr. Tony Zeiss. CPCC announced in 2004 a gift of $1 million from Hendrick to help establish the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology. The gift honors Hendrick’s father, the late Joe Hendrick, an auto racing pioneer who was involved in the industry for more than four decades as a team owner. With his family, Joe Hendrick was instrumental in the rapid growth of the sport both nationally and internationally and was active in racing as a partner in Hendrick Motorsports until his passing in July 2004. "My father always had a love affair with the automobile and instilled that same passion in so many others," Rick Hendrick said. "In preparing people for fulfilling careers in an industry that was central in his life, The Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology is truly a fitting way to continue my dad's legacy. "CPCC has long been a provider of outstanding, cost-effective automotive training in our community and I'm proud to have his name associated with such a wonderful institution." Zeiss sees the-long term benefits of the gift for the college. "This generous gift will assure that citizens of our area have access to the finest possible training in the field of automotive technology for decades to come," he said. CPCC is the largest community college in North Carolina, offering more than 100 degree, diploma and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special-interest classes.