CONCORD, N.C. – Last season, Hendrick Motorsports captured three wins – including its historic 250th in the NASCAR Cup Series – and sent three drivers to the playoffs. The one driver who did not make the playoffs, William Byron, captured the Rookie of the Year title.
Still, 2018 was not a year that lived up to the expectations of the organization or owner Rick Hendrick.
“We definitely don’t like the way we finished last year,” Hendrick told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “That’s just not the way we race, or want to race.”
Last week, the entire organization gathered for a season kickoff luncheon, and Hendrick rallied the troops ahead of the start of the 2019 campaign.
“We all just made a commitment that we weren’t pleased with last year, and this was going to be a good year for us,” the owner explained. “All of us together are stronger than we would be separate. So, we’ve got 600-plus people with their shoulder to the wheel.”
Looking back to last year, Hendrick said he anticipated some “growing pains” when it came to reorganizing how the shops are set up, bringing in two new drivers and adapting to a new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
But he was proud of how the entire organization responded and showed its mettle down the stretch to bounce back from the start of the season.
“We could see the results about mid-year – Chase (Elliott) won three races and we could see all of the improvements,” Hendrick said of the benefits of reorganizing the race shops to put all the teams together. “I think if you asked our guys, they’d never want to go back. It’s clicking and we’re working better together than ever.”
The owner expects that to pay off in spades in 2019. And the enthusiasm he saw from the entire organization during the kickoff luncheon only fueled his excitement for what’s to come this season.
“We’re raring to go,” he said. “We’ve just got to get it done. We’re committed and we’re going to work as hard as we have to. We know how competitive the sport is, and all those guys who were up front last year will be back.
“So, it’s up to us.”