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Hendrick Motorsports contributors from the first decade of the organization's existence share their thoughts and memories of working with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick:

“Harry Hyde called me up when Rick was putting his team together, he and Harry, and Harry said, ‘I need you to meet this guy Rick Hendrick. He’s putting this team together and he’s a great guy, he’ll tell you one thing but he always gives you more.’ I went down there and met with him. Back in those days we didn’t have cell phones so we all chatted – Rick, Harry Hyde and myself. I told him that I would like to be their driver. So Rick said, ‘Harry and I will talk about it and we’ll get back to you.’ I said, ‘Do you mind if I wait out in the waiting room?’ I figured if I went home and had to wait for that phone to ring, it might not ring. About five minutes later Rick came out and said, ‘You’ve got the deal.’ That’s how quickly it all came together."

Geoff Bodine, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet from 1984-89

"Rick and Linda and little Ricky and Lynn, it was a joy driving for them, knowing them and being friends. It was great. We won our first race together -- it was Rick's first and my first -- so that kind of gives you a bond with somebody when you do that. They feel like family.”

Geoff Bodine, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet from 1984-89

"I think the one thing that stands out to me is how he handles the hard times. I think everyone understands when I say hard times. The fact that when people are having a problem he’s not afraid to step in and share his personal experiences of the hard times to help you get through your hard times. I’ve seen him do this on numerous occasions. His willingness to continuously expose himself and his personal tragedies to other individuals who are experiencing the same thing speaks volumes about his character and his courage. If there is something that makes me admire him the most, it’s not the good times, it’s the bad times and the fact that he loves being on top but when he’s not on top he’s not afraid to work hard to turn things around."

Jeff Hammond, crew chief from 1987-90

"You can’t say enough good things about Rick. The honor he is being bestowed is well deserved and I think that our sport as a whole has probably achieved more and established itself more because of the way he and his organization forced other organizations to keep up. The sport has come a long way because of his continuous desire to interject technology, talented people and attack the sport in a totally different manner than anyone else ever has."

Jeff Hammond, crew chief from 1987-90

“When I went to work for a small team for three years and all of a sudden I had the opportunity to go drive for Mr. Rick, it was a total dream come true. My deal, I didn’t understand it when I first went over there but the No. 25 car was always listed as Papa Joe’s. In Pop's mind, that was his team and he wanted to do what he wanted to do. And man, did we have fun. I had so much fun with Pop, it was like being around my own dad.”

Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet from 1988-1996

“Being around him and Papa Joe, even though we’re not that far apart in age, he really was more like a brother, but he was the older brother that ran the show. Being around him and Pop was like being around my dad because the values that I grew up with -- this is right, this is wrong, you don’t do this and this is the way you take care of people -– it was the same there. From the time I went to work for him until now, obviously Rick's business world has grown quite a bit, but it’s because of those values.”

Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet from 1988-1996

"Just the way Rick operates, just who he is – he’s not pushy, he’s not high-pressure, he comes along beside of you and tells you, ‘Here’s what I think we can do and I think we can do it together.’ I just always liked that.”

Darrell Waltrip, driver of the No. 17 Chevrolet from 1987-90

“If somebody said, ‘You can make one call, you’ve got one shot here, so better make it a good one,’ I’d always call Rick. When I call Rick, I don’t think I’ve ever called him and said, ‘I need help,’ that help wasn’t on its way. Hey, I’m a guy that drove for him, I’m a guy that has a pretty close relationship with him, but he’s not just that way with me. I’m not an exception. He wouldn’t do anything more for me than he would for any of his other friends. That just makes him unique. He is a very unique individual.”

Darrell Waltrip, driver of the No. 17 Chevrolet from 1987-90