CONCORD, N.C. -- For Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his organization, it has been far from a quiet offseason.
Between Jimmie Johnson's championship, Hendrick's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final clearance to return to NASCAR competition, there has been a flurry of activity ever since the checkered flag waved at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November.
"This has probably been the busiest offseason, by far," Hendrick said. "It’s been just unbelievable with the excitement of winning a championship, because you don’t know you’re going to do it until the last race. And then the Hall of Fame and having Dale come back, so many things are happening. And then new rules, a new race format – it’s a lot going on.
"I’m excited about it, but it’s just been busy."
As the race teams prepare to make the trek to Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2017 season, Hendrick has been pleased with how the team members have worked to ensure the momentum built down the stretch in 2016 makes the transition to the new campaign.
"I think the momentum is still carrying on – we’ll see when we get to the track," Hendrick said. "You never know who else is going to step it up, but the way they’re working together, we’re going to have a good year. I think it’s the closest the teams have ever been working together. So, I’m excited."
The Daytona 500 is less than two weeks away on Feb. 26, but the unofficial start to racing in 2017 comes eight days sooner -- just four days from now -- with The Clash exhibition this Saturday.
It may seem like just yesterday that Johnson hoisted his record-tying seventh Cup championship. Nevertheless, Hendrick and the organization are more than ready to tackle a brand new season.
"It feels like we’ve had no offseason this year," Hendrick said, "but I’m looking forward to Daytona.”