Rick Hendrick started his NASCAR dynasty with a key victory
By: Al Pearce on March 29, 2014
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Rick Hendrick occasionally talks about a 1984 win at Martinsville that kept him from shutting his doors on NASCAR.
Thirty years in the past, a lower-important startup stock auto crew named All-Star Racing shocked NASCAR by winning the Sovran Financial institution Cup 500 at Martinsville Speedway. At the time, hardly any individual on hand that Sunday afternoon in April of 1984 recognized they had been witnessing the birth of a dynasty.
The winner that day was Geoff Bodine, an abrasive upstate New Yorker ideal identified as an outstanding Modified and Late Model Sportsman driver. The winning crew chief was Harry Hyde, the 1971 Cup-winning crew chief for Bobby Isaac. The owner of the brand-new staff was a comparatively unknown 34-yr-outdated Charlotte automotive dealer named Rick Hendrick.
Who could have imagined what was to come?
Today, Hendrick is the owner of Hendrick Motorsports, stock car racing’s winningest organization and one of the greatest-identified teams in all of motorsports. All told, his organization that started in 1984 with one particular group, a handful of personnel and a modest store near Charlotte Motor Speedway now has 4 competitive, nicely-sponsored, total-time Cup teams. Far more than 500 personnel operate on a substantial multipurpose campus that covers 140 acres and includes 430,000 square feet. Nowadays, Hendrick Motorsports turns out engines, automobiles and technological innovation for most of NASCAR’s Chevrolet-based mostly teams.
Probably appropriately, Hendrick’s teams have won 21 occasions at Martinsville, one of NASCAR’s most challenging venues. (Bodine, Gordon, Johnson and Darrell Waltrip have accounted for all individuals victories.) Gordon and Johnson, who’ve invested their whole Cup careers at HMS, share the record for most victories by energetic drivers at Martinsville, every with 7
On occasion, Hendrick tells the story about the Martinsville victory with Bodine in 1984 that saved the organization. He was obtaining trouble generating ends meet, even at a time when NASCAR wasn’t almost as costly as it is now. He just lately informed reporters at a Charlotte media occasion that with no that victory in the No. 5 Monte Carlo, he likely would have closed the doors and shut down his crew.
As an alternative, his organization has flourished, winning so a lot that several consider his crew to be a dynasty in contemporary expert sports activities.
All told, Hendrick’s teams have won 11 Sprint Cups because its 1st in 1995. Recent driver Jimmie Johnson has 6 of them, recent driver Jeff Gordon has 4, and former driver Terry Labonte has 1. In addition to Cup, the Hendrick empire has won a Nationwide Series title with Brian Vickers and 3 Camping World Truck Series titles with Jack Sprague.
General, the numbers are staggering: 196 poles and 210 victories in Sprint Cup 36 poles and 23 victories in the Nationwide Series and 22 poles and 26 victories in the Truck Series. All advised, HMS has fielded cars for 41 drivers in Cup, 26 in Nationwide and 6 in the Truck Series.
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