Home to a wide range of new and used cars for sale, any Rick Hendrick dealership is a local staple, known for their community work, and wide sweeping services. However, fans of NASCAR will also be quite familiar with the Rick Hendrick name. Known for their sweeping wins in NASCAR’s Premier division, Rick Hendrick Motorsports is a fully-fleshed out organization, run by none other than Rick Hendrick himself. The motorsports program has over 12 car owner championships and boasts a team of full-time drivers on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. That said, Hendrick Motorsports is more than just a dealership and NASCAR racing organization; it is a staple of the community and continues to make an impact in NASCAR to this day.
The History of Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports was founded by self-proclaimed “gearhead” Rick Hendrick. Rick grew up on a small farm in Palmer Springs, Virginia, and always had a fascination for cars. At age 23, Rick opened a used-car lot under the Mike Leith dealership. He found immediate success and was eventually named general sales manager of new-car imports. Come 1976, Rick sold his shares in the dealership and bought a Chevrolet dealership in Bennettsville, South Carolina that was struggling at the time. At aged 26, Rick became the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the U.S. The Bennetsville Chevy dealership flourished under Rick’s ownership, which built the foundations for Hendrick Automotive Group which today boasts over 140 locations in 14 states across the U.S. Today the Hendrick Automotive Group is the largest privately held dealership in the nation with a 2016 revenue of $9 billion.
Even after all of this success in the automotive industry, Rick was far from satisfied. In 1984, Rick founded Hendrick Motorsports. Based in a 430,000 square feet facility, with over 140 acres and 600 employees, it is easy to see how Hendrick Motorsports is one of the more impressive racing programs in the NASCAR organization.
Hendrick’s Impact in Racing
Hendrick Motorsports has earned quite the record over the years. Today, Hendrick is recognized as a runner-up on NASCAR’s all-time Cup Victories which includes all racing organizations from 1949 to today. Hendrick Motorsports has a plethora of victories under their belt. Since its founding, Hendrick Motorsports has a NASCAR record of 15 national series championships. Their current roster of talented drivers includes Chase Elliott, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, and Alex Bowman.
Every season since 1986 Rick Hendrick’s racing team has one at least a single cup-level race, giving them the longest active streak in NASCAR. Rick himself has made quite an impact on racing. He is NASCAR’s all-time leader in Cup Series championships, putting him at odds with Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Terry Labonte.
In 2013, Hendrick was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and was added to NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Rick Hendrick is known for his accolades, having been awarded the Horatio Alger Award, NASCAR’s Bill France Award of Excellence, and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. All that said, Rick and his racing organization do more than just race cars. Hendrick Motorsports has earned quite the reputation for giving back to their community, and continue to do so to this day.
Hendrick Motorsport’s Charity Work
Hendrick Motorsports is no stranger of charity work. They serve as active players in the community, supporting others through the Hendrick Family Foundation. The Hendrick Family Foundation was established alongside Hendrick’s wife Linda and began on the foundations of the Hendrick Marrow Program which since 1997 raised more than $15 million. Being a leukemia survivor himself, Hendrick is also an avid supporter of the Levin Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. The Hendrick Family Foundation also supports affiliate foundations founded by its drivers in an effort to expand its charitable outreach. One of their charitable foundations is the Chase Elliott Foundation. This non-profit organization was founded in order to provide financial support to other organizations that strive to help others live healthily and happily. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation is another affiliate foundation of Hendrick Motorsports. Started by Chandra and Jimmie Johnson in 2006, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation has raised more than $9.5 million to a wide range of organizations. They also support K-12 students through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Champions Grand program.
The Hendrick Motorsports Racing Team
As you may have already noticed, the Hendrick Motorsports racing team has made quite a mark on the sport of NASCAR. While the team itself was founded by Rick Hendrick, the original team, initially titled “All Star Racing” was made up of Harry Hyde, Raymond Beadle, and C.K Spurlock. Harry Hyde was the crew chief and car builder, Raymond Beadle was the NASCAR team owner, and C.K Spurlock was a music entrepreneur at the time. While the organization was founded earlier, the team didn’t get two full-time cars until 1985. This number quickly expanded to three in 1987, and four by 2002.
Throughout their history, there have been plenty of famous vehicles in their lineup, such as Car No.5. Car No. 5 entered the ring in 1984 proudly boasting the “All-Star Racing” banner. In these early days the team only had five employees, didn’t own their equipment, and earned rather unsatisfactory wages. These drawbacks didn’t stop the “All-Star Racing” team, and in 1984, the No.5 Car came in 1st in the STP 500. The No. 5 Car would eventually receive a title change to the No. 24, however, the legacy it founded would carry on in the Hendrick Motorsports Racing team.
Car No. 25 was another impressive vehicle under the Hendrick Motorsports banner. Originally owned by Rick Hendrick’s grandfather, the vehicle hit the pavement in 1986, as a part of the Hendrick Motorsports racing team. When it was first introduced it sported a Folger’s sponsorship and was driven by the talented Tim Richmond. Over the years, the Car No. 25 changed many drivers and earned 1st place in the Toyota Owners 400 of 2003, the Atlanta 500 of 1991, The Pocono 400 of 1987, and the Gander RV 400 of 1986 just to name a few.
Hendrick Motorsports Moving Forward
Hendrick Motorsports continues to be a heavy hitter in NASCAR. They currently partner with huge brands like Ally, Hertz, Axalta, Chevrolet, Kelly Blue Book, Nationwide Insurance, Mountain Dew, and Valvoline just to name a few. Under their team banner is the No. 9 Car driven by Chase Eliott and sponsored by NAPA auto parts. The No. 24 Car is driven by William Byron and has a primary sponsor of Axalta Coating Systems. Alongside No. 24 is the No. 48 Car driven by Jimmie Johnson, and sponsored by Ally. Lastly, is the No. 88 Car driven by Alex Bowman, and sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. The Hendrick Motorsports team shows a lot of promise in the sport, and while there is still more to come, it is easy to see how the team has already left quite a mark on the sport overall.