Rick Hendrick is one of the most respected and successful team owners in the racing industry. In 25 years of competition, Hendrick Motorsports has won ten NASCAR Cup Series championships, three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titles and one NASCAR Busch Series crown. Rick Hendrick is just the second team owner in NASCAR’s modern era to earn more than 170 Cup Series victories. The Hendrick Motorsports organization consists of four full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers, including Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Mr. Hendrick’s leadership is a pivotal reason why the organization has experienced unparalleled success in motorsports, and the 2014 HMS driver line-up promises to deliver another top-notch season.
Mr. Hendrick bought his first auto dealership at age 26 in Bennettsville, S.C., to become the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States. He is the founder of Hendrick Automotive Group, which controls automobile franchises from the Carolinas to California and ranks as one of the largest auto retailers in the United States. The company employs thousands of people from coast-to-coast. He founded Hendrick Motorsports (originally named All-Star Racing) in 1984 and employs more than 500 people at its Concord, North Carolina campus located near Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Over a little more than two decades, the HMS teams have accumulated more than 210 NASCAR Cup victories and ten NASCAR Cup Series titles.
Rick Hendrick is also very active outside of NASCAR. He served as a technical advisor for Days of Thunder, a 1990 major motion picture about stock car racing produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. He was one of the four partners who founded the Charlotte Hornets team in the National Basketball Association. But giving back to the community is perhaps one of the most important things to Rick Hendrick. In 1997 he formed the Hendrick Marrow Program after being diagnosed with leukemia and is a member of The Marrow Foundation’s board of directors. The Hendrick Marrow Program raises funds supporting the Be The Match Foundation with the goal of adding volunteers to the national bone marrow registry and providing patience assistance to leukemia and blood-related disease transplant recipients. He is also very active with several additional charities, including the Hendrick Foundation for Children, founded in 2004 by his late brother, John Hendrick.
Rick Hendrick has received several nods of recognition for his humanitarian efforts, including North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine and The Marrow Foundation’s Leadership for Life Award. Perhaps his most notable achievement came in 2006 when the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans presented him with the Horatio Alger Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have overcome adversity to achieve great successes through the American free enterprise system. With this honor, Mr. Hendrick became a lifetime member of the association and joined the likes of other prominent U.S. business people, former U.S. Presidents, and other influential individuals such as Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey.
In the early 90’s, Rick Hendrick noticed the remarkable talents of an up-and-coming race car driver and decided to trust his faith in the young man’s driving abilities by adopting him into the Hendrick Motorsports family. His name–Jeff Gordon. Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon have been together ever since and have experienced unimaginable success, and more importantly a true friendship, every step of the way.
“Rick is the ultimate leader, the ultimate business man and an all-around great person at the same time,” says Gordon. “He has built an organization that is second to none and it has a lot to do with people–he is amazing at knowing the people.”
Indeed, Hendrick attributes the success of his businesses to the people he employs. However, good people recognize the value of having a good leader, and any one of the more than 10,000 individuals employed under the Hendrick name will tell you that Rick Hendrick is just that.