“It Blew Up on Us”- Rick Hendrick Painfully Exposes NASCAR Struggles With Failed Richard Petty Narrative

Published 09/27/2023, 6:37 AM EDT

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Today, Hendrick Motorsports is considered to be one of the greatest motorsports teams in the world, but Rick Hendrick‘s journey to the top has been one filled with challenges and uncertainty. Like every other team, HMS struggled with finances and sponsors. The team created history last Sunday in Texas as William Byron won the team their 300th Cup Series win.

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While this season has not gone exactly as planned for Rick Hendrick, there have been a lot of positives. Both Byron and Kyle Larson are being considered title favorites in 2023, and the team will hope that they are able to get both drivers in the championship race at Phoenix later this year. In a recent interview on SiriusXM, Mr. H, talking about the team’s success, shared a story from a time when the team HMS was just a humble newbie in NASCAR.

Rick Hendrick recalls one of his harshest experiences as team boss

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But despite whatever success Rick Hendrick has enjoyed over the past few decades, he has not forgotten his roots. There was a time in the team’s early years (when it was called All-Star Racing) when they had the opportunity to strike a monster deal with one of the greatest of all time, Richard Petty.

It was not just Petty that was on the cards for Rick. The former Cup Series driver at the time also had a deal lined up to work with country music business mogul CK Spurlock, who would have made a huge impact on the team when it came to funding.

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Unfortunately, things did not work out for Rick Hendrick at the time, as the Richard Petty deal fell apart and Spurlock decided to put his focus on Gambler Chassis. Mr. H’s interview was an insight into the humble beginnings of what is today a super heavyweight in the world of NASCAR.

He stated, “We were going down that road; we thought we had Richard, and it blew up on us, and then we didn’t have a sponsor. Then we had CK Spurlock at Gambler Chassis, and he was launching a new program, so it came apart. Here I was with Harry (Harry Hyde was a crew chief for All-Star Racing back then) and myself and no sponsor, and you’re talking about a shoestring deal.

“I was running…when we built the cars, we put Chrysler transmissions, Chrysler rear ends and so we were running a Chevrolet with Chrysler gearboxes and Chrysler gears which I was renting from Harry. Renting the shop, renting equipment,” the HMS owner further added.

Hendrick Motorsports is the undisputed king of NASCAR. On Sunday last week, William Byron’s victory at Texas gave them their 300th victory.

William Byron Displaces Hendrick Motorsports Legend as He Etches His Name in History Books

Mr. H, the HMS supremo, showers praise on his youngest driver’s team

After the race, Rick Hendrick expressed in an interview just how happy and proud he was with the youngest driver, the Texas winner. He also applauded the No. 24 crew chief, Rudy Fugle, for taking what he considered to be an unlikely victory for No. 24. Mr. H also shared his happiness with Chase Elliott’s performance, despite him not being in the playoffs.

“Really did a great job all day; all our cars were fast… I didn’t know that they didn’t think the #24 was going to be up there, and they worked their way up there through the pits sequence,” he said.

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“But William Byron has six wins this year and seeing Chase (Elliott) up in the top-10 top-five in last two-three races that’s a good sign for you know, finishing the year strong winning the race,” he added.

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Texas was obviously a good day for HMS and everyone involved with the team, but the job is far from done. Byron may have qualified for the next round, but it is now time for Kyle Larson and his crew members to pull up their socks and ensure he makes it to the last eight.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He started his journey as a motorsports fan with Moto GP and Formula One, before gravitating towards NASCAR a few years back. The high-octane nature of stock car racing paired with the racecraft on display drew him into the sport.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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