“I’ve Always Had That Philosophy”- Rick Hendrick Unravels Inclusive Mindset Behind HMS’ Colossal NASCAR Success

Published 11/16/2023, 11:11 PM EST

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Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was Hendrick Motorsport‘s success. When Rick Hendrick established Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, no one knew the aftermath. Over the years, the team has churned out iconic drivers, crew chiefs, and uncountable memories. After 39 years, Mr. H has earned a revered place in motorsports history with 14 owner’s championships and 339 wins across NASCAR’s top three competitions. Even in 2023, HMS began the postseason with two of their drivers starting in the Round of 16.

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Despite their efforts in vain, the team has always put its drivers in positions where they can fight for their success. Revealing the secret behind it, Rick Hendrick has something to say.

A secret ingredient behind Rick Hendrick & Hendrick Motorsports’ success

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A young Rick Hendrick built his first car with his father at 14. The Virginia native was a frequent visitor at racetracks in the state, and his inquisitive nature towards cars pushed him onto a new career path. Despite studying to become a die maker, his first breakthrough in the car business came in 1972 at the age of 23. Having been named general sales manager after the success of his used car lot, 1976 was the year when a major wind of change arrived as General Motors named Mr. H the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the country.

The journey has been long and memorable, from being the youngest Chevy dealer to the winningest Chevy team owner in NASCAR. However, what was it that pushed Rick Hendrick so far up the ladder? It looks like we have our answers.

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Mr. H expressed, “If people know that you care about them and their success, they care about you. I’ve always had that philosophy. I feel like we all built this together, so that’s priority one for me. But you got to have it all. You got to have the best mechanics people, pit crews, and it takes everybody when you get all of it together. Driver, crew chief, you know, all the support, then we’ll be successful. That’s been the key.

The determination of the 73-year-old has translated into success and fame in NASCAR. The team enters every NASCAR season, year after year, as a leading contender for the championship. NASCAR recognized his efforts in 2017 by inducting him into the Hall of Fame, while international recognition preceded it with an entry into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2023, HMS showed its prowess on the track and, despite a shaky end to the regular season, had a lot to look back upon. As for Rick Hendrick, his ideas in recent times have been nothing less than revolutionary.

HMS had a great 2023 despite not being able to land the Cup Series championship

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Earlier in June this year, Rick Hendrick devised a plan alongside NASCAR CEO Jim France to put the sport on the world map. The target? One of the most prestigious racing events in the world is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Cup Series’ three premier leaders, HMS, Chevrolet, and Goodyear, followed Jim France’s blueprint to make the possibility a reality as they graced ‘Garage 56’ to mark the return of NASCAR to the event after 1976.

With international success achieved, the team put its eyes back on its primary goal, the Cup Series trophy. Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott missed the playoffs for the first time in their careers in an unexpected development. Kyle Larson and William Byron, on the other hand, showed no signs of stopping as they marched through the Championship 4 race in Phoenix with relative ease.

William Byron especially had a stellar season and a perfect portrayal of HMS’ expertise as he racked up six wins to stand tall as the driver with the most wins in 2023. Larson was also close to landing a second championship but eventually was edged by champion Ryan Blaney. In the owners’ championship race, JGR’s #19 and #11 teams also prevailed over the No. 24 team.

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Overall, it has been a successful season for the team, with a lot of positives to jot down. A lack of silverware will not demotivate the team but instead give them the much-needed fuel for success in 2024.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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