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Rick Hendrick Names His Heir in Light of Massive Daytona 500 Success

Published 02/22/2024, 1:01 PM EST

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Last Monday was historic for Rick Hendrick. It was the day Hendrick Motorsports turned 40 and William Byron won the Daytona 500, ending a decade-long drought for the team in The Great American Race. While speaking about the response he received from his close ones, the team’s legendary owner let slip the people who would be taking the organization into the future and he name-dropped one of the HMS’ biggest legends.

It was 1984 when Mr. H founded All-Star Racing, which would later be known as Hendrick Motorsports, the most successful team in the history of the Cup Series with the most championship and race wins in history. Being consistent in a competition as tough as NASCAR’s highest division is no easy feat, but HMS has made it look easy for several years now. And there is no sign of them slowing down anytime soon.

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In a recent interview with ‘SiriusXM Radio’, the 74-year-old mentioned that 4-time Cup Series champion and team vice chairman Jeff Gordon would be one of the people leading the team into the future. Considering his illustrious career as a driver with the team and the work he has done ever since he became a part owner of the organization, there perhaps could not be anyone better suited to get the job done.

“I’ve won it like 9 times now, but I’ve never had the response. I guess we didn’t have cell phones and text messages and all that back in the day, but I have been bombarded by friends and guys and I went to school with and…all of our sponsors were there. You couldn’t write a script any better. The rain caused the race on the day that we started 40 years ago,” the 74-year-old said.

He further added, “When you stop and reflect, I am just thankful to all the drivers and people that work here and we ain’t done yet. Now we’re seeing…this is the next 40 years and I won’t be here but if we keep doing the things that we’re doing now, Jeff Gordon will carry the torch and Jeff Andrews and Chad Gnaus…as long as we stay tight and stay together, this team will continue to set records.”

It was a big moment for Mr. H, as he reflected on the time Hendrick Motorsports raced for the first time in the NASCAR Cup Series. At the time, there was a sense of not belonging with the big names, but certainly, those doubts have been laid to rest today.

Rick Hendrick did not believe he belonged in the Cup Series

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When the 74-year-old came into the competition as an owner, the Pettys dominated the landscape of stock car racing. Rick Hendrick said that looking at the Pettys, the Wood Brothers, and the great Junior Johnson, he was not very sure that he would be able to make it in the series.

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“When I think back 40 years and coming down here and feeling like I didn’t belong, seeing Junior Johnson and the Pettys and Wood Brothers and man, here we were with five full-time people and no sponsor and finished in the top 10. But to win this race – I guess since it’s been 10 years – I forgot how thrilling it really is because the disappointment of coming off of (Turn) 4, leading, and getting crashed,” the HMS boss said, as per ‘RACER’.

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Despite being 74 years old, Rick Hendrick is as passionate about NASCAR as he ever was. It will be intriguing to see how Jeff Gordon carries the mantle of Hendrick Motorsports.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

987Articles

One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad