Joseph Riddick "Rick" Hendrick III (born July 12, 1949) is the current owner of the American NASCAR team, Hendrick Motorsports and founder of the Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Marrow Program. He attended Park View High School in South Hill, Virginia, and began his career in auto racing at age 14. He is also a retired race car driver himself, driving in only three NASCAR races throughout the course of his NASCAR career. He is the father of the late Ricky Hendrick, a former NASCAR driver.
Hendrick, born on July 12, 1949 in Warrenton, North Carolina, was raised on his family's farm. Hendrick, at the age of 14, began drag racing in a self built 1931 Chevrolet. Two years later, at age 16, Hendrick won the Virginia division of the Chrysler-Plymouth Troubleshooting Contest, a two-part test consisting of a written exam and a timed hands-on diagnosis and repair of defects planted on a car. While attending Park View High School in South Hill, Virginia, he considered being a professional baseball player. After high school, he decided to pursue a co-op work study program with North Carolina State University and Westinghouse Electric Company in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Afterward, Hendrick opened a small used-car lot with Mike Leith, named Hendrick Automotive Group. Leith, an established new-car dealer, was convinced to name Hendrick the general sales manager of the company, at age 23. In 1976, he sold his assets to purchase a franchise in Bennettsville, South Carolina. After doing so, he became the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States. Hendrick's influence increased sales to make the once troubled location become the region's most profitable. The success of Bennettsville was a precursor to the Hendrick Automotive Group, which now has 80 franchises and 6,000 employees across ten different states. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, his company had a revenue of excess of $3.5 billion in 2009, after selling 100,000 vehicles and servicing 1.5 million, and is the sixth largest dealership in the United States. Hendrick is also the chairman of the company.
Hendrick drove in two races during the 1987 and 1988 Winston Cup Series, with finishes of 33rd and 15th, respectively. He also had a single start in both the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. He also had been a pit crew member for the Flying 11 that Ray Hendrick (no relation) drove in the 1960s. In 1997, Hendrick began the Hendrick Marrow Program, a non-profit works with the Be The Match Foundation to support the National Marrow Donor Program. It raises funds to add volunteers to the Be The Match Registry, which helps to find a marrow match for patients. It also provides assistance to recipients with uninsured transplant costs. Since the beginning, it has raised millions of dollars, 100,000 potential donors to the organization and eased the financial burden of more the 5,000 patients with grants from the Hendrick Family Fund for Patient Assistance.
Afterward, he and his wife, Linda, were honored in 1999 with the Be The Match Foundation's Leadership for the Life Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made an extraordinary commitment to serve marrow transplant patients. Some of the past patients include U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, baseball great Rod Carew and former Postmaster General William J. Henderson. He takes a personal approach to the cause after being diagnosed in November 1996 with chronic myelogenous leukemia, but has been in full remission since December 1999. Hendrick also has a passion for The Hendrick Foundation for Children, a foundation that supports programs and services that benefit youngsters with illness, injury, disability or other hindrance, and was establish by his brother, John Hendrick. Governor Jim Hunt recognized Hendrick in 1996 with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor. The award is bestowed upon citizens of the state who have a proven record of extraordinary service. Past recipients include journalist Charles Kuralt, the Rev. Billy Graham, artist Bob Timberlake and Hendrick's late father, Joe Hendrick, who was presented the award by Gov. Mike Easley in 2004.
In 1997, Hendrick pled guilty to mail fraud. In the 1980s, Honda automobiles were in high demand and Honda executives allegedly solicited bribes from dealers for larger product disbursements. Hendrick admitted to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars, BMW automobiles, and houses to American Honda Motor Company executives. Hendrick was sentenced in December 1997 to a $250,000 fine, 12 months home confinement (instead of prison, due to his leukemia), three years probation, and to have no involvement with Hendrick Automotive Group (which was run by Jim Perkins) or Hendrick Motorsports (run by his brother John) during his year of confinement. In December 2000, Hendrick received a full pardon from President Bill Clinton.
In the late 1970s, Hendrick founded a drag boat racing team that won three consecutive championships, as well as setting a world record of 222.2 mph (357.6 km/h) with Nitro Fever. He then moved to the NASCAR Model Sportsman Series (now Nationwide Series), in which he earned one victory with Dale Earnhardt at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 1984, he founded All-Star Racing (now Hendrick Motorsports). With five full-time employees and 5,000 square feet (460 m2) of work space, he fielded one NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup Series) team. With Geoff Bodine the driver, his team managed to race in all 30 races to finish ninth in the final standings with three wins and pole positions. Throughout his career as a team owner, Hendrick has won 15 Drivers' championships (11 Sprint Cup Series, 1 Nationwide Series, and three Camping World Truck Series), 257 race wins (209 Sprint Cup Series, 23 Nationwide Series, and 25 Truck Series), and 245 pole positions (189 Sprint Cup Series, 35 Nationwide Series, and 21 Truck Series).
In the late 80s, Hendrick owned the Goodwrench IMSA GTP Corvette driven by Sarel Van der Merwe and Doc Bundy. The car was actually built by Lola but resembled later Corvette models and was powered by GM's twin-turbo V-6 engine. The GTP team was based in a tiny shop on Gasoline Alley (formerly Roena St.) in Indianapolis, Indiana and managed by Ken Howes of South Africa. The team experienced mixed successes, setting track records and winning many pole positions but few races. The project was abandoned after only a few seasons. He currently has 4 full time drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kasey Kahne.
On October 31, 2011, Hendrick and his wife, Linda, were involved in a plane crash in Key West, Florida when the plane brakes reportedly failed after landing at Key West International Airport. Linda suffered minor injuries while Rick suffered 3 broken ribs and a fractured clavicle.
Motorsports career results
(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)
Winston Cup Series
|NASCAR Winston Cup Series results|
|NASCAR Busch Series results|
Craftsman Truck Series
|NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series results|
- "Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports". DuPont Motorsports. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- Pappone, Jeff (2013-04-22). "Motorsport teams and sponsors enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Hendrick Automotive Group". Hendrickauto.com. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Rick Hendrick Career Statistics". Racing-Reference.info. 1949-07-12. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Benny Parsons' commentary, ESPN 26 hour marathon for the Top NASCAR races as it turns 50 years old at Riverside International Raceway". 1999. 1:00 minutes in. ESPN2. ESPN.
- Kurz, Jr., Hank (2004-10-25). "Hendrick Motorsports Plane Crash Kills 10". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
- Lacey, Marc; Johnston, David (2001-02-28). "Clinton Will Not Block Aides From Testifying on Pardons". The New York Times, February 28, 2001.
- "Clinton Pardons". Jurist.law.pitt.edu. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "DOJ listing of Hendrick's pardon". Usdoj.gov. 2000-12-22. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Rick Hendrick Owner Statistics". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Plane carrying NASCAR owner crash lands in Florida". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- The Hendrick Marrow Program
- Owner's page at racing-reference.info
- Driver's page at racing-reference.info
- Hendrick Motorsports