CHARLOTTE — Rick Hendrick was inducted Friday into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a team owner, including a record 12 championships on the premier Cup circuit.
But he spent most of his acceptance speech focused on the feats of others.
“When I think about accepting this award tonight, I think about all the people that have been involved in motorsports, and I can’t name them all,” said the longtime Chevrolet owner who has won titles with Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte. “Every person in the very beginning to today, everyone that laid a brick is part of this, and it’s the same thing we talk about in the automobile business. We achieve more working together. I believe that with all my heart.”
After nearly folding because of a lack of funding during his first season in 1984, Hendrick persevered through personal tragedy in October 2004 when a Hendrick Motorsports plane crash killed 10 (including his son, Ricky, and brother, John).
He cited the emotional support of the NASCAR community, including fellow inductee Richard Childress, for helping him get through the ordeal.
“I love this sport,” he said. “I love the fact that we are a family. I love the fact that when I had the tragedy that all these folks, Richard Childress included, every owner, everybody in the garage reached out to us, and they were there for us.
“We compete on Sunday, but we are there for each other in a time of real tragedy.”
The Palmer Springs, Va., native’s cars have captured 245 victories and 210 pole positions in 3,696 Cup starts.
“It’s your faith, it’s your family and your friends that get you through life, and that’s the most important thing,” Hendrick said. “When it’s all over, it’s the people that you touch and the lives you change that make a difference in this world.”