SBJ/Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014/Champions

Rick Hendrick: In his own words

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On expanding his team …

“There is some benefit and cost saving, but I didn’t do it to save costs. I did it to get better. I said, ‘That’s a good crew chief, and that’s a good crew chief, but I can’t have both of them unless I have two cars.’ I said, ‘That’s a good driver and that’s a good driver, and Darrell Waltrip’s available, so I’ll do a third team.’ It’s just taking advantages of opportunities and seeing talent and thinking of combinations that might work.”

Hendrick delivers his speech at the 2013 NASCAR banquet.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The kickback scandal and his battle with cancer …

“Our people rallied really hard. When I got sick and all that started with the government, it made our people try harder and work harder. It was amazing how we fought through it and came back stronger.”

On losing his son, Ricky …


SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and motorsports writer Tripp Mickle discuss Rick Hendrick's life and career.

“I had big plans for Ricky. It wasn’t God’s plan. In life, you don’t know how you can handle something, but somehow God gets you through it. It doesn’t mean there’s not pain there and it goes away.”

On building a culture …

“We started with five people, and it grew over 20 years. I look for people that want to be part of a team and believe in the systems we have. If you don’t believe in sharing and you want to be a renegade, you can’t be there. That rips up the culture of the company.”

On keeping talent …

“I try to promote from within. That creates a really good culture in your company.”

On sponsorship sales …

“As [Bill] Parcells says, you are what your record says you are. What’s gotten us opportunities with some really good companies is our winning. It will draw sponsors in. I try to over deliver, and I don’t promise what I can’t deliver. But I’m a salesman. I’m going to go in and tell people, ‘Look, give me a chance and I’ll deliver. Here’s my track record.’”

On collaboration across Hendrick Automotive and Hendrick Motorsports …

“We pattern the two companies a lot after each other. I just had one of my senior [automotive] guys go to a crew chief meeting and listen to the downloads after the race. Chad [Knaus] has been to visit the guys [at a dealership] in Cary and look at how the dealership manages their people from recognition and how they recruit.”

— Compiled by Tripp Mickle

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