Rick Hendrick knows that he will not be able to lead Hendrick Motorsports, the NASCAR Cup Series team he owns and one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport, forever, although he does believe that he will continue to lead it for several years. Hendrick revealed that Jeff Gordon is who he sees as being the future leader of the team.
That said, the 69-year-old Palmer Springs, Virginia native revealed that Jeff Gordon, who drove for Hendrick Motorsports for 25 seasons overall and 23 seasons as a full-time driver, is who he sees as being the future leader of the team.
Here is what Hendrick recently had to say about the matter
“That’s the way we’re going. Whenever I finally step away, it’ll be Jeff Gordon in my place. I love this and still enjoy it so much, and it’s tied to my automotive businesses. My health is good, so I expect to be around for a long time.”
Here is what Gordon, who currently co-owns the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet that is driven by Jimmie Johnson, had to say about the matter.
“I would not be an owner if it weren’t for Rick Hendrick and being there for such a long time and the contract that I signed that helped me be an equity owner. I want to be partners with Rick in the business. I certainly would never want to go out and do this on my own. Nor would I even be capable of (it).”
“I’m always so interested in what’s happening from the business aspect. I’ve got to say, (Interim CEO and Chairman) Jim France and the France family and the involvement they have right now, (President) Steve Phelps. I’m seeing some momentum of some thing things, what’s happening with the (Race Team Alliance). There’s just some cool things that are happening and it all got started I think talking about Comcast coming in and buying NASCAR.
“Whether that was ever a reality or whatever was going to happen, what it’s generated is concerted efforts where people are coming together to try and take the sport to the next level from a business viability standpoint. That’s what I’m excited about. If it could do that, you would see me far more involved. But right now, if you look at the business model on paper, no, it doesn’t make sense. We’re lucky to have racing as more of a hobby and do it the level we do it because of our partners.”
Gordon, who does not seem like he would be fully into being the sole owner of the team, previously co-owned a team in the Busch Series (now the Xfinity Series).
Along with crew chief Ray Everham, Gordon co-owned Gordon-Everham Motorsports, which competed in six races in the 1999 season before they became JG Motorsports in the 2000 season and were co-owned by Gordon and Hendrick after Hendrick purchased Everham’s half of the team. The team competed in 20 races in the 2000 season.
Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers have combined to make a total of 3,984 Cup Series starts. In those 3,984 starts, they have recorded 252 victories, 1,045 top five finishes, 1,787 top 10 finishes, 2,751 top 20 finishes and 214 pole positions. Their average starting position is 14.1 and their average finishing position is 15.4.
Of the 1,134,957 laps completed by Hendrick Motorsports drivers, 67,717 have been led by them. The team’s drivers have combined to win 12 championships. Johnson has won seven championships driving for the team while Gordon won four and Terry Labonte won one.
Gordon never drove for a team other than Hendrick Motorsports in his Cup Series career. He competed in 805 races over the course of his 25-year career. He competed in 796 of those 805 races in his 23 seasons as a full-time driver from 1993 through 2015.
Gordon drove the #24 Chevrolet, which he drove full-time from the 1993 season through the 2015 season, in one race in the 1992 season, and he drove the #88 Chevrolet as the substitute for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in eight races in the 2016 season.