October 10, 2021
Concord, North Carolina
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by the owner of the winning team, Hendrick Motorsports, that's Rick Hendrick.
This is Hendrick Motorsports' 36th overall victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, that includes the oval, the Roval, all the All-Star Races.
Rick, congratulations on the victory. Two drivers are advancing. Talk about the day from your perspective, please.
RICK HENDRICK: It was an up-and-down day. At one point it didn't look too good for the 5 car to have to change a belt and a battery. We hadn't had any alternator problems, and had two cars today, the 48 and the 5. Then William was looking so good there. I hate it for him. And Chase, I don't know how he came back with the damage he had. But he willed to get that car up there.
We're going now, and try to win some races and make it to Phoenix.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rick.
Q. You got two cars in the Playoffs. I know it's disappointing to have the two eliminated. Shift your mindset or resources towards helping the other two to move forward, a shift?
RICK HENDRICK: No. We're doing everything we can for all four. I want those guys to win races. We're doing everything we can for all four teams. It's one organization with four cars, one team with four cars.
No, we're not going to back off. They want to win. They want to finish the season on a high note. We'll just keep doing what we've been doing. That's the plan.
One thing I'd like to say, too, Greg Anderson won today in our Pro Stock car. He's the all-time winningest Pro Stock driver. He tied it a couple weeks ago, but broke it today. A pretty neat day to have Hendrick cars on the Pro Stock and this car today.
Q. During the race, particularly a cutoff race, is somebody telling you almost constantly where you stand? You knew at one point Kyle was way below the line, William was above it? Are you aware of that? If so, do you get too worried about it?
RICK HENDRICK: Oh, yeah. Listen, I've got a screen that shows me every lap. But you got to figure in who's got to pit, who's staying out.
To be honest with you, today, through this race, I lost track of everything. I mean, I was looking at the screen, but when you come in to change the belts, and Chase, I thought he was done. Didn't know if the car could continue. William was good all day.
You're trying to look at, Okay, if William wins, what happens to Chase? Can maybe all three of them get in?
But it was the most nerve-wracking race I think that I can ever remember being a part of watching just because the Roval, the pit strategies, where people were on tires. It was a hard race to keep up with.
But the crew chiefs did a nice job. Vegas, we kind of messed up, didn't pit, cost us some really good finishes there. So today it all worked out for us.
But, man, I was talking to Cliff after. You'll talk to him here later. But everybody was uptight. You had to be.
Q. How good does it feel after being down for a couple of years a little bit, down for you guys, not for most people, but to bounce back like you have this year, great speed, and you're performing not on just one type of track but all the tracks?
RICK HENDRICK: It feels good. We started off the year just so fast. People caught up. We've had just a heck of a year. All of our guys and crew chiefs. This has been the best chemistry I think between crew chiefs and drivers that we've ever had. Any week one can win a race.
Kyle has been extremely good. Won a lot of races this year. But Alex won three, Chase won a couple, William won one. They've been in position to win.
It's been a great feeling not to have a sponsor say, Why don't you give the 48 the same stuff you give the 5, give him the same motor, the same car? Now all the cars, everybody touches each car, and the motors, they're given out at random.
It's up to the teams. It's up to the driver. But it is the best we've been as an organization in a long, long time.
Q. I was thinking how sweet it was for you to have your team sweep the races at Charlotte. Given this is a hometown race, how special does it get to know you have a team behind you that can win this event?
RICK HENDRICK: Charlotte's home. It's always been a race that we want to win. We've been very fortunate here to win a lot of races through our career.
But when we could have all our fans, a lot of our employees were sitting in the stands, couldn't come in, but it's a home track. I love it. I love the city. I've lived here now for a lot of years. To see the complex grow from Harry Hyde, the gravel road to where it is today, it's home.
Q. As a team owner, how do you feel Chase and the 9 team have handled the situation with Harvick?
RICK HENDRICK: Repeat that.
Q. As a team owner, how do you feel like Chase and the 9 team have handled the incidents with Harvick over the last couple of weeks?
RICK HENDRICK: I think they've handled it well. Of course, they were upset. Everybody was upset when that happened today. It looked like Chase could be done and out of the Playoffs. I mean, it was a lot of heated feelings.
He came back, was able to win. Harvick wrecked himself, I guess. I hope it's over. We don't want to race that way. We want to just race. That's not our style. Just go out, if a guy is better than you, he wins. Just do your job. If you get beat, you get beat.
It never feels good to push somebody out of the way. I mean, a little rubbing or something, that's okay. But just to wreck somebody, that's not good.
Q. You have two cars having some electrical issues, then the 9 and the 4 have their problems. What are you thinking when you see everything fall apart like that? You said you hope it's over between Kevin and Chase. At what point do you think NASCAR has to step in on something like that since the championship is on the line?
RICK HENDRICK: Well, I think they're the only ones that can really stop it. I hope they do because the crew chiefs and everybody can do the best they can, but it's up to the drivers themselves.
I've been in this situation before. NASCAR can handle it.
What was your other question?
Q. What were you thinking when you're watching sort of everything unravel?
RICK HENDRICK: I was upset. I was ready to go home. I mean, it was time to get the helicopter and get out of here. I mean, it was brutal. I'm not going to lie to you.
That's the lowest I've been since Talladega, I guess. We wrecked everything we had down there. Just hard to have a year like we've had, then it comes to crunch time, have issues.
We haven't had an alternator issue, I don't think, all year. Here we are in the last race to advance to 8, and we have it in both cars. I'm glad the guys recovered. Then the issue with Chase. Then you have William, kid drove his heart out today.
You got a variety of emotions. But it's racing. At the end of the day, we got to celebrate. At one point today I didn't think this was even possible, but the guys kept digging, and here we are.
Q. Kyle's talent is unquestioned. Thought if he could get to Homestead, he could win the championship. What do you see out of him to have that championship potential pedigree this year and what he's doing beyond the equipment issues of years past maybe he didn't have?
RICK HENDRICK: I think Kyle right now this year, he has tremendous confidence in the team. They have tremendous confidence in him. He believes, I mean, he's a guy he told me all week, I can't wait for the Roval, we're going to win the Roval.
He's so good everywhere. When you get to a place like Talladega, Daytona, when you take it out of his hands, then he can't show the real talent that he has.
But I think the races coming up in Kansas and Texas, you know, Martinsville, I hope we can get a win and enough points before we get there, end up in Phoenix, I think, hot and slick. It will be a good track for him.
We know the competition's going to be tough. When you get there, you're going to have your hands full with any one of the other three cars.
I was around Kyle a lot when he was driving with Ganassi. We were kind of friends. I talked to him. But just the determination he has right now. He's so good. I did not realize how good he was with feedback to the car.
Now the further into the year he and Cliff go, the better they've gotten together. They can anticipate things, so... Pretty excited.
Q. Do you feel this latest win kind of solidifies that Hendrick Motorsports is the team to beat on road courses? How do you feel that sets the team up next year?
RICK HENDRICK: Well, I don't know. I think we won how many road course races? How many road course races we win?
CLIFF DANIELS: This year?
RICK HENDRICK: In a row, anyway. Five, yeah.
I think we're awful good on road courses. Our guys are. Next year with the new car, who knows.
Q. Mr. Hendrick, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that for William, Liberty University has signed through this season. He was at Liberty University this last weekend for their homecoming festivities. What is the relationship there?
RICK HENDRICK: We'll have an announcement probably this week. It will be a very good one. We're excited.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the victory, Mr. Hendrick. Thank you for your time.
RICK HENDRICK: Okay.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports