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The history of Hendrick Motorsports and full crews for Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Hendrick Motorsports plane forced to make emergency landing
A Hendrick Motorsports plane carrying team members was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning as the team traveled back from Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . According to a team spokesperson, the plane was diverted to Memphis International Airport after a presence of smoke was noticed in the plane's cabin. The plane landed safely and is being evaluated, according to the HMS spokesperson. No injuries were reported and none of the team's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers were on board the aircraft. The passengers returned to North Carolina on another flight. Listen to the spotter for Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Chevrolet, Earl Barban, recount the flight in the video above. Jessica O'Brien, wife of Dale Earnhardt Jr . No. 88 engineer Tim O'Brien, tweeted the following reaction: This was scary to wake up to! Glad my hubby @tobrien82 & everyone at @hendrickfeedr are home & safe! https://t.co/8ZuwHQf92b — Jessica O'Brien (@EdgehillMgmt) March 7, 2016
Photos: Tour of Hendrick Motorsports shop
Go behind-the-scenes of the multi-faceted Hendrick Motorsports facility in Concord, North Carolina.
Hendrick Motorsports ’ Martinsville story, a tale of two tracks
There is a team and a track sharing an emotional bond in southern Virginia. Go inside the story of triumph and tragedy that surrounds Hendrick Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports picks up new technical partner
CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 18, 2016) -- WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne , Chase Elliott , Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports ' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motorsports champions have driven to Victory Lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motorsports , and we couldn’t be more excited to see what that means on the track this season." "We pride ourselves on our technical superiority and high performance racing filters, and we like to align ourselves with the best," said Bill Stamey, engineering manager for WIX Filters. "Becoming a Hendrick Motorsports technical partner this race season is an incredible honor and a testament to our ongoing innovation and hard work." Hendrick Motorsports has earned 240 points-paying Sprint Cup wins since 1984, and its engines have more than 300 victories across all NASCAR series. Last season, the team’s engines posted wins in 14 of 36 Sprint Cup races and powered six Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders. "WIX Filters has been involved with NASCAR for nearly five decades," said Doug Duchardt, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports . "They not only will provide proven filters for our race cars but impressive capabilities in research and development. We know both their products and insights will ultimately help improve our performance. It’s an exciting partnership for our entire competition group, and we look forward to many successes together."
Darian Grubb heads back to Hendrick Motorsports
RELATED: See who is on the move for 2016 Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that it has named former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Darian Grubb as its vehicle production director. The 40-year-old Grubb "will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing" in the newly created role, according to a release provided by the Hendrick organization. Grubb will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis, another former crew chief, to spearhead production and engineering for Hendrick Motorsports ' four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. MORE: Grubb 'surprised' by JGR decision The hiring also reunites Grubb with the Concord, North Carolina-based operation, where he worked in various engineering and crew chief roles from 2003-08. "It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports ," said Grubb, a Floyd, Virginia native. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. "The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started." Joe Gibbs Racing said in a Dec. 21 news release that Grubb was "currently exploring several opportunities" as it unveiled its 2016 crew chief lineup. It ended a four-year tenure at JGR, where Grubb paired with drivers Denny Hamlin (2012-14) and Carl Edwards (2015), combining for nine Sprint Cup victories in his time there. RELATED: JGR announces crew chief lineup for Cup teams Grubb began his stock-car racing career with team owner Richard Petty, shortly after graduating from Virginia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree. After three years as lead engineer for the No. 48 Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson , then an up-and-coming star, Grubb made his biggest splash in his debut atop the pit box, helping guide Johnson to a victory in the 2006 Daytona 500 as interim crew chief while Chad Knaus served a four-race suspension. After notching two more premier-series wins and filling other engineering roles, Grubb departed Hendrick to serve as crew chief for Tony Stewart and the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. That prolific pairing netted 11 victories over three seasons, culminating in Stewart's third Sprint Cup championship in 2011.
Hard luck, near-win heartbreak for Kyle Larson
RELATED: Full race results CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Larson nearly became the latest driver to go from the preliminary event to the winner's circle of the annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. But a loose-handling car and a hard-charging Joey Logano proved to be his undoing Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway . It's a familiar feeling for the young driver of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' No. 42 Chevrolet, who has finished second four times in points-paying races in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. RELATED: Larson grabs runner-up finish at Dover Saturday night's 113-lap show wasn't for points, but there was a $1 million payday waiting at the checkered flag. And when the 23-year-old shot the gap on the race's final restart, he zoomed from third to first with less than 13 laps remaining. But Logano ( Team Penske ) was able to track the leader down and after a side-by-side battle, Larson slipped up and into the wall less than three laps from the finish. Logano held on for the victory; Larson limped to the garage, 16th in the final rundown. "I definitely didn't over-correct," a dejected Larson said afterward. "I was just going fast, got loose, lost control and hit the wall. I'm disappointed. I feel like I keep letting my guys down." Larson had qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race by winning a sheetmetal swapping, last-lap battle with Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) in the final segment of the Sprint Showdown preliminary event earlier in the day. The damage done to his car kept his team busy throughout the afternoon, but by the time the red-and-white entry rolled through pre-race inspection for the main event, it looked good as new. And it ran that way, too. RELATED: Larson edges out Elliott " See frame-by-frame of the finish "They worked their tails off after I got all the damage in the Showdown," he said. "We had a really, really good Target Chevy and were able to get to the front pretty quick there to be in the best position possible there for the last restart." After starting the race 18th , Larson ended the first 50-lap segment inside the top 10. He eventually took the lead on Lap 94 and was the race leader after 100 laps had been completed to end the second segment. He restarted third for the final 13-lap dash after only two drivers, Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), running 12th and 13th respectively, were re-slotted to the front. The top 11 were required to pit. "I was getting looser throughout the race," Larson said. "We were making adjustments but weren't making big enough ones. I just got loose and Joey caught me. "He did a really good job side-drafting me. I tried to hang on his quarter panel like I did with Chase earlier today. I got really loose as soon as I got in the corner." Logano said he knew Larson would "try to suck me around from the outside and I knew I had to drive in to make sure he didn't do that. "Just good hard racing there at the end. It was a lot of fun. He's a heck of a racer. He's going to win a lot of races, that's for sure." Kasey Kahne ( Hendrick Motorsports ) was the last driver to win the Sprint All-Star Race despite not automatically qualifying for it (and having to race in the preliminary event) heading into the weekend, accomplishing the feat in 2008. (Kahne won the Sprint Fan Vote that year.) "I thought clean air would be everything there on four tires," Larson said. "Joey was just really good there that last run; I thought I was better than him most of the race. I don't know, I feel bad. But it's good that we have fast race cars right now. "Just really, really proud of everybody on this team. We were pretty down earlier in the year but we've got cars now and confidence and one of these days it will all come together."
Dale Jr.'s Coca-Cola 600 paint scheme salutes hero
RELATED: 600 Miles of Remembrance: Drivers honor fallen military members Dale Earnhardt Jr .’s special patriotic scheme for his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports was revealed after an overwhelming response on social media. The patriotic look for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) honors Lance Corporal Aaron Reed. Reed was killed in Iraq in 2005 while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Originally, the scheme was to be revealed at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but the social media response of more than 2,600 retweets led to the company revealing the paint scheme at 2 p.m. ET on Monday. Earnhardt is winless in 32 points-paying starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway with 12 top 10s at his home track.
Teams seek final rules clarity before Sprint All-Star Race
CONCORD, N.C. -- Questions about gamesmanship and tire requirements dotted the drivers' meeting before Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, prompting several "what-if" scenarios for the annual non-points event. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director Richard Buck spelled out the race's unique procedures in a nearly six-minute instructional in the Charlotte Motor Speedway garage, but there was conjecture about some of the rules. Teams will compete in three segments (50 laps, 50 laps, 13 laps), with pit road closing on Lap 85 of the second segment. The top nine, 10 or 11 cars -- the number is selected by random draw during the Lap 100 break before the 13-lap final shootout -- will be required to pit for four tires. The basis for the format is to spice up the running order, putting cars with fresher tires behind those in front with older rubber for the dash to the finish. Chad Knaus, crew chief for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson , was the first to ask about the requirement in the question-and-answer session that followed. "I got a little lost there through some of that," Knaus said, before asking Buck if a caution flag during the final 13-lap segment would allow all teams to stop and change tires if they were damaged by an incident. "There's many scenarios there," Buck said. "The premise is to have cars with 15-laps-old tires on them and cars behind them with new tires on them. We will not permit gaming of that. If we have an incident, for an example, we will have to go red and clean it up, we'll take care of that situation, we'll come back to it and then allow the teams to pit on or around (Lap) 85, wherever that may be, or any circumstance like that." Kyle Busch piped up: "That didn't answer the question. Chad's talking about in the last segment, in the last 13 laps if there's a wreck, not after Lap 85 in the second segment, you follow? He's asking about 100 and 113." Buck told the room that the field would not be allowed to take tires. Pressed by Busch about whether tires flat-spotted in a spin or damaged by running over debris would be fair game for a change, Buck replied: "That's EIRI (except in rare instances). Like I said, we'll manage that from the tower." Defending race winner Denny Hamlin , Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, was the next to raise his hand, asking whether the "100 percent rule" requiring competitors to race at their fullest ability was in effect. Buck replied in the affirmative. The question was prompted by suggestions that drivers might hold back and aim for 12th place or further back before the final segment, allowing them to have the benefit of four fresh tires for the final shootout. The "100 percent rule" was added in September 2013 in the wake of the Richmond scandal, where the former Michael Waltrip Racing team was penalized for attempting to manipulate the race results. Buck also said in his explanation of rules that NASCAR officials would make a mandatory lug-nut check during the two breaks between segments. Buck said the penalty for missing or loose lug nuts not fastened up against the wheel will require the offending team to remedy the issue, sending them to the tail of field.
Hendrick Motorsports welcomes new class of pit crew members
CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports is in the midst of playoff season and enjoying the success of three of its drivers who are competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . And although one of NASCAR's most successful racing teams is focused on finishing off the 2015 season with another championship, they are also working on building a brighter future for years to come. The Hendrick organization hosted its first Signing Day for its developmental pit crew program Wednesday at its lavish No. 48 and 88 shop. Their introduction came against the backdrop of the shop's banners and trophies, honoring achievements set by the teams of Terry Labonte , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson and more. The seven men who participated in Signing Day are all former collegiate athletes and were chosen out of over 150 candidates for the annual recruitment process. The newcomers hope to pursue awards of their own, similar to the ones they are constantly surrounded by and to become a part of the company's lucrative 31-year history. Andy Papathanassiou, Director of Human Performance at Hendrick , opened the ceremony saying, "It's the people (here) that make the difference. And if you treat your people well they're going to want to perform not only for themselves but for you and for the company and for the team, and not only is that the best solution, it's the only solution to truly become a champion and to keep that championship mentality going." Another thing Papathanassiou highlighted was that the seven chosen are "not just here because they are big, strong guys … they're here for the way they think." And they all come from diverse backgrounds, most of which have little to do with NASCAR. Mike McClure, a former WWE prospect, was an All-American wrestler at Michigan State University and, too, an All-American in academics. McClure was at Michigan International Speedway for a race where he was recruited for the program. After receiving debilitating injuries in his journey to become a professional wrestler, McClure pursued the opportunity with Hendrick and is now working on honing his craft as a fueler and jackman. "Even on day one, I could tell they were genuine and they cared about the people here," explained McClure. Another recruit, Rod Cox, too, had "briefly seen NASCAR on TV," but knew he found his passion during his training at Hendrick . Cox, who played football at North Carolina State University and earned a degree in civil engineering, was convinced to join the organization after Coach Keith Flynn, Developmental Pit Crew Director, spoke to his football coach. "I met Coach Flynn and he was the greatest guy I had ever met," said Cox, an aspiring tire changer. "Everyone around here loves their job. I wake up in the morning like 'Man, I can’t wait to go practice and do my drills and lift weights and just enjoy everyone here.' " At the end of the event, Papathanassiou told NASCAR.com about how he is excited about the future and looking forward to the next chapter at Hendrick , with a new driver joining its Sprint Cup roster in Chase Elliott . "I think what's next for us is … we will have to redefine ourselves as a company. It's very exciting, especially with a guy like Chase Elliott . We could be on another 20-year run … another 20-year dominance."