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NASCAR Cup Martinsville

Hendrick has never had a win "that means any more than this one"

Rick Hendrick couldn’t take part in his organization’s historic win Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway but remained intensely invested in the outcome.

Hendrick was originally scheduled to serve as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race, which was also the 40th anniversary of HMS’ first Cup win by Geoffrey Bodine.

Hendrick, however, missed the race as he is recovering from recent knee replacement surgery.

Shortly after William Byron held off his HMS teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott to win the race in overtime, Hendrick called into the Fox Sports 1 broadcast to talk about the victory and his team’s 1-2-3 finish.

“It was a special day and I never thought that we’d end up running one through three and when that caution came out, I thought, ‘Man, we’re in trouble.’ I’ve been there before when we were one, two and then there was a caution and we end up running, I don’t know fourth or fifth,” he said.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Ruby Chevrolet Camaro William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Ruby Chevrolet Camaro Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Ruby Chevrolet Camaro William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Ruby Chevrolet Camaro Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

“So, it’s just a great day for all of our people to celebrate 40 years and come back to that at Martinsville and run one, two, three. And all the people that are going to stay and go down and celebrate with the drivers, so wish I was there. But I’m getting my leg fixed.”

HMS had upwards of 1,500 employees and their friends and families in a hospitality area off Turn 2 at the track – all donned in red shorts – who watched the race.

The group then made their way to the frontstretch grandstands after the race to join in the victory photos with Byron and his No. 24 team.

“I think when I look at the fact we are celebrating 40 years and we have been planning this for so long and then I had to have this operation couldn’t be there,” Hendrick said. “If we hadn’t won that race, we wouldn’t – I wouldn’t – be talking to you guys today.

“I don’t know what we’d be doing. Such a momentous occasion, I guess. I’m uh, I don’t think I’ve ever had one that means any more than this one. Maybe that first one that kept us going but this is a special day.”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Ruby Chevrolet Camaro, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Ruby Chevrolet Camaro, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Ruby Chevrolet Camaro, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, UniFirst Ruby Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

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