Rick Hendrick caught off guard by Stewart-Haas Racing move

Just like virtually everyone else in NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said he was caught off guard by Stewart-Haas Racing’s decision to move to the Ford camp beginning with the 2017 season.

Rick Hendrick caught off guard by Stewart-Haas Racing move
Victory lane: race winner Tony Stewart celebrates with Rick Hendrick
Front row for the 2013 Daytona 500: pole winner Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, with second fastest qualifier Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Rick Hendrick
Hendrick Motorsport Logo
Stewart-Haas Logo
Gene Haas, Haas Automotion President

“I had no idea. The way it went down I guess they had an offer they couldn’t refuse and, you know, life goes on,” Hendrick told Motorsport.com.

SHR has been receiving engines, chassis and technical support from HMS – a relationship that dates back to the team’s inception as Haas CNC Racing in 2003.

SHR co-owner Gene Haas said during a teleconference call last week that he thought Hendrick would be pleased the SHR organization was able to make a move to become more independent.

Asked if that was his take as well, Hendrick said, “Well, I am. They got a long-term deal. I don’t know exactly what they got but I know it was big. They’re good friends.

“Haas Automation is still sponsoring us and we’ve got their equipment. Sometimes in life, things change but they’re good friends. I’m going to help them all I can this year and then race them hard next year, just like we do right now.

“It’s just one of those things in this sport. Nothing’s forever.”

"We've all tried to be professional about it"

Hendrick admitted that there have been those in his organization who have not liked the fact SHR teams have out-performed HMS at times in recent seasons while using HMS equipment.

“I hear it from my sponsors, I hear it from my drivers and my crew chiefs. At least I know it’s not the motors or the chassis,” he said. “It’s been a great relationship and they’re all good friends.

“I think we’ve all tried to be professional about it. They acknowledged we’ve helped them and they’ve helped us and we’ve been good partners. We’re just going to try to make our stuff better and go on.”

Replacement for SHR?

Hendrick said there were no plans to find a replacement for SHR in terms of another technical alliance. In fact, he said, his employees see this move as an opportunity.

“If something comes up and makes sense – maybe. We’re taxed right now. Our guys have been working seven days a week just to the brink and trying to keep up with the work we have,” Hendrick said.

“We’ll get to do more R&D now. Our drivers and crew chiefs are actually pretty excited about that right now.”

shares
comments
Doug Yates Q&A: "Ford is on a mission to win championships"

Previous article

Doug Yates Q&A: "Ford is on a mission to win championships"

Next article

Johnson takes Atlanta victory, matching Dale Earnhardt's win record

Johnson takes Atlanta victory, matching Dale Earnhardt's win record
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020