On Thursday, April 26, 2007, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF) will induct former NASCAR driver Ray Hendrick.
Hendrick is credited with an impressive list of more than 700 NASCAR victories in his 34-year career. Most of these wins were in Modified and Late Model Sportsman racing. In addition, Hendrick’s son, Roy says his father won several hundred dirt-track Outlaw events.
“I heard him tell my mother several times, ‘I don’t know what them other guys are out there for, but I’m here to win,’ ” recalls Roy Hendrick. “That’s just the way he was. He wasn’t out there to run second.”
Instead of pursuing a career in a single racing series, Hendrick bounced around from track to track, winning races literally from Maine to Florida. As the victories increased, his reputation grew, to the point where tracks requested that he compete in their events. This shaped his part-time status that he would keep for the remainder of his career.
After finishing in the top-10 National Modified point standings every year from 1963 through 1969, and in the top-10 points of the Late Model Sportsman division (now known as the Busch Series) in 1974 and ’75, Hendrick proved a part-time status didn’t determine where he finished.
“People always asked him why he didn’t run the Grand Nationals on a regular basis,” Roy Hendrick recalls. “He said he was working for a living and was able to feed us, and he was making more with the (guaranteed) deal money the promoters would give him than he got from winning races. He was doing better than a lot of the regular guys. So he never pursued the big time.”
Hendrick made his own ‘big time’ with the amount of victories he accumulated. Among his accomplishments is being the all-time winner at Martinsville Speedway with 20 wins (13 Modified and seven Late Model Sportsman). Though, Roy Hendrick says his father – who died in 1990 after a longtime illness – rarely thought of himself that way.
“He didn’t think about how many times he’d won. He just went from week to week, racing.”
As a result of Hendrick’s outstanding performance in motorsports, he has been recognized with several honors including National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame inductee (1993), one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers (1998), earning No. 4 in the NASCAR Modified All-Time Top 10, and being the first inductee into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame (2003).
This year, Hendrick’s name will be listed among other motorsports achievers in the IMHOF when he is inducted on April 26, 2007. Joining Hendrick in this prominent recognition are Wayne Rainey, Bruton Smith, Warren Johnson, Junie Donlavey and Jack Ingram.
In light of Hendrick’s induction, a replica of the 1936 Chevrolet Coupe NASCAR No. 11 Modified machine is on display at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.
About the International Motorsports Hall of Fame & Museum
Opened in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. Each year, the annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held on the grounds of the museum to honor those men and women chosen for induction from among the greatest names in all of motorsports. This year’s black-tie ceremony consists of a reception, banquet and awards ceremony and is set for Thursday, April 26, 2007. Individual tickets are $125 and a table for eight may be reserved for $1,000 by calling (256) 362-5002. Visa, Mastercard and Discover are accepted. The IMHOF and Museum and Pitshop Retail Store are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week with the exception of major holidays. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 7 to 17 and free for kids age 6 and younger. Tours of Talladega Superspeedway are also available at a cost of $5 for adults, $4 for kids age 7 to 17 and free for kids age 6 and younger. A discounted combo tour of both facilities is also available.
About Aaron’s Dream Weekend At Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega Superspeedway officials are preparing to welcome back fans for its first races of the 2007 NASCAR season during the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, featuring the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Busch Series and Aaron’s 499 NEXTEL Cup Series races, set for April 27-29. Tickets for and more information about the Aaron’s Dream Weekend are available by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA (462-3342) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, or by logging onto www.racetickets.com. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). You may also purchase tickets in person at Talladega Superspeedway’s Ticket Office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT, Monday – Friday.