The road to his success has not been without setbacks and personal tragedy. In 1996 he was diagnosed with leukemia which has been in remission since 1998. He has had to deal with the loss of his son, Ricky Hendrick, along with his brother, two nieces and six other friends in a plane crash in 2004. Mr. Hendrick supports several charities and is well known for his philanthropic fundraising activities. In 1997 he started the Hendrick Marrow Program, a nonprofit organization that works with the National Marrow Donor Program. He supports the Hendrick Foundation for Children, started by his late brother, and has donated $3 million to the Levine Children’s Hospital. He gave $1 million toward the construction of the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology at Central Piedmont Community College.
Rick Hendrick has built his businesses around the automobile which he has been involved with since he was a teen. He is one of the most successful NASCAR team owners in history and the chairman of the second-largest privately owned auto dealership chain in the nation, Hendrick Automotive Group?. He has a put together a private collection of about 300 high-end and one-of-a-kind cars and reputed to be the finest GM? collections in the country, rivaling GM?’s own Heritage Center in Detroit. One of the major differences is unfortunately Hendrick’s collection is closed to the public, though he does open it occasionally for charity and fundraising events.
There are so many positives about Rick Hendrick and what he has accomplished, it seems in so many ways to be an aberration that he keeps his collection sequestered, not allowing access to those who can truly appreciate it. As prestigious and historically important as the Hendrick’s Heritage Collection is, the fact remains, that the collection really means nothing unless it is shared with those who can appreciate it.