By HEATHER WILLIAMS
10:19 PM CDT, May 14, 2012
If you ever saw the early 2000's Bernie Mac movie "Mr. 3000," you know it's about a baseball player that come out of retirement...just to get that 3000th hit.
And even though Rick Hendrick wasn't retired, his teams certainly seemed to be in hibernation as he looked for NASCAR win number 200. But finally, on Saturday night at Darlington, Hendrick Motorsports got it's 200th win.
"Probably the neatest thing when I look back at NASCAR in my almost 30 years here are the friends that I've got, that I have to race against every week," said Hedrick. "Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs, Roger Penske, all those guys. Great friends. This is a special - I don't care what anybody says - family. The NASCAR family is a special family. I'm honored to be able to sit here with these guys tonight."
And it seems fitting that number 200 came at a track like Darlington, on with so much history its self.
"When I think about Darlington, how special this place is," said Hendrick. "In 1976, I had a little Chevy dealership over here in Bennettsville. My wife and I about a third of the way through the race drove in the track, drove up behind the stands, didn't buy a ticket, parked the car and went up in the stands and watched the race. I don't know how we did that. To think, it's been a lot of years since then."
And a lot of successful drivers, from Geoff Bodine to Jeff Gordon, Mr. H always has had a way for finding and developing the top talent in the sport.
"My mind goes back to the early days of Hendrick Motorsports, the people that won the early races, worked on the early cars, helped Rick build Hendrick Motorsports to what it is today," said five time champion Jimmie Johnson, the driver who got win 200 for HMS on Saturday. "I think of Harry Hyde, Tim Richmond, Geoff Bodine, Kenny Schrader, a lot of people over the years that put a lot of time and effort and commitment into this organization. And so happy for Rick, his dedication to the sport, the performance, winning is second to none. "
That's why, you gotta think, now that the pressure to get 200 is over, 201, 202, 203 and so on, will quickly follow.
Said Hendrick," I think this is over now. I think there was tension. I think all the guys wanted it. We wanted it. We got ready for it. Then it just didn't happen."
Added Johnson, "So glad to have it behind us and glad for this moment to be here for Rick, the company, all the people that have contributed to the 200th win. It's a special day."
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