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How Did Rick Hendrick Become a Billionaire?

Hendrick Motorsports has been a dominant NASCAR racing team for decades now. Originally named All Star Racing, the team has 17 total NASCAR championships to its name and hundreds of NASCAR race wins. It's had an association with legends like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson, as well as talented young stars like Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Then, of course, there's the man at the helm: Owner and founder Rick Hendrick.

Hendrick has certainly done a fair amount of winning in his life, and has made a whole lot of money as a result. Here, we'll offer a look at how the renowned NASCAR team owner and successful car dealer got to where he is today.

Early Beginnings

Now 72, Rick Hendrick (born Joseph Riddick Hendrick III) had a love for racing that first manifested itself when the Warrenton, North Carolina native was 14 and started drag racing in a self-built Chevrolet. Two years later, Hendrick won the Virginia division of the Chrysler-Plymouth Troubleshooting contest. So, his history of winning definitely started early.

Hendrick's road to success from a financial standpoint came at the age of 23, when he opened a used-car lot called Hendrick Automotive Group with established car dealer Mike Leith. Hendrick, who is now also chairman of the company, became the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the United States after he sold assets in 1976 to buy a franchise in Bennettsville, South Carolina.

Hendrick Automotive Group now has 98 franchises across 13 states and raked in a revenue of a whopping $3.5 billion in 2009 after selling 100,000 vehicles, making it the sixth largest dealership in the United States. Not too shabby, right?

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Success as a NASCAR Team Owner

Hendrick is predominantly known for his ties to stock car racing, but interesting enough, his first foray into successful ownership was as the founder of a drag boat racing team in the late '70s. The team went on to win three consecutive championships, and Hendrick's Nitro Fever boat even ended up setting a world record of 222.2 MPH.

Hendrick also raced in two races during the 1987 and 1988 Winston Cup Series (now the Monster Energy NASCAR). He also had a single start in both the Busch Series (now the Xfinity Series) and the Craftsman Truck Series (now the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series).

Though he did a little bit of racing himself, Hendrick was most successful, as you already know, as a NASCAR team owner. In 1984, he founded All Star Racing (now Hendrick Motorsports), and that's when the accolades really stated to roll in.

Considered to be the most successful team owner of all time (his 2017 induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame was clearly well-deserved), Hendrick has 17 Drivers' Championships to his name — 13 NASCAR Cup Series, 1 Xfinity Series, and three Truck Series. With a valuation of $350 million, Hendrick Motorsports is one of the most valuable racing teams in NASCAR.

So, while Hendrick may not race boats anymore, he certainly stills enjoys them. But, the boats that he can afford these days don't compete in drag races. They're more of the luxury variety.

Rick Hendrick Net Worth

On the personal side of things, Hendrick and his wife Linda had two children together: Ricky Hendrick and Lynn Carlson. Tragedy struck the Hendrick family when Ricky, who had a short stint as a NASCAR driver, was killed in a Virginia plane crash on October 24, 2004. He was 24.

While Rick Hendrick's lavish lifestyle has definitely come with its downs, such as a 1997 mail fraud conviction, his successes have certainly afforded him the ability to live large. He has an estimated net worth of $1 billion. Yeah, that's billion with a "B."

Hendrick also has a charitable side to him. In 1997, he began the Hendrick Marrow Program, a non-profit works with the Be The Match Foundation to support the National Marrow Donor Program.

At the 140-acre Hendrick Heritage Center in Charlotte, he keeps more than 200 classic cars, around half of them being Corvettes. In only two days back in 2016, Hendrick spent around $4 million at the Barrett-Jackson car auction like it was no big deal. In 2019, Hendrick spent nearly $1 million on the first 2019 Corvette ZR1.

But, hey, that pretty much sums up Rick Hendrick: The American businessman likes cars, and he has a whole lot of money.

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This post was originally published on January 14, 2019.