Rick Hendrick Proves Once Again That He Is the One Running the Show

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IApril 14, 2010

CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 20:  NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick speaks with the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Hendrick Motorsports on January 20, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

The news that just shook the NASCAR world couldn’t have come at a better time.

Just when NASCAR fans were beginning to think that our beloved sport was headed down a path to destruction, up jumps Rick Hendrick to take control of the situation just as he did when he signed NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in 2007.

Hendrick not only lives for these types of moments, but he also relishes in the fact that now he can safely say he has become NASCAR’s most powerful force, since asphalt was brought into the series many moons ago.

When you sit back and think for a moment, isn’t this the same team owner who has NASCAR’s most controversial crew chief on his payroll? Along with a driver that the more he wins, the more he is disliked which goes against the laws of common reasoning.

How many teams have a driver that can draw the crowds in by the hundreds of thousands, without making it into victory lane? Look at the rest of team, and what you find is a 51 year old veteran who doesn’t know what the phrase, 'To grow old' means.

Of course we can’t forget the other driver who is still searching for championship number five, even though he already has his place in the Hall of Fame whenever he decides to retire and is eligible.

This prominent group of drivers that Hendrick has under contract is what dreams are made of, and there is not one team owner who wouldn’t mind having each one them kicking back in his garage area.

What Hendrick has managed to do once again, is breathe some much needed life back into the series when it seemed that death was knocking on its door.

Without saying a word, Hendrick gave the fans something to talk about other than the negativity that has been floating around about his four-time champion, along with NASCAR’s most popular driver since the beginning of the season.

When the story got jump started into high gear with Tuesday’s news that Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne, was headed through the golden garage doors of Hendrick Motorsports, there he was back in the limelight again.

After reading mixed reactions that Kahne would not be coming over to HMS until 2012, all the way to whom will Kahne replace once he does get there.

Hendrick always finds a way to keep all the headlines to himself, and just as recently as last season he dangled the signing of IRL star Danica Patrick, for two months before making the official announcement.

For 45 minutes on Wednesday during a Hendrick Motorsports teleconference, Rick Hendrick methodically answered question after question pertaining to the story that Kahne was indeed a part of the Hendrick family.

The questions got deeper with who would be his sponsor, as well as would he bring his crew chief Kenny Francis along with him from RPM.

As the time dragged on and Hendrick continued to avoid answering the meaningful questions, it was clear to see that he was not going to budge as he dictated the whole conference to his liking.

So why have a teleconference if the only good piece of information that he shared was, Kasey Kahne did sign a contract with HMS for the 2011 season, and he would be driving a Chevy next season?

Because the most powerful man in NASCAR loves to avoid the obvious. Whether there is no room at the inn as he so eloquently put it before he eventually signed Dale Earnhardt Jr., or is this Rick Hendrick once again dangling the bait just enough to tease us.

Hendrick knows that all of NASCAR’s eyes are upon him, and as it stands he holds the keys to the sports biggest mystery.

Where will Kasey Kahne end up in 2011, since 2012 is already spoken for? I guess all we can do is wait even though Hendrick did say an announcement could come as soon as 90 days, but even he said don't hold him to it.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.