- NASCAR Team Owner Rick Hendrick To Become 17th Individual Inducted In Texas Motorsports Hall Of Fame
- Other Award Winners Include Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Chase Elliott And Duck Commander
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 24, 2015) – Renowned NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick headlines this year’s list of honorees for the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities on Thursday, April 9, in The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hendrick’s induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame culminates an evening of recognizing some of the most outstanding individuals in motorsports. Along with Hendrick, other honorees include NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip; four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott; and Texas Motor Speedway’s April race title sponsor Duck Commander.
Hendrick becomes the 17th individual inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. His induction can be traced to the wealth of success his organization has enjoyed at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports’ six career Sprint Cup Series victories are the second most by a team owner, trailing fellow Texas Motorsports Hall of Famer Jack Roush who has nine. His organization’s first career victory at Texas Motor Speedway is still remembered fondly by Texans as Terry Labonte, a Corpus Christi, Texas, native, captured a win in 1999 at his home track. Hendrick’s most recent victory at Texas Motor Speedway in November’s AAA Texas 500, where Jimmie Johnson won for the third consecutive time.
Waltrip, who has played an integral role during NASCAR’s illustrious history as a champion driver and his current role as broadcaster, will receive the Bruton Smith Legend Award. A three-time NASCAR champion (1981, ‘82, ‘85), Waltrip won all three while driving for legendary owner/driver Junior Johnson. During the course of his 29-year career, he amassed 84 wins to place him in a tie with Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Named one of NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers” in 1998, Waltrip was inducted into the third class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. Following his driving career, he turned his sights to broadcasting. Waltrip has served as the voice for some of NASCAR’s most memorable moments since becoming the lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX in 2001.
Gordon will be honored with the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. For all of his accomplishments on the track during his 23-year career in NASCAR, it’s the success he has had off of it that has made the biggest impact and a shining example of the ideals of sportsmanship. A four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (1995, ’97, ’98, 2001), Gordon has supported efforts for pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs through the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. What started as a small project has grown into a foundation that has raised more than $15 million for children’s health organizations. He has extended the fight to ending pediatric cancer globally, helping fund the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda in 2011. Gordon has also helped Speedway Children’s Charities through the Jeff Gordon Corvette Raffle, which raised $425,000 for the organization.
Elliott, who recorded his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory in last year’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year Award. At the age of 18 years, 4 months and 7 days, Elliott became the second-youngest driver to win an XFINITY Series race. With a field consisting of some of the biggest names in NASCAR – Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth – Elliott displayed his talents with an impressive performance. He made a bold pass by his JR Motorsports teammate Harvick with 16 laps remaining to take a lead he would not relinquish. With the win, Elliott became the first XFINITY Series rookie driver to win at Texas Motor Speedway. He also finished fourth in November’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Duck Commander, which has played a major role in supporting the initiatives of Speedway Children’s Charities, will receive the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The company, made famous by the Robertson family of the popular A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, officially joined Texas Motor Speedway as a race sponsor in 2014. Since becoming a member of the Texas Motor Speedway family, the organization has made key contributions that included unique hunting experiences with TV personality John Godwin, along with signed memorabilia for Speedway Children’s Charities Live Auctions. The generosity of Duck Commander has helped Speedway Children’s Charities raise more than $55,000 to benefit children in North Texas in the last year.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, is free to the public and remains open year round. The Hall of Fame atrium features pedestals of the inductees with a portrait painting and career highlights.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala is one of the many fundraisers held by Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter throughout the year. Its mission is to care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. Since the chapter began in 1997, it has awarded more than $9.7 million in grants and has touched the lives of more than three million children.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala will begin with dinner at 7:30 p.m. CT followed by the start of the ceremonies at approximately 8 p.m. Table sponsorships, beginning at $1,500, and individual tickets for $150 are available by calling the Speedway Children’s Charities office at (817) 215-8421.