If NASCAR is one big conspiracy knot, then Hendrick Motorsports is its Area 51, the mysterious beating heart of a far-reaching tangle of disinformation and deception. It's at Hendrick, the thinking goes, where drivers, owner and NASCAR align to plot the destiny of the entire sport. It's part Bermuda Triangle, part supervillain headquarters!
... or maybe it's just a garage with some extremely talented people working there.
Scene Daily's Bob Pockrass got the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Hendrick Motorsports, and learned some interesting lessons -- or, more properly, verified what anyone with a brain already knows: everybody gets the same opportunity at Hendrick, no matter what the number on the side of their car.
And what did he learn about Hendrick HQ?
It’s not much unlike other shops, except it’s bigger and maybe a little cleaner. There are 30 CNC machines to make parts and pieces (about 60 percent for engines, 40 percent for chassis), not just two or five or 10 like at some other shops. There are more signs warning “no cameras” and “no video equipment” than at other race shops as well.
Pockrass takes us on a tour of the body shop, the chassis shop, and various testing facilities. We also learn how many cars each team has (14!) and how a bonus structure rewards every team employee no matter which of the four cars wins.
It's interesting reading, and I'm glad to see Pockrass brought back the tale alive. The last five guys who went in never came out.