NASCAR driver Rick Hendrick and McLaren’s Zack Brown form the ‘Motorsports Dream Team’ at the Indianapolis 500
The combination of the most successful team owner in NASCAR Cup Series history with one of the leading team owners in Formula 1 has created a “Motorsports Dream Team” for the Indianapolis 500 in 2024.
A deeper look at the relationship between NASCAR driver Rick Hendrick and McLaren’s Zak Brown sees the potential for a strong alliance that could achieve some great things in international motorsport.
Both have recognized 2021 NASCAR World Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, and a ride to the Indy 500 in 2024 could be the first step in greater involvement between the two iconic racing organizations.
“This is one of the many very exciting things about our partnership,” Brown said Thursday night. “As Mr. H (Rick Hendrick) said, we’re all a bunch of racers who race different formulas, and we all have a lot in common. You never quite know where partnerships lead.
“Going to LeMans, I have a great sports car history. I remember the Corvette GTP a lot, which was a great race car and racing series. That was one of the things that was very exciting for us to create a partnership that brings a group of racers together who have a passion for winning and racing Cars that could lead to other opportunities in the future.”
The 2024 Indianapolis 500 will be Hendrix’s first entry in the Indianapolis 500. The famous NASCAR Cup Series owner has won 14 championships, 291 Cup Series victories, 343 NASCAR Xfinity Series and 26 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titles.
Some of the greatest drivers in NASCAR Cup Series history drove for Hendrick Motorsports including seven-time Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and four-time Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon.
Hendrick has also competed in IMSA Sports Car Racing and will be part of the Garage 56 entry at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2023.
Brown has helped revive McLaren’s Formula 1 effort, and has created a very impressive multi-car operation in the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I never dreamed we’d be co-running the Indianapolis 500,” Hendrick said Thursday night. “Kyle made it clear to me that he would love to do this. I never thought it would happen.”
Arrow McLaren SP and Hendrick Motorsports are both Chevrolet teams.
“For me to do this with Chevrolet, I’ve always wanted to be with an excellent team if we ever did,” said Hendrik. “To be able to partner with McLaren and use Hendrick’s cars in them is something special for me and for our entire organisation.
“Everyone is excited about it. To partner with McLaren and have the talent you’ve brought together and know Kyle will be in first class gear with a full setup is going to be exciting for our organisation, for the fans and for everyone involved. We’re very excited and really appreciate the partnership with you. We look forward to having Kyle run the Indy race 500 next year.It’s a great opportunity.
“A bucket list for any racer.”
Based in South Hill, Virginia, Hendrick Crew is one of the most successful auto dealers in the United States. Hendrick Automotive Group has more than 100 dealers in the United States.
In 1984, he was the founder of All Star Racing with Jeff Bodine as his driver. This was the genesis of Hendrick Motorsports, which would become the leading team in NASCAR Cup Series history.
In 2024, Hendrick will be part of the starting grid at the Indianapolis 500 for the first time.
“I think if you’re a racer and it’s on your wish list if you can be a part of the Indy 500 and have an entry in it, that’s a huge deal,” Hendrick said. “Kyle has told me he wants to do it. If you want to race you have to be competitive. To have a partner or a team to team up with like McLaren and Zak Brown, that’s what you have to have. I’m not interested in going if we’re not ready and we don’t have An opportunity to compete.
“I know it’s hard to talk about trying to win it but every race I’ve seen Kyle at, I look at McLaren and I know they’re winners and Kyle is the winner, Jeff Gordon was in the middle of this and we’re all talking about taking him in the end of the year car. We’ve talked Me and Zach about it earlier today.
“All of this is going to evolve, but what I like about it is that we have a great team that we’re associated with. For me to have the opportunity to be a co-owner and bring Hendrick Cars to Kyle fans and our organization, I feel really excited about it every single day.
“I wasn’t too excited about it at first but when we started talking about it, to partner with McLaren and Zak Brown and a high quality organization in everything from Formula 1 to Indy, it’s a great opportunity for us.
“I’m looking forward to it. We’ll see how it all works out.”
When asked how he expects to feel about his first Indy 500, Hendrick reflected the same feeling he did 39 years ago.
“I probably feel the same as I did when I first went to Daytona in 1984,” Hendrick said. “I had an entry in there and I looked down the garage driveway and saw the Wood brothers and Junior Johnson and I thought, ‘Oh, man — I shouldn’t be here. ‘” But being partners with McLaren gives us a huge amount of comfort, as we will have the best equipment and the best preparation. We owe all of this to the McLaren group because they are the best.
“We look forward to seeing what that looks like.”
The collective business powerhouse of Zak Brown and McLaren, along with Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports and the Hendrick Automotive Group has everything it takes to succeed. But the participants realize that they can only achieve greatness by working together.
“I know what it’s like to get into a racing organization or series like NASCAR to compete,” Hendrick said. “It takes a lot of time. Any racing team, it’s all about the people. We know Chevrolet has a great product. I’ve never raced anything but Chevrolet. There’s no way our organization can take this step without a partner like McLaren. I’m in awe because I will mention in the same sentence with McLaren and Zach.
“Whatever we do, I will do the best I can.”
Hendrick will turn 74 at the 2024 Indianapolis 500, but the successful businessman and race team owner believes it’s never too late to check off his wish list.
“The Indianapolis 500 is a comprehensive list,” Hendrick said. “I never thought I’d go to LeMans either. It’s one of those deals Kyle was adamant about. He convinced me to let him run Sprint Cars.
“The Indy 500 is the most prestigious event in all of motorsports. I never thought I would be there. It will be special to get out on the grid next year and be a part of it.”