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A plane owned by Hendrick Motorsports crashed Sunday on its way to Martinsville, killing all 10 people aboard. The dead included four relatives of team owner Rick Hendrick, including his son Ricky and brother John.

http://www.nascar.com/
 

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This is indeed a sad day for the entire Nascar family and the sporting world in general. It's been a tough year for Rick Hendrick with the recent loss of his father as well and it's impossible for us to comprehend the depth of his loss here. The victims not only included direct family members but some of the team key personnel and their long sponsor representative from Dupont, Joe Jackson.

I met these people almost decade ago and spent time in their company along with others in the Nascar world. That they extended their hospitality to a complete stranger and allowed me to share some of their world is to best describe how these people have a genuine love for what they do. These are good people - young Ricky was a fresh faced teenager at the time, already showing a talent for driving but also as involved in the whole Nascar world as you would expect for someone that had spent their entire life immersed in it. Immersed is the word - the entire extended Hendrick family has spent 20 years in the sport as one of the most successful teams and when racing activities occupy 36 weekends a year from March until December, there is little room for anything else.

Let me share a small moment from my personal experiences that perhaps tells you what kind of people these were and are. I'd gone over to follow the Nascar circus for 3 months and met a couple of Roush and Hendrick crew members at my motel during one of the first few races I attended. They in turn introduced me to various other team members all of whom were hospitable and willing to answer the myriad of idiot questions I asked. They gave me endless advice on where to stay and how to get places and thus it turned out that when the series got to Talledega I was again in the same motel as both those teams. Having no real clue about the series, I was surprised to find that Talledega (which holds about 161,000 people) was booked out 3 years in advance and thus I was resigned to seeing the (rather dull) sights of the area rather than watch any of the 3 races that weekend.
Over breakfast on the Thursday morning I was sitting quietly when one of the Hendrick crew members I'd met stopped and asked if I wanted a ride to the track to watch practice. I mentioned that I'd not been able to get a ticket for any of the 4 days of the event and he commiserated with me and went off to do his job for the day.
About an hour later, as I was reading the local guidebook to see what I could do to fill the day, a knock on the door saw a Hendrick employee with a 4 day track pass and a note wishing me a good weekend. For an absolute nobody (me) this was an act of generosity that not only blew me away but which also left me humbled that they should even have cared. That is the kind of people they are/were and the world will be a worse place without them.

To the surviving family members of the Hendrick, Jackson, Turner and Dorton families, go our sincerest condolences and that is (sadly) all we can do at a time like this.

Russ
 

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Sad day indeed. Sounds like the kind of people who really appreciated the company of their fans.
 

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smciner1 said:
Sad day indeed. Sounds like the kind of people who really appreciated the company of their fans.
This is very sad. I’m surprised it didn’t receive a little more media coverage over here.

Danny

ps: Thanks for your post Russ.
 

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This is devistating news. As a long time Nascar fan I am very sad to hear of this loss to the families and the sport.
Although I have never had the chance to go to a race in the US, nor been as fortunate as Russ to meet any of these people (Russ, that is an amazing story and, to be honest, does not surprise me as that seems to be the sort of people involved in the Nascar sport. Honest, generous and friendly) I can say that, after many years of watching it, it is clear this is a family sport. It seems to be a very close group with marriages, family and friendships spread throughout the entire Nascar "family".

Truely a sad day and a great loss to the sport and to the people involved.
 
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