like when we lost alan kulwicki all over again..... so sad!!!!!
Posted on Mon, Oct. 25, 2004
Victims all had ties to Hendrick
BINYA APPELBAUM SAM HODGES RONNIE GLASSBERG STAFF WRITERS
Those who died Sunday were linked to each other by blood, by business and most of all by racing. All but four were employed by Hendrick Motorsports, the Concord-based company that is among the most successful in stock-car racing. The others were closely tied to the company.
The company's founder and CEO, Rick Hendrick, was not on the plane Sunday. He was not ready to speak with the public about the deaths by Sunday night.
John Hendrick, Kimberly Hendrick, Jennifer Hendrick
John Lewis Hendrick was born in 1951 in tiny Palmer Springs, Va., one year behind his older brother Rick.The town sits about a hundred miles east of the crash site where Hendrick died Sunday with his twin 22-year-old daughters, Kimberly Hendrick and Jennifer Hendrick.
John and Rick grew up on a farm owned by their father, Papa Joe Hendrick. By age 12, John was working as a field hand during the summer.
"I knew when I left there that I didn't want to do farming for a living," he recalled in a commemorative book published on the 20th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports.
In the late 1970s, John had moved to Charlotte and followed his brother into the business of selling automobiles.
John began as a salesman at City Chevrolet. He was fond of telling people that he didn't know the first thing about the way cars worked. But employees said he was good at listening, and he was laid back and easy to work for.
In December 1997, Rick Hendrick pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud on charges of sending money to Honda in exchange for receiving better cars to sell at his dealerships. John Hendrick was charged with conspiracy and paid a $120,000 fine.
Rick was barred from running his dealerships or his racing team. John took over, stepping in to run Hendrick Motorsports just in time for the 1998 Daytona 500. He stayed on as president when Rick Hendrick returned.
John Hendrick is survived by his wife, Cathy, and his eldest daughter, Alesha.
Joseph Riddick Hendrick IV, named for his father and known as Ricky, was the future of Hendrick Motorsports. His father was grooming him to run the company.
He began in the sport as a driver, moving from trucks to the NASCAR Busch Series. But a shoulder injury forced him into retirement in October 2002, about a month before he was scheduled to make his Winston Cup debut.
Shortly after retiring, he began to follow more closely in his father's footsteps. He purchased a Honda dealership in Pineville in February 2003. And he joined his grandfather to manage two of the Hendrick Motorsports cars.
It was his decision to put Brian Vickers behind the wheel, against his father's wishes. And when his grandfather, Papa Joe Hendrick, died this summer, Ricky took full control of the teams.
Scott Latham was scheduled to ship off to Iraq on Tuesday to fly a helicopter in the Army Reserves, said lifelong friend Mitchell Lee. Latham, the father of twin 16-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl, had been race car driver Tony Stewart's helicopter pilot.
Latham grew up in Benton, Ky., a rural town near the Illinois border. He leaves behind his wife, Traci, and his three children.
Dick Tracy, Liz Morrison
The pilot, Dick Tracy, had worked for Hendrick Motorsports for four or five years, said Jay Luckwaldt, Hendrick's chief pilot.
Co-pilot Liz Morrison, 31, had worked for Hendrick Motorsports for three years, said her uncle, Bob Morrison.
Liz Morrison grew up in Harrisburg and lived in Concord with her cat, Gizmo. A graduate of Central Cabarrus High School, Liz had dreamed of flying since she was 16, said her mother, Barbara Schmidt.
"She was in love with an airplane," family friend Sara Watkins said.
Randy Dorton, 50, directed the engine department at Hendrick Motorsports, where he had worked for about two decades. In 1986, he won an "Engine Builder of the Year" award, given by NASCAR and Clevite Engine Parts.Dorton was known for giving Christmas gifts to everyone in Hendrick's engine department -- about 150 people, according to Lowe's Motor Speedway spokesman Jerry Gappens.
When Jeff Gordon, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, won the Auto Club 500 earlier this year, he said, "Randy Dorton in the engine department, thank you, thank you. This was the baddest engine we've ever had under the hood."
Joe Jackson, of Charlotte, was director of DuPont's NASCAR motorsports program, which includes sponsorship of Gordon's car.
"The relationship between DuPont and Hendrick has been very close for many years, so this tragedy is devastating to all of us," said Edward Donnelly, group vice president for DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies.
Jackson was married and had two children, as well as grandchildren, DuPont officials said.
Jeff Turner, general manager for Hendrick Motorsports, was well known in the community outside racing, too.
H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway, recalled how active Turner was in civic and political activities in Cabarrus County. He recently donated $5,000 to the booster club at Central Cabarrus High, where daughter Bailey is a cheerleader. Turner also was a member of the Cabarrus County economic development committee formed after the collapse of Pillowtex.
Guest books | Post condolences, memories
You can post memorials and condolences to the families of the 10 plane crash victims in Virginia:
Ricky Hendrick; 24, son of Rick Hendrick and a Hendrick Motorsports executive.
John Hendrick; 53, brother of Rick Hendrick and president of Hendrick Motorsports.
Jennifer Hendrick; 22, daughter of John Hendrick.
Kimberly Hendrick; 22, daughter of John Hendrick.
Jeff Turner; Hendrick Motorsports general manager.
Randy Dorton; 50, director of engine department at Hendrick Motorsports.
Scott Latham; 38, had piloted a helicopter for Tony Stewart.
Dick Tracy; pilot of the King Air 200 that crashed.
Liz Morrison; 31, co-pilot and a Concord resident
Joe Jackson; director of DuPont's motorsports program.
Last edited by BoBoFan; 10-25-2004 at 08:43 AM.
This is just terrible. A lot of people say things always happen for a reason.....but things like this, make you ask WHY? I feel for Rick Hendrick and the rest of his family.
Wow! Another sad day in NASCAR. My prayers and condolences go out to each of the Families and to the Hendrick Family.
A very sad day for the racing community.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Hendricks, all of the families of those involved in this tragedy, and to all of the team members of Hendrick Motorsports.
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