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Hendrick Motorsports' 200th Sprint Cup Win Quote Book: The Crew Chiefs
Posted by: newsla on May 13, 2012 - 06:58 AM
Hendrick Motorsports' 200th Sprint Cup Win Quote Book: The Crew Chiefs

Quoted below: Gary DeHart, Ray Evernham, Alan Gustafson, Chad Knaus, Steve Letarte, Jim Long and Robbie Loomis.

GARY DEHART, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 CHEVROLET 1992-1997 (ON HIS MEMORIES FROM HIS TIME WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “In the early days when I first came on, it was an opportunity of a lifetime. Knowing Rick Hendrick, and working with, at first, the ‘Dream Team’ with Darrell Waltrip, which turned into something else. And the early days with Ricky Rudd, me learning as a crew chief as we went along. And then I was able to get reunited with Terry Labonte in 1993 and 1994. It’s great looking back on how many wins that you had, the wins that Hendrick Motorsports has. It’s unbelievable that they could win this many races and be so successful, even early in the going with Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte, and then Jimmie (Johnson) came along. It’s been great.”


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DEHART (ON HIS MOST MEMORABLE CUP WIN.): “Well, you know I’m supposed to sit here and say, ‘All of them are. It’s good that you can win a race every now and then.’ But my first win was with Ricky Rudd, so that would probably be up there with a lot of them. But you know, then some of the first races we won with Terry (Labonte) were also good ones. I’d say I guess Ricky Rudd; the first race you ever win is always the one closest to your heart.”

DEHART (ON WINNING AT DOVER IN 1992 WITH RICKY RUDD.): “Early in my tenure as crew chief, I didn’t know a whole lot. I wasn’t a crew chief. I was just a good ol’ boy in the shop working just like the guys you see here today. I was thrown into it, and I thank God for the opportunity to do that. But it made me a different person.

“I think learning in the early 90s how to be a crew chief, and that was probably the hardest part for me coming through the transition was that first win with Ricky. I made a lot of mistakes along the way getting to that first win. Ricky was good to work with, and we were in Dover for our first win. There were 20 laps to go, and everybody had to have fuel. It was one of those uncharacteristic races where you’re racing and there’s not going to be a caution and everybody had to have fuel. It was only just a couple cars there that were fast, and Bill Elliott was one of them in Junior Johnson’s car. But we forced the issue a little bit. We kept Ricky out as long as possible, hoping they would have to pit first, and fortunately they had to pit first so that opened the window for us to say, ‘Hey, they put on four tires.’ And knowing that Bill Elliott and the Junior Johnson team was better than we were all day long. We were maybe a second- or third-place car. We weren’t going to win the race no other way. Tire wear was an issue like it always is, but I told Ricky, ‘You’ve got three seconds of fuel. That’s all you’re going to get.’ So once that receptacle went in the hole for three seconds, it was, ‘Go, go, go.’ We didn’t put on tires. Well, Ricky Rudd thought we were crazy for not putting on tires, which I didn’t blame him because he had to run around on those slick things. But we got back out and, actually, we were a lap ahead of them because we only did fuel. And back then you didn’t have the pit road speed, which was a major issue, so you got back out, you got in line.

“We were a whole lap ahead of Bill Elliott so all you could hear from Ricky was, ‘He’s going to pass us! He’s going to pass us!’ I said, ‘Let him pass us. We’re going to be all right. He’s gotta come back around to beat you. You only got 20 laps. You’ve got less than 10 minutes of racing. Just stay out there and run it as hard as you can. Don’t get in the wall. Just do it.’ And I think it finally came down. We got the checkered flag, and it was pretty cool. We came across the start-finish line about 200 feet ahead of Bill Elliott.”

DEHART (ON WHERE WINNING 200 CUP RACES STACKS UP.): “I tell you, winning 200 races is phenomenal to begin with. And most of them are modern day wins, which are hard to come by. Back when Petty (Enterprises) did it, they were racing three or four times a week, so that was easier to do. Plus, they had the competition outclassed so bad. Two hundred wins in today’s modern era is phenomenal. I think it’s only something that Hendrick Motorsports can do. Looking back, I don’t know if there’s anybody else. It’s going to be an accomplishment and a record that’s going to be hard to beat.”

DEHART (ON RICK HENDRICK.): “Rick is by far one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I think he’s fair, and he’s honest, and I think all that comes from his parents, Papa Joe and Mary. He had a dream for doing what he wanted to in motor sports. He was certainly a person who knew what he was going after, and I respected that. I would like to think that I was that way. He can form a picture of what he wants, and that’s what he goes after. I think that’s one of the great things about Rick Hendrick as a person and a leader.”

DEHART (ON THE CHASSIS BUILDING PROGRAM AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “We had nonbelievers and believers here when we first started the program (in the early 1990s), and that was when I first came here. That was one of my favorite things. I’m pretty much a fabricator-slash-whatever, but chassis aerodynamics and things like that is what I was interested in doing. I felt like I was decent at it at the time. I tell you a person who was really good and listened to us a lot in the early days was (crew chief) Harry Hyde. He really added a lot to our program because he believed in what we were trying to do.

“Dusty was our first car we did. It was a very heavy car, heavy framed car. Today, we’ve learned how to build them just as strong and be a whole lot lighter. But it was the very first car. It was a little bit crude in some ways, but it was a start. And I just thank Rick for letting a program like that happen. I don’t know that you could have gone anywhere and done a program like that. Rick being the person he was, said, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it.’ Dusty was a good car. (Greg) Sacks drove the car a lot. That car actually starred in the movie ‘Days of Thunder,’ too.”

DEHART (ON HIS MOST MEMORABLE WIN.): “We were good all day long at Bristol (in August 1995). And if you’re at Bristol, you always knew you had to race Dale Earnhardt sometime during the day. We knew Dale was good, and we knew he was coming. We knew it was going to be hard for him to get to us, but he did get to us. In Turn 4, he got to us. We were leading, and he spun Terry out. Well, Terry decided, I’m going across the start-finish line so he hadn’t checked up yet, and he went right across it, came around and hit the wall. I remember, I said, ‘It don’t make any difference how you cross the finish line, you won the race. We’re all happy. Is it running enough to get to Victory Circle?’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t have any oil pressure.’ I said, ‘Well, we’ll be down there to push you to Victory Circle.’ But apparently he changed his mind because he decided to drive it up there anyway. That was probably one of my most memorable wins.”

RAY EVERNHAM, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 CHEVROLET, 1992-1999 (ON HIS MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM RACING WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “It is hard to say a favorite moment. We had so many great times winning with that team that it is really hard to pick one. You know, winning in Charlotte -- our first race we won running there at Charlotte in the 600. It was really big to win at Indy. It was really big to win our first championship. But ultimately my favorite race was when we won the million dollars at Darlington (S.C.) in the Southern 500 because we did not have a winning car that day and everybody gave extra effort. I feel like I did a good job as a crew chief. I feel like Jeff (Gordon) did a great job as a driver. I felt like the pit crew did a great job. We probably worked harder to win that race with about a fifth-place car than any other race we ever won.”

EVERNHAM (ON HOW HENDRICK’S 200-WIN ACCOMPLISHMENT STACKS UP.): “Two hundred wins in today’s time is phenomenal. Going back to the Petty era, it’s going to be really hard for any driver to beat Richard Petty’s record because of the amount of racing. It is going to be really hard for another owner or another company to beat the Petty record, because, again, of the races and the years in the sport. But to do what Mr. Hendrick has been able to do in this short period of time is incredible. I think that this puts him as No. 2 on the overall list, but as we have said when you look at the modern era and what he has been able to accomplish, it is amazing. For the number of races run versus the wins, it shows a consistent winning percentage. I think that even more so is the fact that this organization has been able to grow and flourish and remain in championship form through changes and tragedies and time. The one constant there has been Mr. (Rick) Hendrick, and ultimately when you look at Hendrick Motorsports from the outside you can think it is about fast cars, bodies and pit crews and all that, but ultimately it is about people. It still comes down to that one man at the top of the pyramid. This place is really, in my opinion, a reflection of him. One of the best comments I’ve read is ‘Mr. Hendrick is a people chemist.’ He really is. That is what he is. That is what he does. To me, the 200 wins is incredible, but the fact that he has done that throughout a number of years, throughout all the changes and tragedies and all the things that have happened, that is what amazes me.”

EVERNHAM (ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE MILESTONE.): “I feel really good. As you go through your career, there are certain things you’re trying to accomplish. You’re building your career for yourself. But then as your career winds down, you want to look back at the lives you touched and the things you were a part of. And this place is special to me. It means a lot to me. This is still home. It’s still family.”

EVERNHAM (ON WHY RICK HENDRICK IS SUCCESSFUL AS A TEAM OWNER.): “He is a people chemist. I don’t know anybody better than Rick Hendrick at picking the right person. Even if you don’t think you can do something, he knows you can do it. And giving you that confidence and then giving you the tools to work with, and he knows how to motivate you by pats on the back and then with tough love when you need it. He’s just got that ability to see something, as I said, in people -- direct them and then bringing out something in you that you didn’t know you had. It’s incredible with not just the people in motor sports, but with the (Hendrick) Automotive Group in general. Everybody you talk to, they want to please Mr. Hendrick. That’s really a unique thing.

“Being a great team owner is not about making a fast car, and that’s where I made my mistake. I thought being able to make a fast car was going to make me a great team owner. Being a great team owner is knowing how to put the right people in the right places and then stand back and let them do their job.”

EVERNHAM (ON WINNING HIS FIRST CUP RACE WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “Jeff (Gordon) was emotional. We didn’t know this about Jeff at the time, but he’d cry in a heartbeat. I didn’t understand what was the matter with him on the radio, and when he came in, I realized. I thought that was really special. It made it mean even more to me that it meant so much to him. I felt like at that time, wow, we’ve done something that means a lot to this kid. But it didn’t really hit me until the next day. We were partying and whooping it up. We’d never gotten to do the hat dance, and the champagne toast, and all the other things that go along with it. It was really special.

“The next morning, it clicked. I used to live over in Harrisburg (N.C.), about two or three miles from the shop at Motorsports and had to drive past the speedway. I didn’t think anything of it. Got up Monday to go to work and was driving past the speedway, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. We won that race last night. When I get to the shop, I’m going to pick up the Charlotte Observer, and it’s going to say we won.’ And it started to be special. At that point, you think if I never do anything else, I’ve got one.”

EVERNHAM (ON WINNING THE 1994 INAUGURAL BRICKYARD 400.): “When we heard that race was happening, we went after it pretty hard because we always figured that the way other Cup teams had an advantage on us was because they had so much experience at different racetracks, but they had no experience at Indy. Jeff was from Pittsboro, right near Indy, so I felt like it was going to be big for him going there. Indy was always special for me. And I started calling up some of my friends. I had worked with A.J. Foyt through the IROC Series. I knew Pancho Carter pretty good. Started calling up some of my friends and started talking to some of those guys abut Indy, about the quirks of the track, things they did with Indy cars. And we built a car, that’s in the (Hendrick Motorsports) museum, specifically for Indy. We put big, giant brake pads on the bottom so we didn’t have to take air in the nose. We had a big rear sway bar, and we built the front end specifically to be set up like an Indy car based on the things I learned from them. We went there and qualified third quick.

“We played all of our cards right that day. Jeff drove a great race, racing back and forth with Ernie Irvan. They kept swapping the lead. The guys had great pit stops. It was one of those days where we did everything right and won the race. We certainly weren’t the favorites by far, and it was really neat to go there and do something different, and I think right then people started to respect us as a team thinking if we go to a place where everything is equal, and we don’t have an advantage on these guys, they’re going to be a problem. And as we gained experience on them, we started to be a problem.”

EVERNHAM (ON WINNING THE 1997 DAYTONA 500.): “We were all there with heavy hearts for sure. We had good cars, but we always had good cars at Daytona. We never went to Daytona with bad cars, and a lot of that is because we had great engines. I always kidded everybody and say my engine guys were my best chassis guys because the cars always handled on the straightaways, but you did have to have good strategy at Daytona. You did have to pick your tires right and get people working together.

“That race, I can’t remember if we were running for the lead, but we were side-by-side off of (Turn) 2 with (Dale) Earnhardt. Jeff pushes up and he gets into Earnhardt. Earnhardt goes spinning around, collects the (No.) 88 and the (No.) 28. Earnhardt turns over, and Jeff keeps going. There’s a wreck. There’s like 10 laps to go, and now we pit, and we hear the crowd yelling, and here comes Earnhardt with his car that had been turned over. It’s mashed. He’s driving down pit road, and he’s pointing at me, but not with that (index) finger. And I’m like, ‘What is going on here?’ He’s out there, and he’s finishing. I think at that time after we pitted, somehow Bill Elliott ended up with the lead, and there’s poor Bill. He’s out there by himself, and it’s the (No.) 24, (No.) 5 and the (No.) 25 all just lined up behind him so he kind of knew he was a sitting duck. And when they dropped the green flag, Jeff went low, Terry (Labonte) went high, and when they came around Bill, whoever got to the front first was going to win the race. Jeff was on the low side when they cleared Bill, so Terry got in behind him, and then Ricky (Craven) got in behind those two. Then it was a one-two-three finish so it was a great day for Hendrick. Man, it was exciting.”

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NOS. 5 AND 24 CHEVROLETS, 2005-PRESENT (ON HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS REACHING THE 200-WIN MILESTONE.): “The 200 wins is a huge milestone for Hendrick Motorsports. To be able to win 200 races is an unbelievable accomplishment. It’s something that is very important to Mr. H, so we are really happy to be able to get there. To be able to be a part of it and contribute to it is a really big deal. You can look up and say that Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished a really great milestone in this sport, and I was able to be a part of it, so it’s an awesome feeling.

“I think it is a great testament to this company and what it’s about. It’s a huge compliment to Mr. Hendrick to get to the milestone and do it so quickly, and do it really the right way; to do it and keep his ideas and his integrity and win races the right way. And to have the best organization in the sport, it’s great. Two hundred is just a point on the chart. We hope to get to 250 and 300, and so on and so forth.”

GUSTAFSON (ON WINNING THE FINAL SOUTHERN 500 WITH LABONTE.): “I think Terry was being smart with his car and was waiting for time to go, and at the end he was gone. He just drove away from them. To me, back in the day, that was the most grueling race. It was so hot, so tough and so demanding and that, to me, epitomizes Terry Labonte. He was a super-tough, patient, calculating race car driver, and it was fitting that he won that race.”

Editor’s note: In 2003, Gustafson was the shock specialist for the No. 5 team.

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 CHEVROLET, 2002-PRESENT (ON HIS THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES FOM HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “I think reaching that 200-win goal has been on Mr. H’s mind for a long time, and he’s wanted that. He’s spoken about it. In Kansas, he actually wrote on his hat in Victory Lane ‘199’ and made Jimmie (Johnson) and I sign it. It made us realize that it was only 199, that he wanted to get one more quickly. It’s pretty amazing when I sit back and think about the years that I’ve been here, how fortunate I was to be here in the early (No.) 24 years when we were winning eight-to-10 races during the mid-90s. It’s been a pretty outstanding career. We’ve done an awful lot, and we’ve come a long ways.”

KNAUS (ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PART OF THE MILESTONE.): “I love the fact that I’ve been here as long as I have and helped create some of the milestones and be a part of those milestones as we’ve achieved them and surpassed them. That’s the thing that has always been neat about this place is you achieve a goal or accomplish a dream, and there’s always another one right behind it. Clearly, as soon as we get done celebrating the 200th (win) we’re going to be moving on to the next one.”

KNAUS (ON THE 200th WIN ACHIEVEMENT.): “I think for Hendrick Motorsports to be able to get that 200th win and kind of put that nail in that is pretty spectacular. We’ve won a lot of races over the course of the last 10 years since I’ve been back here. Shoot, one season (2007) as a company, we won 18 races. That’s just fantastic. You just don’t see that anywhere else. That shows the level of commitment that we have here and the desire we’ve got to win races.”

KNAUS (ON RICK HENDRICK’S PHILOSOPHY THAT IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE.): “I think the people that we’ve had here have definitely been the ones that have made the difference. If you look at the tenure of the people who have been here, I can’t even begin to guess how long it’s been. But I’m going to say the average has been 10 years for most departments, which is just fantastic. Once people realize what it is that we’ve got here, they don’t ever want to leave, and that’s a good thing. Rick takes care of the people, and we all try to be great team members to each other. If people do leave, they always want to come back, so it’s a pretty special place.”

KNAUS (ON WHY RICK HENDRICK HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL.): “I think Hendrick Motorsports as a whole has been successful because Rick does it for enjoyment. He does it for fun. It’s his passion, it’s not his job, and whenever you’re passionate about something, you attack it with a little bit more vigor than you would if it was just your daily routine. This is his passion. Cars, racing and winning is what he wants to do.”

KNAUS (ON HIS FAVORITE CUP WIN.): “We’ve won a lot of races; we’ve been very fortunate. I’ve got some that probably mean more or maybe you look back on and think, ‘Man, that was really a dominant race car.’ Or one where we were able to overcome some adversity and come back.

“But the wins that I’m the proudest of are in 2006 when we won the Daytona 500 and we won Las Vegas when I was suspended. That was one of my proudest moments, if not two of my proudest moments, I’ve ever had. Seeing those guys and Jimmie being able to hold the team together in my absence, when I wasn’t there, and win races. That just reinforced the structure and the things that we believe in. And the way that this team has been put together that they can do the job.”

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NOS. 24 and 88 CHEVROLETS 2005-PRESENT (ON HIS MEMORIES WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “I’ve been very fortunate to be at Hendrick Motorsports for a long time. Two hundred wins is a lot, and, thankfully, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of them. I remember winning races in ’95 with Jeff (Gordon), and we’ve won a lot. I think the most important thing I can say about 200 wins is it’s not how many wins it is, but for how many years and how many decades that Mr. Hendrick has won and been successful.”

LETARTE (ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HIM THAT HE PLAYED A PART IN THE 200-WIN MILESTONE.): “While 200 wins is great, this is my family. This is my home. This is where I’ve been my whole life, and 200 wins or no wins, this is the place I’d rather work than anywhere else. So I’m thankful the boss has (the milestone). He deserves it. But the way he treats us, and the way the place is to work at, 200 wins or none, I’d want to work here.”

LETARTE (ON WHY RICK HENDRICK HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL.): “I think Mr. Hendrick has been extremely successful as an owner because he’s a big-picture guy. His view of the world of racing of where you need to go, what you need to be good at, is amazing. He’ll come in and give us direction on what he thinks the next big thing is. Or the area we need to be working. I’ve learned over the years you better listen because six-to-eight months down the road, that’s exactly where we’re at. That’s exactly what we’re running. His vision is amazing.”

LETARTE (ON HIS MOST MEMORABLE WIN.): “Fortunately, I’ve been around for a lot of them. I remember (No.) 150. That one was good, and I remember (No.) 100 with Jeff. I was on the (No.) 24 car when Jeff won 100 at Michigan, so it seems like it was a couple months ago. The fact we’re at 200 is pretty amazing.

“I can remember the last lap (of the 100th win) like it was yesterday. It was one of those days that I don’t think we deserved to win, but things happened. Special things happened so I imagine that the 200th win is going to be the same sort of way.”

LETARTE (ON WHAT REACHING THIS MILESTONE MEANS FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “I think 200 solidifies Hendrick Motorsports. It backs up the championships we’ve been very fortunate to win here lately. Honestly, I think it’s a stepping stone. I think Mr. Hendrick can win 200, 250, 300. He can win as long as he wants to win. I think a guy that’s won 200 races and been so influential in the sport, to be as humble as he is and the way he treats everyone really personifies the kind of person you want to work for, and I think he’s definitely that guy.”

JIM LONG, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 CHEVROLET, 2002-2004 (ON WINNING THE FINAL LABOR DAY WEEKEND SOUTHERN 500 WITH DRIVER TERRY LABONTE.): “It’s always emotional when you win, especially the Southern 500. But to win it for Terry, and it had been a while since Terry had won. And to win it at a track that he’s really ran good at in the past, I was very excited for him and excited for the guys. To come in third (on the final pit stop) and go out first, it was just like it played out perfect.”

ROBBIE LOOMIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 CHEVROLET, 2000-2005 (ON HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “Hendrick Motorsports is great. I remember when I first got the phone call from Jeff (Gordon) about the opportunity to come work there, and I think it took me about 15 minutes to make up my mind. I remember I was going to take the job there before I even toured the place because I knew of the tools and the engines and the cars and everything that Rick (Hendrick) put in place over there, and especially the people. When I sat down to talk with Richard (Petty) about it, I said, ‘I’ve got this opportunity to go work for Mr. Hendrick and Jeff.’ He said, ‘You’ve always needed a 25-year-old Richard Petty, and that’s what you’re getting in Jeff Gordon.’ He said, ‘Rick Hendrick is good people. I almost went to drive for them one time early in my career.’ So that was kind of cool hearing that from the guy I was working for that I was looking to go to work somewhere else and him praising that organization at the time.”

LOOMIS (ON HIS FAVORITE WINS.): “Unfortunately, you remember the ones that you lost, when you ran ‘em out of gas or you made a bad pit call. Those are the ones that stick with me the most, but we did have some great moments. 2000 was a trying season, getting that first win at Talladega. There was a good example of Rick. He put his arm around me somewhere and said, ‘Look. DuPont loves this race team. DuPont loves the business that we do with them. We’re going to get things back on track; just keep focused on what you need to do with Jeff.’ So that first win meant a lot, and that kind of propelled us into the 2001 season. When I look at that season, the all-star win was amazing because we wrecked in the rain and pulled the backup car off the truck and were able to come back and win the race.

“Winning Brickyard twice with Jeff was huge, and one of those, Rick was largely responsible for. We were running 30th or 32nd, and he came on the radio and said, ‘OK, Champ, I’ve seen you do this before.’ Jeff was getting really frustrated with the way the car was, but when he said that, it was like bam. And it was game on from then. Then we got some track position. That turned the whole day around, and we ended up winning that first one and came back to win a second Brickyard.

“The one that sticks with me the most is probably the Daytona 500. For years, I told everybody that the Daytona 500 pays the same amount of points as any other race, and that’s a speech I gave every year before we went down there. But when you win that race, there’s something really special about that. Going and putting the car in Daytona USA, and knowing that Rick’s been such a part of so many wins and so many cars that have gone to Daytona USA is really a neat feeling.”

LOOMIS (ON WINNING THE 2005 DAYTONA 500.): “We had a great car. Steve Berg was over the speedway program at that time, and really did a great job with the (Nos.) 24 and 48 cars. At the time, I felt like we had cars capable of sitting on the pole. The car was really fast in practice, and I remember I was heartbroken because we didn’t sit on the pole. I think we qualified third. I was really crushed, about the worst I’ve been crushed in qualifying in a while. I got a call from Rick that night. He said, ‘Remember, it’s not where you start the thing. Keep your eye on the prize. You’ve got a really good car. The car is fast.’ It was important to hear that from him, and then Steve Berg called. And I’d always told Steve that you can’t fly a kite without the wind and he told me that back. He said, ‘Loomis, we might have had the pole.’ We were that close to the pole sitter. But that qualifying devastated me, so to find ourselves seven or eight days later walking down pit road in Victory Lane with the car for the Daytona 500, that was just a really neat win that early in the season. It was a special meant-to-be win.”

LOOMIS (ON THE 2001 ALL-STAR VICTORY.): “I remember we pulled the backup car off, and I told Jeff, ‘Look, let’s just learn what we can from this race, and we’ll carry it over for the 600.’ At that point, I learned what a true champion Jeff Gordon was because he looked at me and his eyes sparkled and he said, ‘Are you kidding me? We’re going to win this thing tonight.’ And we did.”

LOOMIS (ON GETTING WIN NO. 100 FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “You think back now, from 100 to 200, and it’s amazing, but probably what I remember the most about that day is Jeff used to be one of the most finicky guys with his gloves and his shoes and everything inside that car. That was his office, and everything had to be perfect. We used to cut the fringe off of the inside of each of his gloves. I’m sure he still does. He’d probably kill me for saying that. But he drove into Turn 1, I think, with a lap to go on the outside. I think it was Ricky Rudd who led most of the race that day. We led some of that race. But Jeff made a move that was just unbelievable, and the car stuck, and he came around and won the race. We kidded each other in Victory Lane that that’s why we cut the fringe off his gloves so he can make moves like that.”

LOOMIS (ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HENDRICK REACHING 200 WINS.): “I think it’s huge. I was just talking with Richard Petty about it, and he was talking about when his father, Lee Petty, and Richard started with two drivers, and they accumulated 250 wins through Petty Enterprises. That was an amazing feat. And then, there’s a guy who came along in ’55, Carl Kiekhaefer, who did it Rick’s style. He would show up with three or four cars, and if you ran fourth or fifth, it was like you won the race because Kiekhaefer’s cars were going to run in the top three. For Rick Hendrick, what he’s built over there with Jimmie and Jeff and all the drivers that have been there. That’s the measuring stick for you. If you go there and don’t win, chances are you’re not going to have a good ride after you leave there. So it’s a good measuring stick and a good barometer for everybody, if you want to find out the truest test. The hard part is if you don’t win the championship, you’ve had a failed season, and it’s hard not to feel that way because Rick gives you everything to do it with. I was fortunate enough to be there six years and we won one championship, so there were a lot of empty feeling winners in between that. But he inspires you to come back even stronger next year.”

LOOMIS (COMPARING PETTY AND HENDRICK.): “I think the comparison between Rick and Richard is they’re both really people persons. If they’re walking a CEO through the shop, they might see a lady in the lobby, and they’ll start talking to her like she’s the CEO of a company. Next thing you know, she’ll be back in the race shop on a tour seeing something she never expected to see. They’re really about the people, and they care about the people who work for them, which makes them inspired to work that much harder to give greatness.”

LOOMIS (ON HAVING A ROLE IN THE 200-WIN MILESTONE.): “It’s huge. Every now and then at Thanksgiving, I’ll send Jeff or Rick a note. It’s an honor for me to know that I was a small part of being a part of a winning championship organization that supplied you with everything you needed to go out there and do the job. To be able to win 20-some races with Jeff was a great feeling. To see what Chad and Jimmie have done over there is just another tribute to Rick Hendrick, the owner."

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