Like Gallyon, Stewart said, she remembered Hedrick’s fun-loving side. “He was a joy to be around. I thought a lot of he and Sue both,” she said.
Hedrick’s involvement in NASCAR began in the early 1990s.
Hedrick owned teams in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1992 through 2000.
Hedrick had a host of drivers in his car, starting with Larry Pearson. Drivers who piloted his Cup entries include Dave Marcis, Greg Sacks, Hut Stricklin, Phil Parsons, Dick Trickle, Joe Nemechek, Ricky Craven, Steve Grissom, David Green, Gary Bradberry, Derrike Cope and Rick Mast. Hedrick’s team earned $5.6 million in earnings over the course of the career. His top points finish came in 1996, when he was 20th with Craven behind the wheel.
He made 259 starts in the series, earning 23 top-10 finishes, eight of them top fives.
He earned two pole positions, both in 1996 with Craven.
Hedrick was a single-car owner fighting what was even in the 1990s a growing multi-car team sport. He challenged those top-tier teams, especially in 1996 with Craven behind the wheel. In addition to winning two pole positions that year, Craven led 86 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the fall race.
He ran 17 races in what is now the Xfinity Series in 1999, with David Green as his driver. He earned seven top-10 finishes in that run, one of them a top-five, with one pole position.
NASCAR writer Ed Hardin, who has covered the sports for sister publication the News & Record, remember Hedrick’s debut in the sport.
“He was a businessman first and foremost, usually just taking a young driver and letting him learn what it took to drive in the top level of NASCAR or a journeyman looking for a place to land,” Hardin said. “His teams were rarely competitive on a consistent basis, but he always managed to get good sponsors. I think that was because he was as successful as any owner in NASCAR when it came to his business. He never fully committed to racing the way he ran his businesses, but he carved out a niche for himself and his teams with rookies and drivers needing a break.