Q. Can you just talk a little bit about having this kind of success on your 25th anniversary in the sport? And I guess taking a broader view, if you could weigh in a little bit on the increasing foreign influence in the sport between Toyota, Juan Pablo Montoya's success, and the possibility that was talked about foreign ownership in recent months?
RICK HENDRICK: I guess it happened so quick. When you win a championship and you start a new year, you never take for granted – I never do – that we're ever going to win another one. You see the level of competition out there, and you saw it in that race Sunday night. It was an unbelievable race with as many guys capable of winning.
You can't cash the check until the race is over. You know, you worry about something happening to Jimmie. It was a little bit of a comfort – a lot of comfort, I guess, knowing it had to be one of those three. But I just think we had a lot of racing left this year, but the guys work so hard and I'm so proud of them.
Their teamwork and the way they worked together, and to compete against each other week in and week out and share information, I think that really made me proud and happy for the whole organization.
I think the fact that you're seeing drivers like Montoya coming in and ownership maybe from other parts of the world, just speaks to what an outstanding, or how worldwide this sport is.
I got a call from Tom Cruise, who is shooting a movie in Austria, I think, Sunday night, to ask about my niece [who is currently hospitalized following liver transplant surgery -Ed.] and to congratulate me. He was watching it on some kind of – on satellite, I guess. So, when you have people from all over the world following it and wanting to be a part of it. Drivers from Formula 1 and some of the best talent in the world coming into the sport, it just speaks for the way our sport is viewed by other people.
I think from the manufacturers that are coming in, I think it's all good. I think it helps support other teams and it makes for a lot of competition.
I think it's good to see all of the interest worldwide. I think it's good to have the other manufacturers coming in. You know, it just speaks for the health and the success of NASCAR.
Q. I want to ask you about Jeff Gordon really battling it out with Jimmie Johnson. That moment – I don't know if you were able to see that, maybe not, but I'm sure you heard about it. How are you able to keep all these guys and all these teams around?
RICK HENDRICK: Jeff and Jimmie, they battle – they battle hard. They battle each other hard. It's almost like two brothers wanting to beat each other. I see that with Kyle and Kurt [Busch], and how hard they race each other in a race.
But, you know, they do it in a clean way. It always scares me when I see two of our cars running each other that hard. You [imagine] one of them slipping and taking the other one out, because that makes for a bad Monday morning. But I like the fact that they want to beat each other and the competition is kind of internal here.