Q. I know how important team guys are to winning a championship. But what is it that has you able to keep these guys? You said very little is going to change – that's really hard to do year after year. You've been able to do that. What's your secret?
RICK HENDRICK: I think that's priority one for me. I think our people are the biggest asset. If you can keep it together and tweak it, it's much better off than tearing it down and rebuilding it every year. It slows you down.
I've seen this happen in my career here. You can have all-stars together, there's no guarantee they'll work. I mean, you can guess the best so‑called crew chief and best driver in the garage area and put them together, and that's not necessarily going to work.
What I've tried to do is promote tweaking it rather than rebuilding it. I'm a fix‑it kind of guy rather than a strip it and rebuild it kind of guy.
Maybe I procrastinate sometimes too long, but I want to make sure that we make the right decisions. I have to give the guys credit. I mean, they – I think it helps that Stevie and Alan [Gustafson, Mark Martin's crew chief] and Chad grew up here, and Lance [McGrew, Earnhardt's]. I think that it helps that they're not putting their resumés out. At least, I don't know about it!
And, the drivers putting together with Jimmie a year, year and a half in advance to know that we're going to be racing together through the 2015 season. We can get the sponsors in place, the drivers and crew chiefs in place, and you don't have to worry about how the chemistry is going to work. I worked really hard in that area.
It's a situation where they want to be here. They've got to believe in the place. They've got to believe in each other. That's kind of a chemistry and kind of a mission statement. I think the communication between the guys is the best it's ever been.
I see guys who came in here as unknown mechanics grow up and actually run the company. I think when you do that everybody has a voice and everybody has input. Every driver we have signed off on Mark Martin [joining the team]. When we do crew chiefs, Ken House will get around to the other guys, and make sure it's compatible. Because we don't want to do anything to tear the place down. We want any change we make to be a positive for everybody. So it's more of a democracy here. When you have the ability to have a vote and have input, you have to make your decision work. So it's like co-signing a note. We all co-sign them together.
It sure helps us having three cars in the Chase. We lean on each other a lot. For example, we had a failure in the 88 car with the valve spring, in the race before California. Our guys went back and pulled a batch of springs, and I put them on the airplane with me and eight engine tuners and we flew to California and changed all the springs on all our cars, including Tony [Stewart]'s two cars to make sure that we didn't have another problem. You get that kind of routine over years of experience and preparation. You hopefully have something that bites you or doesn't bite you again.