Hendrick Performance will build you a track-ready NASCAR stocker from its race-proven war chest
Following the recent unveiling of NASCAR’s radically-different Next Gen stock car, we now have a clear understanding of what teams must build from the ground up, over the next year, before the 2022 Daytona 500. One thing is unclear, though. What to do with all the old cars?
Hendrick Performance has an easy solution: Sell them to the public. The collector-car arm of motorsports magnate Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Performance is now selling track-ready road-course racers to any interested buyer, in a program it calls Track Attack. The available cars are hand-built on the race-proven NASCAR chassis campaigned by Hendrick’s four Cup Series teams. As each car is prepped for its second life as a personal-use track car, it becomes a bespoke creation, shaped by the boxes checked on the buyer’s option list.
Starting at roughly $150,000, the Camaro ZL1 Track Attack car comes standard with a Chevrolet Performance LSX 454 crate V-8 with fuel-injection that produces 627 hp and 586 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a sequential six-speed transmission. For those looking to shoot fish in a barrel, the Hendrick Performance also offers the R07 engine used in NASCAR competition today. The 358-cubic-inch small-block makes 725 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a sequential five-speed ‘box. Buyers who prefer to row through all that power in old-school-style can also select the Andrews H-pattern 4-speed. The Track Attack car give buyers everything they need to turn right and left on any road course, from working brake lights to a digital dash.
Believe it or not, the idea to sell used Hendrick Motorsports stock cars was actually hatched long before the Next Gen was announced, by employee Bill Snider. On the weekend, Snider participates in track days at road courses throughout the Southeast; during the week, he oversees race car purchasing and archiving at Hendrick Motorsports. When its stock cars were rendered obsolete or unusable, Snider sold components like transmissions and engines to other teams or private collections, while the remaining cars sat in a warehouse awaiting the shredder’s teeth. A couple years ago, inspiration struck, and Snider decided to convert roughly 75 used stock cars into track-ready racers available to the public.
Snider first showed a video of its cars being crushed to Dale Ledbetter, general manager of Hendrick Performance. “It was just saddening,” says Ledbetter. “I’m a car guy to the bone, and just to see the car destroyed without being repurposed or recycled kicked the project into high gear.” The Track Attack program, directed by Ledbetter and his team at Hendrick Performance, would save these cars from the crusher by rebuilding them for weekend racers looking to drive stock cars at track days and vintage events nationwide.
It wasn’t a plug-and-play proposal, however. Protecting Hendrick Motorsports’ speed secrets was the first concern. “We didn’t want to just give away everything we’ve learned for the last 30 years,” says Ledbetter; the proprietary changes were concentrated in the front clip, from the firewall to the grille. Originally, Ledbetter and his team at Hendrick Performance planned to affix a new, generic front clip on the inactive stock cars before sending them to paying customers.
Then, NASCAR announced the Next Gen car to replace the current sixth-generation model. Ledbetter and his team no longer had to worry about safeguarding the clip—or any other aspect of the car, for that matter—because the Next Gen would utilize a gamut of new components, from rack-and-pinion steering to independent rear suspension. The crew at Hendrick Performance set to assembling the used stock cars just as they were driven on the track in 2020. “The stuff you’re getting now is the same stuff that Chase Elliott won all the road courses with and the rest is up to you,” says Ledbetter.
The second-generation champ Chase Elliott has won four out of the last five road-course races in NASCAR’s Cup Series, which is nothing but the frosting on the cake of Hendrick Motorsport’s road-racing pedigree. Campus neighbors Hendrick Performance and its Track Attack program are equally esteemed. Collectively, the staff has over 150 years’ experience in the industry. Ex-NASCAR crew chief Lance McGrew, who once called the in-race shots for drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch, now oversees the construction of the Track Attack stock cars. “I’m involved in every aspect of the car–how it’s assembled, when it’s assembled,” says McGrew. “Basically, from the time it rolls in here all the time rolls out.”
And it’s not as simple as reassembling a used Lego kit. Depending on what the customer orders, some of the components are drastically different from those campaigned in NASCAR. “I’m really involved in the electrical side of the car,” says McGrew. “The LSX 454 is fuel-injected. Then there’s the sequential box where you don’t have to blip the throttle to downshift and the ignition cuts on the upshifts.”
Bangin’ gears in a stock car once driven by a NASCAR superstar–what’s not to love? The price point, which rarely eclipses $200,000 regardless of spec, only makes this offer more enticing. “It’s cheaper than a new Ferrari, or a GT3, or a Porsche Cup Car,” says Ledbetter. Cheaper to repair, too. “A customer hit a wall going 140 mph and we repaired the car, replacing the entire body, for $32,000 in about 65 days. I’d like to see somebody do that for Ferrari.” The LSX 454 can run on pump premium, and many of the replacement components can be found at your local Chevrolet Performance dealer.
In addition to the physical car, the purchase comes with a private test day at Carolina Motorsports Park and free delivery to your garage. 13 Track Attack cars have been ordered so far, and only twelve slots are guaranteed annually. Given a current inventory of about 60 cars, and recent news of the Next Gen car, these slots are likely to sell out fast. Better attack now.