DuQuoin, IL (August 29, 2016)-William “Bill” Hendren of central Illinois has owned race cars since the Nixon administration, most of the stock car variety. He’s also the car owner with the apparent longest tenure at both state fairs in Illinois with some 40 years of entries in the ARCA-General Tire Grabber-Southern Illinois 100 stock car race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Hendren celebrates the 42nd anniversary of his first DuQuoin entry in the 63rd edition of DuQuoin’s major stock car event on Sunday night, September 4.
Hendren entered national championship ranks in 1974 when he fielded USAC stock cars for fellow McLean County, Illinois resident Ken Rowley. Rowley went on to win Rookie of the Year in the USAC division and the “Hendren Army” began a tradition of occupying the pit area and a large section of the grandstands at both of Illinois state fairs.
A victory on the dirt in front of the ‘home’ crowd and the Hendren Army has always been a goal of the team’s entries. Hendren and Rowley made 22 starts in the Labor Day weekend classic at DuQuoin in the quest for that victory. Ken won two poles in 1990 and 1991 when the race went 200 miles. Kenny had a best finish of third for Hendren in 1984 in an event also scheduled for 200 miles.
After Rowley retired the team turned to Bob Strait to pilot their stock cars. In their first effort at DuQuoin Strait ran from 25th to 3rd tying the best finish for a Hendren entry at DuQuoin. In 2005 after a year layoff Strait gave the team its best DuQuoin finish, starting 2nd and finishing 2nd at the Magic Mile. The team also assisted in fielding cars for Mark Littleton.
Current Hendren driver Ryan Unzicker first ran for the team in 2003, finishing 17th at DuQuoin. He returned for them at DuQuoin in 2013 with a best finish of 7th coming in 2014 and secured the team’s best ever finish at Springfield with a third just over a week ago.
Bill Hendren and his army of friends and family return to DuQuoin once again Sunday night for the General Tire Grabber-Southern Illinois 100 Sunday night. Practice for the ARCA Racing Series is slated to begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. with qualifying at 5:30 and the 100-mile General Tire Grabber 100 presented by Federated Auto Parts at 8.
Jay Hardin Track Enterprises