It’s no secret that relatives can often be found at the race track, racing in both different divisions as well as against each other. That’s just the way it is in racing. It’s also the situation with Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. and his nephew Jason Plunkett, Jr. They both race in the Showtime Pure Stock Division at the Fairgrounds Speedway and share other things, but once the green flag drops, it’s every man for himself.
Hendrixson, who drives the No. 33 in the division, has been driving off and on for 16 years. “I started racing at Highland Rim Speedway at 12-years-old in the front- wheel drive division,” he said. “We finished the season second in points with one win. The following season we ran half a year at the Rim, then left to race at Riverview Speedway, where we won their season-opening event. “
The next year, he moved to Street Modified and won 10 races, Rookie of the Year, and the championship at Riverview. That was 2002. “After that year we went and ran Late Models for a couple seasons and then went back to racing Street Modified at Bowling Green,” Hendrixson said. “There we had two wins and also ran the same car in their Sportsman and Figure 8 class all in the same night.”
But work, family and buying a home became priorities in his life and he stopped racing. Now, he said, “we are slowly working our way back into the scene. “ For Hendrixson, he’s grown up around racing.
“For as long as I can remember there has always been some type of stock car in my dad’s garage,” he said. “I grew up around racing and always dreamed of driving when I was old enough. We’ve had a pretty good record over the years, including 14 feature wins with several poles and heat race wins. We usually always have a solid top five or better car. “
He said the reason he gets into the car each race is the “thrill to climb back in the car and see how much you may have improved, or how much better the team has made the car. No two trips to the track are the same. Everything is always changing. There’s always a new challenge to face. “
He said the thing he likes most about racing is spending time with his family. “I’d say the thing I like most is the time racing gives me with my family,” he said . “It’s not always the most fun of times (spending hours) at the shop, but it’s time spent together. Everyone is so busy with their kids, jobs, lives, and more that it’s nice to have a hobby that brings so much of the friends and family together. One of my dislikes is that the drivers sometimes get too much of the credit. A lot of people don’t realize or see what happens behind the scenes. They don’t see the guy on the team who has two kids, a wife, a 40-hour a week job who still takes care of his family while managing to put in 25 plus hours a week working on the car. These are the non-paid people who keep the cars at the track and running up front. They deserve as much credit for what they accomplish at the shop as I do for anything I accomplish on the track.
Hendrixson’s sponsors are Kevin Hartley with Pulltight Speed Inc,, Hendrixson Racing,, Nolensville Auto Care, and Power Lift Foundation Repair.
“Special thanks to all my crew; they are the real talent,” he said. “They include. Tyler Ridings, Jason Plunkett Sr., Jason Plunkett Jr., Buddy Plunkett, Kevin Hartley, Josh Pitt, Justin Pitt, Anthony McCoy, Randy Clements, Tucker Hendrixson . (Tucker) is only four, but he’s dang good with a pop rivot gun, and most of all Jerry Hendrixson Sr, he’s the one who started it for all of us.”
He also wants to thank his mom, his wife and the crew member’s wives “for putting up with the crazy late nights and bringing us food and drinks all the time. (In addition, he wants to thank his) sisters, Linda Taylor and Michelle Hendrixson, who have always had my back, long before racing came along.”
The support he gets from “the guys at Full Throttle Race Parts is also important. “I’d also like to thank Middle Tennessee Racing News for their support of all the drivers and local tracks,” he said. “I would also like to thank the entire Formosa family for all the hard work and time they have invested to keeping Nashville Fairgrounds alive. “
Jason Plunkett Jr. is a third-generation driver making a name for himself in the Showtime Pure Stock division at the Fairgrounds. The 13-year-old is in the middle of his rookie season and is currently leading the Rookie of the Year points in his division.
“I’ve watched my grandfather, father, and uncle race, so it was only fitting I become a third generation driver,” Plunkett, who drives the No. 38, said. “Also, Sterling Marlin for giving me the ride of my life at age 11.”
From his time with Marlin to now, Plunkett said , “the thrill of driving against some of the greatest short track drivers in the nation and family bragging rights” makes him want to get out on the track ever week.
Plunkett is getting to be a pro on asphalt but has also spent time on a dirt track.“On dirt the car feels more out of control to me,” he said, adding that the “time I get to spend with my family and friends and meeting new drivers” is why he likes to be at the race track each race.” But still, he said, jokingly, “it cuts into my Xbox time.”
His sponsors are Hendrixson Racing, Plunkett Motorsports, Pulltight Speed Inc. and Hazelwood’s Body Shop. He is currently looking for more sponsors.
Plunkett wants to “thank my crew, without them I would not be able to race: my grandfather, Jerry Hendrixson, Sr.; my dad, Jason Plunkett, Sr.; my uncle Jerry Hendrixson, Jr.; my uncle, Justin Pitt; my uncle, Josh Pitt; my “uncle” Kevin Hartley; Tyler Ridings, and Anthony Mccoy.”
Not one to leave the ladies out, he also wants to thank my mom, Michelle Plunkett; my grandmother, Lorine Hendrixson; my aunt, Linda Taylor; my aunt, Ashley Hendrixson; my little brother, Buddy Plunkett; Aundrea and Maddy.”
He also appreciates the support from Full Throttle Race Parts and wants to give “a big thanks to Tony and Claire for giving me a chance to race at the greatest short track in the nation. Thanks MTRN for giving me this interview.”
Finally, Plunkett said he has a guardian angel. “Thanks to my guardian angel, my little brother Christian Troy Plunkett, for watching over me every lap,” he said.