SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Bill Hendren, current car owner of 2020 Atlas Allen Crowe 100 winner Ryan Unzicker, has decided to retire after this season.
Hendren is the longest known participant of the stock car events at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, having served in some capacity since 1974.
Hendren’s journey began with Ken Rowley, and together they won the 1974 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year award.
The duo also finished 9th at Springfield behind winner Roger McCluskey. Over the next few seasons Rowley and Hendren enjoyed runs on the USAC Stock Car circuit, including usually making the dirt shows at Springfield and Du Quoin.
Hendren stepped away from ownership for over a decade but remained involved in some form or another, at times helping financially or as a crew member.
Hendren returned to ownership several years ago, while Rowley set two track records at Du Quoin and nearly won the 1993 Allen Crowe 100 giving the team its best (3rd) Springfield finish.
Unfortunately, Rowley was forced to retire after the 1998 season. Hendren then turned to veteran Bob Strait, who promptly set the team’s Chevrolet on the pole for the 1999 event.
Strait ran sporadically for the Hendren outfit for the next few seasons, with the team helping Mark Littleton for a few years before Unzicker became the selected shoe for Hendren Motorsports in ARCA.
Unzicker led laps at Du Quoin and equaled Rowley’s 3rd in 2016 but had yet to lead a lap at Springfield. All that changed in 2020, when he led a record 102 of 103 laps and gave Hendren a long sought-after Springfield victory.
The event is all part of a huge weekend of racing that begins Friday, August 19 at Lincoln Speedway featuring MOWA Sprint Cars
Then Saturday, August 20 with USAC Silver Crown and Sportsman at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Saturday night at Macon Speedway with POWRi National Midgets, and Sunday afternoon, August 21 with ARCA and Sportsman at the Illinois State Fair.