The Hendrick Motorsports group has made it clear it is determined to carry on in NASCAR despite the terrible tragedy of the plane crash last weekend that claimed 10 lives of people associated with the team - including three of its top men.
Speaking at a specially arranged press conference on Friday, four-time champion Jeff Gordon said he hoped the tragic events would provide inspiration for the team to move forwards.
"I have never been so inspired and driven in my life," said Gordon, driver of Hendrick's No. 24. "This is an important weekend for us for so many different reasons, but I can't think of anything that could drive us harder and stronger than this loss.
"One, we want it bad no matter what. We work very hard for it, but I think there is something that's going to allow us to dig a little deeper to try to make a difference, whether it be for the families that are grieving, to try to ease their pain some, or for those that are, you know, looking down on us.
"I think that instead of this being something that's a negative, we're going to take something and make something positive out of it and try to do our jobs better than we ever have before."
The plane crash killed team president John Hendrick, brother of team owner and leader Rick Hendrick, who was not on the plane. The other victims included Rick's 24-year-old son, Ricky, a team vice president and emerging leader; Jeff Turner, the group's general manager and financial expert; and Randy Dorton, chief of the Hendrick engine shop and a powerful spiritual leader within the group.
Others killed were John Hendrick's 22-year-old twin daughters, Kimberley and Jennifer; DuPont executive Joe Jackson; Scott Lathram, pilot for driver Tony Stewart; and two team pilots, Dick Tracy and Liz Morrison.
Gordon added: "I will say right now there's so many things going through all of our minds. We're still in such shock that I am probably not going to answer things the way I wish I would when I leave here or the way that anybody who is affected by this maybe wish that I would or any of us. But it is such a shock.
"It's been just something that has been, you know, just unbearable for - you could imagine - anybody to deal with, and getting through something like this is going to take time. It is going to take a lot of support. I think that's the one thing I want to say is I want to thank all those people out there that have been so supportive and have put their thoughts and their prayers for the families for those that have been left behind through this.
"Losing, you know, whether it be a mother, father, sister, brother, you know, in this way, I just - I don't know how we're going - anybody is going to move past that, but as far as we're concerned here, we do have a job at hand this weekend. We want to, you know, keep that legacy going on."
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