Judy Hendrickson - No Just Another Woman Driver
- Published: 01 April 2018 01 April 2018
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This is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman. At the track, we are all aware of the knowledge and passion that Judy Hendrickson brings to our events, but not many are aware of the history of our “Club Historian”. In years past, Judy and her husband Doug were instrumental in the original chartering of the North Country Region PCA Club. Together they produced the club newsletter for several years, winning the prestigious Paul Heinmiller Newsletter of the Year Award in 1994. They also chaired the National PCA Parade Concours in Lake Placid that year. Serving as NCR Membership Chair, VP in 1994 and President in 1995, it is not surprising that the National PCA organization called upon Judy. Then President of PCA. Judy Boles, asked her to serve as National Membership Chair, which she did from 1995-2003. She also served as PCA Treasurer from 2003-2005. Having achieved an iconic stature in PCA, both locally and nationally, Judy is now happy to be “just a member”. We know her as NCR Historian, a DE instructor, and driving enthusiast extraordinaire, but there is so much more…
Judy’s interest in road racing was sparked during her childhood years in Florida, first attending local stock car races with her family and later getting to experience Sebring during the days of the Rodriquez brothers and Ferrari domination. Except for a sporty 1971 Mustang, cars were put on a back burner as she attended college and embarked on an Air Force career. All this changed when she met Doug and his ’71 914-6. Doug, who had raced SCCA for years, was happy for Judy to join him in his passion. They started auto-crossing, but soon became involved in Concours and PCA National Parade. Judy’s first real track experience was at Summit Point with their ’79 911 Targa. She was not thrilled with the ”happy tailed” 911, tossed Doug the keys and said, “ You take it and I’ll take the SIX!” From 1976-1984, the Air Force took the couple from Utah to NH, to Washington D.C., and finally back to NH. Doug retired in 1987, Judy in 1989, at which time they “dove deeply into Porschedom.” In the fall of 1994 the couple participated in the Zone 1 Treffen to Germany where they were able to buy the new 911 (993) at the factory and enjoy it on its home territory. Taking “Jelly Bean” to Lime Rock in April, Judy finally learned to be comfortable with a 911 on the track.
A month later the Hendrickson’s world took an unexpected turn. Doug was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer and was gone by December. Judy was confronted with many tough decisions. She attributes her independent and self-reliant nature to the example her mother set for her. These strong characteristics, along with the support of her friends helped her to get through her loss. As Judy put it, “NCR was and is a close knit family and thanks to them I was not allowed to withdraw into a black hole of despair.” Returning to driving, she found that it took all of her concentration and forced her to set aside all thoughts other than braking, turn in and track out. The off track breaks at events were also helpful, as the comradery of the group was healing. She felt empowered by what she accomplished as she progressed through the driving levels until she reached the Black (Advanced) Group. She knew that if she could do this on her own, she could handle whatever else life threw at her. In 2002, Judy’s dear friend Ellen Beck convinced her to go through the training program to become an instructor. She now finds great satisfaction in sharing the process of discovery and accomplishment with her students as they learn to become one with their car.
For ten years she drove her cars until she decided it was time for a track car. Her friends Matt Romanowski, Jay Gratton, and Mark Nadler helped her to find and prepare a 914/6 dedicated track car in 2006. A happy partnership was formed with Matt when he blew up his engine, and to this day you will see them racing around in Chiquita. And according to Matt, she just keeps getting faster and faster! They not only became track mates, but also family. “Auntie Judy” as she is known to the Romanowskis and Grattons is always a part of family celebrations and gatherings. Proof again, it’s not just about the cars….it’s the people.