Sunday, October 2, 2022

“I’m Happy With the Chemistry and Culture of the Team Right Now,” Rick Hendrick Feeling Great About Team’s Future Entering Playoffs

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Valvoline Instant Oil Change Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE celebrates capturing the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship Saturday, August 28, 2021 during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Larson will be the leader to start the Playoffs that begin next week in Darlington. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

After capturing their 13th NASCAR Cup Series championship last fall with Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports’ continuous rise to the top has been one of the most well-documented stories of the regular season, with the team seeing all four entries visit victory lane at least once, for the first-time since 2014.

Kyle Larson – the team’s newest driver — captured the regular season championship and leads the series with five victories entering the playoffs. Defending series champion, Chase Elliott, has continued to show his talent on road course, capturing wins at COTA and Road America, with Alex Bowman’s three wins coming in stealthy fashion at Richmond, Dover and Pocono. William Byron, partnered with Rudy Fugle this season, won early in the season at Homestead, beginning an 11-race streak of top-10s for the No. 24 team.

Entering the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs seeded first, fifth, sixth, and eighth, it appears that all four drivers in the Hendrick Motorsports stable will have a solid chance of advancing deep into the rounds, in search of the team’s 14th championship.

Joining Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Rick Hendrick says he’s feeling good about the team’s chances for the 2021 playoffs and beyond.

“I think just watching a crew chief like Cliff Daniels blossom and seeing Kyle [Larson] just drive the wheels off that car, seeing William [Byron] from where he was and no more experience than he’s had and where he’s racing, Alex [Bowman] winning three, and Chase is just fast everywhere,” said Hendrick. “I think we’re set for the future, you can always be better, you’re never quite where you think you should be, but boy I’m happy with the chemistry and culture of the team right now.”

“I’ve had one team winning all the races, one team at the bottom and a couple teams in the middle and no wins, so it’s pretty hard to face your sponsors and your folks when you have one car winning all the races, hear all those things like why don’t you gve all those other guys the motor, why don’t you give all those guys the same car. So now I think we’ve shown everybody that they’re all close and they’re just alike, as close as we can get them, then we let the crew chief and the driver set them up.”

While all of the four entries are likely set up different by crew chiefs and drivers, it’s clear that it doesn’t matter which Hendrick Motorsports car you’re behind the wheel of, it’s going to be fast. The organization’s speed has been stellar all season long, and arguably the best in the series, which leads many to believe that one of those four cars are championship favorites.

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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