Jeff Gordon Explains HMS’ Changing Approach for Extracurricular Races

Jeff Gordon

Getty Jeff Gordon has provided more details about Kyle Larson attempting The Double.

Hendrick Motorsports announced on January 12 that Kyle Larson will take on the Indy 500 in 2024. Now Jeff Gordon has explained how a changing approach in the NASCAR Cup Series organization led to this significant move.

The Hall of Famer appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on January 25 as part of a preseason media tour celebrating NASCAR’s 75th anniversary. He acknowledged during the sitdown that Hendrick Motorsports has not always been open to letting its drivers take on other forms of motorsports. However, this changed when Larson joined the organization ahead of the 2021 season.

“I think, one, the sport’s changed,” Gordon explained. “And, I guess, you look at guys doing other races, even within Xfinity and Trucks, and I’d say Kyle’s made an impact on that. When we started thinking about how do we bring Kyle Larson here, well, he made it clear he wants to continue to race dirt.

“So when I had that conversation with Rick [Hendrick], and we talked about it, I said, ‘You know what, that’s not a bad thing.’ And as a matter of fact, it’s turned out to be a great thing because it’s rallied our folks. And our other drivers started driving other things too and found that that was beneficial to them.”

HMS Has Become ‘an Organization of Racers’

Hendrick Motorsports

GettyHendrick Motorsports celebrates Kyle Larson’s championship in 2021.

Larson is the most prominent example at Hendrick Motorsports in terms of extracurricular races. He bounced back and forth between dirt races and the Cup Series during his championship season in 2021, which required traveling around the country at a blistering pace.

Fast-forward to 2022, and Larson had a similar racing schedule. It was not quite as packed, but he co-founded a mid-week racing series with larger prize purses.

The other members of HMS have taken advantage of their own opportunities to compete in other motorsport series. Alex Bowman, for example, started competing on both dirt and asphalt before his move to stock car racing. Now he has his own team that regularly takes multiple entries to the Chili Bowl.

Bowman’s extracurricular schedule expanded in 2022. He took part in the first event put on by Larson’s High Limit Racing, and he decided to test himself in Winged Sprint cars. The experience was unique, and it is something that he will continue in 2023.

William Byron expanded his schedule with a different style of racing. He made his return to Super Late Models during the 2022 season while working with Donnie Wilson Motorsports. This provided him an opportunity to revisit a part of of his racing roots while pursuing wins.

Chase Elliott is the outlier. He does not spend as much time as his teammates competing away from the Cup Series. Instead, he remains away from the spotlight. Though he has taken part in two different Nitro Rallycross race weekends in the past two years.

Hendrick Motorsports Still Focuses on Important Factors

The championship-winning organization has changed its approach in recent seasons, which has opened up opportunities for its drivers to compete in other series. However, there are important factors that they must address.

As Gordon explained during his appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, he had a discussion with Larson when the California native joined HMS. He said that they should talk about the opportunities that must arise.

There are multiple factors in this conversation. HMS wants to ensure that its drivers will have a great experience and be competitive during their extracurricular starts. The organization also wants to ensure that everything will be done properly and safely.

These factors will remain a focus as the four drivers take part in unique racing opportunities. They will remain critical, especially as Larson prepares to take on The Double and attempts to complete both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

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