Kyle Larson Addresses Team Chemistry After Competition Meeting

Kyle Larson

Getty Kyle Larson celebrates a win at Watkins Glen International.

The final restart at Watkins Glen International featured Kyle Larson using up Chase Elliott and moving him out of the way. This led to visible frustration from the driver of the No. 9, as well as a competition meeting between the Hendrick Motorsports Cup Series drivers.

Larson addressed the status of the team chemistry after a competition meeting on Monday, August 22. He explained that he did a lot more listening than talking during this open conversation and that all four drivers “like to win.” Though Larson noted that he should have more respect in the future.

“I think you always have to look out for the organization and what’s best for everybody as a whole,” Larson said at Martinsville Speedway on August 23. “I wish things would have I guess played out differently and Monday would have been a lot better for me.

“It was productive. In the end, it was positive to have that talk,” Larson continued. “I’m ready to just move on from it and look forward to Daytona and on into the playoffs.”

ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on NASCAR Newsletter!

A Previous On-Track Incident Led to Another Competition Meeting

The two championship-winning drivers had to sit down after the trip to Watkins Glen International and discuss the situation. This is not the first time that they have done so during the 2022 season.

The trip to Auto Club Speedway in February also featured on-track contact between Elliott and Larson. The incident occurred after Elliott rebounded from contact with the wall that dropped him out of the lead. He made a move to pass Larson and Joey Logano on the outside with fewer than 10 laps remaining, but the No. 5 moved to the right, made contact with Elliott’s No. 9, and sent him into the wall.

Larson met with media members after the race and said that he was focused on his battle with Logano at the time and that he did not know Elliott was coming on a huge run. Tyler Monn, the spotter for the No. 5 Chevrolet, also weighed in on Twitter. He took full responsibility for the contact between the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers and said that he had made a late call.

Following the race at Auto Club Speedway, team owner Rick Hendrick took matters into his own hands. He sat down with all four of his drivers and laid out his expectations for the group so that they could move forward as a cohesive group instead of having friction between them.

All of the HMS Drivers Will Pursue a Common Goal

Hendrick Motorsports

GettyAll of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers are in the playoffs.

With the competition meeting complete, the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers will all move forward in their pursuit of a common goal. They will all try to move through the playoffs and reach the championship four.

Elliott and Larson will enter the playoffs in the best position. The driver of the No. 9 is the regular-season champion, so he will have another 15 bonus points once the playoffs begin. Larson should be the second seed, which will add 10 points to his total.

William Byron will be in a solid position after winning two races and adding three stage wins. NASCAR’s standings project him to be the fifth seed, which will put him well above the cutline during the Round of 16.

Alex Bowman is in the worst position out of the four drivers. He only has one race win and one stage win. This puts him at the bottom of the playoff seeding along with Kurt Busch, Austin Cindric, and Daniel Suarez. Bowman will have to make some positive moves during the opening round to overtake some other drivers.

READ NEXT: Kevin Harvick Brings Some Southwest Flair to Daytona With New Scheme

Read More