Rick Hendrick Aims to ‘Keep the Band Together’ Past 2022

Rick Hendrick

Getty Rick Hendrick (right) celebrates Cup Series championship with Chase Elliott.

Hendrick Motorsports announced on July 14 a contract extension that will keep Kyle Larson in the No. 5 through the 2023 season. However, team owner Rick Hendrick is not done working on deals. He plans on keeping the championship-contending NASCAR team together for the foreseeable future.

Larson’s deal was the second extension for the HMS team, following Alex Bowman’s two-year extension prior to the race at Nashville Superspeedway. Both drivers are locked up through the end of the 2023 season while their teammates — Chase Elliott and William Byron — are signed through 2022.

Following the announcement of Larson’s deal, Hendrick told media members that he is not stopping just yet. His goal is to sign both Elliott and Byron to extensions that will keep both drivers around past 2022.

“Absolutely, my plan is for Chase and William to retire with us, so that’s an ongoing situation with me,” Hendrick said, according to NASCAR. “I love the lineup right now, and I want to keep the band together.”

The Hendrick Motorsports drivers have combined for 10 wins during the 2021 season. Larson tops the list with four while Bowman has three. Elliott has two wins of his own while Bowman rounds out the group with one.

Elliott & Byron Previously Signed Extensions With HMS

William Byron

GettyWilliam Byron celebrates a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The two remaining Cup Series drivers in the HMS stable both previously signed extensions to keep them with the team through the 2022 season. Byron inked a deal in September 2020 after he won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway and locked up a spot in the playoffs.

Elliott, on the other hand, signed a four-year extension in June 2017. He was midway through his second season at the time while driving the No. 24 Chevrolet. The reigning Rookie of the Year remained in the stock car until 2018 when he moved over to the No. 9.

Once Elliott switched vehicles, he began stacking up wins and making playoff appearances. He won three races in 2018 and added three more the following year. However, 2020 served as his best season. Elliott reached Victory Lane, including in the championship race at Phoenix to cap off his first-ever title.

Both Drivers Are Back in the Playoffs

While Byron and Elliott continue to wait for contract extensions, they will focus on moving through the various rounds of the playoffs. Both drivers are locked into the chase after each reaching Victory Lane.

Byron became the first member of the HMS stable to win in 2021. He held off Tyler Reddick in the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 28. He locked up his spot and then rattled off 11 consecutive top-10 finishes. Now Byron is fourth in the standings with 733 points.

Elliott was the last HMS driver to reach Victory Lane. Though he posted seven top-10 finishes and kept himself in playoff contention. The defending Cup Series champion finally captured his first win of the season in the rain-shortened race at Circuit of the Americas on May 23.

Elliott strengthened his playoff position on the Fourth of July with his second win of the season. He started 34th at Road America and then raced his way through the pack to take the top spot. He built up a lead of more than five seconds over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell during a dominating performance and capped off his holiday weekend.

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