Rick Hendrick provided his thoughts on the matter ahead of the trip to Phoenix Raceway for the season finale. He met with media members during a Zoom session and faced numerous questions. One of them focused on his Cup Series drivers making part-time starts in Xfinity once again.
“Some of it but not a lot of it because I’m involved with [JR Motorsports], and that’s our focus up there,” Hendrick said about potential 2023 starts. “But we like to run some road courses, and some of our guys want to run some of the ovals.
“We won’t be competing full-time at all, just a handful of races. It’s been a lot of fun to watch and bring those colors back. That’s kind of Ricky [Hendrick]’s number and colors. That’s really something that I’ve enjoyed, and we’ll do a few more of those.”
Hendrick Motorsports Announced Its Return in Mid-June
The 2022 season did not initially feature the return of a Hendrick Motorsports car. Instead, the team waited until early June to announce that its drivers would take on a part-time schedule.
The schedule initially featured three primary races. Kyle Larson took over the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro for the July 2 race at Road America and then Alex Bowman controlled it for the July 30 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. William Byron took on the August 20 race at Watkins Glen International and then Larson finished off the schedule with the September 3 race at Darlington Raceway.
Larson won the pole for the race at Road America, and he proceeded to battle Ty Gibbs for the win. He ultimately finished second overall after leading 31 laps. Larson also posted a top-five finish at Darlington Raceway.
Bowman’s race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway featured similar success. He started fourth overall in the No. 17 HMS Chevrolet, and he led four laps at the road course. Bowman ended the day second overall while AJ Allmendinger captured another road course race.
William Byron’s Start in the No. 17 Had a Surprising End
Byron’s weekend at Watkins Glen International was unique. Like Larson, he started on the pole. He also led 35 laps in the No. 17 Chevrolet. However, the situation changed after Daniel Hemric brought out the caution after burying the No. 11 in the tire barrier.
Gibbs and Byron lined up on the front row with 15 laps to go, and they led the field to the green flag. They continued to battle for the top spot before Byron lost a position to Larson, who was in a JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Though he regained it before Ross Chastain brought out the caution with eight laps remaining.
The drivers lined up once again for a restart with Gibbs and Byron on the front row. Once the green flag waved, the Hendrick Motorsports driver put himself just ahead of Gibbs.
Byron was in the lead entering the Bus Stop when the No. 54 got loose and spun, collecting the No. 17 in the process. The two drivers went off the track while Kyle Larson jumped into the lead ahead of AJ Allmendinger.
Larson went on to win while Allmendinger finished second. Byron, however, ended the day 25th overall after leading the most laps. Gibbs finished 27th after kicking off the wreck.
Based on Hendrick’s comments, there will potentially be more opportunities for Byron to capture a win in the blue and white No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro. Though the team will not provide this information until a later date.