Rick Hendrick Called Serious Meeting Following Collision at Fontana

Rick Hendrick

Getty Kyle Larson (left) and Rick Hendrick (right) celebrate at Charlotte.

Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson left Auto Club Speedway on February 27 with some things to discuss after an on-track incident and some choice words over the radio. Nearly one week later, their issues appear to be behind them after a sitdown with the boss.

Kyle Larson met with NASCAR media members ahead of the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and provided some information about this meeting. He explained that team owner Rick Hendrick sat down all four of his drivers and laid out his expectations for the group so that they could move forward as a cohesive group. Though this meeting took place virtually due to the travel schedules as part of the west coast swing.

“Rick called a meeting with all four teams and just kind of reiterated his expectations with us drivers, so it’s good to get those reminders every now and then,” Larson said during his media availability on March 5, transcript courtesy of NASCAR Media. “We’ll continue to race good in the future with each other, so I’ll catch up more with Chase here in a little bit and we’ll be good.”

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The incident in question occurred during the final stage of the February 27 race. 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 the No. 9, and sent it into the wall.

Elliott had some choice words for Larson after the contact and said that he had broken the stock car once again after a previous issue made him lose control. He spun on the way back to pit road, which forced another restart and created some questions about “intent,” especially after Elliott said that he didn’t care who was leading moments before his spin brought out the caution.

Hendrick Shook Up the Procedure for the Meeting

Larson added during his media availability that this meeting was the first in his tenure with HMS that featured Hendrick. However, he also noted that he has only been part of the organization for just over a year.

Hendrick has a history of shutting down the conflict between members of the organization with meetings when necessary. One particular sitdown from the past featured Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus, and some milk and cookies. The latest likely did not involve milk and cookies due to its virtual nature, but the boss still got his point across.

“He’s been to competition meetings and stuff like that, and we’ve had multiple meetings about different things. But as far as racing and stuff, that’s the first one I can remember him getting involved in,” Larson added. “I think we all know his expectations and after the incident last week, it was good for him to get involved again and tell us what the expectations are.”

Larson & Elliott Had a Separate Conversation

The meeting with all four drivers and Hendrick was not the only conversation focusing on the collision between Larson and Elliott. The two former Cup Series champions also took time in Las Vegas to discuss the situation and clear the air.

Larson told Racer’s Kelly Crandall that he felt Elliott was understanding about the situation after their conversation. His goal is to be a good teammate and avoid these situations in the future while pursuing the overall goal of securing wins for the organization.

“He kind of reiterated everything that he’s already said and expressed his apology about the whole deal. And I appreciate that,” Elliott added during a conversation with FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass on March 5.

With the conversation complete and the meeting over, the teammates should have no issues during the trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The expectation is that they will race each other well, but they won’t truly provide the answer until the green flag waves on March 6.

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