The owner of Hendrick Motorsports has provided an update about two important contract discussions. Rick Hendrick said that there should be some news about extensions for both Chase Elliott and William Byron in the near future.
The NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning owner met with media members on February 17 and provided the update. He confirmed that keeping Elliott and Byron part of the lineup is still a priority, and he explained that there should soon be some news about both drivers and their extensions.
“Probably any time pretty soon,” Hendrick said in response to a question from NBC Sports’ Dustin Long. “I want those guys to be with us forever, and they’ve told me that they want to be here. So I’d say you should hear something on that pretty soon.”
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Both Elliott and Byron are technically set to reach free agency after the 2022 Cup Series season. Their current contracts expire after the championship race in Phoenix, but Hendrick Motorsports will make moves prior to keep both drivers in their current cars.
Hendrick Has Previously Expressed Optimism About Extensions
Hendrick has not shied away from making big statements about his drivers. He has openly stated multiple times that he wants to keep his current, four-driver lineup around for several years.
One fitting example took place after Kyle Larson signed an extension in July 2021. Hendrick met with media members and confirmed that Elliott and Byron were next on the list for the organization.
“Absolutely, my plan is for Chase and William to retire with us, so that’s an ongoing situation with me,” Hendrick said in July, according to NASCAR. “I love the lineup right now, and I want to keep the band together.”
Alex Bowman, the fourth driver in the lineup, was the first to sign an extension. He inked his deal prior to the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway in June 2021. This deal guaranteed that he would remain behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro through the 2023 season.
HMS Drivers Combine for Wins & Speed
One major reason why Hendrick wants to keep his driver lineup intact is that they consistently showcase speed while battling for wins. In 2021 alone, they combined for 17 points-paying wins. Larson posted 10 wins, captured the All-Star Race, and won the championship, Bowman added another four, Elliott collected two, and Byron rounded out the group with one.
The members of the team switched to the Gen 7 Chevrolet Camaro for the 2022 Cup Series season and immediately showcased impressive speed. They posted four of the five fastest times during qualifying on Wednesday, February 16, and secured both spots on the front row.
Larson secured the Busch Light Pole Award with a lap time of 49.680 seconds. Bowman had the second-fastest time at 49.711, marking his fifth consecutive season he secured a spot on the front row. Byron posted the third-best time at 49.765 seconds while Elliott was fifth overall with a time of 49.913. Only Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola broke up the group with a time of 49.854.