Hendrick eyeing a final four sweep

Gavin Baker/Motorsport Images

Hendrick eyeing a final four sweep

NASCAR

Hendrick eyeing a final four sweep

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For the first time in seven years, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series race in the same season. It took 14 races to make it happen, with Alex Bowman holding multiple victories.

It is hard to bet against the company right now. Chase Elliott was the last of the group who needed to get to victory lane, and he did so Sunday at Circuit of the Americas to also pull Hendrick into a tie with Petty Enterprises for most wins in the series. Kyle Larson finished second to give the company a sweep of the top two spots. And just as they delivered Chevrolet their 400th, 500th, 600th, and 700th win, a Hendrick Motorsports driver earned the manufacturer their 800th win at COTA.

Rick Hendrick isn’t afraid to say he believes things are as good as they have ever been for his company with all four cars running well – something the Hall of Fame team owner is relishing.

“It feels so great because when you have people sponsoring cars and one guy is running really good, I’ll get a text, “Why are you giving this guy the best motor? Why are you giving this guy the best car?” said Hendrick. “That’s a situation that people have a hard time believing that the equipment is the same. So now, to have all of our sponsors happy that everyone’s winning and everyone’s capable of winning the races, it feels good. It feels great because it just levels out the whole organization from the standpoint of there’s not one guy falling behind.

“They’re all capable of winning every week. That’s what you want. If you can just be there, be in the mix and be capable of running up front and winning races, that’s as good as it gets for an organization.”

Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, three of the four Hendrick drivers sit inside the top five in the point standings, and Kyle Larson leads the series in laps led (778). William Byron shows the way in top-10 finishes thanks to a hot streak of 11 consecutive from Homestead to Dover (in which he also climbed from 13th to second in points). Byron just missed adding to that streak at COTA by being 11th when the race was called official.

Hendrick Motorsports general manager Jeff Andrews said earlier this year the turnaround goes back to last summer. Struggling for consistency, the company was at a low point, and Andrews said everyone admitted they owed Hendrick and Chevrolet more. By the end of the year, the organization was once again series champions.

“We had a meeting,” said Hendrick of those times. “We had the COVID deal going on (and) were you’re going to work in the shop? Who is going to do what? We were just fractured. When we had a big get-together, we said, ‘Hey, we got to get after this and all hands-on deck.’ The season turned, and Chase was able to win the last two (races) and win the championship.

“The momentum has carried over into this year. So, we’re excited.”

So much so, Hendrick is already looking ahead. The organization has placed a driver in the Championship 4 three times in the playoff elimination era, but never has had more than one compete for the title in the same season. Now, he has four that look poised for a deep postseason run.

“It’s always hard to win a championship because you don’t know what can happen in that last race,” Hendrick said. “But if you can be there and you can be a part of it, I think we’ve got the best shot we’ve ever had to have four cars, legitimate winners, that could go into that final four.”

MX-5 CUP | ROUND 9 – ROAD AMERICA

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