Chad Knaus Believes Hendrick Motorsports’ NASCAR Cup-Only Focus Will Hinder Them in 2022

Published 11/20/2021, 1:55 AM EST
June 20, Lebanon, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 race at the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn., Sunday, June 20, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Josie Norris-USA TODAY Sports


In May 2021, Hendrick Motorsports became the most successful owner in NASCAR history. This was followed by Rick Hendrick’s team toppling and conquering several NASCAR records, with Kyle Larson leading the way.

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But Hendrick’s focus is laser-sharp, simply on the Cup Series. And while it has ‘served’ them well, according to Chad Knaus, he can’t help but notice how being involved in other forms of NASCAR would help them.

Especially going ahead with the 2022 season in which NASCAR is introducing the Next-Gen car.

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“It’s really been eye-opening. We have a very narrow focus for Hendrick Motorsports, we don’t mess with Xfinity. We don’t mess with trucks,” Knaus said, as reported in AP.

“It has left us, in my mind, a little vulnerable going into the 2022 season with the (Next Gen) car because everybody else that we are racing against has some type of a tie to other racing. We don’t have that at HMS.”

In many ways, Knaus is right. Most of the other teams in the Cup Series are not only involved in other forms of NASCAR racing, but they’re also quite successful. This, as an organisation, is a crucial element because it not only gives you a bigger portfolio as a brand but also from a talent pool, economics and R&D point of view.

Hypothetically speaking, if somehow Hendrick Motorsports cannot adjust or ‘do well’ in the Next Gen car, they will face invariably face losses in one form or the other. But unlike a team like Joe Gibbs Racing, they won’t have a team in Xfinity Series to cushion that.

Hendrick Motorsports has fiddled with Xfinity and Trucks in the past

Present as it is and future as it may be, Hendrick Motorsports has fielded cars in Xfinity Series in the past.

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In two separate stints, Rick Hendrick’s team competed in the Busch Series from 1984 to 1990, and then from 2000 to 2007. But after 2007, Rick Hendrick merged his team with JR Motorsports. While the team still competes and receives technical and engine supports from HMS, it runs under the banner of JR Motorsports.

Rick Hendrick also fielded the No.17 truck driven by his son Ricky Hendrick in the Truck Series in 2000. However, the team didn’t compete in the Truck Series past the 2001 season.

Whether Knaus, who is currently the Vice President of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports, is able to convince Mr. H about participating in other forms of motorsports in the future, is worth seeing.

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It’s an organisational decision anyway, but fans wouldn’t mind seeing Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott take some wins in Hendrick colours in Xfinity or Truck series.

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Shaharyar

178 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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