Hendrick Motorsports President Reveals How Alex Bowman & William Byron Removed Any Uncertainties They Had Last Year

Published 06/21/2022, 2:00 PM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) and NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron (24) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) lead the way during the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In an unusual move in 2022, Hendrick Motorsports has been open to its drivers competing in other series. This also includes one-off appearances in the Xfinity and Truck Series. Then, in another uncharacteristic move, the team opted to field an Xfinity car for the first time since 2009. According to HMS president and general manager Jeff Andrews, Alex Bowman and William Byron were crucial for this step.

Apr 23, 2022; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers go into turn three during the Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

He said, “We were uncertain at the end of last year of what the benefit of that would be with Next Gen and the relevance to that type of vehicle in the Xfinity Series.”

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“We went out and ran a few races and obviously, the experience for Alex in the truck at COTA and again for William at Martinsville seemed to bear some pretty good fruit for those guys. They felt like there was value in doing that.”

What next for the Hendrick Motorsports team?

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For the moment, the organization is focused on its Cup Series campaign. However, they did field a #17 Xfinity car, with Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron taking turns to pilot it. Of course, one would wonder about Chase Elliott, but he is already involved with the JR Motorsports program.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 19: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, waits in the garage area during practice for NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Larson is expected to have the first crack at the #17 Xfinity car at Road America. Later on, in the same month, Alex Bowman will take over the reins at Indianapolis. Finally, Byron will be the last one to sample the car at Watkins Glen in August. Meanwhile, Elliott attempted the race at Darlington but failed to qualify.

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The question now is, will the Xfinity cameos be important for the Cup drivers? Especially since the Cup cars are Next Gen cars, while the Xfinity cars are not. At least the drivers are getting some extra time for racing and gaining valuable experience.

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Dhruv George

13072 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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