Why does cross-pollination work with Hendrick

There was a time when I saw a Hendrick Motorsports driver in anything but their NASCAR Cup Series car was like spotting a four-leaf clover. It was rare to see Rick Hendrik, who was never a huge fan of his extracurricular drivers, giving his permission for one of them to do so.

Hendrik didn’t want to risk that something else might be distracting, or worse, cause his drivers to get injured away from their Sunday jobs. But over the past few seasons, that philosophy has changed significantly.

Take Kyle Larson’s signature. Larson has never hidden his love of dirt racing and expects everyone who competes for him in NASCAR to give him the freedom to do so. Hendrik didn’t slow down his stacked dirt track schedule.

Alex Bowman, who is also a lover of dirt, not only continued to handle a car, but he himself raced a lot. Chase Elliott is running more short tracks, some dirt, and he’ll be making another appearance at SRX this year. William Byron fills in the events of Late Models.

“I absolutely think it’s important to do that,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrik Motorsports. “I recommend [Rick] Hendrick and Jeff [Gordon] To support Kyle and his initiatives. He is clearly one of the most talented race car drivers at the moment. It is clear that Alex has always been interested in his troll programs and different things. Alex and Kyle left (the gate) after our questioning and headed to the race together.”

However, time spent racing in other arenas appears to help NASCAR. Once again, Hendrick Motorsports has run all four of its cars competitively while the drivers have something that gives them an extra chance at the arm.

“Beyond just experiencing these guys racing and hand-eye coordination matters, there was a link that happened there between all four of our guys with their outdoor racing endeavors,” Andrews said. “Kyle and Alex are constantly talking about a race car or dwarf stuff on board. And to see Chase get involved. William was running late typical stuff and winning. It’s a good experience for them. It builds confidence for them, and we’re happy to support that whenever they want to do that.”

The extra seat time has also been transferred to NASCAR. Hendrik and Spear Motorsports worked together to find Byron, Bowman (main image)and Elliott in the Camping World Truck series this season. Bowman approached the Circuit of the Americas on March 26, and Byron won at Martinsville Speedway.

Additionally, through its partnership with JR Motorsports, a fifth Xfinity Series sedan is available if required. Elliott was scheduled to turn up the 88th for Mother’s Day weekend at Darlington Raceway, but he missed the show when the rain missed the qualifying. Byron finished second in the car at Texas Motor Speedway (May 21) and will return to it in New Hampshire (July 16), while Larson will take it with Watkins Glenn (August 20) and Darlington in the fall (September 3).

But going a step further, Hendrick Motorsports will be taking a car out of its store for the first time since 2009. The 17th Chevrolet will be on track in the next three races with Larson (July 2 in Road America), Bowman (July 30 in Indianapolis) and Byron (20 July). August at Watkins Glen).

“We were not sure at the end of last year how useful this would be with the next generation and how important it would be to this type of vehicle in the Xfinity series,” Andrews said. “We went out and ran some races and obviously Alex’s truck experience at COTA and again for William in Martinsville seemed to be paying off well for these guys. They felt there was value in doing that.

“When we started moving forward and we went to our drivers and asked them to choose where they thought they would like to run an Xfinity race, road courses very quickly appeared on the list. But JRM had already sold those races to someone else in their fifth car. So we decided to take that initiative. And we do it ourselves. I don’t know we’ll do it again. I think if we had to do more, we might have gotten more in front of him with JRM and got us safe seats in that fifth car.”

No matter who presents the car and in what series these days, it’s no surprise to see a Hendrick Motorsports driver outside the Cup Series garage.