Race car drivers are wired differently. To be able to strap into a car and drive at the speeds that they do, inches from another vehicle as well as inches from a wall while also staring death in the face, takes someone special to be able to do that each time. But, that’s their passion and why they do what they do.
It’s also why Rick Hendrick wasn’t too keen on his drivers racing in anything but his Cup cars. He knows that the chances of a serious injury go up the more that you race. At least racing in a car for him, he knows that he has you for 36 weeks out of a year in top notch equipment. It’s also safe equipment too.
To stray for other series, well it’s a big risk.
His drivers are his prized possessions. They get paid handsomely at HMS because of that. I mean, over the years, when did you really ever see Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte, etc ever race in anything but HMS’ Cup cars. Xfinity or Truck starts were few and far between. Any modifieds, USAC stuff or really any dirt were mostly off limits.
That’s what you signed up for in joining HMS. You weren’t allowed to do much off the track in terms of danger but were going to have good race cars on the track that allowed you to succeed.
Now though, Hendrick appears to be changing his stance.
Kyle Larson signed to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet in 2021. One of Larson’s main things about his next contract in NASCAR was that he wanted to find a team that allowed him to still play in the dirt. HMS initially wasn’t going to be in the mix because of that. Now, the tuned has changed.
“I don’t want to see him get hurt, but this is his love and I think it makes him sharper,” Hendrick said of giving Larson the green light to race on dirt while still racing for HMS in Cup. “As long as it doesn’t interfere.”
Then, you see Chase Elliott run in the Snowball Derby recently. Elliott, also is going to race in the Chili Bowl next month and also just confirmed a ride in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona as well.
Alex Bowman will race more dirt too as he also owns some USAC equipment. Does this allow William Byron to do so as well?
The door is now open to HMS for drivers to race in extra curricular activities which is something no one ever saw coming.
It’s a new era at HMS. Younger drivers with dirt backgrounds and no one over the age of 30 on their driver roster for at the very least the next couple of years. It’s all about adapting your business and HMS is doing just that.