With Larson’s deal, HMS’ future with drivers, sponsors and front office solidified for the future

Hendrick Motorsports announced on Wednesday that they’ve come to an agreement with Kyle Larson to keep him in the No. 5 Chevrolet for the new two seasons as he will be in that ride through the end of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Also part of that announcement was that Hendrickcars.com will sponsor that ride in 35 of the 38 races annually including the two non points paying races (Clash/All-Star race) with Valvoline taking the other three races.

This new deal further solidifies what HMS is building over there in Concord in the sense that they’ve secured their drivers, sponsors as well as their front office for years to come.

Last month, Alex Bowman signed an extension to remain with the team through the 2023 season too. He will have Ally onboard the No. 48 Chevrolet for all 38 races next year as well as for 2023.

Those two cars are set.

So is the 9 car with Chase Elliott being signed through the 2022 season. In February 2020, HMS and NAPA each announced a new multi year deal to keep them on the car through the 2022 season with them sponsoring 26 races. He has deals with a few other companies to ensure this ride is fully funded this season and next.

Finally, the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by William Byron has him in the car through 2022 as well with Axalta through 2027. The sponsor will be on 14 races each year with Byron having Liberty on another 12.

Both the 9 and 24 rides will see contracts up with the drivers at seasons end for 2022 and the 9 car needs NAPA back past that year, but with each of their successes, it’s likely just a formality and that new deals would be reached soon.

Credit: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 10: Pole winner Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, and second place winner William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrate in Victory Lane after qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I don’t see either Elliott nor Byron going anywhere nor do I see them having their contracts run out without a new deal already in place.

That’s just the driver front. For the front office and competition side, at the end of last season, Jeff Andrews was moved to Executive Vice President and General Manager effective immediately. Andrews, joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1992 and had served as Vice President of Competition since 2017.

Replacing him starting for this season was Chad Knaus. The former crew chief will report to Andrews. Those proved to be great moves. Andrews, is reporting to President Marshall Carlson.

The alignment for the future is taking shape. Then came last month’s announcement that Jeff Gordon has been named vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, which will make him the second-ranking team official to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick.

As vice chairman and co-owner, Gordon will maintain a daily presence at Hendrick Motorsports with a focus on the organization’s competition and marketing groups. The Vallejo, California, native will report to Hendrick and work alongside Carlson and Andrews. In addition, he will join Hendrick on NASCAR’s team owner council and assume Hendrick Motorsports’ seat on the sanctioning body’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.

Gordon, 49, will formally assume the strategic executive management role on Jan. 1, 2022.

In October 1999, Gordon became an equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports. He remains Hendrick’s only partner in the 13-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning organization, for which Gordon won 93 races and four titles as a driver from 1992 until his retirement from full-time racing in 2015.

“Jeff and I have talked about this for many years, and I feel it’s a natural evolution for him and our company,” said Hendrick, 71, who is also chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group. “I’ve always been impressed with his business instincts. On some level, he’s been involved in every major decision we’ve made over the last two decades, and his influence has continued to grow since he stopped driving. He understands our culture, our values, and the importance we place on our people and our partnerships.

“I love racing and competing, and Jeff is the only person I know who hates to lose as much as I do. I feel great physically and have no plans to go anywhere anytime soon, which is exactly why it’s the right time. In the years to come, I couldn’t be more energized about working arm-in-arm with him and cementing the future of Hendrick Motorsports together.”

This has HMS in good hands for several decades down the road now. A pair of 28 year old drivers, a 25 year old and 23 year old behind the wheels of their four cars. A 55 year old leading the competition side and a 49 year old now the second in command.

Rick Hendrick has built a NASCAR empire. He’s the all-time winningest car owner in the history of the sport as his drivers have amassed 271 Cup Series victories. Among those wins are 12 Coca-Cola 600 triumphs, 11 Southern 500 wins, 10 Brickyard 400’s victories and 8 Daytona 500’s.

“Mr. H” has led his organization to 13 Cup championships as well.

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