Byron signs extension with Hendrick Motorsports, why the organization is now set up for the longterm future too

Last June, Alex Bowman signed a 2-year extension to remain at Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 48 Chevrolet. A year prior, Kyle Larson signed a contract to keep him in the No. 5 Chevrolet within the organization through the 2023 season too.

Heading into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, both Chase Elliott and William Byron entered in the final year of their contracts. HMS wouldn’t allow Elliott to even come close to free agency. They signed him to a new deal on the eve of the upcoming season back in February which lasts 5 years (2027).

That left just Byron then as the only holdover. Now, that too has ended. Byron, who’s 1 of just 2 drivers to earn multiple wins this season, has signed a new deal to remain at HMS. He’ll operate on a new 3 year contract that keeps him with HMS through the 2025 season.

The new three-year agreement was finalized on Monday.

After 11 starts this year, Byron is tied for third in the Cup standings with two victories – making him one of only two drivers with multiple wins in 2022. At age 24, he has already won 16 NASCAR national series races, including four at the elite Cup level, and one championship (Xfinity Series). The Charlotte, North Carolina, native is coming off his third consecutive Cup Series playoff appearance in 2021 when he posted personal records in nearly every major statistical category.

“I’m so thankful to continue racing for Mr. Hendrick, Jeff (Gordon, vice chairman) and Hendrick Motorsports,” Byron said. “Since I joined the organization, they’ve supported my growth process every step of the way, including my path to the Cup Series. With the great people around me, I’m excited to continue pursuing race wins and playoff success. Together we’ve built a No. 24 team that I know will contend for championships. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and my years to come with Hendrick Motorsports.”

This was the 1st time that Byron had leverage. Being a free agent at seasons end up living up to his potential, it allowed him to get more out of the deal than the last one. That’s why he had a new agency representing him in this transaction.

Hendrick Motorsports signed Byron in August 2016 when he was 18 years old. After his four-victory Xfinity Series title run in 2017, he quickly advanced to the Cup level where he earned 2018 rookie of the year honors. Byron is the only Cup Series driver other than legendary four-time champion Jeff Gordon to win for Hendrick Motorsports in the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet.

“William is a tremendous driver and a truly exceptional young man,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “As impressed as I am by his innate ability inside a race car, I admire his character and maturity even more. William is on an amazing trajectory, and I believe he’s only just begun to scratch the surface of his potential. We are fortunate to have him in our stable.”

LEBANON, TENNESSEE – JUNE 20: William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet, and crew chief Rudy Fugle talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20, 2021 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Byron is supported by primary sponsors Axalta Coating Systems, RAPTOR®, Valvoline and Liberty University, where he is an online student pursuing an undergraduate degree in strategic communication. His previous contract with Hendrick Motorsports ran through the end of the 2022 season.

This also shaped HMS up for years to come. If not decades. While both Bowman and Larson will be free agents after next season, like Elliott and Byron before them, I don’t think they ever get to that point.

No one has won as many times over the past 2 years as Larson (11) or Bowman (5). Larson, is coming off of a championship winning season last year. Bowman, is on the rise.

That’s just the driver front. For the front office and competition side, at the end of the 2020 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 year’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.

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.

This has HMS in good hands for several decades down the road now. All 4 drivers behind the wheels of their four cars are under the age of 30. A 55 year old leading the competition side and a 50 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 285 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 14 Cup championships as well.

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