Hendrick Motorsports Vice President Expresses Disappointment After Championshipless Season Reaps Small Rewards


LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 05: FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman, drivers for Hendrick Motorsports, at fanfest before the start of the NASCAR, Motorsport, USA Cup Series Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum on February 5, 2023, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire AUTO: FEB 05 NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum Icon230205064 | Image Credits: Imago
It has been two years since Hendrick Motorsports last won the Cup Series championship. Yet, it feels like ages since they achieved this feat. Such are the expectations as HMS’ 2023 campaign ends with plenty of disappointment. However, amid this setback, the team’s Vice President of Competition Chad Knaus found some silver lining.
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With two drivers in the Championship 4, no team had a better chance to win the title than the Hendrick Motorsports. Unfortunately, Ryan Blaney and his terrific form turned out to be a massive hurdle for the Cup Series giants. While the championship didn’t come HMS’ way, they could be proud of some of their achievements.
Hendrick Motorsports Vice President reflects on the 2023 season with a bitter-sweet feeling
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With four strong drivers at their disposal, Hendrick Motorsports as always entered the 2023 season as one of the favorites. However, with Chase Elliott’s snowboarding injury earlier in the campaign, the team suffered a huge blow. Despite that, Kyle Larson and Willian Byron carried HMS with some impressive performance.
Together, the duo registered ten wins, 30 top-five, and 39 top-ten finishes this season. While Elliott and Alex Bowman failed to make it to the playoffs, Byron and Larson ensured Hendrick Motorsports kept fighting for the championship. Not only that, but they performed incredibly well to ensure both of them secured a place in the final four.
Unfortunately, neither Larson nor Byron ended victorious at Phoenix Raceway. With such a stellar team, it was indeed disappointing for Hendrick Motorsports to not have registered another title win. Speaking about it on NASCAR Race Hub, HMS Vice President of Competition Chad Knaus expressed his feelings on the season as reported by Fox journalist Bob Pockrass.
Knaus said, “As you step back and you look at it, yes, you’re disappointed. You’re really sad that we weren’t able to pull the championship home for the whole organization for what we’ve been through this year.” However, Knaus found some positives from the 2023 campaign to be proud of.
The 52-year-old said, “But [we were] able to go there and finish two-three in points, 11 wins, we were able to eclipse 500 wins for our engine department, 300 for Hendrick Motorsports.” While HMS won 10 times in the Cup Series, they also registered a win in the all-star race in 2023.
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Despite a 29% win from the total events in the entire season, Rick Hendrick’s team ended without a championship to their name. However, Knaus explained why the team should be proud of their performance in the campaign.
Hendrick Motorsports accumulated some notable achievements in the 2023 season
It is disappointing to not see Hendrick Motorsports win the title. However, their performance yielded some impressive achievements. While they earned their 300th Cup Series win, it was for the first time in the team’s history that they earned a top-three sweep in a race. William Byron, Kyle Larson, and Alex Bowman finished 1-2-3 at the spring race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With 10 victories in the Cup Series in the 2023 campaign, it was the 18th season that Hendrick Motorsports had the most wins or was tied in the sport’s top-tier competition. Had it not been for injuries and suspension, the team could have surely achieved more.
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Speaking about it, Chad Knaus said, “You start to look at the things that were tough — the injuries with the drivers, we had some points penalties early on in the season that we had to overcome. [It was] a phenomenal year and I couldn’t be prouder.”
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Nevertheless, Hendrick Motorsports could hope for a better outing come 2024. It would be interesting to see how Chase Elliott bounces back from a forgettable 2023 campaign.
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