“NASCAR is getting what it wants” with Next Gen car

Mr. Hendrick is in a prime position to continue the success of his Hendrick Motorsports organization this year. In the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway for the 2023 title, two of his four Cup drivers, Kyle Larson and William Byron, have secured their spots.

It’s not surprising to see these two drivers competing for the championship. They’ve been consistently performing well all season. Byron had an outstanding year, leading the series with six wins, while Larson secured four wins, two of which were in the playoffs.

The unexpected contenders

Joining the Hendrick duo in the championship race are Ryan Blaney and Christopher Bell, two drivers who weren’t considered favorites at the beginning of the playoffs. Although they only won one race each earlier in the year, their clutch victories in the playoffs propelled them into the title fight against teams that had greater success in the regular season.

Last year’s Championship 4 had a similar mix of veterans and newcomers. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Bell, and Ross Chastain competed for the title, with Bell and Chastain making their first appearances.

“There are probably 10 or 15 guys out there who could be in this playoff and make it to the final four,” Hendrick commented. He acknowledged the talent in the field and the equalizing effect of the cars in the sport. This parity allows for multiple drivers to have a shot at winning races.

The impact of the new car

Hendrick believes the biggest change in competition with the new car is teams’ inability to customize their own parts. Now, teams purchase almost the entire car from single-source suppliers.

“We’re basically racing the same car. The motors are all pretty close, within three or four horsepower of each other across different manufacturers,” he explained. Nowadays, the advantage lies in pit crews, race strategy, and restart performance.

This shift has made the field more equal than ever before, with teams relying more on individual driving skills, pit crews, and strategy calls to gain an edge.


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