Rick Hendrick urges Kyle Larson and William Byron not to replicate Creed and Hill’s Martinsville clash at Phoenix
Rick Hendrick is optimistic that they will maintain their respectful and clean racing style.
William Byron, Rick Hendrick and Kyle Larson (Via IMAGO)
In the final stages of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports has locked in two of the coveted Championship 4 spots. Kyle Larson and William Byron will face off in a high-stakes battle for the championship at Phoenix Raceway. Team owner Rick Hendrick, drawing from the dramatic incident between Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill at Martinsville, has provided crucial advice to prevent similar mishaps. Hendrick aims to guide his drivers to a clean and respectful championship showdown.
At the Martinsville Speedway’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, a high-stakes clash ensued as drivers fought for Championship 4 spots. RCR teammates Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed engaged in a fierce last-lap battle, with Creed’s bold move triggering a chain reaction that ended their chances of winning. The race underscored the significance of seizing opportunities in playoff situations.
Hendrick underscores the need for a delicate equilibrium between competition and collaboration within his team. He discussed the perils of teammates racing against each other, citing a recent incident at Martinsville involving a rival team as the “worst scenario” for an owner.
That had to be the worst scenario that any owner could ever have.
He emphasized year-round preparation, focusing on teamwork and meticulous planning. Their winning culture, built on collaboration, involves crew chiefs, drivers, and the entire team working together to achieve excellence.
❌ "Don't wreck each other because it just destroys the chemistry inside the company."— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) November 2, 2023
🏁 Rick Hendrick wants his @TeamHendrick drivers to race each other clean for a championship if it comes down to it Sunday at @phoenixraceway. pic.twitter.com/kmaeqEmJpL
But that is something that we work hard on all year long is not just for the last race. It's like, how many times is it going to come down to the two of ya? Not very often.
Rick Hendrick concurs that teammates may make contact but should avoid causing wrecks
Hendrick’s philosophy prioritizes respectful and integrity-driven racing among his drivers. He encourages competitiveness and strategic moves while maintaining team unity. He distinguishes between fair competition (“moving him”) and reckless actions that cause crashes (“wrecking him”). Rick said,:
If it comes down to the two Sunday, I just hope they do it clean and you can do it without wrecking the guy.
Hendrick Motorsports has a strong legacy at Phoenix, with 13 victories in 54 starts. Drivers like Jimmie Johnson have excelled at this track, making it a favorable venue for the team. This history adds to the anticipation and excitement surrounding the race as Larson and Byron aim to add another chapter to the Hendrick success story.
The question arises: should Rick Hendrick worry about Larson and Byron? History shows these drivers race each other with respect. Their clean rivalry is expected to continue in the championship battle at Phoenix Raceway, known for its unique challenges like the “dogleg,” where skill and strategy are vital for success.
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