HomeSportsNascarNASCAR: How Hendrick Helped Set Bowman Up for Success

NASCAR: How Hendrick Helped Set Bowman Up for Success

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

For the Hendrick Motorsports team, the WISE Power 400 was an ugly race. Kyle Larson accidentally caused teammate Chase Elliott to wreck as the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers raced for the win. And though Larson was apologetic, Elliott was nothing short of enraged. This, of course, led to an immense amount of tension in the Hendrick Motorsports camp, but team owner, Rick Hendrick, stepped in to quash the dispute ahead of the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas.

At a Glance:

  • Kyle Larson caused teammate Chase Elliott to wreck during the WISE Power 400
  • Following the wreck, Hendrick Motorsports owners held a team meeting
  • The pep talk from Rick Hendrick led to a better performance this week
  • Alex Bowman won the Pennzoil 400 for Hendrick Motorsports

Rick Hendrick Holds a Meeting With His NASCAR Team

NASCAR veterans, Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon, understand the stresses that come with the high stakes of the NASCAR Cup Series races and the tension that can build between teammates because of it. After giving their drivers a day or two to cool off, however, Hendrick stepped in to give his team some words of wisdom.

The equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, described the team meeting held by Rick Hendrick. “Hendrick Motorsports [is about] ‘Race hard, but don’t wreck your teammates’. That’s what you do. You want to go race your teammates for wins and settle it amongst yourselves. The conversation that Rick had with us was really more pertaining to what happened at the end of [the WISE Power 400].”

“You got to go try to win the race,” Gordon continues. “You’ve just got to have as much awareness of your teammates in those situations to not cause damage and hope that you can just go settle it in a way where guys are both battling all the way.”

Talk With Hendrick Leads to Win at Pennzoil 400 for Alex Bowman

Unlike the WISE Power 400, this weekend’s Pennzoil 400 was a much prettier picture for the Hendrick Motorsports team. Thanks to the reminder about teamwork from Rick Hendrick, Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson raced without incident. Best of all, Alex Bowman took first place in the third race of the NASCAR Cup Series.

When asked if he approached the race differently because of the meeting with Hendrick, Kyle Larson said, “I did everything that I would have done if we didn’t have a meeting, probably. I was side-drafting him as hard as I could. I would have never wanted to make contact with him before, either. But I guess it weighs on you, being only seven days away from me getting into a teammate.”

Alex Bowman recounted the race in a similar manner. “I don’t know that there was really something Kyle [Larson] could have done any differently or even if he was trying to be dirty about anything. He was super tight on my door, side drafting me as hard as he could. He just ended up getting tight in [turns] 3 and 4.”