Hendrick Motorsports signs Kyle Larson to contract extension

Hendrick Motorsports announced a one-year contract extension for driver Kyle Larson that will keep him in the team’s No. 5 Chevrolet through 2023.

The deal comes with a nearly full-season primary sponsorship in the NASCAR Cup Series from Hendrick Automotive Group the next two years. That backing includes an agreement for Larson to use HendrickCars.com branding on his helmet, driver’s suit and gloves in his non-NASCAR racing schedule.

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Larson, 28, leads the Cup Series with four victories this season, giving him 10 for his career. He sits as the projected No. 1 seed in the 10-race postseason in his first year with Hendrick Motorsports.

“It’s been a big year for Kyle,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a news release. “His talent inside the race car has been on full display, and he’s doing amazing things through his foundation and with our partners. I’m proud of his hard work and look forward to having him on our team for many years to come.”

All four of Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers — Larson, Alex Bowman, William Byron and Chase Elliott — are signed through at least the 2022 Cup Series season. Bowman reached a contract extension with the organization on June 18, keeping him in the No. 48 Chevrolet through 2023. Elliott, the defending Cup Series champion, was signed four years ago to an extension through 2022, and Byron’s deal was extended through ’22 just three days after he scored his first Cup Series win in the 2020 regular-season finale.

Larson joined Hendrick Motorsports this season after spending the last six-plus seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. He was suspended by NASCAR and fired by the team in April 2020 after his use of a racial slur during an iRacing broadcast. He was signed by Hendrick last October shortly after his reinstatement, which is contingent on Larson fulfilling continued outreach efforts that promote diversity and inclusion.

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HendrickCars.com is set to sponsor Larson’s No. 5 in 35 of the 38 Cup Series races (including non-points events) next season. Valvoline will serve as the primary sponsor for the remaining three Cup events next season. Hendrick Automotive Group cited increases in website traffic — both overall (a 27% rise) and including significant spikes on days when Larson either led the most laps or won.

“Kyle’s performance on the track has delivered a measurable business return for us,” said Darryl Jackson, vice president of financial services for Hendrick Automotive Group. “The company is on pace for a record year in 2021, and we certainly see our motor sports programs contributing to that success. Racing is in our DNA, and tapping into the passionate fanbases of NASCAR, the NHRA and now Kyle’s grassroots program is both very effective and a perfect fit for who we are.”

Larson won six Cup Series races with the Ganassi operation. He is also a 12-time winner in the Xfinity Series and has two victories in the Camping World Truck Series.