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February 10, 2023

2023 season preview: Hendrick Motorsports


From left, Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, William Byron and Chase Elliott are introduced for the 2023 Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum
Joe Scarnici
Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Today’s Hendrick Motorsports preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the 2023 Cup Series season, ranked in reverse order of best finish in last year’s owner standings.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

Manufacturer: Chevrolet
Engine: Hendrick Motorsports
Driver-crew chief pairings: Kyle Larson-Cliff Daniels (No. 5), Chase Elliott-Alan Gustafson (No. 9), William Byron-Rudy Fugle (No. 24), Alex Bowman-Blake Harris (No. 48).

RELATED: Hendrick Motorsports’ wins by driver

Team outlook: The winningest team in NASCAR history didn’t miss a beat in the first year of the Next Gen vehicle. Hendrick Motorsports won a series-high 11 races in 2022, seeing all four of its full-time drivers in Victory Lane at least once. Based on its storied success, there appears no reason Hendrick should take a step back in 2023. With champions Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson still in tow along with the ever-improving duo of William Byron and Alex Bowman, the team only looks to be getting stronger.

KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 CHEVROLET

Experience: 10th full-time season in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: Seventh in final standings; 3 wins, 13 top fives, 19 top 10s
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 7-1

Outlook: Larson took home three checkered flags in 2022 and entered Phoenix with a chance to bring Hendrick Motorsports an owners’ championship. It was a continuation of the success he found in 2021, earning 10 points-paying wins plus an All-Star Race triumph en route to his first championship – all in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports. His wins a season ago came on three different styles of tracks – the 2-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway; a road course at Watkins Glen International; and a 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But those victories also came months apart from each other. The No. 5 team led by crew chief Cliff Daniels will eye a bit more consistency this season to end closer to its ’21 success.

MORE: Kyle Larson through the years | Every Larson victory

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 CHEVROLET

Experience: Eighth full-time season in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: Fourth in final standings; 5 wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 7-1

Outlook: Elliott enters the season as the winningest driver of the Next Gen era so far, scoring a series-best five victories in 2022. Like Larson, Elliott seemed to find Victory Lane on a variety of track types with wins at Dover, Nashville, Atlanta, Pocono and Talladega. The five-time Most Popular Driver has made the Championship 4 in each of the last three seasons and has scored at least two victories in each of the last five years. His early accomplishments in a new car only bolster expectations heading into what could be another fruitful year ahead.

MORE: Chase Elliott through the years | Every Elliott win | All angles of Elliott’s new scheme

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 CHEVROLET

Experience: Sixth full-time season in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: Sixth in final standings; 2 wins, 5 top fives, 11 top 10s
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 12-1

Outlook: Byron’s 2022 campaign produced a mixed bag of results. In one aspect, it was a career year, leading 746 laps, scoring multiple wins for the first time in his career and earning a personal-best points finish of sixth. But the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet regressed elsewhere, dropping to five top fives and 11 top 10s after netting 12 and 20, respectively, in 2021. Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle proved they are capable of grand accomplishments when they put a full race together. The key this year will be doing so on a regular basis.

MORE: William Byron through the years

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 CHEVROLET

Experience: Eighth full-time season in NASCAR Cup Series.
2022 stats: 16th in final standings; 1 win, 4 top fives, 12 top 10s
2023 championship odds (BetMGM): 22-1

Outlook: Bowman was the only Hendrick driver not to win multiple races in 2022 and had a dismal summer stretch where he finished 32nd or worse four times in a six-week span, all due to damage. But don’t let those numbers detract from what Bowman is capable of. Greg Ives, the only Cup crew chief Bowman’s worked with, departed for other roles inside Hendrick Motorsports, leading Blake Harris atop the pit box of the No. 48 team. Harris was handpicked for the job and led Michael McDowell to a career year at Front Row Motorsports last season. Bowman netted a career-best four wins, eight top fives and 16 top 10s in 2021; the question is whether he can relocate that success entering a contract year at Hendrick Motorsports.

MORE: Every angle of Bowman’s new Ally schemes | Alex Bowman through the years

NASCAR.com 2023 team previews schedule

Jan. 23: Non-chartered and teams outside the top 30
Jan. 24: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 25: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 26: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 27: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 30: Kaulig Racing
Jan. 31: RFK Racing
Feb. 1: Legacy Motor Club
Feb. 2: Richard Childress Racing
Feb. 7: 23XI Racing
Feb. 8: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 9: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 10: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 13: Trackhouse Racing
Feb. 14: Team Penske

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