Hendrick Motorsports’ 2021 season review

Hendrick Motorsports had a very successful season with 17 wins, a record-breaking victory, and another title. Here's a deep dive into the organization's season.

Austin Konenski
Hendrick Motorsports
Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hendrick Motorsports had many special moments during the 2021 season, such as becoming the most winningest organization in NASCAR Cup Series history and earning their second straight driver’s championship.

Here’s a look into Hendrick’s very successful 2021 season.

Hendrick Motorsports’ notable accomplishments in 2021

NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600
May 30, 2021; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) celebrates his win with team owner Rick Hendrick at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

There were many accomplishments from Hendrick Motorsports’ season, but none of them will eclipse what happened during the 2021 Coca-Cola 600.

Kyle Larson not only crossed the line to win his first crown jewel event in NASCAR’s top level, but he also won the organization’s 269th race, which broke the tie with Petty Enterprises for the most in Cup Series history.

It was a huge moment for the organization and the next closest active organization is Joe Gibbs Racing with 194 victories to its name. It’s safe to say Hendrick will be holding that record for a long time to come.

Another notable accomplishment was Larson winning the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway after a blazing fast pit stop before the final restart of the race.

Due to this championship, Hendrick became the first organization to win two straight titles with two different drivers since Roush Fenway Racing won two straight championships in 2003 and 2004.

Adding to this growing list, it was Hendrick’s most winningest season in the Cup Series since 2007 when the organization won 18 races. They ended with 17 wins in 2021.

Even though Larson took 10 of those 17 victories, every driver in the Hendrick stable won a race, which is the first time since 2014.

A season breakdown for each Hendrick Motorsports’ driver

NASCAR: Cup Series Championship
Nov 7, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (left) is congratulated by NASCAR president Steve Phelps as he celebrates after winning the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Larson finished the season with 10 wins, 20 top-5 finishes, 26 top-10 finishes, and a 9.1 average finish. It was by far the best season of his career and one of the best overall in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series.

The 29-year-old driver has taken the racing world by storm and is undoubtedly the best driver in NASCAR. More of Larson’s breathtaking records and statistics can be found in this article talking about his historic season.

Chase Elliott ended the season with two wins, 15 top-5 finishes, 21 top-10 finishes, and an 11.4 average finish. Arguably, it was a disappointing season for the 2020 Cup Series champion due to the lack of victories.

Elliott won his first race of the season at the Circuit of the Americas after a red flag came out due to excessive standing water on the track. The 26-year-old driver would then win at Road America for his final victory of the year in July.

Despite his two victories, Elliott is the first defending champion since 1984 Cup Series champion Terry Labonte to not win an oval race the next full-time season after winning the title. However, Elliott found himself back in the Championship 4 but fell short of another title.

William Byron finished the year with one win, 12 top-5 finishes, 20 top-10 finishes, and a 13.6 average finish. It was a breakout season for the young driver of the No. 24 car after a slow start to his Cup Series career.

Byron won his first and only race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in late February. The 24-year-old driver then went on to finish in the top-10 positions for 11 straight races with incredible consistency.

While there was more left on the table after a Round of 12 exit, Byron has shown speed behind the wheel in his young career and could breakout for even more wins starting in 2022.

Alex Bowman capped off a career year with four wins, eight top-5 finishes, 16 top-10 finishes, and a 15.1 average finish. It was an extraordinary and difficult year for Bowman but it was his first season with multiple wins in the Cup Series.

Bowman won his first race at Richmond Raceway on the final restart before heading to Dover International Speedway a few weeks later to hold off Larson on another final restart. The 28-year-old driver then took advantage of Larson blowing a tire on the final lap at Pocono Raceway in a shocking victory.

Bowman’s final victory of the year came at the second-to-last race of the season at Martinsville Speedway after moving Denny Hamlin out of the way to secure his first grandfather clock.

Even though he saw significant bad luck throughout the year, it will be one to remember for Bowman for many years to come.

What does the future hold for Hendrick Motorsports?

Hendrick Motorsports has a star-studded young core that will be a force to be reckoned with for years in NASCAR’s top level. Larson and Elliott are champions while Byron and Bowman hope to reach that level one day.

The four drivers are set to go for next season with all of them returning to their respective rides and while they might not repeat their success of 2021, they will all be in contention for the title next year.

It was an incredible season for Larson and Bowman with their personal achievements, but there’s still much more to chase in the near future for all of the drivers, specifically the Daytona 500.

No matter what happens moving forward, Rick Hendrick will certainly never forget one of the most successful seasons in the organization’s history.