Hendrick Motorsports’ future after Kyle Larson’s big extension through 2026

Kyle Larson's latest extension sees him with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2026 season. Let's have a deep dive into the organization's future in NASCAR.

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Kyle Larson and Hendrickcars.com each signed extensions that will keep both parties with the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports through the 2026 season, per an announcement from the organization.

Let’s dive into Hendrick Motorsports’ future plans after Larson’s brand new deal.

Evaluating Kyle Larson’s new contract with Hendrick Motorsports

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Larson, 30, is NASCAR’s greatest raw talent after his incredible 2021 season that featured 10 wins, 20 top-5 finishes, 26 top-10 finishes, and a 9.1 average finish. It also included his first NASCAR Cup Series championship.

The most notable portion of his extension includes the further commitment from his primary sponsor Hendrickcars.com. The sponsor will remain as Larson’s 35-race majority partner and non-NASCAR sponsor through 2026.

It is a major commitment to Larson as the financial side of his career is all set. The driver of the No. 5 car has two wins, 10 top-5 finishes, 14 top-10 finishes, and a 14.0 average finish this season, which is still good despite being compared to last year.

Larson’s two victories have come at Auto Club Speedway and Watkins Glen International, not including the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen. Hendrickcars.com also sponsored him during that event.

With the news of his new extension, most of Hendrick Motorsports’ lineup is set for years to come as it becomes one of NASCAR’s most secured and potent lineups at the top level.

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Hendrick Motorsports’ future Cup Series lineup is mostly secured

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Aug 7, 2022; Brooklyn, Michigan, USA; Team members of NASCAR Cup Series driver Alex Bowman (not pictured) push his car prior to the race at Michigan International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Larson’s new contract running through the 2026 season shows further confidence in the lineup that Hendrick Motorsports has crafted together in previous seasons.

Chase Elliott signed a contract extension earlier in the year that will see him pilot the No. 9 car through the 2027 season. Elliott, 26, has the most wins of any driver in the NASCAR Cup Series this season and won the championship in 2020.

It seems very likely that he will finish out his career with Hendrick Motorsports, but that is hard to be certain about after Toyota’s most notable driver Kyle Busch left for Richard Childress Racing with Ty Gibbs likely being his successor.

Also, William Byron signed an extension that will see him remain with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2025 season. Byron, 24, has two victories this season but went through a horrid stretch of races after his last win at Martinsville Speedway.

The 24-year-old currently runs the No. 24 car in his fifth full-time season with the organization. All four of his career wins have come in the last three seasons with 2022 being his first with over one victory.

The final driver at Hendrick Motorsports not yet discussed is Alex Bowman in the No. 48 car. Bowman, 29, has one victory in 2022 and has shown the most speed of any driver in the organization over the first two races of the playoffs.

The 29-year-old’s contract concludes at the end of the 2023 season with his sponsor, Ally. Bowman is the only Hendrick Motorsports driver with a contract not running through the 2025 season.

Bowman did not have a great summer stretch and it made people question his place with the organization. However, his performances over the first two races have certainly made those same people quiet.

It would be surprising to not see Ally renew with Bowman and Hendrick Motorsports because they seem to love their driver. If they have a place with the organization, the 29-year-old should keep his seat.

However, this sport is all about business and if a full-season sponsor is open to working with another driver and Bowman’s performances start to fade, there is nothing that should be ruled out.

For now, expect Hendrick Motorsports to have a lineup that is set for a long time. Each driver is capable of winning a championship if given the chance at Phoenix Raceway this November.

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