NASCAR Xfinity Series

Hendrick revives Xfinity programme for road courses

2 Mins read
Credit: Ted Murphy/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Hendrick Motorsports is one of the premier organisations in the NASCAR Cup Series, but does not run an Xfinity Series arm as JR Motorsports—whom HMS owner Rick Hendrick co-operates—fills that responsibility. Although not a major slate, HMS will revitalise its Xfinity programme for three road course races and entrust the #17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro with three members of its Cup roster. Kevin Meendering will serve as crew chief.

The #17 will début with Kyle Larson at Road America on 2 July before Alex Bowman takes over at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 30 July. Nearly a month later, on 20 August, William Byron will pilot the car at Watkins Glen International. All three Xfinity races support the Cup Series, and the starts are intended to provide the trio with more familiarity with the tracks ahead of their main events.

“Our drivers are always looking for more opportunities to compete,” commented team president Jeff Andrews. “We believe the additional road-course experience on Saturdays will translate well to Sundays. It will be exciting to see the #17 return to the racetrack for Hendrick Motorsports, and we’ll do everything we can to take it back to victory lane.”

HMS last fielded an Xfinity car in 2009 for Tony Stewart, who won his one-off at Daytona. The team regularly ran an Xfinity side from its founding in 1984 to 1990 and again from 2000 to 2007; the latter came after HMS absorbed current Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon‘s JG Motorsports. The Xfinity operation typically raced with Hendrick’s Cup and development drivers, and Brian Vickers would win the 2003 championship before graduating to Cup. Hendrick has twenty-six total wins at the Xfinity level.

The #17 was last used by SS-Green Light Racing with Rick Ware Racing in 2021, but SSGLR shuttered the number to focus on the #07 and #08. While HMS did not have the number during its Xfinity run, it was used by Darrell Waltrip from 1987 to 1990, during which he won the 1989 Daytona 500, while Hendrick’s late son Ricky did so in the Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. HendrickCars.com also models its livery for Larson’s Cup car and the #17 after Ricky’s truck.

“It will be special to see the #17 back in action for Hendrick Motorsports,” Hendrick said. “It’s a great chance for Kyle, Alex and William to gain more time on the road courses and to do even more with our HendrickCars.com sponsorship. I’m looking forward to running the Xfinity Series again.”

Coincidentally, the Bowman/Byron/Larson trio has combined for seventeen career Xfinity victories. Hendrick’s fourth Cup driver Chase Elliott is not involved, but he does not need further road course experience as he leads all active Cup drivers in wins on such tracks with seven.

The expansion also continues a recent effort by Hendrick to give more track time to the quartet. Bowman, Byron, and Elliott have also made one start apiece in the Trucks for HMS ally Spire Motorsports, with Byron winning his at Martinsville. Elliott, Byron, and Larson are also running five Xfinity races in JRM’s #88, with Larson scheduled to compete alongside Byron at Watkins Glen.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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