Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 11:58PM

Another Bryron win has Hendrick Motorsports rolling

By Jim Vertuno AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Hendrick Motorsports has a lot to be happy about as the team barrels toward its big 40th anniversary celebration in two weeks.

William Bryon dominated on Sunday in his second win of the NASCAR season, which came at the Circuit of the Americas. Alex Bowman earned his third top-four finish of 2024 at COTA, and Kyle Larson snatched a wild Xfinity Series win on Saturday.

That's quite a roll ahead of the team's planned celebrations for race weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where Hendrick Motorsports claimed its first win with Geoff Bodine in 1984 when it raced under the name All-Star Racing.

The racing so far has produced its own party.

Byron is the only two-time winner through the first six races of the season. The first came at the Daytona 500, where Bowman gave Hendrick a 1-2 finish at NASCAR's showcase race.

Byron's victory at COTA was career win No. 12 and his first from pole position.

“I mean, just watching him qualify, how smooth he was. Same thing throughout the race. Just seemed to put the car in all the right places,” Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon said. “A lot of credit to William in doing that great job. Takes the whole team, the pit crew, everybody. They’re truly on quite a run here to start this season off. Can’t wait to see where they take it next.”

The series moves to the short track at Richmond next week before Martinsville on April 7.

“We’re going to shoot for the stars,” said Byron's crew chief, Rudy Fogle.

Hendrick will want a good showing at Martinsville, where team cars will sport special red paint schemes, owner Rick Hendrick will drive the pace car and Bodine and Gordon will be the grand marshals.

A Hendrick driver has won a race at Martinsville each of the last four years. The teams' 28 overall Cup Series wins there are the most for the organization at any track on the circuit.

“Obviously Martinsville is big for the 40th anniversary,” Bowman said.

Bowman won there in 2021 and has delivered big results in a season when he needed to. He hasn't won since 2022, had the last two seasons marred by injuries and missed the playoff in 2023.

“I don't want to say, 'Yeah, we're back here 100%,' but these last few weeks have been a step in the right direction,” Bowman said.

“I'm personally working as hard as I've ever worked,” he said. “This year, I'm all in in every aspect of everything, whether it's extra shifts in the (simulator), or correlating the tires, spending more time with the team or training in the gym."

Larson's Xfinity win was a surprise even after he took pole position. He had to start from the back because his team had to replace a broken brake rotor, but he managed to fight his way through and snatch the win in overtime.

Larson was the first driver in a NASCAR series to win the pole and the race but lead only one lap while doing so. His win was the first for Hendrick Motorsports in Xfinity since the team returned to the series in 2022.

The only blemish to Hendrick's big weekend was that Larson's 17th-place finish in Sunday's race dropped him out of the lead in the Cup Series standings. Larson is now fifth, just ahead of Bryon.

All four Hendrick drivers are in the top 11, but Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Ty Gibbs are the new 1-2 in the season championship.

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, NASCAR Cup
  • Associated Tags: NASCAR , NASCAR Cup Series
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