Hendrick on long-term contracts for Byron, Elliott: 'I want to keep the band together'

Team owner Rick Hendrick said he hopes to extend William Byron and Chase Elliott beyond their 2022 contracts with long-term deals.

Rick Hendrick has his four NASCAR Cup Series drivers locked up through the 2022 season, with two of them signed to contract extensions through 2023 in a four-week span. The ink might not be quite dry on the recent agreements for Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman, but Hendrick has designs on long-term deals all around.

Larson signed Wednesday to a one-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports, a deal that includes nearly full-time backing from HendrickCars.com on his No. 5 Chevrolet for the next two seasons. That comes on the heels of a June 18 contract agreement with Bowman, whose deal is now concurrent with primary sponsor Ally through 2023.

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That leaves defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott and teammate William Byron with contracts set to expire after the 2022 season. Hendrick said Wednesday those negotiations have been a constant focus, but making the driver-sponsorship components final with Larson and the No. 5 team required extra work in the short term. That hasn’t deterred Hendrick from keeping his four-driver lineup intact for the long haul.

“Absolutely, my plan is for Chase and William to retire with us, so that’s an ongoing situation with me,” Hendrick said. “I love the lineup right now, and I want to keep the band together.”

All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers have scored Cup Series wins this season. Larson leads the group with four victories, and Bowman has a career-best three. Elliott has won twice, and Byron has once.

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Elliott’s most recent contract development was a four-year extension through 2022 that he signed in June 2017. At the time, Elliott was in his second year driving the No. 24 Chevrolet and fresh from taking Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. He took over the No. 9 car in 2018.

Byron, now the driver of Hendrick’s No. 24 Chevy, was last signed to an extension in September 2020. That deal — which also runs until the end of the 2022 season — was announced just three days after Byron clinched his first Cup Series win at Daytona International Speedway.