Hendrick Motorsports could lose two drivers to elimination in the first round of the 2021 Cup Series Playoffs.
The 2021 regular season races were constantly dominated by HMS drivers, in which the four drivers Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron amassed 11 victories in 26 races. Bowman and Byron combined for 4 wins out of the 11.
Yet, despite all the dominance, HMS could be only having two drivers in the next round as Bowman and Byron have a genuine threat of missing out. Bowman sits 14th in the standing, tied with Kurt Busch in points but would lose a tiebreaker.
The recent playoff race at Richmond Raceway didn’t go in Bowman’s favour as he finished the race 12th.
“We were really good at the end of Stage 2. We didn’t make any adjustments and we were really bad at the beginning of Stage 3,” Bowman said. “We just had a set of tires that didn’t agree with our race car and got a lap down there. It’s hard to overcome that.
“Bummer for all of our guys. I feel like we did a good job throughout the course of the race at getting our car better from where we started. We just didn’t end where we needed to end. On the bubble going into Bristol, but just have to go do my job and hopefully we have a fast (car) there and go get the job done.”
However, he is not in a bad situation as his teammate Byron, who is currently in the 15th position, 18 points behind the cutoff. Two bad races in the playoffs and he is now fighting for a spot in the next round.
“We were just really bad. We finished seventh here in the spring and felt like we had something decent,” Byron said. “We tweaked some stuff to try and get a little better. I think the best we got was we got to 11th one time.”
Nonetheless, HMS would count on defending champion Elliott and 2021 regular season winner Larson to take them deep into the playoffs and even win the championship consecutively.