Hendrick Motorsports has always fielded cars that have given their drivers a fighting chance when it comes to race wins and series championships. 2023 has been a little different for two of HMS' drivers, as Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman missed the playoffs for the first time.
Of the two, it was more shocking on Elliott's part as he had made the playoffs every season since he began his cup career in 2016 including winning the series championship in 2020. It was just one of those years for both drivers, as both missed races due to injuries away from the track.
Though Elliott missed seven races in total, he outperformed Bowman, who after missing three races because of a back injury in a sprint car race, could never find his footing only finishing inside the top 10 twice after returning.
Elliott might not be in the running for the driver's championship this season, but his car and team did reach owners playoffs, so they still have a big opportunity ahead of them.
HMS owner, Rick Hendrick made a recent appearance on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio to talk about how he feels about Bowman and Elliott not making the playoffs. It wasn't something that was alarming to him like some fans believe it is. He was very understanding that you can't always win.
How does owner Rick Hendrick feel about it?
? ?You?re not gonna win every year. You?re gonna be disappointed, but the best you can ask for is be competitive.? pic.twitter.com/yLBWiJnigl
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) August 31, 2023
"You're not gonna win every year," Hendrick said. "You're gonna be disappointed, but the best you can ask for is to be competitive."
Hendrick talked about how momentum is one of the biggest keys to success in NASCAR, and that if all four of his cars can get some momentum in the final 10 races, they will be ready for 2024.
William Byron and Kyle Larson, look like they can contend for this year's championship, but if Elliott and Bowman can find a way to get a win before the end of the year, or at least get back to running in the top 10 consistently that will only help them be better in 2024.
"Our most important thing right now is to see Alex and Chase both run well," Hendrick said. "Chase and Alan (Gustafson) are focused on the owner's championship, so that gives them a carrot to go after. We want momentum on the 48."
Both teams really need to find something, because Hendrick also mentioned that it is never a good thing to go into an offseason struggling, especially for Hendrick Motorsports who is the sport's most successful team. When that happens that's when you start questioning yourself, and if you are doing the right thing.
It has been a down year for Bowman and Elliott for sure, but they drive the cars they drive for a reason. It happens to the best in NASCAR.
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