There has been plenty of talking points that came from last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The biggest was the incident between Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed in the final laps of the Xfinity Series race. Both knocked each other out of reaching the Xfinity championship race, which caught the eye of NASCAR Hall of Famer and legendary team owner, Rick Hendrick.
Hendrick Motorsports has two drivers racing for the Cup Series title on Sunday, with Kyle Larson and William Byron. He doesn't want something similar to what happened between Hill and Creed to happen to his drivers in Phoenix.
Byron and Larson have raced each other tough on restarts during the season, but it has never escalated to wrecking each other. The real question is, with both fighting for the championship, could that entice them to do something more extreme?
Hendrick appeared on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio to discuss the RCR incident and how Hendrick Motorsports does a good job of not letting those types of problems happen.
? "Don't wreck each other because it just destroys the chemistry inside the company."
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) November 2, 2023
"That had to be the worst scenario that any owner could ever have," Hendrick said. "Is having two guys that were, if they had just finished where they were they would end up being in the Championship 4 and then to take each other out.
"But that is something that we work hard on all year long not just for the last race. It's like, how many times is it going to come down to the two of you? Not very often. "But if it does, race each other clean because what got you here is the strength of the organization working together. And don't dump everything that we've built here with four crew chiefs working hard together open, book, the drivers, all working with the crew chiefs all in a huddle trying to get the whole organization better."
In RCR's case, there was already animosity between the drivers, and Creed departure from the team at season's end only added to the drama.
As for Hendrick's drivers, he's all for both trying to race each other for the crown, so long as they do it cleanly.
"Don't blow that up, you know, if you can beat the guy clean go ahead and do it. But don't wreck each other because it just destroys the chemistry inside the company. So that's our philosophy and hopefully, that won't happen, but if it comes down to the two on Sunday, I just hope they do it clean and you can do it without wrecking the guy. Moving him, that's okay, but wrecking him, that's not good."
What happened to Childress' drivers is definitely on Hendrick's mind but given how good Larson and Byron are, it's unlikely that anything crazy will happen between the two of them. But there's always the possibility that one or both of them might get caught up by a crazy move by any of the other drivers on the track and that is plenty to worry about.
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