Richard Childress Racing is in one of the worst spots of any team owner in NASCAR currently. Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed both fell out of the Championship 4 after making contact late in the race at Martinsville Speedway. Rick Hendrick, who has two cars in the Championship 4 in the Cup Series on Sunday, gave his thoughts on the scenario, and what he would like to see if it comes down to his two drivers.
What Rick Hendrick Had to Say
Well, the RCR incident shows exactly what Rick Hendrick meant about chemistry. The best way to destroy chemistry in a race team is to take each other out of a chance for a Championship or even a race win.
Teamwork is a value that Hendrick Motorsports has built its value on. He played a large role in teams expanding to three or even four race cars, so, he would know better than anyone else how important teamwork is. Hendrick Motorsports had thrived on that for years, but, that does not mean team orders exist in the same way they do in Formula One.
If it comes down to the two [Kyle Larson and William Byron], I just hope they do it clean. If you can win it without wrecking the guy, moving him, that’s okay, wrecking him, that’s not good.Rick Hendrick
Long story short, race each other hard, but race each other clean. Every teammate should have an equal opportunity to win a race or a Championship if it comes down to the two of them, but, wrecking each other is a problem. Team orders do not exist, but there is a line.
Hendrick Motorsports History of Drivers Racing Each Other
Rick Hendrick has had two drivers in the Championship 4 before, back in 2021. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott both competed in the 2021 Championship 4 against each other. Both drivers led the most laps amongst eh Championship contenders with Larson leading 107 laps and Elliott leading 94 laps.
They swapped the lead throughout the day six times, but there was no incident. Larson ended up taking home the 2021 Cup Series Championship, and he will be looking for his second this weekend.
Given the context of the RCR drama, Hendrick Motorsports drivers will probably be very careful this weekend. However, given the history of the organization, they should race clean on Sunday. If something happens, it will be big and bad.