Has Hendrick improved?

Take a look at the 2020 and 2021 regular season stats for each of Hendrick Motorsports’ cars (super speedways and dirt excluded):

GR-LR nRT SS Avg Finish in Finishes
Driver 2020 2021 2020 2021 2020 2021 2020 2021
Chase Elliott 1.153 1.200 16.34 14.95 5.40 5.34 9.48 9.76
William Byron 0.596 1.158 8.51 15.45 -0.05 5.10 15.00 10.05
Alex Bowman 0.578 0.899 12.42 11.42 1.10 0.96 14.26 11.00
Johnson/Larson 0.713 1.612 10.69 25.40 0.29 8.03 12.45 7.00

I see that Elliott has remained elite, Bowman has remained useful (but with improved results), Byron has developed into an elite driver, and HMS has cut the anchor weighing it down and replaced it with easily the best in the series.

A car-centric view might see differently. Perhaps Bowman’s consistent nRT means he’s running in similar positions, but thanks to equipment improvements his track movements are more positive, manifesting as an improved average finish and gain differential. Byron’s growth is likely aided by the changes to personnel and equipment. And maybe Johnson’s decline was accentuated by deteriorating equpment and Larson, a sure talent, is just reaping the rewards of the improvements. But what about Elliott? Why haven’t his numbers improved?

Replacing one of worst competitive regulars with the best is the reason the organization looks so dramatically improved. Replacing a deep negative with a glowing positive will affect the net results far more than any gains they could have made to the program that won them the championship in 2020. They’re set to repeat in 2021.

Justin Barber - Sept. 27, 2021, 5:23 p.m. (updated Sept. 27, 2021, 5:47 p.m.) - © 2022