Just two years ago Hendrick Motorsports, called by many NASCAR’s version of the New York Yankees, had a super team of legends. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, four drivers with a combined 11 championships, 7 Daytona 500 wins, 10 Brickyard 400 wins and much more made up the team when they showed up to Daytona in 2015.
Now when they show up to Daytona in 2018 Johnson will be the only one of that group that remains. Gordon retired after the 2015 season, Earnhardt will retire at the conclusion of this season, and Kahne and the team will be parting ways at the conclusion of this season. Much like the Yankees in their past, HMS would bring in elite talent to drive their cars such as Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, and Mark Martin. Now they are making a youth movement instead of bringing in proven veterans. As they have brought up their own developed drivers to the team. Chase Elliott replaced Gordon in the 24 car, Alex Bowman will replace Earnhardt Jr in the 88, and William Byron will take over the #5 from Kahne. What is more impressive is that they did this while the class of NASCAR free agents this year is massive, led by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, two former Champions and Daytona 500 winners. Now I don’t know if HMS is trying to cut its payroll or if they regret the fact they let Brad Keselowski leave in 2010 and have learned from that mistake. Either way, it should interesting to see how this pans out.