NASCAR power rankings: Who is Hendrick’s top driver?

William Byron, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
William Byron, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Hendrick Motorsports appear to be the team to beat in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, and all of their drivers are looking strong.

Hendrick Motorsports have not skipped a beat to start the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, year number two of the Gen 7 car. While their two-year championship streak ended in 2022, they still led the series with 11 wins, and they have started this year even stronger than they did last year.

While Chase Elliott remains sidelined due to the fractured tibia he suffered in a Colorado snowboarding accident, the team’s other three drivers all sat in the top five in the point standings before they were issued 100-point penalties following the confiscation of their hood louvers.

At this moment, who is Hendrick Motorsports’ top driver?

Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR rankings – Not ranked: Chase Elliott

Note that this isn’t No. 4; it is literally unranked. You simply can’t compare apples to oranges at this stage in the game. Chase Elliott is a wild card, having not competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, and he likely won’t be back for at least another month or so as he continues to recover from his injury.

But there is little reason to believe that he won’t be able to do what his three teammates have done in his absence, provided that Hendrick Motorsports continue to bring a competitive package week in and week out. Could their 1-2-3 finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been a 1-2-3-4? We saw it before at Dover Motor Speedway, so there is little doubt.

Before he was injured, he finished in second place at Auto Club Speedway, tops among Hendrick Motorsports drivers and his best ever finish at the track, marking a nice rebound after being taken out in someone else’s mess in the Daytona 500.

He also led the series in wins, points, laps led, and average finish in the first year of the Next Gen car last year. While William Byron and Alex Bowman certainly seem to have upped their game from last year and Kyle Larson is just as fast as he usually is, that alone illustrates that he is fully capable of being No. 1 on this list.

The 2020 champion, who is the only driver to make it to the Championship 4 in each of the last three seasons, has proven that he has what it takes to lead the team in this new era and could establish himself as the man to beat when he returns.