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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Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR rankings – No. 3: Alex Bowman

It says something about the strength of a NASCAR Cup Series race team when the driver who led the overall point standings (pre-penalty) is ranked third out of three current full-time drivers within his own organization.

Unlike in 2020 and 2022, Alex Bowman is winless through four races in 2023. But the fact that the driver who is known for “backing into wins” hasn’t won a race in over a year is the one and only thing keeping him from being ranked higher on this list — possibly even No. 1.

Bowman has had the strongest start to his Cup Series career. After breaking the record for the most Daytona 500 front row starts — and doing so with six in six years at Hendrick Motorsports — he recorded the best Daytona 500 finish for a polesitter in more than two decades.

Through four races, he is the only driver without a finish outside the top 10, and his worst finish is ninth place. He owns a series-best average finish of 6.25. Only one other driver has an average finish better than 10.5.

What flew under the radar is that Bowman took the points lead for the first time in his career with a ninth place finish at Phoenix Raceway, his home track. Since becoming a full-time driver for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018, he had never finished higher than 13th at Phoenix Raceway in 10 starts.

Since signing a multi-year extension to remain behind the wheel of the Ally Financial-sponsored No. 48 Chevrolet through 2026, things have clearly come together for the driver who many have considered Hendrick Motorsports’ weakest link. Can he keep it up?