Kyle Larson has dominated the 2021 NASCAR season with Hendrick Motorsports and he’s not going anywhere. The team on Wednesday announced a one-year contract extension for the Cup driver through the 2023 season with primary sponsorship from Hendrick Automotive Group.
Larson and the No. 5 Chevrolet team lead NASCAR’s top series in wins this year with four victories and 1,441 laps led through 21 points races. Larson also won the All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick, who owns Hendrick Automotive Group, said Larson’s success on the track has been good for business. The car dealership has been Larson’s sponsor for 14 races this season and will continue to partner with the driver through the HendrickCars.com brand.
“When we perform on the track on Sunday, we can feel the impact on Monday,” Hendrick said in a statement. “With the chance to plan for the next two years, the program is only going to help Hendrick Automotive Group sell more cars, book more service appointments and ultimately do more business.”
The site will be the primary sponsor for Larson for 35 races in 2022 and 2023 and will sponsor the driver for all of his non-NASCAR events, including branding on his helmets, gloves and firesuits for his dirt races. Larson has earned more than 50 wins in racing series outside of NASCAR since January of 2020. Hendrick said his dealerships are seeing “clear results” in terms of Larson’s performance boosting company exposure.
HendrickCars.com attributed six of its highest web traffic days this year to sponsorship of the No. 5 team, including four race days when Larson led the most laps or won. A HendrickCars.com paint scheme reveal in February drove the site’s highest single-day visitor count in more than a year, and overall traffic, vehicle sales leads, digital retail leads and trade evaluations have increased since then, according to the company.
Larson’s sponsorship interest seemed tepid before the start of the season when he was initially announced as the new No. 5 driver. He was suspended from NASCAR last year for using a racial slur that cost him his sponsors and job driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. Hendrick ultimately bet on Larson after conversations in which Hendrick said he got comfortable with Larson’s “heart” and the driver’s sincere apologies and reparations for using the slur.
Since his return to the driver’s seat in Cup, Larson has tied his on-track performance to his Drive for 5 charitable program through the Kyle Larson Foundation and pledged to contribute more than $65,000 to be divided between the Urban Youth Racing School, The Sanneh Foundation and Hendrick Cares. Hendrick referenced Larson’s charitable work in the team’s announcement.
“The chance to extend my contract with Hendrick Motorsports and have such an awesome sponsor in HendrickCars.com are things I don’t take for granted,” Larson said in a statement. “I feel like I’m driving for the best team and the best sponsors in the sport. To know that our on-track performance is having positive business influence off the track is very important because I want to return the incredible support they’ve given me.”
“Everyone at Hendrick Automotive Group has made me feel like part of their team, and it’s exciting to be able to represent a company that loves racing like I do,” his statement continued. “I feel like we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”
HendrickCars.com will be Larson’s primary sponsor for 10 of the 15 remaining races this year and will join Hendrick partner Valvoline to fill out the full 38-event schedule next season.©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.