How the playoff picture looks for Hendrick Motorsports | Hendrick Motorsports (2024)

CONCORD, N.C. – With the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series regular season at the halfway point, it is an excellent time to take stock of where the quartet of Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson stack up in the playoff picture.

In the opening 13 points-paying races of the season, Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins (six), top-five finishes (19) and top-10s (28). Three of the four drivers already have wins and two have multiple victories. Larson leads the series in laps led (649), stage wins (seven) and top-five finishes (six). Byron and Bowman are tied for the lead in top-10 results (eight).

As the numbers show, the Rick Hendrick-owned squad has had a strong start to 2024. The team also recorded its 1,250th top-five finish, its 80,000th lap led, and its 250th pole positionand celebrated its 40th anniversary weekend with a victoryat Martinsville Speedway.

RELATED: Key numbers to know for Hendrick Motorsports

HOW THE PROJECTED PLAYOFF PICTURE LOOKS THROUGH 13 RACES
1-Kyle Larson: 2,032 points
2-Denny Hamlin: 2,026 points
3-William Byron: 2,021 points
4-Chase Elliott: 2,013 points
5-Tyler Reddick: 2,012 points
6-Martin Truex Jr.: 2,012 points
7-Christopher Bell: 2,007 points
8-Ty Gibbs: 2,006 points
9-Brad Keselowski: 2,005 points
10-Daniel Suarez: 2,005 points
11-Ryan Blaney: 2,004 points
12-Alex Bowman: 2,002 points
13-Ross Chastain: 2,002 points
14-Chris Buescher: 2,001 points
15-Kyle Busch: 2,000 points
16-Chase Briscoe: 2,000 points
*Note: The playoff picture accounts for race wins (five points each) and stage wins (one point each) already earned as well as projecting the playoff points awarded based on current positions in the regular-season standings (15 points for first, 10 points for second, eight points for third, seven points for fourth and down to one point for 10th.)

Kyle Larson

2024 season stats: Two wins (Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway), six top-five finishes, six top-10s, seven stage wins, 649 laps led, three poles and 12.6 average finish

2024 regular-season standings position: First

Opportunities in the second half

Maintaining the regular season points lead through his stage points dominance:
The regular-season champion earns 15 playoff points. In five of the seven years of this format, the regular-season champion has reached the Championship 4, including Larson in his title-winning year of 2021. Part of how he has gotten the points lead is through stacking stage points – he has 49 more stage points than the next closest driver and his seven stage wins are more than double that of the next closest competitor.

Mile-and-a-half mojo:
The Cup Series has competed on three 1.5-mile tracks this season. Larson has won at two of them (Las Vegas and Kansas), scored the most points (143) and led the most laps (321). While the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only 1.5-mile race left in the regular season, it is a significant points opportunity for Larson with four stages. He won the 600-mile race in 2021 and nearly won it in 2022.

RELATED: Everything to know for Larson's Indianapolis 500 attempt

William Byron

2024 season stats: Three wins (DAYTONA 500, Circuit of The Americas and Martinsville), four top-five finishes, eight top-10s, 187 laps led, one pole and a 12.5 average finish

2024 regular-season standings position: Fifth

Opportunities in the second half

Road courses:
Byron has won two of the last three road course races in the Cup Series in dominating fashion, a stretch that includes his March win at COTA. In fact, he has finished in the top two in all three of those serpentine events. In the Next Gen, we've seen that when a team hits on something at one track type, it translates at most, if not all, related venues.

Iowa'sCup debut:
Byron has won at Iowa Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2017) and the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (2016). While the 0.875-mile track has not yet hosted a Cup Series race, that past success should certainly help in getting up to speed.

RELATED: Short-track strides show in spades in Martinsville win for Byron, No. 24 team

Chase Elliott

2024 season stats: One win (Texas Motor Speedway), five top-five finishes, six top-10s, one stage win, 131 laps led and a 9.8 average finish.

2024 regular-season standings position: Fourth

Opportunities in the second half

Short tracks:
Elliott and the No. 9 team found their rhythm during the three short-track races in a four-event spring stretch, including Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Martinsville. Elliott finished in the top 10 in all three events – one of two drivers (along with teammate Larson). That set of races led into his win at Texas, which came immediately after Martinsville. Summer races at Iowa and Richmond are the short-track events for the regular season's second half and Elliott will look to capitalize at both venues.

Road courses:
Elliott's seven road course wins are the best among active drivers. While he hasn'twon on the track type since 2021, he has still performed well even if the victory has not yet come. He finished third at the Chicago Street Course last year and in seven starts at Sonoma Raceway, the Dawsonville, Georgia, nativehas three top-five finishes and five top-10s. He's also ridinga streak of three consecutive top-eight results at the California road course.

RELATED: Elliott, Gustafson discuss the 'climb' back to victory lane

Alex Bowman

2024 season stats: Four top-five finishes, eight top-10s, six laps led and a 12.7 average finish.

2024 regular-season standings position: Ninth

Opportunities in the second half

Consistency:
Summer swoons have been an unfortunate part of the narrative across Bowman's recent seasons. With the season's sixth-best average finish (12.7) among series regulars, the 31-year-old driver is earning solid finishes and avoiding trouble. Continuing that type of performance is how one qualifies for the playoffs and advances in the early rounds.

Qualifying:
Bowman's average start this season (15.6) currently stands as his second-lowest mark during his time at Hendrick Motorsports. He qualified in the top 10 in just four of 13 races, and coincidentally, he scored stage points in those four races. On the season, Bowman has 40 stage points (third-lowest among the projected playoff field) and six laps led (lowest among the projected playoff field). Better qualifying results will lead to more stage points, more overall points and a more frequent running position at or near the front.

RELATED: Bowman extends top-10 streak, eyes career first

How the playoff picture looks for Hendrick Motorsports | Hendrick Motorsports (2024)
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