CONCORD, N.C. – The storylines were flowing in 2021.
From surprising Alex Bowman with his first career race-winning Chevrolet to Jeff Gordon being named vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, our record-extending 14th championship season certainly had lots of narratives.
With the start of the new year just days away, let’s take a look back at 10 of our most popular stories from 2021.
10. Bowman surprised with first Cup winning Chevrolet from Chicagoland
Bowman was treated to a surprise when he was gifted his race-winning Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE that he took to victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway two seasons ago.
9. Fugle compliments growth in Byron: 'He's been in the battles'
Even though Rudy Fugle was new to the Cup Series circuit in 2021, his and Byron’s relationship goes back to 2016 when Byron was running in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. The duo was successful together then and Fugle believed William Byron’s three seasons in the Cup Series will make their relationship stronger than before.
8. Tributes for Larson pour in after winning Cup Series title
The congratulations started appearing all over social media after Kyle Larson capped off a dominant season with his first NASCAR Cup Series championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7, 2021.
7. Hendrick: ‘It was joy’ seeing No. 5 Chevy win again
For Rick Hendrick, it’s always an exciting moment when one of his four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LEs cruises into victory lane after a long day of racing. However, Larson's win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a little more personal.
6. Larson delivers poignant speech at season ending awards
Larson closed out Champion’s Week by delivering a humble speech during the 2021 NASCAR Awards in Nashville.
5. Elliott wins most popular driver for fourth straight year
For the fourth year in a row, Chase Elliott won the National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was honored with the award at NASCAR's annual awards ceremony.
4. Five things you didn’t expect to see in Knaus’ office
Like the majority of people who work in an office, Chad Knaus has made his personal space his own. Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of competition has been with the racing organization for over 25 years which has allowed him to create his own sense of home at Hendrick Motorsports.
3. Coaches break down what it takes to be a pit crew member
A new season brings new opportunities for top-tier athletes to earn a position on one of the four NASCAR Cup Series pit crews at Hendrick Motorsports. Recruits are brought in from all over the country, especially former football and rugby players. The intense training and team atmosphere from the prospects’ college and professional playing days normally make them the perfect candidates to service a stock car on pit road.
2. HendrickCars.com becomes No. 5 majority sponsor, Larson’s contract extended
Hendrick Automotive Group, via its HendrickCars.com brand, will become the 35-race majority sponsor of Larson and the No. 5 Chevrolet team in both the 2022 and 2023 NASCAR Cup Series seasons. In addition, Hendrick Motorsports extended the driver’s contract for one year through 2023.
1. NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon named vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports
Gordon, the four-time NASCAR champion, television broadcaster and NASCAR Hall of Fame member, was named vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, which will make him the second-ranking team official to chairman and majority owner Hendrick.