Hendrick won’t stop drivers from racing away from NASCAR ‘but be careful’

Hendrick Motorsports officials spoke to the media Saturday morning about the upcoming three-week absence for driver Alex Bowman, who was injured in a sprint car crash this week. Team president Jeff Andrews said despite the injury earlier this season to Elliott – who broke a leg snowboarding – and now the incident with Bowman, the team does not – at this time – expect to change its rules and ask its drivers not to participate in these kinds of outside activities.

“Those schedules are reviewed and the message from Mr. Hendrick is ‘I don’t want to stop those things, but be careful, understand what’s the most important thing and the most important thing for Hendrick Motorsports are the results here on Sundays,’ ‘’ Andrews said.

“So, we’ll always keep that the top of the list. We may take a look at this. If this happens again, we will have to. But for right now there’s not going to be any changes to our policy, other than to be cognizant that the most important thing is the results on Sunday in the Cup Series.’’

Josh Berry, who drives the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has been tabbed to drive Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet. At this point, the team expects Bowman to miss at least the next three weeks after suffering a back injury competing in a sprint car at Iowa’s 34 Raceway on Tuesday night.

“I think this year so far we’ve done a good job of just reacting to whatever is thrown at us and this will be another thing we look back on and we’ll react accordingly,’’ said Blake Harris, crew chief on Bowman’s Chevrolet.

“We’ve got full support of Alex and want him to get well and as soon as he’s healthy, we’ll plug him back in and keep digging.’’

*Berry’s NASCAR Cup Series start this week at Dover Motor Speedway marks his sixth on the season for the Hendrick Motorsports team after filling in five races for Elliott in March-April. Berry has a good history with Dover. He is the defending NASCAR Xfinity Series winner at the one-mile track and made the very first of his seven career NASCAR Cup Series starts there in 2021 with Spire Motorsports.

In five races filling in for Elliott this season, Berry earned two Top-10 finishes, including a runner-up showing in Richmond, Va., where he led his first career NASCAR Cup Series race laps (10).

“Cup racing’s hard and these guys are great, they are the best of the best racing at these tracks,’’ Berry said. “So, I don’t think it’s really fair to come in and say I have high expectations. My expectations are of myself, which is to give the best effort I can each and every week, to be prepared to drive the race car and do the best job I can in the race car to limit my mistakes and be there at the end of the race.’’