NASCAR’s Hendrick seeks more balance in 2021.

Rick Hendrick made a splash recently when he signed Kyle Larson to a contract to race NASCAR. Larson had been suspended from racing and fired by his former race team for his racial slur during an online racing game.

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November 4, 2020 - 8:06 AM

Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, from left, and drivers Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott on pit road during he 2019 Daytona 500 qualifying. Photo by N-J / David Tucker / TNS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — If Kyle Larson had been a true free agent available to the highest bidder, Rick Hendrick doubts he would have entered the game.

Hendrick had passed on Jeff Gordon’s advice years earlier to sign Larson out of sprint cars. It was Chip Ganassi who took the risk and spent the money to develop Larson into a NASCAR star. Hendrick recognized he’d whiffed, but didn’t want to outspend Ganassi to land the driver.

“I think because of my relationship with Chip I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t. I can’t,” Hendrick said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. “If somebody is out there looking for a job, that’s one thing. But I do motors for Chip, we’re friends and, you know, I’d have a hard time with that.”

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