The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) will kick off back-to-back race weekends in North Carolina with a trip to the historic – and freshly repaved – North Wilkesboro Speedway. One of racing’s oldest tracks, the .625- mile oval was revitalized and returned to the NASCAR schedule last season after a 27-year hiatus.

NASCAR’s premier series will trade in points for a potential payday as North Wilkesboro Speedway will host the NASCAR All-Star Race for the second-straight season. For the NCTS, the race for the playoffs continues as the second-half of the regular-season takes the series to the North Carolina short-track for the Wright Brand 250 – the 10th race of the season.

LOCKED-IN

To be automatically eligible for the NASCAR All-Star Race, a driver has to meet the following requirements: Winner of a points-paying event in 2023 or 2024; full-time drivers who are past All-Star Race winners; or full-time drivers who have won a NASCAR Cup Series championship. There are 17 drivers that are already locked into Sunday’s All-Star Race, with the top-two finishers in the All-Star Open and the fan vote winner completing the 20-driver lineup for the main event.

Team Chevy drivers occupy eight of the 17 spots that are already secured for the 40th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race. That list includes representation from five different Chevrolet organizations:

· Hendrick Motorsports: Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, William Byron

· Trackhouse Racing: Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez

· Richard Childress Racing: Kyle Busch

· Kaulig Racing: AJ Allmendinger

· JTG Daugherty Racing: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Since the series’ inaugural event at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1949, the .625-mile oval has hosted 93 points-paying races for NASCAR’s top division, with Chevrolet earning a trip to victory lane a series-leading 32 times. The Bowtie brand’s first North Wilkesboro triumph came with Jack Smith in the 1957 Wilkes 160. The manufacturer also owns the series’ final two points-paying races at the North Carolina short-track – courtesy of a season sweep in 1996 by Hendrick Motorsports’ Terry Labonte (April) and Jeff Gordon (Sept.).

En route to eventually becoming the winningest manufacturer in series’ history, Chevrolet’s 300th all-time victory in NASCAR’s top division came on the hallowed grounds of North Wilkesboro Speedway. The Bowtie brand earned the milestone victory in the First Union 400 on Apr. 20, 1986, with Dale Earnhardt, Sr., behind the wheel of the legendary No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. The iconic driver/owner pairing went on to win their first of six championship titles that season.

CHEVROLET COMMANDS

ALL-STAR CROWNS

The 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race will mark the 40th running of the annual non-points paying race. Chevrolet owns a commanding lead in All-Star Race wins over its manufacturer competitors with 21 triumphs in the event, including the inaugural race in 1985 with Darrell Waltrip. Since 2019, Chevrolet drivers have earned the one-million-dollar grand prize in four of the last five All-Star events – each recorded at a different venue:

May 18, 2019: Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (Charlotte Motor Speedway)

July 15, 2020: Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Bristol Motor Speedway)

June 13, 2021: Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Texas Motor Speedway)

May 21, 2023: Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (North Wilkesboro Motor Speedway)

The four winningest drivers in All-Star Race history each earned their victories behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-powered machine. Topping the all-time wins leaderboard is seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johson with four All-Star Race wins. Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Jeff Gordon and Kyle Larson closely follow Johnson with three wins each.

ONE YEAR AGO…

It was an all-Larson victory lane in NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro Speedway last season. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion pulled a double duty weekend at the .625-mile North Carolina venue – kicking off the weekend behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Silverado RST in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Starting from the eighth position, Larson progressively navigated his Silverado RST to the front – ultimately taking the lead for the first time near the halfway mark of Stage Two. The 31-year-old California native went on to take the stage win and lead a total of 138 laps to collect his third career NCTS victory.

One day later, Larson posted yet another dominating performance en route to the checkered-flag and the one-million-dollar grand prize in the 39th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race. Taking the green-flag from the 13th starting position, an early-race pit road penalty forced Larson to move to the rear of the field for a restart on lap 21. Within the following 35 laps, Larson maneuvered his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 through the 24-car field to take the top position on lap 55 – ultimately leading all but one of the final 146 laps en route to the victory. The victory marked Larson’s third career triumph in the event – with each of those wins coming at three different tracks. Larson now sits second on the NASCAR All-Star Race wins list, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., with three wins in the event.

Harvick’s Return to the Driver’s Seat

While Kyle Larson will be making his qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500, Kevin Harvick will return to the driver’s seat to practice and qualify the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 in his absence. Harvick retired from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition at the conclusion of the 2023 season – a 23-year career that saw 60 wins in NASCAR’s top division.

More than half of Harvick’s NCS wins have come behind the wheel of a Chevrolet-powered machine, with the Bakersfield, California, native earning a combined 35 victories in a Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing and Stewart Haas Racing. Harvick also became a champion in NASCAR’s top division with Chevrolet – taking the title in the 2014 season.

PAGING A NEW POINTS LEADER

As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series enters the second-half of the regular-season, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes continues to prove to be a title contender. In nine races this season, the 23-year-old New York native has collected a series-leading eight top-10 finishes – most recently recording a fourth-place result at Darlington Raceway to regain the top position in the series’ driver points standings. Eckes heads into the North Wilkesboro race weekend as an automatic favorite for the win. In the two NCTS races contested on a short-track this season, it was Eckes that picked up the victory (Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway).

BOWTIE BULLETS:

· Chevrolet will pace the field in the doubleheader race weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway. The Silverado RST will lead the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Saturday’s Wright Brand 250; and the Camaro ZL1 will lead the NASCAR Cup Series in Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race.

· Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 21 NASCAR All-Star Race victories, including four of the past five events:

2019: Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (Charlotte Motor Speedway)

2020: Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Bristol Motor Speedway)

2021: Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Texas Motor Speedway)

2023: Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (North Wilkesboro Motor Speedway)

· With 33 races complete across NASCAR’s three national series this season, Chevrolet has a winning percentage of 60.6% with 20 victories (NASCAR Cup Series – seven wins; NASCAR Xfinity Series – six wins; NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series – seven wins).

· In 85 points-paying races in the Next Gen era, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 44 victories – a winning percentage of 51.8%.

· Team Chevy’s William Byron is the only driver to have a double-digit win record in the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen era – with his victory at Martinsville Speedway marking his 11th all-time victory in the Next Gen Camaro ZL1.

· With its 42 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships, and 858 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title as the winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history.

FOR THE FANS:

· Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

· Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles at the Team Chevy Racing Display including: Blazer RS, 1500 Crew 2LT Trailboss, 2500HD Crew ZR2 Bison Diesel, Colorado ZR2, Tahoe High Country, Corvette 3LT Z51 Convertible.

Team Chevy Driver Appearances at the Display:

Sunday, May 19

· Carson Hocevar: 1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

· Kyle Busch: 4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

· William Byron: 4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:

· Friday, May 17: 1:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

· Saturday, May 18: 8 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.

· Sunday, May 19: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 477
Toyota: 470 (-7)
Ford: 438 (-39)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 410
Toyota: 397 (-15)
Ford: 345 (-65)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 348
Toyota: 310 (-38)
Ford: 285 (-63)

TUNE-IN:

NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR All-Star Race

Sunday, May 19, at 8 p.m. ET

(FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Wright Brand 250

Saturday, May 18, at 1:30 pm. ET

(FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

QUOTABLE QUOTES:

ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 BUSCH LIGHT FLANNEL CAMARO ZL1

Why is it important for you to run in other series besides the Cup Series?

“I’ll be driving in the truck race and its a great opportunity for me to get laps in at North Wilkesboro since I’ve had very little track time there. Any time I can get laps in at a track, I look at it as a very good thing. It’s made even better this weekend because we won in the truck last weekend at Darlington. It would be awesome to get another win for Al Niece.”

How unique is the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro?

“The goal is the same, which is to win, but the event has a different feel. From the track not having a tunnel and you have to watch for when the track crossover gate opens or you’ll be on the wrong side at the wrong time. To driver intros with the pit crew guys and the various other elements with the qualifying pit stops and things like that. At the end of the day though, we want to win and so does everyone else.”

COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 GAINBRIDGE CAMARO ZL1

There are no points on the line this weekend and you’re looking to race for a big pay at one of NASCAR’s most storied race tracks. What’s your plan to get into the All-Star Race?

“North Wilkesboro is going to be fun. I haven’t made a big push for the fan vote this year because I want to drive my way in there through the All-Star Open and earn our spot. The new asphalt will change how it races and how we approach our set up. No points on the table this weekend, so it’ll be elbows up with our Gainbridge Chevrolet.”

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 LENOVO CAMARO ZL1

What did you learn last year at North Wilkesboro that you can apply for this race?

“I think the only things you learned at North Wilkesboro last year were where the outside wall is and I think the apron in Turns 3 and 4 is the same. That’s about it. I think everything else has changed. The asphalt has changed and they moved the inside wall some. It’s going to be a completely different race.”

North Wilkesboro has been repaved. How do you prepare to race on the new surface when you haven’t been able to test there?

“I think the preparation for how to get ready for that race is now going to be based off of the notes and the test that happened there. Our Chevy key partner teammate William Byron did the test there so we’re relying on him and his notes and the video capture that they got and being able to just kind of watch and listen to the throttle on time and the things they did when they were there.”

This year’s All-Star race will have several new features including a tire strategy element. What effect do you think that will have in the race? Do you think it has the potential to make the racing better?

“I don’t know if the tire strategy will really play into fact as much as people think because we all know when the strategy will be when you want to put those tires on. We all have to start the race on the option tires, we all know we’re probably going to want to finish on those tires, so the two other sets that you’re going to have you’re probably going to run one of those sets in the middle of the race. I don’t know that it’s really going to create much pit strategy separation. The race isn’t long enough for that.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 16 LEAFFILTER / CAMPERS INN RV

“Really special to be able to go to North Wilkesboro and be locked in the All-Star Race after our victory last year. I don’t know what to expect with the new repave; it was really slick last year in the Cup car, but that will be completely different. More than anything, to be a part of the All-Star Race knowing that we earned it by winning last year means so much to me. Points obviously don’t matter, just a night to go out there and give ourselves a chance to win the race and a million dollars.”

DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 31 POPPY BANK CAMARO ZL1

“Friday going into practice will be the first time I’ve even seen the track at North Wilkesboro. I’m definitely looking forward to having a chance at racing our way into the main event. Competing in the All-Star race is a huge honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

Bowman on racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway:

“It (North Wilkesboro Speedway) is a cool place for sure. I didn’t get to run there last year due to my injury so I’m excited to go to North Wilkesboro (Speedway) and get to hit the track. We’ve obviously got to race our way into the main event, so hopefully we can do that for Ally and Hendrick Motorsports. Our pit crew has been strong all year so I’ve got faith in them too. Hopefully we can put all the pieces together and race for a shot at one million dollars this Sunday.”

BLAKE HARRIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

Harris on racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway:

“This weekend looks a little different for us, we have to put our car in the show. We are not taking this week off by any means. Fortunately for us though, the No. 24 (William Byron) had a strong tire test there (North Wilkesboro) and those guys always come back with phenomenal feedback for us. We are really happy with some of the direction that that set us up with on our short-track program in general. We look forward to trying to execute a good weekend and see if we can roll off and get locked-in to the All-Star.”

ZANE SMITH, NO. 71 FOCUSED HEALTH CAMARO ZL1

What do you think about being able to run any tire at North Wilkesboro this weekend and how that combination might work, plus having to race your way in?

“I think it’s awesome! I mean obviously the elephant in the room is that the short tracks have been a struggle and I think anything is great to try to learn and make it better and I think this is the perfect opportunity to do that. There has been some conversation with the softer tire being made from the rain tire rubber and I’ve heard how much faster it is and obviously, the fall off. What we want is tire fall off. So, I’m excited to see how that is but just having options is going to be great. It’s going to be an exciting weekend!”

CARSON HOCEVAR, NO. 77 NASCAR DAY GIVEATHON CAMARO ZL1

What do you think the keys are this weekend with all the different tire options and the unknowns with the repave?

“Qualifying is the biggest thing, being able to be out front early will be huge. Everybody is going to get super close once everyone figures it out, so its’ just the guys who unload really good, really early, will have the edge.”

Would it mean more if you raced your way in this weekend or won the Fan Vote?

“Probably more so to race my way in but if you get in with the fan vote, it shows you still did a lot, and I would be extremely proud of that. I look at this weekend as more of a practice. We still want to work on our race package and we’re still building and still learning. We’re still pretty new, especially me, in that shop. If we get in, I am almost looking at it like a free race to learn and grow which would be huge for everyone involved.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 FREEWAY INSURANCE CAMARO ZL1

What are your thoughts on the All-Star Race this weekend?

“It’s a lot of fun. Last year was the first time I was at North Wilkesboro and it was amazing. It was like going back in time with the fans so close and racing on the short track. It was very very cool. Fans told me they grew up going to that track so it meant a lot to them to bring it back. It was special for them. It’s funny I didn’t know Wilkesboro existed five years ago. So, I learned about its history and the sport’s history. We are going to go there Sunday and fight for a trophy. The money is great, but just like the old days, we really want the trophy. All of us started racing not for the money but for the trophy.”

How beneficial is it to have three consecutive races at home?

“It is really nice. Last weekend, I drove to Darlington on Saturday and Sunday, we will drive to North Wilkesboro this weekend for the All-Star Race and we are home in Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. It is really nice to be able to sleep in your own bed especially for my crew guys. This is an exciting time of the year for everyone in NASCAR. I am always looking forward to this stretch of the season. We can spend some extra time with friends and family.”

BAYLEY CURREY, NO. 41 AUTOVENTIVE / PRECISION SILVERADO RST

Without having any laps here on the new surface, how valuable is your experience in the simulator going to be?

“It’s everything. I feel like sim time is huge, especially at the races where we only have a 20-minute practice. We’ll have a full-length practice here this time, so that will help us, but definitely going to be leaning off that. Sim time is important everywhere, but especially at a new track like what we have this week.”

MATT MILLS, NO. 42 J.F. ELECTRIC / UTILITRA SILVERADO RST

With your short track racing background, how fun is it to go back to your roots and race at a track like North Wilkesboro?

“This track will be really cool for me; I’ve had this race circled on my calendar. I haven’t ever been there before, but I’ve always wanted to race there because of all the nostalgia and history that the place has. I didn’t get to run last year on the original pavement, but seeing how fast everything looks to be here now on the new pavement through testing, I think it’s going to be pretty cool. I think short tracks are definitely more in my wheelhouse than other tracks.”

ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 45 NC GOVERNOR’S HWY SAFETY PROGRAM SILVERADO RST

How big of a benefactor will it be to get these extra reps in on the repave before the All-Star race?

“Track time on any given weekend is always important, but especially here with it being the first race held on the repave. Last year was fun getting to race at North Wilkesboro for the first time, but the conditions are obviously going to be different. For me, that makes running the truck race that much more important. We’ve got some good momentum after last weekend and I think our guys will have another good shot to contend again.”

GM PR