Wednesday, Oct 05

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Richmond

 
 

5 KYLE LARSON

 

Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)

 

Hometown: Elk Grove, California

 

Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels

 

Standings: 5th

 
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No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

23 DOWN, 23 TO GO: After 23 of 26 NASCAR Cup Series regular season races, Kyle Larson sits fifth in the driver standings – 142 points behind leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott. Playoff points will be awarded to the top 10 drivers in the standings following the Aug. 27 Daytona International Speedway event with 15 markers awarded to first place, 10 to second, eight to third, seven to fourth, and so on. The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is only 23 points out of second position entering this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway.

NOT TOO SHABBY: In 15 Cup Series starts at Richmond, Larson has one win (September 2017), three top-five finishes – including a fifth-place result earlier this year – and seven top-10s. The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has finished seventh or better in seven of his last 10 starts at the Virginia venue.

OT WIN: In September 2017 at the .75-mile track, Larson held off Martin Truex Jr. and others in overtime to earn his first short-track victory in NASCAR’s premier series. The native of Elk Grove, California, led 53 laps in the event that was extended by four laps due to a late-race caution.

THE LAST TIME: In April 2017 in his most recent NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the Virginia short track, Larson started seventh and led the final 10 circuits en route to victory. Along with that win, the Elk Grove, California, native also has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in five Xfinity Series starts at Richmond.

60 FIRST: The 61st Knoxville Nationals is scheduled for Aug. 10 – 13 at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. In six Knoxville Nationals A-Main starts, Larson has scored five top-six finishes including his first win in the prestigious event last year. On Monday, the 2021 Cup Series champion won in a sprint car in the Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway. HendrickCars.com appears on Larson’s sprint car, uniform, gloves and helmet.

HOME RUN: At Richmond this weekend, Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team will wear their "home" white uniforms. Home races occur in markets where there are Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships nearby, and the Richmond market is home to four of them. Be sure to follow Hendrick Automotive Group’s social media channels and visit HendrickCars.com to view the complete home and away schedule.

 
 
 
 

9 CHASE ELLIOTT

 

Age: 26 (Nov. 28, 1995)

 

Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia

 

Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

 

Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

 

Standings: 1st

 
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No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

RICHMOND RUNDOWN: This Sunday, Chase Elliott will make his 14th Richmond Raceway start in the NASCAR Cup Series. In his previous 13 races at the .75-mile oval, he has collected four top-five finishes – one being a runner-up result (April 2018) – and five top-10s. Additionally, he has made four Richmond starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, never finishing outside the top five and earning a win in 2015.

SPRING RECAP: In the Cup Series’ spring race at Richmond, Elliott qualified 15th and drove to a sixth-place result in each of the first two stages before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 14th position. Elliott left the weekend tied for the point standings lead.

NEARLY A SHOO-IN: The four-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Most Popular Driver Award winner heads into the Richmond race weekend with a 119-point lead in the Cup Series point standings. Elliott could be named the regular season champion as early as this weekend, needing to leave with a 121-point advantage over second place to clinch the title. It would mark the 26-year-old’s first Cup Series regular season championship and give him 15 bonus points heading into the playoffs, which start at Darlington Raceway next month. So far in 2022, Elliott has earned a series-high 25 playoff points thanks to his four victories and five stage wins. He’s also tops in the laps led category, pacing the field for 658 circuits. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is the only driver with more than two wins this season.

SHORT-TRACK PERFORMANCE: On Sunday at Richmond, Elliott will make his 39th short-track start in the Cup Series. In those previous 38 races, he has garnered one win (Martinsville 2020), 12 top-five finishes, 18 top-10s and 1,436 laps led. Over the last five short-track races, Elliott’s 661 laps led are the best in the series.

GUSTAFSON AT RICHMOND: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 34th Richmond race in the Cup Series. In his previous 33 starts at the track with five different drivers (Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Elliott), Gustafson has accumulated 14 top-five finishes – including five runner-up results – 18 top-10s and 624 laps led. 

NAPA IS BACK: The familiar blue and yellow colors of NAPA AUTO PARTS return on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend. NAPA has been the primary partner on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion’s car for seven of his 13 Cup starts at the track. Recently, Hendrick Motorsports announced a multi-year partnership extension with NAPA that will continue the Atlanta-based company’s 26-race majority sponsorship of Elliott and the No. 9 team.
 

 
 
 
 

24 WILLIAM BYRON

 

Age: 24 (Nov. 29, 1997)

 

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

 

Standings: 10th

 
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No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

RACKING UP THE POINTS: So far in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron has secured 13 playoff points – tied for the third-most by a driver so far this season with Denny Hamlin. In the last five races, the 24-year-old driver has collected 39 stage points – tied for the fourth-most with Ryan Blaney.

UP FRONT: Byron has led the second-most laps so far this season with 611 circuits out front, just behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott who has led 658. In fact, 122 of those laps led by Byron came at Richmond Raceway in April of this year – his second-most laps led in a single Cup Series race.

SHORT-TRACK SUCCESS: With the Cup Series taking on its third paved short-track event of the 2022 season, the driver of the No. 24 has momentum on his side after a third-place effort at Richmond and a win at Martinsville Speedway the following weekend. Since the start of 2021, Byron has five top-five finishes on short tracks – tied for the most with Martin Truex Jr. – and led 334 laps – the third-most behind Elliott and Hamlin. In his last four short-track starts, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has collected top-five finishes in all four races – the longest active streak in the Cup Series and his longest streak on short tracks. 

RIVER CITY LOWDOWN: Sunday’s race at Richmond will mark Byron’s ninth Cup Series start at the .75-mile track. He currently has a track-best finish of third that came in April of this season after starting on the front row. Aside from his eight Cup Series starts, Byron has made two NASCAR Xfinity Series appearances at the Virginia-based track, both in 2017. He earned a best starting position of sixth and finished seventh in the fall. He also has one ARCA Menards Series East start in 2015, when he won the pole and finished sixth. 

RUDY AT RICHMOND: Making his fourth Cup Series start at the .75-mile track Sunday, Fugle has six previous starts at the national level at Richmond – three in the Cup Series, one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the Xfinity Series. His most recent starts at the short track came in April of this season in the Cup Series when Byron and the No. 24 team had a track-best weekend at Richmond, qualifying second, leading 122 laps and ultimately finishing third after being passed for the win with five laps to go. 

BACK TO HIS ROOTS: On Wednesday, Byron is behind the wheel of the No. 24 Super Late Model for Wilson Motorsports for the Battle at Berlin 250 at Berlin Raceway. Byron raced there earlier this year and captured the win – one of six wins he’s secured this year in the Super Late Model ranks.

LIBERTY U IS BACK: For back-to-back races, Byron will climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, this time at Richmond Raceway. Featuring a white base with navy flames and red accents, the Liberty University No. 24 will be sure to stand out on track. Liberty University has a long history with Byron starting back in 2014 in the late model ranks. Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offers more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in strategic communication, Byron is now in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program. For a better look at Byron’s Liberty University paint scheme, click here
 

 
 
 
 

48 Alex Bowman

 

Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)

 

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

 

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Greg Ives

 

Standings: 11th

 
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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

MICHIGAN IN THE REARVIEW: Alex Bowman took home his 10th top-10 finish in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. The driver of the No. 48 finished stage one in 17th and finished stage two in eighth en route to his ninth-place result at Michigan International Speedway. That finish was his best at the 2-mile venue in his Cup Series career.

RICHMOND REWIND: Bowman’s last start at Richmond Raceway saw him notch an eighth-place result. The top-10 finish at the .75-mile venue was his second top-10 in his last three appearances – his other was a win in April 2021. In fact, the 29-year-old’s average finish of 7.5 in the past four races at the Richmond, Virginia-based venue is fifth-best among all active drivers in the Cup Series. In that span, it is also the best mark among the Hendrick Motorsports quartet. 

VIRGINIA IS FOR WINNERS: In the last seven Cup Series races in the state of Virginia, Bowman has taken home the checkered flag in two events – tied with Martin Truex Jr. for most in that span. The Tucson, Arizona, native captured the first of those wins in the capital city in April 2021 and the second win was at Martinsville Speedway in October 2021. 

FIRST OF MANY: Richmond is the site of the first points-paying win for primary sponsor Ally in the Cup Series thanks to Bowman’s victory last year. Since then, he has garnered four additional wins for the No. 48 Ally Racing team (Dover Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Martinsville in 2021 and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2022).

THREE TO GO: Through 23 races in the 2022 Cup Series season, Bowman is currently ranked 11th with 572 regular season points. Across those appearances, he has totaled one win (Las Vegas), three top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and six playoff points.

 
 
 

HENDRICK

MOTORSPORTS /

Hendrick Motorsports
 
 

 

2022

 

 

All-Time

 

 

Richmond

 

Races

 

23

 

 

1,296

 

 

76

 

Wins

 

8*

 

 

288*

 

 

11

 

Poles

 

4

 

 

235*

 

 

17*

 

Top 5

 

24*

 

 

1,180*

 

 

64*

 

Top 10

 

42*

 

 

2,025*

 

 

119*

 

Laps Led

 

1,578*

 

 

76,520*

 

 

4,232

 

Stage Wins

 

12*

 

 

73

 

 

0

 

 

*Most **Most (tie)
 

REVVING TO A MILESTONE: The engine shop at Hendrick Motorsports sits five wins away from 500 victories. To date, the company’s engine program is responsible for 336 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, 122 wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, 22 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and 15 wins in the ARCA Menards Series and K&N Pro Series ranks. 

LEADING THE WAY: With eight wins through 23 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2022, Hendrick Motorsports has earned the most victories so far this season. It is the only four-car team to see each of its drivers win a race this season. The organization’s 1,578 laps out front lead all teams in the series by 50 circuits. Teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron rank 1-2 in laps led this year. 

SPRING RACE REWIND: In the April event at Richmond Raceway, three Hendrick Motorsports drivers placed inside the top 10 for the first time since 2015 at the venue. Byron led 122 laps and finished third, while Kyle Larson took fifth and Alex Bowman came home eighth.

WINNING AT RICHMOND: The Rick Hendrick-owned organization has 11 victories in the capital city of Virginia. Jimmie Johnson and Terry Labonte each won three times at the .75-mile track, while Jeff Gordon posted two wins. Bowman, Tim Richmond and Joe Nemechek won once at the Virginia short track. The six drivers to visit victory lane are tied for the most by any one team at Richmond. 

VIRGINIA VICTORIES: The team’s 38 wins in “The Old Dominion State” are the second-most all time among Cup Series teams and the most it has accumulated in any one state. In addition to 11 victories at Richmond, the company has 27 triumphs at Martinsville Speedway – its most at any one track in the sport’s top series. Byron won the last race in Virginia at the paperclip-shaped track in April of this year and all four drivers in the lineup have Cup Series victories in the state.

TREND SETTERS: In the last eight short-track races (dating back to November 2020 at Martinsville), Hendrick Motorsports has won five times. During that span, each driver in the current lineup won at least once - Elliott in 2020 at Martinsville, Larson in 2021 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Byron in April at Martinsville - with Bowman picking up two wins (Richmond and Martinsville in 2021).

SHORT-TRACK STRENGTH: Hendrick Motorsports’ 55 wins on short tracks is the best mark by 11 wins for an active team in the Cup Series. Fourteen drivers have combined to reach that total with Gordon's 17 victories atop the board.

 
 
 

QUOTABLE /

 

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the challenge of Richmond Raceway: "What makes Richmond (Raceway) so difficult is the slow pace and the tires fall off quite a bit with the Next Gen car. It was difficult to pass earlier this year. Qualifying will be important and just taking care of your rear tires on a long run will be key."

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the organization's gains on tracks less than a mile-and-a-half: "We’ve upgraded our short-track program a lot. Our cars were okay at Richmond (Raceway) – we weren’t great. We certainly weren’t that good at Gateway. We really did a lot of work to get better for New Hampshire (Motor Speedway). We did not execute a good race at New Hampshire but we had a lot of car speed and the car had a lot of potential."
 



Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Richmond: "In the spring, I really felt like we had a better car than where we finished. Strategy didn’t quite work in our favor, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do when we return this weekend. Passing is going to be tough again, so I really feel like qualifying and getting good track position is going to be important."

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how to run well at Richmond: "You need to have good security in the car and really being able to cut the center is important in order to perform well at Richmond (Raceway). Brakes can be difficult there, it’s not a super tough braking track but it’s very finicky how you use them. So, brakes can be paramount to the performance of the car. Those are the keys to be able to go fast. Of course, you also have to have good strategy. We had a lot of long green flag runs there in the spring so pit stops are also going to be super important."
 



William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on if he’s in 'playoff mode' yet: "I don’t try to get into any sort of mode. I just try to race. We try, at times, to simulate what a playoff race would be like or things like that, but it never seems to work too well. We’re going to try our best when the playoffs start and we’re trying our best this weekend. Hopefully this weekend goes as we want it to. The only thing that races right now represent are the strengths or weaknesses at certain tracks. I feel like we’ve gotten the road courses pretty good, and we were really good at the short tracks earlier this year as well. Even though Richmond (Raceway) isn’t in the playoffs anymore, it’s a short track that will kind of represent a Phoenix (Raceway)-type track."

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for Richmond: "We feel good about Richmond (Raceway). We ran really good there in the spring and led a lot of laps. The way that the pit strategy played out is the only reason we didn’t win. I could have made a different call but with the information I had at the time, I still feel like it was the right call. I’m just excited to get back there and give it another go. This race will be a day race instead of a night race. The track temperature will be higher which means you need more grip. You’ll have less grip in the track but more grip in the car hopefully and build off of that."
 



Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading to Richmond this weekend: "The No. 48 team has had success there which always helps our confidence. We ran well and took home a top 10 at Michigan (International Speedway) so we all feel like there is no reason we can’t go to Virginia this Sunday and build some momentum for the playoffs. Greg (Ives, crew chief) is really good about keeping us focused one race at a time, which helps us take the pressure off and perform when the time comes. We will study hard, prepare as much as we can and go execute this weekend."

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the top-10 finish at Michigan: "It was a fight all day, but our team has that spirit in us. Starting 30th was not what any of us had in mind, but Alex (Bowman) did a great job to stay in it and trust myself and the rest of the team to get him what he needed. He was able to be aggressive and make the right moves to get to the front of the field. Our pit crew executed well and while I always want to do better, last weekend was a huge momentum-building moment for the No. 48 team as we head toward the start of the playoffs."

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