NCS AT LAS VEGAS: Team Chevy Advance


With the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) playoff fields now trimmed down to just eight remaining championship contenders, both series will head out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Race One of the Round of 8. While the 1.5-mile Nevada oval is no stranger to the post-season schedule, this season marks the first time that the track has hosted the opening race of the Playoffs Round of 8.


For the eight remaining playoff drivers, a win in the next three races will guarantee their team a spot in the Championship 4 and the opportunity to compete for the coveted championship title at Phoenix Raceway. Joining Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Playoffs Round of 8 is the 1.5-mile oval of Homestead-Miami Speedway; with the .526-mile short track of Martinsville Speedway hosting the elimination race.


Chevrolet is heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway looking to make it a NCS season sweep at the track in Sunday’s South Point 400. NASCAR’s premier series first appearance of the season at the Nevada venue saw Alex Bowman and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team take the checkered flag, with the victory ultimately securing Bowman’s spot in the 2022 NCS playoff field. The triumph brought Chevrolet to a double-digit win count at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, giving the manufacturer its 10th all-time NCS win at the track.


Saturday’s NXS Alsco Uniforms 302 will mark the first of three opportunities for Chevrolet’s playoff contenders to advance to the Championship 4. In 30 NXS races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a Chevrolet-powered machine has made its way to victory lane a manufacturer-leading 15 times, including in the series’ debut at the track in March 1998 with a win recorded by Jeff Green. Chevrolet’s most recent NXS victory at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval came in September 2021 with JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry, who recorded just his second-career NXS win while filling in for an injured Michael Annett. One year later, Berry will return to the track as a playoff contender for the first time in his NXS career. 



Entering the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 elimination race, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott was the only playoff contender that had sealed his fate into the Round of 8 by virtue of a win. When the checkered flag flew at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, William Byron and Ross Chastain were able to maintain their positions above the cutline to give Chevrolet three drivers in the Round of 8.


With the playoff driver points standings restacked heading into the next round, Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 retained the top spot with a 31-point buffer above the playoff cutline. First-time NCS playoff contender, Chastain, sits in the third position and 3-points above the cutline. Byron moves to the sixth position, but just three-points below the cutline.  




A look at where the Team Chevy NCS playoff drivers stand heading into the opening race of the Round of 8, including season numbers and career stats at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:  

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 – 1st in Playoff Standings (31-points above cutline)

2022 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion

Victories: 5 (series-leading)

Top-Fives: 12; Top-10s: 19; Laps Led: 803

Average Finish: 11.8; Stage Wins: 6



At Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Top-Fives: 3; Top-10s: 5

Average Finish: 17.818



Of Note:

– The 2022 season marks Elliott’s seventh consecutive appearance in the NCS playoffs.

– Elliott has advanced to the Championship 4 the past two seasons, winning his first career NCS Driver Championship in 2020.

– Elliott is one of just two former NCS champions that advanced to the 2022 NCS Playoffs Round of 8. 


Ross Chastain, No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Camaro ZL1 – 3rd in Playoff Standings (6-points above cutline)

Victories: 2

Top-Fives: 11; Top-10s: 17; Laps Led: 624

Average Finish: 14.6; Stage Wins: 6


At Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Top-Fives: 1; Top-10s: 1

Average Finish: 23.625



Of Note:

– The 2022 season marks Chastain’s first career appearance in the NCS playoffs.

– Chastain posted top-five finishes earlier this season at two tracks in the Round of Eight, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3rd) and Martinsville Speedway (5th). 



William Byron, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 – 6th in Playoff Standings (3-points below the cutline)

Victories: 2

Top-Fives: 5; Top-10s: 9; Laps Led: 714

Average Finish: 16.3; Stage Wins: 4


At Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Top-Fives: 1; Top-10s: 3

Average Finish: 18.333



Of Note:

– The 2022 season marks Byron’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NCS playoffs.

– Bryon’s career-best finish in the NCS playoffs came in 2021, finishing the season 10th in the final.

– Byron has wins at two of the three tracks in the Round of 8, including Homestead-Miami Speedway (2021) and Martinsville Speedway (2022). 



It was a record weekend for Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger. A notable road course favorite, the 40-year-old California native was able to live up to the hype; grabbing the pole win and leading a race-high 25-laps en route to his fourth consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series win at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. The triumph also brought Allmendinger to a double-digit win count in NXS road course victories with 10, making him the first driver to accomplish that feat in series’ history. Adding in his two career NCS road course wins to that list, Allmendinger has recorded 12 career road course victories at the NASCAR national level. 


Allmendinger’s victory at the Charlotte ROVAL brought Chevrolet its 22nd win in 29 NXS races this season, giving the Bowtie brand a winning percentage of 76 percent. 19 of those wins have been recorded in the past 21 races, an impressive run that started back with Noah Gragson’s win at Talladega Superspeedway in April. With now 499 all-time victories in the NXS, Chevrolet is on the brink of yet another milestone victory. 



Six Chevrolet drivers makeup the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Round of 8, all of which are vying for their chance to compete for their first career NXS driver championship title. Regaining the top spot of the drivers points standings is Noah Gragson and the No. 9 Camaro SS team. Recording a series-leading seven wins and 56 playoff points, Gragson holds a 34-point advantage over the playoff cutline.



The 2022 NXS Regular-Season Champion AJ Allmendinger sits in the second position in the standings and 22-points above the cutline. Joining Gragson and Allmendinger above the cutline is JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier, currently sitting in the fourth-position and 11-points above the cutline. First-time NXS playoff contenders Josh Berry, Austin Hill and Sam Mayer will kick-off the Round of 8 in the fifth-, sixth- and eighth-positions, respectively. 


In last weekend’s ARCA Menards Series season finale at Toledo Speedway, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez was able to close out his first full-time season in the series with the 2022 ARCA Menards Series Championship title. The 21-year-old Florida native took his first full-time season with the series by storm, recording three victories, nine top-fives and 16 top-10s in 20 races. The triumph makes Sanchez the first Rev Racing driver to win a NASCAR or ARCA touring series championship since fellow Chevrolet driver Kyle Larson’s East Series Championship in 2012. 


·       Victories by active Chevrolet drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

       Alex Bowman, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (2022)

       Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (2021)


·       In 29 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chevrolet has recorded 10 victories. Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at the track with seven, recorded among four drivers: Jeff Gordon (2001), Jimmie Johnson (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010), Kyle Larson (2021), Alex Bowman (2022).


·       Career Chevrolet driver, Jimmie Johnson, leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). Johnson is the only driver in series’ history to post three consecutive race wins at the Nevada oval.


·       For the first time in the organization’s history in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kaulig Racing placed both of their Chevrolet-powered machines in the top-five of the final running order of a race, with AJ Allmendinger finishing fourth and Justin Haley finishing fifth at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.


·       Chevrolet leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins with 18 in 32 points-paying races. The Bowtie brand also continues to lead its manufacturer competitors in top-fives (75), top-10s (140), laps led (3,705) and stage wins (26).





·       Seven Team Chevy drivers have combined 26 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins:

       Tyler Reddick 2 – Fontana x2

       Alex Bowman 1 – Las Vegas, Kansas

       Ross Chastain 6 – Las Vegas, Darlington, Charlotte, Pocono, Richmond, ROVAL

       William Byron 4 – Phoenix, Atlanta, Talladega, Darlington

       Daniel Suarez 2 – COTA, Charlotte

       Chase Elliott 6 – Martinsville x2, Charlotte, Atlanta x2, Talladega

       Kyle Larson 4 – Bristol, Sonoma, Pocono, Texas


·       Reigning NASCAR Cup Series and NASAR Xfinity Series Manufacturer Champions, Chevrolet, continues to lead in the manufacturer points standings in both series. The Bowtie brand leads the NCS manufacturer points standings by 95-points, with the manufacturer’s lead in the NXS standings expanding to 146-points.



·       With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships, and 832 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR. 


NBC will broadcast the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 16. Live coverage can also be found on the NBCSports Gold App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.


NBC will broadcast the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 302 at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 15. Live coverage can also be found on the NBCSports Gold App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.




Some people have said that’s it’s really a surprise to see you in the Playoffs, what do you say to them?

“We’ve prepared to do what we’ve done. But until you do it in the Cup Series, I couldn’t legitimately tell you that we were going to lead all of the laps we have led, have the finishes we have, win the races, etc. That’s wild. Until you do it, I don’t know how anyone could say it’s going to happen. We’ve done a lot of things we set out to do.”    


Could you imagine five years ago going on to the Round of 8?

“I couldn’t have imagined five months ago. Go back three or four years ago and I got my opportunity with CGR and I am forever grateful.


Here we are still rolling on in the Playoffs with Trackhouse Racing and the No. 1 team.”


You sound very optimistic about intermediate tracks coming up?

“Yeah, I’m full on focusing on Las Vegas, not looking back at the ROVAL. Our intermediate program is strong. I have full confidence going into these two weeks at intermediate tracks. Our cars are strong.”



What are your thoughts on Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

“Las Vegas Motor Speedway has always been one of my favorite tracks, so I’m looking forward to going there this weekend in the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet. Being able to turn through the bumps in Turn 1 is very important. In Turn 3, you can’t miss the entry, the track has gotten a lot of character over the last couple of years, and that is what makes it fun to drive on. You really have to challenge yourself to be disciplined on your marks. We learned a lot at Las Vegas in the Spring with the Next Gen car, so I’m curious to see how much it has changed since then.”



Larson on the mission for the rest of the season:

“I’m definitely bummed (to not be in Round of 8 for the driver championship), but we’re still in it for the owner’s championship. I feel Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) and Homestead (Miami-Speedway) are really good tracks for me and this No. 5 team. We’re going to work hard these next three races to hopefully contend for the owner’s title in Phoenix.”



Daniels on the team’s goals now:

“Our focus right now is certainly to maximize every week. Disappointed to be out of the driver championship hunt but our objective is always to maximize points and go for race wins. Having the opportunity still to compete for the owner’s championship is a big deal for us. So, a lot of motivation to go to try and get our car in the Championship 4 for the owner standings in Phoenix and still be able to compete for a championship. I think the team deserves it. Our company deserves it and would certainly love to give that to Mr. H. It would be really cool to have our car win the owner’s championship for him and one of our two cars still eligible for the drivers’ championship to go win that as well. That’s the goal and we’ll keep pushing.”



Elliott on the team’s key ingredient for success in the playoffs:

“Our key ingredient is just our team. I feel like I have a great team around me. I’ve always felt that way and they make me look a lot better than I am very, very, very often. I’m super appreciative of them, the way that they go about their business, the way they let me go about my business and let me be me. We just focus on the things that we can excel at and the things that make us good. That’s the best way for us to be successful, to focus on ourselves and not get consumed by the rest of it.”



Gustafson on heading back to Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“This week our goal is to just kick off this round with a strong finish. If we do that, it will be an improvement on the opening races of the first two rounds. That’s what’s plagued us so far in these playoffs. The first time we went to Vegas, we tried something that we felt was good but as the year has gone on, we’ve realized it was in the wrong direction. We’re going back with what we feel is a stronger car and we’ve learned a lot as the season has progressed. I’m confident that we can go there and achieve what we need to.”



Byron on his journey to make the Round of 8:

“Everyone has their own path. My path was really accelerated in each series. When I got to Cup, it was a tremendous learning curve. I think once you get to the Cup Series it’s just a steep learning curve that nothing can prepare you for. Especially now, the car has made the series ultra-competitive. We’re the best of the best and it’s going to take everything you have to make it to the Championship 4. Making the Round of 8 was our goal at the start of the season, and anything short of that would have seemed like failure. We’re now focused on what we need to do to fight for a championship in Phoenix. It’s one race at a time.”



Fugle on his thoughts for this weekend at Las Vegas:

“This is another track that we’ve already raced at this year with the Next Gen car but so much has changed that there’s not much we can use from that race to prepare for this weekend. It will not only be hotter this time, but we’re also running a different tire than we did in the spring. It’s the same tire we ran at Texas (Motor Speedway) and Kansas (Speedway). It’s a bit softer, which means it will wear out more than before especially on a slick track. We’ve learned a lot about the car since the spring, especially at the most recent mile-and-a-half mile tracks which gives us some confidence for this weekend.”



“I really like the racing Las Vegas Motor Speedway provides. The place is fast, but it allows us drivers to search around for grip as the run progresses. I feel like the track suits my driving style, and we’ve been lucky to have found some success there throughout the years. In the spring, we had a decently fast No. 42 Camaro, but our intermediate program has improved a lot since then, so I’m excited to see what we can make of our return this weekend.”



“Las Vegas is a track that was pretty good to us earlier this year as far as our speed. I thought we had probably a top three car but had some issues throughout the day that kept us further back in the field. We drove through the field a couple of times and ended up towards the front at the end. I made a mistake and got myself in the wall and got us a DNF at the end of the day. That was early in the season, and I think we’ve gotten our cars even better since then and I’ve learned a lot since then as a driver with this car and what it wants. I’m excited to get back to Las Vegas and see if we have similar speed and can have another solid run.” 



Ives on returning to Las Vegas:

“It’s a weird feeling going to Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) this weekend given that we won with Alex (Bowman) in the spring. We can build off of the notes we have from the spring and successes at Kansas (Speedway). Noah (Gragson) has done a great job filling in for Alex and we will still have a shot on repeating our success this Sunday. Like we have done all year, we have to focus being clean on pit road, maximizing all of our opportunities, and not taking ourselves out of the race. When we do that, I don’t think there is a team on pit road that can beat us.”



What are your goals for the final four races of 2022?

“We want to win races. Pretty simple. That’s what we do. Anything less than winning all four races means there is room for improvement.”


How would you assess your year?

“It’s been good. Last weekend really hurt but when you look at the big picture we have a lot to be proud of at Trackhouse Racing and on the No. 99 team. Certainly we have to continue to work and continue to get better.”


How is Justin Marks’ management style different from others you have raced with in NASCAR?

“For me, he’s a race car driver; he’s an owner and he’s a very, very smart businessman. I think that the combination of those things makes him very successful at what he’s doing at Trackhouse Racing. Also, he thinks a lot outside of the box. He’s not concerned or scared of going right when everyone else is going left, so I really like that about him. He’s doing a great job with Trackhouse. He’s not just building a powerhouse in Trackhouse, but he’s building a brand. That’s exactly what he told me when Trackhouse was only on a piece of paper. It’s very nice to be involved with people that are putting their thoughts and ideas into reality.”


Can you win one for Kid Rock?

“Can you imagine the party if we win this race? I’m going to have to tell Kid Rock that we have to make it to Miami this next week so we can’t party too much. That would be so much fun if we could win in Vegas with Kid Rock.”