Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: All-Star Race



Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)


Hometown: Elk Grove, California


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels


Standings: 9th

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No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


DISHING ON DARLINGTON: In Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Larson worked his way to the front, scoring valuable stage points with a third-place finish in stage two. After leading 29 laps, he restarted on the front row with six laps to go in regulation. While battling for the lead, an on-track incident sent him into the wall, resulting in a 20th-place finish. On Saturday, he was victorious in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in a thrilling last-lap pass that saw the 30-year-old edge out his competitor in a door-slamming finish. Driving the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, Larson won stage one and later overcame a pit road speeding penalty before the final stage restart. The win was his 14th in the series. 

ALL-STAR SUCCESS: Larson has won in two of his last three All-Star Race appearances. In six starts in the exhibition event, he has finished in the top two on three occasions, has led laps in five races and has an average finish of 8.50. Over the past 10 All-Star Races, he is the only repeat winner. The 30-year-old won at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2019 (after transferring in by winning the All-Star Open) and at Texas Motor Speedway in 2021. Larson’s win in Texas came in the first of the two All-Star Race events that the track hosted. In addition, he has two wins in the All-Star Open (in 2016 and 2019).

199TH TRACK: The historical return of NASCAR to North Wilkesboro Speedway will mark the 199th racetrack that Larson has raced at in any form. From dirt to pavement, oval to road course and everything in-between, the jack-of-all-trades in racing will meet a new track to challenge this weekend. 

TRUCKS ON TRACK: The 2021 Cup Series champion will drive the Spire Motorsports No. 7 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race this Saturday afternoon. The 250-lap race will allow Larson to get some extra laps in at the track before Sunday’s Cup Series race. In his career, the Elk Grove, California, native has made 14 Truck Series starts with two wins (Rockingham Speedway in 2013 and Eldora Speedway in 2016). 

PIT CREW POWER: The HendrickCars.com pit crew is ranked as the fourth-fastest team on pit road based on their average four-tire stop time of 11.232 seconds across 13 races. Rear-tire changer Calvin Teague used to consider Charlotte Motor Speedway his home track, but the newly renovated North Wilkesboro facility pings even closer to home for the Taylorsville, North Carolina, native. The team’s five-man pit crew also includes Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler) and Brandon Johnson (jackman), who will all perform for the first-time at the .625-mile track this weekend. Friday’s Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear will provide an opportunity to not only showcase their skills, but also earn the team a great starting spot in one of the All-Star Heat Races. 

JINYA APPEARANCE: Earlier this month, Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team announced JINYA Ramen Bar as an Official Restaurant partner. On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, from 5-6 p.m. ET, media is invited to join Larson and Tomo Takahashi, CEO and Founder of JINYA Holdings, at JINYA’s South Park location in Charlotte, North Carolina, to interview the duo about the partnership. To learn more details about the deal, click here. Members of the media should RSVP by Friday, May 19, by emailing [email protected]

DOWN IN THE DIRT: Larson is prominently featured in a new five-part documentary series released by FOX Sports Films, titled DIRT: THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN SPORT. The series, which debuted on Tuesday, May 16, on FS1, chronicles legendary dirt competitors racing on dirt tracks across America. Check out where to catch each episode here

HIGH LIMIT VICTORY: Larson won the third race of the inaugural 11-race High Limit Sprint Car Series on Tuesday night at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. Co-founded by Larson and his brother-in-law Brad Sweet, the next event for the series is on Wednesday, May 31, at Tri City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois. Check out the full schedule at highlimitracing.com.

HOME RACE HATS: This weekend’s race at North Wilkesboro will mark the sixth home race of the season for the HendrickCars.com team. For every HendrickCars.com home race this season (15 total), there will be an exclusive hat that is only available for sale on the trackside merchandise haulers, or available to win on HendrickCars.com. Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be made available to the public. This week’s North Wilkesboro themed hat will be released Thursday and can be found here.

HENDRICKCARS.COM IS HOME: About 40 miles south of North Wilkesboro is one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 95 dealerships. Not in town for the race this weekend? Customers can shop one of their other 94 dealerships nationwide, or from the convenience of their home selecting the category, make, model and vehicle packages that are important to them from the nearly 30,000 new, high-quality pre-owned and certified cars, trucks and SUVs available at HendrickCars.com.




Age: 27 (Nov. 28, 1995)


Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia


Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia


Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson


Standings: 28th

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No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media at the North Wilkesboro Speedway media center on Friday, May 19, at 3 p.m. ET.

DARLINGTON DOWNLOAD: Last weekend at Darlington Raceway, Chase Elliott earned his highest finish since returning from injury. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started 21st and the team continued to make gains throughout the race. Elliott finished the first two stages in 13th and 12th, respectively, before battling inside the top 10 during the final stage. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion’s Chevrolet sustained some damage in one of the final cautions of the race, but the team opted not to pit ahead of the overtime finish. Elliott drove on to finish third, his best Cup Series finish at Darlington. 
: In 2020, Elliott earned his first career NASCAR All-Star Race victory, claiming the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott won stages two and three before crossing the finish line first in the final stage to earn the $1 million prize. The event was the only All-Star Race held on a short track and on a Wednesday. The driver of the No. 9 was the third-youngest All-Star Race winner at 24 years, 7 months, 17 days. Elliott is also one of four Hendrick Motorsports drivers to win the exhibition race and the Cup Series championship in the same year. The others are Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2013) and Kyle Larson (2021).  

FATHER-SON DUO: With Elliott’s 2020 victory, he and his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, joined Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the only father-son combinations to win the All-Star Race. Bill won it driving his No. 9 car at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986 when he led all but one of 83 laps. Only one other driver (Kasey Kahne in 2008) has won the All-Star Race in the No. 9 – which is in a four-way tie for second on the list of most wins by car number in the exhibition race.

ALL-STAR STATS: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will make his eighth consecutive appearance in the NASCAR All-Star Race this weekend. His 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship and All-Star Race win lock him into the event for the rest of his career under current rules. The 27-year-old driver has finished inside the top 10 in five of his seven All-Star Race appearances and led in three of the last four races for a total of 74 laps. He has an average finish of 8.43 across his seven All-Star Race starts, third-best among active drivers with at least three starts. 

QUICK STOP: This weekend, pit crews will pay a pivotal role in All-Star Race weekend. On Friday night, they’ll participate in the Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear to determine where the all-star drivers will start in their respective heat races. The No. 9 crew is known for being able to perform in high-pressure situations. In addition to helping Elliott in his quest for the 2020 championship, this over-the-wall crew was also named the 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew and won the Pit Crew Challenge at Texas. The team remains the same as it has since 2018 and is comprised of Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), John Gianninoto (fueler), Nick O’Dell (front-tire changer) and T.J. Semke (jackman).

WINNING AT (NORTH) WILKESBORO: This weekend, the All-Star Race will be held at North Wilkesboro Speedway, a track that hasn’t hosted a Cup Series event since 1996. Elliott does have some experience at the track racing in a Late Model. As a 14-year-old, he visited victory lane at the short track in a PASS South Super Late Model event on September 4, 2010, in the first race the track had hosted since the mid ‘90s. Elliott participated in the ASA STARS National Tour event at the track this week. The race, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed to Wednesday evening. Elliott drew the third starting position, won the second stage, led nine laps and finished the event in third.

SEASON UPDATE: Since Elliott’s return to the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Martinsville Speedway in April after recovering from a fractured tibia, he’s gained 71 points on the playoff bubble. He currently sits 28th in the Cup Series point standings, just 63 markers outside of the provisional cutline for a playoff spot. Elliott would need to gain an average of five points per race on the cutline, starting with next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, to make the playoffs as the standings are currently. In Elliott’s five races back, he’s finished 12th or better.   




Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)


Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle


Standings: 5th

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No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media at the North Wilkesboro Speedway media center on Friday, May 19, at 1:45 p.m. ET.  

TAMED: Starting fourth for Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway, William Byron ran within the top five for the majority of the race. He scored a runner-up result in stage one and finished fourth in stage two. Making adjustments to the handling of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Byron remained in contention throughout the final stage, progressing to the front before ultimately taking the lead on lap 288. With the race going into overtime, Byron was able to hold off his competitors en route to his third win of 2023 – the most wins he’s had in a single Cup season. 

MAKING HISTORY: Byron made history at Darlington with the No. 24, collecting the 100th win for the number at the Cup Series level. The No. 24 currently ranks fifth with 100 wins, behind the No. 3 (101 wins), the No. 2 (102 wins), the No. 43 (200 wins) and the No. 11 (229 wins) on the all-time list. Heading into this weekend’s All-Star Race, the No. 24 has scored the win three times, which is tied for the second-most wins by a car number in the exhibition event (all coming with Jeff Gordon). If Byron were to end up in victory lane this Sunday, the No. 24 would be tied for the most wins in All-Star Race history with the No. 48 entry of Hendrick Motorsports (4).

LOCKED IT IN: Sunday will mark Byron’s fifth start in the All-Star Race. For the third time in his Cup Series career, the 25-year-old is already locked in due to his wins from this season and last season. In 2019 and 2020, Byron was able to race his way into the main event with stage wins in the All-Star Open qualifier races. Across his four All-Star Race starts, Byron has two top-10 finishes. His best showing came in 2021 when he led the most laps (30), had the lowest cumulative finishing position across the first four rounds and scored his best finish of seventh after being shuffled from the front row for the final 10-lap dash.

BACK TO HIS ROOTS: On Tuesday, Byron got his first laps in at North Wilkesboro Speedway climbing behind the wheel of the No. 24 Super Late Model for Anthony Campi Racing. Qualifying was canceled and the ASA STARS National Tour race was postponed to Wednesday. Byron rolled off eighth, finished second in both stages, led 41 laps and came home with a runner-up finish.

TRUCKIN’ IT: Byron will also compete in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race this weekend at North Wilkesboro with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). While this is the fourth time he has pulled double duty in 2023, this will be Byron’s third truck start of the season. He has finished inside the top four in both of his previous truck starts this season. Running the No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado this Saturday, Byron is returning to the team where his NASCAR national series career began. In 2016, he won an unprecedented seven race wins en route to collecting rookie of the year honors and narrowly missing the Championship 4 race.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: The No. 24 pit crew has been strong on pit road with an average four-tire pit stop time of 11.128 seconds – the second-fastest average in the field. The No. 24 pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler). They also had the fastest four-tire pit stop in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway at 11.278 seconds. On Friday, the No. 24 team will have the chance to show off their skills in the Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear, which will help set the lineup for Saturday night’s All-Star Heat Races. 

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: While this may be the first time for many racing at North Wilkesboro, Walker calls it home. The fueler of the No. 24 grew up there and was named an All-American offensive lineman in his hometown at East Wilkes High School. He earned a scholarship to Clemson University in 2007. Over four seasons at the university, Walker recorded 3,131 snaps with 49 starts at offensive tackle. In 2011, Walker was named team captain, the same season Clemson went on to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The college football standout was then recruited by Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 and earned a position as the starting fueler for the former No. 5 (now No. 24) team in 2015.

LIBERTY U IS BACK: For the All-Star Race, Byron will sport his updated Liberty University paint scheme. 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 University 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 Josh Berry


Age: 32 (Oct. 22, 1990)


Hometown: Hendersonville, Tennessee


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Blake Harris


Standings: 16th (owner’s points)

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED: Josh Berry will strap into the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports for the 2023 All-Star Open at North Wilkesboro Speedway. This will be his fourth start behind the wheel of the No. 48 entry filling in for an injured Alex Bowman. Since Berry did not automatically qualify for the main event, the 32-year-old driver will have to race his way in through the Open. He will have to finish in a top-two position in the Open to transfer through to the All-Star Race.

A MAN OF MANY HATS: On Wednesday night, Berry served as a crew chief for former Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the CARS Tour race. Together, the duo finished 16th. Prior to this race, Berry and Earnhardt Jr. had made three starts together, including the 2022 CARS Tour race at North Wilkesboro where they finished third. 

LET THEM COOK: The No. 48 Ally Racing pit crew will compete in Friday’s Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear to determine the starting spot for their team in the All-Star Open. Last month at Richmond Raceway, the team achieved the best four-tire stop average at 10.388 seconds. The five-man crew consists of Andrew Bridgeforth (rear-tire changer), Jacob Conley (fueler), Allen Holman (jackman), Scott Riddle (tire carrier) and Donnie Tasser (front-tire changer).   

WINNING NUMBER: The No. 48 at Hendrick Motorsports is no stranger to success in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, tallying four victories in the non-points paying event and claiming the top spot for wins. All four triumphs came with the former driver of the No. 48, Jimmie Johnson, winning the event in 2003, 2006, 2012, and 2013. 

SAVE THEM ALL: Primary partner Ally and Bowman are teaming up this year to bring back the Best Friends Animal Society donation effort. Even though Bowman will be away from the track this weekend, the duo will make charitable contributions to the Humane Society of Wilkes, which serves the local community in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Bowman and Ally will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and the Humane Society of Wilkes. Ally will increase its donation to $10,000 if the No. 48 team wins on Sunday. 

SUNDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: During the 2023 Cup Series season, the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will adorn two versions of its primary scheme. This weekend, the No. 48 Ally Chevy will have the “night” scheme for the second time this season. The black-based “night” scheme features plum and grapefruit stripes down the side with the sponsor in white lettering and the number in seafoam. The No. 48 Ally Chevy “day” scheme hosts a white base with a similar design to its nighttime counterpart. Check out all the angles of the new look here.  




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CLOSING IN ON 300: William Byron’s victory at Darlington Raceway leaves Hendrick Motorsports just four points-paying victories away from 300 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 296 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. With five wins this season, Hendrick Motorsports has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series. The organization has won at least two races in each of the last 30 seasons. 

FAN FEST IS COMING: Hendrick Motorsports will hold its annual fan appreciation event on May 26-27, 2023. Fan Fest will feature driver appearances, food trucks, activities for kids, photo opportunities, engine building demonstrations, pit stop exhibitions and more. Guided tours of the Hendrick Motorsports team shops will also be available. For more information about the festivities, click here.  

WELCOME BACK, NORTH WILKESBORO: The NASCAR All-Star Race will mark the first NASCAR event at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 27 years. The .625-mile track hosted 93 Cup Series races from 1949 to 1996 and is the fifth track to host the all-star event. The Rick Hendrick-owned organization swept the final season of points-paying races as part of its four wins at the facility. Jeff Gordon won the last Cup Series race to date there on Sept. 29, 1996. Terry Labonte won the spring races in 1994 and 1996 and Geoff Bodine won the fall race in 1989.

PRE-RACE DIGNITARIES: Gordon will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the All-Star Race. Ray Evernham, who was Gordon’s crew chief for his 1996 win at North Wilkesboro and three of his Cup Series championships, will wave the green flag as the honorary starter.

PIT CREWS TAKE CENTER STAGE: This weekend will highlight the pit road athletes of Hendrick Motorsports. On Friday, (5:45 p.m. ET on FS1) the Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear will take place. All pit crews will complete a four-tire pit stop taking no fuel. The results of only the pit stop time will determine the starting lineups for both the All-Star Heat Races and All-Star Open. 

FORMAT FOCUS: On Saturday night (starting at 7:20 p.m. ET on FS1), Byron, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson will take part in one of the two 60-lap heat races to determine the starting lineup for the All-Star Race. The results of the first heat will set the inside row for the All-Star Race, while the results of the second heat will set the outside row. Josh Berry will race in Sunday’s All-Star Open (5:30 p.m. ET on FS1), which is a 100-lap race with a competition break around lap 40, and look to be one of the top-two finishers to transfer into the main event. The All-Star Race on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET on FS1) will be 200 laps with a competition break at or around lap 100. Following the competition break, only one additional set of sticker tires can be used. The winner of the event will take home $1 million. 

TERRIFIC 10: Hendrick Motorsports has won the All-Star Race 10 times, which leads all organizations and is more than double of all the teams tied for second (at four wins). Five drivers have accounted for Hendrick Motorsports’ all-star victories, which is also the most among all teams. Jimmie Johnson leads the way with four wins (2003, 2006, 2012 and 2013), which is also the most among all drivers in all-star history. Gordon is next with three wins (1995, 1997 and 2001) and he is also the youngest winner of the event at 23 years, 9 months and 16 days. Labonte (1999), Elliott (2020) and Larson (2021) each have won the event once with the organization. The Johnson, Gordon and Labonte victories all came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Elliott won at Bristol Motor Speedway and Larson won at Texas Motor Speedway. 

FROM ALL-STAR TO TITLE TOWN: The All-Star Race winner has gone on to win the Cup Series championship 12 times in the sport’s history. Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished that seven times, including in the years of its last three all-star victories. Gordon’s All-Star Race wins all came in title seasons. Johnson’s wins in 2006 and 2013 were during championship years. More recently, Elliott and Larson won this event ahead of their championship coronations. 

STAR-FILLED STREAK: Counting this year’s event, the Rick Hendrick-owned organization has now had at least three cars in the All-Star Race field for 24 consecutive years. That streak is more than double of the next closest team, which sits at 11 straight years. 

TRANSFERRING TO THE BIG SHOW: The organization has had a driver transfer from the All-Star Open into the main event on seven occasions. Gordon (1994), Ricky Craven (1997), Brian Vickers (2005), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2012), Alex Bowman (2018) and Byron (2019 and 2020) have all done this. Gordon, Craven, Vickers and Earnhardt Jr. each won the All-Star Open to advance, while Bowman and Byron won a stage of the Open to move into the All-Star Race.




Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway: “I don’t know what to expect at all. I feel like we’ve done really well on the short tracks this year and we won at Richmond (Raceway) and Martinsville (Speedway), two tracks I typically wouldn’t be good at. I’m excited to go to North Wilkesboro (Speedway). It’s got worn out pavement. I’m typically not the best at saving my tires, so I’m a little nervous about that. Going into North Wilkesboro this weekend, I think that the atmosphere is going to be great.  We’ll see how it goes, but I think that this could be a great spot to just leave the All-Star Race. I do love going to different venues and I think that really shows who the “all-star” is and who the best driver in the sport is. It’s definitely an honor to have won at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and Texas (Motor Speedway). If I could win at North Wilkesboro, that would be pretty amazing and something to be proud of. I’m really excited about the opportunity to go there and I never thought that I would race at that track.” 

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the team’s approach to the weekend: “I think it will be interesting for us to get there (North Wilkesboro Speedway), touch the track, feel it and see what it’s all about. There is certainly a lot of excitement and anticipation. Kudos to SMI (Speedway Motorsports, LLC.), NASCAR, North Carolina and everybody who has taken the initiative to get us back to this place. I know that it’s going to be really special to all of us to be there and feel the excitement of the event. For us, it’s still a competitive race and it has a trophy. We still want to go put our best foot forward so we are going to study and do all of the things that we can to be good and be competitive. There are certainly a lot of unknowns, which will be fun to battle through and is of course going to be the same for the whole (NASCAR) Cup (Series) field. Hopefully, we shake out on the good end of things.”  

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on returning to North Wilkesboro: “Yeah, it’s been a little while (since I’ve been here). I guess about 13 years ago, kind of hard to believe. It is cool to be back. It has changed a lot. Doesn’t look anything like I remember it. All the infield and everything has changed. Hats off to whoever has done all the work in here because they’ve done a lot in a short time. It’s good to be back and there’s a lot of energy here obviously around this entire week. Not only from the spectators but as you can see there’s a lot of excitement to be here at a race as well.”

Elliott, on what to expect in the All-Star Race this weekend: “This place is old and worn out. It’s going to be hard to get a hold of throughout the All-Star Race. I hope it puts on a good show. I think it has the potential to do that. They’ve done a lot of work on the track in some different areas so that’s going to impact the way the race looks, too. I think I know about as little as anybody else at this point but certainly excited to be here.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at North Wilkesboro: “I don’t think anyone really knows what to expect at North Wilkesboro (Speedway) exactly. There was a tire test there and there was some wheel force testing. It’s not the same until the teams and the drivers get there and they get them all on the track and run. Looking forward to it. It’s going to be a huge learning curve for all of us. It should be fun.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts heading to North Wilkesboro: “It’s going to be cool for sure. We’re nervous about the weekend and not knowing what to expect. Luckily, I’m running the late model race this week. I’m excited to run that and get back in a Super Late Model again. It should be a lot of fun as well as give me a good idea of what the track is going to be like, and we can go from there. Right now, I’m just telling my guys to set it up how you think is best since we don’t really have any simulation for the track. It’s going to be pretty fun to see who hits the set up and who needs to make changes after practice.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how to prepare for North Wilkesboro: “I have as good of an idea on what the starting point is as anyone. We can kind of simulate what our travels should be here and there but otherwise we don’t have any data. There was a tire test earlier with three cars, but the track is going to be way different from then. The track will be more rubbered in this time from racing all week. It’s going to be some form of Richmond (Raceway) and Martinsville (Speedway) mixed – we think – but it’s North Wilkesboro (Speedway) and we don’t know what is going to happen really. We’ll have an hour to figure it out and I’m not sure how well anyone is going to hit the set up right away. Hopefully, by the end of Sunday night, we’re the group that has hit it.”

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts of racing at North Wilkesboro: “I am looking forward to getting to North Wilkesboro (Speedway) this weekend. I have never been there for a Cup race, but I did make the Late Model Stock race last year when Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) raced and that was fun to watch. I love the old tracks, like the ones with history, and it’s really cool to see what they have done with the place to bring it back. We would go hiking with my family and drive through that place and see what it used to be. It’s super exciting to be able to go there and race on it. Josh (Berry) is familiar with that place and has made some laps around there in a Late Model, so I think we have an opportunity to play into his driving style. He was there Tuesday and was shooting us pictures of the track. For him to be plugged in the whole week with that and simulator time, it will keep him completely bought in on North Wilkesboro this week.”

Harris, on what he thinks the biggest obstacles will be at North Wilkesboro: “I think the whole weekend will be along our normal lines as far as execution goes. We have to unload as close as we can since we only have one practice. We don’t have the luxury of unloading with something far off since we have to go straight into the Open to qualify in that way. We will lean on our pit crew to get us a good qualifying position in the Pit Crew Challenge. I do think our setup will come into play and how well we can manage our stuff throughout the race, but starting with some decent track position will be key as well.”

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