Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Chicago

 
 

5 KYLE LARSON

 

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 Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

MUSIC CITY MOJO: Last weekend, Kyle Larson earned his third top-five finish in as many starts at Nashville Superspeedway and he is one of two drivers to finish in the top five in every NASCAR Cup Series event at the concrete track. The No. 5 team was able to leverage the pit cycles to their advantage and Larson’s speed in the final run allowed him to secure a fifth-place finish in the 300-lap race. The 30-year-old driver won at the Tennessee venue in 2021 and earned a fourth-place finish on the 1.33-mile oval in 2022.

TO THE STREETS: This year’s Fourth of July weekend event will mark the first street course race in Cup Series history. The layout of the Chicago Street Course features 12 turns across the span of 2.2 miles in the heart of downtown. A new track does not intimidate Larson. In 2021, the No. 5 driver won the inaugural Cup Series race at Nashville. 

ROAD SUCCESS: Larson is tied for third-most road course wins among all active Cup Series drivers with four. His victories on serpentine tracks have come at Sonoma Raceway (2021), Watkins Glen International (2021 and 2022) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL (2021). All of those triumphs have been with Cliff Daniels, who ranks second among active crew chiefs in road course wins. Larson is one of six drivers all-time to win on at least three different road courses. Through 29 road course starts, Larson is tied for the sixth-best average finish on that track type among active drivers (14.45). 

UP FRONT: The 2021 Cup Series champion’s seven top-five finishes this season are tied for the most with teammate William Byron. Larson has led 588 laps in 2023 – in all of 2022, he led 635 laps. He only trails Byron (722) in this stat and has 104 more laps led than the third-place competitor. Larson ranks fifth for the most laps run in the top five (1,730) and fourth for the most laps run in the top 10 (2,824). 

FOUR TIRES FAST: With a quick 9.281-second pit stop at Nashville before the start of the second stage (on lap 93), the No. 5 HendrickCars.com pit crew claimed the second fastest four-tire stop of the 2023 season. For the year, the team has the second-fastest average four-tire pit stop time (11.027 seconds), behind Byron’s crew (10.872 seconds). The No. 5 team’s five-person pit crew consists of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer). 

PATRIOTIC WEEKEND: HendrickCars.com returns to the track this holiday weekend, but this time with its patriotic scheme. This season, the patriotic scheme has only been run at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. 

CARS TOUR: Larson made his first CARS Tour start on Wednesday at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina. He finished eighth for JR Motorsports in an entry with sponsorship from HendrickCars.com.

LOOKING TO REPEAT: Larson has been nominated for the “Best Driver” award in the 2023 ESPYS. Following the No. 5 driver’s championship in 2021, Larson was nominated for the “Best Driver” honor at the 2022 ESPYS and won. Other 2023 nominees include Brittany Force (NHRA), Josef Newgarden (IndyCar) and Max Verstappen (F1). Fans can vote for Larson here and tune in on Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see who takes home the hardware.

SHOP FOR YOUR RIDE: Looking to upgrade your ride? Visit one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 95 dealerships nationwide. Customers can also shop 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.

 
 
 
 

9 CHASE ELLIOTT

 

Age: 27 (Nov. 28, 1995)

 

Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia

 

Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

 

Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

 

Standings: 25th

 
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No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media at the Chicago Street Course media center on Saturday, July 1, at 11:15 a.m. local time.

NASHVILLE IN THE REARVIEW: Chase Elliott qualified 14th for last Sunday’s 300-lap NASCAR Cup Series event at Nashville Superspeedway. The 27-year-old driver earned valuable stage points in each of the race’s first two stages, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. His strong run continued into the final stage, ultimately resulting in a fourth-place finish. The effort marked his second consecutive top-five finish dating back to Sonoma Raceway, and his fourth top-five finish of the season in just 10 starts. Elliott has now achieved two top-five finishes, including a win in 2022, in only three Cup Series starts at Nashville.  

NEW IS GOOD: This weekend, the Cup Series heads to the brand-new Chicago Street Course, making it one of three road courses on the current schedule on which Elliott has yet to win (Sonoma and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course being the others). New tracks have been good to the Dawsonville, Georgia, native throughout his career. He’s been victorious three times (all on road courses) at first-time events held in the modern era – Road America in 2021, Circuit of The Americas in 2021 and the Daytona International Speedway Road Course in 2020. 

ROAD WARRIOR: In 26 Cup Series starts on road courses, Elliott has an average finish of 8.04, with seven wins, 15 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s. His average finish is not only the best among active drivers, but third all-time among drivers (five or more starts) behind NASCAR legends Fireball Roberts and Buck Baker. Elliott has proven his road-racing prowess, leading all active drivers with seven wins on road courses. He’s also third on the all-time list of drivers with road course victories, trailing only NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon (nine) and Tony Stewart (eight). With triumphs across five different road courses, Elliott has won at the most serpentine tracks in series history. His seven stage wins are the most all-time on this track type.

ROAD RACING RUNDOWN: Since the start of 2022, Elliott has earned a best finish of second on road courses, coming at Road America last season. In that span, he has a total of four top-five finishes and five top-10s across seven starts on serpentine tracks. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has paced the field for 128 laps on road courses since the beginning of last season and earned two pole awards (Road America and Watkins Glen International). 

FIRST WIN: Elliott’s first career Cup Series win came at a road course – Watkins Glen in 2018. The five-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver winner started the race from the third position and led 52 of 90 laps en route to the victory.  

VIEW FROM THE TOP: While this is the first time the series will race on a street course, crew chief Alan Gustafson has plenty of experience on tracks where left and right turns are made. Across 47 Cup Series races on road courses, the veteran crew chief has led his team to seven wins – a series high among active crew chiefs – 18 top-five finishes, 25 top-10s and 527 laps led.  

POINTING IN: Elliott currently sits 25th in the Cup Series point standings, 64 markers outside of the provisional cutline for a playoff spot with nine races left in the regular season. Last weekend at Nashville, the 2020 Cup Series champion gained 20 points on the bubble and needs to average eight markers per race on the cutline in the final nine races to advance to the playoffs on points. 

WIN AND IN: While pointing his way in isn’t impossible, the easiest way for Elliott to lock himself into the playoffs is with a victory. Last season, the summer was a hot one for Elliott and the No. 9 team on the track. Together, they put together five consecutive finishes of second or better, including three wins (Nashville, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway). Elliott has earned four of his 18 career Cup Series wins across three of the nine tracks left in the regular season (Pocono, Atlanta and two wins at Watkins Glen). At four of the other tracks, Elliott has nearly taken home the hardware. He’s finished runner-up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Michigan International Speedway (three times) and Daytona International Speedway (twice). 

HOOTERS IS BACK: Hooters is back as the primary partner of the No. 9 team this weekend at the Chicago Street Course for its second of three races in 2023. Earlier this year as part of the company’s 40th anniversary, Hooters unveiled a special Night Owl paint scheme for the 2023 season. Get a look at all the angles of the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet here.  

WHEN CHASE WINS YOU WIN: Fans can visit Hooters on Mondays after Cup Series races this season and ask their server for free fried pickles when Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team finishes in the top 10. If the No. 9 team wins, customers receive 10 free wings with any 10-wing purchase. Get more details at hooters.com/racing.  

STOP ON BY: Elliott will drop by the Hooters of O’Hare, located at 8225 W. Higgins Road in Chicago, this Saturday at 5 p.m. local time. Fans will have the opportunity to grab an autograph from the Hooters Racing driver and see the No. 9 Hooters Night Owl Chevrolet that he’ll be driving on Sunday.

 
 
 
 

24 WILLIAM BYRON

 

Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)

 

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

 

Standings: 2nd

 
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No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

24 POWER: Past the halfway mark in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, William Byron and the No. 24 team are making sure that they remain front runners. In 17 races, Byron is setting the pace in several statistical categories: laps led (722), stage wins (seven), average running position (8.4) and most laps run in the top five (2,476). He is also tied for the most wins (three), poles (two), top-five finishes (seven) and top-10s (10). The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has already surpassed his total of top-five finishes from last year (five) and is closing in on setting a new season-best mark in laps led (746 in 2022). 

THAT NO. 1 FEELING: Byron has gotten off to a hot start this season collecting three wins – the most in a single Cup season for the 25-year-old driver. In fact, Byron now has five wins in the Next Gen car – tied for the most with three other drivers including Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. He also has collected six wins since the start of 2021, which has him tied for the third-most behind Larson (15 wins) and Elliott (seven wins).

ROAD READY: So far in 2023, there have been two road course races in the Cup Series – Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and Sonoma Raceway. Byron had his best showing in March at COTA after he and the No. 24 team earned the pole position, won the first stage, led 28 laps and finished fifth. 

THE RUDY RUNDOWN: Crew chief Rudy Fugle has 14 Cup Series starts on road courses, three starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and seven in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. His top road course result in the Cup Series came at Watkins Glen International in 2021, with a sixth-place finish by Byron. In those seven Truck Series starts, the Livonia, New York, native has one win, three top-five finishes, and five top-10s. One of those seven truck starts was also with Byron and the duo raced to a 10th-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2016. 

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 17 races in the 2023 season, the No. 24 pit crew remains the fastest team on pit road with the best average four-tire pit stop time of 10.872 seconds. 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). The team has had three of the 10 fastest four-tire pit stops of the season, which rank sixth (9.383 seconds), eighth (9.443 seconds) and ninth (9.504 seconds). 

VALVOLINE RETURNS: Valvoline will make its second appearance of 2023 as the primary sponsor of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for this Sunday’s race at the Chicago Street Course. Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which time it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume. To see Byron’s No. 24 Valvoline Chevy, click here

 
 
 
 

48 Alex Bowman

 

Age: 30 (April 25, 1993)

 

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

 

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Blake Harris

 

Standings: 17th

 
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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

BIG START: On Sunday, Alex Bowman will make his 200th start in the NASCAR Cup Series as a Hendrick Motorsports driver, becoming only the eighth driver to reach this milestone for the 14-time Cup Series championship-winning organization. He trails Kasey Kahne (216), Ken Schrader (267), Chase Elliott (267), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (340), Terry Labonte (387), Jimmie Johnson (686) and Jeff Gordon (805) in starts for the team. In his career with Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman has totaled seven wins, 31 top-five finishes, 75 top-10s, four pole positions, and led 1,265 laps. 

CHI-TOWN: Bowman has already notched a win in Illinois during his career, taking home the trophy at Chicagoland Speedway for his first Cup Series victory in June 2019. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet finished ninth in the first stage, fourth in stage two and led 88 laps, including the final six after taking back the lead from future teammate Kyle Larson. This weekend, Bowman will head to Chicago for the Cup Series’ debut on a street course.

OH SO CLOSE: Bowman is one of four active drivers in the Cup Series to earn at least one runner-up finish on a serpentine track without yet winning on that track type. Last year, Bowman finished second at Circuit of The Americas after being knocked off track on the final lap of the race. He also placed second in the 2019 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. 

PLAYOFF PUSH: The 30-year-old driver enters the 18th race of the Cup Series season just two points outside of the final provisional playoff spot. Among the remaining nine tracks in the regular season, Bowman has notched wins at Pocono Raceway and Richmond Raceway, both occurring in 2021.

CHASE THE DAY: Fans can see the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevy at Burger Car Chicago on Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. local time, as he teams up with Day Chaser. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet Bowman, get autographs and try samples of Day Chaser’s canned cocktail products. 

SAVE THEM ALL: Bowman and primary partner Ally are teaming up this year to bring back the Best Friends Animal Society donation effort. This week, the duo will make charitable contributions to Safe Humane Chicago, which serves the local community in the Windy City. Bowman and Ally will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and Safe Humane Chicago. Ally will increase its donation to $10,000 if the No. 48 team wins on Sunday.  

DAY ‘N’ NITE: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will adorn two versions of its primary scheme during the 2023 Cup Series season. This weekend, the No. 48 Ally Chevy “day” scheme will be on track and it features a white base with bright plum, grapefruit, and seafoam stripes down the side. This version of the primary scheme will appear at races that take place during the day. When the lights come on over the racetrack, the black-based No. 48 Ally Chevy “night” scheme will be sported with a similar design to its daytime counterpart. Check out all the angles of the schemes here. 

 
 
 

HENDRICK

MOTORSPORTS /

Hendrick Motorsports
 
 

 

2023

 

 

All-Time

 

 

Road Courses

 

Races

 

17

 

 

1,326

 

 

93

 

Wins

 

5*

 

 

296*

 

 

26*

 

Poles

 

5*

 

 

244*

 

 

25*

 

Top 5

 

22*

 

 

1,212*

 

 

83*

 

Top 10

 

33*

 

 

2,078*

 

 

142*

 

Laps Led

 

1,417*

 

 

78,734*

 

 

2,207*

 

Stage Wins

 

10*

 

 

89

 

 

14*

 

 

*Most **Most (tie)
 

CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is 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, while maintaining its streak of at least two victories per season for the past 30 years. The organization has gone to victory lane at more racetracks (31) than any other active team. 

MILESTONE MOMENTS: In addition to nearing 300 wins, the storied organization is closing in on several other milestones. Entering this weekend, the team has 244 Cup Series poles and is just six away from 250. The Hendrick Motorsports engine department is at 494 national series wins and needs six more to reach 500. 

LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: This weekend, NASCAR will race on the streets of downtown Chicago for its first-ever street course race. The course will run against the backdrop of Windy City landmarks Grant Park, Lake Michigan and the start-finish line will be right in front of Buckingham Fountain. Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Balbo Drive, Michigan Avenue and Jackson Drive will be used in the 12-turn, 2.2-mile course. The course was developed via iRacing and used in an eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event (run by Cup Series drivers) in 2021.

PRAIRIE STATE LOOK BACK: Ahead of Sunday’s race, Hendrick Motorsports has competed in a total of 21 Cup Series races in the state of Illinois. This includes two races at WWT Raceway and 19 races at Chicagoland Speedway. The team has achieved three victories in the state, which all came at Chicagoland. Alex Bowman was the winner at the last event held there in 2019.

RULERS OF THE ROAD: With 26 wins, Hendrick Motorsports has the most all-time triumphs on road courses in Cup Series history. The two closest teams in this statistic have combined for only 23 wins. Since its inaugural season in 1984, the organization has won 27.96% of road course events (26 wins in 93 races). The team also tops the board among Cup Series squads on road courses in poles (25), top-five finishes (83), top-10s (142), laps led (2,207) and stage wins (14). Seven different drivers (most by a Cup Series team on road courses) have accounted for the 26 road course wins: Jeff Gordon (nine wins), Chase Elliott (seven wins), Kyle Larson (four wins), Tim Richmond (three wins), Jimmie Johnson (one win), Geoff Bodine (one win) and Ricky Rudd (one win). 

FIRST IN VICTORY: In recent years, the Cup Series has had several additions to the schedule and the Rick Hendrick-owned organization has been successful in four of the last eight of those events. Since 2020, the team has won the first races to be held at: the Daytona International Speedway Road Course (Elliott in 2020), Circuit of The Americas (Elliott in 2021) and Nashville Superspeedway (Larson in 2021). In addition, the 2021 race at Road America, won by Elliott, was the first race at the Wisconsin venue in 65 years.

FOLLOW YOUR ARROW: In 2023, Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps, with 1,417 circuits out front, which equates to 30.83% of the laps raced. The squad has led laps in all but one race this season (Atlanta Motor Speedway in March). WIlliam Byron (722) and Larson (588) rank one-two in that statistical category. 

SOMETHING LIKE THAT: In addition to the most laps led this season, the Concord, North Carolina-based team leads the series in the following categories: wins (five), poles (five), top-five finishes (22), top-10s (33) and stage wins (10). The team’s 10 stage wins account for 28.57% of all stages run in the Cup Series in 2023.

WHEN THE STARS COME OUT: Of the four drivers with multiple wins this season, two of them belong to Hendrick Motorsports. Byron’s three wins are tied for the most in the series, while Larson has two points-paying triumphs as well as an All-Star Race win. 

 
 
 

QUOTABLE /

 

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing in downtown Chicago: “I think it’s going to be a great thing for our sport. It will be cool to be able to race right in the middle of a major city. Without having been there yet, it’s difficult to judge the racetrack itself, but it will be a great opportunity to bring our race into the urban areas of Chicago. It (Chicago) is such an awesome city. It should be a good time. I look forward to that event the most.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on preparing for the inaugural race at the Chicago Street Course: “There are a lot of unknowns going into this weekend. I certainly think it’s going to be a great event. It’s amazing that we are running the actual street course in the simulator, and one doesn’t even exist yet. The streets of Chicago are still open, business is running as usual and we won’t even have a racetrack until Friday night. The fact that we are able to do that speaks volumes to where technology is in the sport. We certainly have tried to anticipate what to look for and what the track is going to provide. Going into the weekend, there could be some scenarios where there is excitement about what is going on on-track. Hopefully, we are on the better end of those things and just have a clean race. If we do that, we should be in good shape by the end of it.”
 


Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how he views the Chicago Street Course from an event perspective: “That’s a good question. I think it depends on which hat you’re wearing. If you’re wearing a competitor’s hat – for me, it’s us going up there and trying to put ourselves in position to win. From a fan standpoint, you’re tapping into a part of the country that I think has a lot of race fans, a lot of NASCAR fans, but into city limits that a lot of those people might not have typically come out to Joliet or somewhere up there. For them, I think it’s about it being a good event and it being exciting for them. There’s a lot of stuff going on for them and they feel like they’re at the event. That needs to feel like the event that weekend over a (Chicago) Cubs game or whatever it may be. I think that will make it successful from a promoter’s standpoint. From the racing side, I don’t think I have to leave the racetrack and think – oh wow, that was a really great race for it to be successful to the viewership or the people that show up in attendance.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how experience plays a role in preparing for the Chicago Street Course: “I don’t think you can comment too much about it as far as the competition side goes because you just don’t know. You want versatility but with the format, you don’t have the opportunity to really adjust. You just have to try and find places and corners from different tracks that you think may apply. You use that information to try and put it together and have something reasonable to go there and run with. It’s just super hard to do anything besides lean on some of your experience and some tracks that have similar styles of corners.”
 


William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on using iRacing to prepare for the Chicago Street Course: “I think Sunday’s race will be interesting for sure and I’m excited about it. I know we raced on this layout on iRacing during the pandemic and since then a few changes have been made. We’ve used the simulator since then to really prepare for the Chicago Street Course. I also have relied on my eSports team. They’re good about really learning the intricacies of the tracks and being able to show me what they’ve learned or found. They raced on Tuesday night, so their feedback is helpful as well as I prepare to get on track for the first time Saturday.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what he expects at Chicago: “I don’t know what to expect this weekend for the Chicago Street Course but then again, no one does. It’s almost a bit more calming to know we’re all in the same boat when it comes to this race. With there being limited track time on Saturday, we’re kind of set on what we have, but there’s still some room for adjustments. We’ll use our previous road course notes and the notes we get from sim work, but there’s nothing really else to compare this course to. I think it makes for extra excitement not only on the track but also for us on the team side to see where our preparation stacks up against the competition.”
 


Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on going to the Chicago Street Course for the first time: “I think it will be interesting. We have experience on road courses, but nothing as tight and technical as Chicago. I think track position will be key this weekend, so we will do all we can in the simulators to get a feel for what we think we need, use our notes from road courses and go try to compete this Sunday.”

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on preparing for a new track: “There’s a lot of variables – you have to be prepared for everything. Unfortunately, it’s an impound practice and qualifying, so you are kind of locked in with what you have. We have a lot of good details and information in our notebooks for road course stuff, so it’s really just trying to pick and choose what is going to be most applicable to this race.”

Hendrick Motorsports PR