Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Atlanta

 

5 KYLE LARSON

 

Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)

 

Hometown: Elk Grove, California

 

Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels

 

Standings: 8th

 
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No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

CHI-TOWN STREET: Kyle Larson’s summer surge continued Sunday in Chicago with a fourth-place finish in the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. The 30-year-old driver was in the top 10 for nearly the entire event and ran all but two of the 78 total laps in the top 15. After finishing seventh in the opening stage, Larson’s No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 came on strong when the team changed over to slick tires. He drove up to second in the second segment to earn a total of 13 stage points on the day. After pitting under yellow on lap 47, the Elk Grove, California, native restarted 13th and maneuvered to fourth during the final stage to secure his second consecutive top-five result.

SUMMER STREAK: Larson has now finished inside the top 10 in the last four races: fourth at Chicago, fifth at Nashville Superspeedway, eighth at Sonoma Raceway and fourth at WWT Raceway. It is the longest top-10 stretch of his 2023 season and the second-longest current streak among NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Larson’s career-longest top-10 streak of eight occurred in 2021.

ALMOST IN ATLANTA: At Atlanta Motor Speedway, Larson has led the most laps (419) of Cup drivers without a win. He also has two runner-up finishes at the Peach State venue – in 2017 and 2021. Of tracks where Larson has led the most laps, Atlanta ranks sixth.

MOST TOP-FIVES: Larson now tops the Cup Series with eight top-five finishes in 2023. The 2021 champion has also led 588 laps this season, second behind only teammate William Byron (722). Through 18 points-paying races, Larson ranks fifth in most laps run inside the top five (1,758) and has the fourth-most laps inside the top 10 (2,893).

FOUR TIRES FAST: In 2023, the No. 5 HendrickCars.com pit crew ranks second overall in average four-tire pit stop time (11.073), just behind Byron’s No. 24 team (10.960). The No. 5’s  over-the-wall 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).

CAST YOUR VOTE: Larson is nominated for the 2023 ESPYS “Best Driver” award, an honor he took home in 2021. The ESPYS are presented by ABC to recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance during the calendar year preceding the annual ceremony. Other 2023 nominees in the Best Driver category include Brittany Force (NHRA), Josef Newgarden (IndyCar) and Max Verstappen (Formula 1). Fans can cast their vote here until Sunday, July 9. Tune in July 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see who takes home the award.

HENDRICKCARS.COM IS HOME: With Hendrick Automotive Group operating nine dealerships in the Atlanta area, Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com crew will wear their white “home” fire suits for the ninth time in 2023. For its home races (15 total this season), sponsor HendrickCars.com releases a unique cap, which are for sale trackside and available to win on HendrickCars.com. Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be made available to the public the week of the race. This week’s Georgia-themed hat will be released today and can be found here.

ATLANTA AUTOMOTIVE NEEDS & BEYOND: The extended Atlanta market is home to nine Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships: Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Duluth, Rick Hendrick  Chevrolet Buford, Rick Hendrick Cadillac Dodge Jeep RAM Duluth, Gwinnett Place Honda, Rick Hendrick Buick GMC, Mall of Georgia Mazda, Mall of Georgia MINI and Honda of Newnan. By visiting HendrickCars.com, customers not located in Georgia can can choose from any of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 95 dealerships nationwide. Shopping from the convenience of home, customers can select 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: 24th

 
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No. 9 NAPA/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

TOOK IT TO THE STREETS: After torrential rain showers delayed the start of Sunday’s race in Chicago, the NASCAR Cup Series finally took the green flag for its first-ever street course event. After moving to a backup car following Saturday’s qualifying session, Chase Elliott started from the rear of the field, finished the first stage 20th and rebounded for a 25th-place result in the second stage after making contact with the tire barrier. Strategy in the final stage helped Elliott gain pivotal track position. He held his own through several late-race cautions to take the checkered flag in third at the Chicago Street Course.

WINNER WINNER NO. 9: Last season, Elliott and the No. 9 team were impressive on drafting-style tracks. The team scored two wins – Atlanta Motor Speedway in July and Talladega Superspeedway in October – and only finished outside of the top 10 on one occasion across six starts. Last summer, Elliott led 96 laps en route to victory at his home track of Atlanta, sweeping both stages along the way. Talladega last fall represents the most recent win for the No. 9 team, which led the series with five victories in 2022. The five-time National Press Association Most Popular Driver is the only repeat winner over the last 14 Cup races held on drafting-style tracks.

STREAKING: Elliott is currently riding a streak of three consecutive top-five finishes dating back to June 11 at Sonoma Raceway. Although the Dawsonville, Georgia, native, has missed seven starts this season, he’s finished in every position inside the top five except first. Across the last three races, he finished fifth at Sonoma, fourth at Nashville Superspeedway and third on the Chicago Street Course. Elliott placed second at Auto Club Speedway prior to suffering a leg injury. In just 11 starts in 2023, he has five top-five finishes, tied for the sixth-most in the series.

TO THE POINT: With eight races remaining in the regular season, Elliott sits 24th in the Cup Series standings, 55 points behind the provisional cutline for a playoff spot. The 2020 champion gained 29 points on the bubble over the last two weeks and needs to average seven points per event against the cutline to advance to the playoffs on points.

WIN AND IN: While making the playoffs on points remains mathematically possible, the surefire way for Elliott to lock himself in is with a victory. Last season, he and the No. 9 team went on quite a tear during the summer months. They put together five consecutive finishes of second or better, including three wins: Nashville, Atlanta and Pocono Raceway. The 27-year-old driver has earned four of his 18 career Cup wins across three of the eight tracks left in the regular season: Pocono, Atlanta and Watkins Glen International. At four other tracks, Elliott has nearly taken home the hardware, finishing runner-up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Michigan International Speedway (three times) and Daytona International Speedway (twice).

QUICK STOP: On Sunday at Chicago, the No. 9 pit crew had the fastest four-tire pit stop of the race with a time of 11.877 seconds. The 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew is composed of T.J. Semke (jackman), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), Nick O’Dell (front-tire changer), Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer) and John Gianninoto (fueler).

HOME GAME: Four partners of Elliott and the No. 9 team are headquartered in Atlanta: NAPA Auto Parts, Hooters, Kelley Blue Book and Coca-Cola. This weekend, NAPA returns as the primary partner on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The company was also the main partner for the team’s victory at Atlanta last July.

DESI9N TO DRIVE: The Chase Elliott Foundation has partnered again with NAPA Auto Parts and Hendrick Motorsports for the seventh edition of its “DESI9N TO DRIVE” art collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Elliott’s race car and race uniform will feature designs by two cancer patients at Children’s. The selected designs were sketched by 11-year-old Alex Corbin and 13-year-old Kayleb Duran-Rodriguez and feature a “summer nights” theme. Elliott’s racing uniform and a VIP race experience are currently up for auction via The NASCAR Foundation’s auction page on eBay through July 12. Fans can also donate directly to the fundraising campaign at desi9ntodrive.org. All auction proceeds will go to the Chase Elliott Foundation to benefit the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s. View all angles of the No. 9 NAPA/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 here.

 
 
 
 

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 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

RECORD YEAR: After 18 of 36 points-paying races, William Byron is having a career year behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Competing in his sixth NASCAR Cup Series season, he has posted three race wins, seven stage victories and 722 laps led, which are all personal records through 18 starts. In 2023, Byron’s two pole awards, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10s each rank as his second-most at the 18-event mark.

IN THE HUNT: With eight races left in the regular season, Byron is closing the gap to first in driver points. Now just nine markers behind the leader, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native is looking for his first regular-season championship and the extra 15 playoff points that come with it. In 2023, Byron has an average running position of 8.50 – the best of any driver. He has also  led 722 laps (most), spent 2,477 laps in the top five (most), 3,197 laps in the top 10 (second-most), collected seven top-five finishes (second-most) and 10 top-10s (tied for second-most).

DRAFT DAY: When it comes to drafting tracks, Byron normally runs up front. He has two wins on this type of track – his first Cup Series victory at Daytona International Speedway in August 2020 and the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2022. He has also led 194 laps at drafting tracks since the start of the 2022 season – the most of any driver.

THE ATL ARCHIVE: Byron has eight Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but Sunday will be only his fourth at the 1.54-mile track since its reconfiguration prior to the 2022 season. In the spring race last year, he rocketed to the front of the field and led 111 laps en route to his first win of 2022. The performance made him the fourth-youngest Atlanta winner at 24 years, 3 months, and 20 days. In fact, Byron has led 152 laps in his three starts at the Georgia venue since 2022, tied for the most with Joey Logano.

RUDY RUNS THE ATL: Sunday will mark crew chief Rudy Fugle’s sixth race at Atlanta in the Cup Series and his fourth after the track’s reconfiguration. In the spring of 2022, he and the No. 24 team led 111 laps and captured their first win of the season. In two Atlanta starts since then, Fugle and Byron have led 41 total laps but have been collected in on-track incidents. Fugle also has six NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts at the 1.54-mile oval with two pole awards and two wins. His drivers recorded five top-10 finishes in those events, including four top-three results. Fugle has finished worse than seventh at Atlanta only once, which occurred with Byron in 2016 when the pair ran second before suffering an engine failure.

WELCOME RELAY PAYMENTS: Earlier today, Hendrick Motorsports announced a new partnership with Relay Payments, the fintech company modernizing payments for the transportation, logistics and supply chain industries. Founded in 2019, Relay’s mission is to help digitally transform the logistics industry. The company offers a digital payment network designed to increase efficiencies, reduce fraud, improve driver satisfaction and eliminate operational headaches. At Atlanta Motor Speedway, Relay Payments will debut as an associate partner of Byron and the No. 24 team for 2023. It also will be featured as a primary partner for two playoff races: Sept. 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway during Truck Driver Appreciation Week and Oct. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For a closer look at Byron’s No. 24 Relay Payments Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 18 races in 2023, the No. 24 pit crew continues to lead the Cup Series with an average four-tire pit stop time of 10.960 seconds. The pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Landon Walker (fueler), Ryan Patton (tire carrier), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer) and Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer). The team has posted three of the fastest pit stops of the season, which rank sixth (9.383 seconds), eighth (9.443) and ninth (9.504) overall.

AT IT AGAIN WITH AXALTA: For the second time in 2023, Axalta will be on board Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, this time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is Axalta’s 31st year of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports.

 
 
 
 

48 Alex Bowman

 

Age: 30 (April 25, 1993)

 

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

 

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

 

Crew Chief: Blake Harris

 

Standings: 20th

 
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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

 

AB IN ATL: On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series will take on Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time in 2023. In the last five races at the 1.54-mile track, including two on the old Atlanta surface, driver Alex Bowman has scored two top-five finishes and three top-10s. His 10th-place result in March 2022 came on the new configuration. At Atlanta earlier this year, he started 15th, finished third in the second stage and came in 14th overall.

IN THE DRAFT: At drafting tracks (Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta), Bowman has a career-best result of second at Talladega in 2019. In that race, the driver finished the first and second stages in second and led seven laps en route to a runner-up result behind teammate Chase Elliott.

HARRIS IN HOT-LANTA: Sunday will be the first Atlanta start for the pairing of Bowman and new crew chief Blake Harris, who was sidelined in March due to a NASCAR penalty. The last time Harris called the shots at Atlanta, he led the No. 34 team to a 15th-place start and 12th-place finish.

SAVE THEM ALL: Bowman and primary partner Ally have teamed to bring back the Best Friends Animal Society donation effort in 2023. This week, the duo will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and the Fayette Humane Society, which serves the local community in Atlanta. Ally will increase its donation to $10,000 if the No. 48 team wins on Sunday.

DAY ‘N’ NIGHT: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 “night” paint scheme will be featured in Sunday’s race at Atlanta. Throughout the 2023 Cup Series season, the car will showcase two versions of its primary scheme. At night, the No. 48 Ally scheme has a black base with bright plum, grapefruit and seafoam stripes down the side. During the day, the white-based No. 48 scheme races with a similar design to its nighttime counterpart. Check out all the angles of the new look by clicking here.

 
 
 

HENDRICK

MOTORSPORTS /

Hendrick Motorsports
 
 

 

2023

 

 

All-Time

 

 

Atlanta

 

Races

 

18

 

 

1,327

 

 

69

 

Wins

 

5*

 

 

296*

 

 

16*

 

Poles

 

5*

 

 

244*

 

 

5

 

Top 5

 

24*

 

 

1,214*

 

 

64*

 

Top 10

 

35*

 

 

2,080*

 

 

101*

 

Laps Led

 

1,417*

 

 

78,734*

 

 

3,619*

 

Stage Wins

 

10*

 

 

89

 

 

5*

 

 

*Most **Most (tie)
 

CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is just four points-paying victories away from its milestone 300th in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 296, which is the most Cup wins by any team. With five victories in 2023, Hendrick Motorsports has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series while maintaining a streak of at least two 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 300 Cup Series wins, Hendrick Motorsports is approaching several other major milestones. With 244 pole awards, the team is just six away from 250 at the Cup level. In addition, Hendrick Motorsports engines have recorded 494 NASCAR national series victories and need just six more to reach 500.

PEACH STATE POWER: Hendrick Motorsports has seen eight of its drivers win at Atlanta Motor Speedway – the most among all organizations. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each won five times at the Georgia oval. Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and William Byron have one victory apiece. Gordon (23 years, 7 months and 8 days) and Byron (24 years, 3 months and 20 days) stand as the second- and fourth-youngest Cup Series winners in track history.

GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS: Hendrick Motorsports has been to victory lane 16 times at Atlanta. The total is the most among all Cup teams and is the fifth-most for the organization at any track. Martinsville Speedway (28), Dover Motor Speedway (22), Charlotte Motor Speedway (21) and Pocono Raceway (19) are the only venues where Hendrick Motorsports has more wins.

RECONFIGURATION ROUNDUP: Since Atlanta reconfigured to a drafting track ahead of the 2022 season, Hendrick Motorsports has found great success. Over the last three races there, the Concord, North Carolina, team has the most wins (two), led the most laps (278) and is tied for the most stage wins (three). Byron and Elliott swept last year’s Cup races and rank first and third, respectively, in laps led since the repave.

DRAFTING DOMINANCE: Hendrick Motorsports has 31 all-time wins on drafting tracks (Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta), which is 11 more than the next-best team. In 2022, the organization won three of the six races (both Atlanta events and the fall Talladega race) at drafting tracks.

STILL STREAKING: In the past eight points-paying races dating back to Dover Motor Speedway in May, Hendrick Motorsports has had at least one driver finish in the top five. It is the longest such streak by a team since Hendrick Motorsports had nine straight (from Atlanta in March to Kansas Speedway in May) in 2022.

LEADERS OF THE PACK: With its series-leading 1,417 laps led in 2023, Hendrick Motorsports has been at the front of the pack for 30.32% of the season. The squad has led laps in all but two of the 18 points-paying races: Atlanta in March and the Chicago Street Race in July. Byron (722) and Kyle Larson (588) rank first and second, respectively, in the statistical category.

 
 
 

QUOTABLE /

 

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on Atlanta: “Drafting tracks have always proved challenging. I don’t have as good of a track record at them as I would like, but the finishes don’t always fully depict the No. 5 team’s day. We’ve had a couple decent runs on drafting tracks this season before trouble came our way. We have some good momentum behind our team right now with four top-10 finishes. I look forward to another HendrickCars.com home race in Atlanta. It would be great to secure a strong finish in the Peach State.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on Atlanta: “For the No. 5 team in Atlanta, it’s odd to say that we are looking forward to it because unfortunately in the Next Gen era, I don’t know that we’ve actually finished a race (there). The track layout is a lot different and the package that we have is definitely tough and challenging. I feel like we’ve had some good cars there and even had some good runs going, even though we haven’t always got the finish. We are looking forward to going to Atlanta. It’s going to be a tough and hot race. In the middle of the summer, it will be cool to have a night race. Hopefully we can stay out of trouble and have a good enough car to get up front by the end.”
 


Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on returning to Atlanta as the defending July race winner: “That was a really nice weekend. Obviously, it’s a little different than having a dominant performance at a track that’s not a (super) speedway, but we were really solid. It’s not like you’re getting out to a four- or five-second lead. We just had a car that had the ability to be on offense all day. When you’re on offense and you can be that guy to make lanes move forward and make a difference and pushing somebody to the front, it just puts you in a different league. It puts you in a really nice position to have a good day. We’ve certainly been on both sides of that fence. I missed Atlanta the first time this year, but hopefully we can go back and have a good run again like we did last year. I know a lot of the people around home are super excited about it being a night race, and getting under the lights down there I think is a really big deal.  So I’m looking forward to that.”

Elliott on this year’s DESI9N TO DRIVE program taking place at Atlanta: “I’m excited for the return of the DESI9N TO DRIVE program to my home track since it really shines a light on the positive impact Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has on the region. With the race being run at night, I hope it creates an even greater atmosphere than years past. I can’t wait for everyone to see these summer nights-themed designs come to life at the racetrack.”
 


William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his hopes for Atlanta: “I’m excited to get back to Atlanta (Motor Speedway). We’ve had success there and run up front since the repave but unfortunately got caught up in other people’s incidents the last couple races. Hopefully we can have a clean, smooth weekend and will be there at the end to have a shot at another win.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his expectations for Atlanta: “We were pretty good at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) in the spring race. We got caught in a wreck, but before that we were running second in our lane. So we were running up front. We have a pretty good baseline for Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports’ speedway cars are always pretty good. So we’ll start there and try to add some more downforce. Since it’s summer, we need to try get the car handling good as well. The second thing is that this will be the first race of the newly updated center section and front clips for all of the Cup Series. We’ll have to see how that affects everything and see how different the car handles now. I don’t think it will be a huge difference, but you never know until we get on track.”


Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his mindset heading to Atlanta: “Obviously, we aren’t where we want to be in the points standings. We had a really good start to the season and were super consistent and then had our penalty and then I was out for three races. Heading into the back half of the season, every race matters. Blake (Harris) and I are really focused on the details and trying to maximize on our days. Chicago (Street Course) didn’t go our way, which was frustrating because I thought we had a car capable of getting a top-10 finish. We just have to go execute from here on out, and it starts this weekend in Atlanta.”

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his approach to Atlanta: “I thought we had a pretty competitive car in the spring race there. Alex (Bowman) did a really good job in the second stage to score some points. I think it’s just going to be getting back on track. Hendrick Motorsports has had some really good weeks at Atlanta. For us it will be all about maximizing our day, scoring stage points when we can, and trying to be in contention to get a win because that’s what we go there to do.”
 

hendrick Motorsports PR