TEAM CHEVY NASCAR RACE ADVANCE: Richmond Raceway / Road America

NASCAR CUP SERIES: ROUND TWO AT RICHMOND

The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) is set for round two at Richmond Raceway this weekend with the .75-mile oval marking just the series’ second repeat visit to a track this season. The final short-track remaining in the regular season, Chevrolet heads into Sunday’s Cook Out 400 as Richmond Raceway’s reigning winner following Kyle Larson’s (No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1) victory during the venue’s spring event. Adding onto the momentum for the Bowtie brigade, Larson led the manufacturer to a sweep of the podium in the race with Josh Berry – who was filling in for an injured Chase Elliott – taking the runner-up position, and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain rounding out the top-three. 

 
 

Larson’s victory took Chevrolet to its 40th all-time victory in NASCAR’s premier series at Richmond Raceway – a record among its manufacturer competitors. Three of Chevrolet’s active NCS drivers have reached victory lane at the Virginia short-track including Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch, who leads the series with six career NCS wins, and Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman (one NCS win – 2021). 

AT A GLANCE: FIVE-TO-GO

This weekend marks just five races remaining in the NASCAR Cup series’ regular season – each contested on a distinctly different race track configuration. The journey to the series’ championship title run includes a short-track, an intermediate oval, a pair of road courses and a superspeedway – with Chevrolet holding the reigns as the series’ most recent winner at four of the remaining tracks on the regular season schedule: 

       Richmond Raceway – Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 (April 2023)

       Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course – Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Camaro ZL1 (August 2022)

       Watkins Glen International – Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 (August 2022)

       Daytona International Speedway – Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Camaro ZL1 (February 2023). 

Five drivers from four different Chevrolet teams have already notched their spot in the series’ 16-driver playoff field with at least one win to their name. Four of the five spots just below the playoff cutline are occupied by Team Chevy drivers who still have an opportunity to point their way into the post-season. The first driver on the outside looking in is Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger, who moved into the 17th position in the points standings and just 17-points below the cutline following last weekend’s event. After getting caught-up in an accident that resulted in a DNF at Pocono Raceway, Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez moved to the 18th position in the points standings and 23-points below the cutline. After both missing a handful of races due to injuries at the beginning of the season, Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott sit in the 20th and 21st positions, respectively, in the points standings – but are both on the horizon of tracks they have found success, including victory lane. 

LARSON STELLAR ON SHORT-TRACKS

Team Chevy’s Kyle Larson has found success on every type of race track configuration that the NASCAR Cup Series competes at, but one that stands-out this season is at the short-tracks. Larson’s two points-paying NCS wins this season came during the series’ three-race short-track swing this spring – first at Richmond Raceway in April, with the driver visiting victory lane at Martinsville Speedway just two weeks later. The former champion also put on a dominating performance during NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro Speedway in May for the non-points paying All-Star Race – leading 145 of the race’s 200 laps en route to the one-million-dollar grand prize. 

 
 
 

In the NCS’ six points-paying races on tracks one-mile or less this season, Larson has finished no worse than fourth in four of those events. On top of his wins at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway, the Team Chevy driver also collected a fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway in March, as well as a third-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway just a few weeks ago. 

BUSCH WITH STORIED HISTORY AT RICHMOND

An automatic favorite heading to “America’s Premiere Short Track” is Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch. In 35 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond Raceway, the 38-year-old Nevada native has found victory lane a series-leading six times. Of those triumphs includes a sweep of the events in 2018, making Busch just one of two active drivers to post consecutive wins at the Virginia short-track. On an even more impressive note, Busch has yet to post a DNF in any of his career NCS starts at Richmond Raceway. Taking it one step further, he’s completed all but one lap in his 35 career NCS starts at the track – running 14,208 of the 14,209 laps. 

CLOSING OUT THE NCTS REGULAR SEASON

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) has reached the final race of its 2023 regular season – with 250 laps around the .75-mile oval of Richmond Raceway determining the three remaining spots in the series’ 10-driver playoff field. 

 

As the points currently stand heading into the regular season finale, Team Chevy drivers account for five of the top-10 spots above the playoff cutline. Coming off his sixth top-five finish of the season, GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger took over the third position in the points standings – now 59-points behind the leader. The 38-year-old Alabama native is one of the three Team Chevy drivers that have already clinched a spot in the post-season title run. Joining Enfinger on that list is Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar, who sit in the sixth and seventh positions, respectively, in the standings. Team Chevy’s Matt DiBenedetto and Nike Sanchez maintained their positions above the playoff cutline following last weekend’s trip to Pocono Raceway – with DiBenedetto in the eighth position (+31 points above the cutline) and Sanchez in the ninth position (+21 points above the cutline). 

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: RETURNING TO ROAD AMERICA

Three of the next four events for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) will be contested on a road course – with the first stop featuring the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit of Road America. Saturday’s Road America 180 will mark the series’ 14th consecutive appearance at the Wisconsin circuit. Chevrolet recorded its first NXS win at Road America in June 2011 with Reed Sorenson behind the wheel of the No. 32 Chevrolet for team owner Steve Turner. The manufacturer has since made its way to victory lane at the circuit a manufacturer-leading seven times. Of those slated to compete in this weekend’s event, only three drivers have found victory lane at the circuit – all of which come from the Chevrolet camp (Justin Allgaier – 2018; Jeremy Clements – 2017; AJ Allmendinger – 2013). Chevrolet has already made one trip to victory lane in the series on a road course this season after Allmendinger defended his winning title at Circuit of The Americas in March.

BOWTIE BULLETS:

·       NASCAR Cup Series victories by active Chevrolet drivers at Richmond Raceway:    

  • Kyle Busch – series-leading six wins (2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)
  • Kyle Larson – two wins (2023, 2017)
  • Alex Bowman – one win (2021)

 

·       In 133 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Richmond Raceway, Chevrolet has recorded 40 victories and 48 poles – both of which are series-best feats.  

 

·       Chevrolet recorded six consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victories at Richmond Raceway from 2006 to 2008 – a record for the longest streak of consecutive wins by a single manufacturer at the .75-mile Virginia oval. 

 

·       Hendrick Motorsports leads all active NASCAR Cup Series teams with 57 short-track wins, recorded by 14 different drivers. 12 of those victories came at Richmond Raceway.

 

·       Three of the five repeat winners in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season come from Team Chevy:

  • William Byron: series-leading four wins (Las Vegas, Phoenix, Darlington & Atlanta 2)
  • Kyle Busch: three wins (Auto Club, Talladega, WWTR)
  • Kyle Larson: two wins (Richmond & Martinsville)

 

·       In 21 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series race this season, Chevrolet continues to lead the series in wins (12), top-fives (48), top-10s (91), stage wins (18) and laps led (2,344).

 

·       Chevrolet leads the series in wins across all three NASCAR national series this season with 12 victories in 21 NASCAR Cup Series races, 10 victories in 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races and nine wins in 15 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races – all with a win percentage of at least 50%.

 

·       With William Byron’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports now sits at 297 all-time NASCAR Cup Series victories – all recorded with Chevrolet.

 

·       Chevrolet’s series-leading 12 NASCAR Cup Series wins this season have been recorded by drivers from four different Chevrolet teams: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daugherty Racing), Kyle Busch (Richard Childress Racing), William Byron and Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports) and Ross Chastain and Shane van Gisbergen (Trackhouse Racing).

 

·       Chevrolet drivers have recorded 18 of the 42 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins this season: William Byron (seven; series-leading), Ross Chastain (five), Kyle Larson (three), Kyle Busch (two) and Chase Elliott (one).

 

·       Chevrolet continues to sit atop the manufacturer points standings in all three NASCAR national series, leading by 57 points in the NASCAR Cup Series, 54 points in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 46 points in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

 

·       With Grant Enfinger’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win at World Wide Technology Raceway, GMS Racing is now the winningest Chevrolet organization in NCTS’ history with 44 all-time wins in the series.

 

·       With its 41 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer’s Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver’s Championships, and 845 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history.  

FOR THE FANS:

·       Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at Richmond Raceway.  

·       Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles at the Team Chevy Racing Display including: Silverado 1500 ZR2, Silverado 2500, Colorado ZR2 Premier, Camaro ZL1, Corvette Z51, Trax.  

 

 

Team Chevy Driver Appearances at the Display:

Saturday, July 29

·       Matt DiBenedetto: 1 p.m. 

·       Nick Sanchez: 3 p.m. 

·       Christian Eckes & Jake Garcia: 3:15 p.m.

·       Chase Purdy & Matt Mills: 3:30 p.m. 

 

Sunday, July 30

·       Noah Gragson: 12:15 p.m.

·       Ricky Stenhouse Jr: 12:30 p.m.

 

Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:

·       Saturday, July 29: 10 a.m.

·       Sunday, July 30: 9 a.m.  

TUNE IN:

NASCAR Cup Series: Richmond Raceway

Cook Out 400

Sunday, July 30, at 3 p.m. ET

(USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series: Road America

Road America 180

Saturday, July 29, at 3 p.m. ET

(NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

 

 

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Richmond Raceway

Worldwide Express 250

Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. ET

(FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90) 

QUOTABLE QUOTES:

ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 WORLDWIDE EXPRESS CAMARO ZL1

Where would you evaluate your No. 1 team is heading into these final few races before the Playoffs?

“My team is rock solid. This is year three with these guys and I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else. What’s good is we know we are going to get to do this together for a long time. We have fun. Our hauler has fun. There’s not many people who have more fun in the Cup Series garage than we do. I’m having a blast and living my dream. I feel great about where we are.”

 

It looks like it’s a busy weekend for Worldwide Express in Richmond?

“It’s cool to see a partner like Worldwide Express make such a splash in a race market like Richmond. We go to so many different markets each year it’s good to leave it in a better place and really show the people that even though there is a race, there’s other elements too. How cool is it to get an opportunity to drive around the track in your street car and raise a little money! The Worldwide Express people are like family and it’s going to be a busy and fun weekend in Richmond.”

 

 

KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1

Larson on racing at Richmond Raceway:

“All of our wins this year have been on short-tracks: Richmond, Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. We were good at Loudon- even compared to the (HMS) teammates. Honestly, we have been pretty good everywhere this year. Especially early on in the year, we were really good on 1.5-mile tracks, intermediate tracks and super speedways even. I’ve been upfront, but crash or whatever. I’m excited about going to Richmond this weekend and going back to a track that we won at earlier this year. As the season progresses, setups change and the weather is going to be different than it was earlier this year. It’s not going to be the same, but I’m confident because we have been good on all the short-tracks.”

 

 

CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1

Daniels on racing at Richmond Raceway:

“We are planning to try to respect the track as much as we possibly can. This place is so difficult. We were very fortunate to have a great race car and race overall in the spring. It’s certainly been a tough place for us in the past and we know that so we are trying to have a healthy amount of respect to make sure we do the right things and study ourselves right. We won’t rest on our lorals of a great race in the spring or be lazy about our approach. We will certainly look at everything that we can or need to from the spring race and make any adjustments that we see needed. Kyle was pretty happy with the car, but we can always be better. Hopefully we can execute a very solid race and be in the top-10 by the end of it and have a shot (to win).

 

 

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 X WORLD WALLET CAMARO ZL1

How much did you learn at the first Richmond race earlier this season that will help you when you go back?

“I think some of the biggest things that we learned at the first Richmond race earlier this year was what our short track package had that was good what our short track package that was bad. All year has kind of been a struggle at the at the lower downforce, shorter track races. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of all that and figure it out. We know that there is a lot of room for improvement and sometimes little things can mean big improvements. We’ll just keep working at it.”

 

Do you think the combination of higher track temperatures and increased tire wear will make for better racing at Richmond?

“More times than not I would say that the higher track temperature and increased tire wear does make for better racing anywhere because it allows you to save your stuff at times compared to other drivers and not have to run as hard and that will reward you in the long run. But it doesn’t always equate to that. You just have to play it by ear as the race goes along. Typically, when you get increased tire wear, that allows you to move around on the racetrack and get higher on the racetrack as the day goes.”

 

Do you miss the night races at Richmond? Is that something that you’d like to see back on the schedule?

“I really loved the night races at Richmond. I definitely feel like at least one of them can be a night race on the schedule. It’s hot during the day, but also being a Saturday night race always lends itself to putting on a good race and having the day off on Sunday is nice when you’re able to be home and chill out.”

 

 

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 16 KAULIG RACING CAMARO ZL1

“In the Next Gen car, Richmond has probably been our worst racetrack and a place we still need to figure out. Our short track program has been getting better, and with what we are learning, we should go there and hopefully have a better race. Where that puts us at the end of the day, I’m not sure. Of the tracks left in the regular season, Richmond is definitely the one we have circled that we need to improve at. If we do that, I think that will give us confidence for the rest of them and have a shot to make the playoffs.”

 

 

JUSTIN HALEY, NO. 31 LEAFFILTER GUTTER PROTECTION CAMARO ZL1

“We struggled quite a bit the last time we raced at Richmond. We have been working hard as a team preparing for this race and improving our short-track program, and I think as long as we control everything we can control and execute like we have been lately; we will be in a good spot going into the race.”

 

 

NOAH GRAGSON, NO. 42 SUNSEEKER RESORTS CAMARO ZL1

“Richmond was a great track for me in Xfinity and we had a crash there in the spring so we didn’t get to finish the race. Going to tracks for the second time this season will be helpful as we have notes from the previous races. Hopefully last week’s finish in Pocono, and not having any in-race issues, will carry over to this weekend and a solid outcome.”

 

 

ERIK JONES, NO. 43 ALLEGIANT CAMARO ZL1

“Richmond has been okay, kind of an up and down place, but the overall track itself is just like that for everyone. You’re either going to hit on it well, but if you are a little bit off, it seems like you’re way off. I thought we had some work to do there from the spring, I think we have some different ideas and different things that can help us out. We have had some solid speed there at times in the NextGen cars, we just haven’t been able to put it together. I am hoping this is the one where we can do that and put it all together. Looking back on my career there have been some races where I feel like we were running well there, and I know the feeling that I had. So, I am just trying to get back to that and put it all together to have a good one at Richmond!”

 

 

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KLEENEX CAMARO ZL1

“We’re really looking forward to Richmond. We feel like that one owed us a good finish earlier this season. And, it feels good to be locked in the Playoffs. We felt strong about making it, but you never want to count your cards before everything is finished. Being locked in, we can really focus on what we have been talking about. That’s executing and taking a car and finishing better than where we should. That’s what we have got to do in the Playoffs. We’ve got to make sure that we maximize our day, no matter how our car is handling.”

 

 

DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 JOCKEY CAMARO ZL1

How disappointed were you after Sunday in Pocono?

“Extremely disappointed but you can only control what you can control. You get mad but you have to forget about it and move on. We are totally focused on Richmond this week and getting a good finish there. There is a lot of racing remaining and we have to focus on today, not what happened last week or what is going to happen in the future.”

 

What are your thoughts with five races remaining the regular season?

“We feel like we should be part of the playoffs and that we are strong enough to make some noise once we get in the playoffs. Overall, I think we have fast cars 90 percent of the time and we have to take advantage of it. We have some tracks coming up where we have run really well. It’s going to be about execution and avoiding bad luck. We just have to do it.”

 

 

GRANT ENFINGER, NO. 23 CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT SILVERADO RST

You’ve ran really well in all of your previous starts at Richmond, what is it about this type of track that fits your driving style?

“I love the tracks that are low on grip and have tire falloff. Richmond is one of the toughest short tracks that we have when it comes to tire management, and it’s important to manage your stuff because of all the long runs that the place puts on. Last year I felt like we had a top-five truck, but I feel like Jeff Hensley has made our package better since then. I’m confident in all of the preparation that Jeff and the guys have put in on improving our Champion Power Equipment Chevy this time around, and would love if we could finish out the regular season with another win to give us the momentum heading into the playoffs.”

 

 

RAJAH CARUTH, NO. 24 CAMP CULTIVATION SILVERADO RST

Richmond Raceway is one of the top tracks that hold a special place in your heart, so what would a win in your home race mean to you and your team?

“It would be so special and moving to get it done this weekend. It’s been such a tumultuous last year and some change, so to be able to potentially get my first win and lock us into the playoffs would be storybook. I’m thankful to everybody that has been supporting our program here at GMS Racing this year, and it’s special to run a Camp Cultivation paint scheme this weekend. I know how hard Warrick, Chinique, and the team at the Wendell Scott Foundation and New College Institute have been working on putting that program together. It was fun to join them at the camp last week and I’m sure that running with it represented on our truck is going to help spread the word for next time. We can get it done this weekend. Whatever it takes!”

 

 

DANIEL DYE, NO. 43 BULL & BOAR BARBECUE SHOP / LIFTEDTRUCKSFORSALE.COM SILVERADO RST

As we wrap up the regular season this weekend, can you describe some of the things that you have learned and improved on by running in the Truck Series?

“I’d say this season has definitely been a much larger learning experience compared to what I was used to running with the last couple of years in the ARCA Series. The Truck Series is way more developed, and the aggression level is way higher. So, I’ve been learning how to race with all of these guys with that level of aggression, but also maintain and walk that line of being smart. Our group on the No. 43 team has definitely improved on our communication throughout the season, and I’m feeling more confident as a driver, so overall I would say that it’s been a good experience for us. I’ve never raced at Richmond before, but it reminds me of some of the characteristics of the short tracks that I grew up on, so I think we have the opportunity to run well this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

 

CHASE PURDY, NO. 4 BAMA BUGGIES SILVERADO RST

What is your approach heading into Saturday’s race?

“I would say our approach is to do everything we can to put ourselves in position to win. That’s our only option to make the playoffs and that’s what we plan to do.”

 

Is there a track that you’ve raced at in any series that is similar to Richmond?

“Richmond is similar to 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola (Florida) in a lot of ways. It’s a worn out short track where you have to manage and save tires and be there at the end of the race. I’ve had a lot of strong runs at 5 Flags — won the Snowflake and almost won the Derby — so I feel like Richmond is a place where I can go out and compete for the win.”

 

 

MATT MILLS, NO. 51 J.F. ELECTRIC SILVERADO RST

What do you think the differences between driving a Xfinity car and a truck will be at Richmond?

“In the truck I feel like I’ll be able to be a tad more aggressive off the corners. In the Xfinity car, being able to feather the throttle off the corners kind of fits my driving style not having to be so aggressive and attacking every lap. Hopefully, the style of driving the Xfinity car will be able to transfer over to the truck. I think you’ll have to be a little bit more aggressive with the truck but still feel like you have an egg under the throttle and make sure that you take care of your tires. It’s usually a race where you have to be smooth throughout the race and be there at the end.”

 

Have you set any goals for this weekend?

“The way I look at it is I want to prove that I’m not wasting this opportunity. A top 10 would be good, top five would be great and if I’m able to win it would be a dream come true. Really, this is going to be a learning curve for me. It’s going to be a great experience and kind of open up my eyes to the sport and see how the upper echelon teams operate. I feel like I need to go out there and not make a fool of myself, gain respect and take everything that I learn this weekend at Richmond and go out and be even better when we show up at Milwaukee.”

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