Hendrick Motorsports Previews The KC Masterpiece 400

KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 12 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 8 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, MAY 12 (FS1/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 22                       Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2018 Season

  • 15th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 8 laps led

Career

  • 88 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 25 top-five finishes
  • 43 top-10 finishes
  • 926 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 138 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: NAPA AUTO PARTS will once again serve as the primary partner of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Atlanta-based company is the majority sponsor of Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team with 26 NASCAR Cup Series races this year.

KANSAS STATS: Chase Elliott is set to make his fifth Cup start at Kansas this weekend. In his previous four starts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has collected one top-five finish and two top-10s. He averages a starting position of 12.5 and a finishing position of 18.2. He also has two starts at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning two top-10 finishes and averaging a starting position of 12.0 and finishing position of 8.5.

1.5-MILE TRACK STATS: Since joining the Cup Series full-time in 2016, Elliott’s performance at 1.5-mile tracks has been impressive, collecting two second-place finishes (tied for fifth most among Cup Series drivers), 10 top-five finishes (fourth) and 16 top-10s (tied for fifth).

MONSTER MILE REWIND: Elliott collected a 12th-place finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The result moved Elliott up to 15th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

HOME SWEET HOME: No. 9 team tire carrier/jackman TJ Semke hails from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, less than 40 miles from Kansas Speedway. Before stepping on the football field at the University of Kansas in 2012, Semke was a part-time bounty hunter. The 25-year-old was a defensive lineman for the Jayhawks for three years, and in two of them, he earned Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honors. Semke signed with Hendrick Motorsports in October 2016.

GET YOUR VOTES IN: The All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is quickly approaching and Elliott is among 20 drivers who are not yet locked into the event. In both 2016 and 2017, Elliott was voted into the All-Star field by the fans. This year, fans have the same opportunity to get their favorite driver into the ranks to compete for a chance to win the $1 million All-Star Race purse by voting once a day at www.nascar.com/fanvote. Votes shared via Facebook or Twitter will count double toward a driver’s total. Voting is now open and will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, May 18.

CHARLOTTE RACE WEEKEND SWEEPSTAKES: With the help of Hooters, Elliott has put together an amazing Memorial Day race weekend VIP experience like no other. For as little as a $10 donation to the Chase Elliott Foundation, fans will be entered to win a grand prize trip for two to Charlotte, North Carolina, to meet the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and attend not only the NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sunday, May 27), but also the 22nd Annual Hooters International Pageant the night before the race. Airfare, hotel, VIP tickets to the Hooters Pageant and garage/pit passes are all included. The more you donate, the more chances you have to win the grand prize trip. When you make a donation, you can also receive special rewards like exclusive T-shirts, signed hero cards, and die-casts, and even garage/pit passes to your favorite NASCAR race. Click here for more information or to make a donation.

William Byron
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver William Byron   Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 20                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season

  • 18th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 31 laps led

Career

  • 11 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 31 laps led

Track Career 

  • 0 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m. local time in the Kansas Speedway media center.

DOVER RECAP: William Byron and the No. 24 team had a solid race last Sunday at Dover International Speedway, earning a 14th-place finish. Byron was the highest-finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie in the 400-mile race – he has a solid lead in the rookie-of-the-year standings – and the top-15 result helped Byron gain two positions in the overall driver standings, moving him up to 18th. The 20-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, native has run in the top 10 in nine of the first 11 races of 2018 and has run inside the top five in eight of the last nine races.

LIBERTY RETURNS: The blue and red Liberty University colors will adorn the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kansas Speedway for the university’s fifth race of the season. Liberty is the majority primary partner of the No. 24 team with 12 races in 2018. Liberty University, founded in 1971, offers more than 550 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. Byron, a sophomore majoring in business communications, takes online classes at Liberty, which offers more than 250 programs online.

KANSAS STATS: In two NASCAR national series starts at Kansas Speedway – one in the Xfinity Series and one in the Camping World Truck Series – Byron never finished outside of the top five. He won his first Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 2016 in just his fifth start in the series. Byron started second and led 34 laps before ending up in Victory Lane to jump-start what would be the most successful season for a rookie in series history. In his lone Xfinity start at Kansas last season, Byron qualified sixth and powered to a fourth-place result. There has never been a first-time winner in the Cup Series at Kansas, a stat Byron hopes to change this weekend. In his last race on a 1.5-mile track (Texas), Byron finished in the top 10, so Kansas may be a great opportunity for him to capitalize. Two of his teammates – Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott – finished in the top 10 at Kansas Speedway as rookies.

JG VIP EXPERIENCE: Byron will participate in the 2018 Jeff Gordon #24Ever VIP Experience again this weekend. The experience gives fans the opportunity to meet two drivers of the No. 24 Chevrolet – Byron and Gordon – and includes a meet-and-greet, an autograph, and a photo, along with a behind-the-scenes garage tour and an exclusive gift. The experience is available at three future races – Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Sonoma Raceway. Spots are extremely limited and this is the final year the package will be available. Visit www.jeffgordonvip.com for more information or to purchase a spot.

AUTOGRAPH SIGNING AT MERCH RIG: Byron will sign autographs for fans at his merchandise hauler in the midway at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 12, at 4:15 p.m. local time. Autographs will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the No. 24 merchandise rig prior to the session for more information.

KENTUCKY TEST: Byron and the No. 24 team will participate in a one-day tire test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, May 15. The test session will be the first Goodyear tire test for Byron and his No. 24 team this year. They previously participated in an organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway just before the start of the 2018 season

ALL-STAR RACE VOTING: Voting is now open for the 2018 All-Star Race. As a Cup rookie, Byron isn’t locked into the All-Star Race – yet. He has three chances to race his way in from the Open qualifying race by winning one of the three stages, and another opportunity by receiving the fan vote. Fans can vote once per day and votes shared via Facebook or Twitter count double, making sharing on social media a key component. Fans can vote for Byron at NASCAR.com/fanvote until 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, May 18. The winner will be announced immediately following the conclusion of the Open qualifying race on Saturday, May 19.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led

Career

  • 590 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 223 top-five finishes
  • 345 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led

Track Career 

  • 23 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
DOVER RECAP: Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team scored their fourth top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Dover International Speedway. The ninth-place result was Johnson’s 24th top-10 over the course of his 33 starts at the track. Johnson also picked up valuable points last weekend by finishing eighth in Stage 1 and fourth in Stage 2.

KANSAS WINNER: Johnson has seen plenty of success over the course of his 23 starts at Kansas Speedway, accumulating three wins at the 1.5-mile track. His last win came on May 9, 2015, when Johnson led the final 10 laps to edge competitor Kevin Harvick for the victory. Johnson has 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks, the most all-time.

LONG TOP-10 STREAK: From the September 2007 fall race until the spring race in May 2014, the El Cajon, California, native finished inside the top 10 in 11 straight events at Kansas. During that time, he won twice and amassed six top-five finishes.

TOTAL DOMINATION: On Oct. 9, 2011, Johnson started 19th at Kansas and made his way to the front of the field rather quickly. Of the 272 total laps, Johnson led 197 of them – the most laps a winner has ever led at Kansas in a single race.

ASK JJ: Johnson will be in the Ignition Garage at Kansas Speedway for a fan question-and-answer session on Saturday, May 12, from 4 to 4:15 p.m. local time. Fans must have a NASCAR Cup Series grandstand ticket or RV admission in order to purchase the Ignition Garage Hospitality.

POCONO PLAYGROUND: Before heading to Dover last week, Johnson made a pit stop at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, to promote the upcoming June 3 race. Johnson, along with track CEO Nick Igdalsky, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and Kulture City, unveiled the Pocono Mountains Inclusive Playground. Pocono Raceway is now the first sensory-inclusive motor sports facility in the world. To see more, click here.

MEN’S JOURNAL MAGAZINE: Johnson is featured in the June edition of Men’s Journal, on newsstands now. In the magazine, he weighs in on some items that have his “Seal of Approval.” The items include Common Projects shoes, a handcrafted Merrimack canoe, the movie “Icarus” and his Trek Emonda bicycle.

VOTING OPEN FOR HELMET OF HOPE: Ten charitable organizations have been selected as semifinalists for the 2018 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Helmet of Hope. Voting starts May 8 at noon ET and goes through noon ET on Tuesday, May 15. The five semifinalists that receive the most votes will receive a $25,000 cash grant, an ice cream party and their organization’s logo on Johnson’s helmet during the race at Kentucky Speedway on July 14. Click here to vote.

NEXT UP, 84: Johnson’s next trip to Victory Lane will be his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win. He secured his 83rd in June 2017 to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. An 84th win would tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Johnson is currently 10 wins behind former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Alex Bowman   Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 25                         Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2018 Season

  • 14th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 65 laps led

Career

  • 92 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 268 laps led

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led
AXALTA ON BOARD: For the second race this season, the Axalta colors will adorn the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Axalta has been the primary in one event at the 1.5-mile speedway in 2016 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. Earlier this season, Alex Bowman ran the Axalta colors at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the team finished 20th following a lengthy rain delay. Axalta will be the primary partner on the No. 88 machine during 15 NASCAR Cup Series events this season.

BOWMAN AT KANSAS: Bowman has five NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas. The 25-year-old was behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 while subbing for Earnhardt and qualified fifth before finishing the event in the seventh position. During that event in 2016, Bowman was the highest finishing non-playoff driver and finished nine spots better than his average running position of 15.89. The Tucson, Arizona, native has one start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the Kansas City, Kansas, track – he qualified and finished 11th in 2013.

IVES AT KANSAS: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots six times for the No. 88 team at Kansas with drivers Earnhardt and Bowman. The crew chief’s résumé at the track in the NASCAR Cup Series includes one top-five finish and three top-10s. The Bark River, Michigan, native has two starts as a crew chief in Xfinity Series competition at the track, where he has one top-five finish and two top-10s. While a race engineer with the No. 48 team from 2006-12, Ives earned two pole awards and two wins at the track.

WHERE’S ALEX: Bowman will be in the Ignition Garage for a fan question-and-answer session on Saturday, May 12, from 4:15 to 4:30 p.m. local time. Fans must have a Cup Series grandstand ticket or RV admission in order to purchase the Ignition Garage Hospitality. Bowman will also sign autographs for the VIP Corral Youth Autograph Session from 4:30 to 4:45 p.m. local time on Saturday.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Jacob Conley, the fueler for the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team, grew up just a little under three hours from Kansas Speedway in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Doane University in Crete, Nebraska, and graduated with a degree in sociology in 2012. While there, he played offensive tackle for the Tigers and was a starter all four years of college.

VOTING IS OPEN: In less than two weeks, the NASCAR Cup Series will race under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2018 All-Star Race. In order to join the main event, Bowman – who is not yet eligible – must win a stage in the Open qualifying race or he can be voted in by the fans. From now until May 18, fans can vote once per day here for Bowman to join the All-Star Race. The fan vote winner will be announced on race day on May 19.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed six wins, five pole positions, 30 top-five finishes, 53 top-10 finishes and 1,077 laps led, all of which lead NASCAR Cup Series teams all-time at the track. Jimmie Johnson, who leads active drivers in wins, top-five finishes and top-10 finishes at Kansas, most recently won for the organization at the track in 2015.

1.5-MILE WINNERS: All-time, Hendrick Motorsports owns 57 wins on 1.5-mile tracks. That is the most of any organization, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s 43 wins, Roush Fenway Racing’s 41 wins and Team Penske’s 22 wins.

250 ON THE HORIZON: The next points-paying win by a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will be the organization’s milestone 250th in NASCAR Cup Series competition. With 268 Cup victories, only Petty Enterprises has more. Junior Johnson and Associates is third all-time at 153 wins, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing with 151 and Roush Fenway Racing with 137.

16 MAKES 249: Sixteen different drivers have contributed to Hendrick Motorsports’ total of 249 points-paying Cup wins. Only the Wood Brothers team, which has sent 19 different drivers to Victory Lane, has more. Junior Johnson and Associates won with 13 different drivers.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: If Chase Elliott, William Byron or Alex Bowman wins at Kansas, it will mark the ninth time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing share the all-time record, having each sent eight first-time winners to Victory Lane in Cup Series competition.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 214 pole positions, 1,034 top-five finishes and 1,753 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 67,000 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on what makes Kansas unique:
“I think the repave at Kansas a few years ago is probably the best repave that NASCAR has had in the past five or six years. I don’t know why or the reason, but the racetrack has widened out and allowed people to move around a lot more. For a track that is as freshly paved as it is, you don’t see that very often. That is what makes it different to me.”

William Byron on racing at Kansas:
“I like Kansas just because that weekend a couple of years ago was when I got my first national (series) win in the Truck Series. The track was good for us last year in the Xfinity car and that’s the only time I’ve raced there since the Truck win. It’s a fun racetrack; I enjoy it. It’s really smooth and hopefully the top groove comes in – especially at night, I think it will – so there will be some good options there, and I’m looking forward to a good weekend. It’s a good Saturday night race and then I can spend Mother’s Day with my family – so I’ll have to remember to make sure I give my mom some extra attention this weekend (laughs).”

Jimmie Johnson on continuing to improve:
“We have to get better on Fridays to put ourselves in better positions on race days. Starting closer to the front would help us a ton. We are still making gains and I think within the next few weeks we will be where we want to be running. I look forward to Kansas this weekend, it’s been a great track for the No. 48.”

Johnson on Mother’s Day:
“I’m looking forward to having Sunday off and celebrating Mother’s Day. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by strong women growing up. My mom, Cathy, was really the one that gave my brothers and I our compassionate hearts and our understanding mindset. Watching my children and knowing the mother that they have in Chani, it’s just spectacular. Chani is very kind and understanding, and she leads by example to show our daughters what a strong woman truly is.”

Alex Bowman on the uniqueness of Kansas:
“Kansas is cool because it’s newer pavement, but it’s widened out a lot. You can run from the bottom to the top. That is one of the only newer paved places that you can do that right now. I enjoy going there as much as it widens out.”

Bowman on Kansas:
“Kansas Speedway is one of my favorite tracks, to be honest. I feel like when you run at night versus during the day, the track still feels the same. The top always comes in, which makes the racing fun. I ran the No. 88 car at the track in 2016 and we had a pretty good race and finished inside the top 10. This is a race that I definitely look forward to coming to.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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