Hendrick Motorsports Gets Ready For Talladega

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY (2.66-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: TALLADEGA, ALABAMA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 31 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 14 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA Nightvision Lamps Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 5th in points
  • 30 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 265 laps led

Career

  • 107 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 32 top-five finishes
  • 55 top-10 finishes
  • 1,183 laps led

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 62 laps led
Chase Elliott will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct 13, at 9 a.m. local time in the media center at Talladega Superspeedway.

WINNER WINNER: Sunday afternoon at Dover International SpeedwayChase Elliott captured his second career NASCAR Cup Series win and clinched a spot in the Round of 8 in the process. Starting the day in ninth, Elliott overcame an early uncontrolled tire violation and utilized a strategy call by the No. 9 team to stay on the track during a late caution to take the lead. He held that lead through multiple restarts to ultimately capture the victory in overtime.

LET’S TALK PLAYOFFS: The No. 9 team’s win on Sunday secures its spot in the Round of 8 that will begin at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 28. Elliott, who has made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, will now compete in the Round of 8 for the second consecutive year. Since the start of the playoffs in 2017, Elliott owns the second-best average finish in playoff races (9.0) among NASCAR Cup Series drivers. In the 14 playoff races in which the 22-year-old driver has competed since 2017, he has collected one win, eight top-five finishes – four of which are runner-up results – and 10 top-10s. Elliott has led a total of 421 laps in those 14 races en route to his 9.0 average finish.

LAST 11: Elliott continues his strong showing in the last 11 races, winning twice, leading 246 laps and finishing inside the top 10 nine times including finishes of sixth or better in the last three races. Elliott and the No. 9 team’s momentum in the last 11 races continues to build with an average finish of 8.4 (tied for the second best) – significantly better than the team’s 14.4 average finish during the first 19 races of the season. Elliott and Kevin Harvick lead all drivers over the last 11 races with six top-five finishes. The third-year driver’s nine top-10s over the last 11 races are tied for second-most among all competitors.

NAPA NIGHTVISION LAMPS: Last week, Elliott revealed his No. 9 NAPA Nightvision Lamps Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that he will pilot this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. NAPA Nightvision Lamps are made with added brightness and whiteness for increased visibility and safety on the road. Now at NAPA, save up to $10 a pair, and with every purchase a donation will be made to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The fund serves United States military personnel suffering the effects of a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.

RESTRICTOR-PLATE STATS: Elliott is no stranger to performing well on restrictor-plate tracks. The driver of the No. 9 Chevy has won a Duel at Daytona in each of the last two seasons and was in position to win the 2017 Daytona 500 before running out of fuel from the lead on Lap 198 of 200. He also won the season opener at Daytona in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in February 2016. Earlier this season, during the first visit to Talladega, Elliott earned his career-best restrictor-plate finish of third. In his 11 NASCAR Cup Series restrictor-plate starts, he has collected four pole awards, averaged a starting position of 4.8 and led 123 laps.

GUSTAFSON AT RESTRICTOR-PLATE TRACKS: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 55th Cup Series race from atop the pit box at a restrictor-plate track this weekend at Talladega. In his previous 54 races calling the shots for five different drivers at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway, he collected nine top-five results – three of which were runner-up finishes – 12 top-10s, 395 laps led and 10 pole awards.

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: On Sunday, Oct. 14, Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Talladega Superspeedway Midway Area at 10:20 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

William Byron
No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 22nd in points
  • 30 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 56 laps led

Career

  • 30 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 56 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 14 laps led
TALLADEGA STATS: In his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway, rookie William Byron had a great race going, which included leading the field multiple times, before he was collected in a multi-car incident with fewer than 25 laps to go, ending his day. He spent 47 percent of the laps he raced at Talladega in the top 10 prior to the Lap 166 incident that left him 29th. However, his 14 laps led earned him a spot in the record books as the youngest Cup driver (20 years, 5 months, 0 days) to lead double-digit laps at a restrictor-plate track. Byron will look for redemption when he arrives at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend. In his two previous NASCAR national series starts at Talladega – one in the Xfinity Series and one in the Camping World Truck Series – Byron’s best finish was 10th, which came in his first start at the track in the NCWTS in 2016. In both of his most recent two restrictor-plate races in 2018, Byron has led at least 12 laps for a combined total of 26 laps.

NO. 24 HISTORY AND FIRST WINS: In the No. 24 Chevy, Jeff Gordon earned 12 victories at restrictor-plate tracks, the most of any driver all-time and the most for any car number all-time, and six of those came at Talladega. Of 11 drivers who earned their first win at the 2.66-mile oval, two of them – Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers – were Hendrick Motorsports drivers, so it’s certainly not out of the question that Byron could earn his first win this weekend. Hendrick Motorsports is also tied for first among teams who have sent the most drivers to Victory Lane, winning at Talladega with seven different drivers.

EXPERIENCE ON THE BOX: While Byron may still be a Cup rookie, No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb is no stranger to restrictor-plate success. He’s earned three wins on the track type, leading three different drivers to Victory Lane. One of those restrictor-plate victories came at Talladega with driver Denny Hamlin in May 2014.

HERTZ AND HERTZ BUSINESS REWARDS: The yellow No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 returns to the track this weekend at Talladega. As announced in May, the Hertz Corporation, one of the world’s largest vehicle rental companies, joined Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of Byron and his iconic No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team beginning in 2018. As part of the two-year agreement, Hertz will be primary sponsor of the No. 24 team in four points-paying Cup Series races in both 2018 and 2019 and an associate-level partner in all other events. From now until Oct. 17, Hertz Business Rewards members can enter to win a VIP race weekend at ISM Raceway for four. Hertz Business Rewards members can book a rental on hertz.com with PC#204681 and their Hertz Business Rewards CDP number to be entered to win the following: four VIP tickets to the Nov. 11 race at ISM Raceway, your company name displayed on the No. 24 Hertz Chevy for the race, a meet-and-greet with Byron, pit and garage access, and free airfare, hotel accommodations and a Hertz rental.

ROOKIE BATTLE: With six races remaining in the 2018 season, Byron continues to hold the lead in the battle for the NASCAR Cup Series rookie of the year title. The driver of the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 leads the rookie standings by 120 points over Bubba Wallace.

CHEVY STAGE: Byron will visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Talladega Superspeedway Midway Area on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 9:50 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session before the race.

CLOSE TO HOME: No. 24 team spotter Tab Boyd claims Talladega Superspeedway as his home track. The Pensacola, Florida, native grew up about four hours away from the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Boyd has more than 20 years of experience in the sport, starting as an Xfinity Series tire changer and holding various mechanical and fabrication roles before transitioning to the spotter’s stand. In addition to spotting, Boyd has also driven race cars himself and still races occasionally in the Street Stock Mid-Atlantic Series.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DARIAN: Birthday wishes are in order for No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb. The NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief turns 43 on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

MARTINSVILLE VICTORY TOUR: Byron will stop by Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The Liberty University student will spend time talking and interacting with local students, showing off his iRacing skills, talking about how he prepares for race weekends and spending time with media members.

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

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 43                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season

  • 14th in points
  • 30 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 29 laps led

Career

  • 609 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 224 top-five finishes
  • 351 top-10 finishes
  • 18,692 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 470 laps led
AVERAGES AT TALLADEGA: Jimmie Johnson won the pole position at Talladega Superspeedway in his very first start at the 2.66-mile track on April 21, 2002. His first win at the track came on May 1, 2006, and he earned his most recent victory there on April 17, 2011. Johnson has led 470 laps around Talladega and has an average starting position of 10.6 and average finishing position of 17.1.

RESTRICTOR-PLATE WINS: Johnson is sixth on the all-time list for most wins on restrictor-plate tracks behind former teammate and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who has 12 wins. Johnson has five wins on plate tracks – two at Talladega Superspeedway and three at Daytona International Speedway.

SO CLOSE AT ‘DEGA: The last win Johnson recorded at Talladega was on April 17, 2011, when Johnson beat competitor Clint Bowyer by an eyelash. Johnson’s 0.002-second win remains tied for the closest finish in NASCAR history since the integration of electronic scoring.

PINK FOR OCTOBER: In an effort to recognize Breast Cancer awareness month, Johnson will wear pink racing gloves for the month of October. He also will use a pink Gatorade towel post-race, and his Team Lowe’s Racing New Era hat has pink accents. No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus also has pink incorporated into his hat this month and will wear a pink headset from Racing Electronics.

TEAM CHEVY STAGE: Johnson will appear at the Team Chevy Racing Display this Sunday, Oct. 14, at Talladega for a question-and-answer session at 10:20 a.m. local time. The stage is located in Talladega Superspeedway Midway Area.

JOHNSON’S GOT JOKES: Stemming from the last lap on-track mishap between Johnson and competitor Martin Truex Jr. at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “roval” event, Johnson reached out to both Truex and No. 78 team crew chief Cole Pearn via text message after the event to mend fences. All competitors concluded it was a racing incident and water under the bridge, with one caveat; Pearn told Johnson he could purchase the entire No. 78 team road bikes to ease their pain. Johnson took the request in stride, went shopping and placed 12 children’s bikes on the lift gate of the No. 78 team’s transporter in the garage at Dover International Speedway on Saturday night after hours. When the garage opened on Sunday, the No. 78 team, as well as the rest of the NASCAR garage, got a laugh out of the gesture, which created hilarious banter on social media. The bikes were autographed and given away to some lucky kids in the garage. Click here for the story.

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 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 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 12th in points
  • 30 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 68 laps led

Career

  • 111 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 271 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 26 laps led
Alex Bowman will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct 13, at 8:45 a.m. local time in the media center at Talladega Superspeedway.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: Alex Bowman and the No. 88 team remain 12th in the NASCAR playoff standings following last weekend’s finish at Dover. The team finished 28th after Bowman was involved in an on-track incident late in the race. There are two races remaining in the Round of 12, which include this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway and next weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway.

BOWMAN AT ‘DEGA: Bowman has six previous starts at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Cup Series. Earlier this season, the 25-year-old driver finished eighth after qualifying 11th at the track. The No. 88 team led 26 laps during the 188-lap event in the spring. The driver has one start at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he earned a 13th-place finish in 2013. One year earlier, Bowman ran an ARCA Racing Series event at the 2.66-mile track and finished 32nd.

RESTRICTOR-PLATE STATS: In the last two restrictor-plate races this season, there have been only two drivers to finish inside the top 10 in both events. Bowman finished eighth at Talladega in the spring and 10th at Daytona in July. In 2018, Bowman captured the pole for the Daytona 500 and has been one of three drivers to lead the field in all three plate races. With 40 total laps led at restrictor-plate tracks this season, Bowman leads all Chevrolet drivers and ranks fourth among all drivers.

IVES’ STATS ON PLATE TRACKS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives hascalled the shots seven times at Talladega Superspeedway. Ives’ drivers have accumulated one win, two top-five finishes and four top-10s. The No. 88 machine went to Victory Lane at the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel in 2015 after leading 67 laps. Ives’ drivers have led over 160 laps at the 2.66-mile facility in the Cup Series. The Michigan native has two starts as a crew chief at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and earned one win in 2013. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer on the No. 48 team. During that time, he was part of four pole awards, two wins and seven top-10 finishes at Talladega.

NATIONWIDE IS BACK: The Nationwide colors will be back on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Talladega. Back in August, Nationwide extended its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports with a new two-year agreement that will increase its majority sponsorship of Bowman and the No. 88 team. In 2019, the blue and white colors will adorn the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during 20 NASCAR Cup Series events.

HOME-TRACK FEELS: Tire carrier for the No. 88 team Rowdy Harrell returns to his home state of Alabama this weekend when the Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway. Harrell grew up in a small town near Tuscaloosa called Moundville, which is located approximately 115 miles from the 2.66-mile racetrack. The Alabama native was a middle linebacker for the University of Alabama under coach Nick Saban and was part of three national championship wins with the team in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Hendrick Motorsports

PLAYOFF PROWESS: The 2018 season marks the 13th consecutive season in which Hendrick Motorsports has sent at least two drivers into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, the most of all organizations. Hendrick Motorsports has placed at least three drivers in the playoffs in 11 different seasons, also the most of all teams. The organization has accumulated 42 wins during the playoffs, the most all-time. A Hendrick Motorsports driver has made the Championship 4 in two of the four seasons in the current format, and won the championship in seven of the 14 seasons with a playoff system. Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman qualified for this year’s playoffs. However, Johnson’s 2018 championship run was cut short after he was eliminated following the Charlotte race. Elliott’s most recent victory at Dover International Speedway automatically advanced the driver to the Round of 8, which will begin Oct. 28 at Martinsville Speedway.

GET YOUR VOTES IN: Voting for the 2018 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award, presented by Hooters, officially opened in September, but there’s still time to cast your votes. Fans can vote for a single driver once per day through Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 12 p.m. ET. Votes shared on Facebook or Twitter count double. All four Hendrick Motorsports teammates are in the running for the honor. The 2018 NMPA Most Popular Driver winner will be announced as part of the NASCAR Cup Series Awards on Thursday, Nov. 29, in Las Vegas. It will be broadcast on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

POSTSEASON PLAYERS: Bowman became the eighth different driver that Hendrick Motorsports has taken to the playoffs, the most of all organizations in Cup Series history. He joins Elliott, Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch on the list.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 12 wins, 12 pole positions, 56 top-five finishes, 84 top-10s and 2,752 laps led, all of which are the most all-time at the track. Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent Talladega win came in 2015 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his way to Victory Lane in the May race after qualifying fourth.

PLATE PROWESS: Hendrick Motorsports leads the way for teams all-time on restrictor-plate tracks in wins (24), poles (31), top-five finishes (104), top-10s (170) and laps led (4,598). The organization’s drivers have swept the top two finishing positions nine times on restrictor-plate tracks, including four times at Talladega – both the most all-time.

SPREADING THE WINS AROUND: Six different Hendrick Motorsports drivers have contributed to the organization’s 12 wins at Talladega Superspeedway –  Gordon (six), Johnson (two), Brian Vickers, Earnhardt, Ken Schrader and Terry Labonte. That’s the most all-time, ahead of Ranier Racing’s five different drivers to find Victory Lane at the 2.66-mile oval.

FRONT-RUNNERS: The organization has won 10 of the last 14 restrictor-plate poles in which qualifying was held. Hendrick Motorsports owns the streak of most consecutive front-row starts on restrictor-plate tracks with seven from 2014-2016. The organization has earned 31 pole positions at Talladega, the most of all teams by 17. Hendrick Motorsports has also swept the front row in qualifying in four of the last five plate races and owns a total of six front-row sweeps in qualifying at Talladega.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: With Elliott earning his first two Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen and Dover, Hendrick Motorsports now holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Bowman wins at Talladega, it will extend the record to the 10th time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 251 race victories, 215 pole positions, 1,044 top-five finishes and 1,780 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 if his Dover win takes any playoffs pressure off of him:
“Oh, it’s huge. I mean, I think it’s nice to be able to know you’re going to move on, but you can’t get complacent in the fact that you are moving on, and you can’t let those points just sit out there and not try to go get them because those bonus points you get for winning or winning a stage, that’s huge, and you need as many as you can get. One or two points could be the difference in you making the Round of 4 or not. Just knowing that we don’t have to worry about Talladega, so excited to be able to win the first one of three and get to enjoy it all a little bit more. We are going to keep the hammer down and see what we can do.”

William Byron on racing at Talladega:
“Talladega is kind of a wildcard race; you can’t control a lot. Hopefully you go there and try to maximize your skills on those tracks, and just stay in the game the whole race. That’s very important. We’ll try to do that – stay in it the whole race and then see what we can do from there.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Dover and looking ahead to Talladega:
“It’s unfortunate what happened to us at Dover – definitely a first for me – and I’m just glad the part broke when it did. It was amazing the team was able to fix what they needed to in just 10 laps. I was so stoked to see Chase (Elliott) win – I’m really happy for (No. 9 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and that team. Talladega is going to be a survival race for a lot of people with playoff hopes, we are going there – and every race from here on out this season – to win. We have no pressure right now.”

Alex Bowman on if the No. 88 team can find success at Talladega:
“You are still at the mercy of everybody else’s race and everybody else’s mistakes. I think we can go there and run really well, but you kind of never know. It’s kind of just like hold it to the mat and hang on. Hopefully, we stay out of trouble. We will just have to wait and see.”

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

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