HMS Previews The Hollywood Casino 400

KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 32 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 21 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 8th in points
  • 31 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 265 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 4 laps led
1.5-MILE TRACK STATS: Chase Elliott is set to make his 32nd 1.5-mile track start this weekend at Kansas Speedway. In the third-year driver’s previous 31 starts on the track length, he has led 245 laps and averaged a starting position of 13.8 and finishing position of 14.6. Elliott has collected nine top-five finishes – two of which are runner-up results – and 16 top-10s.

LAST 12: The No. 9 team continues its strong showing in the last 12 races, winning twice, leading 246 laps and finishing inside the top 10 nine times. Elliott is currently tied with Kevin Harvick for the most top-five finishes (six) in the last 12 races of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

KANSAS TEST: In September, Elliott and the No. 9 team participated in NASCAR’s two-day organizational test at Kansas Speedway. On the first day of testing, the No. 9 team posted the top lap of 186.477 mph. The entire team gained valuable information during the test. For more on the Kansas test, click here.

MOUNTAIN DEW RETURNS: This weekend at Kansas Speedway, the green and black Mountain Dew paint scheme will adorn the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Earlier this season, Hendrick Motorsports and Mountain Dew announced  an extension to their long-standing partnership through 2020. DEW is a four-race primary sponsor of the No. 9 team this season with Kansas being its final race of 2018. Elliott also piloted the green and black No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Daytona in the Clash.

HOME SWEET HOME: No. 9 team tire carrier/jackman T.J. 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.

DEW ATHLETES AT CABELA’S: On Saturday, Oct. 20, Elliott is scheduled to participate in a Mountain Dew question-and-answer session with DEW athletes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danny Davis and Sean Malto at Cabela’s in Kansas City (10300 Cabela Dr., Kansas City, KS 66111) at 5 p.m. local time.

William Byron
No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

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

Career

  • 31 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 61 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
KANSAS STATS: In the spring race at Kansas Speedway, William Byron had his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 inside the top 10 near the end of the 400-mile NASCAR Cup Series race, but he was involved in a multi-car incident that ended his night with 14 laps to go, relegating him to a 33rd-place finish. In his first 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 NCWTS race at the 1.5-mile 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 NCWTS 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. Two of his teammates – Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott – finished in the top 10 at Kansas Speedway as rookies, and two drivers – Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson – have come close to capturing the checkered flag at the 1.5-mile oval, finishing in the runner-up position in their respective rookie seasons.

LAST OUTING FOR THE UNIFIRST CHEVY IN 2018: UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF), a North American leader in providing customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products, will return for its fourth race as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kansas Speedway. This weekend will be the final outing for the green and white No. 24 UniFirst Chevy in 2018. The 2018 season marks the second of an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that names UniFirst as a primary sponsor of select races and a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team through 2023. UniFirst is the official workwear provider for Hendrick Motorsports and sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States.

ROOKIE BATTLE: With five 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 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 leads the rookie standings by 119 points over Bubba Wallace.

CLOSE TO HOME: Two members of the No. 24 team can claim Kansas Speedway as a home track. Car chief Todd Devnich hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, about three hours northwest of the speedway, where he started his racing career working in the World of Outlaws dirt series. The No. 24 primary hauler driver “Jungle” Jim Gilbert grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, which is approximately four hours east of Kansas Speedway.

TALLADEGA RECAP: After several multiple-car incidents, a wild Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway went all the way to overtime and Byron fought hard to the finish. He led five laps in the final segment before rallying from a multi-car incident to finish 20th. At 20 years and 5 months old, Byron became the youngest NASCAR Cup Series driver to lead double-digit laps at a restrictor-plate track when he made his first career Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway in April. The five laps he led in Sunday’s race bring his total to 31 laps led in restrictor-plate races in 2018.

ICYMI, MARTINSVILLE VICTORY TOUR: Byron visited Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday, Oct. 10, spending time talking and interacting with local students, showing off his iRacing skills while helping some of the students as they tried to run a few laps at Martinsville on the iRacing simulators, and spending time with media members. Click here for a recap of his afternoon.

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
  • 31 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 29 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 24 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON THE 1.5-MILERS: Jimmie Johnson is the NASCAR Cup Series’ all-time wins leader on 1.5-mile tracks with 28. Second all-time is Johnson’s former teammate Jeff Gordon with 17 victories, followed by Tony Stewart (15), Dale Earnhardt (14) and Richard Petty (13). He also leads the series all-time with 5,756 laps led on 1.5-mile tracks, 785 laps more than second place. His 73 top-five finishes and 111 top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks are both second all-time only to Gordon.

KANSAS NUMBERS: Johnson’s three wins at Kansas are tied for the most all-time at the venue, and his 17 top-10s are the most all-time. His three pole positions at the track are tied for the second-most all time and his nine top-five finishes are second only to Gordon. His 601 laps led at Kansas are the fourth-most all time, and his average finish of 10.04 at the track is the third-best among drivers with more than five starts.

LAST WIN AT KANSAS: A three-time winner at Kansas, Johnson’s last win at the 1.5-mile track came on May 9, 2015, when he passed Kevin Harvick with 10 laps to go and took the checkered flag for his third win at the track.

GOOD RECOVERY AT TALLADEGA: While running 10th on Lap 62 at Talladega on Sunday, Johnson got loose and spun on the tri-oval. He spent the majority of the race running in the draft a lap down in the 32nd position. On Lap 160 he got the “free pass,” putting him back on the lead lap. He capitalized on the opportunity, racing all the way up to the seventh position before the checkered flag fell.

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.

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 Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and 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
  • 31 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 68 laps led

Career

  • 112 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
  • 0 laps led
Alex Bowman will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 19, at 12 p.m. local time in the media center at Kansas Speedway.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: Alex Bowman and the No. 88 team remain 12th in the NASCAR playoff standings following last weekend’s result at Talladega. The team finished 33rd after Bowman was involved in a multi-car incident late in the race. The final race in the Round of 12 will take place this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

MUST-WIN SCENARIO FACTS: The No. 88 team is in a must-win situation this weekend in Kansas, as Bowman sits 68 markers from the cut-off position to make the Round of 8. Two of the last three races of the 2018 season were won by drivers getting their first win of the season – and two of the last 14 were won by a driver earning his first career Cup Series win – so there is a chance that Bowman captures the win this weekend to advance. Six races in the elimination-style playoffs were won by drivers in must-win positions. Nine drivers got their first win driving for Hendrick Motorsports, which is a positive note for Bowman going into this weekend’s event.

STAGE FINISHES: So far in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff races, Bowman has finished inside the top 10 in seven out of 10 stages. At Las Vegas last month, the driver finished Stage 1 in the third position and Stage 2 in ninth. Bowman’s four top-10 stage finishes at Richmond and Charlotte led to 12th and fourth-place finishes, respectively. Last weekend at Talladega, the driver finished the first stage in the ninth position but made an early pit stop in Stage 2, forcing the team to a 14th-place finish. Earlier this year at Kansas, Bowman finished both stages in the 15th position and went on to finish the race 12th.

BOWMAN AT KANSAS: Bowman has six previous starts at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series. Earlier this season, the 25-year-old driver finished 18th after starting 19th. Bowman was behind the wheel of the No. 88 machine in 2016 while subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and finished seventh at Kansas after qualifying fifth. The seventh-place finish was Bowman’s second career top-10 finish in the series at the time. The driver has one start at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he earned an 11th-place finish in 2013. The Tucson, Arizona, native has two starts in the ARCA Racing Series at Kansas, winning both. In 2011, Bowman qualified on the outside pole and got the win after leading three laps. One year later, the driver captured the pole and led 67 laps en route to another Kansas victory.

IVES AT KANSAS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots seven times at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series. Ives’ drivers have accumulated one top-five finish and three top-10s at the 1.5-mile track. Earnhardt finished third in 2015 after starting 17th. The Michigan native has two starts as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with his drivers capturing one top-five finish and two top-10s. In 2013, Regan Smith led 31 laps en route to a third-place finish. 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 eight top-10 finishes at Kansas.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Jacob Conley, fueler for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team, grew up just 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.

NATIONWIDE IS BACK: The Nationwide colors will be back on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend in Kansas. 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.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed six wins, five pole positions, 30 top-five finishes and 53 top-10s, all of which lead NASCAR Cup Series teams all-time at the track. With three wins apiece, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are tied for the most wins all-time at Kansas. Johnson leads all drivers in top-10 finishes (17) and active drivers in top-five finishes (nine) at Kansas and most recently won for the organization at the track in 2015.

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a NASCAR Cup Series record 57 total wins on 1.5-mile tracks, 12 more than the next closest team, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hendrick Motorsports has earned at least one win on a 1.5-mile track in a record 24 consecutive seasons. With three more races on 1.5-mile tracks this year, including this weekend, a win would extend that streak to 25.

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, 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.

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 Kansas, 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 1,781 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 racing at Kansas:
“Over my first couple of years competing in the Cup Series, we have had a couple of really good runs there. We have struggled there at times as well, but when we have hit it and we have been good. I feel like we have had good runs there. I think we can certainly have a good run there this time around. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to this one.”

No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson on competing at Kansas:
“At Kansas, we had a great test. So, we’re going to go there and work on our mile-and-a-half program and try hard to win that race. I think getting as many points as we can and closing the gap to the guys in front of us will help significantly.”

William Byron on racing at Kansas:
“Kansas is a good track – it’s smooth and you can move around a lot. The day race will have more lap-time falloff, so that will be fun. Hopefully we can build on some of the mile-and-a-half strength we’ve shown lately and have a good run.”

Jimmie Johnson on the No. 48 team’s improvement on 1.5-mile tracks:
“The way we ran at Las Vegas last month was really encouraging. We had a top-five car until we cut a tire down. I’m encouraged about the progress on the No. 48 team and am looking forward to Kansas.”

Alex Bowman on racing at Kansas:
“You can move around and run a bunch of different grooves at Kansas. It seems to be pretty dominated by the top here recently, but it’s fun to run up there. I am definitely more optimistic leading into 1.5-mile races these next few weeks. I think it will be a good showing for us.”

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.