Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Ticket Guardian 500k

ISM RACEWAY (ONE-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: AVONDALE, ARIZONA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE FOUR OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (FOX/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

  • 21st in standings
  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 4 laps led

Career

  • 80 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 22 top-five finishes
  • 39 top-10 finishes
  • 922 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 140 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1: This weekend at ISM Raceway, the familiar blue, white and yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme will return to the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team for 26 NASCAR Cup Series races this year. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

ISM RACEWAY STATS: Elliott is set to make his fifth Cup Series start at ISM Raceway this weekend. During his most recent visit to the Avondale, Arizona, track in November 2017, Elliott led the field three separate times for a total of 34 laps and scored a second-place finish – his seventh runner-up result to date. In his previous four starts at the one-mile oval, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native averages a starting and finishing position of 7.8. Elliott has earned top-10 finishes in all but one event and led a total 140 laps at the venue.

FOUR WITH FOUR: If Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team win on Sunday, crew chief Alan Gustafson would be tied with Chad Knaus and Rodney Childers for the most wins by a crew chief at ISM Raceway with four. For Gustafson, each of the four wins would have come with a different driver. The No. 9 team crew chief currently has ISM Raceway wins atop the pit box with Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin.

VEGAS REWIND: Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, after racing inside the top 10 throughout the first two stages, the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet was collected in an incident that ultimately ended Elliott and the team’s day short of the scheduled distance.

CHASIN’ 9 SALE: This weekend at ISM Raceway, the No. 9 team will once again be wearing special, limited-edition NAPA hats at the racetrack. The hats are part of NAPA AUTO PARTS’ “Chasin’ 9 Sale.” In the month of March, if customers spend $25 in-store they will receive the No. 9 NAPA Racing/Chase Elliott hat while supplies last.

COMING HOME: No. 9 team fueler John Gianninoto, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, will compete in front of his hometown crowd at ISM Raceway. Gianninoto graduated with honors from Catalina Foothills High School and went on to sign as an offensive lineman for UNLV in 2006, earning his first letter in 2007 and becoming a team captain in 2010. Gianninoto participated in the Carolina Panthers’ 2012 training camp before signing with Hendrick Motorsports in September 2012.

William Byron
No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 24th in standings
  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 0 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN: William Byron has a strong history of performing well at ISM Raceway. He started on the front row in both of his NASCAR Xfinity Series starts last season, winning there in November and finishing fourth in the spring. Byron is the youngest winner ever at the track in the Xfinity Series at 19 years, 11 months and 13 days. In 2016, he led 112 laps in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race before an engine failure. Two drivers have won at the track in their respective rookie seasons in the Cup Series – Tony Stewart in 1999 and Kyle Busch in 2005 – with both winning the fall event. The No. 24 Chevrolet also has a good history at ISM Raceway, visiting Victory Lane twice in the spring race with Jeff Gordon behind the wheel (2007 and 2011).

ROOKIE SUCCESS AT ISM RACEWAY: Hendrick Motorsports rookies have accumulated four top-10 finishes at ISM Raceway. Two came courtesy of Busch – including a win in 2005 – and two were earned in 2016 by Chase Elliott. The four top-10s by Hendrick Motorsports rookies are the most by any organization at ISM Raceway, and Byron will look to extend that record this weekend.

AXALTA, BACK AGAIN: Axalta Coating Systems returns for the second week in a row as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The bright Axalta flames featured on the No. 24 Chevy are a fitting scheme for a race in a location known for its heat. This year, Axalta will be a primary partner on the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro for 10 races.

GRUBB NO STRANGER TO SUCCESS: Championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb has recorded a win at ISM Raceway, as well as in Fontana, California, the next two tracks on the “NASCAR Goes West” swing. Those two wins came with different drivers – Stewart and Denny Hamlin.

CHEVY STAGE APPEARANCE: Byron will visit the Team Chevy stage at ISM Raceway for a question-and-answer session on Sunday, March 11, at 10 a.m. local time.

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

  • 29th in standings
  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led

Career

  • 582 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led

Track Career 

  • 29 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 990 laps led
FOUR-TIME WINNER: Johnson is a four-time winner at ISM Raceway in Arizona. On Nov. 15, 2009, Johnson dominated the race, leading 238 of the 312 laps. It was Johnson’s fourth win at ISM Raceway, seventh race win of that season and the sixth straight win at the one-mile track for Hendrick Motorsports, which marked the third longest streak of winning at one track in series history. The following week, Johnson was crowned with his fourth straight NASCAR Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

THREE-TIME POLE STARTER: Of Johnson’s 35 career pole positions, three have come at ISM Raceway. He still owns the track qualifying record of 143.158 mph from the pole position set on Nov. 15, 2015.

GOOD IN THE DESERT: At ISM Raceway, Johnson has earned 15 top-five finishes, which is the most all-time. One of Johnson and the No. 48 team’s four wins came from the pole position on Nov. 11, 2008.

VEGAS RALLY: Jimmie Johnson overcame many obstacles in the Las Vegas race last weekend for a hard-fought 12th-place result. The El Cajon, California, native secured his best starting spot of the season by qualifying in 14th place. Due to unexpected issues in pre-race inspection, Johnson was forced to forfeit his position and had to fall to the rear of the field before taking the green flag. He lost a lap to the leader within the first stage but when the Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had sticker tires on it, the handling improved and Johnson’s charge forward came to life. He persevered throughout the 267-lap event and finished just outside the top 10 in 12th.

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.

BE A JJ VIP: This season, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has created the Jimmie Johnson VIP Experience for fans. The package gives fans the opportunity to meet the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in a private setting. The experience includes a private meet-and-greet, an autograph and a photo with Johnson, along with a behind-the-scenes garage tour and an exclusive gift. The experience will generally take place on the Friday morning before the Cup Series race event scheduled for that weekend. The package is available at California, Texas, Charlotte and Chicago among others and spots are limited. For more information, visit https://jimmiejohnsonvip.com/.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Alex Bowman   Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 24                         Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2018 Season

  • 17th in standings
  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 13 laps led

Career

  • 84 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 216 laps led

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 194 laps led
RETURNING HOME: Alex Bowman returns to his home state this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series competes at ISM Raceway in Arizona. He grew up approximately 124 miles from the one-mile track in Tucson, Arizona, where his father still owns a body shop. Bowman cut his teeth racing West Coast sprint cars before transitioning to stock cars and ultimately NASCAR.

SEEKING REDEMPTION: Bowman remembers the fall 2016 NASCAR Cup Series event at ISM Raceway like it was yesterday and has wanted to get back in the No. 88 machine at the track ever since. Subbing for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016, Bowman sat on the pole for the fall event at the track and led a race-high 194 laps. In overtime, the No. 88 Chevrolet made contact with Matt Kenseth, which resulted in a career-best sixth-place finish for Bowman. His 194 laps led were the most for a Hendrick Motorsports driver since Jimmie Johnson led 272 laps at Dover in June 2014.

HOME TRACK STATS: The 24-year-old has five previous Cup Series starts at the one-mile facility, with his best finish of sixth coming back in 2016. Bowman finished eighth last fall in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway, his best finish out of six starts in the series.

NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1: The Nationwide paint scheme is back on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at ISM Raceway. Nationwide was last on the car this past weekend in Las Vegas, where Bowman qualified 20th and finished 16th. The blue-and-white paint scheme will also adorn the No. 88 machine next weekend in California, rounding out #NASCARGoesWest.

IVES AT ISM RACEWAY: Greg Ives has called the shots six times for the No. 88 team at ISM Raceway. The crew chief’s ISM Raceway résumé in the Cup Series includes one win with Earnhardt back in 2015, two top-five finishes and four top-10s. The Michigan native has also been atop the pit box for four events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, claiming two top-five results and three top-10s.

LAS VEGAS REWIND: Alex Bowman qualified 20th for the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Friday. The team ran inside the top 20 during the majority of the 400-mile event, but with 65 laps remaining, Bowman moved into the free pass position as the first car a lap down. The cautions never materialized for the Nationwide team and Bowman brought home a 16th-place finish.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT ISM RACEWAY: Hendrick Motorsports leads all NASCAR Cup Series teams at ISM Raceway with 10 wins, 11 pole positions, 46 top-five finishes and 81 top-10s. The organization also leads the way in laps led (2,618) and runner-up finishes (nine). At least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 12 races at the track.

SIX FOR 10: The organization’s 10 wins at ISM Raceway are spread among six drivers, with Jimmie Johnson accounting for four. Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded the organization’s most recent victory at the track in November 2015.

ISM RACEWAY STREAK: From the spring 2007 race to the fall 2009 race, the organization won six consecutive events at ISM Raceway with drivers Jeff Gordon, Johnson (four) and Mark Martin. It ranked third among NASCAR Cup Series teams for most consecutive wins at a track all-time.

WEST COAST STRENGTH: Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams in West Coast victories – including California, Nevada and Arizona – with a total of 34, 11 more than the next closest team, Roush Fenway Racing. Johnson and former teammate Jeff Gordon – both of whom hail from California – lead all drivers for most wins on West Coast tracks with 15 and 11, respectively.

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 148 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 Elliott, Byron or Bowman wins at Las Vegas, 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, 1,029 top-five finishes and 1,741 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,270 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on continuing his momentum from the fall 2017 ISM Raceway race:
“I think there were some circumstances there towards the end of the race that kind of fell in our hands that didn’t quite suit the guys that were faster than us the majority of the day. I’m excited to get back. I think that we have a good place to start. Looking forward to seeing where we stack up and what we need to get that next spot.”

Elliott on the spring versus fall races at ISM Raceway:
“That track is one of the most consistent places that I’ve ever been to. Spring to fall, year to year, I don’t feel like it has changed at all. Hard to differentiate, but I think it will be really similar.”

William Byron on ISM Raceway:
“Phoenix has always been a good track for me because it fits my background of short-track racing at Hickory (Motor Speedway) and places like that with floating speed into the corner and getting back to the gas. I like Phoenix – I think the key there is having enough front grip to get through the center of the corner and also keep some drive in the car off of (Turn) 4 so you can point and make that straightaway as long as you can. Also, it’s important to be able to get on the brakes and be stable for the first couple of laps on a restart without falling off too quickly. It’s easy to be good for a couple laps and then really fade quickly, so you just have to manage what your wants and needs are so that you have a good long-run car. Hendrick Motorsports has run well there in the past and I’ve run well there at JRM (JR Motorsports), so it’s one of the places we go into with high hopes. I know what my feel needs to be – I’ve been there a few times now and had a pole and a win there in the Xfinity Series and finished fourth in my first race in Xfinity, so I kind of know what the difference was there with my car.”

Jimmie Johnson on making steady improvements:
“Every outing with this new Lowe’s for Pros Camaro ZL1 we are learning more about it. We still have some work to do ourselves with the setup of the car but there is a great vibe with some occasional grinning in our garage. Phoenix has turned into an aero track with the repave and higher speeds. Last week at Vegas I was in a lot of different aero situations that I started to get very comfortable with and kept charging and driving through. We are working our guts out to get back to our winning ways.”

Alex Bowman on racing at his home track:
“It’s really cool to be racing at home in Arizona. The food is better out there. The racetrack is better. I get to see a lot of my family. So, it’s always cool to go home. We have a little redemption for there anyway. We should have won there a couple of years ago. Hopefully, we can make that happen, but it’s always cool to go home.”

Bowman on what it takes to be successful at ISM Raceway:
“Honestly, I think in the race a lot of it comes down the forward drive. Guys get their cars turned really well and can’t get off the corner at all. Being able to commit to the throttle on both ends, as well as keeping your car turning, just being able to commit hard to the throttle seems to be really important at Phoenix.”

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

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