Hendrick Motorsports Previews The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: FORT WORTH, TEXAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE SEVEN OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, APRIL 8 (FS1/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 18th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 4 laps led

Career

  • 83 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 23 top-five finishes
  • 41 top-10 finishes
  • 922 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 5 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1: The No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will once again don the familiar NAPA AUTO PARTS blue, white and yellow scheme this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team for 26 NASCAR Cup Series races this season.

LONE STAR STATE STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fifth Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Elliott has collected top-10 finishes in all of his previous Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval. The driver of the No. 9 collected his first career Xfinity Series victory at Texas in April 2014 and averages a finishing position of 6.5 throughout his Cup Series races at the track. In his five Xfinity Series starts there he has accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s, led 38 laps and completed 100 percent of the 1,000 possible laps while averaging a starting position of 10.4 and finishing position of 5.0.

MARTINSVILLE REWIND: Elliott and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team battled their way to a ninth-place finish in the Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Monday, March 26. The result gave the driver of the No. 9 his third top-10 of the season.

TEXAS TEST: In January, Elliott and the No. 9 team spent two days participating in a Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway – the first time the 2018 Camaro ZL1 officially hit the racetrack.

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: On Sunday, April 8, Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage in the fan zone at 10:30 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

NAPA SPRING SALE: During the month of April at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, when you buy a NAPA Bucket for $2.99, you’ll get 20 percent off the items you can fit inside the bucket with a minimum $50 purchase. So, live a little. And save a lot. With the NAPA bucket and 20 percent off. While supplies last.

William Byron
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 16 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 0 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
ROOKIE STANDINGS: Following a top-20 finish at Martinsville Speedway on March 26, William Byron moved into the top spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. The 20-year-old driver was within a few points of taking the lead prior to the race and now leads by 11 points in the standings. Byron is on a roll of earning NASCAR rookie of the year titles to this point, going back-to-back-to-back in the Xfinity Series in 2017, the Camping World Truck Series in 2016 and the K&N Pro Series East in 2015.

ANOTHER RACE FOR LIBERTY: This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, the blue and red Liberty University colors will adorn the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the second race in a row, and Liberty’s third 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.

AT TEXAS: Byron has four national series starts at the Fort Worth, Texas, track, including a win in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at the 1.5-mile oval on June 10, 2016. The win was his second of seven wins during the 2016 Truck Series season and made him the youngest-ever NCWTS winner at Texas Motor Speedway. In the four national series starts, Byron never finished outside of the top 10 in NCWTS or Xfinity Series competition. He’s led in both series for a combined total of 40 laps and has an average finish of 3.5 in NCWTS and 8.0 in Xfinity.

NOT BAD FOR A ROOKIE: The 1.5-mile track has been fairly kind to rookies in the last 17 years with eight of them earning top-five finishes there, which could be a good omen for Byron, especially given his past success in other series in the Lone Star state. However, only one rookie has ever won at Texas Motor Speedway – Dale Earnhardt Jr. in April 2000.

JG VIP EXPERIENCE: Byron will participate in the 2018 Jeff Gordon #24Ever VIP Experience 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, which sold out for Texas, is available at seven future races including Bristol Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. 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.

REFLECTING, UNWINDING: On the Easter off-weekend, Byron was able to take some time away and vacation in the Bahamas. The 20-year-old driver says the beach is one of his favorite vacation spots and he enjoyed the opportunity to unwind and process what he learned throughout the first six races of his rookie season in the Cup Series, which included leading 16 total laps in Cup competition and recording a best finish of 12th at ISM Raceway. Read more about Byron’s take on his first six races here.

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

  • 17th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 29 starts
  • 7 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 21 top-10 finishes
  • 1,041 laps led
30K JJ BOBBLEHEADS: Texas Motor Speedway is known for giving back to NASCAR fans. For Sunday’s Cup Series event, the track will offer free Jimmie Johnson bobbleheads to the first 30,000 people through the gates. Visit TexasMotorSpeedway.com to purchase tickets to the race.

STARTING LIKE LAST YEAR: After recording one top-10 finish in the first six races of 2017, Johnson and the No. 48 team went back-to-back, scoring wins in the seventh race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway and the eighth race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson has one top-10 through six races in 2018 with Texas and Bristol next on the schedule.

TEXAS STREAKS: Johnson won three straight races at Texas between November 2014 and November 2015 – the longest streak ever by a driver at the track. He also has posted three-race win streaks at ISM Raceway, Las Vegas and Martinsville. Johnson won four in a row at Charlotte Motor Speedway from May 2004 to October 2005.

LAST 11 TEXAS OUTINGS: In Johnson’s last 11 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, the seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has accumulated six wins, one pole position, seven top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has led 766 laps and has an average finish of 7.18. No other driver has won more than two times in the last 11 races at Texas.

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS: In 29 starts at Texas, the El Cajon, California, native has the most all-time wins (seven), the most second-place finishes (five), the most top-five finishes (15), the most top-10s (21) and has led the most laps (1,041).

MOST ALL-TIME WINS ON 1.5-MILERS: Johnson is the 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), Richard Petty (13) and Kevin Harvick (13).

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.

ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR BLUE BUNNY HELMET OF HOPE: Nominations will be accepted through April 20 for the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. Five non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations will be eligible to receive $25,000 grants through the program, totaling $125,000 and will be awarded in May. The program, which started in 2008, gives fans the chance to nominate their favorite education-based charities to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Since its inception, the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program has given over $1 million to 101 different charities. To nominate a charity click here.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2018 Season

  • 14th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 13 laps led

Career

  • 87 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 216 laps led

Track Career 

  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1: The Nationwide colors will once again be on board the No. 88 Camaro ZL1 with driver Alex Bowman this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Nationwide has been the primary on the No. 88 Chevrolet four times at the Fort Worth track, earning a best finish of second in April 2016 with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

IVES AT TEXAS: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots six times for the No. 88 team in Texas, with two different drivers. The crew chief’s resume at the track in the Cup Series includes three top-five finishes and four top-10s. Earnhardt brought home a runner-up finish for the team in the April 2016 event. Ives earned two wins at Texas as a race engineer with the No. 48 team from 2006-12. The Michigan native has one win at the track with Chase Elliott in the Xfinity Series and finished inside the top seven in all four of his Xfinity starts as crew chief.

BOWMAN AT TEXAS: Bowman has five career starts at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series with his best finish of 13th coming in 2016 while subbing for Earnhardt. Bowman has two starts at the 1.5-mile speedway in the Xfinity Series, where he captured the pole in both events. This weekend’s race will be Bowman’s first time on the track since the oval was repaved prior to the 2017 season.

MARTINSVILLE REWIND: On Monday, March 26, the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team started the snow-delayed Martinsville Speedway event from the 16th position after weather cancelled qualifying. Bowman ran inside the top 20 and finished 18th during Stage 1 before continuing his charge to the front, breaking into the top 15 by lap 200. Bowman entered the top 10 by lap 426 and ultimately brought home a seventh-place finish, his first top-10 finish of the season and the fourth of his career.

NATIONWIDE’S PAWS AND RACING PROMOTION: For the second year, Nationwide is offering one lucky pet owner an opportunity to get his or her pet’s picture on the No. 88 Nationwide Camaro ZL1 for the Sept. 22 race in Richmond. Last year, more than 25,000 pet owners participated in the promotion. From now until April 30, pet owners and NASCAR fans can go to www.pawsandracing.com to submit a photo of their pet. At the end of the promotion, one lucky photo will be selected to win a VIP race experience including hot passes, race tickets and a meet-and-greet with Bowman and Earnhardt.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TEXAS: Hendrick Motorsports has earned nine wins, 37 top-five finishes, 66 top-10s, six pole positions and 2,280 laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane at the track for the organization in April 2017.

FIVE MAKE 24: Hendrick Motorsports holds the all-time record for Cup Series wins at Texas. The organization’s nine victories at the track have come courtesy of three different drivers: Jimmie Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte.

APPROACHING DOUBLE DIGITS: A Hendrick Motorsports victory this weekend would add to the list of venues where the organization has posted double-digit wins. In total, 13 tracks make up the list: Martinsville (24), Charlotte (19), Dover (19), Pocono (17), Atlanta (14), Darlington (14), Daytona (14), Talladega (12), Bristol (11), Indianapolis (10), Richmond (10), Fontana (10), and ISM Raceway (10). Hendrick Motorsports currently has nine wins at Texas and New Hampshire.

FINISHING STRONG: Hendrick Motorsports has a history of closing out races at Texas. The organization has won at least one race at the Fort Worth track in seven of the last 11 years and has seen at least one driver lead in each of the last 23 Cup races at the venue. At least one Hendrick Motorsports car has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 23 Texas events. Twice in the last six Texas races, all four of the team’s cars have crossed the finish line inside the top 10. The organization swept the top-two finishing positions at Texas on two occasions: in 2009 (Gordon and Johnson) and in 2013 (Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.).

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a Cup record 57 points-paying wins on 1.5-mile tracks, 15 more than the next closest team, Joe Gibbs Racing.

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 Chase Elliott, William Byron or Alex Bowman wins at Texas, 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, 1,030 top-five finishes and 1,745 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 67,000 laps since 1984.

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

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on racing at Texas:
“As far as Texas goes, I was glad we got to get out there and test in January, especially with the new Camaro ZL1. A lot has changed since then and we’ve been learning a lot while out west. I hope that is going to help our cause at Texas and we can try to get rolling in a good direction.”

William Byron on racing at Texas:
“Texas is always super-fast, especially with the repave. It’s a little different on both ends and you have to handle well in (Turns) 1 and 2 especially. You need to carry a lot of speed and that’s going to make it exciting. It’s a fun track and I think it’s starting to widen out a little bit, so that’s good.”

Byron on the perks of traveling to Texas:
“When we go to Texas, I look forward to being able to get great food. I like Babe’s Chicken (Dinner House) and Hard Eight (BBQ) in particular, plus there are a couple of good breakfast places and they are all within 15-20 minutes of the track. If you like to eat, Texas is the place to go.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Texas:
“We had a great vacation and Easter break so we are recharged and ready to get back to it. We left Texas scratching our heads last fall but again have been making small gains this season with the new Chevy Camaro ZL1 and are ready to get back to work. I need to make sure I get a bobblehead or two, my girls will have some fun with that.”

Alex Bowman on racing at Texas:
“Texas is different because Turn 1 and 2 are so different since they paved it.  It’s so weird and you don’t even run out to the wall getting into Turn 1. It’s definitely different. The bottom is so much shorter than the top. There is no way to run anywhere except the bottom. It’s changed now that it was re-paved. The track is really edgy with the new pavement, so I think that will work its way in over the next couple of years. (Turns) 3 and 4, you go so slow through (Turns) 1 and 2 that (Turns) 3 and 4 are like almost wide open, at least it was when I ran the Wheel Force car there last year. It will be really interesting to see that. I haven’t raced there yet with the new pavement, but I remember driving down into Turn 1 and being like ‘why is the bottom so far down there?’”

Bowman on his dog Finn coming along for the ride at Texas:
“It was a great surprise to see Finn on the back of my Nationwide Camaro ZL1 that will run this weekend in Texas. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my dogs and wish they could be at the track every weekend. Having Nationwide put Finn on the back of my car for this weekend is very special. The Nationwide Pet Promotion that is currently running is a great promo for race fans. It is so easy to submit a photo of your pet online and then you have the chance to get your pet’s image on the back of our car in the fall race in Richmond. Plus, you get to meet Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and I at the race too.”

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