HMS Previews The Pennzoil 400

Hendrick Motorsports / 5 24 48 88

LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: LAS VEGAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE THREE OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MARCH 3 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 23                       Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2019 Season

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

Career

  • 115 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 33 top-five finishes
  • 59 top-10 finishes
  • 1,243 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led
HOOTERS: For the first time this season, the orange-and-white Hooters paint scheme will adorn the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, the Atlanta-based company will be a three-race primary sponsor of the No. 9 team in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season. Chase Elliott will also pilot the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 next weekend at ISM Raceway and at Dover International Speedway in October.

1.5-MILE TRACK STATS: Elliott will make his 36th start on a 1.5-mile track this weekend as Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In his previous 35 starts on the same track length, he has led 289 laps and averaged a starting position of 13.78 and finishing position of 13.89. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native also scored his first 1.5-mile track win last October at Kansas Speedway. Along with that win, Elliott has collected 11 top-five finishes – two of which are runner-up results – and 19 top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks. In the last four 1.5-mile events (Kansas, Texas, Miami, Atlanta), Elliott finished outside the top 10 only once and averaged a finish of 8.25.

CHANGING THE ODDS: In Elliott’s previous four starts at Las Vegas, he has garnered one top-five finish (third, March 2017). He was collected in multiple-car incidents in his other three starts. Even with the unfortunate finishes, Elliott is currently one of two drivers (Martin Truex Jr.) to finish top 10 in all six stages that have been completed at Las Vegas. The 23-year-old driver’s average starting position at Las Vegas is 9.5.

WCWYW IS BACK: In addition to the return of the “When Chase Wins, You Win” promotion for the third-year, Hooters is revving up the excitement during NASCAR Cup Series race days in 2019. Throughout the season, fans can watch all the action and cheer on Elliott and the No. 9 team while enjoying 15 boneless wings and a pitcher of domestic beer (if over the age of 21) or Mountain Dew for just $15 on race days, only at participating locations. For more information, visit Hooters9.com.

DESI9N TO DRIVE: The Chase Elliott Foundation’s s third annual “DESI9N TO DRIVE” art collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Children’s) kicked off last week. Elliott and his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates sported special racing shoes designed by patients at Children’s during last weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The four pairs of racing shoes were all signed and are currently being auctioned off on the NASCAR Foundation online auction site to benefit Children’s summer camps.

William Byron
No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver William Byron   Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 21                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2019 Season

  • 18th in standings
  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finish
  • 44 laps led

Career

  • 38 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 105 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
RECAPPING ATLANTA: Sophomore NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron continued to make improvements last weekend, qualifying a career track-best 17th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Despite running lap times comparable to the top-five running order, Byron fought handling issues with his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 throughout the 325-lap event before ultimately crossing the finish line with a career track-best 17th-place finish.

HERTZ IS HERE: Making its return to the No. 24 Chevy in 2019, the Hertz Corporation, one of the world’s largest vehicle rental companies, will kick off its second Cup Series season with Byron this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The eye-catching yellow Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be unloaded for this Sunday’s race and will hit the track again at Talladega Superspeedway in April, Sonoma Raceway in June and lastly at ISM Raceway in November.

LOOKING FOR LADY LUCK: This weekend will mark Byron’s third Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In his previous two starts, Byron has a best qualifying effort of 17th and finish of 27th, both coming in the spring race last season. However, Byron’s showing last September at the 1.5-mile oval displayed improvement from his first start, running inside the top 20 for most of the race before having to retire early due to suspension damage. Aside from his Cup Series starts in 2018, Byron has two previous starts in the “City of Lights,” one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he raced to a 14th-place finish, and one start in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, qualifying 10th and taking the checkered flag in fifth.

BYRON DELIVERS: Before Byron even hits the track this weekend, he will have already helped make headlines. Thursday, Feb. 28, Byron will surprise a local Las Vegas family with a Hertz 100th Anniversary Edition Corvette Z06. Taking part in the Hertz+ Sweepstakes, Las Vegas resident Jeff Dunmire was the lucky grand-prize winner of the special edition vehicle, which is one of only 100 to exist. Byron will personally deliver the Hertz 100th Anniversary Edition Corvette Z06, an iconic piece of Hertz history, to the Dunmire family.

HERTZ HEROES: Byron will have special guests riding on board his No. 24 Hertz Chevy this weekend. On the deck lid will be the names of two Hertz Heroes, a program Hertz will run in the 2019 season. With more than 36,000 employees around the world, Hertz wants to celebrate its everyday heroes – ordinary people who do extraordinary things as well as extraordinary people who do ordinary things – who go out of their way to provide exceptional service to customers. The first set of Hertz Heroes, Rommel Jacob and Glen English, will be honored during this Sunday’s race. Hertz Heroes will return to the No. 24 Chevrolet with Byron for the remaining three primary Hertz races during the 2019 season.

KNAUS KNOWS VEGAS: This Sunday when veteran crew chief Chad Knaus climbs atop the No. 24 pit box, he’ll look to set a new record for most wins by a crew chief at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With 18 Cup races at the 1.5-mile oval under his belt, Knaus has gone to Victory Lane three times. Those three victories have him equal with Paul Wolfe for most wins, a tie he would like to break this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 16th in standings
  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led

Career

  • 617 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 224 top-five finishes
  • 353 top-10 finishes
  • 18,703 laps led

Track Career 

  • 18 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 595 laps led
WEST COAST WINS: Hailing from the West Coast, it’s fitting that El Cajon, California, native Jimmie Johnson has the most wins of any driver on West Coast tracks. Johnson has accumulated 15 wins across the tracks considered “West Coast,” including: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (four), ISM Raceway (four), Auto Club Speedway (six) and Sonoma Raceway (one). The next winningest driver has 13.

VEGAS AND CHAMPIONSHIPS: Four times in his storied career, Johnson found himself a winner of the Las Vegas race, and three out of the four times he was also the winner of the Cup Series championship that same season. He won at the 1.5-mile track in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 and won championships in 2006, 2007 and 2010.

MILESTONE 150TH WIN: Johnson’s 2007 win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the 150th NASCAR Cup Series win for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson led 89 laps en route to the win, which was his third straight at the 1.5-mile track.

LEADER OF THE PACK: Johnson has the most wins of any driver at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four. There are five other tracks where he is the all-time win leader, including: Dover International Speedway (11), Charlotte Motor Speedway (eight), Texas Motor Speedway (seven), Auto Club Speedway (six) and Kansas Speedway, where his three wins are tied with Jeff Gordon atop the list. Johnson also holds the record for most laps led at Las Vegas with 595.

1.5-MILE MASTER: In 179 career starts on 1.5-mile tracks, Johnson has amassed 28 wins – the most of all drivers on the track type. He owns 11 more wins than second place on the all-time list, Gordon, and 13 more wins than the second-place active competitor, Kevin Harvick.

QUICK STOP IN PHOENIX: Before Johnson heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he will make a brief stop in Avondale, Arizona, on behalf of ISM Raceway. Johnson will visit K-8 students at Estrella Vista STEM Academy, speak with them about the importance of technology in motor sports and kick off the school’s month-long careers program that focuses on the role of technology and engineering.

VERGE OF A MILESTONE: Johnson is on the verge of 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.

VEGAS TEST: Johnson, crew chief Kevin Meendering and the No. 48 team participated in a two-day test session on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the 2019 rules package took to the 1.5-mile track for the first time.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led

Career

  • 119 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 274 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
AXALTA IN VEGAS: This weekend marks the second of 12 events in which the Axalta primary colors will adorn the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Last year, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Axalta signed a four-year contract extension that will take the partnership through 2022. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings unveiled a new Axalta Racing website last year that includes plenty of behind-the-scenes content, photos and videos. Check out Alex Bowman’s page here.

BEST START TO SEASON: In his four career seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series, Bowman is off to his best start to a season. The 25-year-old is averaging a 13th-place finish this season, earning a pair of top-15 finishes in the first two events of 2019. Last season, his previous best start, he had two top-20 finishes in the first two races.

VIVA LAS VEGAS: Bowman, a Tucson, Arizona, native, has four starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His best finish of 16th came in the March race last season after qualifying 20th. Last fall, Bowman qualified ninth and finished 19th after a left-side tire went flat late in the event. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has one start at the 1.5-mile track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series when he qualified 18th and finished eighth in 2013.

VEGAS STATS FOR IVES: For the sixth time in his crew chief career in the NASCAR Cup Series, Greg Ives will call the shots for the No. 88 team this weekend at Las Vegas. The Michigan native’s best finish at the 1.5-mile track came in 2015 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. started and finished fourth, leading four laps along the way. Ives’ drivers have completed 99.8 percent of the total laps in five events at Las Vegas. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ives has one top-five finish and two top-10s with an average finish of 6.0 with two different drivers at the track. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of three wins and four top-five finishes at Las Vegas.

ATLANTA REWIND: The No. 88 team qualified 16th for last weekend’s 325-lap race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bowman battled handling issues throughout the first half of the event, but the No. 88 Axalta team continued to make adjustments in the right direction on pit road. On two separate occasions, the team was caught on pit road while making a green-flag stop when a caution flag waved, forcing the team to take a wave-around. Bowman battled back and led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates with a 15th-place finish.

THE OTHER SIDE: On Saturday, Feb. 23, Bowman’s second diary feature on Motorsport.com was published. The feature, titled “The Other Side of Alex Bowman,” talks about Daytona and the special name above his passenger side door, the No. 88 team’s test in Daytona and his early thoughts on the new package at Atlanta. Each month, Bowman will release a diary piece to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on each month both on and off the track. Check out his newest diary article here.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT LAS VEGAS: In 22 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has earned five wins, two pole positions, 20 top-five finishes, 35 top-10s and an all-time record 1,346 laps led. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers at the 1.5-mile oval with four victories. Three of the organization’s victories at the Nevada track were the first of their respective seasons.

WEST COAST STRENGTH: Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams in West Coast victories – including in California, Nevada and Arizona – with a total of 31, eight more than the next closest team, Roush Fenway Racing. Johnson – who hails from California – leads all drivers for most wins on West Coast tracks with 15.

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a NASCAR Cup Series record 58 total wins on 1.5-mile tracks, 13 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 25 consecutive seasons. Chase Elliott brought the streak to 25 seasons with his 2018 victory at Kansas Speedway, becoming the 10th different driver to win for the organization on a 1.5-mile track, which is also a Cup Series record ahead of Wood Brothers Racing’s eight.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: With Elliott earning his first Cup Series win at Watkins Glen in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports now holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Alex Bowman wins at Las Vegas, 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, 252 race victories, 216 pole positions, 1,045 top-five finishes and 1,788 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 67,000 laps since 1984. Hendrick Motorsports won three times in 2018, extending its streak to 33 consecutive seasons with at least one win, the longest streak all-time.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on racing at Las Vegas:
“We haven’t had the best result at Vegas the last few visits, but I think we can go out there and have a solid run. Jimmie (Johnson) tested there during the offseason, so we will take a look at the notes from the test and try to go there and perform. The test was only 14 cars, so it’s not a full indication of what to expect, but it’s really the same for everyone as far as the unknowns. It’s going to be a good test because everyone will be in the same boat when it comes to track time and notes on the package.”

William Byron on racing at Las Vegas with the new rules package:
“I think this race will still have some unknowns for most guys. Atlanta gave a small idea of what to expect, but we didn’t have the full package for that race. Plus, Atlanta races unlike any other mile-and-a-half track we go to. Some of the other teams got to test earlier at Las Vegas with the full package, including our teammate Jimmie (Johnson).”

Byron on using Jimmie Johnson’s Las Vegas test to prepare for the race:
“I would say so. We can look at how they drafted around each other in traffic, and while it was less cars, we can see how they dealt with that stuff because it is going to be fairly similar I think. I would say we can look back at that info and try to learn from it so we’re better prepared when we get to Vegas.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Las Vegas:
“Atlanta certainly didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but I’m really proud of the effort the No. 48 Ally team put forth. There is a lot of energy and optimism on the team right now and at the end of the race I told the guys, ‘We’ve got this.’ Focusing on Vegas, we learned a lot during the test. Passing was pretty easy until you got to the leader, but I don’t think track position will be as important as it was in the past. Drivers are going to have to be comfortable racing three-wide. My spotter (Earl Barban) is going to be a busy guy, as he will have to be in a drafting mindset at a track we normally wouldn’t have to deal with that. There was only a handful of teams out at the test, so I am interested to see what the racing looks like when you get 40 of us out there.”

Alex Bowman on the Las Vegas test:
“I think we can definitely lean on the No. 48 team and go over what they learned and what they established at the test and go from there, but until you do it, it’s kind of hard.”

Bowman on his Motorsport.com diary:
“It has been pretty cool to work with Jim (Utter) and the team at Motorsport.com on a diary piece. Everyone always sees what goes on at the track, but this allows me to talk about things more in-depth and maybe sometimes not about racing.”

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

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