HMS Previews Richmond

Hendrick Motorsports / 5 24 48 88

RICHMOND RACEWAY (0.75-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE NINE OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, APRIL 13 (FOX/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

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

Career

  • 121 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 5 pole positions
  • 34 top-five finishes
  • 61 top-10 finishes
  • 1,365 laps led

Track Career 

  • 7 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 34 laps led
SHORT-TRACK PROWESS: In Chase Elliott’s last six short-track (Martinsville, Richmond, Bristol) finishes, he collected top-10 finishes five times, four of which were top-five finishes including two runner-up results. He currently holds the fourth-best average finish on short tracks this season (6.5) and has led the fourth-highest number of laps (87) on those tracks less than one mile in length. Elliott has led a total of 233 laps in the last six short-track races. Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, he earned his first career short-track pole award.

GREAT PERFORMANCE: Throughout last season and so far in 2019, Elliott has had strong performances on non-aero tracks (ISM, Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond, Sonoma, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen). The 23-year-old driver has finished inside the top five in eight of the last 13 non-aero track races – five were top-three finishes.

LAST THREE: The No. 9 team’s performance has been trending upward over the last three races (Martinsville, Texas, Bristol). In the last three races, Elliott has led 122 laps and started in the top 10 in all three – two being top-three starts (one pole award). His average starting position over the last three weeks is 3.7 and average finishing position is 8.7.

THIS RACE LAST SEASON: Last spring, Elliott started on the outside pole at Richmond Raceway and ran inside the top five for much of Stage 1. In Stage 2, he slipped back inside the top 10 as a result of tire fall-off. He began the final segment in ninth and continued to push inside the top 10 for the remainder of the race. With the help of a few great restarts by Elliott and quick stops by the NAPA pit crew, the No. 9 team collected a runner-up finish when the checkered flag waved.

BRISTOL REWIND: After earning the pole position for last weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliott and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team crossed the finish line in 11th despite being involved in multiple on-track incidents and losing power steering for the majority of the race.

William Byron
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 83 laps led

Career

  • 44 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 144 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m. local time in the Richmond Raceway media center.

FRONT ROW FEAT: After collecting his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole for the Daytona 500 this year, William Byron has followed up that effort by qualifying on the front row two additional times. In consecutive weekends, the 21-year-old driver has qualified the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on the outside pole, marking track-best starting efforts at both Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. Byron has now been a part of all three Hendrick Motorsports front-row sweeps in qualifying this season and his three front-row starts are the highest among the Cup field in 2019.

RETURN TO RICHMOND: Set to make his third Cup Series start at Richmond Raceway this weekend, Saturday will mark Byron’s sixth national series start at the 0.75-mile oval. Last season, Byron had one of his best races during the spring Richmond race, qualifying ninth and running within the top five most of Stage 1 and within the top 10 for over half of the event before ultimately finishing just outside the top 10 in the 12th position. Aside from his two Cup Series starts at the track, Byron has made two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Richmond, both in 2017, earning a best starting position of sixth and finish of seventh in the fall. He also has one other start under his belt at Richmond Raceway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015, winning the pole and finishing sixth.

LIBERTY IS BACK: After making its debut in 2019 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February, Liberty University will return to Byron’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway. Returning as a primary sponsor of the No. 24 team in 2019 for a total of 12 races, Liberty University has a long history with Byron starting back in 2014 in the late-model ranks and embarks on its fifth season of sponsoring the 21-year-old driver. Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of central Virginia, Liberty is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offer more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in business communication, Byron is now in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program.

KNAUS’ KNACK: Continuing to make gains with Byron and the No. 24 team, crew chief Chad Knaus will return to Richmond Raceway to call the shots on top of the pit box for the 38th time in his career. With three previous wins at the short track, Knaus leads all active crew chiefs for most wins at Richmond. He also has collected two pole awards, seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s at the 0.75-mile oval.

BATTLE AT BRISTOL: After qualifying a track-best second for consecutive weekends, an incident on Lap 3 changed the No. 24 team’s race strategy early on last Sunday. Having to fight through adversity for the entirety of the 500-lap race, Byron was able to capture a lead-lap finish and a track-best 16th-place finish at Bristol last weekend.

KNAUS IN THE BOOTH: For the first time in 2019, Knaus will make a quick transition after Cup Series qualifying Friday night from crew chief of the No. 24 team to on-air analyst when he joins Adam Alexander and Kevin Harvick in the FOX Sports booth for the NASCAR Xfinity race at Richmond Raceway. It was announced earlier this year that Knaus would join the FOX Sports booth for two races, and while originally slated for Talladega, his broadcast debut has been expedited by one weekend. To watch Knaus during his inaugural race broadcast, tune to FOX Sports 1 this Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 64 laps led

Career

  • 623 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 225 top-five finishes
  • 356 top-10 finishes
  • 18,767 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 461 laps led
BRISTOL REWIND: Jimmie Johnson scored his fourth top-10 finish of the season this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson, who was the fastest Chevrolet in final practice on Saturday, overcame significant right-rear damage and a pit road speeding penalty to finish 10th. After eight races this season, Johnson’s average start is 10.6 and average finish is 14.5.

SHORT-TRACK WINS: Johnson has a total of 11 wins at half-mile tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway (two) and Martinsville Speedway (nine) – and three wins at the 0.75-mile track of Richmond. His last win at Richmond came in September 2008. Johnson has 14 total wins on short tracks throughout his career, second only to Kyle Busch, who has 16.

RICHMOND PERCENTAGE: In the 10 races run since 2014 at the 0.75-mile track in Richmond, Johnson has accumulated seven top-10 finishes, finishing in the top-10 70 percent of the times he has raced. Last season, Johnson finished sixth and eighth, respectively, and has not finished outside the top 11 at the track since September 2014.

BOSTON READY: So far in 2019, according to his Strava app, Johnson has logged close to 800 miles of training in preparation for Monday’s 26.2-mile Boston Marathon. Johnson’s longest single run was 22 miles and he was averaging 80 miles a week at the peak of his training before he’ll take on the 26.2 miles in Boston.

ALLY AT MILE 17: Ally, the digital financial services company, is pulling together a “pit crew” of approximately 100 fans to support Johnson as he runs the Boston Marathon. The Ally pit crew/cheering squad will be stationed at mile 17 at the iconic Newton fire station to help runners and encourage Johnson to power through the “Seven Hills of Newton” and Heartbreak Hill to finish his first-ever 26.2-mile marathon.

APP TRACKER: To follow along with Johnson on the day of the marathon, the Boston Athletic Association has an app where you can track his progress. The app is available on iTunes or Google Play Johnson will wear bib No. 4848 during the race.

BOSTON COVERAGE: Johnson will be featured in the Boston Marathon pre-event show, which airs Sunday, April 14, at 4 p.m. ET on the Olympic channel. The 123rd running of the Boston Marathon will broadcast on NBC Sports Network from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on Monday, April 15.

#CHASING8 TV SPOTS: Johnson’s partnership with Ally has now gone to a new level. A TV spot appropriately titled “Chasing 8” premiered during the Bristol race broadcast on Fox Sports 1. The 30-second clip was created to energize fans and Johnson, as he relentlessly works toward a record eighth NASCAR Cup series championship. The spot can be seen here.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finish
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 1 lap led
NATIONWIDE ON BOARD: The primary blue-and-white colors of Nationwide will be featured on the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 20 NASCAR Cup Series events in 2019. Nationwide will adorn the hood of Alex Bowman’s Chevrolet for this weekend’s event at Richmond Raceway and at Talladega Superspeedway later this month. Last August, Hendrick Motorsports and Nationwide extended their primary partnership with Bowman and the No. 88 team for an additional two years beginning in 2019.

BOWMAN IN VIRGINIA: Bowman will make his seventh start in the NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond Raceway this Saturday night. Last spring, the No. 88 Nationwide team finished 18th after starting just outside the top 10 in 11th. Bowman brought home a 12th-place finish after earning two top-10 finishes in the stages during the 400-lap event in the fall. The 25-year-old driver has completed 99 percent of the total laps run over his six starts at the 0.75-mile Virginia-based track. Bowman has three previous starts at Richmond in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he has an average start of 6.7 and an average finish of 17.0. In 2016, the driver started in the outside pole position in the fall event and finished ninth. Back in 2011, the Tucson, Arizona, native started fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond and finished fifth.

IVES AT RICHMOND: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the eighth time for the No. 88 team in Richmond this weekend. The Michigan native has one top-five finish at the track, with a fifth-place result coming in 2015 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ives’ drivers have an average finish of 15.4 and an average starting position of 16.9 at the Virginia-based track. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006 until 2012. During that time, he was a part of three wins, one pole award and seven top-10 finishes at Richmond.

THE OTHER SIDE OF BOWMAN: Be on the lookout for Bowman’s fourth diary piece on Motorsport.com that will be published on Tuesday, April 16. In the entry, Bowman talks about the season so far, his plans for the off weekend and his thoughts on going to a superspeedway at the end of the month. You can find Bowman’s March diary piece here.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT RICHMOND: At Richmond Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 17 pole positions, 59 top-five finishes and 109 top-10s – the organization’s third-most top 10s at a single track. Jimmie Johnson earned the three most recent wins for the organization at Richmond: a sweep in 2007 and another trip to Victory Lane in 2008. Since then, the organization has earned six runner-up results at the 0.75-mile oval, bringing its total to 19 second-place finishes at Richmond – the team’s most at any track.

QUALIFYING MOMENTUM: Hendrick Motorsports has swept the front row in Richmond qualifying five times. This season, there have been three front-row sweeps in qualifying, all of which have been earned by Hendrick Motorsports. The organization has achieved the feat in each of the last two races (Texas, Bristol) in addition to a historic one-two-three-four qualifying effort in the Daytona 500.

RUNNING UP FRONT: Hendrick Motorsports is the only organization to have all four drivers start on the front row in the 2019 season. William Byron has three front-row starts, Chase Elliott has two, and Johnson and Alex Bowman have one apiece. Hendrick Motorsports currently holds the record for most pole awards in 2019 with three. The average start for the organization this season leads all teams at 11.7.

SHORT-TRACK SHINE: The organization leads all active teams in short-track wins with 50, 14 ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing in second place. The wins are spread across a total of 10 different drivers. The record for the most drivers to win on a short track for one team is 11 by Junior Johnson and Associates.

4,000 CLUB: Hendrick Motorsports has lead over 4,000 laps at five different tracks. Richmond is fifth on the list with 4,032 laps led. The list is comprised of Martinsville (9,290), Dover (6,689), Bristol (5,902), and Charlotte (5,037). Richmond made the list last September with Bowman’s one lap led and Elliott’s 34 laps led.

TEN-PLUS: Richmond Raceway is among the list of active NASCAR Cup Series tracks where Hendrick Motorsports has earned double-digit wins. The organization’s 10 wins at the 0.75-mile track are tied for 10th on that list. A win this weekend would move Richmond into a tie with Bristol Motor Speedway, where Hendrick Motorsports has visited Victory Lane 11 times.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If Byron or Bowman win at Richmond, it would 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, 218 pole positions, 1,047 top-five finishes and 1,794 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 68,000 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on racing at Richmond:
“Richmond has a lot of character and is just a different place, and I think that is what makes it so tough. You really have to be superior to show your strength because it seems like everyone knows how to drive that racetrack, so it’s hard to be different. That may be what makes the racing pretty good.”

Elliott on Bristol pole award: 
“I definitely think when you run good or have good Fridays or good Sundays, I think that’s a product of hard work, regardless of how you get to that point. It doesn’t happen by slacking off and being lazy, that’s for sure. So, I think there’s a lot of hard work and effort going on at our shop at Hendrick Motorsports. This is a place where if you get your car driving good, you can have a chance. It’s a great racetrack and a fun racetrack.

William Byron on Richmond:
“Richmond is a very slick track. I think that will still be the case even with a different downforce level from the new package we’re running. It’s just very slick overall. It doesn’t seem to really pick up that much grip, even at night as the race goes on, it doesn’t seem to pick up much. It’s just a very abrasive track that is just hard to get around.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Richmond before the Boston Marathon:
“I’m looking forward to racing this weekend in Richmond and am ready for Boston. This weekend I will be focusing on nutrition and final preparations for the event Monday. We have had some small victories over the last few weeks on track, and I’m really proud of the effort (No. 48 team crew chief) Kevin (Meendering) and the team have put in. There are a lot of people putting in a lot of hours back at the shop, and it’s starting to pay off. Once we complete the 300 miles Saturday night, we will be flying to Boston. On Sunday, I plan to drive the course and make some mental notes along the way. I will be resting and recovering as much as possible so I’m at my best on Monday morning. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve heard it’s the best day in Boston, and I’m focused on accomplishing my goals. It’s been a long road, and I am stoked it’s finally here.”

Alex Bowman on Richmond races at night versus during the day:
“I am not sure that it matters much if the race is at night versus during the day at Richmond. The track gets really slick and widens out whether it’s during the day or night. Either way, Richmond is a fun track and I think the improvements that they are doing at the track are really cool.”

Bowman on the upcoming off week:
“It is going to be nice having a weekend off and everyone being able to reset. These 88 guys have been working day in and day out since before Daytona and I know are going to enjoy the weekend with their families for the Easter holiday. We will be working throughout the week on our Talladega car and strategy and be ready for the race the following weekend.”

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

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