Hendrick Motorsports Previews Talladega

Hendrick Motorsports / 5 24 48 88

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY (2.66-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: TALLADEGA, ALABAMA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 10 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, APRIL 28 (FOX/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesars Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 62 laps led
PIZZA! PIZZA!: The No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will get a fresh orange, white and black look for this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Chase Elliott’s Talladega ride was revealed via Little Caesars’ social media last week. Hendrick Motorsports later showcased Elliott’s Mountain Dew/Little Caesars uniform on Instagram.

TALLADEGA STATS: This weekend, Elliott is set to make his seventh start at Talladega Superspeedway. In his previous six starts, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has never started outside the top 10, including earning the pole award in his first start at the track in May 2016. He currently holds the second-best all-time average start at Talladega (4.17) with a minimum of two starts. Elliott has garnered two top-five finishes and led 53 laps in his Cup Series starts at the Alabama track. Elliott also has three starts at Talladega in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, collecting one top-10 finish.

GUSTAFSON AT TALLADEGA: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 29th Talladega Cup Series race from atop the pit box this weekend. In his previous 28 races calling the shots for five different drivers (Elliott, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon) at the superspeedway, he collected six top-five finishes – one of which was a runner-up result – seven top-10s, 165 laps led and five pole awards.

LOOKING AHEAD: Elliott looks to repeat the success and career-best finishes that he has at the four upcoming tracks on the schedule – Talladega, Dover, Kansas and Charlotte. In April 2018, Elliott collected a third-place finish at Talladega – currently a career best at the 2.66-mile oval . During the most recent visits to Dover and Kansas, the driver of the No. 9 captured wins that secured his spot in the Round of 8 for the 2018 playoffs. Elliott has also garnered a runner-up finish (career best at track) at Charlotte back in October 2017 after leading 12 laps.

THIS ONE’S ON CHASE: Elliott and Mountain Dew have partnered with Little Caesars for a delicious deal. For a limited time only, order any pizza on the Little Caesars app and receive a FREE 2-liter Pepsi-Cola product. Offer is only available while supplies last. For more information, head over to LittleCaesars.com.

William Byron
No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

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

Career

  • 45 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
  • 19 laps led
TAMING TALLADEGA: Returning to Talladega Superspeedway for the third time in a NASCAR Cup Series car – but for the first time without yellow rookie stripes – William Byron is optimistic about a strong run this weekend in the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In both Cup races last year Byron had solid runs, including leading 19 total laps – 14 laps in the spring and five laps in the fall. Byron also has one NASCAR Xfinity Series start as well as one NASCAR Truck Series start at Talladega, collecting a track-best finish of 10th in his debut at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Byron has one superspeedway race already under his belt in 2019, the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, where he sat on the pole, led 44 laps and was in contention for the win before a late-race incident with two laps to go ended his night early.

HERTZ IS HERE AGAIN: After its 2019 debut on the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, the Hertz Corporation – one of the world’s largest vehicle rental companies – will be on board Byron’s ride for the second time this year at Talladega. The can’t-miss, Hertz-yellow Chevy will hit the track this weekend and will be back again later in the season at Sonoma Raceway and at ISM Raceway in the fall.

KNAUS’ KNACK: With a skill for superspeedway racing, crew chief Chad Knaus is set to call his 37th NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega when the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 hits the track this weekend. Racking up six pole awards at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, including a streak of four in a row in his first four races at the track as a Cup crew chief, Knaus also has two wins at Talladega.

CLOSE TO HOME: Hailing from Pensacola, Florida, No. 24 team spotter Tab Boyd claims Talladega Superspeedway as his home track. Growing up a few hours away from the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Boyd has more than 20 years of experience in NASCAR, serving as an Xfinity Series tire changer and holding mechanical and fabrication positions before ultimately ending up in the spotter’s stand. When Boyd has time outside of the NASCAR schedule, he is usually still at the racetrack, but behind the steering wheel of his Street Stock in the Street Stock Mid-Atlantic Series.

RICHMOND RECAP: After starting 13th two weeks ago at Richmond Raceway, Byron had a solid run throughout the 400-lap event, running within the top 15 for most of the night before coming home with a 13th-place finish heading into a rare off-weekend. With his 13th-place finish, Byron has an average finish of 11.67 in the last three races, marking his second-best three-race run in his Cup Series career.

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
  • 9 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 64 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 470 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to the media on Friday, April 26, at 2 p.m. local time in the drivers meeting room at Talladega Superspeedway.

BOSTON IN THE REAR VIEW: The highly anticipated Boston Marathon is finally behind Jimmie Johnson and his performance was impressive. The driver crossed the finish line just nine minutes short of his personal goal of three hours. The 43-year old, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion completed the storied 26.2 mile course in 3:09:07, which now qualifies him for the 2020 Boston Marathon.

COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING: Johnson’s average pace for the Boston Marathon was a 7:13 minute per mile, or 8.57 mph. His average time per lap at Richmond was 36.1 seconds per mile, or 99.852 mph. His estimated caloric burn during the Boston Marathon was 2,990 calories and during the Richmond race was 1,431. Johnson’s average heart rate during the marathon was 154 beats per minute and 114 for Richmond’s 300-mile race. The Richmond event took 3:00:16 to complete and the marathon was 3:09:07. Once Johnson crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon, he had officially logged 819 miles on foot in 2019 in addition to his 3,461 miles raced in a car this season.

FINAL EPISODE: Johnson had a team documenting his journey to Boston along with partner Gatorade Endurance. The final episode of “Jimmie Johnson: Formulated for Boston” was released on April 16 – click here to watch it.

FRESH OFF A BYE WEEK: Johnson has 12 wins in his career after an off week, most among active drivers. Six of those have come in the last 10 years, which is tied for the most in that span. He has two career wins at Talladega Superspeedway, the last of which came on April 17, 2011.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: April 28 marks the 17-year anniversary of Johnson’s first Cup Series win. The win came in his 13th career start on April 28, 2002, at Auto Club Speedway in California. Johnson was a mere 26 years old at the time, the fifth-youngest driver in the field. Speaking of age, Johnson is expected to be the oldest driver competing at Talladega this weekend at age 43.

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 7 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finish
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 26 laps led
BOWMAN AT ‘DEGA: Alex Bowman will make his eighth start in the NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway weekend. Last spring, the No. 88 Nationwide team finished eighth at the track after starting just outside the top 10 in 11th. The 25-year-old driver led 26 laps in the spring event last year at the 2.66-mile facility. The Tucson, Arizona, native has one start at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series back in 2013, when he qualified 14th and finished 13th. Bowman also ran an ARCA Series race at the Alabama-based track in 2012.

TESTING, TESTING: Following the Daytona 500 earlier this season, the No. 88 Nationwide team took part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway, testing the new superspeedway aero package. Bowman was one of three drivers to participate in the test with the package that will be on the track this weekend at Talladega. The 25-year-old driver commented that it was a smooth test in his February diary piece on Motorsport.com that can be viewed here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The driver of the No. 88 Chevy celebrates a birthday on April 25. Bowman turns 26 on Friday at Talladega. He could be one of three drivers to win at Talladega after having a birthday just days before the 500-mile event. Bowman would join Neil Bonnett and Dale Earnhardt in the feat if he were to visit Victory Lane on Sunday.

FIRST-TIME WINNER: Bowman is aging into the first-time winner sweet spot after turning 26 on Friday. All-time, 81 percent of drivers scored their first career win after turning 26 years old. There have been nine drivers to score their first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, two of which came at Talladega. The average age for the two drivers to win at the superspeedway was 27.

IVES IN ALABAMA: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the ninth time for the No. 88 team at Talladega this weekend. The Michigan native has one win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2015, two top-five finishes and four top-10 results at the track. Ives’ drivers have an average start of 6.5 at the track. The crew chief’s resume includes one win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the superspeedway with Regan Smith in 2013. 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 two wins, two pole awards and seven top-10 finishes at Talladega.

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 Bowman’s Chevrolet for this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway and again at Dover International Speedway next 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.

IN-CAR CAMERA: During Sunday’s race in Alabama, Bowman will have the Nationwide in-car camera on board. The driver will also wear the visor cam inside his Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

HOME-TRACK FEELS: No. 88 team tire carrier Rowdy Harrell returns to his home state of Alabama this weekend when the Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway. Harrell grew up in the small town of Moundville, Alabama, which is near Tuscaloosa. The Alabama native was a middle linebacker for the University of Alabama under coach Nick Saban and was part of three NCAA national championship wins with the team in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS GC: Last month, Hendrick Motorsports drafted two players who will compete in the first eNASCAR Heat Pro League season. This week, the 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions have launched the team’s official gaming club that will chase the inaugural NHPL title. In 2019, Hendrick Motorsports GC will field the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Sam Morris on the Xbox One platform and the No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Nick Jobes on PlayStation 4. The two-car team will compete in the 16-race Heat Pro League schedule that will kick off in May. Fans can follow along via HendrickMotorsports.com@HendrickGC on Twitter and  @hendrickmotorsportsgc on Instagram.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports holds multiple all-time records, including 12 poles, 13 runner-up results, 56 top-five finishes, 85 top-10s and 2,757 laps led. The organization’s 12 wins at the track are tied for the most all-time. Hendrick Motorsports has the most different drivers to win at Talladega with six, with the organization’s most recent win at the venue coming in 2015 thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

TALLADEGA MILESTONE: This Sunday will mark the 100th race at Talladega Superspeedway. Hendrick Motorsports has won two previous 100th races at a track – Jeff Gordon at Daytona in 1997 and Jimmie Johnson at Darlington in 2004.

SUPERSPEEDWAY SUCCESS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for the most superspeedway wins all-time with 26, six ahead of Wood Brothers Racing in second place. Hendrick Motorsports also holds the record for the most pole positions at a superspeedway with 32. The next-closest team is Ranier Racing with 18.

BYE WEEK BLISS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the all-time record for the most wins following a bye week. The organization has 35 wins after an off weekend, with Richard Childress Racing coming in second with 27 and Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Fenway Racing tied for third with 17. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won four of the last 10 races the week after Easter, most recently courtesy of Johnson at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2017.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Alex Bowman win at Talladega, it would extend the record to the 10th time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

ALL-STAR FAN VOTING: Fan voting for the NASCAR All-Star Race is now open with two teammates from Hendrick Motorsports on the ballot. Chase Elliott and Johnson are locked into the race, and Byron and Bowman are in the fan voting pool, providing one route to join their teammates in the All-Star Race field on May 18. Fans can cast their vote here, and votes shared on Twitter and Facebook count double.

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 Talladega:
“Talladega is Talladega. Obviously, the package is going to be different for there, too. Daytona was what we have had in the past. I don’t know what we are going to see. I’m sure we will still see a bunch of wrecks and whatnot. Hopefully, we are not involved.”

Elliott on how the Talladega race weekend will unfold:
“I’m sure you’ll see what we’ve seen the past handful of times, guys going out with their manufacturers and running with them. So, we’ll definitely do that, I’m sure. And we’ll get as big a group as we can to go practice with. We’ve always been wanting to go run when there is a group. There’s just never a big enough group to really learn what you see in the race.”

William Byron on racing at Talladega:
“Talladega is a wild card for sure, just like Daytona is. Last year we ran well there, leading laps in both races, but the finishes don’t tell the whole story. I think the rookie stripes made people hesitant to work with me, so hopefully that’s not the case this time. I think our strong run in Daytona in February will help as well. We were up front basically all race and I could really put my car wherever I needed to on track to get back to the front. (No. 24 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and the No. 24 team worked hard to build that car and get us that speed, so I’m excited to see what our Hertz Chevy will have this weekend at a similar track.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Talladega:
“Lots of unknowns as far as the package goes this weekend at Talladega. It should make for some interesting racing for sure. Personally, I’ve enjoyed a great vacation with my family after competing in the Boston Marathon and I’m looking forward to this weekend.”

Alex Bowman on comparing Talladega to Daytona:
“Daytona and Talladega are a little different, but not terribly different. I feel like if you have an ill-handling race car but it’s fast at Daytona, you can get away with it at Talladega. We had a pretty good car in Daytona in February, we just got caught up in an incident on track late in the race. (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys have been working throughout the off week to get this Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 dialed in and I know when we get on track on Friday, we will have some fun.”

Bowman on what it takes to get a win this weekend:
“I think superspeedway racing is just something where you have to stay out of trouble. Things can change on track quickly and you just have to be able to stay out of harms way. We were strong in Daytona and our Nationwide Camaro ZL1 is usually pretty good on superspeedways. The new aero package that we tested in Daytona a few months ago should be interesting to run and I am definitely looking forward to how it does on track. I am ready to see how it does and get to the track.”

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.