HMS Prepares For Kentucky

Hendrick Motorsports / 5 24 48 88

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: SPARTA, KENTUCKY
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 19 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, JULY 13 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 Mtn. Dew DEWnited States Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 409 laps led

Career

  • 131 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 6 pole positions
  • 39 top-five finishes
  • 66 top-10 finishes
  • 1,652 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led
WE’RE HALFWAY: With only eight weeks remaining in the regular season, Chase Elliott’s Talladega win earlier this year secured his playoff spot, and he is currently seventh in the point standings. During the first 18 starts of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, the driver of the No. 9 Mtn. Dew DEWnited States Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has accumulated six top-five finishes and seven top-10s, averaging a starting position of 11.9 and finishing position of 12.9.

KENTUCKY STATS: Elliott is set to make his fourth Cup Series start at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. In 2017, the Dawonsville, Georgia, native collected a career track-best finish of third. He also has four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky, averaging a starting position of 9.2 and finishing position of 8.2. The driver has led 20 laps and collected a pair of top-five finishes in the Xfinity Series at Kentucky.

1.5-MILE TRACK STATS: This season, Elliott holds an average finish of 10.0 on 1.5-mile tracks, one of only four drivers to own an average finish of 10th or better on the track length in 2019. In October 2018, Elliott led the final 44 laps in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway en route to his third victory of the season. In his previous 39 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he has led 412 laps, collected 13 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. The driver averages a starting position of 14.2 and finishing position of 13.1 at tracks of that length.

DEWNITED STATES: This weekend, Elliott will pilot the No. 9 Mtn. Dew DEWnited States Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Kentucky Speedway. Earlier this month, his Kentucky ride was revealed on social media. The DEWnited States scheme celebrates the entire country. Mountain Dew launched 50 unique labels on bottles across the U.S. representing all 50 of the DEWnited States. Fans that find and collect all 50 can score $100 by entering the code under each cap at dewnited.com. Last week, Elliott shared a virtual cheers video via his social channels promoting the DEWnited States campaign. Click here to watch.

DAYTONA REWIND: Last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, Elliott earned top-five finishes in the two opening stages of the race before being collected in a multiple-car incident in the final segment that caused terminal damage to the No. 9 NAPA Batteries Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. As a result, the No. 9 team was credited with a 35th-place finish.

William Byron
No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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

2019 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 180 laps led

Career

  • 54 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 241 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
REDEMPTION AT DAYTONA: After an on-track incident in final practice, William Byron was forced to start from the rear of the field when the NASCAR Cup Series was finally able to take the green flag at Daytona International Speedway last Sunday afternoon. Methodically working his way through the field and into the top-five running order, Byron was able to successfully avoid “The Big One” on Lap 120, positioning himself as the runner-up at the time of the caution. With various pit strategies playing out with the weather in the area, the race was deemed official on Lap 127. Byron was credited with a second-place finish – a career best and his first Cup Series top-five finish.

HALFWAY HOME IN 2019: Hitting the halfway mark of the 2019 Cup Series season, Byron is hitting his stride with the No. 24 team. After collecting his career-best Cup Series finish of second last weekend at Daytona, he is now tied with five other drivers, including teammate Alex Bowman, for the most top-10 finishes in the last eight races with five. He is also tied with teammate Jimmie Johnson for the longest active streak with two consecutive top-10 finishes, and his two straight top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks tie for the third-longest active streak. Over the last seven races, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has steadily gained 73 points over the playoff bubble since the 600-mile event at Charlotte in May. With 18 starts in his sophomore season, Byron has led 180 laps, collected three poles, one top five-finish and six top-10s compared to 61 laps led and four top-10s through 36 starts in 2018.

AT IT AGAIN WITH AXALTA: After running the Axalta Flames of Independence paint scheme this past weekend at Daytona, Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will return with the iconic Axalta flames back on board for Saturday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway. After this weekend, Axalta Coating Systems has four races left on Byron’s Chevy in 2019 with two races in October (Dover and Talladega) and two races in November (Texas and Homestead).

BLUEGRASS STATE BOUND: When the Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend for Saturday night’s race, Byron will make his sixth national series start at the 1.5-mile oval. With last year marking his first race at Kentucky in the Cup Series, Byron fought an ill-handling car all race before ultimately finishing in the 20th position. In his two Xfinity starts at the track, Byron has one top-10 finish and was poised for a second in the fall race but a loose wheel sent him to an 18th-place finish. In 2016, Byron qualified third in the Truck Series race at Kentucky, led 70 laps and went on to be the first winner on the newly repaved and reconfigured track.

KNAUS NEEDS KENTUCKY: This weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway marks the second track of four this season where No. 24 team crew chief Chad Knaus has yet to claim a victory. Calling the shots for eight races at the 1.5-mile track, third (2011) is the closest Knaus has come to taking home the checkered flag. In those eight starts, the veteran crew chief has one pole (2012), one top-five finish and five top-10s.

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
  • 18 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 78 laps led

Career

  • 633 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 227 top-five finishes
  • 360 top-10 finishes
  • 18,781 laps led

Track Career 

  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 206 laps led
SEASON BEST: Jimmie Johnson’s third-place result last Sunday at Daytona International Speedway was the best finish by the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team this season. On the heels of a fourth-place finish one week earlier at Chicagoland Speedway, Johnson is on his longest streak of top-five finishes since 2017. He last finished inside the top five in three consecutive races in 2015, when he went on to amass a five-race streak of top-five results.

LOOKING FOR VICTORY LANE AT KENTUCKY: Johnson has led 206 laps at Kentucky Speedway, the most laps led by a driver who has yet to find Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile track. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion’s best finish at the Sparta track is third, which came in 2011 in his first start at the track. It is one of only four tracks where he has yet to win in the NASCAR Cup Series along with Chicagoland Speedway, Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.

LUCKY NUMBER NINE?: This weekend will mark Johnson’s ninth start at Kentucky, and as history has it, he’s scored his first win at a track in his ninth start five times. These tracks include Daytona International Superspeedway, ISM Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway and Texas Motor Speedway. He has gone on to win multiple times on four of those tracks.

TOP-10 STREAKING: Johnson currently has four straight top-10 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series, which is a series-best. Those finishes include a fifth-place result at Texas Motor Speedway, sixth-place at Kansas Speedway, eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fourth at Chicagoland this season. It marks his longest streak of top-10 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks since he had six straight spanning the end of 2015 season and beginning of the 2016 campaign.

GAINING GROUND: In the past three races, Johnson has gained 35 points on the playoff bubble. Since the Pocono race on June 2, he has jumped from 17th to 13th in the point standings.

1.5-MILE MASTER: Over the course of his 83 NASCAR Cup Series wins, Johnson has amassed 28 of them – the most of all-time – on 1.5-mile tracks. NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon is the second-most winningest driver on the track length with 17, followed by Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart (15), Dale Earnhardt (14), Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Richard Petty (13).

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Driver Alex Bowman   Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 26                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2019 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 182 laps led

Career

  • 135 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 456 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 3 laps led
WELCOME BACK, NATIONWIDE: 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 Camaro ZL1 for this weekend’s event at Kentucky Speedway and again later this month at Pocono Raceway.

NATIONWIDE KIDS ON BOARD: For the fourth consecutive year, Nationwide is donating its No. 88 paint scheme to Nationwide Children’s Hospital to recognize the hospital’s great work and to honor its patients. This weekend at Kentucky Speedway, the No. 88 machine will feature a light blue paint scheme with the famous butterflies featured on board. A key piece of the paint scheme will be the three patient champion names that will adorn the deck lid of Bowman’s machine.Through the Nationwide Sports Sponsorship platforms, Nationwide has raised more than $33 million for the hospital since 2011. Check out Bowman’s threads for this weekend’s 400-mile race here.

BOWMAN AT KENTUCKY: Bowman is set to make his fourth Cup Series start at Kentucky Speedway this Saturday night. On 1.5-mile tracks this season, the Tucson, Arizona, native has one win (Chicago) and three top-10 finishes including two top-fives. The driver of the No. 88 machine has an average finish of 9.0 at 1.5-mile venues and is one of only four drivers with an average finish of 10th or better on the track length in 2019. The 26-year-old driver also has three starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky, completing 98.9 percent of the total laps run and recording two top-10 finishes including one top-five.

ON A TOP-10 ROLL: Bowman is tied with five drivers for the most top-10 finishes in the last eight races. He has finished inside the top-10 five times since Dover in May. The No. 88 driver owns the second-longest active streak of top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks with three.

IVES’ STATS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the fifth time at Kentucky Speedway this weekend under the lights. The Bark River, Michigan, native’s resume includes two top-15 finishes and four laps led. Ives’ drivers have an average starting position of 12.8 and an average finish of 21.2 at the track. In 2013 and 2014, Ives was a crew chief at JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His drivers led 20 laps at the 1.5-mile track and had an average start of 10.8 and an average finish of 14.5. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer on the No. 48 team with Jimmie Johnson. During that time, the team had one pole win, one top-five finish and two top-10s at Kentucky.

MEET BOWMAN: For fans at Kentucky Speedway this weekend, there are two opportunities to meet Bowman. On Friday, July 12, the No. 88 driver will be at the youth autograph session in the Kid’s Zone located in the midway from 4 to 4:20 p.m. local time. From 5 to 5:15 p.m. local time on Saturday, July 13, fans can catch the driver at the Fan Zone Infield Fan Stage for a question-and-answer session.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KENTUCKY: Kentucky is one of only two tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to claim a victory along with the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. In the organization’s 32 starts at Kentucky, it owns two poles, one second-place result, six top-five finishes, 15 top 10s and 220 laps led. The organization has finished in every position from second to 14th at least once at the track.

THE LAST NINE: Over the last nine races, Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Cup Series in several categories. The organization has earned the most poles (three), runner-up results (four), top-five finishes (12), top 10s (20) and laps led (580) during that span. Hendrick Motorsports’ average finish of 11.75 in those eight races also leads the Cup Series, and its two wins are tied for the second-most.

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Hendrick Motorsports has had at least three cars finish in the top 10 in four of the past eight races (Dover International Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway). Through the first 18 races of 2019, the organization has increased its poles by five, wins by two, top-five finishes by seven, top-10s by five and laps led by 709 over the same span in 2018. Hendrick Motorsports’ average start of 12.01 this season is 3.8 positions better than through the first 18 races last year, and its average finish of 13.58 is 2.89 spots better than 2018’s mark through the first half of the year.

DRIVEN TO GIVE: During the Kentucky race weekend, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be among the 55 Cup Series and Xfinity Series drivers wearing Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s signature skeleton gloves as part of the Driven to Give Gloves program. Following the race, each pair of gloves will be autographed by the driver wearing them and Earnhardt, then put up for auction on the NASCAR Foundation auction site to benefit the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The funds will support patients and their families in pediatric injury rehabilitation, research and prevention.

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a history of competing well on 1.5-mile tracks, owning an all-time record 59 wins on the track length. Jimmie Johnson leads drivers all-time with 28 wins on 1.5-mile tracks, with former teammate Jeff Gordon in second with 17.

PLAYOFF POSITIONING: Currently, all four Hendrick Motorsports teammates are in position to make the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at the end of the regular season. Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman have both essentially locked in their spots by finding Victory Lane and rank seventh and ninth, respectively, in the point standings. William Byron currently ranks 12th in the standings, with Johnson in 13th.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has a total of 12 championships, 254 race victories, 221 pole positions, 1,059 top-five finishes and 1,814 top-10s in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 68,500 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott on Kentucky:
“Kentucky has been a different place, especially since they repaved it. The differences in the corners now has been a challenge. I feel like we ran a little better there before they repaved it than we have after – or I have, personally – but I’m looking forward to it.”

Elliott on the challenges of Kentucky:
“Kentucky and New Hampshire are two racetracks that have been harder for me than others. Some challenging racetracks coming up – they are all challenging, but I feel like those specifically (Kentucky, New Hampshire) are some that I need to put some extra work into to try and be better.”

William Byron on Kentucky:
“Kentucky has lost a lot of grip quickly. They repaved it less than five years ago and it has really gotten grayer and grayer each year. I’m sure it’s going to be even more slick this year when we go back. It’s one of those tracks that takes a while to get rubber, so you just have to almost wait for that process to happen and make sure you tune your car to the rubber and not the clean track. That’s really all I’m worried about is once the rubber lays down, you know it’s going to be a different racetrack.”

Jimmie Johnson on Kentucky:
“We are back to getting some top-fives and knocking on the door right now. These guys on my team have been working really hard. I think we’re starting to hit our stride as a group. While I’ve had a lot of success on 1.5-mile tracks, Kentucky has always seemed to be a challenge for me. It’s got bumps. Going into Turn 1 you are climbing up a hill and then quickly descend until you actually turn into Turn 3. The cars are very edgy and then you get some grip off of Turn 4 and then you are down the front straightaway again.”

Alex Bowman on going back to 1.5-mile tracks:
“It is going to be exciting going back to a mile-and-a-half track this weekend. Last year in Kentucky, it didn’t end well. We are hoping that with our recent success at a track this size, we will have a good weekend. This Nationwide team has been working hard on our programs and it is definitely paying off.”

Bowman on Nationwide Children’s Hospital:
“Having the Nationwide Children’s Hospital on our Chevrolet this weekend is definitely special. Seeing these amazing patient champions at track is always great and carrying their names on the deck lid this weekend will be an honor. I have been to the hospital multiple times and it is such an amazing facility. The work that they are able to do there helps so many kids and it is an honor to carry these butterflies on the car this weekend.”

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.