Hendrick Motorsports Readies For Martinsville

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports / 5 24 48 88

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY (0.526-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: RIDGEWAY, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 11 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JUNE 10 (FS1/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 24                       Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2020 Season

  • 3rd in standings
  • 10 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 394 laps led

Career

  • 159 starts
  • 7 wins
  • 9 pole positions
  • 48 top-five finishes
  • 80 top-10 finishes
  • 2,238 laps led

Track Career 

  • 9 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 192 laps led
ELLIOTT AT THE PAPERCLIP: Chase Elliott is set to make his 10th NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday night. The driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE made his Cup debut at the track for Hendrick Motorsports on March 29, 2015, and has since led a total of 192 laps there. He has finished inside the top 10 in three of his last four visits to the track, including a runner-up result in March 2019 when he posted the second-highest average running position (2.35) for the race. In his most recent visit to the 0.526-mile venue last October, Elliott started from the rear of the field and worked his way to fifth before experiencing a mechanical issue that ended his day.

PEACH STATE REWIND: Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA team started from the pole on Sunday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native led 26 laps – the first Cup Series laps he’s led at his home track – and earned 11 stage points en route to an eighth-place finish. The effort marked Elliott’s sixth top-10 result of the season.

AFTER 10: With 10 races completed in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Elliott ranks third in the driver standings. He also is second in laps led (394) with one win, four top-five finishes, six top-10s and one pole award (Phoenix in March). The 24-year-old driver leads the series with the highest average running position for the season (7.59). His five stage wins and 118 stage points are the most for any driver in 2020.

SHORT-TRACK STATS: On Wednesday, Elliott will make his 28th short-track start in the Cup Series. In those races, he has garnered seven top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and led a total of 513 laps. Since the start of 2018, Elliott is tied with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson with seven top-10s at short tracks, the fourth-most during that span.

GUSTAFSON’S MARTINSVILLE HISTORY: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 31st Martinsville Speedway race from atop the pit box. In his previous 30 Cup Series starts at the track, he has two wins, 12 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s. Both wins at the 0.526-mile oval came with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon (2013 and 2015). The 2015 victory secured Gordon’s position in the Championship 4 for the season finale.

DESI9N TO DRIVE: As part of the Chase Elliott Foundation’s fourth annual “DESI9N TO DRIVE” art collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Elliott and his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates wore patient-designed racing shoes during Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. All four pairs of shoes have been autographed and are currently being auctioned off at the NASCAR Foundation online auction site with proceeds benefiting the hospital’s summer camp program. In addition, the Chase Elliott Foundation will match the proceeds from the “DESI9N TO DRIVE” program and make a separate donation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s COVID-19 fund that helps provide support, supplies and equipment for its most fragile patients and frontline workers.

BEHIND THE 9: Gustafson is trying his hand as a host in a new Hendrick Motorsports video series called “Behind the 9” in which he interviews each member of the No. 9 crew. Fans can learn about where they came from and the role they serve on the team, with each bringing a unique personality and skillset. Episodes are released every Tuesday on the Hendrick Motorsports Facebook page and YouTube channel. The most recent episode features tire specialist Mason Jennings.

William Byron
No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver William Byron   Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 22                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season

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

Career

  • 82 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 5 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 309 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led
TURNAROUND TIME: Despite some bad luck this season, William Byron and the No. 24 Axalta team are optimistic about Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway. The last time the NASCAR Cup Series competed at the 0.526-mile track, he had the best race of his young career despite coming up one spot short of his first win. Tying his previous track-best qualifying effort of 11th, Byron made his way into the top five early and held his ground throughout the 500-lap race with an average running position of 4.15. In the closing laps, Byron chased down the leader but ran out of time to make the pass and crossed the finish line in second place. It was both a track-best and series-best finish for the third-year driver.

MARTINSVILLE MINUTES: Despite his young age, Byron’s relationship with Martinsville dates back more than a decade. The track is where he attended his first NASCAR Cup Series race as a fan in 2006, which motivated him to pursue his own career in racing. Since then the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has moved quickly through the ranks and is now poised to make his fifth Cup start there and seventh overall in a NASCAR national series. In his two NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series appearances, he posted third- and eighth-place finishes.

ON THIS DATE: The No. 24 team has two wins on June 10, with both coming courtesy of four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. The NASCAR Hall of Famer won Hendrick Motorsports’ milestone 100th Cup Series race on June 10, 2001, at Michigan International Speedway and on June 10, 2007, at Pocono Raceway.

KNAUS’ KNACK FOR MARTINSVILLE: Calling the shots atop the pit box for the 40th time at Martinsville Speedway, Chad Knaus is ready to add another grandfather clock trophy to his collection. The seven-time champion crew chief’s nine Cup wins there are second only to his 11 at Dover International Speedway. His most recent victory at the Virginia short track came in the fall of 2016 with driver Jimmie Johnson. Byron’s runner-up performance last fall was Knaus’ 20th top-five finish at Martinsville – with 13 of those results in the top two.

BRINGING THE HEAT: The last time the Cup Series raced at a short track was just over one week ago at Bristol Motor Speedway where Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had Axalta on board for an eighth-place finish – his best of the 2020 season. Wednesday night’s race at the Martinsville Speedway will again feature the iconic Axalta flames. In 2020, Axalta is the 22-race majority partner of the No. 24 team. The company’s relationship with Hendrick Motorsports was recently extended, taking one of the most enduring partnerships in sports through 2027.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 44                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season

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

Career

  • 661 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 229 top-five finishes
  • 369 top-10 finishes
  • 18,862 laps led

Track Career 

  • 36 starts
  • 9 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 24 top-10 finishes
  • 2,862 laps led
MARTINSVILLE MASTER: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has seen plenty of success over the course of his 36 starts at Martinsville Speedway. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has nine wins at the short track, ranking behind only Dover International Speedway where he has 11 victories. His average finish of 9.3 at Martinsville is tied with Chicagoland Speedway for his second-best at any oval track, behind just Auto Club Speedway. He has 24 top-10 finishes and led 2,862 laps around the paperclip-shaped Virginia track, second only to his 25 top-10s and 3,110 laps led at Dover.

START ME UP: Two of Johnson’s nine Martinsville victories have come from a starting position outside the top 10. He came from the 18th spot to earn his first win at the track in 2004 and from 20th to victory lane in 2007. The No. 48 team will start 21st on Wednesday night.

LAST WIN: Johnson’s most recent win at Martinsville was Oct. 30, 2016, which locked him into the championship round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. He led 92 laps that day and took home his ninth grandfather clock trophy on the way to his record-tying seventh championship title.

SHORT-TRACK WINNER: Of all active Cup Series drivers, Johnson has the second-most career wins on short tracks with 14. The 44-year-old driver has earned multiple victories on all three active short tracks on the Cup circuit: Martinsville (9), Richmond (3) and Bristol (2).

ATLANTA GRANDSTANDING: At Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Johnson and No. 48 crew chief Cliff Daniels secured their fifth top-10 finish in 10 races thus far in 2020. Johnson also was honored with his name in towering letters at the 1.5-mile track, where the Winners Grandstand was permanently renamed to honor the five-time Atlanta race winner. He joins NASCAR’s two other seven-time champions, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, as the only drivers recognized with a grandstand at the venue.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 ChevyGoods.com/
Adam’s Polishes Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Alex Bowman   Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 27                         Resides Concord, North Carolina

2020 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 10 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 369 laps led

Career

  • 162 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 12 top-five finishes
  • 28 top-10 finishes
  • 843 laps led

Track Career 

  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led
CAREER YEAR: After 10 races, Alex Bowman has already captured one win (Auto Club Speedway) and secured his third playoff berth in three full seasons with Hendrick Motorsports. His 369 laps led in 2020 represent a personal full-season best and rank third among all drivers. He is currently eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 107 markers behind the leader, and ranks fifth overall in average running position at 10.53. The driver of the No. 88 ChevyGoods.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has also captured four stage wins this year – second only to teammate Chase Elliott – and has earned 110 stage points, which is third in the series. Bowman’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports crew is averaging a four-tire pit stop of 14.067 seconds – good for fifth overall in the Cup Series.

MARTINSVILLE STATS: Bowman has eight previous Martinsville Speedway starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Tucson, Arizona, native’s best finish came in the 2018 spring event when he crossed the line seventh after 500 laps. Last season, the 27-year-old driver scored one top-15 finish at the 0.526-mile facility. Bowman is set to start eighth on Wednesday evening at the Virginia-based venue.

IVES IN VIRGINIA: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the 11th time for the No. 88 team at Martinsville on Wednesday evening. The Bark River, Michigan, native has one top-five finish and three top-10s at the short track with a best finish of fourth coming in 2015 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team from 2006-2012 when he was a part of six wins, three pole awards and 12 top-10 finishes at Martinsville.

WELCOME BACK, CHEVYGOODS.COM: The black and yellow ChevyGoods.com paint scheme featuring Adam’s Polishes will be on board Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Wednesday night at Martinsville. Adam’s Polishes produces high quality products for auto detailing enthusiasts. In January, Hendrick Motorsports announced its partnership with ChevyGoods.com, which includes primary sponsorship of Bowman for 26 events. Associate brands that will be featured throughout 2020 are Adam’s Polishes, NOCO and Truck Hero.

CLOSE TO HOME: No. 88 engine tuner Stephen Raynor calls Martinsville Speedway his home track. The 33-year-old crew member grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is approximately 50 miles from the Virginia venue. He has been with the Hendrick Motorsports engine department for eight years.

GOOD DISCOUNTS: During the month of June, ChevyGoods.com is providing discounts on all accessories, including Adam’s Polishes, NOCO and Truck Hero. Customers can receive 10% off MSRP with purchases of $100-$249 (offer code “GET10”), 15% off with purchases of $250-$499 (code “GET15”), and 20% off with purchases of more than $500 (code “GET20”). Free ground shipping is also available with offer code “FREESHIP.”

Hendrick Motorsports

APPROACHING 70K: Hendrick Motorsports is nearing another major milestone: 70,000 laps led in the NASCAR Cup Series. Its 69,721 laps led is the all-time record and nearly 10,000 more than any other team. In 2020, Hendrick Motorsports has posted a series-leading 806 laps, which is 100 more than second-place Team Penske. Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has led 26% of the laps raced at Martinsville Speedway (9,290 of 35,895).

HENDRICK-VILLE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 24 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series wins at Martinsville Speedway are the most by any team at any track in the sport’s history. Junior Johnson and Associates won 21 races at Bristol Motor Speedway, and Hendrick Motorsports has posted 20 points victories at both Dover International Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval.

THE NUMBERS SPEAK: Hendrick Motorsports has won 33% (24 of 72) of the NASCAR Cup Series events it has raced at Martinsville. The team has earned at least one victory there in 53% (19 of 36) of its seasons, has won three consecutive races at the track on four different occasions and swept the top-two finishing positions five times. Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has placed at least one of its Chevrolets in the top 10 in 90% of the events (65 of 72).

VIRGINIA HOME: Car owner Rick Hendrick was raised in the small community of Palmer Springs, Virginia, which is two hours from Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick grew up on a tobacco farm and was exposed to cars and auto racing by his father, “Papa Joe” Hendrick. Rick Hendrick, who founded Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, has won a record 12 NASCAR Cup Series championships as an owner and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2017. He is also chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held operator of car dealerships in the United States.

TRACK OF FIRSTS: Hendrick Motorsports’ first-ever NASCAR Cup Series win and laps led came at Martinsville Speedway on April 29, 1984, with driver Geoff Bodine. Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip secured his first of nine wins driving for Hendrick Motorsports there in September 1989. Most recently at the track, Chase Elliott made his Cup Series debut in March 2015 and William Byron attended his first Cup race as a fan in 2006.

SIX WOULD BE A RECORD: Hendrick Motorsports’ 24 Martinsville wins have come with a record-tying five different drivers: Jeff Gordon (9), Jimmie Johnson (9), Waltrip (4), Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bodine. Junior Johnson and Associates and Joe Gibbs Racing have also sent five drivers to victory lane at the half-mile short track.

SHORT TRACK SUCCESS: With 50 wins, Hendrick Motorsports has the most short-track victories of any active NASCAR Cup Series team. Joe Gibbs Racing has 40, with Team Penske at 32 and Richard Childress Racing at 30.

ORGANIZATION STATS: Since its inception in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 258 race victories, 226 pole positions, 1,079 top-five finishes and 1,854 top-10s in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led nearly 70,000 laps, which is the all-time record. Including 2020, the organization has won at least one race in 35 consecutive seasons, the longest-ever streak. Hendrick Motorsports is 10 wins away from tying Petty Enterprises’ all-time Cup Series record of 268.

QUOTABLE / 

Driver Chase Elliott on his outlook for Martinsville: 
“I am looking forward to Martinsville Wednesday night. I think we should be able to bring over a few things we learned in Phoenix earlier this year. The biggest thing with the low-downforce package is just that the braking is going to be different. The good news is this package is pretty similar to what we ran a good bit over the past few years, and I think we can look back into what we were doing at some of those races. Hopefully with that information we can give ourselves a pretty good starting point for Wednesday night.”

Elliott on the new tire Goodyear is running at Martinsville: 
“The new tire at Martinsville is going to be interesting. It’s really hard to speculate on a tire until you get to the track, understand the feel and understand what the challenges are with that. Going straight into the race with no practice is going to potentially bring some new challenges for us. We have run the same tire there for the past number of races, so I think that could change the dynamic a little bit.”

Driver William Byron on getting comfortable at Martinsville: 
“Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks. I’ve really gotten into a flow and rhythm that you need for that racetrack to run consistent lap times for such a long period of time and be consistently successful. I’ve enjoyed it a lot for that reason and it’s been fun. We ran so well in the fall and I hope that we run just as well on Wednesday. Regardless, I still enjoy going there so this is a race I’ve had circled for when we went back racing.”

Byron on the NASCAR Cup Series short track package:
“I think there’s going to be a lot more passing at Martinsville. With the low downforce, it’s going to really allow us to get up on each other. There’s going to be a lot of beating and banging, not just because it’s Martinsville. We saw that just a few races ago at Bristol (Motor Speedway). Hopefully we can keep our nose clean as much as possible and keep the splitter on it, and if we do, we should have a good shot at the end.”

Driver Jimmie Johnson on night racing at Martinsville:
“Martinsville under the lights should be really cool. I don’t know if the night will bring out the chaos like the night race at Bristol does (laughs), because the energy is different, so we have yet to see if that is the case at Martinsville. I do know from a fans’ point of view you can really get a sense of the braking requirements at the track and which drivers might be struggling with the brakes, because they glow and you will really be able to see that at night. You need a lot of brake to get the car to handle the way you need it to in the corners so look for the brake rotors to be bright orange. I’m really excited for the lights there because usually our two races at Martinsville are during the rainy season of the spring and the fall, so a hot summer night is going to be neat. Short tracks are what we need more of and especially a short track at night. I know our fans will really appreciate it even if they can’t be there. We will sure make some great TV.”

Driver Alex Bowman’s thoughts on short-track racing: 
“Martinsville is a fun track to run at. Our short track program is getting better, but we still have a little way to go on the No. 88. This ChevyGoods.com/Adam’s Polishes team has been bringing some fast Chevrolets to the track, and I know that we will put everything we have into our car for Wednesday.”

Bowman on mid-week races: 
“Racing mid-week is still something I have to get used to. I typically have more time to prepare during the week for a race, so I think this is a good challenge for us. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports is working hard every day building strong cars, and I think it is really showing on track.”

Crew chief Greg Ives on racing at Martinsville: 
“We are really excited to get back to short track racing at Martinsville, especially under the lights. The No. 88 team has been working hard to get our short track program where it needs to be. Starting eighth, I know the ChevyGoods.com/Adam’s Polishes Camaro ZL1 1LE will be racing forward.”

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

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