Chase: We Have Potential At Nashville

Chase Elliott

9 CHASE ELLIOTT

Age: 26 (Nov. 28, 1995)

Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia

Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

Standings: 1st

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No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

HELL OF A VIEW: Following his eighth-place run at Sonoma Raceway, Chase Elliott continues to hold the NASCAR Cup Series points lead, now by 16 points over Ross Chastain. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native first took over the point standings lead following the fifth race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway and, outside of a tie with Ryan Blaney coming out of Richmond Raceway, has held sole possession at the top.

FAST AS YOU: With 16 races in the books in the 2022 season so far, Elliott has one win (Dover Motor Speedway), one pole award (Martinsville Speedway), three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He’s led laps in 50% of the events this year for a combined total 471 circuits, his most laps led through 16 events in his Cup Series career. That total is also second in the series behind only Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron (570). His 10 top-10 results are tied for second (with Chastain) across full-time drivers this season, trailing Kyle Busch who has 11. His average finish of 12.63 is third best behind Busch and teammate Alex Bowman.

EVERY MILE A MEMORY: During the Cup Series race at Sonoma, Elliott was credited with leading the 100,000th mile for Hendrick Motorsports. The team is the first in the sport to accomplish the feat. Overall, the 26-year-old driver has led the third-most miles (5,819.724) among all Hendrick Motorsports drivers, trailing only Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

ROLLER COASTER RIDE: In last year’s inaugural Cup event at Nashville Superspeedway, Elliott started sixth and finished first in the opening stage of the race. He followed that up with a seventh-place result in stage two. In the final stage, Elliott raced as high as fourth but dropped out of the top 10 after experiencing a left-rear tire issue. He crossed the finish line 13th but was credited with a 39th-place finish due to loose lug nuts on his Chevrolet.

STOP ON A DIME: Elliott’s No. 9 pit crew continues to hold the fastest average time for four-tire pit stops in 2022 at 11.671 seconds. The team is comprised of jackman T.J. Semke, gasman John Gianninoto, tire carrier Jared Erspamer and tire changers Chad Avrit (rear) and Nick O’Dell (front). The No. 9 team is no stranger to being at the top, as last season it was named the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew for demonstrating the most consistency on pit road throughout the 36-race schedule.

THE GOOD STUFF: This Sunday, Elliott will make his second Cup Series start at Nashville. In 46 starts on tracks measuring 1- to 1.37-miles in length (Dover Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Nashville, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway), the 2020 Cup Series champion has three wins, including a victory at Dover earlier this season. Accompanying those victories are 18 top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and 1,190 laps led. While he’s winless at the 1.33-mile oval, he has enjoyed success in Music City. At Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Elliott won the 2013 All-American 400 in a Super Late Model when he was 17 years old and in 2021, he won the SRX race at the track.

I FEEL LUCKY: A SHOC Energy is giving fans the opportunity to win a VIP trip to the Cup Series race at Daytona on Saturday, Aug. 27. One grand prize winner and guest will get flight and hotel accommodations, tickets to the regular-season finale and a $500 Visa gift card. The sweepstakes is open now through July 15 and fans can enter by texting “ASHOCTRIP” to 97579.

WHEN THE DEALIN’S DONE: In a new five-year agreement announced on Tuesday, Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) extended its relationship as the Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports. The deal includes a major associate sponsorship of the team’s four-car lineup in the NASCAR Cup Series as well as serving as the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson (three races) and William Byron (two races). For 2022, the company added a sixth primary race with Byron and the No. 24 team for this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. The global leader in vehicle care and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services will also remain the presenting sponsor of the annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engines Builder Showdown, a competition that brings together engine builders from Hendrick Motorsports and master technicians from Hendrick Automotive Group. For more on the deal that runs through 2027, click here

THAT’S SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF: By leading the first 50 laps at Sonoma Raceway on June 12, Hendrick Motorsports became the first Cup Series organization to lead over 100,000 miles in the sport’s top series. Through 16 points-paying races in 2022, the team has led 1,548.91 miles.

ROAR OF A SUNDAY CROWD: Since its inception in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins after an off weekend in the Cup Series. The organization has 37 wins coming off a weekend of rest – the next closest mark is 27 by Richard Childress Racing. Larson (2021, Watkins Glen International) and Chase Elliott (2019, Talladega Superspeedway spring race) are the two most recent winners for the team after a break. 

HOME ON THE (CONCRETE) RANGE: Concrete tracks have been a boon for Hendrick Motorsports recently. Going back to Alex Bowman’s 2021 May win at Dover Motor Speedway, the organization has won four straight races on that track type. That stretch includes Larson’s wins at Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway last year as well as Elliott’s win at Dover last month.

THE FUN IS JUST BEGINNING: The 2022 race at Nashville marks the second time the Cup Series has visited the 1.33-mile venue. In last year’s inaugural Ally 400, Larson scored the win. It was one of three new tracks that Hendrick Motorsports won on in 2021 – Elliott’s wins at Circuit of The Americas and Road America stand as the others in that category.

FOLLOW YOUR ARROW: Through the first 16 points-paying races of the season, Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps in the Cup Series. The 1,332 circuits out front are 484 more than the next closest team and account for 31 percent of all the laps run this year. 

WHEREVER IT POINTS: The Rick Hendrick-owned organization is the lone team to have its entire lineup inside the top 10 in the point standings. Elliott holds the lead, while Larson ranks seventh, Byron is eighth and Bowman stands in ninth. 

WE’RE GONNA BE THE ONES THAT HAVE IT ALL: Hendrick Motorsports five wins this season are the most in the Cup Series by two over Trackhouse Racing. The four drivers have accounted for 20% of the top-five finishes (16) and top-10s (32) this season in the Cup Series.

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Nashville: “I think Nashville (Superspeedway) will be similar to the rest of the mile and mile-and-a-half tracks we go to. I don’t see it looking much different than last year. I think we have the potential to be really good there. We’ve had some pretty good speed this year, we just need to focus on putting everything together and getting more consistently strong finishes and hopefully another win or two during this stretch of races before heading into the playoffs.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading back to Nashville: “I think for sure the heat will play a role and everything is going to be a bit more difficult for everybody. The car’s performance, your driver is going to be in a little more difficult situation. The grip of the tires is going to be a little worse, pitting the car on pit road is a little more difficult when it’s hot. It’s hard to get calm and cool. It’s a little bit more uncomfortable. It’ll make it a little bit tougher. I like it. I think those mental challenges are fun, for me. We were OK there last year. I wouldn’t say we were great, but we need to improve and get the car driving a little bit better. The car is typically loose in there and tight in the center and can be tight exit or loose exit depending on what you’ve got, but stringing that whole corner together is key.”

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

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