ACE #3 – LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Coming off a NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) victory for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR makes its second of three stops on the series’ west coast swing this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Situated just northeast of the famed Las Vegas Strip, the 1.5-mile Nevada oval will be the host of a tripleheader race weekend, featuring all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
The three-day race weekend kicks-off with the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) under the lights on Friday, March 4, with the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200, the series only appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this season. The 134-lap event marks the second race for the new Silverado RST, which made its competition debut in the series at Daytona International Speedway.
Saturday brings the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), where the Camaro SS drivers and teams will take on the Alsco Uniforms 300. Chevrolet swept the two NXS races at Las Vegas Speedway in 2021. A.J. Allmendinger raced his way to victory lane for Kaulig Racing in the March 2021 race at the venue, his first of five NXS wins on the season. The fall 2021 Las Vegas race saw Josh Berry capture his second-career NXS win when filling the seat of the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet after Michael Annett was sidelined due to an injury.
The weekend is capped off with the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube on Sunday, March 6. In 28 NCS races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the bowtie brand has made its way to Victory Lane nine times, including Kyle Larson’s monumental win in the March 2021 race. In just his fourth start with Hendrick Motorsports, Larson led 103 laps in his No. 5 Chevrolet en route to his first victory for the team to start a career season for the 29-year-old driver and his quest for the Championship title.
FIRST WIN AND A STRONG SHOWING FOR THE NEXT GEN CAMARO ZL1
In just the second points-paying race of the season, reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Larson drove his way to a hard fought victory at Auto Club Speedway to give the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 its first victory since its debut into the NASCAR Cup Series. The 29-year-old had to forfeit his starting spot and move to the rear of the field after discovering an ignition issue that resulted in unapproved adjustments. Larson drove through the field, holding the lead for 27 of the final 34 laps to capture his second-career win at Auto Club Speedway and his 17th all-time victory in NASCAR’s premier series.
It was a strong showing for Chevrolet in the 200-lap event. The Camaro ZL1 crossed the finish line in an impressive 1-2-3-4 finish, as well as capturing six of the top-10 in the final running order. Six different Chevrolet teams were represented in the top-10: Kyle Larson (Race Winner; Hendrick Motorsports); Austin Dillon (2nd; Richard Childress Racing); Erik Jones (3rd; Petty GMS Motorsports); Daniel Suarez (4th; Trackhouse Racing); Daniel Hemric (9th; Kaulig Racing); and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (10th; JTG Daugherty Racing).
“We are proud of the competitive performance of the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 at Auto Club Speedway and the car’s debut on an intermediate-style track,” said Dr. Eric Warren, Chevrolet Director of NASCAR Programs. “Six different Chevrolet teams were represented in the top-10 in Fontana, which is a testament to the collaboration between the GM NASCAR Competition Engineering Team and all of our Chevrolet race teams in developing the Camaro ZL1. We are excited about the early on-track performance of the car and look forward to seeing continued success for our Chevrolet drivers and teams in 2022.”
Also having a stand-out day was Team Chevy’s Tyler Reddick, who swept both stage wins in his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and led 90 laps – more than the total laps led in his 75 Cup starts combined. Damage sustained from a flat tire while leading took him out of contention.
· With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships; 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships; and 815 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet holds the title of winningest brand in NASCAR.
· In addition to its nine wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, Chevrolet has recorded 56 top-five’s, 110 top-10’s, and has led 2,945 laps.
· Erik Jones is the youngest pole winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (22 years, 3 months, 17 days).
· Career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in all-time wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010).
· With a victory, Kyle Larson could potentially become just the sixth reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the following season, joining Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2010), Tony Stewart (2012), Kevin Harvick (2015) and Joey Logano (2019).
· Tyler Reddick has led 90 laps in 2022 to lead all NASCAR Cup Series drivers thus far this season.
FOX will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube live at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 6. FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 6. Live coverage of both events can also be found on PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. FS1 telecast the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 4. Live coverage of the NCWTS 134-lap race is also on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BREZTRI CAMARO ZL1
ARE THE BUMPS AND CHALLENGES AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY SIMILAR TO THE BUMPS IN TURNS 3 AND 4 AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY?
“Turns one and two at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are high speed corners and the bumps have always been something that you work on your car to get through to make speed. The faster your car can go through there without having to unload and get the feel back in the front tires has always been an issue. The person that can skip through them the best usually runs really well. At Las Vegas Motor Speedway it’s an entry issue, unlike last week at Auto Club Speedway where it was an exit issue. At Auto Club Speedway, you’re leaving the corner with wheel in the car. I think the bumps at Las Vegas will be challenging this weekend, just as they always are. Although truthfully, from the simulator work I’ve done to prepare for the race, the bumps were not as upsetting as they were at Auto Club Speedway. The Auto Club Speedway bumps were pretty accurate to our sim. We were busting loose across those bumps. So, I’m hoping that it’s accurate again, as far as the bumps in Las Vegas not being as much of a problem as they were in Fontana.”
YOU AND TYLER REDDICK BOTH RAN WELL AT THE CLASH AND AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY. EXPLAIN WHAT IS BEHIND RCR’S RECENT RESURGENCE.
“I think Chevrolet, in general, is in a pretty good position. At RCR and ECR, we’ve put a big focus on the Next Gen car. We definitely tried to be the guys to embrace this new car the earliest in the process. I think some of the teams probably didn’t embrace it as much as we did. We saw it coming and tried to put a lot of effort into it from the beginning. I really love working with Tyler Reddick. He’s a great teammate and I think we both do each other some good. We have different thought processes on things, and I think that allows us to open our minds and push each other in different ways. I was bummed for him last week. I felt like that was his first win coming, for sure. And then all of a sudden, we popped up there and had a great shot at winning it.”
WHEREVER IT MIGHT BE, IT COULD BE IN A MARKET, IT COULD BE A TRIP; BUT DOES AUSTIN DILLON HAVE A GO-TO PLACE? WHAT IS IT AND WHY?
“When we’re out on the west coast, we like to stay out there for the entire west coast swing. Last year, my wife Whitney and I took my son Ace, and we took our motorhome to a road course that Ron Fellows runs for Chevrolet. We spent a day at road course school out there. Then, we went to Phoenix Raceway early because I love the Phoenix area. Goodyear, Arizona is a cool area. We stay at the Wigwam and it’s nice and relaxing. It has a couple golf courses that we hit up. I like traveling the west coast swing at the beginning of the year because it gets the year going. When we come home, we don’t do a lot of traveling after that. We don’t do many road trips, but the west coast is the one that I stay out since we’re out there for several weekends in a row.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
LARSON ON LAST YEAR’S LAS VEGAS WIN:
“That win was really special for us. It was our first win as a team and meant a lot to a lot of people on this team – some visiting victory lane in the Cup Series for the first time. But I also know how much it meant to Rick and Linda (Hendrick) because the paint scheme was similar to what (their late son) Ricky (Hendrick) ran. It’s an honor to drive for them and to drive this car with this scheme that means so much to so many.”
LARSON ON LAST SUNDAY’S WIN AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY:
“It’s always fun to win in your home state. I learned a lot on the track with this new Camaro ZL1 and I’m sure (crew chief) Cliff (Daniels) and the team did as well. But it’s a new car and we’re going to be constantly learning each and every race – and it will be no different this weekend at Vegas. Every lap we turn, we learn.”
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
DANIELS ON IF LAST YEAR’S SUCCESS AT LAS VEGAS CAN TRANSLATE TO THIS WEEKEND:
“It’s a completely different car and tire, and the way the race plays out will probably be different. Las Vegas is real bumpy and it has a lot of character. The way you approach its uniqueness and the bumps – you have to have good ride in your car and the driver can’t get too upset by the bumps. The comfort and control and stability are things the entire field will be searching for, and we missed some of those qualities a little bit last weekend in California but still ended up with a great result.”
COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 SCHLUTER SYSTEMS CAMARO ZL1
“Our Spire team is hard at work, turning around the Fontana car and heading to Vegas with it. We learned a bunch on Sunday, which we can hopefully apply for a solid run in our Chevy Camaro this week. The bumps over the tunnel are tricky, so it’ll be a test of who can get over those the best. Statistically Vegas is one of my best racetracks, so I always have confidence rolling in that we have the opportunity for a good run. I’m excited to have Schluter Systems back on board for their first race of the 2022 season, and the 6th year of our partnership.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1
LOOKING BACK ON LAST WEEK’S RACE AT AUTO CLUB, TWO STAGE WINS AND A VICTORY IN SIGHT; AND UNFORTUNATELY, BAD LUCK WON AGAIN. HOW DO YOU GET YOUR MINDSET BACK ON TRACK FOR THIS WEEKEND?
“Well, I think you have to look at the positives of the race at Auto Club. Sure, I’m completely gutted that we didn’t get the win when it felt like we had the best car out there but there were also a lot of other small victories to come from that day. Winning two stages and leading the most laps of my Cup Series career just goes to show that our time is coming. We learned so much over the weekend from practice to qualifying to the race and those are all things that we will take with us and learn from to become stronger from it. This car has been a learning experience for all of us drivers and I think the handle that I do have on it right now is only going to get better and more consistent as the season goes on. I’m looking forward to seeing what my team and I can do this weekend at Las Vegas.”
YOU’VE HAD SUCCESS AT LAS VEGAS IN THE XFINITY SERIES AND TRUCK SERIES. BUT WITH THIS NEW CAR AND HAVING RACED AT AUTO CLUB LAST WEEKEND, WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE RACING BEING LIKE THIS WEEKEND?
“I expect the racing to look a lot like Fontana. It’s the same type of situation, you’re going to see cars being able to run all three lanes fairly early on and be able to make lanes work with their cars. You’re going to have to be able to run all three lanes in a lot of different points in the run. Early run, middle of the run, end of the run. Las Vegas has a lot of grooves, in the sense of you can run the very bottom of the racetrack in Turn 1, 2, 3 and 4 and paint the line, kind of like you would at the old Atlanta. You have a lot of options lane-wise at this racetrack and I think you’re going to see a lot of drivers forced to make those work to be able to get around their competition, to make passes, to maintain, whatever it might be. I expect a very similar race to Fontana last weekend. It will be very interesting to see how the rubber lays down, how lanes will come and go. You’ll have to keep up with this racetrack as it lays rubber, this one lays a lot of rubber. Fontana was a lot of fun and Las Vegas is going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1
ELLIOTT ON RACING AT LAS VEGAS:
"Last week was our first real test with these new cars and I think it definitely made for some exciting racing for the fans. Having Fontana under our belts will put us in a better position this weekend at Vegas, knowing a little bit more about how these cars race on intermediate tracks and what adjustments we can make.”
ELLIOTT ON THE WEST COAST SWING:
“The West Coast swing, I’ve always found it kind of challenging. You start with Daytona, and I feel like that week has its own vibe. Then you go west and you kind of feel like things really get rolling and get started and that’s where you really kind of figure out, ‘OK, hey, this is where we are, this is where we stack up, this is where we need to go to work in certain areas.’ And then I feel like everybody comes home and gets an opportunity to get caught up.”
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1
GUSTAFSON ON HEADING TO THE SECOND INTERMEDIATE TRACK OF THE SEASON:
“There’s a lot we can take from Fontana. The cars aren’t going to change much and there’s not a whole lot we can do to them. Fundamentally, what we’re trying to do is good. As long as we get the car balanced and driving reasonable for Chase then I think we’ll have a shot. In Fontana, nobody knew what to expect with it being our first time on an intermediate track. So I’m interested in going to Vegas, and I think if we get the car driving good and execute, we’ll have a shot.”
DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 16 SOUTH POINT CAMARO ZL1
"Going out to Vegas is exciting to me for many reasons. Through my involvement with the Gaughan family and South Point Hotel & Casino, it's like going to see my second family. I'm super excited to be able to continue that relationship now through Kaulig Racing in both the Xfinity and Cup races this weekend. I'm looking forward to another solid, doubleheader weekend with Kaulig Racing."
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
BYRON ON HOW THE NEXT GEN CAR WILL RACE AT LAS VEGAS:
“Just based on off-season testing and the characteristics of Vegas, I think racing is going to be pretty similar to Charlotte (Motor Speedway). It’s going to be fast, and Vegas typically has a lot of grip in the springtime. The fall race is a little bit of a different story since it’s a little bit hotter that time of year. The spring race is a little more straightforward in that you can tell pretty early on who has the fast cars, and I think that will be the case again. That was us for sure this time last year, and I think we’ll have another good shot to win this race. Hopefully we get it done this time.”
BYRON ON WHAT MAKES LAS VEGAS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS:
“It’s got a lot of character but it’s fast and really smooth. I feel like Vegas and Phoenix, as weird as that sounds, have similar asphalt. They’re very smooth surfaces but have character as well. With it being so smooth you really have to run all over and utilize every lane to be good. The track changes a lot with rubber buildup, too, so you have to keep up with that so you don’t get behind early on in the race.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
FUGLE ON MAINTAINING CONFIDENCE DESPITE MISFORTUNE EARLY IN THE SEASON:
“Obviously this isn’t the start to the year that we envisioned, but no one on the No. 24 team is getting down about it. It’s only been two races and even then, both races we were running up front and in contention for the win. We have a strong team, from the work they put in, the speed we show and how we execute during the weekend. The results don’t reflect that accurately. We had a hot rod in Fontana, and we’ll have another one in Vegas. We’re not going to dwell on the past. We’re already focused on Vegas and ready for our next challenge.”
FUGLE ON WHAT IT TAKES TO RUN WELL AT LAS VEGAS:
“Vegas in the spring has much cooler temperatures than when we race there in the fall. The spring race seems to focus more on overall speed and setting yourself up with track position. Vegas is a track where you walk a fine line with your setups, and in Fontana we really found out just how fine that line is with the Next Gen car. I feel like we showed a lot of speed in Fontana, so if we keep up with track changes, we should be up front again this weekend.”
JUSTIN HALEY, NO. 31 LEAFFILTER GUTTER PROTECTION CAMARO ZL1
“I'm looking forward to going to Las Vegas this weekend. It’s always been one of our better mile-and-a-half tracks at Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series, but obviously this weekend will be more of a challenge in the NextGen car. Hopefully we will show some good speed, gather points, minimize mistakes this week, and get a good finish in our No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1."
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 SUNNYD CAMARO ZL1
“Last Sunday at Fontana (Auto Club Speedway), it was a great effort by everyone to finish in the top-10. We kept our car clean and kept it rolling to learn a lot about it. It was really fast out there when it was by itself. It got tight when I was behind other cars, but we will keep working on that at Las Vegas. We will also have SUNNYD on our car this weekend. They’ve been a longstanding partner during my racing career, and I’ve developed some great friendships along the way. We’re proud to have them back at JTG Daugherty Racing for the race weekend.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
BOWMAN ON HEADING TO LAS VEGAS:
“I’m looking forward to going to Las Vegas. We had a good car at Auto Club last week, just an unfortunate situation at the end of the race. Our team works so hard to put together fast race cars, and I know they are going to do it again this weekend. Greg and I will talk about our strategy and be ready for the green flag this Sunday.”
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
IVES ON HIS APPROACH TO SUNDAY’S RACE AT LAS VEGAS:
“I feel like Las Vegas is another place where you don’t have to be isolated to one lane. You can run top, bottom and middle. As long as your car has the ability to move around, you can make passes. We have run well in the past at Las Vegas and come close to getting some wins there, and I feel like we have the speed to do it. We just have to go out there and execute and make sure we are there at the end when the checkered flag falls.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1
THOUGHTS FROM SUNDAY?
"In some ways I am really disappointed because I could see how close we are to winning and I thought we might have had it Sunday. Then I also realize how good our Chevrolets are, how good my team is and how fast my pit crew is this season."
HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO WINNING?
"We're going to win a few races very soon here. My pit crew, those guys are legends; it's unbelievable. It's the best pit crew I've ever had, and it's a lot of fun to race like that. I can tell you that I'm going to work very, very hard to go to Victory Lane very, very soon.”
WHAT HAS COMMSCOPE MEANT TO YOU?
"They are one of the reasons why I am here. CommScope has been with me for so long. Race fans sometimes don't realize how important companies like CommScope are to our sport. I hope we can give them a trip to victory lane soon."
Total (1949-2021): 40
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)
Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021
Total (1949-2021): 33
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)
Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021)
Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)
Laps Led: 186
Top-five finishes: 4
Top-10 finishes: 7
Stage wins: 2
· Tyler Reddick (Fontanax2)
CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 815 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 724
Laps led to date: 241,522
Top-five finishes to date: 4,142
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,562
Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:
General Motors: 1,149
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467