RACE #4 – PHOENIX RACEWAY
The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Chevrolet drivers and teams look to make it three in-a-row for the Camaro ZL1 as NASCAR heads to Phoenix Raceway this weekend for the final race of the west coast swing. The 1-mile Arizona tri-oval will be the host of the fourth race of the 2022 season for the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). The NCS Ruoff Mortgage 500 will be broadcasted on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 13, with FS1 carrying coverage of the NXS United Rentals 200 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 12. Chevrolet will be pacing the field at Phoenix Raceway, with a Camaro SS leading the field in both events.
In the 51 NASCAR Cup Series races that have been held at the Arizona venue since November 1988, Chevrolet has recorded 25 victories to lead all manufacturers, including Kyle Larson’s win last November that clinched his first Driver Championship and 33rd for Chevrolet.
CAMARO ZL1 GOES BACK-TO-BACK ON THE WEST COAST
In the second of the three-race west coast swing for the NASCAR Cup Series, the Camaro ZL1 made its way to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, marking the second win on the season for Chevrolet. The 400-mile race at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval came down to a battle between teammates after a late-race caution pushed the finish to overtime, with a two-tire pit strategy putting a pair of Camaro ZL1’s on the front row for the final restart of the race. Alex Bowman battled Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson, with the No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 edging out Larson at the line to capture the win by 0.178 seconds. The feat gave Bowman his first win of the 2022 season; his seventh all-time in NASCAR’s premier series; and a guaranteed playoff berth and his chance at a run for NCS championship title.
20 different drivers have contributed wins for Hendrick Motorsports, who now sits at 282 all-time wins in NASCAR Cup Series competition and extending its record as the winningest team in NCS history. With Bowman’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 28-year-old Chevrolet driver surpassed Kasey Kahne on the Hendrick Motorsports win list, where all seven of his NCS wins have been made with the organization behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.
For the second week in a row, Chevrolet placed an impressive four drivers in the top-five and six in the top-10 of the final running order at Las Vegas. Three different Chevrolet teams were represented in the top-10: Alex Bowman (Race Winner; Hendrick Motorsports); Kyle Larson (2nd; Hendrick Motorsports); Ross Chastain (3rd; Trackhouse Racing); William Byron (5th; Hendrick Motorsports); Tyler Reddick (7th; Richard Childress Racing); and Chase Elliott. (10th; Hendrick Motorsports).
BACK ON TOP
The last time Kyle Larson was at Phoenix Raceway, the 29-year-old California native drove his Chevrolet-powered machine to victory lane, capturing his 10th victory on the season and his first-career NASCAR Cup Series championship title.
Larson returns back to the 1-mile Phoenix tri-oval exactly where he left off: on top of the points standings. Following his runner-up finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson jumped from the eighth position to take the lead in the standings. With his win at Auto Club Speedway, Larson also secured his spot into the 16-driver NCS Playoffs field and his chance at defending the coveted championship title.
A Chevrolet driver not only took over the lead in the driver standings, but back-to-back strong weekends for the Camaro ZL1 has moved the bowtie brand into the lead of the manufacturer points standings. The winningest brand in NASCAR history, Chevrolet captured a milestone 40th NCS Manufacturer Championship title in 2021.
· With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships; 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships; and 816 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet holds the title of winningest brand in NASCAR.
· In addition to its 25 wins at Phoenix Raceway, Chevrolet has recorded 19 poles, 115 top-five’s, 225 top-10’s and has led 6,457 laps.
· Heading into the Phoenix race weekend, Chevrolet sits atop the NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer standings. Through three NCS races this season, the bowtie brand also leads in laps led (326), stage wins (4), top-five’s (8) and top-10’s (13).
· With three races in the books for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Chevrolet leads in the manufacturer and driver points standings, with eight Chevrolet drivers making up the top-10 of the driver standings. In addition, the Camaro SS has gone three-for-three in pole wins thus far this year.
· Ross Chastain captured a third-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after capturing a stage win and leading a race-high 83 laps, the most laps Chastain has led in his previous 117 NCS starts combined.
· Chevrolet team Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Phoenix Raceway with 12 victories among eight drivers: Terry Labonte (1994), Kyle Busch (2005), Jeff Gordon (2007, 2011), Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep, 2009), Mark Martin (2009), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2015), Chase Elliott (2020) and Kyle Larson (2021).
· Career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson holds the qualifying record at Phoenix Raceway with a lap at 25.147 seconds, 143.158 mph (set in November 2015).
· In the NASCAR Cup Series total laps led category for 2022, three of the top-five are Chevrolet drivers: Tyler Reddick (1st; 90 laps led); Ross Chastain (2nd; 83 laps led); and Kyle Larson (5th; 56 laps led).
FOR THE FANS:
- Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Displays in the Fan Midway at Phoenix Raceway.
- Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles at the Fan Midway including: Camaro LT1, Corvette 2LT Coupe, Equinox RS, Tahoe RST, Silverado Trailboss, and Traverse Redline.
- At the Chevrolet Display, fans can also view Kyle Larson’s No. 5 Camaro ZL1 show car.
TEAM CHEVY QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSIONS AT THE DISPLAY:
Saturday, March 12
· Jeremy Clements: 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
· Sam Mayer: 11: 45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
· Josh Berry: 12:00 p.m. – 12: 15 p.m.
Sunday, March 13
· Ty Dillon: 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
· Erik Jones 10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
· William Byron: 10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:
- Friday, March 11: 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Saturday, March 12: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Sunday, March 13: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
FOX will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series Ruoff Mortgage 500 live at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, March 13. The NASCAR Xfinity Series United Rentals 200 will air on FS1 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 12. Live coverage of both events can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 K1 SPEED CAMARO ZL1
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAS VEGAS RESULT.
"The Next Gen cars are so different from what we are used to driving. The No. 1 car felt a lot like the No. 42 (Xfinity Series) car did when I won at Las Vegas. I have a lot of history at Vegas and that weekend changed my life. Its carrying on here at Trackhouse and what we're building and Justin Marks believing in me. When I crashed the car at Auto Club and spun out in the race, Justin took me to lunch and gave me confidence. If we keep having cars like our Vegas car, we're going to be strong."
HOW ABOUT ALL OF THE BUZZ ABOUT NASCAR THIS SEASON?
“This is my 11th year in the sport. I've just tried to be a sponge and watch these guys that have been here well before me and have seen a lot of change. If I can go out on the track and make a splash, that's one thing. But off of the track I like to watch, listen and learn from the people who have been here before me. We're all in, especially Trackhouse, on getting new people involved in the sport with the different sponsors and big named people from outside of the sport. We've seen that with (UFC) Dana White's brand and (actress) Eva Longoria's brand. Trackhouse Racing and Justin Marks want to bring in like-minded people."
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 GET BIOETHANOL CAMARO ZL1
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THE RACING TO BE LIKE AT PHOENX RACEWAY? DO YOU EXPECT ANY NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCES FROM HOW THE PREVIOUS CAR RACED THERE?
“I tested one day at Phoenix Raceway, but we didn’t really get around a bunch of cars at the test. One thing about Auto Club Speedway, and a reason why I thought it was a solid race, is there’s a lot of options at that track and places to go find some air for these cars. I think short tracks are going to be great for this car. Tracks like Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway should be strong. Fans saw a great race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Phoenix Raceway is kind of in between a short track and a speedway, which will make it interesting. You start to get into a bit of an aero problem at Phoenix, and you start relying on downforce and different things so I feel like it’s going to be important to qualify well. I do think that tires are going to fall off a pretty good amount at Phoenix, which will be nice. You have to set up your car for that and hope you make it work. It’s going to be a race either way. I don’t know how great it’s going to be, but it’s performed well so far, so I wouldn’t underestimate it. It’s a challenging car to drive and it’s putting on a good show so far.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU’LL BE ABLE TO TAKE FROM THE SPRING PHOENIX RACEWAY RACE WHEN WE GO BACK FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN NOVEMBER? SINCE WE’RE LEARNING SO MUCH ABOUT THE NEXT GEN RIGHT NOW, ARE WE GOING TO BE ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PAGE BY THE TIME NOVEMBER ROLLS AROUND?
“I would say some things will probably change, but not a whole lot by the time we go back. We just need to take good notes. Anytime we go to the track, we’re going to be writing notes, talking about parts, pieces, and different thoughts on how to drive. It’s a whole new notebook this year. Even if you don’t go back to a track, or you change tracks that you’ll never see again, there’s something you can learn and take to the next event.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1
LARSON ON JANUARY’S NEXT GEN TEST AT PHOENIX AND COMPARISONS TO LAST YEAR’S RACE CAR:
“The balance of the car during the test didn’t change as much during a run compared to last November at Phoenix. My first time in the Next Gen car – well, at least my first time with the rules package as close to what we’re using this year – was at Phoenix in January, which was the freshest track in my mind. It helped me realize it didn’t drive too much differently.”
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1
DANIELS ON HIS MINDSET ENTERING JANUARY’S NEXT GEN TEST AT PHOENIX AFTER WINNING THE 2021 TITLE THERE IN NOVEMBER:
“Pulling into Phoenix for the test was definitely cool because winning the championship there in the fall was such a special moment for this team. Getting back there brought back some very special memories. But our focus changed quickly with the challenge this Next Gen car brought, and a lot of those challenges we were preparing for at the test. It’s going to be a fun weekend – I love the track and I love the area, and I am looking for a lot of good things out of our team.”
COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 BUILT.COM CAMARO ZL1
“We’ve had a good start to our season going into the final race of the west coast swing. We’ll be running the same car for all three, so it’s a testament to the hard work by our Spire Motorsports team. In the past, I’ve had some ups and downs at Phoenix, but I look forward to building on our good run in Vegas & having another solid day for our Built Bar Camaro. We didn’t participate in the Phoenix pre-season testing, so we’ll lean into our Chevy support going into the first true mechanical grip-heavy track where we’ve brought these cars.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 GUARANTEED RATE CAMARO ZL1
TALK ABOUT HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO RALLY BACK TO A SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY LAST WEEKEND AFTER STARTING FROM THE REAR TWICE, SUFFERING LEG DISCOMFORT AND ON-TRACK OBSTACLES.
“It was a pretty good recovery for our team. I guess if you look at where we started and where we finished, you’d think it was a pretty boring day because we were supposed to start seventh, but it was anything but that. We had a few issues throughout our weekend starting with some steering issues that ultimately led to us changing our steering rack, forfeiting our starting spot, going to the back. From there, we definitely had a car that was pretty good in clean air, which we practiced a majority in, but once you get back there in that bubble of 10th to 20th, it’s pretty vicious back there. We just needed something different to be able to handle better but we had good pit stops and got a couple of breaks on restarts where we were able to get ourselves in that fifth to 10th bubble and we were able to manage it to the finish. I’m proud of the fight our team showed throughout that whole race and feel like we have good momentum heading to Phoenix this weekend.”
YOU GOT TO TEST THE NEXT GEN CAR AT PHOENIX A FEW MONTHS AGO. HOW DO YOU THINK THE RACING WILL PLAY OUT THIS WEEKEND WITH A LOT MORE CARS ON TRACK AT ONCE?
“This weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway is going to provide some really entertaining and exciting racing, I think. When we were out there for the test, we didn’t get to run a lot in traffic but that will be different on Sunday. We’ve seen such solid and good racing at all the tracks we’ve visited so far this season and it feels like Phoenix is going to be the perfect mix of all of them. This car is so challenging to drive and with the aerodynamics at Phoenix, practice is going to be crucial to see what kind of speed and car you’ve got. Qualifying is going to be really important too, you want to have a good starting position especially as the tires start to give throughout the first stage or two. My team has been working really hard each and every week and I think we’ll have a good game plan put together for this weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to run upfront and put on a good show.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1
ELLIOTT ON RETURNING TO PHOENIX AFTER TESTING THE TRACK IN JANUARY:
“When we tested at Phoenix earlier this year, I felt like of all the tracks it was the most similar to how our old car felt when we were there. Obviously, testing is a little different than going out and racing, but I’m looking forward to getting back there and continuing the success we’ve had in the past.”
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1
GUSTAFSON ON UNIFIRST’S FIRST RACE OF 2022:
“I’m excited to have UniFirst with us for another season. They’ve been a great partner and we’ve had many memorable moments together over the years, including an All-Star Race win. I really like their new scheme and I’m looking forward to carrying their green and white colors this weekend at Phoenix. Hopefully we can create another winning moment for them and end Sunday in victory lane.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
BYRON ON THE CHALLENGE THAT PHOENIX BRINGS:
“Even with the Next Gen car, I think restarts are going to be just as crazy at Phoenix (Raceway) this weekend. We’ve seen it the last two races, and I think this weekend will be no different. Choosing the right lane is going to be crucial to get yourself in a good position heading into turn one as well as maintaining track position overall throughout the race. Once you get back in traffic, the harder it is to make up ground, especially at a short track like Phoenix. We’ve had pretty good speed last year at Phoenix in the spring. We just need to make sure to keep up with the track and minimize mistakes to keep us up front and in contention at the end.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
FUGLE ON KEEPING MOMENTUM HEADING TO PHOENIX:
“We had a good run in Las Vegas and got the result that we needed. It was a solid day overall, and I think it shows the strength this No. 24 team has. We had lots of positives in that race and loads of potential left. We just need to clean up the little things and I think we will be in contention to win every time we show up to the track. This is a team that is hungry for more. We’ve been good at Phoenix. We just need to be a little bit better. It’s a track that I really like overall in every series I’ve been, so I enjoy that we get two chances at it in a season. The goal is to be in the Championship 4 when we come back in November.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 FRY’S / NOS CAMARO ZL1
“We feel good going into Phoenix. We’ve had some tough breaks, but the speed is there. At Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway), we qualified ninth and ran in the top-15 all day. We just have to be consistent and keep getting after it with our No. 47 Fry’s/NOS Camaro.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY / BEST FRIENDS CAMARO ZL1
BOWMAN ON HIS WIN AT LAS VEGAS:
“We had an amazing race car at Las Vegas. Greg (Ives, crew chief) made a great (two-tire) call at the end that gave me a chance to go out and get the win. I am super proud of my team, and I’m looking forward to getting out to Phoenix with the momentum our team has.”
BOWMAN ON THE DONATION TO THE BEST FRIENDS PROGRAM AFTER HIS LAS VEGAS WIN:
“It’s awesome to know that Ally will be making a bigger donation to help animals in Las Vegas. Having their support in helping animals is really neat. Last year, we were able to make a big difference with Ally’s support, so I am glad we are starting the year off on the right foot.”
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY / BEST FRIENDS CAMARO ZL1
IVES ON HIS MINDSET HEADING TO PHOENIX:
“Whenever you get a win, it always helps carry momentum into the next week. Going into this week at Phoenix, we are focused on running a clean race and executing like we did in Las Vegas. It is one of Alex’s favorite tracks and a place that we always look forward to going to and improving. We continue to work hard to get more consistent and find that little bit extra each year. So I am excited and ready to get out to Phoenix and have another great weekend.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1
IS RUNNING UP FRONT IN 2022 BUILDING YOUR AND YOUR TEAM’S CONFIDENCE?
“Definitely a lot. I mean every time you get the opportunity to have a shot at winning, you get more confident. You get hungrier and that happens not just for me as a driver, but for the entire team. My engineers, my crew chief, my pit crew all can't wait to race again.
"Ross and I have amazing teams. All of them, they want to win, be competitive. And when you know that you can, you just show up to the racetrack even more excited. I’m very fortunate to be in this position. I think that we’re going to be able to do some fun things this year.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WATCHING YOUR TEAMMATE BATTLE FOR THE VICTORY?
"It was great. I mean you wish it were you, but I was rooting hard for Ross and the No. 1. We work very well together and feel like we are one team. It gives you great confidence knowing how fast our Chevrolets have been in 2022."
WHEN YOU SAY YOU WILL WORK HARD TO DESERVE A VICTORY, WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
“It’s a combination of many things you know. If you were asking me that question two years ago, I was going to tell you go work out, work physically and trying to watch some film as many hours as possible. But right now, I have learned and realized that it goes just way more than that. Trying to work with your team and trying to realize what we could have done different and better. I look back in California and we left a lot on the table. I did, the car did a little bit. We had a good car, but I believe that we are going to have such a better car this weekend and probably everyone is going to say that, but to our plan and the way that we are growing as a team I feel like we just keep getting better. Learning as we go and learning is a process and I understand that, but I think that you know working hard and smart is going to be very important. Doing that with a team like the one I have is going to be important and really fun at the same time.”
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: 326
Top-five finishes: 8
Top-10 finishes: 13
Stage wins: 4
- Tyler Reddick (Fontanax2)
- Alex Bowman (Las Vegas)
- Ross Chastain (Las Vegas)
CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 816 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 724
Laps led to date: 241,662
Top-five finishes to date: 4,146
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,568
Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:
General Motors: 1,150
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467