RACE #12 – DARLINGTON RACEWAY
Chevrolet looks to go three in-a-row in weekend sweeps as all three NASCAR national touring series head to Darlington Raceway for a tripleheader race weekend. The 1.33-mile oval deemed “The Track Too Tough To Tame” is a staple stop on the schedule, where drivers and teams honor the sport’s past in the annual Throwback Weekend of NASCAR.
Chevrolet drivers of the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) have their eyes set on capturing the eighth win of the season for the Camaro ZL1 in Sunday’s Goodyear 400. The South Carolina venue has been the host to 121 NCS races, with Chevrolet recording 41 of those victories to lead all manufacturers. The 293-lap race is the first of two stops at Darlington for NASCAR’s premier series, with the second holding a vital spot on the series’ schedule as the opening race for the 10-race Playoff run. Sunday’s race will also kick-off with a special honorary starter: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and Chevrolet team co-owner Richard Petty.
Chevrolet drivers parked the Camaro SS in both of the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) events at Darlington Raceway in 2021. The bowtie brigade looks to continue that trend in Saturday’s Mahindra ROXOR 200, the 11th stop on the series’ 33-race schedule. JR Motorsports owned the race win titles at Darlington last season, with Justin Allgaier capturing his second win of the season in the May 2021 event. In the series’ return to the South Carolina track in September 2021, Noah Gragson came out of an overtime finish on top; capturing his first victory of the season, while also clinching his spot in the Playoffs that ultimately saw him in the Championship 4.
Coming off a two-week break, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) is back in action this weekend at Darlington Raceway for the first stop of an eight-race consecutive run on the series’ schedule. The Silverado was victorious in both NCWTS races at the venue last season, with 2020 NCWTS Champion Sheldon Creed recording the win sweep in the No. 2 Silverado for GMS Racing.
PULLING DOUBLE DUTY
Three Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series regulars will be doing the Darlington double this weekend. JR Motorsports will be fielding a fifth Camaro SS in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend, this time with Chase Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 88 HendrickCars.com Camaro SS. Elliott, the 2014 NXS Champion, will return to the series for the first time since making a single NXS appearance in 2021. The 26-year-old Georgia native has recorded five-career wins in 82 NXS starts, one of which was captured at Darlington in 2014.
Also joining the NASCAR Xfinity Series field this weekend will be two-time NXS Champion Tyler Reddick. The 26-year-old California native will be piloting the No. 48 Camaro SS for Big Machine Racing; race one of a two-race deal with the team for 2022. Reddick last competed full-time in the NXS in 2019, where he captured his second-consecutive title. In his 91 starts in the series, Reddick has recorded 9 wins, 36 top-five’s and 56 top-10’s.
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series winner, Ross Chastain, will be back with Niece Motorsports and the No. 41 Silverado RST team, adding four additional NASCAR Cup World Truck Series races to his 2022 schedule beginning at Darlington. This will mark Chastain’s second NCWTS start in 2022, but his first-career start in the series at Darlington. The 30-year-old Florida native has recorded 3 wins, 17 top-five’s and 42 top-10’s in his 96 starts in the NCWTS.
CHEVROLET TAMED THE MONSTER
For the second NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader weekend in a row, the bowtie brand pulled off a feat that all manufacturers strive to accomplish: a weekend sweep.
In a rain delayed race that saw a Monday afternoon checkered flag, Chase Elliott powered his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 to his first victory of the season and his 14th-career victory in NASCAR’s premier series. In 11 points-paying races for the series, the Camaro ZL1 now sits at seven wins, captured by five different Chevrolet drivers. With the triumph, Elliott joins his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates – Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and William Byron – and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain as those who have claimed a berth into the 16-driver NCS Playoff field.
Joining in on the Chevrolet sweep was Josh Berry, who drove his No. 8 JR Motorsports Camaro SS to his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of 2022 and his first-career victory at Dover Motor Speedway. JR Motorsports proved to tame the “Monster Mile”, placing all four of their Chevrolet-powered machines in the top-five. The victory was the fifth for the Camaro SS thus far this season to take the lead over all manufacturers, with Berry becoming the fourth Chevrolet driver to secure his spot into the NXS Playoff field, joining fellow Chevrolet teammates Austin Hill, Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger.
CHEVROLET TEAMMATES POWERING TO STRONG FINISHES
The collaborative effort between the GM NASCAR Competition Engineering Team and all of its Chevrolet race teams in developing the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 has paid dividends in strong on-track results throughout the Next Gen’s debut season. Dating back to the second points-paying race of the season at Auto Club Speedway, the Camaro ZL1 not only captured its first win (Kyle Larson), but also took six of the top-10 positions in the race, recorded by six different Chevrolet teams. Since then, Chevrolet has placed six Camaro ZL1’s in the top-10 at five different races, with at least three different Chevrolet teams represented in each.
BOWTIE ON TOP
Heading into the Darlington race weekend, Chevrolet continues to hold strong on top of the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and manufacturer points standings.
The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Chase Elliott, took over the top spot in the NCS driver standings following the fifth race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the 26-year-old Chevrolet driver hasn’t looked back. Elliott’s win and eighth top-10 finish of the season at Dover extended his points lead to 50-points over second place, Ryan Blaney. The bowtie brand occupies three of the top-five and five of the top-10 in the standings, including Elliott’s three Hendrick Motorsports teammates (William Byron – 3rd; Alex Bowman – 5th; Kyle Larson – 8th) and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (6th). All five of those Chevrolet drivers have already recorded wins this season to secure their spot in the NCS Playoff field.
Chevrolet also extended its points lead in the NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer points standings to 36-points. Elliott’s victory at Dover gave the Camaro ZL1 its seventh win in 11 points-paying races thus far. The winningest brand in NASCAR, Chevrolet also continues to lead all manufacturers in top-five’s (32), top-10’s (53), laps led (1,698) and stage wins (11). Of those statistical measures, Chevrolet’s wins, top-five results and laps led are more than double all other manufacturers.
Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger maintained his lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver points standings, with a 43-point advantage over the second spot. Allmendinger, who has already secured his spot in the NXS Playoff field with a win at Circuit of The Americas, has recorded a top-10 result in every NXS race thus far this season. Joining Allmendinger in the top-10 of the driver standings are all four of the JR Motorsports drivers (Noah Gragson – 3rd; Josh Berry – 4th; Justin Allgaier – 6th; Sam Mayer – 7th) and NXS rookie, Austin Hill (10th), giving Chevrolet six of the top-10 positions.
In pursuit of back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series manufacturer championship titles, Chevrolet also continues to lead in the NXS manufacturer standings, extending its lead to 36-points. With its now five wins to lead all manufacturers, the Camaro SS has also recorded four poles wins, 34 top-five’s and 66 top-10’s heading into the Darlington race weekend.
· Victories by active Chevrolet drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway include:
Erik Jones, No. 43 Petty GMS Racing (2019)
· In addition to its manufacturer-leading 41 wins, Chevrolet has recorded 22 pole wins, 194 top-five’s and 406 top-10’s at Darlington Raceway. Chevrolet drivers have also led 13,887 laps at the 1.33-mile South Carolina venue.
· With 11 NASCAR Cup Series races in the books for the 2022 season, Chevrolet continues to lead all manufacturers in NCS wins (7), top-five’s (32), top-10’s (53), laps led (1,698) and stage wins (11).
· Chevrolet driver, William Byron, holds the title of the youngest NASCAR Cup Series pole winner at Darlington Raceway, set during the September 2019 event (21 years, 9 months, 3 days).
· The winningest team in NASCAR Cup Series history, Hendrick Motorsports has the most NCS wins by an organization at Darlington Raceway with 14, all behind the wheel of Chevrolet-powered machines. Career Chevrolet driver, Jeff Gordon, ties Dale Earnhardt for the lead for the series-most consecutive wins at Darlington with three.
· Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1, leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington, sitting at 5.5 in eight-career starts at the track.
· Seven Team Chevy drivers have combined 11 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins:
Tyler Reddick 2 - (Fontanax2)
Alex Bowman 1 - (Las Vegas)
Ross Chastain 1 - (Las Vegas)
William Byron 3 – (Phoenix)(Atlanta)(Talladega)
Daniel Suarez 1 – (COTA)
Chase Elliott 2 – (Martinsvillex2)
Kyle Larson 1 – (Bristol)
· Chevrolet leads in the driver points standing in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Chase Elliott remains in the top position in the NCS standings with a 50-point advantage over second; and AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the NXS standings by 43-points. Chevrolet remains atop both the NCS and NXS manufacturer points standings.
· With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships; 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships; and 821 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR.
The NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 will be broadcasted on FS1 on Sunday, May 8, at 3:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will hold coverage of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Mahindra ROXOR 200 on Saturday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will broadcast the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dead on Tools 200 on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage of all three events can also be found on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 HUK PERFORMANCE FISHING CAMARO ZL1
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DARLINGTON RACEWAY?
“I’ve always loved Darlington Raceway. It’s a historic track and a lot of drivers and teams circle it at the beginning of the year as a place they would love to win at, myself included. We finished second at Darlington a couple of years ago. It’s a demanding track. Darlington is a place that falls off, so tire management becomes important, and I really like that. It’s nice that we're going to place that long run speed matters a bit.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
LARSON ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS THROWBACK PAINT SCHEME:
"Throwback races are always fun, especially when you get to do something that doesn't just look cool but also has a lot of meaning behind it. There aren't a lot of All-Star Racing liveries that haven't been re-done already, so it's special. That scheme started it all, and everyone involved worked so hard to get us where we are now. It's definitely motivating, especially when you add that Tim Richmond was the driver. He's a legend for leaving it all on the track – he would go full send on crazy moves and things that other drivers wouldn't even try. So I'm going to go out there and try to drive it like Tim would."
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
DANIELS ON HOW THE TEAM TRANSITIONS FROM DOVER TO DARLINGTON:
"A lot of it is just going to be in advance (of the weekend) and the conversations we’ve had about our recent Dover experience and we tested there a month or two ago. What he knows of trends of himself at the track and trends from Dover to Darlington, which is odd to say but he talks about those tracks very similarly a lot. And what he looks for out of the car, not necessarily the tracks themselves, but just what he needs the car to do for him. All those conversations are kind of leading to our approach. In practice, we have got to make the right adjustments and keep up with the track because the track does and will change a lot.”
COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 STACKING PENNIES / FRATERNAL ORDER OF EAGLES CAMARO ZL1
“I’ve always been intrigued by Marty Robbins and his stint in NASCAR during the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s. It would’ve been comparable today if Morgan Wallen was lining up for the occasional Cup race in his spare time and running competitively. I love the 777 scheme of Marty Robbins’ Grand National car, so I’m glad NASCAR let us take some creative liberty and allowing us to utilize three numbers for the throwback weekend. As always, our Spire Motorsports team answered the call and brought this vision to life.
It’s even cooler to have Stacking Pennies on the hood. That podcast is such a huge part of what I do. Pair that with the Fraternal Order of Eagles founding Mother’s Day and having a presence on the car – it’s going to be a really special tribute for me at Darlington. My Spire Motorsports team has been working hard to build fast Chevy’s each and every week, and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to get the Stacking Pennies/Fraternal Order of Eagles Camaro ZL1 into victory lane.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1
ELLIOTT ON THE WIN AT DOVER:
"I’ve said a lot this season that we’ve had some really great runs, but we just hadn’t been able to put it all together. We were finally able to do that on Monday and have a nice, clean race. Wins aren’t always guaranteed, so I think anytime you can get one it’s important to enjoy it. I’m really proud of my team for continuing to show up each week and bring good attitudes regardless of what has happened in the weeks prior. It says a lot about their character and who they are. Now it’s time to shift our focus to Darlington and the rest of the season and keep trying for more wins and put ourselves in a good position for the playoffs.”
ELLIOTT ON THE BENEFIT OF EXTRA SEAT TIME AT DARLINGTON:
"I always look forward to going to Darlington. It’s really cool and I feel like it’s really a driver’s racetrack. For some reason, I’ve kind of struggled there the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting some extra practice on Saturday in the Xfinity race. Hopefully, that can help me come Sunday. I also feel like there are some things that we learned from Dover that we can take to Darlington. It’ll be interesting with the new car and how things go.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
BYRON ON HIS THOUGHTS FOR THE RACE AT DARLINGTON:
"I feel like Darlington is going to be another track where we don’t know what to expect until we get on track. In the past, Darlington was a place that was super hard on tires, and you spent most of the race trying to manage how hard you could go to be able to have some tire left by the end of the run. The surface would just really use the tires up. Now though I feel like tire wear hasn’t been as big of a factor with the Next Gen car so far. We saw a little tire wear on long runs at Dover, but nothing like in the past. You could still maintain some track position even with newer tires behind you on track. I am curious to see how the tires hold up this weekend and if it plays the same factor that it has in the past or how we will have to adjust throughout the race.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1
FUGLE ON THE EFFORT THE NO. 24 TEAM HAS BEEN PUTTING IN:
"I'm proud of everyone’s efforts last week at Dover. It obviously wasn’t the way we wanted the start of the weekend to go. The No. 24 team, and really just about everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, jumped in to help us get the backup car ready to race. We may not have gotten the finish we wanted in the end, but the things we learned on and off the track, and the effort this team put in is something we can be proud of. We’re using these races to prepare to be a championship-level team, and weekends like Dover are what make a team stronger and able to go further than others in the playoffs. We’ll put it behind us and prepare to rebound at Darlington.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER/NATURE VALLEY CAMARO ZL1
“What a weekend Dover was for us (second-place finish), and we are looking forward to Darlington. Being able to capitalize on a solid performance with our Camaro last weekend is a small step in the right direction. We’ve had good race cars and better race cars than what we’ve shown. It seems like our fast races where we were running up front, we’ve had issues as far as getting crashed on the speedways or other issues. We’re hoping to put together another solid race weekend and build some momentum with our No. 47 Kroger/Nature Valley Camaro ZL1 at Darlington.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
BOWMAN ON HEADING TO DARLINGTON:
"We have a lot of momentum as a team heading to Darlington this weekend. We had a great weekend in Dover after starting in the back with 70 laps to go at a place that is tough to pass, so I think it only helps myself and the rest of the team know that we are firing on all cylinders right now. I am looking forward to taking the No. 48 Ally Throwback Chevy to Darlington and making Mark (Martin) proud and try to get the car back in victory lane.”
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
IVES ON COMING OFF A TOP-FIVE FINISH AT DOVER:
"It was frustrating walking away from Dover knowing we had a car capable of contending for a win and not being in the mix. Alex (Bowman) drove the wheels off the car and did a great job staying in it to get that top-five finish and our pit crew had great stops all day, so we have a lot of positives to build off of heading to Darlington this weekend. It will be a fun race with it being throwback weekend, so I am looking forward to going down there and trying to take home another trophy this Sunday."
GRANT ENFINGER, NO. 23 CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT SILVERADO RST
"I’m excited to get going on Friday night. Not only is Darlington one of the best tracks that we go to, but it also starts the beginning of an eight race stretch. We feel like we’ve learned a good bit during the earlier part of the season, and now we have the opportunity to implement some improvements. I know Charles and our GMS Racing team will have us a Champion Power Equipment Chevy that can contend."
JACK WOOD, NO. 24 NORTH INDUSTRIAL MACHINE / AUTO PARTS 4LESS SILVERADO RST
"I'm looking forward to racing again at Darlington this weekend. It's been a great track for GMS Racing as they swept the races there last year, so I think we have a great opportunity to have a solid run. I believe that we have a good idea of where we need to be for our baseline setup, and as we begin the summer stretch, this is going to be a crucial race to start off on the right foot. We have a bunch of races lined up ahead of us, so a good finish here will help build our momentum going forward."