Wednesday, Mar 29

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Bristol




Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)


Hometown: Elk Grove, California


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels


Standings: 8th

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No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


TENNESSEE TITAN: Last September on the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson led a race-high 175 laps en route to his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series victory on the Tennessee track. The win, which was his sixth of a 10-victory championship season, was his first of two consecutive playoff elimination race wins.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: Larson finished eighth on Sunday in the 400-mile event at Kansas Speedway – his 14th top-10 in 28 Cup Series races this season. He has also garnered 10 top-five finishes which is tied for the series lead with Ross Chastain and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.

THIRD AND 12: Heading into the final Round of 16 race, Larson is currently eighth in the driver point standings. He is 31 markers behind the leader and 27 markers ahead of the cutoff position entering the elimination event. No matter how the other competitors finish in the two stages or the race, the defending race winner will advance to the Round of 12 if he secures at least 29 points in the race scheduled for 500 laps.

FANTASY STATS: Along with last year’s win, Larson has three top-five finishes and eight top-10s in 13 starts on the Bristol concrete track. He has led 816 circuits around the high-banked short track – second most for the 30-year-old driver and trailing only Dover Motor Speedway (899 laps led) in that statistical category.

NICKEL BACK: In 12 playoff starts while driving the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports, the Elk Grove, California, native has visited victory lane in five of those events. He trails three drivers in that statistical category for the 14-time championship organization. Elliott has six playoff wins while Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon has seven. Larson trails seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson by 24.

DOUBLE-DIGIT FAVORITE: With 12 wins since the beginning of 2021, Larson is the only double-digit winner over that span. The 30-year-old driver has six more than Elliott and seven more than Alex Bowman – his Hendrick Motorsports teammates that rank second and third during that timeframe.

AWAY UNIFORMS: This weekend, Larson will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and wear his blue "away" uniform. From the convenience of home, customers can select the category, make, model and vehicle packages that are important to them from the nearly 30,000 new, high-quality pre-owned and certified cars, trucks and SUVs available at The website also makes it easy for customers to find one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 94 dealership locations nationwide and provides the complete home and away schedule.




Age: 26 (Nov. 28, 1995)


Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia


Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia


Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson


Standings: 7th

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No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media at the Bristol Motor Speedway media center on Friday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. local time. 

: After a solid run at Kansas Speedway allowed him to gain 14 points on the cutoff line from the previous week, Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team currently sit 28 points above the elimination line. Elliott is seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings heading into this weekend’s Round of 16 finale at Bristol Motor Speedway. No matter what other playoff drivers do, Elliott will advance to the Round of 12 if he scores at least 28 points. This is his seventh consecutive playoff appearance. The previous two seasons he advanced to the Championship 4, earning a Cup Series title in 2020.

TENNESSEE SLOBBERKNOCKER: This Saturday, Elliott will make his 12th Bristol Cup Series start on the track’s concrete oval. The 26-year-old driver has three top-five finishes – a best effort of third – five top-10s and 439 laps led at "The Last Great Colosseum" – his third-most at active tracks on the Cup Series circuit. Elliott tops the category of the longest active streak of races led on the concrete surface with six. He’s led 423 laps in that span, which is the most of any driver. While the driver of the No. 9 is winless in Cup Series points races at Bristol, Elliott and the team captured the NASCAR All-Star Race win there in 2020.

DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK: This weekend also marks Elliott’s 250th Cup Series start, all of which have been with Hendrick Motorsports. So far in his career, he’s earned 17 wins, 84 top-five finishes, 134 top-10s and led 4,762 laps. He garnered top rookie honors in 2016 and captured the Cup Series championship in 2020. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is also the reigning NMPA Most Popular Driver Award winner, an honor he’s received for four consecutive years.

FORCED FUMBLE: Last fall at Bristol, Elliott led 129 of 500 laps, finishing inside the top five in each of the first two stages. In the final stage, the 2020 Cup Series champion had a tire go down, forcing him to pit under the green flag late in the race. The unscheduled stop relegated him to a 25th-place finish, which was still good enough for Elliott to advance to the Round of 12.

MAN IN MOTION: Elliott will make his 40th short-track start in the Cup Series this Saturday at Bristol. In those previous 39 races, he has garnered one win (Martinsville Speedway 2020), 13 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s and led 1,437 laps. Elliott currently leads the field with 604 laps led over the last five short-track races. This season across three paved short-track starts, he has one top-five finish, two top-10s, the fifth-most points on that track type and 186 laps led, earning a best effort of fifth last month at Richmond Raceway. He also scored the pole earlier this year at Martinsville.

THE GUNNER: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 33rd Bristol Cup Series race on Saturday night. In his previous 32 starts at the track, the Ormond Beach, Florida, native has one win (Kyle Busch in 2007), nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s with 1,039 laps led. This season marks Gustafson’s 15th playoff appearance, second to only Hendrick Motorsports’ Chad Knaus. The duo is also 1-2 in most wins by crew chiefs in the playoffs – Knaus with 29 and Gustafson with 12. Six of Gustafson's playoff victories have come with Elliott.

DOWN, SET, HOOT HOOT: Hooters is back on board the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend for its second of three races in 2022 Saturday night at Bristol. In conjunction with the race, Elliott will stop by the Johnson City, Tennessee, Hooters (2288 North Roan Street) for an autograph session from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. local time on Friday. Hooters will also be the primary partner for the No. 9 team next month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Get a look at all of the angles of the 2022 Hooters paint scheme here.

WING FORMATION: Fans can visit Hooters on Mondays after Cup Series races this season and ask their server for free fried pickles when Elliott finishes in the top 10. If he wins, customers receive free boneless wings with any 10-wing purchase. Get more details at




Age: 24 (Nov. 29, 1997)


Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle


Standings: 2nd

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No. 24 Acronis Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


COVERING THE POINT SPREAD: With two races complete and one to go in the Round of 16 of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, William Byron sits second in the standings and is 48 points above the cutoff line heading into Bristol Motor Speedway. His sixth-place effort at Kansas Speedway saw him gain 16 points on the elimination line. No matter what other playoff drivers do, the 24-year-old will advance to the Round of 12 if he scores at least eight points in Saturday night's race.

DRIVING THE FIELD: Byron continues to hold the statistic of leading the second-most laps so far this season with 671 behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who has led 719. Those 671 laps led by Byron are not only his most in a single Cup Series season but have come across 15 races.

SECOND AND TEN: In the first two playoff races, only five drivers have finished in the top 10 in both races. Byron is one of those five drivers with an eighth-place finish at Darlington Raceway and a sixth-place effort in Kansas. The others to accomplish this are his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman as well as Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace.

ALL-PRO: With the Cup Series taking on its fourth paved short track of the 2022 season, Byron has momentum on his side. In the three previous paved short-track races this year, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has collected 133 points – the most of any driver. In the last five short-track races, Byron has one win, four top-five finishes with 334 laps led – the second-most laps led in the last five races on that track type behind teammate Elliott. In fact, Byron is the only driver to finish in the top five in four of the last five short-track races. 

BATTLE IN THE TRENCHES: This weekend, Byron will make his eighth Cup Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has a best qualifying effort of second at "The Last Great Colosseum," lining up alongside teammate Elliott in April 2019. In his seven starts at Bristol, the fifth-year Cup Series driver has a track-best finish of third coming in last year’s fall race which helped lock him into the next round of the playoffs. 

CALLING AN AUDIBLE: Saturday night’s race will mark crew chief Rudy Fugle’s second Cup Series start on pavement at the "World’s Fastest Half-Mile." In last year’s showing, Fugle and the No. 24 team qualified 14th and went on to score a third-place finish in the playoff elimination race. In nine other NASCAR national series starts (seven in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series), Fugle has one win at the .533-mile track, coming in the summer of 2013 with Kyle Busch. His drivers have collected three top-five finishes, along with six top-10s in his Truck Series starts atop the pit box. 

DEFENSE! DEFENSE!: Earlier this year it was announced that Acronis would extend its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports through 2025. The extension included two primary races with Byron and the No. 24 team, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course earlier this season as well as Saturday night’s race at Bristol. With its unique combination of automation and integration, Acronis offers complete cyber protection. Its solutions safeguard data, applications, systems and productivity against loss, theft and downtime – from cyberattacks and hardware failures to natural disasters and human error. Hendrick Motorsports protects its data, applications, systems and overall racing operations by utilizing Acronis for cyber protection, security, backup, anti-ransomware and disaster recovery. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 Acronis Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.


48 Alex Bowman


Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)


Hometown: Tucson, Arizona


Resides: Concord, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Greg Ives


Standings: 6th

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


LAST DRIVE: Last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Alex Bowman took home his fourth top-five finish of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, crossing the finish line in fourth. The No. 48 driver finished the first stage in 17th and won the second stage, leading a season-high 107 laps at the 1.5-mile venue. 

PICK SIX: Bowman’s top-five performance at Kansas bumped the 29-year-old driver’s playoff ranking to sixth, gaining 20 points on the cutoff line and moving up four positions with one race to go in the Round of 16. He is 30 points above the elimination line heading to Bristol Motor Speedway. No matter what other playoff drivers do, if Bowman earns at least 26 points on Saturday night, he will lock himself into the next round.

ALL-OUT BLITZ: As the Cup Series heads to Bristol this Saturday, Bowman has 11 starts at the .533-mile venue. In those appearances, the Tucson, Arizona, native has two top-five finishes and three top-10s. His most recent result on the concrete layout of “The Last Great Colosseum” was a fifth-place result in September 2021.

IN THE RED ZONE: Bowman is one of five Cup Series drivers to finish in the top 10 in the first two races in the Round of 16. The driver of the No. 48 is joined by teammate William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace as the lone drivers to do this.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL: In the last 10 races at short tracks in the Cup Series, Bowman has taken home hardware with wins at Richmond Raceway (April 2021) and the penultimate race of the 2021 postseason at Martinsville Speedway. In addition to Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick also have two short-track wins over this stretch. 

FOUR-THREE FORMATION: Crew chief Greg Ives celebrated his 43rd birthday on Tuesday. The veteran crew chief has tallied a total of 10 wins, 50 top-five finishes and 107 top-10s across his eight-year career atop the pit box in the Cup Series. Ives has called the shots for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Bowman in NASCAR’s premier series. Last month, the Michigan native announced he would be stepping down from his crew chief duties at season’s end and transitioning to a different role at Hendrick Motorsports.  




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REVVING TO A MILESTONE: The engine shop at Hendrick Motorsports sits one win away from 500 victories. To date, the company’s engine program is responsible for 337 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, 125 wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, 22 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and 15 wins in the ARCA Menards Series and the K&N Pro Series (now ARCA Menards Series East and West) ranks. 

LEADING THE WAY: With nine wins through 28 Cup Series races in 2022, Hendrick Motorsports has earned the most victories so far this season. It is the only four-car team to see all of its drivers win a race this season. The organization is also the only one to have multiple drivers with at least two wins – Chase Elliott (four), Kyle Larson (two) and William Byron (two). On top of that, Elliott and Byron rank 1-2 in laps led this year.

FITS LIKE A GLOVE: For this weekend's on-track activity at Bristol Motor Speedway, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers will wear skeleton driving gloves as part of The Dale Jr. Foundation's Driven to Give Gloves Program. The drivers will sign the right hand glove, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will sign the left hand glove and the pair will be auctioned off on The Dale Jr. Foundation auction page starting on Friday, Sept. 16 and ending on Friday, Sept. 23. The money raised will help launch several important research programs and projects through the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

PUSHING THROUGH THE PLAYOFF PILE: All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are above the cutoff line to advance to the Round of 12 heading into Saturday's race at Bristol. Should that happen following the race at the .533-mile track, it will mark the third time in the nine-year history of the four-round format that all four of its drivers advanced on to the next round. In 2021, the quartet of Larson, Elliott, Byron and Alex Bowman each advanced to the second round. In 2014 – the first year of the elimination-style playoff – the foursome of Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each advanced to the Round of 12.

RUNNING THE GO ROUTE: Hendrick Motorsports has won the last seven elimination races in the playoffs. In its history, the organization has won 12 of 32 elimination races and has scored a victory in at least one elimination race in each of the last four seasons.  

HITTING THE PARLAY: With 55 short-track wins, Hendrick Motorsports has the most all-time victories on that track type. The next closest team is 11 wins short of their total. Gordon’s 17 wins are the most among the 14 drivers that have recorded a short-track victory for the organization.

SHORT-TRACK BLITZ: The Rick Hendrick-owned organization has won five of the last nine short-track races. Each of the four drivers in the current lineup have a win on that track type over this span. Bowman’s two wins - at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway in 2021 - are the most for the team in that stretch of time. Elliott won at Martinsville in 2020, Larson won at Bristol in 2021 and Byron won at Martinsville in April. 

COLOSSEUM CLOSERS: The organization has 12 wins at “The Last Great Colosseum.” Gordon (five wins) and Johnson (two wins) are the only drivers in team history to win multiple times at the venue. Kahne, Larson, Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte and Darrell Waltrip each have one triumph for the team. 

BACK IN PRIMETIME: Last year’s night race at Bristol saw three Hendrick Motorsports cars finish in the top five. That marked the fifth time a team has placed three drivers in the top five of a race at the Tennessee track. Larson won the event, while Byron finished third and Bowman placed fifth. Elliott also led 129 laps on the evening before a late-race flat tire took him out of contention. 

NIGHT MOVES: In the last seven races to end at night, the 14-time Cup Series championship-winning organization has earned the victory in three of those events. Larson started it off with his Bristol win last year. Byron’s win at Martinsville and Elliott’s win at Nashville Superspeedway came this season. 

RECORD SETTERS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted a series-best 53 wins in the playoffs – 20 more than the next closest organization. Johnson has the most wins with 29. Among the current driver lineup, Elliott tops the board with six wins, followed by Larson with five and Bowman has one. Nine different drivers have won a playoff race for the team, which is the most in the Cup Series ranks. The company has won a race in the playoffs in 17 seasons and that mark is also the most among all Cup Series teams. 




Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on if high-intensity dirt-track racing helps "slow down" the racing action at Bristol Motor Speedway for him: "I think Bristol (Motor Speedway) is definitely higher paced, higher intensity and more chaotic than any other track we go to. I’m used to high-intensity racing almost every week, so maybe the action ‘slows down’ a little bit for me at Bristol. I guarantee it doesn’t feel slow in the cockpit. It feels crazy and chaotic, and that’s why I love it."

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on if characteristics of concrete Dover Motor Speedway track carry over to Bristol: "We’ve studied the most relevant data points we can pull from for comparison from years past – Dover (Motor Speedway) being one of them and other short tracks being another. Bristol is not really a short track and it’s not really an intermediate – it’s a super-fast short track. There are characteristics from both styles of tracks that kind of blend for Bristol, so how we have blended things in the past is how we are preparing for this weekend."

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the approach you must have heading into the first elimination race: "No one is safe in this grid and this format. You have to be willing to accept a hard challenge or accept a must-win situation. I’ve said that a lot over the last few years. Phoenix (Raceway) is a must win, so you are just preparing yourself to embrace moments like that more and be more comfortable in situations of that magnitude. We’ll see what it brings."

Elliott on the unknowns of racing the Next Gen for the first time on the concrete Bristol layout: "That one is really interesting in my opinion. I’m excited to get to Bristol (Motor Speedway). It’s a really iconic event on our schedule. That fall night race is one that I always look forward to going to. I’m excited about that. Hopefully, you get it (the setup) right because it will be a bit of a guess for everyone."

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the challenge of the Next Gen car at Bristol: "It’s going to be a challenge for sure since we haven’t raced there with this car. Bristol (Motor Speedway) is super unique. There’s not a whole lot you can find a lot of parallels with. It’s going to be a clean sheet of paper setup and you have no experience running there. This is going to be one of the tougher ones for sure. The key is to have a good car and have good speed. That will open up a lot of opportunities to score a lot of points and I certainly think that we’re capable of doing that."

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what it will take to continue momentum through the final race of the Round of 16: "I think we need just one more solid, smooth race to say that we’ve turned things around from the summer. We’ve had two good races so far to open this round. It’s really about continuing to limit the damage and mistakes in the first round especially with how a lot of things are different this year. The competition seems to fluctuate more at different style tracks. It’s more about racing your own race and not the competition. You need to be the best version of yourself and can’t overthink too much. It’s race the way we know how and definitely not do anything too crazy right now to jeopardize that. We just need to make sure we continue to have all the little details buttoned up so we don’t cost us our own race and we’ll advance on."

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the strategy involved for Saturday’s race: "This weekend is a little bit of an unknown since we haven’t race at Bristol (Motor Speedway) yet with the Next Gen car, not on dirt. We have a good short-track package from previous races this season that gives us a good starting point. I think historically this race, similar to the first two races of the playoffs, have more of a strategy element to them. You have a chance of long green-flag runs and having to manage lap traffic. That brings up the decision on when to pit or when not to pit. Those types of races are the ones we live for. If a caution comes out at the right time, you can’t control that. Once and awhile you have a straight forward race where everything lines up and you consistently pit within the same five-lap window. Those races are nice but it doesn’t happen often. We get paid to make those decisions on what to do when. It makes it interesting to watch especially with points on the line. Saturday night’s race could come down to who made the right calls when."

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his approach to Saturday’s race at Bristol: "I think we have a lot of momentum heading to Bristol (Motor Speedway) and our team is focused on making a championship run. Greg (Ives) and the team back at the shop have been building really fast No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaros and our pit crew has been firing on all cylinders. Getting a top-10 finish at Darlington Raceway and then a top-five finish at Kansas Speedway really puts our best foot forward this postseason."

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading to Bristol for the first elimination race: "We are in a good place heading into the elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway – 30 points ahead of the cut line is nice but more is always good. Alex (Bowman) has done a great job the last couple of weeks, maximizing every opportunity and getting all the points we can. We are going to approach Bristol like we do every other weekend and try to maximize points."

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