Wednesday, Mar 29

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: DAYTONA 500




Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)


Hometown: Elk Grove, California


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels


Standings: 7th (2022)

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No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


RECAPPING THE CLASH: For two consecutive years, Kyle Larson has finished fifth at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. His fourth-place finish in the heat race resulted in a 14th-place starting spot for the main event of the Clash at the Coliseum. The No. 5 driver held a top-15 position for the entirety of the race and battled his way towards the front for a fifth-place finish.

WORLD CENTER OF RACING: This Sunday, Larson will make his 18th NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona International Speedway. The 2014 Cup Series rookie of the year has earned five top-10 finishes and led 18 laps at the "World Center of Racing." In the DAYTONA 500 specifically, Larson’s best finish is seventh (2016 and 2019) and four of his top-10 results have come in the season-opening, points-paying event.

DEFENDING THE POLE: In 2022, Larson earned his first DAYTONA 500 pole position. This marked the fifth instance in the Cup Series where a driver won the pole position at Daytona the year after winning the championship (Cale Yarborough in 1978, Jeff Gordon in 1999, Dale Jarrett in 2000 and Jimmie Johnson in 2008 were the others). With teammate Alex Bowman on the outside, Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row for the start of "The Great American Race" for the eighth time in team history.

QUITE THE PAIRING: Larson is in his full-time season with the 14-time Cup Series championship-winning organization. Paired with crew chief Cliff Daniels, the duo looks to add to their series-best total of 13 wins over the past two seasons and are on the hunt for their second championship together. Larson's 13 victories place him fourth on the all-time wins list at Hendrick Motorsports.

OUT IN THE DESERT: Following the Clash weekend, Larson headed to his new home in Arizona for two events. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the 2021 Cup Series Champion visited Phoenix Raceway to show support at Basket of Hope’s charity event preparing gifts for seriously ill children in local hospitals. Larson led a track tour for patients and volunteers following the event. On Wednesday, Feb. 8, Larson took part in Radio Row at the Phoenix Convention Center to talk football and NASCAR just before Super Bowl LVII and the 2023 DAYTONA 500.

GET IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT: Larson will pilot the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 against 39 other drivers in this weekend’s DAYTONA 500 and you can see every angle of the paint scheme here. Prospective car buyers can pick their own ride at one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 95 dealerships nationwide. Customers can also shop from the convenience of their home selecting 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

WE'RE HIRING: Join 10,000+ others nationwide in working at Hendrick Automotive Group. The company is hiring technicians and other positions at its dealerships throughout the country. Positions are open for all skill levels and offer tuition and training reimbursement. Individuals who are interested can apply at




Age: 27 (Nov. 28, 1995)


Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia


Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia


Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson


Standings: 4th (2022)

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No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


TALKIN’ ABOUT DAYTONA: In 14 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Chase Elliott has two top-five finishes, four top-10s and three poles. He’s led 157 laps on the 2.5-mile superspeedway, including 31 laps last August. Elliott earned a runner-up finish in the 2021 DAYTONA 500 (his personal best in the season-opening event) and drove to a 10th-place result last year. He is one of only two drivers to have an active streak of top-10 finishes in the prestigious race with two. The 2020 Cup Series champion is one of five active drivers to earn a runner-up finish in the 500 and not yet win the event. 

HISTORY MAKING: In 2016, Elliott became the youngest driver to earn the DAYTONA 500 pole at the age of 20 years, 2 months and 17 days. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native earned his second pole for the crown jewel event the very next year. 

DRAFT DOMINANT: Across six drafting-style races in 2022 (Daytona, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway), Elliott was the only repeat winner. He earned the popular home track victory at Atlanta in July and backed that up with a playoff win at Talladega in October. The driver of the No. 9 led the series with five top-10 finishes and two stage wins in those six events and paced the field for 166 laps (second to only teammate William Byron). 

HE’S COMING HOME: 2020 Cup Series champion crew chief Alan Gustafson will make his return home to the "World Center of Racing" for the DAYTONA 500. Gustafson grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida, just down the road from the legendary superspeedway. After graduating from Seabreeze High School, Gustafson enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical engineering. This year marks his 19th season as a crew chief and his eighth year with Elliott.

MOST POLES: Gustafson leads all active crew chiefs with four DAYTONA 500 poles. He’s tied with Leonard Wood and Waddell Wilson for the most DAYTONA 500 poles overall. Gustafson won three straight from 2015-2017, with Jeff Gordon taking the top spot in 2015 and Elliott following suit the following two years. His first DAYTONA 500 pole came with Mark Martin in 2010. 

NEW YEAR, SAME FACES: In 2023, the No. 9 pit crew will remain the same as it has since 2018. The 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew award-winning group is comprised of Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), John Gianninoto (fueler), Nick O'Dell (front-tire changer) and T.J. Semke (jackman). 

NAPA RETURNS FOR 500: For the eighth consecutive year, NAPA Auto Parts will kick off the Cup Series season on the hood of Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the DAYTONA 500. Elliott has never started the “The Great American Race” without primary sponsorship from the Atlanta-based company. This marks the 10th season NAPA has partnered with Elliott in his NASCAR career. Check out this year's primary paint scheme here

RACEDAY APPEARANCES: On Sunday, Elliott will stop by the Fan Zone in the infield for a Q&A session at 11:05 a.m. ET before heading out to the Team Chevy display at 11:30 a.m. ET. Also making an appearance at the Team Chevy display throughout the weekend – and all season long – is the 2023 No. 9 LLumar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 show car.  

DOUBLE-DUTY: In addition to competing in Sunday’s DAYTONA 500, Elliott will make his superspeedway debut in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race on Friday evening. He’ll drive the No. 35 Chevrolet Silverado RST with associate sponsorship from long-time partner NAPA Auto Parts. 




Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)


Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle


Standings: 6th (2022)

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No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


CLASH-ED AT THE COLISEUM: Heading to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the second time in the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron and the No. 24 team got to work early at the quarter-mile track. He led all 25 circuits of the fourth heat race to line up fourth for the 150-lap main event. Spending much of the Clash at the Coliseum running in the top 10, Byron ultimately crossed the finish line in the 10th position.

DAYTONA DUELS: Byron will make his sixth start in the Daytona Duels on Thursday. In last year’s qualifying race, he lined up on the outside row for his duel race but with a split pit strategy taking place late in the event, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native finished in the 12th position. In 2020, Byron captured the win in the qualifying race when led the final three laps to take the checkered flag.

TWENTY-FOUR TO THE FRONT: In five of the last eight DAYTONA 500 races, the No. 24 has started from the front row. In 2015, Jeff Gordon started from the pole and Chase Elliott did the same in 2016 and 2017. Byron added to that stat by becoming the second-youngest DAYTONA 500 pole winner in 2019, which also marked his first pole in the Cup Series. He was part of a Hendrick Motorsports sweep of the front row in 2021 as he started second, while Alex Bowman was on the pole

: During his time in the Cup Series, Byron has 10 starts at Daytona International Speedway. In that time, he has collected one win, two top-five finishes, two top-10s, and led 94 laps. However, his stats don’t fully depict Byron’s success at the 2.5-mile oval. Not only is this the venue where he earned his first Cup Series win, but he also was in position to capture the win during the summer race in 2019 before weather ended the event early, resulting in a runner-up finish for the driver of the No. 24. Byron’s success at Daytona doesn’t end there. During his 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship campaign, he led 29 laps en route to the victory, becoming the youngest driver with a Xfinity Series win at Daytona at 19 years, seven months and one day. 

SUPER ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: While superspeedway racing brings a lot of uncertainty, Byron has seen success with that style of racing. In the past 10 superspeedway races, Byron has three top-five finishes including his first Cup Series win at Daytona in the summer of 2020. He also led 193 laps at drafting tracks (Daytona, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway) during the 2022 season – the most of any driver.

FUGLE FILES: Entering his third season as a Cup Series crew chief, Rudy Fugle will climb on top of the No. 24 pit box for his third DAYTONA 500, and his fifth Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile oval this Sunday. In 2021, the duo started both races at the Florida-based track from the front row. Despite running up front in every Daytona event they’ve raced at together in the Cup Series, misfortune has struck the No. 24 as they have been collected in on-track incidents before the checkered flag. Aside from those four Cup starts, the Livonia, New York, native has nine other starts at Daytona, with seven coming in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. Fugle has one runner-up result and two top-10 finishes across those seven races. Of those Truck Series starts, one of them was with Byron where the duo qualified and finished 13th.

RAPTOR® TOUGH: RAPTOR® Tough and Tintable Protective Coatings will return in 2023 as the primary sponsor of William Byron and the No. 24 team. RAPTOR® is a durable protective coating that is designed to tolerate the toughest climatic conditions and can be applied to a wide range of items, including truck beds, lawnmowers, outdoor furniture and more. With 16 pre-mixed colors available, it’s easy to personalize anything you want to protect. RAPTOR® is available at local paint distributors, auto parts stores, and online retailers. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.

RETURNING TO THE ROOTS: Prior to NASCAR festivities getting started at Daytona International Speedway, Byron was victorious at New Smyrna Speedway. Driving the No. 24 Super Late Model for Wilson Motorsports, he scored the win in Monday night's World Series of Asphalt race and will also compete in Tuesday's Super Late Model event at the track. Monday's win marks Byron's third victory in four starts in the event after posting two wins last year as well.

BEACH BUMS: Kicking off Speedweeks in the "Sunshine State," two crew members on the No. 24 team will be making their way back home for the first points-paying race of the 2023 season. Engineer Brandon McSwain grew up approximately 100 miles from the “World Center of Racing” in Auburndale, Florida. While just a few miles down the road from where McSwain grew up, engine tuner Ben Proctor calls Lakeland, Florida, home. 


48 Alex Bowman


Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)


Hometown: Tucson, Arizona


Resides: Concord, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Blake Harris


Standings: 16th (2022)

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


COLISEUM CONQUERED: In the exhibition race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Alex Bowman took home a fourth-place finish in the 150-lap main event. The 29-year-old driver got to the Clash at the Coliseum by finishing second in the opening heat race. From there, he spent all of the main event in the top 10 and much of the second half of the event in the top five – running as high as second at one point.

GIVE HIM THE REINS: This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series field will kick off the 2023 regular season at Daytona International Speedway when Bowman will make his 14th start on the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In his previous 13 races, the Tucson, Arizona, native has tallied six front row starts including two pole positions in 2018 and 2021, and three top-10 finishes.

LET’S MAKE IT SIX: Bowman has become a familiar face at the front of the DAYTONA 500 field, having started on the front row for the crown jewel race for a record five consecutive years. The No. 48 driver earned the pole position in February 2018 and 2021. He is the fifth-youngest pole winner in the event’s history based on his 2018 pole at 24 years, 9 months and 17 days old. 

BIG COMPANY: With five front row starts in “The Great American Race,” Bowman is tied for the most in that category in the history of the event with some of the sport’s most decorated individuals. All five drivers he is tied with have been inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They are Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon, Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough.

WINNING WAYS: Bowman is no stranger to victory lane. Since the start of the 2021 Cup Series season, Bowman is tied for the third-most wins in the sport’s top series with 2022 Cup Series Champion Joey Logano. Only Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have more wins, with seven and 13, respectively.

BLAKE AT SUPERSPEEDWAYS: Crew chief of the No. 48 Ally Racing team Blake Harris will make his second start atop the pit box at Daytona. In his first start with the No. 34 team at Front Row Motorsports, Harris qualified sixth and finished seventh with driver Michael McDowell. However, at Talladega Superspeedway last season, Harris led the No. 34 team to one top-five finish and two top-10s, finishing eighth in April and third in October. They started the races in 21st and 29th, respectively.

DAY ‘N’ NITE: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will adorn two versions of the primary scheme during the 2023 Cup Series season. The No. 48 Ally Chevy "day" scheme will host a white base with bright plum, grapefruit, and seafoam stripes down the side. This version of the primary scheme will appear at races that take place during the day. When the lights come on over the racetrack, the black-based No. 48 Ally Chevy "night" scheme will be sported with a similar design to its daytime counterpart. This weekend for the DAYTONA 500, the No. 48 machine will adorn the "day" scheme. Check out all the angles of the No. 48 machine’s new look here.

DIRT RUNS DEEP: Bowman is making another dirt appearance for Alex Bowman Racing at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday after running there on Monday. The No. 48 driver fields the No. 55X Ally sprint car for his self-owned race team. This is the second extracurricular set of events for Bowman as he spent last week racing his sprint car at Volusia Speedway Park with the World of Outlaws.




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CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is nine points-paying victories away from 300 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 291 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. 

YEAR IN REVIEW: In 2022, Hendrick Motorsports notched a series-best 11 wins with Chase Elliott leading all Cup Series drivers with five victories and earning the regular-season championship. Kyle Larson and William Byron each posted multi-win campaigns. Alex Bowman earned a win for the fourth consecutive season. All four drivers made the playoffs and reached the Round of 12 with Elliott making the Championship 4 for the third consecutive season. The No. 5 team reached the owner's Championship 4 for the second straight season. The organization’s 11 wins marked the ninth time that the team had won at least 11 races in a single season.

SETTING THE FIELD: The starting lineup for the DAYTONA 500 is set in a very different manner than any other race. Wednesday's single-car, two-round qualifying will only set the front row for the DAYTONA 500. The remaining order of qualifying will determine the field for the two 60-lap Daytona Duels on Thursday night. The Daytona Duels will set the rest of the lineup for the 40-car field in the DAYTONA 500. The duel qualifiers also represent the first chance for drivers to earn points in 2023 with the top-10 finishers in each race earning as many as 10 points (for the win) all the way down to one point (for 10th).

POLE POWER: With 15 poles for the DAYTONA 500, Hendrick Motorsports leads all Cup Series organizations by a wide margin (the next closest team has six). Those 15 poles account for 38% of the poles for DAYTONA 500s that Hendrick Motorsports has competed in. Nine drivers have combined for the 15 poles: Ken Schrader (three), Bowman (two), Elliott (two), Jeff Gordon (two), Jimmie Johnson (two), Byron (one), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one), Larson (one) and Mark Martin (one). The organization has won seven of the last eight poles for "The Great American Race" with all four active drivers securing at least one pole position in that stretch.

FRONT ROW FOCUS: There have been eight instances of a front row sweep for the Rick Hendrick-owned team at the DAYTONA 500. Five of those have occurred in the last eight years (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022) including three of the last four.

DUEL DOMINATION: Hendrick Motorsports’ 16 wins in the Daytona Duels are tied for most among all teams in the Cup Series. Gordon leads the way with five victories followed by Earnhardt Jr.'s three. Elliott and Johnson each have two wins. Byron, Schrader, Benny Parsons and Darrell Waltrip each have tallied one win. The 2015 wins by Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson mark the organization’s lone sweep of the qualifying races.

GREAT AMERICAN VICTORIES: The eight wins for the Concord, North Carolina, based team in the prestigious season-opening event are the second-most by all teams and the most among active teams. Gordon’s three wins (1997, 1999 and 2005) are the most for the organization. Johnson has two wins (2006 and 2013), while Geoff Bodine (1986), Earnhardt Jr. (2014) and Waltrip (1989) each picked up one apiece for the squad. The five different drivers to win for one team in the DAYTONA 500 are tied for the most with Wood Brothers Racing. 

ON THIS DATE: This year’s DAYTONA 500 is set to be held on Feb. 19. Hendrick Motorsports has won two of the past three DAYTONA 500s held on that exact date – Waltrip’s win in 1989 and Johnson’s victory in 2006.

HIGH FIVE: With a win in Sunday’s DAYTONA 500, Hendrick Motorsports would become the first organization to win the race in five different decades. Currently, it is one of two organizations – Petty Enterprises is the other – to win the DAYTONA 500 in four different decades. 

DRAFTING SUCCESS: Last season’s six races at drafting tracks (Daytona International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway) saw the team emerge victorious on three occasions. Byron won the first race at the repaved and reconfigured Atlanta, while Elliott won in the summer at Atlanta and the playoff race at Talladega. In fact, Byron and Elliott combined to lead 27% of the laps on drafting tracks.




Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the 2023 DAYTONA 500: "I’m excited to get going. It’s definitely a historic year with NASCAR’s 75th anniversary. I’m glad I’ve won one of the championships out of the 75 years. It’s pretty cool to think about your name on a fairly short list of champions. I would love to add my name to the winner’s list at Daytona. That’s our biggest race."

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what winning the pole at the DAYTONA 500 means to Mr. Hendrick: "I think what it represents to him is everyone in the company working together and really trying to put our best foot forward to start the season. With all of the newness and change that it (a new season) brings from rules, to people, to resources and technology. Can we be the ones to put our best foot forward in outright car speed? There’s not any quirkiness to how you qualify at Daytona (International Speedway). It is straight up car speed. You either got it or you don’t. I think that’s why it’s always meant a lot to him. He’s mentioned it to us again this year, He certainly wants the pole at Daytona."

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing in the DAYTONA 500: "This is a tough race. A tough race to be in position (to win). I feel like you can do all the right things and it still does not go your way. Hopefully, this is the year we can get it done. We’ve had a few good opportunities at it in the past, but it just hasn’t gone in our favor so far."

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on getting your car right for the DAYTONA 500: “Once you race in the Duels, you're going know what your car has. You’re going to know your ailments and what you need to improve. You won’t be racing in the same temperature conditions as Sunday, but you’re still going to have a good understanding of what you have, and you’ll have a couple of days to try to improve that during practice.”

Gustafson, on the team’s outlook for 2023 and the sophomore season of the Next Gen car: "Going into 2023, we have a baseline now for all the tracks and we know individually we need to improve at those tracks. Overall, it’s always the same areas – you want a faster car, you want a better strategy, you want better execution, better pit stops. I think we know the detail now on what it's going to take to do that, but so does everybody else. It’s going to take a lot of work and effort to get that extra 10%."

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for this year's DAYTONA 500: "I think we have some good momentum from the Clash that can get us excited for Daytona (International Speedway). While nothing correlates between those two tracks, we executed just about everything we needed to as a team. Now we’re going to a place where Hendrick Motorsports is known for having fast cars and being up front. I’ve been lucky enough to be contending for the lead in the DAYTONA 500, and I have the summer Daytona win under my belt. I just haven’t been able to avoid the misfortune in the 500 to be there at the end. I think if we can keep the car clean all race Sunday, we definitely will have a shot at the win and I want that for this No. 24 team."

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the No. 24 team’s goals for the 2023 season: "Keep climbing and stay hungry. If you’re looking behind you, people are trying to catch you and you’re looking the wrong way. We’re focused on continuing to climb forward and make that championship race. That’s our big goal for 2023 and what we’re striving for. William (Byron) has grown a lot and has experienced a lot. He’s ready to reach that point. This team is ready for it. We’re ready to tackle this season. We’ve learned a lot with these cars and we know that things will ebb and flow like they did last year with other teams learning things along the way. We just want to make sure to hit those high points at the right time in the year."

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on going for his sixth consecutive front row start at the DAYTONA 500: "Going for my sixth front row start at the DAYTONA 500 is something that is on my mind for sure. We have a lot of really smart teammates back at the shop building fast race cars and I owe all my speed and starts to them. I have had a lot of great starts at the (DAYTONA) 500, so this year the goal is to have a great finish at a superspeedway and kick off the season with a big win."

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his takeaways from the Clash at the Coliseum: "All of the things that we tried to execute as far as the team gelling and going through the first weekend went well. To be able to go through multiple sessions and have speed on top of that was a real positive takeaway for us. I thought Alex (Bowman) did a great job for us and kept our car out front and had us in a position to compete for a win. Overall, it was a successful weekend that set the stage for what our year will look like."

Harris, on his expectations heading to Daytona International Speedway with the No. 48 team: "Hendrick Motorsports has a great history of qualifying well and having speed so that is our first focus when we go down there. The Duels are always difficult to tell how well prepared we are for the DAYTONA 500 since the duel is a smaller field with less teammates because you are typically split up so you have to take each session at Daytona (International Speedway) as they come. This year is different in that we don’t have practice until after qualifying so you have to rely heavily on your notes and Hendrick Motorsports has a history of great qualifying at superspeedways so that is really reassuring. Our mindset doesn’t change for this year. I have always focused on details and that will remain the same as we prepare to go to Daytona."



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