Friday, Sep 22

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Kansas



Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)


Hometown: Elk Grove, California


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels


Standings: 10th

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No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


FRONT OF THE FIELD: Through 11 races in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, Larson is one of three drivers, along with Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, with two wins this season. The Elk Grove, California, native ranks second in both laps led (468), laps run in the top five (1,217) and is tied for second with Byron and two others in top-five finishes (four). He has also run the third-most laps in the top 10 (1,842). 

COMING TO KANSAS: In the last four races at Kansas Speedway, which hosts Sunday’s race, Larson has led the most laps (291). That mark is 171 circuits better than the next closest competitor. In 16 starts at the Midwest venue, he has one win (October 2021), five top-five finishes and eight top-10s. His 455 laps led are his fifth-most at any one track in the series. On top of that, he is one of seven drivers (along with teammate Alex Bowman) to score top-10 finishes in both 2022 Kansas races.

1.5-MILE MUSCLE: Since coming to Hendrick Motorsports for the start of the 2021 season, Larson has been extremely strong on traditional 1.5-mile tracks. In the 17 starts he’s made for the No. 5 team on that track type, he has the most wins (five), runner-up finishes (four), top-10 finishes (14), stage wins (13), laps led (1,705) and has the best average finish (7.35). Over that span of time, he is also tied for the most top-five finishes (10) on 1.5-mile tracks. Larson’s 1,705 laps led represent 34% of the laps run on 1.5-mile tracks since 2021. In addition, he has earned the second-most points (314) on 1.5-mile tracks since the start of the 2022 season.  

SETTING THE STAGE: Larson's 44 stage wins are the third-highest total all-time. With two stage wins so far in 2023, he is tied for the third-most. The 30-year-old driver has earned 85 stage points this season, which is also the third-highest mark. 

PIT CREW POWER: The pit crew is ranked the fifth-best overall on pit road based on their average four-tire stop time through 11 races at 11.462 seconds. The squad’s pit stop on lap 293 at Martinsville Speedway, which was a race Larson went on to win, ranks as the sixth-fastest four-tire stop on the season at 9.677 seconds. The five-man pit crew consists of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer). 

DOWN IN THE DIRT: Larson will be featured in a new five-part documentary series announced this week by FOX Sports Films, titled DIRT: THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN SPORT. The series, debuting on Tuesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, chronicles legendary dirt competitors racing on dirt tracks across America.

EXTRACURRICULARS: In accompany to Larson’s full-time Cup Series schedule, he races late models and sprint cars most weeks and is one of his sponsors for his non-NASCAR racing schedule. This week, he is scheduled to race in Ohio on Thursday (at Atomic Speedway) and Friday (at Eldora Speedway).

HOME RACE HATS: This weekend’s race at Kansas will mark the fifth home race of the season for the team. For every home race this season (15 total), there will be a unique hat that is released the week of the race. These hats will only available for sale on the trackside merchandise haulers or available to win on Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be made available to the public. This week’s Kansas-themed hat will be released Thursday and can be found here.

HENDRICKCARS.COM IS HOME: The Kansas City, Kansas, automotive market is home to five Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships. Not in Kansas? You can pick from any 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




Age: 27 (Nov. 28, 1995)


Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia


Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia


Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson


Standings: 29th

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No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


DOVER DIGEST: On Monday, Chase Elliott came up just short of his 10th top-10 finish at Dover Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, placing 11th in the 400-lap race. Elliott earned two valuable stage points with a ninth-place finish in stage two that helped him gain two spots in the Cup Series standings. 

KANSAS RUNDOWN: Elliott has one career Cup Series victory at Kansas Speedway, coming in the fall race in 2018. He led 44 laps en route to the win. This Sunday, Elliott is set to make his 15th Kansas start at the Cup Series level. Accompanying his victory are six top-five finishes, eight top-10s and 197 laps led. He’s finished sixth or better in six of the last nine races at the 1.5-mile venue. Elliott’s six top-five finishes at Kansas are his second most at a particular track on the Cup circuit, behind only Dover. 

1.5-MILERS: This weekend at Kansas, Elliott will make his 73rd start on a traditional 1.5-mile track in the Cup Series and his first start on this configuration this season. In his previous 72 races on this track length, Elliott has led 982 laps. Along with two victories (Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2020 and Kansas in 2018), Elliott has collected 22 top-five finishes – eight of which are runner-up results – and 36 top-10s on 1.5-milers.  

GUSTAFSON AT KANSAS: On Sunday, No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 31st Kansas Cup Series race. In his previous 30 starts at the track with five different drivers (Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Elliott), Gustafson has accumulated two wins – one with Gordon (2014) and one with Elliott (2018) – 10 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s with 315 laps led.  

GAINING ON ‘EM: Since Elliott’s return to the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Martinsville Speedway in April after recovering from a fractured tibia, he’s gained 32 points on the playoff bubble. He entered that weekend 33rd in the driver standings and is now up to 29th. The five-time Cup Series National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver is now 102 points behind the provisional playoff cutline. He would need to gain an average of seven points per race on the cutline to make the playoffs on points as the standings are currently. Since his return, he’s averaged a gain of 10 points per race on the final provisional playoff spot.
AIMING FOR A WIN: While it’s still possible for Elliott, who missed six races this season due to his injury, to make it into the playoffs on points, a win would all but guarantee a spot for the 27-year-old driver. The 2020 Cup Series champion has had a lot of success on the 15 tracks coming up on the schedule before the playoffs kick off at Darlington Raceway in September. Seven of his 18 career Cup Series wins have come at tracks left in the regular season.  

BACK HOME: No. 9 team jackman T.J. Semke hails from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, less than 40 miles from the track. Before stepping on the football field at the University of Kansas in 2012, Semke was a part-time bounty hunter. The 30-year-old was a defensive lineman for the Jayhawks for three years. Semke signed with Hendrick Motorsports in October 2016. 

UNIFIRST RETURNS: UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF), a North American leader in providing customized business uniform programs, facility service products and first aid and safety services, is back on board the No. 9 Chevrolet this weekend. This marks the second of three primary races for UniFirst and the first with Elliott behind the wheel this season. Road racing standout Jordan Taylor filled in for the then-injured Elliott at Circuit of The Americas in March. In his first career Cup Series start, Taylor qualified the UniFirst Chevy inside the top five and was battling for a top-10 result when he got shuffled back during a chaotic late-race restart. He was ultimately scored with a 24th-place finish. Get a closer look at the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet here.  




Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)


Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle


Standings: 11th

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No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


DOVER DOWNLOAD: After rain canceled qualifying and postponed the race from Sunday to Monday at Dover Motor Speedway, William Byron started eighth and quickly maneuvered his way into the top five. After the competition caution, the 25-year-old driver was able to take over the lead and didn’t look back as he won stage one. In the process, he also led his 2,000th lap in the NASCAR Cup Series. Byron continued to pace the field in stage two before slipping to second during green-flag pit stops, giving him a runner-up finish in the stage. With track conditions changing, Byron’s handling forced him to drop back just outside the top five during the final stage. The No. 24 team made adjustments that allowed Byron to make his way back inside the top five, scoring a fourth-place finish. 

24 POWER: Byron and the No. 24 team continue to be one of the front runners during the 2023 Cup Series season. So far this year, he is tied with two other drivers, including Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson, for the most wins in the series (two). The Charlotte, North Carolina, native also ranks first in laps led (579), laps run in the top five (1,444) and average running position (8.92) among drivers to start all 11 races. He ranks second in both laps run in the top 10 (1,873) and is among four competitors tied (including Larson) for the second-most top-five finishes this season (four). 

AND ANOTHER ONE: After Monday’s race at Dover, Byron added another stage win to his total this season. He now has six stage wins – the most of any driver. In fact, only one other driver previously has collected six stage wins through 11 races. This also marks the most stage wins for him in a season – surpassing his four stage wins in 2021 and 2022. He also has 15 top-10 finishes in stages this year and collected 111 stage points – the most of any driver. 

1.5-MILE MOMENTUM: Byron is no stranger to success on traditional 1.5-mile tracks during his Cup Series career. Since the start of the 2021 season, Byron has two wins, one runner-up finish, five top-fives, and 11 top-10s on that track type. One of his two wins to date in 2023 came at the lone race contested this season at a traditional 1.5-mile track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Since the start of 2022, he has collected 294 points on this style of track – third-most among drivers. 

MIDWEST MOMENTUM: Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway will mark Byron’s 11th start at the venue at the Cup Series level. While he faced bad luck in his first three races there, he has since turned that around. In his last seven starts at the 1.5-mile track, Byron has collected one top-five finish and six top-10s. His six top-10 finishes within the last seven races is the second-most for a driver during that same stretch. It is also the track where Byron has the most top-10 finishes in his Cup Series career (six), tied with Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. In fact, in the last four races at Kansas, he has led 91 laps – fourth-most in the series and behind Hendrick Motorsports teammates Larson (291) and Alex Bowman (107).

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE KANSAS: Looking to make his fifth start as a Cup Series crew chief at Kansas this Sunday, Rudy Fugle’s four Cup Series races at the Midwest track have resulted in three top-10 finishes and 91 laps led with the No. 24 team. Aside from those four Cup Series starts, the Livonia, New York, native has 12 previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval, with 10 of those coming in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. In those 10 events, Fugle’s drivers have started from the top starting spot four times, led 391 laps, collected two wins (2016 & 2018), five top-five finishes and six top-10s. In fact, his 2016 win came with Byron, who captured his first Truck Series win in just their fourth start together.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: The No. 24 pit crew has been the best on pit road this season with an average four-tire pit stop time of 11.293 seconds. The crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler). This group also had the fastest four-tire pit stop in the season-opening DAYTONA 500 at 11.278 seconds.

LIBERTY U IS BACK: This Sunday at Kansas, Byron will sport his updated Liberty University paint scheme. Featuring a white base with navy flames and red accents, the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be sure to stand out on track. Liberty University has a long history with Byron starting back in 2014 in the late model ranks. Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty University is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offers more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in strategic communication, Byron is now in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program. For a better look at Byron’s new Liberty University paint scheme, click here


48 Josh Berry


Age: 32 (Oct. 22, 1990)


Hometown: Hendersonville, Tennessee


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Blake Harris


Standings: 12th (owner's points)

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


SUPER SUB: Last Monday at Dover Motor Speedway, Josh Berry filled in for an injured Alex Bowman, who fractured a vertebra in a sprint car race on April 25. Berry started the 400-lap race in 23rd per the NASCAR rule book after qualifying was canceled. He finished the first stage in 14th and the second stage in 11th en route to his 10th-place result. His finishing position marked his third top-10 result in six races for Hendrick Motorsports as a fill-in driver. In addition to subbing for Bowman, Berry ran five races for the No. 9 team while Chase Elliott was out due to injury. 

IN GOOD COMPANY: Berry is the 12th driver in Hendrick Motorsports history to earn at least three top-10 finishes in his first six starts with the team. Those top 10s came at Phoenix Raceway (10th), Richmond Raceway (a career-best second) and Dover (10th). Among the other drivers to earn three top 10s in their first six starts for the company: Jeff Gordon, Geoff Bodine, Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond and Ricky Rudd. Fellow fill-in drivers Wally Dallenbach Jr. and Randy LaJoie also accomplished this. 

BERRY IN KANSAS: Berry has two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Kansas Speedway. Last time he raced at the 1.5-mile venue, the 32-year-old driver started 10th, finishing the first stage in ninth and the second stage in seventh en route to his top-10 result in the weather-shortened race.

PIT POWER: The No. 48 Ally Racing pit crew has performed well this season. The team has the distinction of the fastest four-tire pit stop of the day – 9.776 seconds – in the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The team also had the best four-tire stop average in last month’s race at Richmond at 10.388 seconds. The over-the-wall crew is made up of rear-tire changer Andrew Bridgeforth (rear-tire changer), Jacob Conley (fueler), Allen Holman (jackman), Scott Riddle (tire carrier) and Donnie Tasser (front-tire changer).   

BETTER OFF WITH AN ALLY: This Sunday, the No. 48 Ally decklid will feature Ally’s truth mark with a unique pattern in celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The decal is the logo for Ally’s AME (Asian & Middle Eastern) employee resource group (ERG) with the words “Unity in Diversity". All of Ally’s eight ERGs are employee-driven and grassroots in nature, which allows Ally teammates to engage with others who have similar backgrounds and life experiences. They focus on company culture, host events and educational sessions, and ensure that everyone at Ally feels included while at work. 
DAY ‘N’ NITE: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will adorn two versions of its 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 sport a similar design to its daytime counterpart. This weekend, the No. 48 machine will have the white-based “day” scheme. Check out all the angles of the new look here.  




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CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is five points-paying victories away from 300 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 295 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. With four wins this season, Hendrick Motorsports has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series. In each of the last 30 seasons, the organization has won at least two races. 

HONORING UYRS’ 25TH ANNIVERSARY: Hendrick Motorsports and team owner Rick Hendrick have been long-time supporters of the Urban Youth Racing School (UYRS). In honor of the Philadelphia-based program’s 25th anniversary, the Hendrick Family Foundation recently donated $25,000 to the UYRS. Kyle Larson presented the check on the foundation’s behalf on Sunday at Dover Motor Speedway. He also met with a group of 18 students and nine chaperones from the organization. In 2023, the UYRS will once again host the Grand Prix of Philadelphia with Kyle Larson and Friends event ahead of NASCAR’s race weekend at Pocono Raceway. Details around the event will be announced at a later date.

KINGS OF KANSAS: With eight wins, the team has the most victories among all Cup Series organizations at Kansas Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the first race at the track in 2001 and earned three in total at this track. Jimmie Johnson also posted three wins at the Kansas City, Kansas, venue. Chase Elliott and Larson each have one triumph as well. The team’s 1,870 laps out front at the facility are also the best among all teams in the series. 

SPRING REVIEW: In last year's spring event at Kansas, Larson nearly won his second consecutive race at the 1.5-mile track. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 led with 10 laps to go before being caught by the eventual race winner and settling for a second-place finish. Alex Bowman earned a top-10 finish with a ninth-place result. Larson and Bowman were two of the seven drivers in the series to earn top 10s in both Kansas races in 2022. 

HEY HEY HEY: Each of Hendrick Motorsports' four full-time drivers are in the top eight for laps led in the past four races at the Kansas City, Kansas venue. Larson's mark of 291 laps in the best in the series over that time, while Bowman (107) ranks third, William Byron (91) is fourth and Elliott (52) has the eighth-most. 

MILE-AND-A-HALF MOJO: Since the start of the 2021 season, the numbers show that races at mile-and-a-half tracks are Hendrick Motorsports vs. the field. The 14-time Cup Series champions have eight wins in that span vs. the field’s nine. However, the organization has more laps led (2,639 to 2,375) and stage wins (20 to 16) in that span than all the other teams in the series. In the only race on a 1.5-mile track this season to date (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), the team swept the top-three spots in the finishing order. 

NEXT GEN NUMBERS: In the Next Gen era (start of the 2022 season), Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at traditional 1.5-mile tracks with three. Bowman won at Las Vegas in March 2022, Larson triumphed at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October 2022 and Byron took the victory at Las Vegas in March 2023. Both Larson and Byron swept the stages in their wins as well.

OUT IN FRONT: With 1,126 laps led, Hendrick Motorsports has the most laps out front this season. Byron (579) and Larson (468) rank one-two in that statistical category. The team's total is more than double the total of the team that ranks second (477). The 1,126 circuits in front are the fifth-most ever for the organization through 11 races. Each of the years with higher occurrences: 1995 (1,497 laps led), 1996 (1,464 laps led), 2007 (1,291 laps led) and 2010 (1,173 laps led) were championship seasons for the Concord, North Carolina, based squad. 

STAGE SAVANTS: In the 2023 season, Hendrick Motorsports' series-best nine stage wins are two more than the combined total of the teams ranked second and third in this statistic. The team's stage wins have come among three of its drivers. Byron leads all drivers with six, while Larson has two and Elliott has one. In the stage racing era, this is the second-most stage wins for the organization through 11 races. Their high to this point in a season is 11 stage wins, which came in 2020. 




Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Kansas Speedway: "I always enjoy visiting Kansas Speedway to race. I’ve had some good fortune there and hope to have some again. The No. 5 team has brought fast race cars to the track almost every weekend this season and I know this weekend won’t be any different. (I’m) hoping we can turn our luck around in Kansas.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on preparing for Kansas: “Kansas (Speedway) has been a good track for us. We enjoy going there and for whatever reason we’ve been able to have some good runs over the past couple of years together. It’s a tough place, but it’s one that we enjoy and Kyle (Larson) has a good knack for. (We) are certainly going to do our homework and try to put our best foot forward for this weekend.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his first 1.5-mile start this season: "I feel like our performance on mile-and-a-half tracks last season was kind of hit or miss and this weekend is my first chance to see what kind of progress we've made. Missing Las Vegas, I think, has kind of put me behind the eight ball a little bit, but we've been working hard to prepare for Kansas (Speedway) and Hendrick Motorsports as a whole has been pretty strong on a lot of different types of tracks this year. From what I recall, we were running pretty decent there in this race last spring until I cut a tire and got stuck in the grass. Hopefully, we can have some better luck there this time."

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading to the first 1.5-mile race with Elliott this season: “It was kind of a mixed bag last year for sure. Kansas (Speedway), we were good and had a tire issue. We were strong at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and crashed. This year, I don't want to say you don't know what to expect, but yeah, it's just going to be good to go and get on the track and kind of start that process. Certainly for us, it was hard at Vegas. It was difficult with the way that all transpired. So, we don't have a great baseline and it'll be good to get with Chase (Elliott) and get in the car and race. Obviously, this season has been unconventional. We just need to run some races, start getting back in the rhythm and get an understanding of what he needs in the car. With just the little time he was out, it's evolved. Just trying to put all that stuff to work and see how it goes."

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his excitement for racing at Kansas: "The No. 24 team has really been performing well so far this season. I think last week at Dover (Motor Speedway) showed that. While we didn’t get the win, we led the most laps, scored the most points and got another playoff point. Those days are beneficial to keep momentum going. We’ve been strong at Kansas (Speedway) in the past and we’ve really improved on our immediate program. The race at Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) earlier this year shows that improvement. I think as a group, we’re really excited to get to Kansas and show that speed again."

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for Kansas: "This weekend we will be running the same tire as we did last year in the fall at Kansas (Speedway) and every mile-and-a-half since then. I feel like every time we’ve ran it, we’ve gained on it. The last mile-and-a-half we ran at was Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) earlier this year and obviously we ran really well. We’ll apply some of the notes from that race to this weekend’s race. It should be hot and slick this weekend, at least that’s how it’s currently trending. Cars will be sliding around more and using all the lanes, which is fun. Tires will definitely play a big role then and our pit crew has been awesome so far this year, so I’m excited."

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading to Kansas: "I am looking forward to going to Kansas (Speedway) this weekend. It will be our second week working with Josh Berry in the No. 48 and I am excited to get another race under our belt with him. The 1.5-mile package that Hendrick Motorsports has as an organization has been very fast this year. Looking back to Las Vegas Motor Speedway), we had a 1-2-3 finish. We are looking to utilize some of the things we learned at the intermediate tracks this year, apply those things and help speed up the learning curve for Josh in a Next Gen car. He doesn't have a lot of laps around Kansas, so our priority will be similar to how it was at Dover (Motor Speedway) where we will unload and get him as comfortable as we can as quick as we can in practice and try to get him a decent qualifying position. Overall, the No. 48 team was really strong last fall at Kansas, so we can lean on some decent notes from last year as well."



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