Friday, Sep 22

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Darlington



Age: 31 (July 31, 1992)


Hometown: Elk Grove, California


Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels


Standings: 6th

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No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


REGULAR SEASON RUNDOWN: During the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Kyle Larson won two points-paying races (Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway) and the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Through 26 races, he leads the series in both top-five finishes (10) and average starting position (9.62). Larson also has 12 top-10 finishes, three stage wins, led the third-most laps (624) and run the fourth-most laps in the top five (2,184) and top 10 (3,523). In addition, he ranks as the second-best driver on restarts (per data from Racing Insights) and has the fifth-best average running position (12.432). 

PLAYOFFS BEGIN: For the third straight season, Larson and the No. 5 team are in the playoffs. This also marks the seventh postseason appearance for the 31-year-old driver. Larson enters the 2023 playoffs seeded sixth at 2,017 points, 10 points above the elimination line to reach the Round of 12. In 2021, he was crowned the Cup Series champion at Phoenix Raceway. In past playoffs, Larson reached the Round of 8 (2019), Round of 12 (2017, 2018 and 2022) and Round of 16 (2016). This year, he is on the hunt to become a multi-time Cup champion and his numbers at the six playoff tracks previously visited this season are strong. In those races, Larson has earned the second-most points (221), trailing only teammate William Byron (261). 

DUE IN DARLINGTON: Darlington Raceway has the nickname “Too Tough To Tame” for its unique egg shape, differentiating racing surface and preferred racing line that runs close to the track’s retaining wall. Larson’s three Cup Series runner-up finishes without a win at this venue are the second-most in track history. Among all drivers (with more than two starts) at Darlington, he has the third-best average finish (10.18). With 715 laps led, Larson ranks third in circuits out front prior to a win at the 1.366-mile facility. That total of laps led is also his third-best at any track on the schedule, behind Dover Motor Speedway (899) and Bristol Motor Speedway (850). Larson’s three stage wins at Darlington are the second-most of all drivers. 

PIT CREW POWER: The No. 5 pit crew has the fifth-fastest average four-tire pit stop time for the season at 11.277 seconds. The team’s four-tire stop of 9.281 seconds on lap 93 in June's race at Nashville Superspeedway is the fourth-fastest four-tire stop of the season. Comprising the five-man pit crew are Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer). Teague returned last weekend after recovering from a knee injury.

GOOD CAUSE IN THE DESERT: On Tuesday, Larson served as a special guest of NASCAR’s Championship Ignition Luncheon in Phoenix, Arizona. The event was hosted to raise money and awareness for the Phoenix Children’s Hope Fund. Larson was part of a panel discussion with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett, NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver Nick Sanchez and ARCA Menards Series and Truck Series driver Toni Breidinger.

LOOKING FOR A NO. 17 WIN: Larson will drive the NASCAR Xfinity Series No. 17 Chevy this Saturday. In six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, Larson has one win, three top-five finishes, six top-10s and an average finish of 4.83. In May, he got the victory in one of the best finishes of the season in the No. 10 Chevy for Kaulig Racing. Last September, Larson nearly won at the 1.366-mile track in the No. 17 Chevy. He rallied from two laps down to hold the lead coming to the white flag, but last-lap contact saw him finish fifth. In his Xfinity career, Larson has 14 wins.

LABOR DAY WITH THE LAZZAROS: This Labor Day weekend, the No. 5 team is running two names on the right-side door as part of NASCAR’s Workforce Appreciation “Honorary Crew Member” program: Robert and Myles Lazzaro. Robert Lazzaro is a Master Certified Technician at Lexus of Charleston and has been with Hendrick Automotive Group for over 20 years. Myles followed suit, beginning as a technician at the same Lexus dealership until he was diagnosed with cancer. Myles just completed his final cancer treatment and the automotive group wanted to honor him and his dad. Master Technicians have achieved a level of training and experience that puts them at the top of the industry. Join 10,000+ others nationwide in working at Hendrick Automotive Group. Positions are open for all skill levels and offer tuition and training reimbursement. Individuals who are interested can apply at

VISIT HENDRICKCARS.COM: This weekend, Larson will drive the Chevrolet Camaros but you can pick up your own keys 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: 20th

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No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


OWNING IT: While Chase Elliott will not be battling for a second NASCAR Cup Series driver championship this season, he and the No. 9 team are part of the 16-car playoff field for the owner championship. The owner standings are based off the car number’s season-long performance, so this includes points earned when Josh Berry, Corey LaJoie and Jordan Taylor made their starts in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Entering the first race of the Round of 16 at Darlington Raceway, the No. 9 entry is seven points below the elimination line to advance to the Round of 12. 

DARLINGTON DATA: Sunday marks Elliott’s 14th start at Darlington in the Cup Series. In his previous 13 races at the 1.366-mile oval, he has collected four top-five finishes, six top-10s and led 151 laps. His best finish of third came in the series’ most recent event at the South Carolina track in May. Outside of the Cup Series, the five-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award winner has made three Darlington starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning a win at the track during his rookie season in 2014.

SIMILAR TRACK STATS: In 54 Cup starts on tracks measuring 1 to 1.366 miles in length (Darlington, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway), Elliott has four wins. His first came at Dover in 2018 and was followed by his championship-winning performance at Phoenix in 2020. His two most recent victories on a track in this length range came last season at Dover and Nashville. Accompanying his four wins are 22 top-five finishes, 28 top-10s and 1,246 laps led across those starts on this track type.

BUILDING BACK MOMENTUM: Elliott and his No. 9 crew are hitting their stride in the latter part of the season. In the last three races, Elliott leads the series with two top-five results – placing second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and fourth last weekend at Daytona International Speedway – and has the fourth-most points earned (95). Teammate William Byron has earned the most points (117) in that three-race stretch. 

AG IN SC: On Sunday, No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is set to call his 24th Darlington race in the Cup Series. In his previous 23 starts at the track with five different drivers (Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Elliott and NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin), Gustafson has accumulated one win (2009 with Martin), six top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and 222 laps led. 

THE CREW: The No. 9 pit crew currently holds the ninth-fastest average four-tire pit stop time (11.462 seconds) and had the fastest four-tire pit stop of the race earlier this season at the Chicago Street Course (11.877 seconds). 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).

GET UP AND GO: NAPA Auto Parts is back onboard the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Darlington. The Atlanta-based company has been the primary partner for 11 of Elliott’s 13 Cup Series starts at the track “Too Tough to Tame,” as well as adorning his Chevrolet for his 2014 Xfinity Series victory there. Get a look at all the angles of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet here

WORKFORCE HONOREE: This weekend, as part of NASCAR’s Labor Day Workforce Appreciation initiative, Elliott, the No. 9 team and NAPA Auto Parts will honor Preston Hartsog, owner of Preston’s Automotive Repair in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Hartsog opened Preston’s Automotive Repair in 2017 and is a top NAPA AutoCare dealer, consistently increasing his annual sales. Hartsog’s name will replace Elliott’s above the passenger side of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet at Darlington. 




Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)


Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle


Standings: 1st

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No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media at the Darlington Raceway media center on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 11:45 a.m. local time.

: Darlington Raceway marks the first race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. With the points reset after the regular-season finale, William Byron is currently the top seed with 36 playoff points and sits 29 points above the elimination line to reach the Round of 12. This year, Byron leads the series in wins (five), stage wins (eight) and laps run in the top five (2,789). His series-leading 877 laps led are also a single-season career-best for the 25-year-old driver. Byron’s nine top-five finishes are tied for the second-most in the sport’s top division. In addition, he ranks third in average running position (10.468), top-10 finishes (13) and laps run in the top 10 (3,744), respectively. Byron’s five victories in the No. 24 this season are tied for the eighth-most wins in a single season by the iconic car number.

CHAMPION-LIKE STATS: Making his fifth consecutive Cup Series playoff appearance, Byron looks poised to make a run for the 2023 title. Among his nine total wins at the top level, five have come at tracks in the playoffs, including each of the final four races. In fact, six of the upcoming 10 tracks have already hosted events this season and Byron has won at three of them (Darlington, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway). He also leads all drivers in points earned (261) in those six races by 40 markers over teammate Kyle Larson. Breaking it down further, there are four traditional 1.5-mile tracks in the run to the season finale and Byron leads all drivers in points earned (149) on that length of track in 2023. And with only one road course left, Byron is the most recent winner on left-and-right turn tracks and leads all playoff drivers in laps led (80) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. 

NEXT GEN DUO: Since the introduction of the Next Gen Cup Series car in 2022, Byron and Rudy Fugle have collected seven wins together. Not only is that the most by a driver but it is also the most by a crew chief in the same time period. 

SIMILAR IN SIZE: Sunday’s race at Darlington will mark Byron’s 42nd start on tracks 1 to 1.366 miles in length (Darlington, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix and WWT Raceway). In his previous 41 starts, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has collected one pole award, two wins, eight top-five finishes, 17 top-10s with 440 laps led. 

DARLINGTON DEETS: With 10 previous Cup Series starts at Darlington, Byron is looking to continue his success at the venue. Earlier this year, he took home the victory at “The Lady in Black,” after starting fourth and leading seven laps. In the last six races at the South Carolina track, Byron has only finished outside the top 10 twice, with the driver of the No. 24 poised for good finishes before misfortune struck. In the three Next Gen races (since 2022) at Darlington, he has collected the most points (136), 19 more than the next highest point total by a driver. 

THE FUGLE FILES: The playoff opener marks the sixth trip to Darlington for crew chief Fugle at the top level of NASCAR. In his past five Cup Series starts, Fugle and the No. 24 team have collected one win, two top-five finishes, three top-10s and 81 laps led. Prior to his Cup Series career, Fugle had only three previous starts at Darlington – two in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 26 races in the 2023 season, the No. 24 pit crew remains in the top spot with the fastest average four-tire pit stop time of 11.127 seconds. The No. 24 pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler). 

LIBERTY U IS BACK: For Sunday’s race, Byron will sport his Liberty University paint scheme. Featuring a white base with navy flames and red accents, the Liberty University No. 24 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 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. See every angle of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevy here

WORKFORCE APPRECIATION: Over the passenger side window of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend will be the name Steve Manwarren. He is the Project Manager for Design Renovations at Liberty University and he is being honored during Darlington’s Workforce Appreciation event. Described as a very positive force, Manwarren has been at the university for 10 years and is willing to take on projects that require a lot of work, dedication, and attention to detail. 

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE OF MIND: While the fueler on the No. 24 team hails from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Walker also has significant ties to the southernmost Carolina state, having played football at Clemson University. The former college offensive tackle earned a scholarship to Clemson in 2007 after being named an All-American offensive lineman in his hometown at East Wilkes High School. While playing at Clemson, Walker recorded 3,131 snaps with 49 starts at tackle over four seasons. In 2011, Walker was named team captain, the same season Clemson went on to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The college football standout was then recruited by Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 and earned a position as the starting fueler for the former No. 5 (now No. 24) team in 2015.


48 Alex Bowman


Age: 30 (April 25, 1993)


Hometown: Tucson, Arizona


Resides: Concord, North Carolina


Crew Chief: Blake Harris


Standings: 19th

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


BEACH BATTLE: Last Saturday, Alex Bowman contended for a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in the regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway. Needing a win to reach the postseason, he finished sixth for his eighth top-10 finish of the year. While Bowman missed the playoffs for the first time in his career with Hendrick Motorsports, he garnered his second-best result at the “World Center of Racing.”

PURPLE IS THE NEW BLACK: This Sunday, Bowman will head to Darlington Raceway, making his 12th start at “The Lady in Black.” This will be his first start this season at the 1.366-mile venue as he missed the first race at Darlington with a back injury. In his last appearance at the South Carolina track, Bowman took home a top-10 result in the 2022 playoff race. His best result at this track came in May 2020, with a runner-up finish in NASCAR’s return to racing following a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SHOT CALLER: Crew chief Blake Harris has been successful at the track "Too Tough to Tame." In two of his three Cup Series starts atop the pit box at the egg-shaped venue, Harris' driver earned top-10 results. He has also been part of three wins at the venue as a team member, including Regan Smith’s 2011 victory, which was the first victory for Furniture Row Racing. This Sunday will mark Bowman and Harris’ first start together at Darlington.

RESTART ME UP: Bowman is tied as the fifth-best driver on restarts in 2023, according to data from Racing Insights. That mark is the second-best among the Hendrick Motorsports quartet, as teammate Kyle Larson is second in this statistical category.

OUR BEST ALLY: This weekend, the No. 48 Ally Chevy will carry the name of a top-performing employee at Ally as part of NASCAR’s Workforce Appreciation initiative at Darlington. Rob Kirkland, general manager of a car dealership in Lillington, North Carolina, was selected by his teammates at Ally after 12 years of service with the dealership. Kirkland, a 43-year NASCAR fan, is a proud father of three and is also very active in his local community.

SAVE THEM ALL: Bowman and primary partner Ally are teaming up this year to bring back the Best Friends Animal Society donation effort. This week, the duo will make charitable contributions to Lost Mittens Rescue, which serves the local community in Sumter, South Carolina. Bowman and Ally will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and Lost Mittens Rescue. Ally will increase its donation to $10,000 if the No. 48 team wins. 

GAME CHANGER: Bowman has been nominated for the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Pocono Spirit Award for the third quarter thanks to his continued support of the Best Friends Animal Society. He also overcame a fractured vertebra in April and returned to the track after missing four weeks. Bowman and Ally have teamed up to donate over $500,000 since the inception of the donation program in 2021, with the goal to help Best Friends end kill shelters by 2025. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is given quarterly, with an overall winner chosen at the end of the year. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. The last Hendrick Motorsports driver to receive the overall award was Jeff Gordon in 2011.




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CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is just two points-paying victories away from its milestone 300th win in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 298, which is the most Cup Series wins by any team. With seven points-paying victories in 2023, the team has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series while maintaining a streak of at least two per season for the past 30 years. The organization has gone to victory lane at more racetracks (31) than any other active team. 

MILESTONE MOMENTS ON THE HORIZON: Hendrick Motorsports engines have recorded 499 NASCAR national series victories and need just one more to reach 500. With 245 pole awards, the team is just five away from 250 at the Cup level.

PLAYOFF LOWDOWN: The 2023 season marks the 20th year with playoffs in NASCAR. Including this year, Hendrick Motorsports has had at least two drivers compete in the postseason in 18 straight seasons and in 19 of the 20 postseason years. Both marks are the most of all teams. William Byron (five wins) and Kyle Larson (two wins) are in the 16-driver field. In addition, the Nos. 5, 9 and 24 teams will battle for the owner championship. 

CHAMPIONSHIP COUNT: The Rick Hendrick-owned team has a series-best 14 Cup Series championships. NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2024 inductee Jimmie Johnson accounts for half of those with seven (2006-10, 2013 and 2016). NASCAR Hall of Famer and team vice chairman Jeff Gordon racked up four titles (1995, 1997-98 and 2001). NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte (1996), Chase Elliott (2020) and Larson (2021) each have one championship for the team. Nine of those titles have come in the playoff era (2004-present). 

RECORD SETTERS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted a series-best 55 wins in the playoffs. Johnson has the most with 29 victories. Among the current driver lineup, Elliott tops the board with seven wins, followed by Larson with six and Alex Bowman has one. 

ON TOP AT DARLINGTON: The company’s 15 Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway are the most all-time by a team. Gordon's seven wins account for nearly half of the total. Johnson posted three wins at the 1.366-mile track, including the organization's 200th Cup Series win in 2012. Byron, Labonte, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond and Ricky Rudd each tallied one trip to victory lane for the team at the track "Too Tough to Tame." On 11 occasions, Hendrick Motorsports has won the Southern 500. 

SPRING REWIND: In this year's spring race at Darlington, Byron won to notch the 100th victory for the iconic No. 24, while Elliott finished third. Larson was battling for the lead with less than 15 laps to go in regulation before contact with another competitor took him out of contention. Bowman missed this race due to injury. 

NEXT GEN NUMBERS: With 18 wins in the Next Gen era (2022-present), Hendrick Motorsports tops the board for victories with this car. Byron's seven wins are the most among all drivers, while Larson and Elliott are in a three-way tie for second with five victories.

XFINITY RIDES AGAIN: Hendrick Motorsports will make its fifth start of the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season with Kyle Larson at the wheel for Saturday's race at Darlington. Greg Ives will serve as the team's crew chief. The team's previous four Xfinity starts this season have resulted in finishes of second (Byron at Circuit of The Americas), third (Larson at Sonoma Raceway and Chase Elliott at Pocono Raceway) and ninth (Bowman at Watkins Glen International). The organization has one championship and 26 wins in the series, with Tony Stewart recording the last victory to date at Daytona International Speedway in 2009. 

EDGE OF SEVENTEEN: For the Xfinity races, the Chevrolet Camaro will sport the No. 17 with sponsorship from The No. 17 carries special significance to the Hendrick Motorsports family as it is the same number Ricky Hendrick drove and won with in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. That number has won 39 times in Xfinity Series history, and two of the four drivers to win in it – Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte – would go on to win in the Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports.




Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Darlington Raceway: "Darlington (Raceway) is a great track for us. I've ran really well there, basically my whole career, but just haven't gotten the win yet in the (NASCAR) Cup Series. Hopefully, this weekend is a little bit different and we can put together a solid 500 miles to get that first win at the track 'Too Tough to Tame.'"

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the team's outlook heading into the playoffs: "Our goal for this weekend is to get our momentum going in the right direction. All year long we’ve had competitive cars and for one reason or another, we’ve had things that just haven’t always lucked out for us. We’ve made some mistakes as a team that I think we’ve learned from and improved on. We’ve been battle-tested. There’s been a lot of battles that we’ve had to fight from issues on track to issues mechanically and things just not going our way that we’ve had to recover from. Now is the time to put all that experience and all of that knowledge into play. I think we can. The team is in a really good spot going into the next 10 weeks. Now we just need to go out there, prove it to ourselves and have a solid day as a team. Hopefully, we’ll come out of Darlington (Raceway) with some momentum that we can use to get us kicked off for the playoffs."

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing for the owner title: "I'm glad the car got in. That's a big deal and a testament to Alan (Gustafson) and our team for just continuing to fight while I was gone. There is a lot of opportunity on that side of things, and it is a really big deal. I would like to go and make some noise on that front."

Elliott on learnings from previous playoffs: "The sample sets for the rounds are very short. It can work one of two ways, right? You have a bad race and very little time to make it back up, but also with it only being three races, it is not over until the end of that round is over. A lot can change in one race, a lot can change in one half of an event and a lot can change within the opening two stages. Three races is just a compact time period in the grand scheme of the season. I'm always reminded every year that there is something crazy that happens. It comes down to the last race and somebody that you thought would never make it through the round, somehow makes it through the round. Just goes to show you that things can change quickly."

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on preparing for this weekend's race at Darlington: "The spring race was good and I thought we had a solid car. Not as good as we wanted to have, but it's nice going back there. It's the first non-restrictor plate track we're going back to with Chase (Elliott), which is good. That's made this week feel a little different too as far as preparation goes. Because we raced it with him, we have a little bit clearer direction on what we need to improve on. So, that's really been the difference this week."

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for the No. 24 team in the playoffs: "I think we have the potential to run well at all of the tracks in the playoffs. We’ve won at some of the tracks and others we have had good runs at before. We have a good notebook built for our team for the next 10 races. I don’t think you can go into any round too overly confident though. Anything can happen in these races and it’s about executing and minimizing your mistakes. The first few races will be continuing to do what we’ve been doing and doing our best to get to round after round. We obviously want to make it to Phoenix Raceway with a chance to run for the championship, and I think we have the team to do it. You don’t want to only focus on that and make mistakes early on that take you out of contention."

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the difference between the spring and summer races at Darlington: "It was super hot the first race this year at Darlington (Raceway) and it will be this weekend. You’ll have that transition from day to night to deal with. We have our notebook from last year on what happens with the car from day to night and we’ll use that for sure to see the trends. That will be the biggest difference though. The extra laps won’t be a big factor from 400 to 500 miles. We will take it stage by stage and we know how many sets of tires we have and will use them based on how the race is playing out. You’re always counting tires at Darlington, so that will be no different. It’s just a different vibe with it being the Southern 500 and it’s one everybody wants to win since it’s a crown jewel race to start the playoffs."

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his approach to the next 10 weeks: "We are going to treat the rest of the season as an opportunity. We will still show up to the track focused on winning races – that doesn’t ever stop. Our team is plenty capable every single week. Mr. Hendrick gives us all the resources we need, the team builds fast race cars, and the pit crew stays dialed in during the week, so there is no excuse for us to not go compete the same as we do every other week. Mr. Hendrick likes trophies and I want to get them for him."

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the mentality that the team has for the rest of the season: "It stings not being in the playoffs. At the same time, I think through the ups and downs of the season, we've always stayed focused on the next week. That won’t change our approach over the rest of the season. When we have executed, we have been able to be in contention. Even in the last six or seven weeks, we have had several races where we have been in the hunt and given ourselves a shot to capitalize. I don’t expect anything different and I am excited for some of these races we have coming up."

Harris on his approach to the next few races: "Alex (Bowman) and I didn’t get to race together in the spring Darlington race, so this is an important race. Not only does it give us an opportunity to get our bearings together at Darlington (Raceway), but it helps us lay out the foundation for what we will need to bring back next year as well. Then, we go to Kansas (Speedway) where he has had some really strong runs. We are just going to focus on our strengths over the next 10 races just as we would if we were in the playoffs."

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