Sunday, Oct 01

CHEVROLET NCS AT BRISTOL 2: Four Team Chevy Drivers Advance to Round of 12

     Kyle Larson capped off a strong performance in the opening round of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs – driving his No. 5 Valvoline / Camaro ZL1 to a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Team Chevy driver earned top-five finishes in all three races of the Round of 16, including a win in the opening race at Darlington Raceway.


·       With the playoff standings reset heading into the first race of the Round of 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson regained the top position of the points standings with an 11-point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin.

·       Joining Larson in the Round of 12 is his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain.   





2nd     Kyle Larson, No. 5 Valvoline / Camaro ZL1

7th      Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Gold Filters Camaro ZL1

9th      William Byron, No. 24 Relay Payments Camaro ZL1

10th    Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Scott Brand Camaro ZL1





1.        Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

2.        Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)

3.        Christopher Bell (Toyota)

4.        Chris Buescher (Ford)

5.        Ty Gibbs (Toyota)



The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 begins at Texas Motor Speedway with the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 on Sunday, September 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on the USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.



Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1

Finished: 23rd

You finished 23rd today, but more importantly, you’re onto the Round of 12. What were you battling tonight that ultimately prohibited you from getting up to the front?

“We were just too tight for our No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevy. Aside from the very first run, we were just too tight all night. We were catching up to it running the bottom, and then when we moved to the top, we were just too tight again. Just not quite enough speed for our Chevy.”



Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Camaro ZL1

Finished: 17th

“We had a fast Bass Pro Shops/Ranger Boats Chevrolet but didn’t get the chance to capitalize on it tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway. We struggled with a tight-handling condition for much of the race, but a lot of that was due to traffic. Track position is just so important. Our Chevy got pretty decent as the race went on. We just ended up too loose at the end of the race. Proud of the effort of this RCR team. On to Texas Motor Speedway.”



Kyle Larson, No. 5 Valvoline/ Camaro ZL1

Finished: 2nd

By the end of Stage One, you were able to collect points and you were a factor in the top-five all day. Runner-up finisher, how tough is that or is this a happy second-place finish?

“I’m definitely happy to finish second. The race went a lot better than I thought it would. Thankfully, the No. 1 (Ross Chastain) and the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) went a lap down – they were pitted behind me and in front of me, and had they been on the same lap as us, that would have been very difficult for all of us. So got fortunate there, which made pit stops much easier. And our No. 5 Valvoline Chevy was good, too. I feel like we had the second-best car and we finished second with it. We just didn’t have the pace that Denny (Hamlin) had. He was really, really fast and got through traffic really well. I thought maybe his balance was fading when we got to traffic, but as soon as he got clear of them, he took back off. Just didn’t quite have the balance that I needed to really charge through the corners and be aggressive on the throttle and exit. We made it better on that final run, but just not quite enough.”



Kyle Busch, No. 8 Cheddar’s / ALSCO Uniforms Camaro ZL1

Finished: 20th

“I’m glad we advanced to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs, but it just wasn't a strong showing for the No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen/Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet team tonight. We didn't have any front grip in the beginning of the run, or any rear grip in the later run. It was a struggle to go anywhere, and to make passes. I just felt mired in traffic and dirty air. Even when we had clean air, we weren't passing anybody because lap times were just so stagnant. It’s not the race we wanted, but we’ll move on at go to Texas Motor Speedway.”



William Byron, No. 24 Relay Payments Camaro ZL1

Finished: 9th

Good run tonight with a top-10 finish. What are your thoughts heading into the Round of 12?

“We’re really happy with 500 good laps here. A top-10 finish is good, but definitely wanted more. After practice, I felt like we could have a little bit more today, but I’m happy with it. I think our No. 24 Relay Payments Chevy was good tonight.”


Are there any tracks you have picked out within the next round that you have circled that you think you have a better chance of winning?

“No, I think just steadily work through them. We have a good points position. We need to try to keep getting bonus points, but we just need to keep trying to run better. Two of the three weeks (in the Round of 16) were really good, and even Kansas (Speedway) was really good. Just need to do a little bit better job executing and we should be in good shape.”



Carson Hocevar, No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Camaro ZL1

Finished: 11th

“We had a really fast No. 42 Sunseeker Chevy. It was a lot of fun. We were running fifth at one point and I think that’s where we finished in Stage Two. Our car was so fast. Luke (Lambert, crew chief) and this whole LEGACY MOTOR CLUB team has worked so hard. They were so excited to come here. This is Luke’s favorite race and it was huge to get a strong finish. We had a lot of speed; we were just too free there at the end. We wanted to get a top-10, but we were really close.”



Erik Jones, No. 43 U.S. Air Force Camaro ZL1

Finished: 24th

“Just not a very good day for the No. 43 U.S. Air Force Chevy team. We just kind of struggled on balance all weekend. We had a loose wheel that just put us a couple of laps down and we caught a yellow during that. It just didn’t cycle out very good and got kind of trapped. We’ll go onto Texas (Motor Speedway). We’ve had a good past couple of weeks. It wasn’t our day today, but we’ll hopefully rebound next weekend.”



Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Scott Brand Camaro ZL1

Finished: 10th

“We executed in the race really well, but just didn’t execute on Saturday good enough to put us starting up front and get some stage points early. That’s kind of where we’ve been lacking, I would say most of the year – just with qualifying and being able to set ourselves up for the beginning stages of the race. I’m proud of the effort and another top-10 finish. Our No. 47 Scott Brand Camaro was really fast and really good there at the end when I needed it to be. We went as far forward as we could, but it just wasn’t enough. We’ll keep learning and trying coming back better next year.”






·       For the 19th time this season, William Byron put his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 in the top-10 of the starting lineup – taking the green flag for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway from the third position.

·       After a brief delay due to light precipitation, NASCAR’s premier series finally took the green-flag for 500 laps around the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile”. Byron settled his Chevrolet into the fourth position in the opening laps – closing in on third as the leaders started to hit heavy lap traffic by the 40-lap marker.

·       Under caution for the first time this evening on lap 69, Byron reported that his Chevrolet was “tight at the three-quarter mark” as Crew Chief Rudy Fugle called the Team Chevy driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment – restarting in the 12th position.

·       Varying pit strategies throughout the field came early with the threat of incoming weather. A small group of drivers that elected to stay out during the first caution period including Team Chevy’s Corey LaJoie - giving the No. 7 NEGU Camaro ZL1 a front-row position for the restart on lap 77.

·       LaJoie went on to pace the field until another caution came out for rain. Choosing track position once again, Crew Chief Ryan Sparks kept LaJoie out when pit road opened to put LaJoie back on the front-row for the restart with 12 laps to go in Stage One. LaJoie regained the lead before ultimately taking the green-white checkered in the second position to lead Chevrolet to the end of the stage.

·       Joining LaJoie in collecting points at the end of Stage One included three Team Chevy playoff contenders: Byron (fourth), Ross Chastain (sixth) and Kyle Larson (eighth). 

4th      William Byron, No. 24 Relay Payments Camaro ZL1

6th      Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1

8th      Kyle Larson, No. 5 Valvoline Camaro ZL1





·       While under the stage break, a brief rain cell overcame the Tennessee short-track, forcing the field to bring their cars to pit road as the race was brought under red-flag conditions.

·       Getting the signal to return to competition, a handful of the top-10 finishers in the stage elected to stay out for track position including Team Chevy’s Kyle Larson after driving from the rear of the field to an eighth-place finish in Stage One. Larson chose the third position for the start of Stage Two. Quickly making gains on the top-two positions as the leaders hit lap traffic, Larson ultimately took the lead for the first time on lap 179.

·       Continuing to work traffic during a long green-flag run, Larson lost the lead on lap 200, but was able to hold onto the third position to close-out Stage Two.

·      Team Chevy Stage Two: Top-10

3rd      Kyle Larson, No. 5 Valvoline Camaro ZL1

5th      Carson Hocevar, No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Camaro ZL1

8th      William Byron, No. 24 Relay Payments Camaro ZL1

10th     Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Gold Filters Camaro ZL1 





·       Following top-10 finishes in both stages, William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team clinched a spot into the Round of 12.

·       After a third-place finish in Stage Two, Larson reported to the No. 5 Valvoline Camaro ZL1 team that he was fighting loose conditions with his Chevrolet. Crew Chief Cliff Daniels called for a pit stop for four tires, fuel and an adjustment – maintaining the third position in the race off pit road. Larson elected the outside lane of the second row for the start of the final stage.

·       Larson remained in the third position as the race continued under green-flag conditions for nearly 100 laps. Closing in on the top-two drivers, Ty Gibbs and Denny Hamlin, Larson was looking to setup a pass for the lead when a caution flew at lap 361 that nearly collected the leaders.

·       Scored in the second position, Daniels called Larson to pit road for four tires and fuel under the caution. Second off pit road, Larson opted for the inside lane of the front-row for the restart with 131 laps to go.  

·       Battling side-by-side with Hamlin on the restart, Larson got loose while entering the corner, forcing the driver to settle his Chevrolet into the second position. The Team Chevy driver maintained the position as the leaders were once again faced with lap traffic – progressively closing the gap to then-race leader Hamlin to under a one-second margin with 50 laps to go, but ultimately took the checkered flag in the runner-up position. 



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