Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: LAS VEGAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 27 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, SEPT. 16 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)


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Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 22 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2018 Season
8th in points
26 starts
1 win
1 pole position
8 top-five finishes
14 top-10 finishes
220 laps led

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Career
103 starts
1 win
4 pole positions
30 top-five finishes
52 top-10 finishes
1,138 laps led

Track Career
3 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
1 top-10 finish
0 laps led

LET THE PLAYOFFS BEGIN: Chase Elliott secured his spot in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his win at Watkins Glen last month. The third-year driver has made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons to start his NASCAR Cup Series career. Last season, Elliott advanced all the way to the Round of 8 before narrowly being eliminated at ISM Raceway, where he finished second. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native’s 10-race 2017 playoff run featured seven top-10s, including six top-five results – four of which were runner-up finishes.

THE FIRST 26: So far this season, Elliott has collected one win, eight top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and three stage wins. He has led a total of 220 laps and averages a starting position of 11.2 and finishing position of 12.3. Eight times this season, Elliott has captured or tied his best career finish at a track – Watkins Glen (first), Richmond (second), Bristol (third), Talladega (third), Sonoma (fourth), New Hampshire (fifth), Darlington (fifth), and Indianapolis (15th). Over the last 10 races, Elliott ranks fifth among all drivers for the best average finish (11.1).

LAST SEVEN: This season, Elliott tied his longest top-10 streak of six races. In the last seven races, Elliott has led 201 laps after leading just 19 laps through the previous 19 races. He has also improved his average finish to 6.4 during that span compared to 14.42 during the first 19 races of the season. His four top-five finishes in the past seven races match his total from the first 19 races.

PREVIOUSLY AT VEGAS: During the first visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, Elliott raced inside the top 10 throughout the first two stages of the race before being collected in an incident that ultimately ended the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team’s day short of the scheduled distance. During the 2017 season, Elliott finished third at the 1.5-mile track, his career-best finish at Las Vegas.

SEE ELLIOTT IN VEGAS: On Thursday, Sept. 13, fans are invited to join playoffs media day as Elliott and the 15 other playoffs drivers answer questions and discuss the upcoming postseason. This exclusive event will be open to ticket holders for the Las Vegas Cup Series race. Access is limited to the first 200 ticket holders by bringing their race ticket to The Showroom at South Point Hotel and Casino on Thursday, Sept. 13. Event credentials will be distributed beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Visit NASCAR.com for more information. Also on Thursday, the 16 playoff drivers are scheduled to burn it down on Las Vegas Blvd. The NASCAR Burnout Blvd Fueled by Sunoco event is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. local time. Fans are welcome to view the event all along the Las Vegas Strip, including the pre-event festivities outside the Miracle Mile Shops and the burnout location at Spring Mountain, just across from the Wynn Las Vegas. Check out the burnout location here. The event will also be aired live on NBCSN for a special two-hour edition of NASCAR America beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

HOOTERS PIT PARTY: On Friday, Sept. 14, starting at 3 p.m. local time, fans age 21 and over can line up to meet the driver of the No. 9 Chevy and play him in a hand of blackjack. Elliott will meet fans beginning at 6 p.m. in the Hooters Casino. Those who win their hand of blackjack against Elliott will be entered to win Neon Garage passes to Sunday’s race among other prizes. For more information, click here.

MTJF STEERING WHEEL: Throughout the month of September, Elliott will run the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel center pad in his No. 9 machine. September is Ovarian and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is raising awareness and funding for the diseases through the steering wheel program.


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William Byron
No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver William Byron Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 20 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season
22nd in points
26 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
3 top-10 finishes
56 laps led

Career
26 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
3 top-10 finishes
56 laps led

Track Career
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

LEADING AT THE BRICKYARD: Last Monday, William Byron became the youngest NASCAR Cup Series driver to lead the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 20 years, 9 months and 12 days old. He led three laps during the 400-mile race, from Lap 102 to 104, to kick off the final segment before coming home with a 19th-place result. Byron has led a total of 56 laps at seven different tracks thus far in his rookie season.

LOOKING TO VEGAS: Byron’s first Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March of this year didn’t go exactly as he and the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team hoped as they struggled with the car’s handling early in the race. However, the team made improvements over the course of the race en route to a 27th-place result, and those detailed notes could come in handy going into this weekend as they look to improve on their finishing position. The team’s history at the track is good – Hendrick Motorsports has more wins on the West Coast (34) and on 1.5-mile tracks (57) than any other Cup team, and crew chief Darian Grubb earned one of his 17 Cup wins at the Las Vegas track. Byron also has earned solid finishes at the 1.5-mile track in the other NASCAR national series. Last year, he finished 14th in the Xfinity Series, and in 2016, he earned a fifth-place result in the Truck Series race.

ROOKIE BATTLE: Byron may not be in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, but he is involved in a battle of his own – a two-way race for rookie of the year honors. With three top-10s, an average finish of 20.7 and 56 laps led so far this season, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 leads the rookie standings by 107 points over Bubba Wallace. Speaking of rookies, a Cup rookie has never won a race at Las Vegas and only three have ever finished in the top-five, though one of those was Kyle Busch when he was driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron will have a chance to change that statistic this weekend.

FINAL NO. 24 RIDE FOR AXALTA IN 2018: Axalta returns as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This will mark the final time the bright Axalta flames, designed by motor sports artist Sam Bass, will appear on the No. 24 Chevy in 2018 as it is the last of Axalta’s 11 races as primary partner of the No. 24 this season.

VEGAS TEST: Byron and the No. 24 team participated in an organizational test with the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. The test also marked Byron’s first-ever laps on track in a Cup car up to that point. He wasted no time getting up to speed, setting the fastest lap time in the morning session on both days.

MTJF STEERING WHEEL: Throughout the month of September, Byron will run the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel center pad in his No. 24 machine. September is Ovarian and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is raising awareness and funding for the diseases through the steering wheel program.


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Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season
15th in points
26 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
8 top-10 finishes
29 laps led

Career
605 starts
83 wins
35 pole positions
224 top-five finishes
349 top-10 finishes
18,692 laps led

Track Career
17 starts
4 wins
0 pole positions
6 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
595 laps led

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to make the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs every season since its inception. This year marks Johnson’s 15th playoff berth. He leads all drivers with 29 wins in the playoffs, more than double of any other driver – Kevin Harvick is second with 12 playoff wins. Johnson has won seven titles in the 14 seasons in which the playoffs have been in place.

GOOD ODDS AT VEGAS: Johnson has the best driver rating at Las Vegas of any other active driver. Over 17 starts, Johnson has an average finish of 11th and has led 595 circuits around the 1.5-mile track in Las Vegas. Johnson also has four wins at the track, more than any other active driver.

JOHNSON ON THE 1.5-MILERS: Johnson is the Cup Series’ all-time wins leader on 1.5-mile tracks with 28. Second all-time is Johnson’s former teammate Jeff Gordon with 17 victories, followed by Tony Stewart (15), Dale Earnhardt (14) and Richard Petty (13).

LUCK ON HIS SIDE AT VEGAS: Three out of the four times Johnson has visited Victory Lane at Las Vegas (2006, 2007 and 2010), he has gone on to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship.

NEXT UP, 84: Johnson’s next trip to Victory Lane will be his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win. He secured his 83rd in June 2017 to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. An 84th win would tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Johnson is currently 10 wins behind former teammate Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

BURNOUT BLVD: The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will participate in a question-and-answer session on Thursday, Sept. 13, in The Showroom at South Point Hotel and Casino between 12 and 1 p.m. local time. The first 200 fans with tickets to the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas can show their ticket at The Showroom and gain access to the Q&A session. Johnson and the 15 other playoff drivers are then set to take part in the annual burnout on the Las Vegas Strip. Fans can catch the action beginning at 2:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, Sept. 13. The route will start at the Miracle Mile Shops and end at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

MTJF STEERING WHEEL: Throughout the month of September, Johnson will run the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel center pad in his No. 48 machine. September is Ovarian and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is raising awareness and funding for the diseases through the steering wheel program.


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Alex Bowman
No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Alex Bowman Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 25 Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2018 Season
16th in points
26 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
2 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
67 laps led

Career
107 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
270 laps led

Track Career
3 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

PLAYOFFS-BOUND: At Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Alex Bowman became the eighth different driver that Hendrick Motorsports has taken to the playoffs, the most of all organizations in series history. Bowman joins two of his teammates, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, in this year’s NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. It marks the first playoff appearance of the 25-year-old driver’s career. The first round of the playoffs begins this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will conclude at Charlotte Motor Speedway later this month.

MEDIA DAY: The driver of the No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will participate in a question-and-answer session on Thursday, Sept. 13, in The Showroom at South Point Hotel and Casino between 12 and 1 p.m. local time. The first 200 fans with tickets to the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas can show their ticket at The Showroom and gain access to the Q&A session. Later Thursday afternoon, all 16 playoff drivers will show off their burnout skills on Las Vegas Blvd. Fans can view the event along the Las Vegas strip, including pre-event festivities outside the Miracle Mile Shops. For more information, click here.

BOWMAN AT VEGAS: Bowman has three previous NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas. Earlier this season, the 25-year-old qualified 20th and finished 16th, his best career finish at the track. In addition, he has run one NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track, starting 18th and finishing eighth in 2013. On 1.5-mile tracks this season, Bowman has two top-10 finishes with his best finish of ninth coming at Charlotte earlier this year.

IVES AT VEGAS: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots four times at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the No. 88 team. The Michigan native has one top-five finish and two top-10s at the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ives’ drivers have an average start of 15.5 and an average finish of 11.0 at the track. The crew chief’s resume in the NASCAR Xfinity Series includes one top-five finish and two top-10s, with his drivers completing 100 percent of the total laps. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer on the No. 48 team and was a part of three Cup Series wins at the famed track with the team.

VALVOLINE IS BACK: Valvoline Inc. – a leading worldwide supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services – extended its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports through 2022 on Jan. 30, 2018. Valvoline will be on board the No. 88 Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Official Lubricants Partner for Hendrick Motorsports also serves as an associate sponsor on the team’s full stable of Chevrolets. The No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 paint scheme was unveiled on June 14. Check it out here.

MTJF STEERING WHEEL: Throughout the month of September, Bowman will run the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel center pad in his No. 88 machine. September is Ovarian and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is raising awareness and funding for the diseases through the steering wheel program.


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Hendrick Motorsports

PLAYOFF PROWESS: The 2018 season marks the 13th consecutive in which Hendrick Motorsports has sent at least two drivers into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, the most of all organizations. Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman will participate in this year’s event. Hendrick Motorsports has placed at least three drivers in the playoffs in 11 different seasons, also the most of all teams. The organization has accumulated 41 wins during the playoffs – winning 29 percent of all playoff races – the most all-time. A Hendrick Motorsports driver has made the Championship 4 in two of the four seasons in the current format, and won the championship in seven of the 14 seasons with a playoff system.

POSTSEASON PLAYERS: Bowman became the eighth different driver that Hendrick Motorsports has taken to the playoffs, the most of all organizations in Cup Series history. He joins Elliott, Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch on the list.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT LAS VEGAS: In 21 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has earned five wins, two pole positions, 20 top-five finishes and 35 top-10s. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers at the 1.5-mile oval with four victories.

WEST COAST STRENGTH: Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams in West Coast victories – including in California, Nevada and Arizona – with a total of 34, 11 more than the next closest team, Roush Fenway Racing. Johnson – who hails from California – leads all drivers for most wins on West Coast tracks with 15.

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a NASCAR Cup Series record 57 total wins on 1.5-mile tracks, 12 more than the next closest team, Joe Gibbs Racing. Johnson also holds the record for most 1.5-mile track victories with 28 over Gordon (17), Tony Stewart (15), Dale Earnhardt (14) and Kevin Harvick (14). Hendrick Motorsports has earned at least one win on a 1.5-mile track in a record 24 consecutive seasons. With four more races on 1.5-mile tracks this year, a win would extend that streak to 25.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: With Elliott earning his first Cup Series win at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports now holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Bowman wins at Las Vegas, it will extend the record to the 10th time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 250 race victories, 215 pole positions, 1,041 top-five finishes and 1,774 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 67,000 laps since 1984.


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QUOTABLE /
Chase Elliott on beginning the playoffs:
“Looking forward to getting to Vegas this weekend – we’ve had some good runs there the last couple of years. I’m excited to get out there and kind of get the deal rolling and hope that we can get off to a good start and see where it all ends up. It’s a long 10 weeks.”

Chase Elliott on returning to Las Vegas:
“We were OK there in the spring race. I think we can go out there this time around and have a solid run. I am guessing it will be pretty similar conditions to what we had in the spring.”

William Byron on racing at Las Vegas:
“Las Vegas is one of the basic mile-and-a-half tracks for us, along the lines of Kansas and some of those. It’s a fun track. I went out there with the Truck Series a couple of years ago in September, so it’s usually hot and that throws another element into it compared to the spring race. It’ll be a really intense race because it’s the start of the playoffs, and you’ll have to be on your game for sure.”

Byron on the rookie of the year battle:
“The rookie title is one of those benchmarks you look at to evaluate your season, and it’s something to be proud of if we can get that honor this year. It’s unique and something that I’ve been able to get the last couple of years in the other series, so it would be cool to have that in all three national series (Cup, Xfinity and Truck) in consecutive years. I have a lot of things to look forward to and things I want to accomplish, but this would definitely be something to be proud of.”

Jimmie Johnson on beginning the playoffs:
“Indy really didn’t go our way, but I can say we were very well prepared for that weekend and we are working hard to be ready for Las Vegas. It’s a tight turnaround this week with the rainout. I’m very proud that I’ve made every playoff since NASCAR started them, so that’s a big honor for me. Now we just need to go and get hot at the right time. Historically, the No. 48 team has done well in this 10-week period and we have a lot of experience to fall back on. I think our experience in pressure-packed situations will hopefully help us get where we need to. If we can win at some key races and transfer; we have short tracks, we have my best track at Dover. If we can stay alive and get to Homestead, who knows what can happen down there.”

Alex Bowman on the first round of the playoffs:
“I think if we have a solid, top-10 day we will be all right. Looking at the rest of the first-round tracks, Richmond was our worst race of the year by far. So, that was really frustrating, but we were able to look at the difference to our teammates and some of our teammates ran pretty solid there. We can kind of regroup and go their direction. We know where we were off. I think that is going to be the harder race for us and then the ROVAL, not being a road course guy, it’s kind of hit or miss. At Sonoma we were really good and Watkins Glen we really struggled. It’s an interesting first round of the playoffs, and we will battle to make it through.”

Bowman on racing at Las Vegas in the spring versus September:
“We have gotten much better. Hopefully, we are stronger there than we were early in the year. That was a rough time period for all four cars and none of us really ran well that day. We have got our work cut out for us, but I think we have improved quite a bit since then.”

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