Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Charlotte

by Official Release On Tue, Sep. 25, 2018

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (2.28-MILE ROVAL)
LOCATION: CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 29 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, SEPT. 30 (NBC/PRN/SIRIUSXM)


​ ​ ​

Chase Elliott
No. 9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 22 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2018 Season
9th in points
28 starts
1 win
1 pole position
9 top-five finishes
15 top-10 finishes
254 laps led

Career
105 starts
1 win
4 pole positions
31 top-five finishes
53 top-10 finishes
1,172 laps led

Track Career
6 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
2 top-10 finishes
115 laps led

ROAD COURSE PROWESS: Chase Elliott is set to make his seventh NASCAR Cup Series road course start this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “roval.” Earlier this season at Watkins Glen International, Elliott topped his career-best finish on a road course of fourth by collecting his first career Cup Series victory, clinching his spot in the 2018 playoffs. During his two trips to road courses this season (Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen), the 22-year-old driver started third in both and garnered one win and one top-five finish. In Elliott’s previous six road-course starts, he has collected two top-five finishes and three top-10s, averaging a starting position of 8.3 and finishing position of 10.0 (the best average road-course finish among all playoff drivers). Since 2017, Elliott has led 61 laps on road courses, the second-most laps led of any driver in that span (Martin Truex Jr. has the most laps led with 115). The driver of the No. 9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has also made six road-course starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (two apiece at Road America, Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio). He finished inside the top 10 in all six starts and collected top-five finishes in four. In the Xfinity Series, Elliott averages a starting position of 7.8 and finishing position of 5.0 at road courses. Elliott garnered victories in his only road-course starts in the NASCAR Truck Series (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 2013) and K&N Pro Series West (Sonoma Raceway, 2016).

LAST NINE: This season, Elliott tied his longest career top-10 streak, spanning six races. In the last nine races, Elliott has led 235 laps, fourth-most of any driver. He and the No. 9 team have been trending upwards in the last nine races with an average finish of 9.44 (fourth-best of all drivers in that span). Elliott’s impressive stats rank him in the top three among his competitors throughout the past nine races: his five top-five finishes are tied for second-most, his seven top-10s are tied for third-most and his 107 stage points are the most of any driver.

PLAYOFF POSITION: Heading into the Round of 16 cutoff race at the roval, Elliott is currently ranked ninth in the playoff standings, 10 points above the cutoff line and 59 points behind the leader. His consistency at Richmond Raceway with a fourth-place finish in Stage 1, Stage 2 and the race last weekend bumped him up inside the top 12 drivers. So far in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Elliott has earned 24 stage points, the third-most of any driver behind only Martin Truex Jr. (38) and Kevin Harvick (27). Since the start of the playoffs in 2017, Elliott has collected seven top-five finishes in playoff races, tied for the second-most of all drivers behind only Truex, who has 11.

GUSTAFSON AT ROAD COURSES: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 29th road course race from atop the pit box this weekend. In his previous 28 starts with five different drivers (Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Casey Mears and Kyle Busch), Gustafson has garnered one pole award, six top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and 118 laps led, collecting his first road-course win in August at Watkins Glen with Elliott.

SUNENERGY1: For the third time this season, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will adorn the hood of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. SunEnergy1 will serve as the primary sponsor for Elliott in one more race this season – Martinsville Speedway. The Mooresville, North Carolina, company was most recently on the No. 9 Chevy at Watkins Glen International, where Elliott collected a Stage 2 win and led 52 laps en route to his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

KANSAS TEST: Elliott and the No. 9 team spent Monday, Sept. 24, and Tuesday, Sept. 25, participating in NASCAR’s organizational test at Kansas Speedway. On the first day of testing, the No. 9 team posted the top lap of 186.477 mph.

HOOTERS RETURNS: On Friday, Sept. 21, Hendrick Motorsports announced that its relationship with Hooters has expanded. Hooters, the iconic American restaurant brand with a deep history in NASCAR, will be a primary sponsor of Elliott and the No. 9 team for three NASCAR Cup races each season from 2019 to 2021. The company joined Hendrick Motorsports as a two-race primary sponsor of Elliott in January 2017.

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.


​ ​ ​

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

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

Career
28 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

COMING HOME: Charlotte Motor Speedway is the home track for William Byron, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. His national series career at the 1.5-mile oval track at Charlotte includes one top-10 finish (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), while he earned finishes of 14th and 16th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and was running in the top 15 in the NASCAR Cup Series race in May before contact with the outside wall led to an early exit from the 600-mile race. Byron also earned an eighth-place finish in the Open event prior to the All-Star race in May. The 20-year-old began his racing career in Charlotte when his father took him to visit the U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina, in the summer of 2012 to learn about a way to begin racing. Byron began competing in the U.S. Legend Young Lion Division in 2013, a year in which he won nearly half of the 69 legend car events he raced across the United States. All totaled, he earned 33 victories en route to the 2013 U.S. Legend Young Lions National Championship and the 2013 Thursday Thunder Young Lions championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After enjoying success in legend cars, Byron was ready to move up to full-size cars in 2014 and he hasn’t looked back.

ROAD COURSE STATS: Since the “roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a new track that combines parts of the 1.5-mile oval with parts of the infield road course, having road racing skill will come in handy for Sunday’s race. While his road racing experience may be somewhat limited, Byron has certainly showed skill at tracks that require both left and right turns. Overall, Byron has run 10 road-course races across four different NASCAR series – Cup, Xfinity, Truck and K&N Pro – finishing inside the top 10 in all but two of those races. His best road-course finish is a third-place result in the K&N Pro Series East race at Sonoma Raceway in June of this year while running double-duty. He scored a 25th-place finish in the Cup race that same weekend. In the August Cup race at Watkins Glen International, Byron scored a top-10 finish, coming home eighth in one of his best races of the year. His average running position at the Glen was 9.62, which was his third-best of the 2018 season, behind the April Richmond race (8.65) and the June Michigan race (9.17). No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb has had his share of success on road courses as well, scoring a win at Watkins Glen in 2009. Grubb is one of just 12 active crew chiefs with at least one road-course victory.

PREP WORK: In addition to participating in the roval test on July 17, Byron has been looking for other opportunities to prepare for this weekend’s race. He has practiced on a road course in a go-kart, spent time running the roval in the Chevrolet “Driver in the Loop” simulator, and has raced the course in video games.

UNIFIRST RETURNS: UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF), a North American leader in providing customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products, will return for its third race as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The workwear provider is the primary on the No. 24 Chevy for four total races in 2018. After Charlotte, the No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet, whose paint scheme incorporates the company’s signature green and white colors, will run in one final race in 2018 at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 21. The 2018 season marks the second of an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that names UniFirst as a primary sponsor of select races and a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team through 2023. UniFirst is the official workwear provider for Hendrick Motorsports and sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States.

ROOKIE BATTLE: With just eight races remaining in the 2018 season, Byron continues to hold the lead in the battle for the NASCAR Cup Series rookie of the year title. The driver of the No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 leads the rookie standings by 114 points over Bubba Wallace. Only one rookie has ever won at a road course – Juan Pablo Montoya accomplished the feat at Sonoma Raceway in 2007, but rookies have fared well on tracks that were added to the Cup schedule for the first time. Both Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart won races as rookies at new tracks – Harvick at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001 and Stewart at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999. Two others earned top-10 finishes – Kurt Busch at Kansas Speedway in 2001 (ninth) and Jeff Green at Auto Club Speedway in 1997 (seventh).

CAROLINA TEAMMATES: In addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway serving as the home track for Byron, who was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, several other members of the No. 24 team claim the track as their home base as well, including race engineer Michael Oxendine, who hails from Lumberton; engineer Matt Piercy from Conover; and three members of the pit crew – tire carrier/jackman Eric Ludwig, who played football for Elon University, is from Burlington; jackman/tire carrier Scott Riddle, who played both football and baseball at Elon, is from Ramseur; and fueler Landon Walker, who played football at Clemson University, isfrom North Wilkesboro.

CAROLINIAN FOR #CAREOLINAS: In addition to the #CAREolinas decals that will be on all of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets again this weekend, Byron wanted to add his own message encouraging support of the Hurricane Florence relief efforts in his home state of North Carolina.

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.


​ ​ ​

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 43 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season
14th in points
28 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
29 laps led

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

Track Career
34 starts
8 wins
4 pole positions
16 top-five finishes
21 top-10 finishes
1,930 laps led

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Jimmie Johnson scored an eighth-place finish at Richmond Raceway last weekend but still enters Sunday’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway as one of the four playoff drivers facing elimination. Historically, Charlotte has been good to Johnson, as he boasts eight wins on the oval. Currently he is 14th in the playoff standings, six points below the cutoff line.

BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF N.C.: For this weekend’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte, the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will sport the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina logo along with the Susan G. Komen pink ribbon on the rear quarter panel. The entire No. 48 team will wear pink gloves for the event. Johnson will continue to wear the pink gloves in support of the cause for the entire month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

SUPPORTING FLORENCE VICTIMS: Johnson’s longtime partner Lowe’s has been heavily involved with providing assistance to victims of Hurricane Florence on the coast of North Carolina. Last week, the company organized four different events at stores in New Bern, Jacksonville and Wilmington, North Carolina, and handed out more than 3,000 hot meals and 6,000 clean-up buckets across the affected region. To donate to the American Red Cross, visit Lowes.com.

TEST AT THE ROVAL: In July, Johnson participated in the series-wide test at the 17-turn, 2.28-mile road course oval that includes portions of the infield and the high-speed oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

ICYMI; HOMESTEAD PAINT SCHEME REVEALED: On Sept. 19, Lowe’s revealed Johnson’s paint scheme for the 2018 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will feature Johnson’s paint scheme from his 2002 rookie season. Johnson found success immediately in his rookie year by winning the pole position for the season-opening Daytona 500. The No. 48 team won three times that season, scoring four poles, six top-five finishes and 21 top-10s. View the car unveil here.

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 Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

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.


​ ​ ​

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

2018 Season
11th in points
28 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
2 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
68 laps led

Career
109 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
271 laps led

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

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: After last weekend’s event in Richmond, Virginia, Alex Bowman currently sits 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings, 80 markers behind the leader. The No. 88 team currently has a five-point buffer ahead of the 13th-place competitor, which would be the first eliminated after this weekend’s race. In the playoffs this season, Bowman has captured 18 stage points, which is the sixth-most among all playoff drivers. Sunday’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway is the cutoff race for competitors to make the Round of 12.

AXALTA ON BOARD: Bowman will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend in Charlotte. Axalta will be on the car for five more races this season, including this weekend’s event on the “roval.” Earlier this season, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Axalta would be back on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2019 for 12 events. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings signed a four-year contract extension that will take the sponsorship through 2022.

TURNING LEFT AND RIGHT: In two road-course races this season, Bowman has captured one top-10 result, finishing ninth at Sonoma Raceway. The 25-year-old driver finished 14th at Watkins Glen in August after starting 22nd. Bowman captured valuable stage points in both road course events this season, finishing Stage 1 in seventh at Watkins Glen and seventh in Stage 2 in Sonoma. Earlier this season, Bowman made one start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Sonoma. The driver started seventh but finished 24th after experiencing car issues on Lap 10.

IVES AT ROAD COURSES: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots eight times at various road courses for the No. 88 team. The Michigan native has three top-10 finishes with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bowman on road courses. The crew chief’s résumé on road courses in the NASCAR Xfinity Series includes two top-five finishes and three top-10s.

WINNER AT CHARLOTTE: Last fall, Bowman captured his first national series victory during the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The driver ran two Xfinity events for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2017. Bowman led 32 laps en route to his first career NASCAR victory after starting the 200-lap event from the fourth position.

ROVAL TEST: In July, Bowman and the No. 88 team participated in a test day at the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval. Read more about the driver’s thoughts on the 17-turn road course here.

MEET BOWMAN: The driver of the No. 88 machine will sign autographs at Plan B Sales in Concord, North Carolina, from 9-10 a.m. local time on Friday, Sept. 28. Fans can visit their website for tickets to the autograph session.

BANK OF AMERICA DISPLAY: On Saturday, Sept. 29, Bowman will be at the Bank of America display in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Zone from 10 to 10:15 a.m. local time. The Tucson, Arizona, native will be on stage for a question-and-answer session and will sign autographs for fans.

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.


​ ​ ​

Hendrick Motorsports

#CAREOLINAS SUPPORT: The four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s will feature #CAREolinas decals again this weekend to help raise awareness for Hurricane Florence relief efforts across North and South Carolina. CAREolinas.com is a project by Visit North Carolina and Discover South Carolina. There, donations can be made to support disaster relief, and the purchase of a CAREolinas T-shirt results in 100 percent of the proceeds going to hurricane relief throughout the Carolinas.

PLAYOFF PROWESS: The 2018 season marks the 13th consecutive season 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 are participating 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. In the current elimination format, a Hendrick Motorsports driver has been eliminated at the conclusion of the first round only twice.

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 CHARLOTTE: Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which ranks first all-time among teams at the 1.5-mile oval. Johnson most recently won the 2017 Bank of America 500 and has an all-time record eight career victories at Charlotte. The organization has accumulated 62 top-five finishes, 100 top-10s and 5,037 laps led at Charlotte since 1984.

FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Charlotte are tied with Dover International Speedway for the organization’s second-most at a track, behind only Martinsville Speedway with 24 wins. The Charlotte victories have come via seven different drivers – Johnson (eight), Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Casey Mears and Kahne.

NEW TRACK WINNERS: Of the last eight inaugural races at new NASCAR Cup Series tracks, Hendrick Motorsports leads the way with the most wins, securing three – Gordon at Kansas Speedway in 2001, Auto Club Speedway in 1997 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994. This weekend marks the very first race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “roval.”

ROAD COURSE WARRIORS: Hendrick Motorsports leads the way for teams all-time with 16 wins on road courses. Joe Gibbs Racing ranks second with 11 road-course victories. Hendrick Motorsports also holds 17 poles, 57 top-five finishes, 101 top-10s and 1,488 laps led on road courses, all of which are the most all-time. Gordon tops the list as the driver with the most road-course wins with nine. Between visits to Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International in 2018, three Hendrick Motorsports drivers have combined for four top-10 finishes, including Elliott’s Watkins Glen win in August.

PLAYOFF STAGE POINTS: Elliott, Bowman and Johnson all rank among the top nine drivers in stage points earned during the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Elliott is third with 24 stage points, Bowman is sixth with 18 and Johnson is ninth with 10.

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 Charlotte, 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, 1,042 top-five finishes and 1,776 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 67,000 laps since 1984.


​ ​ ​

QUOTABLE /
Chase Elliott on racing to advance in the playoffs at Charlotte:
“Yeah, it’s not the ideal situation, for sure. I think that survival will be key there and hoping that you can just not crash by yourself. I mean, heck, I spun out a couple of times by myself and a lot of guys have gone off track not even racing anybody. Just lining up and getting in line and making laps and trying to be solid. I don’t know, we will see where we stack up pace-wise when we get there and then we can adjust how we want to approach the race.”

William Byron on racing at Charlotte:
“This will be a tough one. It’s going to be unusual because we’ve always run on the oval at Charlotte in the fall. The temps are going to be a little cooler than when we tested the ‘roval’ in July, so the track will be different. Hopefully, we can just survive the whole race and see what happens at the end. The road courses have been solid for us this year – we qualified in the top 10 in both and had some good results – so hopefully we can lean on those notes some. But at the same time, this is going to be a completely different beast.”

Byron on his local fan base and racing at home:
“It feels great to see the support. Anytime you get to run at Charlotte, it’s special. I’ve gotten a chance to run there three or four times in the last couple of years. It’s always good coming there. I’d like to have had some better results at the track, but eventually it will turn around. It’s good to be able to stay at home and be able to wake up in your own bed and drive to the track – it’s what I did as a kid, so it’s neat to go back to that.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Charlotte:
“The ‘roval’ is such an unknown. All I have to go on is our test session and we actually had a really good test in July, so maybe there’s a chance for us to get a win. It’s going to be exciting for the fans and could switch up the playoff picture for sure. Even though we had a solid night in Richmond, we are still on the outside looking in. We will just go there and give 100 percent and do what we can. It’s been one of those years, but we are going to go down swinging to the bitter end. Hopefully we can survive to see another round.”

Alex Bowman on the Charlotte ‘roval’:
“The Charlotte oval is one of my favorite places. I wish we were going there, but it’s something new and unique. NASCAR is always trying to make the racing better, so it’s cool to see.”

Bowman on the race being the potential wildcard:
“I think you could very easily see 10 cars or less finish. It’s definitely a big wildcard and we’ve just got to stay out of trouble.”

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

Leave a comment





Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at Store.NASCAR.com



Copyright © SpeedwayMedia.com. All rights reserved. - Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.