Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: All-Star Race

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
EVENT: NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE
TUNE IN: 8 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, MAY 18 (FS1/MRN/SIRIUSXM)


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Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 23 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2019 Season
4th in standings
12 starts
1 win
2 pole positions
4 top-five finishes
5 top-10 finishes
357 laps led

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Career
125 starts
4 wins
6 pole positions
37 top-five finishes
64 top-10 finishes
1,600 laps led

All-Star Career
3 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
3 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

ALL-STAR STATS: For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Chase Elliott will head into the weekend locked into the All-Star Race. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native has three starts in the All-Star Race under his belt after receiving the fan vote to be in the big show the last three years (2016, 2017, 2018). In those three previous starts, Elliott averaged a starting position of 16.0 and finishing position of 6.0 – currently the third-best average finish all-time in the All-Star Race with a minimum of two starts.

MEET THE NO. 9 PIT CREW: The No. 9 pit crew consists of rear-tire changer Chad Avrit, 36, from El Centro, California, who is a 12-year veteran in the sport; tire carrier Jared Erspamer, 33, from Omaha, Nebraska, who attended Northwest Missouri State University and was introduced to racing by his college football coach; fueler John Gianninoto, 30, from Tucson, Arizona, who played football for UNLV and was named Academic All-MWC team (2007, 2009) and served as captain in 2010; front-tire changer Nick O’Dell, 35, from Springfield, Illinois, who is a 16-year veteran in the sport; and jackman T.J. Semke, 26, from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who was a defensive lineman for three years at the University of Kansas, earning Academic All-Big 12 Second Team Honors in two of the three years he played for the Jayhawks.

ALL-STAR AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Elliott will sign autographs for fans as part of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s All-Star weekend on Saturday, May 18, at 4:45 p.m. local time. Approximately 150 wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. ET in the Charlotte Motor Speedway midway area. Each fan who has a wristband will receive a commemorative poster.

NAPA BRAKES RETURNS: This weekend, the No. 9 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will return at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earlier this month, NAPA AUTO PARTS revealed the black-and-yellow machine on its newly relaunched Instagram account. The paint scheme coincides with NAPA AUTO PARTS’ May brakes promotion and was recently run at Dover, where Elliott started from the pole position, led a career-high 145 laps and finished fifth.

NAPA BRAKES: This weekend, Elliott’s NAPA Brakes paint scheme will promote NAPA AUTO PARTS’ brakes special that will run throughout the month of May. Customers can get up to $75 off a qualifying NAPA brake parts purchase of $250 at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores and NAPA AutoCare centers.


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William Byron
No. 24 Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver William Byron Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 21 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2019 Season
19th in standings
12 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
2 top-10 finishes
92 laps led

Career
48 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
153 laps led

All-Star Career
0 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

ALL-STAR ASPIRATIONS: As a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series last year, William Byron was not locked into the 2018 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Competing in his first Open to try to race his way in, Byron was challenged with a new rules package and limited time behind the wheel with it after weather canceled part of on-track activities last year. Lining up by points for the qualifying race, Byron fought to gain track position through the first stage, and despite running within the top five for almost the entirety of the race, came up just short of transferring to the main event and battling for his chance of winning the $1 million prize. Returning for redemption, Byron will have three chances to race his way into what would be the first All-Star Race of his career by winning any of the stages in this year’s Open.

HENDRICK AUTOGUARD IS HERE: For the first of five races in the 2019 season, Hendrick Autoguard will make its debut on Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend for Charlotte Motor Speedway’s All-Star Race. Hendrick Autoguard is a premier vehicle protection program available at Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships, which includes additional individualized maintenance products like tire and wheel protection, paintless dent repair, oil change program, mechanical repair service contract, flexible maintenance, and more. The program offers customers numerous options to get the maximum value from their vehicle with the highest level of service in the industry. All Autoguard vehicle protection programs are available as single products or value-packaged for additional savings. For more, visit the Hendrick Autoguard website.

MEET THE NO. 24 PIT CREW: Going over the wall every weekend for Byron and the No. 24 team, the No. 24 pit crew has been working alongside each other for five years – the longest of all of the Hendrick Motorsports pit crews. The crew includes front-tire changer Austin Dickey, 28, from Ashtabula, Ohio, an eight-year veteran at Hendrick Motorsports; jackman Eric Ludwig, 32, from Burlington, North Carolina, who played defensive lineman and nose tackle for Elon University; tire carrier Scott Riddle, 30, from Ramseur, North Carolina, who set multiple Southern Conference records while playing quarterback at Elon and played baseball for a season as well; rear-tire changer Johnny Roberts, 30, from Titusville, Florida, whose background is in surfing; and fueler Landon Walker, 30, from North Wilkesboro, who played offensive tackle at Clemson University setting a school record in snaps played and consecutive games.

HOME SWEET HOME: Cutting his teeth in the racing world in Charlotte, North Carolina, Byron is one of only a handful of drivers who was born and raised in the “home of NASCAR.” After visiting U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina, with his father in 2012, Byron found himself behind the wheel for the first time the next year competing in the Young Lion Division. Winning 33 of the 69 legend car events he ran across the United States in 2013, Byron went on to lock up the U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship and the Thursday Thunder Young Lion championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Progressing to the Legend Car Pro Division the next season, Byron also signed with JR Motorsports developmental program at the same time. From that point on, Byron hasn’t slowed down at all as he climbed the racing ranks before ultimately making it to the top level of NASCAR as a Cup Series rookie in 2018.

HOME TRACK FEEL: In addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway being the home track of Byron, a handful of members of the No. 24 team also claim this as their home track including engineer Matt Piercy, from Conover and interior specialist Jacob Bowman, from Pilot Mountain. Three members of the No. 24 pit crew also call North Carolina home – Ludwig, Riddle and Walker.

KNAUS’ KNACK: Having made 17 starts as a crew chief in the All-Star Race, No. 24 team crew chief Chad Knaus is looking to make it 18 when he gets to the track this weekend with Byron. In his 17 starts in the million-dollar event, Knaus has gone on to claim the top prize four times despite an ever-changing format.

CHEVY STAGE: Byron will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage on Saturday, May 18, at 3 p.m. local time at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fans can visit the Chevy stage in the midway to see the Q&A with Byron.


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Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 43 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2019 Season
16th in standings
12 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
68 laps led

Career
627 starts
83 wins
36 pole positions
225 top-five finishes
357 top-10 finishes
18,771 laps led

All-Star Career
17 starts
4 wins
1 pole position
9 top-five finishes
11 top-10 finishes
237 laps led

Jimmie Johnson will be available to members of the media on Friday, May 17, at 3:45 p.m. local time in the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

PRECURSOR TO THE 600?: Jimmie Johnson is one of seven drivers to have accomplished the feat of winning the All-Star Race and going on to win the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway the following weekend. Johnson joins the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Davey Allison and Darrell Waltrip as well as former teammate Kasey Kahne and current competitor Kurt Busch. Johnson won the 2003 All-Star Race and then backed it up with his first win in the 600 the following weekend.

FOUR ALL-STAR WINS: Johnson has won the All-Star Race a record four times, which is more than any other driver. His first win came in 2003 when the race was called “The Winston.” Johnson then took home a victory in 2006 and went back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. Johnson also has eight points-paying wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the most of all drivers.

ALLY UNVEILS 600 CAR: This week, Johnson and No. 48 team partner Ally revealed a military-themed camouflage paint scheme for the No. 48 Ally Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in tribute to Army Sgt. Richard Donlan, who died in combat during the Vietnam War. The patriotic car is part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative to honor fallen soldiers during the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson revealed the car during an event at the Hendrick Motorsports campus as 50 volunteers from Ally, the USO and the No. 48 pit crew assembled approximately 1,000 care packages and pocket-size American Flag folds for active service members. Sgt. Donlan’s nephew, Laine Donlan, who is an Ally employee and member of Ally’s veteran employee resource group, assisted Johnson in revealing the car and honoring his uncle. Click here for more.

GOOD COMPANY: There are only five drivers who have won the All-Star Race and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same year. Johnson won the event and a Cup Series championship in 2006 and 2013. He joins NASCAR Hall of Famers Gordon (2001, 1997, 1995), Earnhardt (1993, 1990, 1987), Rusty Wallace (1989) and Waltrip (1985) with the same accomplishment.

ALL EYES ON THE CREW: The No. 48 Ally crew will have the opportunity to shine during the All-Star weekend as the team will make a four-tire pit stop during qualifying on Friday evening to help set the field for the event. Members of the No. 48 crew include: tire changer Calvin Teague, from Taylorsville, North Carolina, who was a baseball pitcher at Appalachian State University; fueler Brandon Harder, an Oak Harbor, Ohio, native; tire carrier Allen Stallings, from Manteo, North Carolina, who was a linebacker who broke every major tackle record in Greensboro College football history; tire changer Tanner Andrews, from North Aurora, Illinois, who was an award-winning Greco-Roman wrestler at Northern Michigan University and competed at the U.S. Open four times; and jackman Kyle Tudor, from Augusta, Georgia, who formerly played linebacker at East Carolina University.

AUTOGRAPH SIGNING TRACK-SIDE: Johnson will sign autographs for fans as part of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s All-Star weekend on Saturday, May 18, at 4:45 p.m. local time. Approximately 150 wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. ET in the Charlotte Motor Speedway midway area. Each fan who has a wristband will receive a commemorative poster.


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Alex Bowman
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Alex Bowman Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 26 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2019 Season
12th in standings
12 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
3 top-10 finishes
86 laps led

Career
129 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
6 top-five finishes
17 top-10 finishes
360 laps led

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

KANSAS REWIND: Alex Bowman is coming off another career-best weekend after Saturday night’s race in Kansas. The Axalta team rolled off fifth for the 271-lap event under the lights and quickly had its eyes fixed up front. The 26-year-old driver finished Stage 1 in 14th after having to pit twice under caution during the stage. Following a quick stop by the Axalta pit crew, Bowman gained four spots on pit road and was set to start Stage 2 in 10th. Shortly after taking the green, the driver broke into the top five and finished the stage in the fourth position, earning valuable stage points. Once the green flag dropped for the final stage, Bowman settled into the lead position and was continuing to run first until the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski got by with 11 laps to go, putting Bowman second when he crossed the finish line at the conclusion of the event.

SO CLOSE: For the past three weekends, Bowman and the No. 88 team have crossed the finish line at the conclusion of the race in second place. It marks the first time that a driver has finished second three times in a row before capturing his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series.

BOWMAN IN ALL-STAR: Last year, Bowman and the No. 88 team won the first stage of the Open to punch their ticket for the All-Star Race later that evening. The 2018 All-Star Race was the first time that the Tucson, Arizona, native made a start in the main event. Prior to that, Bowman made two starts in the Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finishing 13th in 2014 and 27th in 2015. The 26-year-old started third in last season’s Open and took the win in Stage 1, going on to finish 21st in the main event after a late-race incident on the backstretch. This year, if he were to join the main event once again, he could become the third driver in history to win the All-Star Race before his first points race win.

IVES’ ALL-STAR EXPERIENCE: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots four times for the No. 88 team at the All-Star event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The crew chief’s All-Star Race resume includes one top-five finish and two top-10 results. Last year, Ives led the No. 88 team to a victory in Stage 1 of the Open, putting the team in the big show later that evening. Ives hails from Bark River, Michigan, where he was a race engineer for the No. 48 team for seven All-Star Races between 2006 and 2012. The team won two events during that time (2006, 2012) and started from the pole back in 2009.

HOMETOWN TRACK: Scott Denton, backup hauler driver for the No. 88 team at Hendrick Motorsports, grew up in Belmont, North Carolina, and calls Charlotte Motor Speedway his home track. Denton attended his first NASCAR race at the 1.5-mile track back in 1988. In his spare time, Denton loves anything to do with golf and working out. He has been with the organization for almost nine years.

MEET THE NO. 88 PIT CREW: The No. 88 Axalta pit crew includes tire carrier Rowdy Harrell, 28, from Moundville, Alabama, who was on the University of Alabama football team for four years and won three NCAA national championships under head coach Nick Saban; fueler Jacob Conley, 29 from Omaha, Nebraska, who attended Doane University and started all four years on the football team as the offensive right tackle; jackman/tire carrier Dustin Lineback, 30, from Greensboro, North Carolina, who was a linebacker for East Carolina University from 2007 until 2011; front-tire changer Scott Brzozowski, 39, from Sterling Heights, Michigan, who had never watched a NASCAR race until he joined the sport and was on the No. 24 over-the-wall crew before switching over to the No. 88 team in 2015; and rear-tire changer Devin DelRicco, 28, from Malboro, Maryland, who played center field in baseball at St. Mary’s Ryken and has the nickname “Rocket.”

WELCOME BACK, AXALTA: This weekend marks the fourth of 12 events in which the Axalta primary colors will adorn the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Axalta will next be on board the No. 88 machine again at Pocono in June. Last year, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Axalta signed a four-year contract extension that will take the partnership through 2022. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings unveiled a new Axalta Racing website last year that includes plenty of behind-the-scenes content, photos, and videos. Check out Bowman’s page here.

PITCH TO WIN BIG: Small Business Week ran from May 5-11 and recognized small businesses everywhere. Nationwide and BlueVine are teaming up to give away up to $100,000 to one small business to help it grow. From now until the end of June, small business owners can visit www.pitchtowinbig.com to enter for a chance to win funds to achieve their business goals. Nationwide and BlueVine will select the contest finalists, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Nationwide’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, to pitch business leaders in-person during a live “Pitch to Win” event. The winning pitch will win the $100,000 prize, with second place receiving $20,000 and third place taking home $10,000.


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Hendrick Motorsports

ALL-STAR PROS: Hendrick Motorsports has sent at least three cars to the NASCAR All-Star Race for 19 consecutive seasons (2000-2018) – the longest streak all-time. If Alex Bowman or William Byron were to win the fan vote or race their way into the main event by winning one of the three stages in the Open, that streak would increase to 20. The organization also owns all-time records for the most starts (108), different drivers to compete (21), wins (eight), top-five finishes (38), top-10s (60) and laps led (711) in the All-Star Race.

WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports’ eight wins in the All-Star Race have come courtesy of three drivers – Jimmie Johnson (four), Jeff Gordon (three) and Terry Labonte. The eight wins are double the next-closest teams. Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing are tied for second with four apiece.

OPENING STRONG: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have also won the Open prior to the All-Star Race four times, which leads teams all-time. Chip Ganassi Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing Inc. are tied for second with three apiece. Gordon, Ricky Craven, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each won an Open for Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman won Stage 1 of the Open last season in order to transfer to the All-Star Race.

ALL-STAR FAN VOTING: The organization has won the fan vote four times. and three of those victories have come in the past three years via Chase Elliott. The fourth came courtesy of Earnhardt in 2011. This year’s voting for the NASCAR All-Star Race is now open with two teammates from Hendrick Motorsports on the ballot in Byron and Bowman. Fans can cast their vote here, and votes shared on Twitter and Facebook count double.

LOOKING AHEAD: Of the next five races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule – the All-Star Race, Charlotte, Pocono, Michigan, and Sonoma – Hendrick Motorsports owns the most all-time wins at four of them. The only exception is Michigan, where the organization’s eight wins are tied for third-most. This weekend’s race at Charlotte brings a history of kicking off back-to-back wins for the organization, as Johnson (2003) and Gordon (1997) both captured an All-Star win followed by a victory in the 600-mile race at Charlotte the following weekend.

FRONT ROW MOMENTUM: Hendrick Motorsports is the only team to have swept the front row in qualifying this year, accomplishing the feat four times. That ties for the second-most front row qualifying sweeps in a single season by the organization behind its record of seven in 1986.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 253 race victories, 219 pole positions, 1,053 top-five finishes and 1,802 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 68,300 laps since 1984.


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QUOTABLE /
Chase Elliott on the All-Star Race:
“I’m very appreciative of the fan vote the past couple of years, but it’s nice to be locked in already and not have to worry about it. I think it will be exciting to go into the weekend locked in the race for the first time. I’m looking forward to being a part of the big show, for sure.”

William Byron on the All-Star Race:
“The All-Star Race is an unpredictable race, for sure. You’re racing for money and not points or positioning over the year. It creates a dynamic for you to be more willing to take greater risks. Going into that week as a driver, you look at it as a little bit less pressure than a typical race weekend. You’re racing just for the win, especially in a position like we’re in to race our way into the All-Star Race to begin with. Outside of going for the win, it’s basically just bringing the steering wheel back at the end of the day. It’s a unique dynamic for that race and I’m really hoping that this weekend I’ll get to experience my first one.”

Jimmie Johnson on the All-Star Race:
“The All-Star Race is a great event. It’s a race where all our teammates come over to the track because our shop is just over a mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Everyone can sleep in their own bed and enjoy their families while we race in Charlotte these two weeks. The All-Star Race is always exciting, and with a million dollars on the line, it’s just something to have fun with and go out and try to win.”

Alex Bowman on his Kansas result:
“We had a really good car, I just made bad decisions going through lap traffic on lane choice. They stayed where I needed to run, and I should have gone high and I shouldn’t have picked the middle like I did. It was a great day for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. We all had super competitive cars and we are seeing everyone’s hard work back at the shop come to life. The finish in Kansas definitely hurts, because, man, we could have won that race. Still a good points day, but if we could have just gotten one more spot at the end.”

Bowman on the All-Star Race:
“I think having the support of the Internet forums is pretty big when it comes to online votes from the fans. I appreciate everyone’s votes so far, but, man, I really want to race my way in first. We have been talking about how much $100,000 means with the ‘Pitch to Win Big’ campaign with Nationwide and BlueVine and their small business program, and the winner of the All-Star Race gets 10 times that amount. It would be special. I am not sure how much I do or don’t get to keep out of it, but I’ll take whatever we can get if we can make it happen.”

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