CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 13 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 6 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MAY 26 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 23 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia
4th in standings
2 pole positions
4 top-five finishes
5 top-10 finishes
357 laps led
6 pole positions
37 top-five finishes
64 top-10 finishes
1,600 laps led
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
2 top-10 finishes
115 laps led
LAST SEVEN: Over the last seven races, Chase Elliott has led a total of 357 laps – leading in six of the seven after going the first five races of the season without leading a single lap. He has started from the pole position in two of the last seven races (Bristol, Dover) and averages a starting position of 12.4 and finishing position of 7.3 during the span.
KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE: The driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has collected three straight top-five finishes (Talladega – first; Dover – fifth; Kansas – fourth). It marks the longest top-five streak of the 23-year-old driver’s NASCAR Cup Series career.
600 STATS: Elliott is set to make his fifth start in the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. In his previous four starts in the 600-mile event, he has earned one top-10 finish (May 2016). Last season, Elliott and the No. 9 team raced inside the top 10 for much of Sunday evening before eventually finishing the night in 11th.
600 MILES OF REMEMBRANCE: This weekend at Charlotte, Elliott’s windshield will bear the name of Army Sgt. Bradley Marshall as part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative. Marshall was a paratrooper and a Forward Observer Field Artilleryman. A resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, Marshall served in the Army from 1990 to 1994 and re-enlisted in 2006. He was deployed to Iraq shortly after re-enlisting. Marshall was based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, as part of the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. He passed away July 7, 2006, at the age of 37 in Kalsu, Iraq, from wounds sustained from indirect fire.
ON THE BOX: The No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team is honored to fly U.S. Coast Guard Gunner’s Mate Senior Chief Eric Lange’s American flag on the pit box for Sunday’s race. Lange also served in the U.S. Navy for five years beginning in 1990 and has been stationed in multiple locations across the United States, including Hawaii, Virginia and now Ohio. Lange will be retiring from the military in June.
SEE ELLIOTT AT CHARLOTTE: On Sunday, May 26, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Elliott will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage at 3 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session. Immediately following his appearance, he will make his way to the NASCAR Trackside Live stage for a question-and-answer session beginning at 3:15 p.m. local time.
DEW TIME OFF: In April, Mountain Dew launched its new campaign, “Dew Time Off” (D.T.O). The campaign empowers people to do more of what they love and are passionate about. On Monday, Elliott and former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. were featured in the latest MTN Dew video. The duo gave a lucky employee the day off and tried their hand at car washing. To watch the video, click here. For those wanting their own D.T.O., MTN Dew encourages fans go to Instagram or Twitter and tag @MountainDew and #DTOSweepstakes to tell the brand how they would spend their personal D.T.O. for a chance to win $1,000 towards their respective passions. MTN Dew will reward 10 grand-prize winners with the money.
MADE IN AMERICA: On Monday, Elliott partnered with UNTUCKit, one of the fastest growing retail brands in the United States, to offer a limited-edition Made in America shirt. The shirt features the No. 9 on the tail of the button-down shirt. In honor of the launch, UNTUCKit will make a donation to the VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship,” which the Chase Elliott Foundation will match and also make a separate donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Click here for more information.
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver William Byron Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 21 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
19th in standings
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
2 top-10 finishes
92 laps led
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
153 laps led
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Thursday, May 23, at 5 p.m. local time in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center.
ALL-STAR RACE ACED: Needing to race his way into the NASCAR All-Star race this past weekend, William Byron put on a show in front of his hometown crowd during the Open qualifying race, restarting seventh with two laps remaining in Stage 1. Making up four positions on the white-flag lap, Byron then made the pass from third to first coming out of Turn 4, barely edging out the competition for the Stage 1 win to lock himself into his first career All-Star Race. Lining up 16th for the illustrious race for $1 million, the driver showed speed from the start, powering his No. 24 Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 up to third by Stage 3. However, a couple of untimely cautions in the final stage forced Byron to restart in the bottom lane, losing crucial momentum. With the final restart coming with just 12 laps to go, the driver of the No. 24 car maneuvered his way from the 13th position up to ninth by the time the checkered flag flew to cap his first All-Star Race.
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY PATRIOTIC SCHEME: Returning for the third time in the 2019 season, Liberty University will be back on Byron’s No. 24 Chevy this weekend for the prestigious 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a part of NASCAR’s annual NASCAR Salutes program, the Liberty University Chevy will sport a special patriotic paint scheme to honor those who have served and continue to serve to defend our country. The special scheme includes an American flag Liberty University logo on the hood as well as stars and stripes on the front and rear quarter panels. To see Byron’s scheme for this weekend’s race, click here.
CAPTAIN MARK WEBER: As a part of the No. 24 Liberty University patriotic paint scheme for this weekend’s race, Byron’s Chevrolet will feature a tribute to U.S. Air Force Capt. Mark Weber. After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2011, Weber went on to become a Combat Rescue Officer and Team Commander of the 308th rescue squadron in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Like Byron, who is in his junior year at Liberty University, Weber was a Liberty student enrolled in its online programs. While supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, Weber’s life was taken when he was involved in a helicopter crash on March 15, 2018. Known for his Christian faith and regarded as a humble leader, courageous airman and caring friend, Weber received his M.A. in executive leadership posthumously during Liberty’s May 2018 Commencement Ceremony, attended by his family. To learn more about Weber and Liberty’s Military program, click here.
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 any as he climbed the racing ranks before ultimately making it to the top level of NASCAR as a Cup Series rookie in 2018.
CHARLOTTE STATS: Byron has four national series starts at the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, capturing the pole in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series race in 2016 before leading 25 laps and ultimately ending the night with a top-10 finish. In his two Xfinity Series starts at the track, Byron has a best qualifying effort of sixth in the fall of 2017 and has a top-15 finish coming in the spring of 2017. Last year marked his first Cup Series start at Charlotte and his first attempt at the 600-mile race, but an on-track incident ended his night early, leaving Byron looking for redemption during his sophomore attempt this weekend.
HOME TRACK FEEL: In addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway being the home track of Byron, several members of the No. 24 team also claim it as their home track including engineer Matt Piercy, from Conover, North Carolina, and interior specialist Jacob Bowman, from Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. Three members of the No. 24 pit crew also call North Carolina home: jackman Eric Ludwig, from Burlington; tire carrier Scott Riddle, from Ramseur; and fueler Landon Walker, from North Wilkesboro.
KNAUS KNOWS CHARLOTTE: Sitting on top of the box for 35 NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, crew chief Chad Knaus has eight wins at the 1.5-mile oval, including sweeping all four races in the 2004 and 2005 Cup seasons. Of his 35 starts as a Cup crew chief at Charlotte, 18 of those races have been the prestigious 600-mile race on Memorial Day weekend, and Knaus has won the crown jewel race four times.
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 43 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
16th in standings
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
68 laps led
36 pole positions
225 top-five finishes
357 top-10 finishes
18,771 laps led
4 pole positions
16 top-five finishes
21 top-10 finishes
1930 laps led
RANKING JOHNSON: There are eight drivers in NASCAR history who have three or more wins at the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip has five, Jimmie Johnson has four and Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and David Pearson all have three wins apiece. Waltrip, Kahne, Gordon and Johnson have all won the 600-mile race while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson’s 1,030 laps led in the 600 are the third-most all-time behind only NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Bobby Allison.
THE DOUBLE, OF SORTS: Before taking on the 600-mile race at Charlotte on Sunday, Johnson will pull a double duty of sorts as he will visit the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. He will be available to members of the media at 9:15 a.m. local time on Sunday in the media center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson will take in the revelry and tradition of pre-race ceremonies at the Brickyard before heading back to Charlotte. Fans can follow the driver’s social media handles for exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
JJxALO CAR SWAP DROP: Jimmie Johnson Racing released several “JJxALO Car Swap in Bahrain” videos on Johnson’s YouTube channels this week. The series of videos can be seen here.
CROWN JEWEL: The 600-mile race at Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend is considered one of the crown jewels in the sport of NASCAR along with the Daytona 500, Southern 500 at Darlington and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson, who has won 12 of the crown jewel races, is one of four drivers who have won each of them in the modern era along with Gordon, Earnhardt and Kevin Harvick.
IMPRESSIVE AT CHARLOTTE: Johnson’s statistics at Charlotte Motor Speedway include eight career points wins at the track (four in the 600) and four All-Star wins – both of which are the most all-time. Johnson has led in 26 of his 34 starts at the 1.5-mile track, which sits less than two miles from Hendrick Motorsports’ headquarters, for a total of 1,930 laps – the second-most all-time behind Allison.
1.5-MILERS: Johnson is tied with Gordon for the most top-five finishes all-time on 1.5-mile tracks with 74. With 113 top-10s on the track length, he is just one top-10 finish behind Gordon’s 114, which are the most all-time.
SALUTE TO SGT. DONLAN: Johnson will race a military-themed camouflage paint scheme or the 600-mile event at Charlotte this Sunday. Army Sgt. Richard Donlan, a native of Hampton, Virginia, who died in combat during the Vietnam War, will replace Johnson’s name on the windshield of the No. 48 Ally Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The initiative is part of the NASCAR Salutes program designed to honor fallen soldiers during the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte. 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.
CAMO WHEEL: In addition to the camo-themed paint scheme, Johnson will also race an all-camo steering wheel designed by Max Papis Innovations.
No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Alex Bowman Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 26 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
12th in standings
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
3 top-10 finishes
86 laps led
2 pole positions
6 top-five finishes
17 top-10 finishes
360 laps led
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
1 top-10 finish
0 laps led
FAN VOTE WINNER: Following last Saturday’s Open race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon radioed to Alex Bowman from the FOX Sports 1 booth that the Tucson, Arizona, native was the winner of the NASCAR All-Star fan vote and would race in the All-Star Race that evening. The 26-year-old took to Twitter to thank the fans for voting the No. 88 team into the race for $1 million.
ALL-STAR REWIND: Bowman crossed the line eighth in last Saturday night’s All-Star Race. The 26-year-old driver rolled off the grid in 19th for the event. At the conclusion of Stage 1, he had advanced nine spots to finish 10th. On Lap 43 of the race, Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 made contact with the outside wall, but the driver remained on track. At the end of Stage 2, Bowman came to pit road for four tires, fuel and for the No. 88 team to make repairs to the right side of the car. The Arizona native raced his way from the back to finish the third stage in the 14th position, while reporting that his car was loose. At the start of the final stage Bowman was in the top 15 and at the conclusion of the 88-lap event, he finished eighth. It was Bowman’s first top-10 finish in the All-Star event.
SPECIAL NAME ON BOARD: This weekend, Bowman and the No. 88 team will have a special name on board the Nationwide Camaro ZL1. Chief Petty Officer Jon “J.T.” Tumilson will adorn the hood and ride above the passenger side door this weekend’s race. Tumilson, a native of Rockford, Iowa, was a Navy Seal. He and 29 other American Soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, when the helicopter they were traveling in was shot down. It was one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in the decade-old deployment in Afghanistan. In addition to Tumilson’s name on board, Nationwide has featured 30 stars and one paw print in the scheme to represent the 30 soldiers and military K-9 who died in Extortion 17. Tumilson’s two sisters, Joy McKeekan and Kristie Vieira, visited Hendrick Motorsports, where they selected the paint scheme that would honor their brother during the 400-lap race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this Memorial Day weekend.
WELCOME BACK, NATIONWIDE: The primary blue-and-white colors of Nationwide will be featured on the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 20 NASCAR Cup Series events in 2019. Nationwide will adorn the hood of Bowman’s Chevrolet for this weekend’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but with a new look. This weekend’s scheme will feature a patriotic design seen here and will carry Tumilson’s name on board. Last August, Hendrick Motorsports and Nationwide extended their primary partnership with Bowman and the No. 88 team for an additional two years beginning in 2019.
BOWMAN AT CHARLOTTE: Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be Bowman’s seventh start at the 1.5-mile track. Last spring, Bowman and the No. 88 Nationwide team finished ninth after qualifying 27th for the 400-lap event. It was the driver’s best finish in a spring race at the track. Bowman has also competed in four events at Charlotte in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including capturing his first career national series victory in 2017 after starting fourth. The Tucson, Arizona, native led 32 laps at the track in the Xfinity series and completed 100 percent of the total laps within those four starts.
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 is the first time a driver has finished second three times in a row before capturing his first win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
IVES AT CHARLOTTE: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots seven times for the No. 88 team at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The crew chief’s resume includes one top-five finish and three top-10 results. Last year, Ives led the No. 88 team to a ninth-place finish in the 600-mile event. The Michigan native was a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for four events at Charlotte across two years for JR Motorsports. In 2014, Ives led driver Chase Elliott to the pole position in the fall event and the team led a total of 66 laps to finish eighth. Ives has two top-10 finishes in the series and his drivers led a total of 94 laps. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team between 2006 and 2012. During that time, the team captured seven top-10 finishes and two pole awards in addition to winning the 2009 fall event after starting from the pole.
HOMETOWN TRACK: Two members of the No. 88 team call Charlotte Motor Speedway their home track. Scott Denton, backup hauler driver for the No. 88 team, grew up in Belmont, North Carolina, and attended his first NASCAR race at the 1.5-mile track back in 1988. No. 88 team jackman Dustin Lineback grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and went to East Carolina University from 2007 until 2011. While at ECU, Lineback played football for the Pirates while receiving his Bachelor of Science degree. Learn more about Lineback here.
MEET BOWMAN: On Sunday, May 26, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bowman will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage at 2:45 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session and autographs.
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 June 30, 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.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS GAMING CLUB: The eNASCAR Heat Pro League season officially kicks off this Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club drivers Sam Morris and Nick Jobes will begin their quest for the inaugural league title. The Xbox One race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the PlayStation 4 race kicking off at 4 p.m. ET. Fans can tune in starting at 3 p.m. ET for pre-race coverage. All the action will be streamed live on NASCAR’s Facebook page and 704Games’ Twitch channel.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT CHARLOTTE: Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including 11 wins in the 600-mile race at the track, which ranks first all-time among teams. Jimmie Johnson has an all-time record eight career victories at Charlotte. The organization has 62 top-five finishes and 100 top-10s and has led 5,037 laps at the track since 1984.
FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Charlotte are the organization’s third-most at a single track behind Martinsville Speedway (24) and Dover International Raceway (20). The Charlotte victories have come via seven different drivers – Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Casey Mears and Kasey Kahne. The seven different winners are tied for the most all-time at a single track.
600-MILE WARRIORS: Hendrick Motorsports leads the way for all teams in the 600-mile event at Charlotte with 11 wins, and the victories have come via a record five different drivers. Two drivers from the organization have scored their first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Charlotte: Jeff Gordon (1994) and Casey Mears (2007).
TOP-FIVE STREAK: Hendrick Motorsports had two cars finish in the top five in each of the past three races, which is the longest active streak by a team. The last time it held a similar three-race streak was April 2016 at Texas, Bristol and Richmond. Hendrick Motorsports most recently put together a streak of four consecutive races with two cars finishing in the top five in spring 2009 at Bristol, Martinsville, Texas and ISM Raceway. In the past two races, the organization leads all teams with six top-10 finishes.
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.
Chase Elliott on support for troops:
“I think a lot of times we hear stories of men and women who are serving overseas and they have a chance to watch the races. If that’s providing entertainment for them in a way to check out from what they have going on and get their current situation off their minds while enjoying a race or a football game or baseball game of whatever it is, I think it’s great. I feel like they’ve embraced us a lot and have shown a lot of support to us even from overseas, the very least we could do is show the appreciation that we do. At the end of the day, what we do is never enough. I always look forward to the 600.”
William Byron on the 600-mile race:
“I’ve only started the 600 once and unfortunately wasn’t able to finish the full 600 miles due to an incident. Even still, I think it’s a true test of your fitness level and mental capacity as a driver, not just for the heat but the endurance it takes. Team-wise there was a stretch for few years that it was easier to make it 600 miles, but now with the performance as critical as it is, I think the cars are pushed more and the engines are pushed more, making it harder to go the full distance. I think this race really is a test of everything you have as the sport just gets more and more competitive.”
Jimmie Johnson on the 600-mile race:
“I would rather win the 600 than the All-Star Race. That event means so much to so many, and I have had the honor of winning it four times in my career. I’d like for nothing more than to take Sgt. Donlan to Victory Lane. I’m looking forward to the Indy 500 as well – I haven’t been able to see one of those races since the early ’90s, so the schedule worked out perfectly to take advantage of this opportunity. The 600 is a long race. You have to set up your car with some flexibility to go from day to night. Everyone’s working hard and has one common goal – to get this No. 48 car back to Victory Lane.”
Alex Bowman on this weekend’s paint scheme:
“This weekend’s Nationwide paint scheme is very special. Having J.T. on board and being able to honor the American soldiers and K-9 that lost their lives in 2011 is extremely special and humbling. Everything that Nationwide does with these special patriotic schemes is amazing. Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time to honor these heroes and our whole team is very honored to carry J.T.’s name on board our Camaro ZL1.”
Bowman on being voted into the All-Star Race:
“Thank you to the fans who voted for myself and the No. 88 team to get into the All-Star Race last weekend. We definitely struggled in parts of the Open and All-Star Race but was happy to get a top-10 out of it. Just can’t thank the fans enough.”
Bowman on the 600-mile race:
“Driving 600 miles on Sunday will be tough in this heat, but I don’t think it is the most physically demanding. I have said it before, but I think Dover is the most physically challenging event that we have. Sunday will be long and hot, but this 88 team can get it done. We have momentum from the past three races on our side and I know the guys back at the shop have been working endless hours on these cars. Hopefully we unload pretty decent on Thursday and can get a good starting spot that night for Sunday’s race.”