Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Kentucky

by Official Release On Tue, Jul. 10, 2018

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)
LOCATION: SPARTA, KENTUCKY
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 19 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, JULY 14 (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
14th in standings
18 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
4 top-five finishes
8 top-10 finishes
19 laps led

Career
95 starts
0 wins
4 pole positions
26 top-five finishes
46 top-10 finishes
937 laps led

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

NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVY: NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team for 26 NASCAR Cup Series races this year.

KENTUCKY STATS: Elliott is set to make his third Cup Series start at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. Last season, the NAPA AUTO PARTS team collected a third-place finish at the 1.5-mile speedway after starting 12th. No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson is tied for the most top-10s all-time at Kentucky by a crew chief. Elliott also has four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky, averaging a starting position of 9.2 and finishing position of 8.2. He led 20 laps and collected two top-five finishes and two top-10s at the track in the Xfinity Series.

DAYTONA REWIND: Elliott captured the pole last weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The achievement brought his career total to four poles, three of which have come at Daytona. After finishing Stage 1 of the race in fifth, Elliott was running inside the top 10 during Stage 2 when he was involved in a multiple-car incident. The resulting damage ended the No. 9 team’s day and Elliott was scored 34th.

ROVAL TESTING: Tuesday, Elliott participated in the ROVAL test at Charlotte Motor Speedway to prepare for the upcoming Sept. 30 race weekend. The ROVAL is Charlotte’s 2.28-mile, 17-turn road-course oval – the longest road-course race in NASCAR.

DARLINGTON UNVEIL: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to reveal the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS throwback scheme that he will pilot on Sept. 2 at Darlington Raceway. The unveil will take place at 6:30 p.m. ET at the Axalta Customer Experience Center on the Hendrick Motorsports campus and is open only to the media. The unveil will also be aired live on Elliott’s Facebook page.

STAGE POINTS: So far in the 2018 season, Elliott is tied with teammate Jimmie Johnson for collecting the second-most top-10 stage finishes among all Chevrolet drivers. Elliott has finished stages in the top 10 on 17 separate occasions.

TEAM JJF VISOR: Elliott will join his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in wearing a strip across his helmet visor to support the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend in Kentucky.


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

2018 Season
21st in standings
18 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
1 top-10 finish
43 laps led

Career
18 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
1 top-10 finish
43 laps led

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

LIBERTY U: This weekend, the blue and red Liberty University colors will adorn the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 10th time this season. Liberty is the majority primary partner of the No. 24 team with 13 races in 2018, with the final three races as primary scheduled for Bristol Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway. Liberty University, founded in 1971, offers more than 550 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. William Byron, a sophomore majoring in business communications, takes online classes at Liberty, which offers more than 250 programs online, although the 20-year-old driver is currently enjoying a break from college courses over the summer.

AT KENTUCKY: There are still five racetracks on the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series schedule – six including the Charlotte ROVAL – where Byron will make his first Cup start, including this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway. However, the Cup Series rookie participated in a tire test there in May and he has raced at the 1.5-mile track previously in the both NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the ARCA Racing Series. In Xfinity last season, he earned a top-10 finish in the July race, but a loose wheel forced him to pit road in the September event and he finished 18th. In the truck race the prior season, Byron started third and led 70 laps en route to his fourth of seven wins in the series in 2016. In ARCA, he qualified on the pole but had to start in the rear and was collected in an early incident. In addition to Byron’s past success at the Sparta, Kentucky, track, the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet team will be in good hands from a leadership standpoint, as crew chief Darian Grubb has the second-most wins of any active crew chief on 1.5-mile tracks with 11 total wins on the track type.

KENTUCKY APPEARANCE: As part of the enhanced race weekend schedule, Byron will visit the “Trackside Live!” stage for a question-and-answer session on Friday, July 13, from 4:40 to 5 p.m. local time. The stage will be located in the Kentucky Speedway fan midway, between Gates 16 and 17.

TEAM JJF VISOR: Byron will join his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in wearing a strip across his helmet visor to support the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend in Kentucky.

POCONO VICTORY TOUR: On Wednesday, July 11, Byron will visit Boy Scouts Camp Minsi to spend time with the scouts and members of the media, racing canoes and fishing as part of the July Pocono Raceway Victory Tour. Byron became an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement rank of the Boy Scouts of America, in 2015 while racing full time and attending high school. Media members interested in covering the event can reach out to Kevin Heaney, director of content and communications at Pocono Raceway. Fans can track Byron’s day on social media by following @poconoraceway, @TeamHendrick, @WilliamByron and @Hendrick24team.

DAYTONA RECAP: Last Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, Byron looked to have a shot at earning his first NASCAR Cup Series victory. Unfortunately, after a fourth-place finish in Stage 1 and leading 12 laps in Stage 2, he was collected in a multiple-car incident – while he was leading – that ended the night for the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team. However, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native continues to lead the rookie of the year standings and his top-10 stage finish was his seventh of the season, tying him for fourth in that category among Chevrolet drivers.

ROVAL TEST: On Tuesday, July 17, Byron is scheduled to participate in the NASCAR open test at the 2.28-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Please contact Tiffany Powers with any media requests. The test is open to the public and attendance at the “Test Fest” is free for fans.


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Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2018 Season
12th in standings
18 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
12 laps led

Career
597 starts
83 wins
35 pole positions
224 top-five finishes
347 top-10 finishes
18,675 laps led

Track Career
7 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
5 top-10 finishes
203 laps led

LAP LEADER: At Kentucky Speedway, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson leads the charge for most laps led by an active driver without a win. Johnson has led 203 circuits around the 1.5-mile track with a best finish of third. Kentucky is one of the three tracks on the Cup Series circuit where Johnson has yet to find Victory Lane, along with Chicagoland Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION PAINT SCHEME: The No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will highlight the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend during race at Kentucky Speedway by running a special paint scheme. The car was recently painted on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, North Carolina, and a time-lapse video of the process can be seen here.

HELMET OF HOPE AND COMPETITOR SUPPORT: Johnson will also wear the Helmet of Hope this weekend, which honors five charities working to improve K-12 public education. As a show of support for Johnson’s efforts to raise funds for the cause, a number of his NASCAR Cup Series competitors will join him in displaying Jimmie Johnson Foundation-branded strips on their helmet visors. At the conclusion of Saturday night’s race at Kentucky, the participating drivers – including Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman – will sign their visors, which will then be auctioned off to raise funds for the Foundation. Click here for more information.

MILE-AND-A-HALF LEADER: Johnson is the winningest driver on 1.5-mile tracks in NASCAR Cup Series history. Of his 83 career wins, 28 of them have come on that track type.

TOP-10s AT KENTUCKY: The first five times the NASCAR Cup Series raced at Kentucky Speedway, Johnson and the No. 48 team didn’t finish outside the top 10. He has also started inside the top 10 for six of his seven career starts at the venue. No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus is tied for the second-most top-10s earned by a crew chief at Kentucky all-time.

TESTING AT THE ROVAL: Johnson and the No. 48 team participated in a one-day test on Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL course in preparation for the Sept. 30 race weekend event.

FAN ZONE APPEARANCES: Johnson will appear at the Kentucky Speedway “Trackside Live!” stage Friday, July 13, at 4:20 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session with fans. No. 48 team spotter Earl Barban will appear on the same stage on Saturday, July 14, at 4 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session of his own.

SEEKING 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 Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.


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

2018 Season
15th in standings
18 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
7 top-10 finishes
66 laps led

Career
99 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
1 top-five finish
10 top-10 finishes
269 laps led

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

AXALTA: The Axalta colors will be on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. It marks the seventh time this season that Axalta’s primary colors have been on Alex Bowman’s Chevrolet and the first time that it has been the primary partner at Kentucky on the No. 88 machine.

CAREER MILESTONE: This weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Bowman will make his 100th career NASCAR Cup Series start. In his career, all 10 of the driver’s top-10s, both of his pole awards and his top-five finish have come while competing for Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 and 2018. Bowman has led a total of 269 laps in the series, with 266 of those coming while driving the No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports. The driver has completed 26,648 laps as of last weekend’s event in Daytona and is currently ranked 15th in the Cup Series standings.

BOWMAN AT KENTUCKY: Bowman has two previous NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kentucky Speedway in addition to three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track. In the Xfinity Series, the 25-year-old has one top five and two top-10 finishes, qualifying in the top 10 twice. Bowman has an average starting position of 13.0 and an average finishing position of 13.3 at the track in the Xfinity Series.

IVES AT KENTUCKY: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots three times for the No. 88 team at Kentucky. The Michigan native has two top-15 finishes at the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and has one top-10 qualifying effort in the 2015 event. In four starts as a crew chief in the Xfinity Series, Ives’ drivers led 20 laps and captured one top-five result when Chase Elliott finished fourth back in 2014. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team and captured two top-10 finishes and one pole award (2012).

CAREER NUMBERS IN 2018: Through 18 races in 2018, Bowman has earned a career-best finish on a track 12 times, including each of the last four races. He is currently on the longest top-10 streak of his career with three consecutive top-10 results. During that three-race span, he ranks fifth in points earned among all drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series. Bowman has also finished inside the top 10 in the last two events on a 1.5-mile tracks, a category into which Kentucky falls. Four of Bowman’s six top-10 stage finishes this season have come in the last five races.

DAYTONA REWIND: Bowman and the No. 88 Axalta team qualified second for the 160-lap event at Daytona International Speedway last weekend. It marked the fourth consecutive time that the No. 88 machine qualified on the front row at the speedway. Bowman battled throughout the event to finish Stage 1 in 10th and Stage 2 in third before taking the checkered flag in 10th. It marked Bowman’s third consecutive top-10 finish and his seventh of the season.

TEAM JJF VISOR: Bowman will join his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in wearing a strip across his helmet visor to support the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend in Kentucky.

SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME UNVEIL: On Friday, July 13, at 10 a.m. ET., Axalta will unveil a special paint scheme that Bowman and the No. 88 team will run later this month at Pocono Raceway. Be sure to like Axalta Racing on Facebook to see the announcement broadcasted live from Philadelphia.

VALVOLINE: Valvoline is giving race fans the chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas to meet Bowman, driver of the No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and watch him race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 16. One grand-prize winner will receive a travel voucher for airfare, hotel stay and car rental courtesy of Valvoline. The winner will also get the chance to be the honorary pit crew member for the No. 88 team, which includes premium seating, behind-the-scenes access, a meet-and-greet with Bowman and other exclusive experiences. Fans can enter here until Aug. 1.

ROVAL TEST: On Tuesday, July 17, Bowman is scheduled to participate in the NASCAR open test at the 2.28-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Please contact Kelsey Tucker with any media requests. The test is open to the public and attendance at the “Test Fest” is free for fans.


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Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KENTUCKY: In seven races at Kentucky Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has posted two poles, six top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and 216 laps led. The venue, which began hosting NASCAR’s premier series in 2011, is the only active track where Hendrick Motorsports has not produced a win in the Cup Series. The organization has finished in every position from second to 14th at the track at least once.

MILE-AND-A-HALF SUCCESS: Hendrick Motorsports has earned 57 wins on 1.5-mile tracks — the most of any organization. Joe Gibbs Racing’s 45 wins on the track type rank second. Among active crew chiefs, No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus owns the most wins on 1.5-mile tracks with 27 and No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb ranks second with 11.

‘NASCAR HEAT 3’ COVER: All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are featured on the cover of the forthcoming “NASCAR Heat 3” video game. The cover was unveiled at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7.

250 ON THE HORIZON: The next points-paying win by a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will be the organization’s milestone 250th in NASCAR Cup Series competition. With 268 Cup victories, only Petty Enterprises has more. Joe Gibbs Racing is third all-time at 154, followed by Junior Johnson and Associates with 153 wins and Roush Fenway Racing with 137.

16 MAKES 249: Sixteen different drivers have contributed to Hendrick Motorsports’ total of 249 points-paying Cup wins. Only the Wood Brothers team, which has sent 19 different drivers to Victory Lane, has more. Junior Johnson and Associates won with 13 different drivers.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: If Chase Elliott, William Byron or Alex Bowman wins at Kentucky, it will mark the ninth time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing share the all-time record, having each sent eight first-time winners to Victory Lane in Cup Series competition.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 215 pole positions, 1,036 top-five finishes and 1,762 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 what makes Kentucky unique:
“I wish I would have had a chance to race there before they paved it. I think I did race there once or twice in Xfinity before they paved it, but I wish I had a chance to race a Cup car on the old pavement. Kentucky has always been an interesting place. The groove doesn’t move around much there, so track position is always important – for us at least it has been. Unless you are superior to everyone else, it is hard to move forward just like it is everywhere else. We have actually had some decent runs there, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s one of my better places.”

William Byron on racing at Kentucky:
“Kentucky is usually very fast. It’s a repave, although the surface has worn a little over the last couple of times we’ve been there, so the grip level has started going away a bit. The biggest thing is just trying to be very smooth and not make mistake on restarts. It’s easy to get out of the groove, so you just try to make sure you don’t make a big mistake to cost yourself track position. From there, you just want to have good restarts and try to get to the bottom lane and be aggressive there. We had a tire test there, so that should help us a little bit.”

Jimmie Johnson on his Kentucky paint scheme:
“This is just amazing exposure for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend. Chani and I are so grateful to Lowe’s for allowing us to run the foundation paint scheme for the 13th time, Blue Bunny for sponsoring the Helmet of Hope program again this year, and for all those drivers participating in the visor campaign.”

Johnson on racing at Kentucky:
“Surprisingly, I’ve run a lot of laps at this track between testing and my early career in the Xfinity Series. This track has haunted me throughout my career – it’s been a tough one to figure out. Hopefully we can turn the corner from that.”

Alex Bowman on what makes Kentucky different:
“Kentucky was one of my favorite tracks before they paved it. Since they paved it, it is definitely different. I have only tested there, so I don’t really know how it’s going to race and widen out, but I’m looking forward to going there. I definitely liked it a lot before they paved it – it was just so bumpy, you could move around a lot. (Turns) 3 and 4 are real flat on entry, so it was just different. Now there is not so much of that, but it should be fun.”

Bowman on 100 career NASCAR Cup Series starts:
“It is crazy to think that it has already been 100 races! The journey to get to where I am today was rough at times, but I was able to learn and get track time with any team I was with. Being with Hendrick Motorsports now is a dream come true and I am happy that my 100th race is with them and the No. 88 team.”

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