Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Texas

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: FORT WORTH, TEXAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE SEVEN OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MARCH 31 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)


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Chase Elliott
No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 23 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia


American Muscle

2019 Season
9th in standings
6 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
2 top-10 finishes
49 laps led

Career
119 starts
3 wins
4 pole positions
34 top-five finishes
61 top-10 finishes
1,292 laps led

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

1.5-MILE TRACK STATS: Chase Elliott will make his 37th start on a 1.5-mile track this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. In his previous 36 starts on the same track length, he has led 289 laps and averaged a starting position of 14.0 and finishing position of 13.8. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native scored his first 1.5-mile track win last October at Kansas Speedway. Along with that win, Elliott has collected 11 top-five finishes – two of which are runner-up results – and 20 top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks. In the last five 1.5-mile events (Kansas, Texas, Homestead, Atlanta, Las Vegas), Elliott finished outside the top 10 only once and averaged a finish of 8.4.

ELLIOTT’S LONE STAR STATE STATS: This weekend, Elliott is set to make his seventh NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway. In his previous six starts, the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has garnered two top-five finishes, five top-10s and an average finishing position of 7.2 – currently the best average finish at Texas of all time and statistically among his top four tracks (Dover, Michigan, Charlotte road course, Texas) based on average finish. In the four races since the track reconfiguration in 2017, Elliott ranks fifth among active drivers for the best average finish (8.5). Elliott collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at the 1.5-mile speedway in April 2014. In his five XFINITY Series starts there, he accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s.

KELLEY BLUE BOOK DEBUT: At Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, Elliott will pilot the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the first time this season. Kelley Blue Book is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week, the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week. Kelley Blue Book extended its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports prior to the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. In addition to Texas, Elliott will also pilot the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.

CUT TO THE CHASE: Last week, Kelley Blue Book launched its 2019 video series “Cut to the Chase” on Twitter. The first of a three-part video series features Elliott being called upon to give some car buying advice via Kelley Blue Book in a lighthearted manner.

FIRST SIX: So far in 2019, Elliott has collected one top-five finish, two top-10s and a total of 49 laps led – all last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. He averages a starting position of 11.5 and finishing position of 12.0. In the first six races of the season, the driver of the No. 9 Chevy has spent 508 laps inside the top five.

LAST WEEK AT MARTINSVILLE: Last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Elliott and the No. 9 team raced inside the top five for much of the 500-lap race and led a total of 49 laps en route to a second-place finish. The runner-up result was Elliott’s best finish of the season thus far and also the highest finish of the season for any Chevrolet driver.

SEE ELLIOTT IN TEXAS: On Sunday, March 31, Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage at Texas Motor Speedway at 11:05 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.


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

2019 Season
21st in standings
6 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
68 laps led

Career
42 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
129 laps led

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

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, March 29, at 5:15 p.m. local time in the Texas Motor Speedway media center.

HAPPY 100, WILLIAM: When the green flag drops this weekend, William Byron will hit a notable mark in his NASCAR career. The NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway will signify Byron’s 100th start across all three national series. During his NASCAR career, Byron made 24 starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, winning seven races and rookie of the year honors in 2016. Progressing to the Xfinity Series in 2017, Byron continued his success, winning four races in 33 starts as well as the series championship and rookie of the year award. Byron made the jump to the Cup level in 2018, and despite a learning curve after 42 starts, Byron has collected a Daytona 500 pole, four top-10 finishes, and was named the rookie of the year for the third consecutive season in 2018.

TEXAS TRIUMPH: This weekend, Byron will return to one of the tracks where he has had the most success in his NASCAR career – Texas Motor Speedway. With two starts in each series at the 1.5-mile speedway, Byron became the youngest-ever Truck Series winner at Texas with his win in June of 2016. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native also collected his first career Cup Series top-10 finish in last year’s spring race. In fact, Byron has finished in the top 10 in 83 percent of all his Texas starts (five out of six) and has an average finish of 3.5 in Truck, 8.0 in Xfinity and 13.0 in Cup at the track. Across all three series, Byron has led a total of 41 laps at Texas, with his lap led in the spring Cup race making him the youngest driver to lead a lap at the 1.5-mile track in the Cup Series.

AT IT AGAIN WITH AXALTA: Byron will carry the iconic Axalta flames on his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the fifth time out of 13 races in 2019. After this weekend at Texas, next weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway will round out the five-week stretch of Axalta Coating Systems being on board the No. 24 Chevy, and it will return for the spring race at Dover International Speedway.

KNAUS KNOWS: This weekend, No. 24 team crew chief Chad Knaus will call his 33rd Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway from on top of the pit box, but this will be his first at the 1.5-mile oval with Byron and the No. 24 team. In his 32 previous races, Knaus has won seven times at the “No Limits” track, with the most recent win coming in the spring race of 2017. In his career as Cup crew chief, Knaus’ seven wins at Texas Motor Speedway are his fourth-most at a track behind Dover International Speedway (11), Martinsville Speedway (nine) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (eight).

Q&A WITH BYRON: Byron will take part in a question-and-answer session with fans at the Trackside Live stage in the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Zone on Sunday, March 31, at 10:45 a.m. local time.

MARTINSVILLE MAYHEM: With a weekend filled with adversity at Martinsville Speedway, Byron tried his best to make up ground after limited track time Saturday from a flat tire in first practice and issues in technical inspection left him starting 34th for Sunday’s race. However, the weekend’s issues proved to be too much to overcome at the short track, leaving Byron with a 22nd-place finish.


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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
15th in standings
6 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
2 top-10 finishes
4 laps led

Career
621 starts
83 wins
35 pole positions
224 top-five finishes
354 top-10 finishes
18,707 laps led

Track Career
31 starts
7 wins
1 pole positions
15 top-five finishes
21 top-10 finishes
1,052 laps led

BETTER THAN AVERAGE: El Cajon, California, native Jimmie Johnson has had his fair share of success at Texas Motor Speedway. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has an average finish of 9.81 at the 1.5-mile track, which is the third-best average of all-time at the Fort Worth, Texas, venue. Johnson has contributed seven wins in the Lone Star State to the 58 wins the Hendrick Motorsports organization has won on 1.5-mile tracks all time.

WINNING WAYS: Johnson has won four of the last nine races at Texas Motor Speedway, double of any other driver during that span. His seven total wins at Texas are more than double of any other driver in the field – the combined Texas wins of the rest of the field this weekend is nine.

TEXAS STRAIGHT: Johnson won three straight races at Texas between November 2014 and November 2015 – the longest streak ever by a driver at the track. He also has posted three-race win streaks at ISM Raceway, Las Vegas and Martinsville. Johnson won four in a row at Charlotte Motor Speedway from May 2004 to October 2005.

MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE: In 31 starts at Texas, the El Cajon, California, native has the most all-time wins (seven), second-place finishes (five), top-five finishes (15), top-10s (21) and the most laps led (1,052). Texas is one of four tracks on the circuit where Johnson has led more than 1,000 laps, joining Dover (3,105), Martinsville (2,862) and Charlotte (1,930).

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

MEN’S JOURNAL FEATURE: Men’s Journal, a lifestyle publication, followed Johnson during the season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The article, which discusses Johnson’s Boston Marathon training, will hit newsstands April 1. For more, click here.


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

2019 Season
17th in standings
6 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

Career
123 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
14 top-10 finishes
274 laps led

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

WELCOME LLUMAR: Eastman Performance Films, LLC joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2018 as a primary sponsor of Alex Bowman and the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through 2020. The sponsorship features the LLumar brand of window film and paint protection film on board Bowman’s machine. The brand was on board for one primary event last season and will be on the Chevrolet for two events in 2019, starting this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. In October 2018, LLumar unveiled the new paint scheme for this season at SEMA in Las Vegas and it can be seen here.

BOWMAN IN THE LONE STAR STATE: Bowman has seven starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. His best finish of 13th came in 2016 in the No. 88 machine while he was filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The 25-year-old’s first two poles in the NASCAR Xfinity Series came at Texas in 2013, when he led seven laps in those events. Those laps led were Bowman’s first in Xfinity Series competition. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy completed 99.8 percent of total laps in those two events.

IVES IN TEXAS: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the ninth time for the No. 88 team at Texas this weekend. The Michigan native has three top-five finishes and four top-10s at the track, with a best finish of second coming in 2016 with Earnhardt. Ives’ drivers have an average finish of 13.2 at the Fort Worth, Texas, track. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of two wins, one pole award and nine top-10 finishes at Texas.

MEET BOWMAN: On Friday, March 29, Bowman will be at the LLumar display in the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Zone at 3:45 p.m. local time for an autograph session. The display features a iRacing set up that will be available to fans. Those who plan to attend will need to pick up a wristband from the LLumar display beginning at 1:15 p.m. local time. If you purchase a piece of Bowman merchandise from the Hendrick Motorsports/JR Motorsports merchandise trailer on Friday morning before 3:45 p.m. local time, you may receive a wristband to the autograph session.


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Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TEXAS: Hendrick Motorsports has earned nine wins, 37 top-five finishes, 68 top-10s, six pole positions and 2,299 laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane at the track for the organization in April 2017. The organization owns six wins in the last 13 races at Texas, the most among all teams, with Johnson winning four of the last nine.

THREE MAKE NINE: Hendrick Motorsports is tied with Roush Fenway Racing for the most Cup wins all-time at Texas. The organization’s nine victories at the track have come courtesy of three different drivers: Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte.

APPROACHING DOUBLE DIGITS: A Hendrick Motorsports victory this weekend would add to the list of venues where the organization has posted double-digit wins. In total, 13 tracks make up the list: Martinsville (24), Dover (20), Charlotte (19), Pocono (17), Atlanta (14), Darlington (14), Daytona (14), Talladega (12), Bristol (11), Indianapolis (10), Fontana (10), Richmond (10), and ISM Raceway (10). Hendrick Motorsports currently has nine wins at Texas and New Hampshire.

FINISHING STRONG: At least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 25 Texas events, which is the longest streak all-time at the track. The organization swept the top-two finishing positions at Texas on two occasions: in 2009 (Gordon and Johnson) and in 2013 (Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.).

KEY DATE: This weekend’s Cup Series race at Texas falls on March 31. The last time a Cup Series race was run on that date came in 1996, when Jeff Gordon found Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway with teammate Terry Labonte finishing second.

1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a Cup Series record 58 total wins on 1.5-mile tracks. The organization has earned at least one win on a 1.5-mile track in a record 25 consecutive seasons. Chase Elliott most recently extended that streak from 24 to 25 seasons with his Oct. 21, 2018, victory at Kansas Speedway, becoming the 10th different driver to win for the organization on a 1.5-mile track.

VICTORY LANE IN A CHEVROLET: Hendrick Motorsports is responsible for eight of Chevrolet’s last 10 wins on 1.5-mile tracks, three of which have come at Texas Motor Speedway.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for the most first-time Cup Series winners with nine. If William Byron or Alex Bowman wins at Texas, 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, 252 race victories, 216 pole positions, 1,046 top-five finishes and 1,791 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 Texas:
“Well, Texas is different track now. Since the repave, the Turn 1 and 2 end of the racetrack is very different from 3 and 4. You just have two very different corners, basically, compared to what you used to have there, so it’s a challenge. That has been the hardest part for us.”

No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson on Texas:
“Our performance hasn’t been great on one-and-a-half milers. The learning curve has been steep and we’re definitely trying to improve. We’re taking some different philosophies to Texas and we’re going to try to apply them and see if we can improve our performance.”

William Byron on his success at Texas:
“I don’t know, really, I haven’t really thought about it. I’ve just been there more than most of the other tracks we race at, probably. Our cars have been pretty good there for the most part, as well. I would say that it’s just really been luck of the draw with the race cars that I’ve had. In Trucks and Xfinity, we ran pretty well and I got a win. I would say it’s just a bit of luck that Texas just suits me. I just like that place and it seems to like me as well.”

Byron on Texas’ racing surface:
“There is a lot of grip at that racetrack, so I think with this new package that we are going to have that there is going to be a lot of grip to work with. I’m not really sure what to expect there otherwise. Honestly, I feel like it’s going to be a wild race because there is so much grip and the aero package we have.”

Jimmie Johnson on moving on to Texas:
“Martinsville was rough, there is no way around it. We are using these struggles to become stronger. I appreciate my team continuing to dig in. We all want to win. Moving on to Texas, that track is really different these days. With this package I would assume we will have some concerns with Turns 1 and 2, and have some off-throttle time and learning how to make the car turn in a tighter radius. Turns 3 and 4 are pretty aggressive and there are some bumps, so this package should make it interesting.”

Alex Bowman on how Texas is unique:
“Texas is different and unique because Turn 1 and 2 are so different since the repave. It is so weird, and you don’t even run out to the wall getting into Turn 1. The bottom is a lot shorter at the top. With the newer pavement, it is really edgy.”

Bowman on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule:
“This is quite the change. I think this will be good. My home track race will be the season finale and I think that is great for ISM Raceway. It will be interesting to see how the race shakes out in Daytona for the regular season ending. There is always the potential for a race upset at a superspeedway, so that will make things exciting.”


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