ISM RACEWAY (ONE-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: AVONDALE, ARIZONA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 35 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, NOV. 10 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)
No. 9 NAPA AutoCare Center Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 23 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia
8th in standings
4 pole positions
11 top-five finishes
15 top-10 finishes
601 laps led
8 pole positions
44 top-five finishes
74 top-10 finishes
1,844 laps led
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
156 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AutoCare Center Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 8, at 1:15 p.m. local time in the media center at ISM Raceway.
LAST CHANCE: As the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs head into the final race of the Round of 8, Chase Elliott currently sits eighth in the standings, 78 points behind the fourth-place driver. He’ll look to become the second driver in NASCAR playoffs history to enter the final race in the Round of 8 outside the top four and make it to the championship. In 2014, Kevin Harvick entered Phoenix in eighth in the playoff standings and won the race, advancing on to race for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NAPA AUTOCARE CENTER: This weekend, Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA are showing appreciation for NAPA AutoCare Centers across the country with a special No. 9 NAPA AutoCare Center scheme at ISM Raceway. The NAPA AutoCare Center logo will be prominently displayed on the hood of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the first time.
ISM RACEWAY STATS: This Sunday at ISM Raceway, Elliott will make his eighth NASCAR Cup Series start at the one-mile oval. In his previous seven starts, the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has led a total of 156 laps – 140 laps combined in 2017 and 16 laps in November 2018. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native has finished in the top three in two of his last four starts at the track and averages a finishing position of 10.1, fifth-best all-time at the venue. He has also won two stages at the Avondale, Arizona, track.
GUSTAFSON IN PHOENIX: No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 30th Cup Series race at ISM Raceway from atop the pit box this weekend. In his previous 29 races calling the shots for five different drivers at the one-mile oval, he collected three wins, nine top-five results – two of which were runner-up finishes – 19 top-10s and 587 laps led. Gustafson’s three wins are the third-most by a crew chief at ISM Raceway and came with three different drivers – Kyle Busch in 2005, Mark Martin in 2009 and Jeff Gordon in 2011). As the crew chief, he worked with the oldest winner ever (Martin – 50 years, 3 months, 9 days) and the youngest winner ever (Busch – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days) at the track.
ELLIOTT AT ISM: On Sunday, Nov. 10, Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy stage at 9:45 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.
COMING HOME: No. 9 team fueler John Gianninoto, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, will compete in front of his hometown crowd at ISM Raceway. Gianninoto graduated with honors from Catalina Foothills High School and went on to sign as an offensive lineman for UNLV in 2006, earning his first letter in 2007 and becoming a team captain in 2010. Gianninoto participated in the Carolina Panthers’ 2012 training camp before signing with Hendrick Motorsports in September 2012. Last season, he set a brand-new Guinness World Record with Sunoco for the most vehicles refueled by an individual in one hour (148).
No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver William Byron Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 21 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
10th in standings
5 pole positions
5 top-five finishes
13 top-10 finishes
233 laps led
5 pole positions
5 top-five finishes
17 top-10 finishes
294 laps led
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
1 top-10 finish
15 laps led
NICE NEW LOOK HERTZ: Returning for the fourth and final time in the 2019 season, Hertz will be on board William Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for this weekend’s race at ISM Raceway. However, the driver’s Hertz Chevy will have a different look to it from previous races this season. In conjunction with the announcement that the Hertz Corporation had extended its partnership with Byron and the No. 24 team through 2021, the driver also helped unveil a new 2020 paint scheme. Keeping the can’t-miss Hertz yellow, the No. 24 Chevy will sport black racing stripes down the middle to replicate an inverse look of the recently debuted Hertz-Hendrick Motorsports Camaros. To celebrate the line of custom Camaros hitting rental markets, including Phoenix, Byron will debut the new Hertz paint scheme for this weekend’s race. For a closer look at the new Hertz paint scheme, click here.
BRINGING THE HEAT TO THE DESERT: With six NASCAR starts at ISM Raceway across all three national series, Byron is geared up for his fourth NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at the Avondale, Arizona, venue. In his three previous Cup starts at the one-mile oval, the sophomore driver has a track-best qualifying effort of seventh that came in the spring of this year, and a track-best finish of ninth in last year’s fall race. Aside from his three Cup starts at ISM Raceway, Byron has one NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start and two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. In November 2017, Byron became the youngest winner ever at ISM Raceway in the Xfinity Series at 19 years, 11 months and 13 days.
KNAUS’ PHOENIX PROWESS: For the 34th time as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief, Chad Knaus will sit atop the pit box at ISM Raceway this Sunday. With four wins at the one-mile oval, all coming with the Jimmie Johnson, Knaus ranks second among active Cup crew chiefs, just one victory behind the top spot. He also has three pole awards at ISM Raceway to his name with the No. 48 team.
HOMETOWN HYPE: Heading back to ISM Raceway for the second time in 2019, one member of the No. 24 Hertz team is excited to make the trip back home. Michael “Too Tall” Madill, the rear suspension mechanic for the No. 24 team, hails from Glendale, Arizona, approximately 30 minutes from the track. At the age of 16, he made the move to North Carolina to begin his career in NASCAR. Now 31 years old, Madill is in the midst of his 11th season in the sport and his second with the No. 24 team.
CHEVY STAGE: Byron will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage in the ISM Raceway fan zone Sunday, Nov. 10, at 9:30 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.
HERTZ ULTIMATE RIDE SWEEPSTAKES: In conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, Hertz is introducing a new “pace car” to its fleet with a limited-edition custom 2020 Camaro ZL1 and 2020 Camaro SS. Available to be reserved beginning mid-October 2019, customers have the opportunity to rent the custom Camaros fashioned in the signature Hertz yellow and black color scheme with custom wheels, interior badging and full performance upgrades outfitted by HMS. In conjunction with the program rollout, customers can celebrate the debut of the limited-edition Camaros by participating in The Hertz Ultimate Ride Sweepstakes – beginning Sept. 18, through Nov. 15, 2019 – for a chance to win a 2020 Hertz-Hendrick Motorsports Camaro SS. Five finalists will also win an exclusive driving experience in Charlotte. Click here for more information on the Hertz-Hendrick custom Camaro program.
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 44 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
18th in standings
1 pole position
3 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
131 laps led
36 pole positions
227 top-five finishes
364 top-10 finishes
18,834 laps led
3 pole positions
15 top-five finishes
21 top-10 finishes
994 laps led
THE BIG 6-5-0: Jimmie Johnson is set to make his 650th career NASCAR Cup Series start this Sunday at ISM Raceway. Throughout his career, the 44-year-old El Cajon, California, native has accumulated seven Cup Series championships, 83 wins, 227 top-five finishes, 364 top-10s and 36 pole positions. Johnson has led 18,834 laps in his career and has an overall average start of 12th and an average finish of 12.9. The only other driver to win in his 650th start was a fellow seven-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Petty won at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 15, 1975, two days before the birth of Johnson. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s 650 career starts rank him 26th all-time as an ironman in the sport of NASCAR.
ISM SUCCESS: Johnson has four career wins at ISM Raceway, where his average finish is 10.2 – the sixth-best at the track all-time. He trails only Alan Kulwicki, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin. Johnson’s last win at the Avondale, Arizona, track came on Nov. 15, 2009, when he led 238 of 312 laps. His last pole at the track came in November 2015.
WEST COAST WINS: Hailing from the West Coast, it’s fitting that Johnson has the most wins of any driver on West Coast tracks. He has accumulated 15 wins across Las Vegas Motor Speedway (four), ISM Raceway (four), Auto Club Speedway (six) and Sonoma Raceway (one). The next winningest driver has 13.
WINNER, WINNER: Of the 15 playoff races run at ISM Raceway, Johnson has won three of them – second only to Kevin Harvick, who has won four. It also seems that the desert is the best place to end a “dry spell,” as nine of the last 20 ISM Raceway events have been won by drivers who have broken a winless streak of 44 races or more. Johnson’s last win was at Dover in June 2017.
TEXAS TORNADO: Johnson and the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet team showed a ton of promise at Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday. The driver started 23rd and took over the lead on lap 100. He paced the field for 40 laps but got loose and hit the wall while running third. The team was relegated to a 34th-place finish after a strong showing throughout Stages 1 and 2.
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Driver Alex Bowman Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 26 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
12th in standings
0 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
11 top-10 finishes
200 laps led
2 pole positions
10 top-five finishes
25 top-10 finishes
474 laps led
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
1 top-10 finish
194 laps led
AXALTA ON BOARD: This weekend marks the final event in which the Axalta colors will adorn Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this season. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings will be on board this weekend at ISM Raceway. The company 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.
WELCOME HOME: Bowman, a Tucson, Arizona, native, has eight starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at his home track of ISM Raceway. His best finish of sixth came in the 2016 event when the No. 88 team started from the pole and led a race-high 194 laps. His average running position during that event was 1.9 as he spent 272 laps running inside the top two. Earlier this year, Bowman qualified sixth and finished 35th after being involved in an incident on Lap 191 of the 312-lap event. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has six starts at the one-mile track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, as well. His best Xfinity qualifying effort at the track of fifth came in 2014 and 2017. In the fall 2017 Xfinity event, he claimed his best finishing position of eighth. In 2011, he ran the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at ISM Raceway, where he started ninth and led 23 laps en route to a second-place finish.
ONE MILE OR LESS TRACK STATS: Bowman has made nine starts on tracks measuring one mile or less this season. In those nine starts, he has qualified inside the top 15 six times, with his best qualifying effort of fifth coming in the spring Dover International Speedway event. Earlier this year, the 26-year-old captured a runner-up finish and a third-place result in the two races at Dover after qualifying inside the top 12 in both events.
IVES AT ISM: For the 10th time in his NASCAR Cup Series crew chief career, Greg Ives will call the shots for the No. 88 team this weekend at his driver’s home track. The Bark River, Michigan, native claimed the victory in the 2015 fall event at ISM Raceway with Dale Earnhardt Jr. after leading 22 laps. He led Bowman to a pole win at the track in 2016 and the No. 88 Chevrolet led 194 laps en route to a sixth-place finish. Ives has four starts at the Avondale, Arizona, venue as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with a best finish of fourth coming in 2013 with driver Regan Smith. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of four wins, one pole award and 11 top-five finishes at ISM Raceway.
TOP-FIVE STREAK: Since the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course event in September, Bowman has finished inside the top five on three occasions. The driver finished second to teammate Chase Elliott during the “roval” event and went on to finish third at Dover International Speedway the next weekend. This past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Bowman ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the race and brought home a fifth-place result. That ties the driver for the second-most top-five finishes in the last six races, behind only Denny Hamlin’s four.
FAN STAGE: Bowman will visit the Infield Fan Stage at ISM Raceway on Friday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. local time. The home track driver will participate in a question-and-answer session and sign autographs.
LOOKING BACK AT TEXAS: Last weekend, the No. 88 team qualified fifth for the 334-lap event at Texas Motor Speedway. Bowman ran inside the top 10 for most of the race, capturing top-10 finishes in both Stages 1 and 2 before taking the checkered flag in fifth. Before Sunday’s fifth-place result, the driver’s best finish at the 1.5-mile facility was 13th while driving the No. 88 Chevrolet in 2016.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT ISM RACEWAY: Hendrick Motorsports leads NASCAR Cup Series teams all-time at ISM Raceway with 10 wins, nine runner-up results, 47 top-five finishes, 84 top 10s, 11 poles and 2,653 laps led. At least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 15 races at ISM Raceway, which is the longest active streak, and in all but one of the last 26 races at the track. At least one of the organization’s drivers has led laps in each of the last eight races at the venue.
DRIVERS FARE WELL AT ISM: Each of the four active Hendrick Motorsports drivers has at least one top-10 finish in the last six events at ISM Raceway, and at least one teammate has started inside the top five in each of the last eight races at the track.
SIX FOR 10: The organization’s 10 wins at ISM Raceway are spread among six drivers, with Jimmie Johnson accounting for four. Jeff Gordon won twice, with Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt Jr. earning one apiece. Earnhardt recorded the organization’s most recent victory at the track in November 2015. The all-time record for the most different drivers to win for a team at a single track is seven, which Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished twice – at Charlotte and Pocono. Wood Brothers Racing has also accomplished the feat at Daytona.
ISM RACEWAY STREAK: From the spring 2007 race to the fall 2009 race, the organization won six consecutive events at ISM Raceway with drivers Gordon, Johnson (four) and Martin. It ranks third among NASCAR Cup Series teams for most consecutive wins at a track all-time.
PLAYOFF PROWESS: Hendrick Motorsports has won at least once in 15 of the 16 seasons of the playoffs, with the 2017 campaign as the only outlier. Of the 15 playoff races at ISM Raceway, the organization has won five, which leads all teams.
WEST COAST WINNERS: Hendrick Motorsports owns the most wins on the West Coast of any team all-time with 34 spread across Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway, Auto Club Speedway and Sonoma Raceway. Johnson leads drivers all-time with 15 West Coast wins.
RECENT SUCCESS: Hendrick Motorsports has had at least one driver finish in the top-10 in each of the last nine races of 2019. At least one of its drivers has earned a top-five finish in each of the last three races, and the organization has led laps in nine of the last 11 races.
PILING UP POLE POSITIONS: After securing just two poles in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed 10 pole positions this year with two races remaining in the season. It’s the fourth-highest total the organization has earned in a single season, tied with the 1995 campaign. Hendrick Motorsports’ record for poles came in 1986 with 16, followed by 12 in 2007 and 2009, and 11 in 2008 and 2012.
SWEEPING UP: This year, Hendrick Motorsports has tied its most-ever front-row sweeps in a single season with seven. In fact, the seven front-row sweeps are tied for the most in a single season in the modern era with the organization’s seven in 1986.
LEADING LAPS: In 2019, Hendrick Motorsports has more than doubled its total of laps led from a season ago. Last year, the organization’s drivers tallied 497 laps led. After last weekend’s race at Texas, the 2019 total has been brought to 1,165 laps up front with two races remaining in the season.
MOST POPULAR DRIVER: This year’s Most Popular Driver award presented by Hooters is officially open. Last year, Chase Elliott took home the trophy. Fans can vote for one driver per day from now until Dec. 4 at noon ET, and votes shared on Twitter and/or Facebook count double. The recipient of this year’s award will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 5, during the NASCAR Cup Series Awards banquet in Nashville, Tennessee.
ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 256 race victories, 225 pole positions, 1,071 top-five finishes and 1,838 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led nearly 69,000 laps since 1984.
Chase Elliott on restarts at ISM Raceway:
“They are definitely different. You can be really brave and sometimes make something work. Other times, you get really aggressive and you find yourself right back in the same spot you started in. You weigh that out, when it’s time to do that and when it’s not. We’ve seen guys make up a lot of ground on restarts and the closing restarts in the past couple of races. There’s a time and there are different opportunities that I think it can work better than others and it just depends on the situation and who’s in front of you and what kind of gap there is to the people around you and all kinds of situational things. You just have to make split-second decisions as to what feels right and what’s not.”
Elliott on if anyone has had a “crazier” playoff run than him:
“I’m not sure. Obviously, Texas was very self-inflicted. I made a mistake that there’s really no excuse for and that’s what you get. You make mistakes, you put yourself in a bad position and that was all on me. I hate that it happened, but it did and we’ll just go onto Phoenix and try to get a win out there. I look forward to getting out there.”
William Byron on flipping the start/finish lines at ISM Raceway:
“Last year in the fall we had that configuration and it was really weird. I think it made for a lot of action for the playoffs, though. For the restarts there you can fan out so much now that it’s kind of like Pocono Raceway. I think restarts are going to be a premium time to pick up positions and make the biggest moves. After that it will be difficult to make much ground up, I think. Late-race restarts especially are going to be hairy there. I’m interested to see how it is though after having a couple races under my belt with the reconfiguration. I think it’s going to be a wild race but especially being during the playoffs and a cut-off race for some of the other guys.”
Jimmie Johnson on his Texas race:
“It felt good to get out and lead at Texas last weekend. We had a strong car. This black cloud seems to be following us around, but we are digging in harder than ever. I can’t say that enough.”
Alex Bowman on racing at ISM Raceway:
“ISM Raceway is one of the tracks that I circle on the calendar. I still feel like the 2016 race was the win that got away. This No. 88 team had an amazing car from the time we unloaded to the time we went green in the race. We have had some bad luck there these last few races, so I am looking forward to redeeming myself this weekend.”
Bowman on his home track:
“A race win at my home track would be extremely special. I think anytime that someone wins at their home track is something that sticks with them forever. Being so close a few years ago was tough, but this team doesn’t give up. We want a win in Phoenix and we know that we have been close before and can unload a good car this weekend.”