Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: DAYTONA Road Course

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (3.56-MILE ROAD COURSE)
LOCATION: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACES 23 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, AUG. 16 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 24 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2020 Season
5th in standings
22 starts
1 win
1 pole position
7 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
469 laps led
Career
171 starts
7 wins
9 pole positions
51 top-five finishes
86 top-10 finishes
2,313 laps led


American Muscle

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

ROAD RACE CHASE: Chase Elliott continues to prove his road-course prowess after winning two of the three NASCAR Cup Series road races last season and three of the last five. In September 2019, the No. 9 Chevrolet driver rallied back from mid-race trouble at the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval to earn his sixth career Cup victory and third on a road course. Elliott also dominated Watkins Glen International in August 2019 where he won for the second straight year. He remains the youngest road-course winner (22 years, 8 months, 8 days) of all time in the series.

MAKE IT THREE: This weekend, Elliott could become the most recent driver with three consecutive road-course race wins. The last person to collect three in a row was NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2004-2005). Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon holds the record for most consecutive road-course wins with six (1997-2000).

NAPA KNOW HOW: On Sunday at Daytona, the No. 9 Chevrolet will feature the familiar blue, white and yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme. The Atlanta-based company is serving as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 9 team for a total of 26 NASCAR Cup Series races this season.

ROAD-COURSE STATS: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, is set to make his 11th Cup Series start on a road course this weekend. In his previous 10 races, he has collected the second-most wins (three) of active drivers, behind only Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who both have four. Elliott has garnered four top-five finishes, six top-10s and a total of 179 laps led. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native holds the best average finish (10.5) on road courses of active drivers.

STAGE POINT COLLECTOR: In 2020, Elliott has the second-most stage wins (five), has garnered the fourth-most stage points (185) and is currently fifth in the driver standings, 170 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: The No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team owns the second-best average time for four-tire pit stops at 13.92 seconds through 22 races in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. The team is comprised of jackman T.J. Semke, gasman John Gianninoto, tire carrier Jared Erspamer and tire changers Chad Avrit and Nick O’Dell.

FLORIDA NATIVE: This weekend, crew chief Alan Gustafson will return home for the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race on the road course at Daytona. He hails from Ormond Beach, Florida, just down the road from Daytona International Speedway. After graduating from Seabreeze High School, he enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical engineering. Gustafson will set foot in Daytona in the midst of his 16th full-time season as a crew chief and his fifth year with Elliott.


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William Byron
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Driver William Byron Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 22 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season
14th in standings
22 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
72 laps led

Career
94 starts
0 wins
5 pole positions
5 top-five finishes
23 top-10 finishes
366 laps led

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

FINAL FOUR: With only four races left in the regular season, William Byron is looking to lock himself into the playoffs for the second time in his three-year NASCAR Cup Series career. Gaining 28 points on the playoff bubble over the last four races, the driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE went from two points below the cutoff line to 26 points above it and 16th in the standings.

CLOSE COMPARISON: When the race goes green Sunday afternoon, it will mark the first time that Byron – or anyone else in the field – will have made a Cup Series lap at the newly revamped DAYTONA Road Course. While the 3.56-mile circuit will bring a lot of unknowns, Byron’s prior success at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s roval bodes well for the 22-year-old driver. With two starts at his home track road course, Byron had his best run there last season after capturing the pole and scoring a solid sixth-place finish.

BECOMING A ROAD-COURSE RINGER: Despite a limited background in road racing, Byron has become accustomed quickly. In June 2019, he raced to his first career Cup Series stage win at Sonoma Raceway after qualifying second. Byron followed it up in August at Watkins Glen International, qualifying second and running in the top five before an incident left him with a 21st-place finish. In fact, of six stages run on road courses last season, Byron finished in the top 10 in five of them.

LIBERTY U IS BACK: For Sunday’s history-making event at the DAYTONA Road Course, Byron will carry the traditional red and white flames of Liberty University on board his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Liberty University is in its sixth season of sponsoring the 22-year-old driver dating back to his time in the late model ranks. Liberty has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offers more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in business communications, Byron is in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program.

VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR: Prior to NASCAR’s debut at the DAYTONA Road Course, Byron will be one of three Cup Series drivers slated to take on the new circuit through iRacing. In the special event, Byron will have crew chief Chad Knaus calling the shots as well as his William Byron eSports driver Nick Ottinger as engineer. The trio will have a 60-minute practice session on iRacing prior to the Wednesday night event, and fans will be able to get a glimpse into the virtual garage while Knaus and Ottinger make adjustments. The iRacing Happy Hour event will stream live on NASCAR.com on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.


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Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 44 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season
17th in standings
21 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
99 laps led

Career
672 starts
83 wins
36 pole positions
229 top-five finishes
370 top-10 finishes
18,933 laps led

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

FRESH PAINT 48: Change is good, and there will be a noticeable one on the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE beginning with Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series road course race at Daytona International Speedway. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Ally Financial chief marketing officer Andrea Brimmer felt the No. 48 team would benefit from a championship-caliber reset as it pushes to make the playoffs this season. They went as far as changing the primary paint scheme on the No. 48 Ally Chevy to mix things up and bring fresh energy to 2020. The new look – inspired by calls from Johnson’s longtime fans – will be revealed on Thursday, Aug. 13, via the driver’s social media channels.

NEW TO WHO: It may not be common knowledge that Johnson has eight starts at the DAYTONA Road Course in various sports cars throughout his storied career. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series is a seven-time starter in the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA with a pair of runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2008. He also ran a 70-lap Grand-Am race in July 2007 and finished ninth.

DO IT RIGHT: When it comes to road racing, Johnson seems to do it right. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has finished in the top 10 at the roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway in each of his past two starts. Last season, he scored a 12th-place finish at Sonoma Raceway.

8-BIT GAME: Last week, Ally launched an 8-bit web-based video game for fans to enjoy. The free 1980s-style game can be played at www.allyracer.com. Players must steer around obstacles like oil slicks, tire debris and other cars while trying to beat the clock and other race cars to the checkered flag. Hitting financial targets, literally, generates bonus points by driving through Ally Financial “rewards” such as coins and plum-colored dollar bills that pop up on the track. Those rewards are banked for future use, so players can choose when to withdraw the rewards and help boost their score as they reach more challenging levels within the game.

FIFTY PERCENT: Johnson has 38 starts on road courses throughout his 19-year NASCAR Cup Series career. He has one win, coming at Sonoma Raceway, and 19 top-10 finishes. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro has an average finish of 14.45 but has finished in the top-10 in 50% of the races he has participated in. A win at Watkins Glen International has always eluded Johnson, and due to COVID-19 he will not get the opportunity to compete there in his final season in the NASCAR Cup Series.

PLAYOFF PUSH: Currently, Johnson is tied for 17th in the point standings and is 26 points below the cut line with four races remaining. At three of the four venues – two at Dover International Speedway and one on the Daytona oval – Johnson has scored a combined 13 wins. His most recent victory at Daytona was in 2013 and last win at Dover was in June 2017.


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Alex Bowman
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE ​
Driver Alex Bowman Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 27 Resides Concord, North Carolina

2020 Season
11th in standings
22 starts
1 win
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
6 top-10 finishes
387 laps led

Career
175 starts
2 wins
2 pole positions
12 top-five finishes
32 top-10 finishes
861 laps led

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

LEFT AND RIGHT AT DAYTONA: Alex Bowman, along with the rest of the drivers in the field, will make his first NASCAR Cup Series start on the DAYTONA Road Course on Sunday. The Tucson, Arizona, native has 10 Cup Series starts on road courses with a personal best average finish on the Charlotte Motor Speedway roval of 3.0. The No. 88 team captured a fourth-place roval finish in 2018 and was runner-up last season to teammate Chase Elliott.

IVES AT A ROAD COURSE: Crew chief Greg Ives has 12 starts on road courses in the NASCAR Cup Series but this weekend will be his first at Daytona. The Bark River, Michigan, native has two top-five results and five top-10s at road courses in the series. Last year, the crew chief called the shots for Bowman’s second-place result at Charlotte.

AXALTA ON BOARD: This weekend’s race on Daytona International Speedway’s road course marks the third event of the 2020 season in which the Axalta colors will adorn Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings and Hendrick Motorsports announced an extension back in February that will take their partnership through the 2027 season. Read more here.

STAGE PERFORMANCE: The No. 88 team has four stage wins this season, which is tied for third overall in the series. Bowman has captured 163 stage points in 2020, which is the sixth-highest number of points earned by drivers. The driver of the Axalta Chevrolet is running better than what his finishing positions show. Bowman’s average running position is 12.24, but his average finish is 18.05, which is a difference of 5.81.

PIT ROAD WARRIORS: The No. 88 pit crew ranks sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series with an average four-tire stop time of 14.107 seconds after 22 events this season. The team includes fueler Jacob Conley, tire carrier Rowdy Harrell, jackman Dustin Lineback and tire changers Scott Brzozowski and Devin DelRicco.

WELCOME ACRONIS: Hendrick Motorsports has announced a new partnership with Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection. Acronis will be featured as a three-race primary partner on the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in 2020 and will become a major associate partner of the organization’s four-car stable beginning next season. The blue and white No. 88 paint scheme will be on track for its first races next weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at Dover International Speedway.

BRAND NEW DEALS: During the month of August, No. 88 team sponsor ChevyGoods.com is providing discounts on all accessories, including Adam’s Polishes, NOCO and Truck Hero. Customers can receive 15% off all accessories on their site through the end of the month by using code CHEVYGOODS.


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Hendrick Motorsports

NEW TRACK, WHO D-I-S: For the first time in its history, the NASCAR Cup Series will go fender-to-fender on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course on Sunday. Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has seen victory lane 37 times in Cup competition on the iconic 2.5-mile DIS oval, including eight prestigious DAYTONA 500s. The team has won 14 points-paying Cup Series races at Daytona, along with 16 DAYTONA 500 Duel qualifying events and seven non-points Clash at DAYTONA exhibitions.

KINGS OF THE ROAD: Hendrick Motorsports owns the all-time record for NASCAR Cup Series road-course wins with 18, which is six more than second-place Joe Gibbs Racing. Six different drivers have delivered at least one road-course victory for team owner Rick Hendrick: Jeff Gordon (nine), Chase Elliott (three), Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine. Gordon holds the Cup Series record for most road-course wins by a driver, all coming with Hendrick Motorsports.

GOING RIGHT: In 2019, Hendrick Motorsports was sporty on road courses. In three road races last season, the team led 162 of 289 laps (56%) and won two races, two pole positions and four of six stages. Elliott posted road-course victories at Watkins Glen International and Charlotte Motor Speedway, where teammates Alex Bowman, William Byron and Johnson finished second, sixth and ninth, respectively.

THE NUMBERS: Since its inception in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 258 race victories and holds the all-time records for championships (12), pole positions (226), top-five finishes (1,082), top-10s (1,869) and laps led (69,916) in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Including 2020, the organization has won at least one race in 35 consecutive seasons, the longest-ever streak. Hendrick Motorsports is 10 wins away from tying Petty Enterprises’ all-time Cup record of 268.


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QUOTABLE /
Driver Chase Elliott on the inaugural DAYTONA Road Course event:
“I am super excited just to go somewhere new. Obviously, I’ve enjoyed Watkins Glen these past couple of years. We have a new challenge ahead with the DAYTONA Road Course. I think the biggest thing is not having any practice. I think it is going to be exciting but it’s also going to be really hard for the guys that have never made a lap there before. I think it’s going to give a pretty big advantage to those who’ve run the 24-hour race and have made any laps on that track. I’ve never made a lap. I don’t even know what turns are where. I’m going to get on iRacing and try and make some laps just to familiarize myself with the track. I’ve watched the 24-hour race, but I’ve never really paid a ton of attention to it. It’s going to be really difficult for people like me who have never seen it.”

Driver William Byron on racing at the DAYTONA Road Course:
“I am a bit more optimistic on how this race is going to turn out. I was at Daytona for the 24-hour race this past year. I feel like even that time gives me a good idea of what the track looks like and what the car needs to feel like based on the things I heard and saw. I know some guys have made laps on that road course in sports cars, which may give them a bit of an advantage. There are simulation tools that I can use to prepare and get better for this race. I’m just really excited about this race, overall.”

Byron on his style of road-course racing:
“When it comes to road-course racing, I feel like I try to find a nice balance between aggression and consistency. When I need to make fast laps, I am super aggressive by using the curbs, getting as much as I can out of the apex of the corners and using aggressive braking to pass guys. Once the race kind of goes on and the pace mellows out though, I settle in and work more on consistency lap after lap. If you just constantly push, push, push, it is extremely hard on the tires. You have to push when you’re trying to pass someone and then set your own pace from there.”

Driver Jimmie Johnson on preparing for the DAYTONA Road Course:
“I am so excited for this weekend at Daytona. I have a lot of repetitions and a couple thousand miles on this track from in the seven Rolex races I’ve been able to compete in. I also did a July Fourth six-hour race there, so bring it on. The challenges of this track – there will be some really high speeds and then the chicane off of turn four will change that to some degree. It’s going to be a balance of aero efficiency on the straightaways and mechanical grip for the tight little infield section. It’s going to be really interesting for those who have never taken a lap on this track.”

Johnson on his playoff hopes:
“I hope we can make something happen over the next four races and get into the playoffs. I’m very optimistic we can make something happen. I will know if I don’t make the playoffs that I left it all on the track. This team gives 100% and we can all sleep at night knowing that.”

Driver Alex Bowman on competing on a new track:
“The good thing about this weekend is that none of the drivers really know what to expect. It is really more of a level playing field. We have been in the simulator this week just trying to learn more about the configuration and speeds in the corners. I think we have some strengths that we can bring from the roval, so we just need to capitalize on that on Sunday.”

Crew chief Greg Ives on Daytona comparisons to the Charlotte roval:
“We are preparing the best way we know how for the DAYTONA Road Course. It is going to be strange, but we are doing the same thing we did when we were preparing to go to the roval for the first time. We went into that race thinking there would be a lot of cautions, especially going into turn one for the first time, but everything was good. Main difference here is at the roval we had practice.”


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