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CHEVY NCS AT PHOENIX: Team Chevy Advance

TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
INSTACART 500
PHOENIX RACEWAY
AVONDALE, AZ
MARCH 14, 2021

RACE #5 – PHOENIX RACEWAY
Phoenix Raceway’s asymmetrical mile will be the host to the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) this weekend. The NASCAR Cup Series’ 312-lap Instacart 500 will be telecast by FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, March 14, while FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ 200-lap Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, March 13.

Chevrolet has recorded 24 victories in 49 NASCAR Cup Series races held at the racetrack since November 1988, including Chase Elliott’s win last November that clinched his first Driver Championship, 13th for Hendrick Motorsports and 32nd for Chevrolet.

THREE IN A ROW?
Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron and Kyle Larson have captured victories in the past two NASCAR Cup Series races in the Camaro ZL1 1LE, securing their spots in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for their chance to compete for the 2021 Championship title.

The last time Chevrolet won two consecutive races was Nos. 35 and 36 (Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway) of the 2020 season by Chase Elliott. In 2019, Larson and Elliott scored back-to-back victories, and earlier in the season Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch and Justin Haley put together a three-race string of Victory Circle visits.

FASTEST TO CHECKERED FLAG
Kyle Larson, competing in just his fourth race with Hendrick Motorsports, became the quickest driver in the team’s history to secure his first win for the organization, his seventh-career victory in NASCAR’s premier series. Larson led 103 laps, including the final 30, of the 267-lap race on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. In 2021 competition thus far, Larson tops the leaderboard in most top-10 finishes (three) and has run the most laps inside the top-10 (676). The 28-year-old California native is one of only three drivers to complete all 804 laps this season, alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

The No. 5 has registered 45 NASCAR Cup Series wins since 1949. Geoff Bodine was the first to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for team owner Rick Hendrick (1984-89) and won seven times, including the 1986 Daytona 500 for Hendrick’s initial victory in “The Great American Race.”

Hendrick Motorsports has 265 Cup Series victories, making the team just three wins away from tying Petty Enterprises as the all-time leader in wins (268).

ON THE WAY TO THE GREEN
With no practice or qualifying for the race, the starting lineup is determined by NASCAR’s metrics system that was introduced to the series last year and incorporates results from both individual races and season-long results.

Here are Team Chevy’s Top-20 starters:
2nd Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE
6th Chase Elliott, No. 9 UniFirst Camaro ZL1 1LE
10th William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE
11th Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger/Energizer Camaro ZL1 1LE
12th Kurt Busch, No. 1 GearWrench Camaro ZL1 1LE
13th Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Camaro ZL1 1LE
14th Erik Jones, No. 43 Medallion Bank Camaro ZL1 1LE
15th Ryan Preece, No. 37 Scott Brand Camaro ZL1 1LE

AJ Allmendinger, who won the Xfinity Series race last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Kaulig Racing Camaro SS, will start on the outside of Row 2 at Phoenix. Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon won the first Xfinity Series race at the track in 1999.

BOWTIE BULLETS
Chevrolet sits atop the Manufacturer standings in the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series, has led the most laps in NCS competition (353), and has scored the most top-10 finishes (19) through the four NCS races.

Chevrolet has 797 NASCAR Cup Series wins to lead all manufacturers.

In addition to its 24 wins at Phoenix Raceway, Chevrolet has recorded 18 poles, 112 top-five and 217 top-10 finishes.

Chevrolet team owner Rick Hendrick has 11 wins at Phoenix Raceway.

Kurt Busch, No. 1 GearWrench Camaro ZL1 1LE, is among three active drivers to compete in a field-high 36 races at Phoenix. He won in April 2005 and has captured 20 top-10 finishes at the venue.

Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE, and Chase Elliott, No. 9 UniFirst Camaro ZL1 1LE, are in the top five of the driver standings.

Larson and Elliott are among three drivers to complete all 804 laps this season.

Elliott (Daytona Road Course), William Byron (Homestead-Miami Speedway) and Larson (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) have stage wins.

Erik Jones, No. 43 Medallion Bank Camaro ZL1 1LE, gained 19 spots from his starting position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to finish 10th. It was his first top-10 of the season in just his fourth start with Richard Petty Motorsports.

FOR THE FANS:
• Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at Phoenix Raceway.

• Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles including: Corvette Stingray, Silverado 1500, Equinox Premier, Blazer RS, Silverado 2500 Diesel, Camaro ZL1, Tahoe HC, and Trailblazer LT.

• At the Chevrolet Display, fans can also view Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.

Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:
• Friday, March 12th: 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
• Saturday, March 13th: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
• Sunday, March 14th: 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

TUNE IN
FOX will telecast the 312-lap Instacart 500 live at 3:30 p.m. EST Sunday, March 14. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

QUOTABLE QUOTES
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 3rd IN STANDINGS
LARSON ON STRATEGY NOW THAT HE HAS A WIN:
“We put an emphasis on winning and approach every race wanting to win, so I don’t think our strategy will change, but I haven’t talked to Cliff (Daniels) about it yet. We can definitely be more aggressive during the stages to possibly get more playoff points.”

LARSON ON EARLY SEASON SUCCESS:
“Part of me is surprised, but part of me is not. I thought it might take a little bit of time for us to gel as a team. But we had all the tools to run well and battle for wins, and we were able to win at Las Vegas. But that was last Sunday and our focus is now on Phoenix and what we can do to run well and hopefully win there.”

LARSON ON RACING AT PHOENIX:
“It’s a fun racetrack where each corner is different. I like tracks like that. We’ve had a lot of speed this year and (teammate) Chase (Elliott) won there last year, so I’m hoping we’ll be fast again this weekend.”

CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE
DANIELS ON USING LAST WEEK’S WIN AS MOTIVATION:
“What we’ve been through the last few years, I had the feeling that once we did get a win it would help reaffirm the focus of our team. We’ve done a nice job of maintaining focus to go compete at a high level every week. The win reaffirms what we have been doing all along works and we don’t plan changing much. We have good notes from Jimmie and we also have a lot of good notes from Chase and the 9 team – not only from their win in the fall but they have been really good there the past few races. Our company as a whole has been good there. We have been studying up on Kyle and his trends at Phoenix the best we can and are looking forward to this weekend’s race.”

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 4th IN STANDINGS
“I am definitely looking forward to getting back to Phoenix this weekend. Our last trip there was something I will never forget. Obviously, it’s a new season, eyes forward for now and just thinking about what we need to do to be fast and have our car where it needs to be. I also hope we can learn a lot while we are there because you want to be prepared if you are in the Championship 4 at the end of the season.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 11th IN STANDINGS
BYRON ON THE CHALLENGE THAT PHOENIX BRINGS:
“The restarts are crazy at Phoenix. You really fan out and have to find different lanes to run going into turn one. You can run the apron and down on the flat, which isn’t really common for us at a lot of places. I enjoy it and the other challenges Phoenix brings. It is a difficult track to pass on because cars are so close to each other on speed. It’s about track position and having a car that you can drive up underneath guys to make a pass. Usually, there’s a lot of green-flag runs, too. It’s a tough short track overall.”

BYRON ON IF ANY NOTES FROM THIS RACE TRANSLATE TO THE FALL PHOENIX RACE:
“I think you get good notes going to racetracks twice even if the conditions won’t be exactly the same when you come back. The biggest thing is we go back to Phoenix for the championship race, so it’s really that much more of an important race in that aspect. You know that whoever makes the final four will show up with a fast car, and I think that comes from the notes they have. You just need to go into this race and learn characteristics about the track. Hopefully, you have good speed and a good run to really capitalize on the situation.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 12th IN STANDINGS
“Going into Phoenix, I feel like we really didn’t do a great job last year there, but we kind of have a reference from the first race that we’re looking back on. It’s a tough short-track and kind of one of those places that you hit it or you don’t. It’s hard with no practice, but we put our time in on the simulator, looking back on notes and things like that. We’ll see how it goes; I’m looking forward to it. It can be a really good place for the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Camaro ZL1 1LE team. We’re starting 13th, so we want to get some stage points to start off and just see how the rest of the race plays out.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY/BEST FRIENDS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 18th IN STANDINGS
BOWMAN ON REPRESENTING BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY:
“Running this special scheme with Ally and the Best Friends Animal Society this weekend is really special. What Best Friends is doing for shelter animals across the country is amazing and I am pumped we are able to represent them on track this weekend. Ally has really tapped into things that are special to me, and it’s not surprise that my dogs are a huge part of my life. Hopefully, we can park this Ally Chevrolet in victory lane at the end of the day Sunday and donate $10,000 to the Halo Animal Rescue in Avondale, Arizona.”

BOWMAN ON RETURNING TO HIS HOMETOWN TRACK, PHOENIX RACEWAY:
“Going back to my home track is always special. We have a pretty strong notebook for Phoenix Raceway, and I think that we are always improving every program we have here at Hendrick Motorsports. This Ally team has worked hard all off season on our programs, especially for Phoenix. This race from 2016 will always be the one that got away from us and we need some redemption from that. Short-track racing is always fun and am ready to see how we unload on Sunday for the race.”

GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY/BEST FRIENDS CAMARO ZL1 1LE
IVES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING WELL AT PHOENIX:
“You always get up for every race, but this being Alex’s home track – his first time there when we were in the 88, he ran really strong. We haven’t necessarily been able to duplicate that performance for one reason or another, whether it’s an additional traction compound. We didn’t change track configurations but just changing the numbering of the corners affected things. In all seriousness, he wants to win there like no other place; his home track and try to find some redemption for that one that got away.”

TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 NATE BARNES/QUARTZ HILL RECORDS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 23rd IN STANDINGS
“It’s weird to think about last spring’s race at Phoenix Raceway since that was the last ‘normal’ race weekend we had for a long time. But yes, we did have a really strong Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE last spring before the tire issue that ended our race early. I’d like to say it makes you feel good returning to the track this time around, but this garage is so smart and catches on so quickly to things that what we had in the spring, which we brought back to the finale in November, won’t be enough to have another strong run again. The smallest changes mean a lot in this sport, so we’re working hard to prepare a fast No. 8 Nate Barnes / Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to take to Phoenix. It’s tough to figure out what to expect. We’ll have to watch and see how the traction compound comes into play over the weekend, since that’s a bit of an unknown. We just have to race smart and try to put together the most well-executed day that we can.”

ERIK JONES, NO. 43 MEDALLION BANK CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 24th IN STANDINGS
WITH PHOENIX BEING THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE, HOW IMPORTANT IS THE SPRING RACE IN PREPARING FOR THAT?
“I think you always focus a little bit more on the tracks that you know you’re going to go back to again, especially again in the Playoffs. You want to make sure you’re prepared well for those. Phoenix Raceway always has a little bit of an extra exclamation on it, knowing that if you have a shot to win the Championship, you’re going to have to do well and, most likely, win the race at Phoenix Raceway. I think there’s always some more focus there. There’s always a little bit of extra note-taking, a little bit more extra effort going in and more preparation from the driver before and after the race – just making sure you’re breaking down what you really had for that weekend, what you struggled with and what you can do better when you go back. I always try to focus hard on the places that I know we’re going back again in the Playoffs and with Phoenix being the Championship race, you definitely put that extra effort into it when you go there.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 25th IN STANDINGS
“Phoenix is really challenging, especially in the short run. In the long run, the car usually gets tight at Phoenix. I really like Phoenix a lot and feel like I always have good speed there, but it’s a difficult place. You have to be very, very patient, take care of the brakes. It’s just a tricky place.”

COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 YOUTHEORY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 29th IN STANDINGS
“Looking forward to turning around this recent string of bad luck this weekend at Phoenix. We’ve got our friends from YOUTHEORY back on board at their home track so we’ll do our best to deliver. Crew Chief, Ryan Sparks has a good setup for that odd shaped speedway, so hopefully it plugs into these Chevys & shows the speed that we expect!”

Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics

Manufacturers Championships:
Total (1949-2020): 39
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)

Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Drivers Championships:
Total (1949-2020): 32
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)
Most Recent: Chase Elliott (2020)

Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020

Event Victories:
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)

2021 STATISTICS:
Wins: 2
Poles: 1
Laps Led: 353
Top-five finishes: 7
Top-10 finishes: 19

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 797 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 718
Laps led to date: 237,058
Top-five finishes to date: 4,072
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,421

Total NASCAR Cup wins by corporation, 1949 to date

       General Motors: 1,131
       Chevrolet: 797
       Pontiac: 154
       Oldsmobile: 115
       Buick: 65

       Ford: 805                                                         
       Ford: 705
       Mercury: 96
       Lincoln: 4

       Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467
       Dodge: 217
       Plymouth: 191
       Chrysler: 59

       Toyota: 153

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 75 countries with nearly 4 million cars and trucks sold in 2019. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found www.chevrolet.com.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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