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Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Dover

Dover International Speedway
Sunday, May 16, 2021
1-Mile Oval
2:00 PM ET
Location: Dover, Delaware
TV: Fox
Event: NASCAR Cup Series (13 of 36)
Radio: SiriusXM, PRN

5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 28 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
Standings: 6th

No. 5 NationsGuard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

MONSTER AT DOVER: In 12 starts at Dover International Speedway, Kyle Larson has 11 top-12 finishes with 617 laps led. In his last start at the 1-mile venue in October 2019, the Elk Grove, California, native led 154 laps en route to his lone victory at the concrete track.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE DRIVER: Larson’s average finish of 7.42 is the best all-time of any driver with more than two Dover starts. David Pearson (8), Bobby Allison (9.26) and former Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson (9.66) are the only other drivers to post a single-digit average finish at the Delaware venue.

SECOND BEST: Based on average finishes at active tracks, Larson’s 7.42 average at Dover is only his second best. Last Sunday at Darlington Raceway, the 28-year-old finished second to improve his average finish at the 1.366-mile track to 6.

SECOND TIER: In six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Dover, Larson has one win, three top-five finishes and six top-10s. In June 2017, Larson led 137 laps from the pole to capture the victory at “the Monster Mile.”

ONE QUARTER: Through 12 races in 2021, Larson has finished first or second in one-quarter of the races. The 2014 rookie of the year won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and posted second-place finishes at Darlington Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

ON GUARD: NationsGuard, a program that gives car dealers control of their F&I products and customer experience, will adorn the No. 5 Chevrolet this Sunday at Dover International Speedway. It also appeared as the primary sponsor on the car in the first three events of the season. For more information about NationsGuard, click here.

9 CHASE ELLIOTT
Age: 25 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
Standings: 8th

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

MASTERING THE MONSTER: Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, has seven top-five finishes at Dover International Speedway, which are his most at a single track in his NASCAR Cup Series career. The sixth-year driver has also led 321 laps at “the Monster Mile,” the third-most at any track in the series for Elliott – behind only Martinsville (429) and Phoenix (402).

‘MONSTER MILE’ STATS: At Dover, Elliott has posted seven top-five finishes in 10 starts, four of which were top-three results. Among those was his overtime win in October 2018 and a runner-up performance in 2017. Elliott finished in the top three in both of his rookie appearances at Dover in 2016 – something only Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Davey Allison accomplished in their rookie seasons. The 25-year-old driver also has four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the track. He didn’t finish outside the top 10 in either series.

NOT AVERAGE: Elliott currently averages a finish of 11.3 at Dover, the second-best by an active driver at the venue behind teammate Kyle Larson (7.42). His average finish is also the sixth-best of all time of drivers with more than two starts at the 1-mile track.

GUSTAFSON AT DOVER: No. 9 crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 33rd “Monster Mile” Cup Series race from atop the pit box on Sunday. In his previous 32 races calling the shots for five different drivers (Elliott, Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon) at Dover, he has collected two wins, with his most recent victory in 2018 with Elliott. He also has 16 top-five finishes – five of which were runner-up results – 18 top-10s and 592 laps led at the track.

DOVER DOUBLE: Last year at Dover, the NASCAR Cup Series hosted a doubleheader weekend at the 1-mile track. During the Saturday afternoon race on Aug. 22, Elliott started from the pole position and led 27 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. On Sunday, Aug. 23, the No. 9 team started 17th after the top-20 finishers from Saturday’s race were inverted. Unfortunately, in the opening laps, Elliott suffered damage from a competitor checking up to avoid a multi-car accident on the front stretch. The damage was terminal and ultimately ended the No. 9 team’s day with a 39th-place finish after only six laps.

SEASON RUNDOWN: The NASCAR Cup Series season has completed 12 races in the 2021 season. Elliott has posted four top-five finishes – two of which are runner-up results – six top-10s and has led a total of 76 laps. He has one stage win and has spent 669 laps inside the top five and 1,809 laps running in the top 10.

NAPA IS BACK: The No. 9 Chevrolet will return to the familiar blue, white and yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme this weekend at Dover. The Atlanta-based company is serving as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 9 team for 25 NASCAR Cup Series races this season.

PIT ROAD POWER: The No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team owns the fifth-best average time for four-tire pit stops at 13.85 seconds through 12 races in the 2021 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.

24 WILLIAM BYRON
Age: 23 (Nov. 29, 1997)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle
Standings: 3rd

No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

10-FOR-10: After another strong showing during Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway, William Byron extended his consecutive top-10 finishes to 10 races. Dating back to his win at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 28, the 23-year-old driver’s top-10 streak is the longest active streak in the NASCAR Cup Series and is the most top-10 results by a Cup driver so far this season. Not only is Byron the youngest driver to hold a top-10 streak of 10 races or more, but he now joins Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte and Jeff Gordon as the only Hendrick Motorsports drivers to have 10 or more consecutive top-10 finishes with the organization. Gordon has accomplished this three separate times and was the most recent Hendrick Motorsports driver to do so in 2007.

ONE-THIRD MARK: With a third of the 2021 Cup Series season in the books, Byron and the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE continue to be consistent every week. After 12 races, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has collected one win, four top-five finishes and 10 top-10s all while leading 150 laps. With the third-best average running position throughout the Cup field of 8.85 and an average finishing position of 9.67, Byron is sitting third in the driver points standings – the highest ranking of his Cup career.

DOVER DIGEST: With six Cup Series starts under his belt at Dover International Speedway, Byron will be making his seventh start at the track Sunday. He has a track-best starting position of second from May 2019 when Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott edged him out for the pole. With one top-five finish and two top-10s at “the Monster Mile,” Byron’s track-best finish of fourth came in the second race of the August doubleheader last season.

‘MONSTER MILE’ MINUTES: While this Sunday’s race will be crew chief Rudy Fugle’s first at the Cup Series level at Dover International Speedway, the Livonia, New York, native has eight starts at the 1-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In those eight races, Fugle has accumulated one win, two top-five finishes and two top-10s. One of those previous starts was with Byron in 2016, when the duo started on the pole and raced to an 11th-place result.

ALL ABOUT AXALTA: With their corporate headquarters located less than two hours away from “the Monster Mile,” Byron will have Axalta back on board his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for this Sunday’s race at Dover. Now in its 29th year of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta will return as primary partner on Byron’s No. 24 for 14 races in 2021. For a better look at Byron’s new No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, click here.

48 Alex Bowman
Age: 28 (April 25, 1993)
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Resides: Concord, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Greg Ives
Standings: 14th

No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

DOVER SUCCESS: Alex Bowman has made 10 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Dover International Speedway. The Tucson, Arizona, native finished fifth in the second of two events at the venue last season. Bowman has three top-five finishes at Dover, which are the most top-five results at a single track for the Ally driver. Since the start of the 2019 season, Bowman has the third-most top-five results at the 1-mile facility among active drivers. The 28-year-old driver also has six Dover starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning two top-five finishes with JR Motorsports in 2016. He led 33 laps in the spring Xfinity Series event that year and crossed the finish line third.

12 COMPLETE: After 12 races this season, Bowman has one win, two top-five finishes, four top-10s and one pole award (DAYTONA 500). The No. 48 Ally team has spent 1,360 laps running inside the top 10. Out of those laps, 650 have been inside the top five. Bowman led the final 10 laps during the event at Richmond Raceway en route to his first short-track victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.

MILES HOLDING ON: Fans who visit Dover this weekend can see the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in the hand of “Miles the Monster” at Victory Plaza. Ally Financial remains the primary sponsor of Victory Plaza and the Monster Bridge Suites. The No. 48 machine that Miles holds is the paint scheme that Jimmie Johnson ran at the track in his final full-time season last year. Standing at 46-feet tall, the base of the monster notes all of the previous drivers who have won at the 1-mile facility.

IVES IN DOVER: Crew chief Greg Ives has 12 starts at Dover in the Cup Series. The Bark River, Michigan, native has four top-five results and six top-10s at the 1-mile venue, with his best finish of second coming the spring of 2019 with Bowman. The crew chief’s résumé also includes two top-five finishes and three top-10s at Dover in the Xfinity Series. Both top-five results came in 2014, when Ives led driver Chase Elliott to two second-place starting positions and 19 laps led before finishing inside the top five. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006 until 2012 when he was a part of four wins, four pole awards and 10 top-10 finishes at Dover.

HOME-TRACK FEELS: No. 48 team rear-tire changer Devin DelRicco grew up 86 miles from Dover International Speedway in Marlboro, Maryland. The 30-year-old athlete visited “the Monster Mile” for the first time in 2005 for the NASCAR Cup Series event. DelRicco has been with Hendrick Motorsports for six years and has two NASCAR Xfinity Series championships with JR Motorsports.

PIT ROAD KNACK: After 12 races in the 2021 season, the No. 48 pit crew continues to be the fastest in the NASCAR Cup Series based on average four-tire stop times. The five-man over-the-wall crew has an average four-tire stop time of 13.65 seconds. The team includes fueler Jacob Conley, tire carrier Allen Stallings, jackman Dustin Lineback and tire changers Scott Brzozowski and DelRicco.

30-FOR-30: At Darlington Raceway Sunday, Kyle Larson (second), William Byron (fourth) and Chase Elliott (seventh) each finished in the top 10, extending a streak of at least one Hendrick Motorsports driver posting a top-10 result to 30 straight races. Team Penske ranks second with nine consecutive top-10s.

BLACKJACK: Sitting on 20, Hendrick Motorsports is chasing a 21st victory at Dover International Speedway. Six drivers have won for the organization at “the Monster Mile:” Jimmie Johnson (11), Jeff Gordon (five), Elliott (one), Geoff Bodine (one), Ken Schrader (one) and Ricky Rudd (one). Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for most wins at a track by a team with 25 victories at Martinsville Speedway.

UNDEFEATED IN OVERTIME: Four races at Dover have ended past its scheduled distance with Hendrick Motorsports winning each time. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson was victorious in three of those events – 2005, 2015 and 2017 – while Elliott won in overtime in 2018.

CHASE-ING HISTORY: Alex Bowman, Larson and Byron are under 30 years old and have each won a race for Hendrick Motorsports this season. No NASCAR Cup Series team has ever had four drivers under the age of 30 visit victory lane in the same season. Elliott, 25, is the defending Cup Series champion and most recent winner for Hendrick Motorsports at Dover (2018).

TWO TO TIE: Hendrick Motorsports entered the 2021 season within striking distance of one of stock car racing’s most enduring achievements: Petty Enterprises’ all-time team record for NASCAR Cup Series victories. The legendary Petty organization captured the wins record from Carl Kiekhafer Racing more than 60 years ago when Lee Petty took the checkered flag at Orange Speedway on May 29, 1960, for the team’s 53rd victory. Its 268th and most recent win was delivered by driver John Andretti on April 18, 1999. Hendrick Motorsports has earned 266 points-paying Cup Series wins since Rick Hendrick founded the team in 1984 and currently needs just three to break the record at NASCAR’s highest level. 

QUOTABLE /

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on success at Dover: “Dover has always been a good track for me. I’ve led a lot of laps and finished in the top-10 a lot of times there. I’m definitely excited to race at Dover this weekend, and definitely excited to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car there. They’ve run well there for a long time now. It’s a fast track and you have to keep up with the changing track conditions during a run. It’s aggressive, so I like it.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on working with Johnson at Dover and now Larson: “There are a few things that Jimmie really looked for in a car at Dover. Comparing their driving styles, there are some things we can tweak for Kyle. Hendrick Motorsports has a great history at Dover. Assuming we do our homework correctly, we can run well there Sunday.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on success at Dover: “Last year was unfortunate. We got caught up in a wreck pretty early and were done for the day, but we have had some good runs at the track in the past. Hendrick has had fast cars at Dover, too, and I know I’ve said it before but I think Jimmie (Johnson) is one of the biggest reasons for that success. He was so good at Dover and gave all of us such a good baseline to start each race weekend. We look forward to getting back this weekend and, hopefully, having a good run.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Dover: “I always look forward to going to Dover. I have always liked the track and like racing there. Outside of our win, we have a pretty good track record at Dover, so we are looking forward to seeing what we have for Sunday.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on his outlook of racing at Dover: “Dover is just a tough, tough place. There are drastic shifts in the track and you have to be able to pick up on those trends early in a run. I feel like we have a good package prepared for Dover, though. It goes back to the Chad Knaus days with Jimmie (Johnson) while incorporating in some of Chase (Elliott’s) feedback with his success there. We’ve had really fast cars there and I feel like we’re able to take those setup notes and morph it into something that fits all of our driving styles. I think, because of that, we’ll be strong there again. I feel like there is no reason why we wouldn’t be. It’s going to be about making your car turn in the right spots and not get it too loose, because once it’s too loose, it’s just a real handful.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Dover: “I think Dover is pretty unique. It’s got its own characteristics and they kind of apply to everything, no matter what you’re racing there. I think a lot of those characteristics and those thoughts can be applied to a Cup car, and I can use all these great notes from Hendrick Motorsports. Obviously, they’ve had a lot of success here in the past, so you add those things together and, hopefully, get a winning race car.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on why he loves racing at Dover: “This weekend, we are going to a track that has previously been pretty good for our team. Dover is one of my favorite places to go because it is a physically demanding race. It is demanding on both the driver and the car, so you really have to make sure that you take care of your stuff all day. We haven’t had the best of luck the past few weeks, but this Ally team is going into this week with a positive mindset and looking for a reset.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on starting fresh at Dover: “Dover is a great place to get to with our Ally Chevrolet. We have some good notes to go off of, especially from last season. We are looking to go to Dover and continue to march forward. We are starting 16th, which is further back than we would have wanted but we have come from the back before. We have to go into this weekend with a positive mindset and put that last few weeks behind us.”



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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