Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: All-Star Race

Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, June 13, 2021
1.5-Mile Oval
8:00 PM ET
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
TV: Fox
Event: NASCAR All-Star Race
Radio: SiriusXM, PRN

Age: 28 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
Standings: 2nd

No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

POINTS BREAK: Heading into the annual non-points NASCAR All-Star Race, Kyle Larson has been racking up points recently. Following the season’s 11th race at Kansas Speedway in May, the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE ranked ninth in the driver standings, 144 markers behind the leader. Larson since has wins in the last two races along with three second-place finishes for a 1.6 average result in the last five events. In that span, he has moved up seven spots to second in the standings and now trails by only 47 points.

HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Larson, who has three victories so far in 2021, has an automatic berth into the NASCAR All-Star Race at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. In 2019 when the annual event was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Elk Grove, California, native won the Open qualifier to gain entry into the All-Star Race, then led the final 13 laps to capture the victory in the exhibition event. Larson also won the Open in 2016.

FAMILIAR SIGHT: Five Cup Series races have occurred on 1.5-mile tracks in 2021 for a total of 1,526 laps. Larson has led 836 of those for a 55% share: Homestead-Miami Speedway (five laps led), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (103), Atlanta Motor Speedway (269), Kansas (132) and Charlotte (327).

LONE LONE STAR VICTORY: In November 2016, Larson led 30 laps to capture the win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 28-year-old driver has three top-five finishes and four top-10s in 13 Cup Series starts at the Texas venue with his best finish of second occurring in 2017.

MORE THAN JUST A DREAM: This week at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Larson will compete in the 26th and 27th running of the Dirt Late Model Dream. Last year’s event was postponed due to the pandemic and was rescheduled for Friday and Saturday while the 27th running is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Larson has competed in eight dirt late model events in 2021 with two victories, three runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place finishes. He did not start the April 17 heat races at Hagerstown Speedway due to an engine failure after setting fast time.

YOUR CAR NEEDS: This weekend, Larson will drive the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. From the convenience of home, customers can select the category, make, model and vehicle packages that are important to them from the nearly 30,000 new, high-quality pre-owned and certified cars, trucks and SUVs available at HendrickCars.com. The website also makes it easy for customers to find one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 93 dealership locations nationwide.

Age: 25 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
Standings: 3rd

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

PARTY LIKE AN ALL STAR: Last season at Bristol Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott drove his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to take the checkered flag after dominating the field during the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race. Elliott won stages two and three before crossing the finish line first in the final stage to earn the $1 million prize. The victory was the first All-Star Race win for Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson. The driver of the No. 9 was the third-youngest all-star winner at 24 years, 5 months, 17 days. Elliott is also one of three Hendrick Motorsports drivers to win the exhibition race and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same year. The others are Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001) and Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2013).

FATHER-SON DUO: With Elliott’s 2020 victory, he and his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, joined Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the only father-son combinations to win the NASCAR All-Star Race. The Elliotts have won the only two all-star events not held at Charlotte Motor Speedway – Bill Elliott won it driving his No. 9 car at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986 when he led all but one of 83 laps.

ALL-STAR STATS: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, heads into his sixth career NASCAR All-Star Race locked into the main event. He secured his way into last year’s show with his win at Charlotte (May 2020). Elliott’s 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship and All-Star Race win have locked him into the event for life under current rules. In his five previous All-Star Race starts, he has a 6.6 average finish – tied for the second-best of active drivers with at least two starts.

LONE STAR STATE STATS: Elliott has made 10 NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway. Although Sunday’s race is not for points, Elliott has garnered two top-five finishes, five top-10s and led a total of 44 laps in those previous starts. He collected his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at the 1.5-mile track in April 2014. In five Xfinity Series starts there, Elliott accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s.

DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his full-time duty driving the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the Cup Series, Elliott will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the No. 24 A SHOC Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. This event will be A SHOC’s first primary NASCAR race.

CHECK OUT THAT CAN: Last week, A SHOC announced the release of Elliott’s signature can that will commemorate the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion. The limited-edition can features Elliott celebrating alongside the No. 9 A SHOC Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE that he will pilot next month at Atlanta Motor Speedway and in the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Age: 23 (Nov. 29, 1997)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle
Standings: 4th

No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

LOCKED IT IN: Sunday will mark William Byron’s third start in the NASCAR All-Star Race, but this year Byron already is locked into the event due to his wins at Daytona International Speedway last August and at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February. However, needing to race his way into the All-Star Race in the past, Byron has gotten the job done in the Open qualifier race the last two years. In 2019, he won the opening stage of the qualifier at Charlotte Motor Speedway, automatically locking himself into the main event where he finished ninth. In 2020, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native captured the win in the second stage of the Open race at Bristol Motor Speedway, advancing himself to the All-Star Race where he raced to a 12th-place result.

TRUCKIN’ IT IN TEXAS: Byron’s success at Texas Motor Speedway started almost five years ago in his first start at the 1.5-mile oval with crew chief Rudy Fugle on the pit box. Starting from the sixth position, the then-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie led six laps before capturing the checkered flag becoming the youngest to ever win a Truck Series race at Texas.

TEXAS TOUGH: Texas Motor Speedway is a track where Byron has always run well throughout his entire NASCAR career, even if that isn’t always reflected in the statistics. In six Cup Series starts at the Lone Star State track, Byron has two top-10 results, including a track-best finish of sixth in March 2019. Byron also has four other starts at the 1.5-mile oval, with an average finish of 3.5 in two Truck Series starts and an 8.0 average finish in two NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

FUGLE HAS ‘NO LIMITS’: While Sunday will mark crew chief Fugle’s first NASCAR All-Star Race, the Livonia, New York, native is no stranger to success at Texas Motor Speedway. With 15 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, all coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Fugle has visited victory lane at the “No Limits” track five times – the most for him at any venue on the circuit. He celebrated a win there most recently in 2019 when he swept both Texas races, first with Kyle Busch in March and then in June with Greg Biffle. Of those five wins, one is with Byron in June 2016. In his 15 previous starts, Fugle’s drivers have also racked up seven top-five finishes and 11 top-10s with 493 laps led.

ALL ABOUT AXALTA: With the NASCAR All-Star Race moving to Texas this year, Byron will climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for the exhibition event. 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: 11th

No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

SONOMA REWIND: On Sunday, Alex Bowman brought home a ninth-place result after a green-white-checkered flag finish at Sonoma Raceway. In addition to tying his best finish at the 2.52-mile road course, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE captured points in each stage during the 92-lap event. Bowman has now finished inside the top 10 in five of the last six road course events in the NASCAR Cup Series. The No. 48 team was tied for the fourth-most points earned during the race.

LOCKED-IN ALL-STAR: This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR All-Star Race. Bowman clinched his position in the non-points event by his win earlier this year at Richmond Raceway. This is the second year that the 28-year-old driver has clinched a spot in the All-Star Race by virtue of a victory. In 2019, Bowman made it into the event after winning the fan vote. During last season’s All-Star Race, he rolled off second and finished eighth after 140 laps. He has finished eighth (his best finish) in two of the last three All-Star Races he participated in.

BOWMAN AT TMS: Since 2014, Bowman has 11 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway. The driver’s best finish of fifth came twice: in the 2019 and 2020 fall events. Bowman has led 57 laps at the 1.5-mile venue. He also has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2013. Bowman qualified on pole for both events and led a combined seven laps.

TEXAS STATS FOR IVES: Crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots 12 times at Texas Motor Speedway. The Bark River, Michigan, native’s résumé includes five top-five finishes and six top-10s there. His best finish at the track came in 2016 when driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second after 334 laps. The crew chief also has four starts in the Xfinity Series at Texas, which include one win when Chase Elliott led 38 laps in 2014. As a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006-2012, Ives was part of two wins, nine top-10 finishes and one pole award with driver Jimmie Johnson at Texas Motor Speedway.

TIME TO SHINE: During this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race, each team will have to make a mandatory four-tire pit stop during round five of the six-round format. Over the last 16 weeks, the No. 48 pit crew has had the fastest average four-tire stops in the NASCAR Cup Series at 13.64 seconds. The team includes fueler Jacob Conley, tire carrier Allen Stallings, jackman Dustin Lineback and tire changers Scott Brzozowski and Devin DelRicco.

ALL-STAR RACING: Hendrick Motorsports has won the exhibition event a record nine times with four different drivers: Jimmie Johnson (four victories), Jeff Gordon (three), Terry Labonte (1999) and defending winner Chase Elliott (2020). Hendrick Motorsports also holds the All-Star Race records for starts (115), top-five finishes (39), top-10s (64) and laps led (775).

LARSON MAKES 22: At Texas, Kyle Larson will become the 22nd Hendrick Motorsports driver to appear in the NASCAR All-Star Race. He will join Gordon (22 starts), Johnson (19), Labonte (11), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10), Ken Schrader (seven), Kasey Kahne (six), Elliott (five), Ricky Rudd (five), Geoff Bodine (five), Darrell Waltrip (four), Alex Bowman (three), Mark Martin (three), William Byron (two), Casey Mears (two), Kyle Busch (two), Brian Vickers (two), Joe Nemechek (two), Jerry Nadeau (two), Ricky Craven, Benny Parsons, and Tim Richmond.

FOUR STARS: On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports will have all four of its Chevrolets appear in the NASCAR All-Star Race for the 20th time. Including 2021, the team has put four cars into the field in 18 of the last 20 years and has placed at least three in the All-Star Race for a record 22 consecutive seasons.

CARRYING MOMENTUM: Hendrick Motorsports is on a roll heading into the all-star break. The organization has won four consecutive points-paying NASCAR Cup Series races, sweeping at least the top-two positions in each, leading 842 of 946 laps (89%) and recording an average result of 5.7. Its finishes include 1-2-3-4 at Dover, 1-2-8 at Circuit of The Americas, 1-2-4-5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 1-2-9 at Sonoma Raceway. At NASCAR’s top level, no team has ever finished in both the first and second positions in five consecutive points races.

TMS EXPRESS: Although Texas Motor Speedway will host its first NASCAR All-Star Race this Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports has plenty of history at the venue. With nine points-paying wins, the team is tied with Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Fenway Racing for the track record.


Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on strategy for the All-Star Race: “I haven’t studied the format yet, but the plan is to get the best possible finish in each segment to give us the best possible starting spot when it matters. It’s a short race, so you have to be aggressive, and you have to be really aggressive on each restart. Our mile-and-a-half program has been solid all year, so I’m really looking forward to this Sunday.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on what he can learn in the All-Star Race: “This is a track that is in the playoffs, so we’ll want to learn as much as we can this weekend. (No. 24 crew chief) Rudy (Fugle) said it best earlier when he said anytime your car is on track you’re learning. We want to take full advantage of this opportunity. One of the best takeaways from this weekend’s format is the way the rounds are set up, you’ve got to be able to pass.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on strategy for the All-Star Race: “With this year’s format, there’s obviously a lot going on. I think it’ll be hard to play games to try and set yourself up for the next round; that may end up hurting you more than helping. It’s going to be one of those deals where you just have to race as hard as you can the whole time and let the inverts play out on their own. I think it will be entertaining for the fans and hopefully we can put on a good show. I know I’ve said it before, but I am happy to see the All-Star Race moving around to different tracks. I think it’s a race that is meant to change locations.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the All-Star Race at Texas: “The All-Star Race is always an exciting event, and the new format is sure to add even more excitement. We are still figuring it all out. There are a lot of unknowns with it that we will all just roll with as the come. It will be a challenge, but we are really looking forward to it.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on what he thinks the biggest challenge will be at the NASCAR All-Star Race: “I think the biggest thing is that you’re going to have the low horsepower, even lower than the horsepower we have currently. It’s going to put us closer together, more nose-to-tail, and probably will be drafting constantly. That’s going to make it tough. You’re going to have to have a good handling car to try drive away from people, but I feel like it’s still going to be hard to really ever get away. We’re focusing on getting the handling right, and I think we’re in the ballpark. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Byron on the All-Star Race format: “With short segments and low downforce, there’s a good chance you’re going to see constant action. There’s no time to just ride around or save your stuff. It’s going to be about getting up on the wheel and the strategy you use. I don’t know what to tell you about that last segment other than to expect insanity. It’s going to be a lot of aggressive moves and racing in those final laps. I’m excited for it. It’s an All-Star Race, so it’s going to take everything you’ve got.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on his prediction for the All-Star Race: “There’s a lot of unknowns for Sunday’s All-Star Race. I think gaining track position and maintaining it is going to be the biggest key to having a good run and being in contention for the win during that last stage. With the aero package and horsepower we’re running, it may be easy to pull up on someone, but passing them is going to be a different challenge. It helps that we’re already locked into the race though so we can watch the Open and get a general idea of how this package is going to run at Texas seeing as right now it’s all speculation. While there is some strategy involved for this event, you can only guess what the inverts may be. To me, the biggest thing strategy-wise is determining when to use your tires and when to save them. With five stage breaks but only four sets of tires and a mandatory four tire-pit stop during stage five, you have to decide when you’re taking tires and when you’re staying out. We’ll have a general plan going in, but scenarios change so quickly that you have to be ready for anything.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on strategy at the All-Star Race: “This weekend’s All-Star Race is going to be interesting. It is going to be a big pay day for someone on Sunday and I sure hope it’s this No. 48 Ally team. We have been strong at Texas in the past, but I guess the rules in the All-Star Race are a bit different. Strategy is going to be key in trying to be out front. Our Ally pit crew has been really fast this year. Hopefully, our pit crew can continue doing what they do best on pit road and maybe even get their own pay day during round five.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the NASCAR All-Star Race format: “For me, numbers are a fun Rubik’s Cube. I like the more intricate that it gets. The invert following the rounds throws in a lot more details and unpredictability that you can’t really solve in a simple math calculation. Ultimately, our job is to go out there and perform at a high level. I am pretty sure at the end of each round they are going to figure out what the invert is and we are going to line up and go as fast as we can again. Hopefully, we have a chance to lead and won’t being in traffic. Hopefully, we can cross the finish line first at the end of the day. That is really all we can focus on. The uniqueness of the format for this event is what is creating all of the buzz and, ultimately, it is what it is and hopefully we can have some fun.”

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.  As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases for some links and banners that are being displayed on SpeedwayMedia.com.


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