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CHEVY NCS AT DARLINGTON: Team Chevy Advance

TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500
DARLINGTON RACEWAY
DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
SEPTEMBER 5, 2021

RACE #27 – DARLINGTON RACEWAY
With the end of the 26-race NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Regular Season in the books, six Chevrolet drivers have now secured their spot in the 16-driver Playoff field. Over the next 10 weeks, their focus is on the prize of the coveted championship.

There are three rounds (3 races per round) in the NCS Playoff format, plus one final championship-crowning season finale. Four drivers will be eliminated following each three-race round. The 367-lap Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, September 5, on the 1.33-mile Darlington Raceway oval kicks off the first of three races in the Round of 16.

A capsule look at Team Chevy in the NASCAR Cup Series title hunt:

Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE – 1st in Standings; NCS Regular Season Champion (2052 Points)
Victories: 5 (field-high)
Leads the series in: Top-Fives: 14; Top-10’s: 18; Laps Led: 1,566
Average Finish: 9.7
Stage Wins: 12
At Darlington: Top-Fives: 4; Top-10’s: 6; Average Finish: 6.0 (series-best).
Of Note: The 2021 season marks Larson’s fifth Playoff appearance.

Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA/Children’s Camaro ZL1 1LE – 5th in Standings (2021 Points)
Victories: 2
Top-Fives: 11; Top-10’s: 16; Laps Led: 337; Average Finish: 11.0
Stage Wins: 3
At Darlington: Top-Fives: 2; Top-10’s: 4
Of Note: The 2021 NCS season marks Elliott’s sixth consecutive year of being part of the Playoff field. Six of his 13 career NCS wins have come in the Playoffs.

Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE – 6th in Standings (2015 points)
Victories: 3
Top-Fives: 6; Top-10’s 13; Pole Wins: 1; Laps Led: 151; Average Finish: 14.1
At Darlington: Top-Fives: 1; Top-10’s: 2
Of Note: The 2021 NCS season marks Bowman’s fourth-career Playoffs appearance. Bowman has raced his way into the Round of 12 for the last three years.

William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE – 8th in Standings (2014 points)
Victories: 1
Top-Fives: 9; Top-10’s: 16; Pole Wins: 2; Laps Led: 276; Average Finish: 13.1
Stage Wins: 3
At Darlington: Top-Fives: 2; Top-10’s: 2; Pole Wins: 1
Of Note: The 2021 NCS season marks Byron’s third-career Playoffs appearance. In 26 of 36 races, these are the most top-fives, top-10’s, laps led and stage wins that Byron has earned in a single season of his Cup career.

Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE – 11th in Standings (2008 Points)
Victories: 1
Top-Fives: 4; Top-10’s: 9; Laps Led: 175; Average Finish: 16.0
Stage Wins: 3
At Darlington: Top-Fives: 4; Top-10’s: 11; Pole Wins: 2
Of Note: This is Busch’s 15th NCS post-season appearance, tying career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and two others for most.

Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Camaro ZL1 1LE – 15th in Standings (2003 Points)
Top-Fives: 2; Top-10’s: 13; Pole Wins: 1; Laps Led: 26; Average Finish: 14.6
Stage Wins: 3
At Darlington: Top-10’s: 1; Average Finish: 13.750
Of Note: Reddick earned the final spot in the NCS Playoff field with a fifth-place finish in the regular season finale at Daytona, marking his first Playoffs appearance. He has completed 99.44% of the race laps thus far this season (5,992 of 6,026).

The push to the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Playoffs continues with the 147-lap Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, September 4. Justin Haley held off Kaulig Racing teammate AJ Allmendinger to win at Daytona last week as Chevrolet swept the top four finishers. Allmendinger moved to the top of the Driver Standings with three races left in the NXS regular season. Chevrolet remains first in the Manufacturer Standings. Allmendinger will start on the outside of the front row at Darlington.

Darlington hosts Race 2 of the first round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoffs – the 147-lap In It To Win It 200 – at 1:30 p.m. ET, September 5. Sheldon Creed, the 2020 NCWTS Champion, drove his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado to victory in the Playoff opener at World Wide Technology Raceway. The victory secured his spot into the Round of 8 and his chance at defending the championship title.

SOUTH CAROLINA FOR THE CHEVY WIN
The Cook Out Southern 500 will mark the 121st NCS race at Darlington Raceway since 1950. Chevrolet’s first entries were in the September 7, 1953, race. Herb Thomas delivered Chevrolet’s first victory at the track on September 5, 1955, after starting eighth in the No. 92 Bel Air in the 60-car field. He led 76 of the 366 laps in the Southern 500. Jim Reed was runner-up and Hubert Westmoreland finished fifth in their Chevrolets.

In March of 1955, also in South Carolina, Fonty Flock scored the first NCS win for Chevrolet, leading 66 of 200 laps on the half-mile Columbia Speedway oval.

CHEVROLET CONTINUES TO PACE MANUFACTURERS
Chevrolet remains the leader in the NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Standings in pursuit of its 40th title. Team Chevy has recorded field highs of 13 victories, 117 top-10 finishes and 2,749 laps led through 26 races. The Bowtie Brand has already surpassed its win total (9) from 2020.

QUITE A SEASON FOR LARSON
Kyle Larson, in his first season driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 1LE, was crowned the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion, the first in his NCS career. “Congratulations to Kyle Larson, Cliff Daniels and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team on clinching the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports. “It was quite a battle right to the end, but the combination of the most wins, top-five’s, top-10 finishes, stage wins and laps led made the difference to secure this Regular Season Championship. The team has momentum going into the Playoffs.”

The top-10 driver standings earned Playoff points on a sliding scale, starting with 15 points for the champion to one point for 10th place. Larson has topped the standings since his fifth win of the season, captured at Watkins Glen International in early August.

ON THE WAY TO THE GREEN
With no practice or qualifying for the 367-lap 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.

Team Chevy’s Top-20 starters:
3rd Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE
4th Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA/Children’s Camaro ZL1 1LE
5th Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE
6th Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE
7th Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Camaro ZL1 1LE
14th William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE
18th Ryan Preece, No. 37 Kroger/Hershey’s Camaro ZL1 1LE
20th Justin Haley, No. 77 Bon Secours/Swamp Rabbits Camaro ZL1 1LE

BOWTIE BULLETS
· Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 117 top-10 finishes and 2,749 laps led of 6,026 total this season.
· In addition to its 41 wins, Chevrolet has amassed 192 top-five and 402 top-10 finishes at Darlington Raceway.
· Kyle Larson paces all drivers with 1,566 laps led.
· Tyler Reddick is second among drivers with 99.44% of laps completed (5,992 of 6,026).
· Hendrick Motorsports has recorded 14 wins at Darlington, the most of all teams.
· Erik Jones, who drives the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Camaro ZL1 1LE, won the September 1, 2019, race at Darlington. He has an average finish of 7.0 in seven NCS starts. In the same race, William Byron earned the pole in his Chevrolet to become the youngest to start on the pole at the track in NCS competition.
· Five Team Chevy drivers have combined for 24 stage wins – three more than in 36 races in 2020: Chase Elliott (Daytona RC, Michigan, Daytona2); William Byron (Homestead, Pocono2, Road America); Tyler Reddick (Road America, Indianapolis Road course x2); Kurt Busch (Nashville Superspeedway, Pocono1, Atlanta2); Kyle Larson (Las Vegas, Atlanta x2, Kansas, Dover x2, Charlotte x3, Sonoma x2, Nashville).

FOR THE FANS:
Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at Darlington Raceway.
Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles including: 2021 Silverado 1500 RST, 2021 Silverado 2500 LTZ, 2021 Blazer, 2021 Trailblazer, 2021 Camaro ZL1, 2021 Corvette Convertible 3LT.
At the Chevrolet Display, fans can also view Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Camaro ZL1 1LE show car.

TEAM CHEVY QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSIONS AT THE DISPLAY:
Saturday, September 4
Brandon Brown: 12:45 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Jeremy Clements: 1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Jade Buford: 1:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 5
Carson Hocevar & Ryan Truex: 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith & Jack Wood: 11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Erik Jones: 3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
William Byron: 4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:
Saturday, September 4: 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 5: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

TUNE IN
NBCSN will telecast the 367-lap NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at 6 p.m. ET, Sunday, Sept. 5. Live coverage is also on the MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. FS1 will telecast the 147-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series In It To Win It 200 at 1:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 5. NBCSN will telecast the 147-lap NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Sept. 4.

QUOTABLE QUOTES
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 1st IN STANDINGS
LARSON ON DARLINGTON AND THE START OF THE PLAYOFFS:
“This is the best opportunity I’ve had to win a championship. There’s nothing easy about Darlington. It’s tough because we run so close to the wall and it’s so tough getting to pit road. It’s a crown jewel that we all want to win, and it means even more since it starts off the playoffs.”

CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE
DANIELS ON POINT STANDINGS AFFECTING RACE STRATEGY:
“I have not looked at points (during the races) all year – I did not look at the points even once (last) Saturday night at Daytona. If we do our jobs correctly, the points should take care of themselves.”

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA/CHILDREN’S CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 5th IN STANDINGS
ELLIOTT LOOKING AT DARLINGTON:
“We are super excited for Darlington this weekend. These next three weeks are exciting races. Three, I feel like, really cool racetracks with fun environments for us. It’s getting to be that time of year. Fall is an exciting time of year for a lot of things around sports and our season is getting down to it, as well. We are just excited to get going. It’s hard to believe we are 26 weeks in. It doesn’t really seem like it, but here we are starting another playoffs and heading into the final 10 of the year. It goes by fast, but over two months of racing is still a long time. They will click off and you’ll get in certain moments that you might like, some you might not like, and we’ll make the most of them all.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 6th IN STANDINGS
“Last year, we had some rough weeks during the summer but showed up in the playoffs strong each and every week. I believe we have the ability to repeat that and go further in the playoffs this year. Hendrick Motorsports has a lot of momentum right now as an organization and the No. 48 team is bringing some fast Ally Camaros to the track every week. Darlington is a place where we have had good results in the past and I think it is one of three or four in the playoffs that suits our program.

GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE
“I feel like having three wins in the first 26 races is definitely marked for a good season. You can check off some boxes like getting a win, getting a pole and making the playoffs. Obviously, there are a couple of races that we would want to take back and think we could have run better at. Most teams, if not all teams, find the one or two things that didn’t go right during certain races and focus on improving those going into the playoffs. We had a great playoff run last year and we are going to try to pull from that experience going into the playoffs this year.”

“The repave at Darlington in Turn 2 is going to provide some challenges for teams, just because we don’t know how it will affect the tire wear. Going to a track that has been repaved typically doesn’t wear tires as much and has a tendency to run edgy free versus more of a slidable free. You also tend to run a little faster for sure. It is going to be fun and exciting to figure out on Sunday. There are some things that we can look at doing differently as a team with the set up, but ultimately the teams and drivers that adapt quickly will be successful with it.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 8th IN STANDINGS
BYRON ON RACING AT DARLINGTON FOR THE FIRST RACE OF THE PLAYOFFS:
“Darlington is a track that has a lot of character. I feel like you really have to drive your car to its limit all while understanding the grip and limit of your tires. You can’t exceed that level every lap. You have to stay within a certain limit. I think that is a factor at just about every track, but it’s really magnified at Darlington. Any time the drivers are challenged like they are at Darlington, it brings out the desire and passion within all of us. It just makes it that more intense when it’s kicking off the most intense part of our season with the playoffs. It’s definitely a cool race if you can win it track-wise but also because it sets the tone for how the next nine races go.”

RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE
FUGLE ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE PLAYOFFS:
“Daytona was a tough one for us, just because we had a car that could have won and the extra playoff points would have been nice. Unfortunately, preparation doesn’t always equal results, but you can’t get results without the preparation. While we’ve been preparing every week like we’ve already started the playoffs, we’re resetting for the start of the Round of 16 this weekend. The playoffs are a long, hard-fought war, but it starts with small battles. Our team has had the speed all year; we just need to execute and put ourselves in the best position to keep moving forward and get through the rounds. Obviously, the goal is to make it to the final four at Phoenix, but we need to win the small battles along the way to ensure we get there. This team is fully capable of doing that and it starts this weekend at Darlington.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 11th IN STANDINGS
“The first thing I think of with kicking-off the Playoffs at Darlington, is that it is a crown jewel event. That is the perfect stage that we could have start the 2021 Playoffs, and we are starting it at one of the coolest tracks. We are also going into some unknowns with the repaved or repaired surface in turn two. it is really going to improve the lap times with the grip level. Turn two is where your lap time is made and if you get through there good, it’s really going to help with that. Now with the extra grip, there is going to be a ton of speed down the back straightaway, into turn three, and there could be a question if we are up against the rev chip. So, you might have to back off the throttle to preserve the engine. With this being the second longest race of the year, that could be a huge factor at the end of the race as far as durability. But for the most part it’s still the same old Darlington. There is a ton of stuff that the driver has to compartmentalize at Darlington, plus the emotions of kicking-off the Playoffs. A lot of things that we have to juggle when we get there.”

TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 15th IN STANDINGS
THESE FIRST THREE TRACKS ARE ONES WHERE YOU’VE CONSISTENTLY FOUGHT FOR TOP-10’S AND TOP-FIVE’S. WHAT IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL HEADING INTO YOUR FIRST PLAYOFFS?
“It’s good. The nice thing is that we’re going back to a venue that we’ve been to earlier this season. The speed we had early at this race at Darlington in the beginning of summer was really promising. I’m excited for sure going into Darlington. But even more exciting, after all the chaos and everything at Daytona, our fifth-place finish at Daytona is going to help our starting position at Darlington. There’s only 13 points between myself and sixth right now, and with that tight of a spread I think we’re going to see a lot of shake up right away. We’re going to try to take advantage of that.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 17th IN STANDINGS
HOW DOES DARLINGTON RACEWAY SUIT YOUR DRIVING STYLE?
“I think long races in the past have fit my racing style. There is plenty of time to make the car better during a long race, and all of our wins have come in races 500 miles or more. So, I think that bodes well for Darlington. We learned a lot in the Southern 500 last year that we can translate to this weekend. Darlington is a place that falls off, so tire management becomes important and I really like that. It’s nice that we’re going to place that long run speed matters a bit.”

ERIK JONES, NO. 43 PETTY’S GARAGE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 24th IN STANDINGS
HOW DOES DARLINGTON SUIT YOUR RACING STYLE?
“I love Darlington (Raceway). It reminds me a lot of the tracks that I grew up racing on. Some of the stuff I did growing up in Late Models, like managing and conserving your tires, is what Darlington is all about. I really enjoy that style of racing. It is not just all out from the start. You have to manage your stuff and be good at the end of a run. I feel like I just have a good feel for that place; I can what the car needs to do and how you need your car to drive at the end of the run, not necessarily at the beginning of a run. Darlington is one of my favorite tracks, for sure. The Southern 500 race – is pretty hard to beat.”

DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 GOOD SAM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 25th IN STANDINGS
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON SO FAR?
“I think it has been good. It hasn’t been great but it hasn’t been bad. We have had some spikes of good performance, but the last month or so has been difficult. We have had a few mechanical issues here and there and that has put us behind. The way we race right now, if you have an issue one week that carries over to the next week when it comes to time on the track, where you start, where you pick pits, things like that. We have to get back in the routine of running up front. I think we can run in the top 12-14 every week. If we can do that I think we will get even better. I believe we will have a shot to get a win this year.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE REST OF THE SEASON?
“My goal all year long has been to get a win – playoffs or no playoffs. I feel like with this Trackhouse team we are building something very, very amazing for the present and for the future. I keep pushing myself and the team and hopefully very soon we will get that victory.”

DO YOU HAVE A PRE-RACE ROUTINE?
“One hour before the race, I try to just be in my mind, relax and have fun. I remind myself why I am here. I am here not because I have to be here, but because I love racing and I love the competition. That puts a smile on my face.”

RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 KROGER/HERSHEY’S CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 27th IN STANDINGS
“I’m happy we are going to Darlington this weekend because it has been a better track for us as far as speed goes. We’ll be searching around to find the most speed. We also have Hershey’s on the car along with Kroger, which is pretty awesome. I know on our side Trent (Owens) and the 37 team continues to get better week in and week out. You know people look at the end result, but the past four to five weeks we’ve had better running days. We just haven’t got the finishes, whether due to a mechanical failure, a loose lugnut/loose wheel and just things that stop you from having that good finishing result. Hopefully, at Daytona we were able to get the monkey off our back and we can go have a solid day at Darlington and build some momentum to keep us moving throughout the season.”

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: 13
Poles: 5
Laps Led: 2,749
Top-five finishes: 54
Top-10 finishes: 117

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 808 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 722
Laps led to date: 239,454
Top-five finishes to date: 4,119
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,519
Stage wins: 24 – Chase Elliott (Daytona RC, Michigan, Daytona), William Byron (Homestead, Pocono 2, Road America), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta x2, Kansas, Dover x2, Charlotte x3, Sonoma x2, Nashville), Kurt Busch (Nashville, Pocono 1, Atlanta 2), Tyler Reddick (Road America, Indy RC x2)

Total NASCAR Cup wins by corporation, 1949 to date

       General Motors: 1,142
       Chevrolet: 808
       Pontiac: 154
       Oldsmobile: 115
       Buick: 65

       Ford: 811                                                         
       Ford: 711
       Mercury: 96
       Lincoln: 4

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

       Toyota: 158

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. 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 at 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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