Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: All-Star Race

Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, May 22, 2022
1.5-Mile Oval
8:00 PM ET
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
TV: Fox
Event: NASCAR All-Star Race (non-points)
Radio: SiriusXM, PRN

5 KYLE LARSON

Age: 29 (July 31, 1992)

Hometown: Elk Grove, California

Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels

Standings: 9th

No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Kyle Larson, who has 11 points-paying wins since the beginning of 2021, has an automatic berth into Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. Last June at the 1.5-mile Texas facility, Larson battled Brad Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott late before maneuvering into first and leading the final eight laps to capture the $1 million payday. It marked the second win for the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the annual exhibition race where no championship points are awarded.

GRAND OPENING: In 2019 when the event was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Larson won the NASCAR All-Star Open to gain entry into the All-Star Race, then led the final 13 laps to capture the victory in the annual exhibition. The Elk Grove, California, native has won the last two all-star events he has started.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Along with his victory in the all-star event in June, Larson led 256 laps – including the final 218 – to capture the 334-lap points-paying race at Texas in October. The victory earned him a spot in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway, which Larson ultimately won to secure his first NASCAR Cup Series championship.

ANIMAL STYLE: In five starts in the exhibition race, Larson owns an average finish of 5.4 – the best average of any driver that has more than two starts in the annual event. Larson is currently tied with Kevin Harvick as the only active drivers with multiple victories in the All-Star Race, each with two.

SECOND THAT: Larson ranks second this season in top-five finishes with six, trailing only Ross Chastain who has seven. Larson has a victory at Auto Club Speedway, runner-up finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway, fourth-place finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt) and Talladega Superspeedway and a fifth-place result at Richmond Raceway.

IT’S A HOME GAME: Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team will wear their “home” white uniforms at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Home races occur in markets where there are Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships nearby, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to two of them. Be sure to follow Hendrick Automotive Group’s social media channels and visit HendrickCars.com to view the complete home and away schedule.

PATRIOTIC PAINT SCHEME: On Tuesday, HendrickCars.com unveiled a patriotic livery that will appear on the No. 5 entry at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. To view the paint scheme and to learn more about Hendrick Automotive Group’s priority to hire veterans, please visit HendrickCars.com.

9 CHASE ELLIOTT

Age: 26 (Nov. 28, 1995)

Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia

Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

Standings: 1st

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

THE STARS ALIGNED: In 2020, Chase Elliott earned his first career NASCAR All-Star Race victory, claiming the checkered flag after dominating at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott won stages two and three before crossing the finish line first in the final stage to earn the $1 million prize. The event was the only All-Star Race held on a short track and on a Wednesday. The driver of the No. 9 was the third-youngest all-star winner at 24 years, 7 months, 17 days.

ALL-STAR STATS: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will make his seventh consecutive appearance in the All-Star Race this weekend. Elliott’s 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship and All-Star Race win locked him into the event for the remainder of his full-time career under current rules. In his six previous All-Star Race starts, he has a 6.0 average finish – second-best of active drivers with at least two starts. The 26-year-old driver has finished in the top 10 in five of his six All-Star Race appearances and led in each of the last three races for a total of 74 laps.

BACK IN THE LONE STAR STATE: The All-Star Race is returning to Texas Motor Speedway for the second consecutive year. In this event in 2021, Elliott ultimately drove to a third-place result in the final round after winning the race’s fifth round. In addition, the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS pit crew had a lightning-fast green-flag pit stop during the fifth round, earning the team the pit crew challenge victory and its $100,000 payout. Through 13 races this season, the No. 9 pit crew has the best average time at 11.708 seconds for four-tire pit stops in the Cup Series.

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 All-Star Race. The Elliotts have won two of the three 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.

TEXAS STATS: Elliott has made 11 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway in points-paying events. Elliott garnered two top-five finishes, six top-10s and led a total of 44 laps in those 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, the 2014 Xfinity Series champion has accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s.

NO. 9 IS TOPS: Halfway through the regular season, Elliott continues to hold the Cup Series points lead, now by 52 markers over Ryan Blaney. Including a tie earlier in the season, this marks the ninth consecutive week the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has been atop the standings. Through 13 races, Elliott and the No. 9 team have nine top-10 finishes – tied for most in the series – and lead the field with an average finish of 10.8.

1.5-MILE PERFORMANCE: This season on 1.5-mile tracks, Elliott has two top-10 efforts in three starts, finishing ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and sixth at Atlanta. He was on his way to a third top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway last weekend when a flat left-rear tire caused him to spin, taking him out of contention. In 68 points-paying starts at mile-and-a-half facilities, Elliott has led 881 laps and earned two victories (Charlotte and Kansas), 22 top-five finishes – eight of which are runner-up results – and 37 top-10s.

A SHOC ENERGY DAYTONA RACE EXPERIENCE: A SHOC Energy is giving fans the opportunity to win a VIP trip to the Cup Series race at Daytona on Saturday, Aug. 27. One grand prize winner and guest will get flight and hotel accommodations, tickets to the regular-season finale and a $500 Visa gift card. The sweepstakes is open now through July 15, and fans can enter by texting “ASHOCTRIP” to 97579.

24 WILLIAM BYRON

Age: 24 (Nov. 29, 1997)

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

Standings: 4th

No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available in the Texas Motor Speedway media center on Friday, May 20, at 4 p.m. local time.

HALFWAY THERE: Halfway through the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, William Byron is continuing to have a career-best year. In 13 races, Byron has scored two wins, four top-five finishes with 569 laps led across 10 of the 13 races, three stage wins and 13 playoff points accumulated. The wins, laps led, stage wins and playoff point totals are the most for the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through 13 races in his Cup Series career. He is currently fourth in the driver point standings and is locked into the Cup Series playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.

1.5-MILE MOMENTUM: Byron is no stranger to success on mile-and-a-half tracks during his Cup Series career. In 2021, he picked up the win at the third race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway – his first on that configuration. He went on to collect seven top-10 finishes across nine races on 1.5-mile tracks throughout the season. This season, the Cup Series has raced at three 1.5-mile tracks: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Byron scored a win at Atlanta and a top-five finish at Las Vegas. In the most recent race of the season at Kansas, he led 25 laps before a flat tire left him with a 16th-place finish. In fact, since the start of 2021, Byron has nine top-10 finishes on tracks of that length.

LOCKED IT IN: Sunday will mark Byron’s fourth start in the NASCAR All-Star Race but for the second time in his Cup Series career, Byron heads into the event already locked in due to his wins at Atlanta and Martinsville Speedway earlier this season as well as his Homestead-Miami win in 2021. Needing to race his way into the all-star event in the past, Byron has gotten the job done in the Open qualifier races in 2019 and 2020. Across his three All-Star Race starts, Byron has two top-10 finishes. His best showing came last year when he led the most laps (30), had the lowest cumulative finishing position across the first four rounds and scored his best finish of seventh after being shuffled from the front row for the final 10-lap dash.

TWO-FOUR: The No. 24 has scored a win in the All-Star Race three times – tied for the second-most wins by a car number in the exhibition event, all coming with Jeff Gordon. If Byron were to end up in victory lane this Sunday night, the No. 24 would be tied for the most wins in all-star history with the No. 48 at four victories.

TRUCKIN’ IT IN TEXAS: Byron’s success at Texas Motor Speedway started almost six 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 is a track that Byron has always ran well at throughout his entire NASCAR career, even if the statistics don’t always reflect that. In seven Cup Series starts at the Lone Star State track, Byron has three top-10 results, including a track-best finish of second last fall. 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 8.0 in two NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

FUGLE HAS ‘NO LIMITS’: While Sunday will mark crew chief Fugle’s second Cup Series all-star event, the Livonia, New York, native is no stranger to success at Texas. In last year’s race, Fugle led Byron and the No. 24 team to a seventh-place result after leading the most laps. Fugle also has one other Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile track, where the No. 24 team battled for the win in the final stage before crossing the finish line in the runner-up position last fall. The veteran crew chief has 18 other starts at Texas, with all but three of those coming in the Truck Series. He has visited victory lane at the “No Limits” track five times in the Truck Series – the most for him at any track on the circuit – most recently in 2019 where he swept both races. Of those five wins, one includes a victory with Byron in June 2016. In his 15 Truck Series starts, Fugle’s drivers have also racked up seven top-five finishes, 11 top-10s with 493 laps led.

TEXAS TWO-STEP: Byron is pulling double duty at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. In addition to Sunday’s race, he’ll drive the No. 88 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series race on Saturday afternoon. The 24-year-old driver earned his Xfinity Series championship with JR Motorsports in 2017 and garnered four wins with the team. Byron’s primary partner in the Cup Series, Axalta, will also serve as an associate partner on his Xfinity Series car.

LIBERTY U IS BACK: For Sunday’s All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Byron will climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Featuring a white base with navy flames and red accents, the Liberty University No. 24 will be sure to stand out on track. Liberty University has a long history with Byron starting back in 2014 in the late model ranks. Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty University 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 strategic communication, Byron is now in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program. For a better look at Byron’s Liberty University paint scheme, click here.

48 Alex Bowman

Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Greg Ives

Standings: 8th

No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

KANSAS RECAP: Alex Bowman notched his eighth top-10 finish of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway last Sunday. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 finished the first stage in 10th and the second stage in 15th before tallying a ninth-place result at the 1.5-mile track. In his other starts this season on that track length, Bowman won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and placed 10th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

THROUGH 13: Bowman continues to show his consistency in one of his best years in his Cup Series career. Through the first 13 points-paying races in 2022, Bowman has one win (Las Vegas), three top-five finishes, eight top-10s, and has the second-best average finish in the series at 11.8. After his front-running finish at Kansas, Bowman is currently scored eighth in the regular season points standings, 89 markers behind teammate and leader Chase Elliott.

ALL-STAR SPECIAL: As a result of Bowman’s four wins in 2021 (Richmond Raceway, Dover Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Martinsville Speedway) and his one thus far in 2022 (Las Vegas), the 29-year-old driver is locked into the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. In his last three appearances in the unique event, Bowman has placed inside the top-10 in all races, with his best all-star finish coming last year where he crossed the finish line in sixth.

BOWMAN IN THE LONE STAR STATE: In his 12 points-paying starts at the Texas circuit, Bowman has garnered two top-five finishes. The most recent of which came in October 2020 with a fifth-place run in the No. 88 Chevrolet. In his two appearances in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Texas, Bowman started on the pole for both races.

IVES AT TEXAS: Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, has 13 starts atop the Cup Series pit box in the Lone Star State with five top-five finishes and six top-10s at the 1.5-mile venue. His best finish as the crew chief came in April 2016 with Dale Earnhardt Jr., where the duo notched a runner-up result in the No. 88 Chevrolet.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Bowman returned to his racing roots once again, racing his No. 55 Ally sprint car for Alex Bowman Racing at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in Swedesboro, New Jersey, with the World of Outlaws. He will also make an appearance at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio, on Friday with the World of Outlaws. Fans can watch Bowman race live at Attica on DirtVision.com this Friday.

BEST FRIENDS: Halfway through the 2022 Cup Series regular season, Bowman and primary sponsor Ally, have donated a combined $67,600 to Best Friends Animal Society and a network partner in each race market they have visited this year. Each week of the race season, Bowman and Ally will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and a local network partner. This weekend, Bowman and Ally will make a charitable donation to Operation Kindness, a no-kill shelter in Carrollton, Texas.

TAKE ME TO THE LEADER: In last year’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports led 68 of the 100 laps run – the most its ever led in a single all-star event. All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers won a stage prior to Kyle Larson winning the race.

TERRIFIC 10: Hendrick Motorsports has won the All-Star Race 10 times, which leads all organizations. That total is more than second and third place in all-star wins combined.

HIGH FIVE: Five drivers have accounted for Hendrick Motorsports’ all-star victories. Jimmie Johnson leads the way with four wins (2003, 2006, 2012, 2013), which is also the most among all drivers in all-star history. Jeff Gordon is next with three wins (1995, 1997, 2001). Terry Labonte (1999), Chase Elliott (2020) and Larson (2021) each have won the event once. The Johnson, Gordon and Labonte victories all came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while Elliott won at Bristol Motor Speedway and Larson won at Texas.

BACK-TO-BACK TRIUMPHS: Elliott and Larson’s wins in 2020 and 2021 stand as one of two times that Hendrick Motorsports has won the all-star event two straight times and one of four times that an organization has won back-to-back in this event. Johnson accomplished it in 2012 and 2013 and is one of two drivers to win the event in consecutive years with Davey Allison being the other in 1991 and 1992. To date, no driver or organization has won three all-star events in a row.

FROM ALL-STAR TO TITLE TOWN: The All-Star Race winner has gone on to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship 12 times in the sport’s history. Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished that seven times, including in the years of its last three all-star victories. Gordon’s wins in 1995, 1997 and 2001 came in title seasons. Johnson’s wins in 2006 and 2013 were during championship years. More recently, Elliott and Larson won this event ahead of their championship coronations.

PIT CREWS TAKE CENTER STAGE: This weekend will showcase the pit road athletes of Hendrick Motorsports. During the elimination, head-to-head bracket portion of qualifying on Saturday night, teams will perform a four-tire pit stop adjacent to their competitor and race off pit road and around to the start/finish line with the winner to the line advancing to the next round. This format will be used to go from eight drivers to four drivers with the final pairing determining the pole position. Following stage two of the All-Star Race, teams will be required to perform a four-tire stop and the driver/team with the shortest time on pit road (pit in to pit out) without any penalties will win the pit crew competition. The winning team will restart fourth for the final stage as long as that team finishes 15th or better in stage three.

MIDWAY MARK: At the midway point of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Hendrick Motorsports has five wins in 2022 – the most in the series. The organization is the fastest to have its entire four-car lineup win in one season as it achieved that in the first 11 races of the season.

QUOTABLE /

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the all-star format: “The format sounds exciting. It’s always interesting because it seems like the format is different each year. I’m sure (crew chief) Cliff (Daniels) and the team will study to see what strategy may work the best – but I’m sure that strategy is trying our best to win the first segment so we can start on the pole for the final one. Hopefully we can get another all-star win.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on last year’s winning strategy: “We studied on what we needed to do (to win), but our car was not what it needed to be for most of the race. At the end of every stage, we were doing huge changes to try to free it up because we were so tight in traffic. We started on the pole – I believe by random draw – and we were okay out front in the first stage but we couldn’t pass at all in the second stage. I got worried. Kyle got worried. But it all worked out okay because we were in good position (for the restart) going into the final stage – which is all you can ask for. No matter all the studying we did and could do, it didn’t change the fact we didn’t have a good car in traffic and needed to adjust on it and make it better.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on competing in the All-Star Race: “I’m glad that NASCAR has started rotating this event some. I think that’s what this event was initially designed to do. To give fans in the different regions a special event and I think that’s really cool. It’s more like what other forms of sports do. I’m hoping that next year they switch it up and head somewhere else after being back in Texas for the second year. It’s not exactly one of my best tracks, but we did put in a pretty good effort last year and the pit crew was able to get the job done. Hopefully with this year’s format, it will be entertaining for the fans and we can put on a good show for them.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on building a notebook for the playoff visit to Texas: “Last year was good, we were able to win the pit crew competition. I was really happy for all the guys and the effort they put into the pit stops. I feel like they don’t often get the recognition they deserve for how good they are. The race was good for us last year. I felt like we had a shot to win. For us this week, going back to Texas is just about this new car. Being able to try some things and it’s a race that doesn’t pay any points, so we can be a bit more aggressive in trying some different setup configurations and trying to learn some stuff.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on how the NASCAR Xfinity Series race should help him for Sunday’s All-Star Race: “Texas (Motor Speedway) is a track I found success at early on in my career in both trucks and Xfinity but I feel like I’ve struggled just a little bit to get the same results on the Cup side of things. That’s part of why I’m excited to get back in an Xfinity car this weekend and see how it races compared to when I was in one last a few years ago. I feel like those cars relate similarly to the Next Gen car and hopefully that will give us some extra notes that we can use not only for the All-Star Race on Sunday but also for when we go back to Texas in the fall.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on what challenges teams will face at Texas Motor Speedway: “I’m interested to see how the Next Gen car will race this weekend at Texas (Motor Speedway). In the past, we have ran high downforce packages for the All-Star Race but this year we will not only run lower downforce but the Next Gen car as well. Add in the fact that both ends of the track are so different from each other, it’s going to make it a challenge on your approach to setting the car up and changes you make throughout the weekend. With us using the same tire this weekend as we did last weekend in Kansas and at Las Vegas, I think that gives us a good starting place at least when it comes to what changes we can make with air pressure and the fine line on how the car reacts. That’s where practice is going to be the most help since the All-Star Race is broken up into mini races essentially and you don’t have a ton of chances to make big swings and recover by the end.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how his season has gone so far: “Greg and I have spent a lot of time working together to get more consistent and we have accomplished that. We are happy with the fact that we have eight top-10s but we both feel like we should have a few more wins. Our team has worked very hard to continue to get better and we feel like we are learning more about the Next Gen car, but we are always looking for more. Greg and I are ready to go to Texas this weekend and continue to get better and try to take home the $1 million check.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his approach to the race at Texas: “Texas Motor Speedway is a tough track to get the car dialed in with both ends of the track different from each other in banking and shape. I think it’s a great place to have the All-Star Race in that respect, but it makes for a long day if you can’t get the car set up for the track. Alex (Bowman) has found success at the track, having a couple of top-fives and top-10s, so it should be a fun weekend. We are going to go out there and learn a lot at the unique track and continue to build on our success this year.”



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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