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Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Nashville

Nashville Superspeedway
Sunday, June 26, 2022
1.33-Mile Oval
5:00 PM ET
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
TV: Fox
Event: NASCAR Cup Series (17 of 36)
Radio: SiriusXM, PRN

5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 29 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Kevin Meendering
Standings: 7th

No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available in the Nashville Superspeedway media center on Saturday, June 25, at 10:30 a.m. local time.

AS GOOD AS I ONCE WAS: Last year at Nashville Superspeedway, Kyle Larson led 264 of 300 laps en route to victory in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event at the 1.33-mile track. The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 started fifth, finished second in stage one and first in stage two before leading the final 78 laps to earn the victory.

THE STREAK: Larson’s victory last June at the Tennessee track marked his third consecutive points-paying victory in NASCAR’s premier series. In fact, from the Darlington Raceway spring race in May through the Nashville event, the Elk Grove, California, native recorded six consecutive top-two finishes. That streak was snapped in the next race at Pocono Raceway when Larson experienced a tire issue in the final corner on the final lap while leading.

SOMETHING LIKE THAT: Last weekend marked the first – and only – off weekend of the 2022 season. In 2021 at Watkins Glen International, Larson won on the serpentine layout following the Cup Series’ final weekend without a race during its season.

I GOT A CAR: In 2022, Larson has led 12 of the 16 races – the second most of any driver in the Cup Series – for 273 laps. The 29-year-old driver has posted top-five finishes in six events – trailing only Ross Chastain (seven) in that statistical category – while securing top-10s in half of the races (eight).

T-R-O-U-B-L-E: Kevin Meendering will be atop the pit box for the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team during the next four races. Crew chief Cliff Daniels, jackman Brandon Johnson and front-tire changer Donnie Tasser are out for four races after the team inadvertently lost its right-front tire during the final stage of the Cup race at Sonoma Raceway. Meendering currently serves as the competition development manager for Hendrick Motorsports and will be the crew chief for the recently announced No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports entry in three NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

HOME: At Nashville this weekend, Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team will wear their “home” white uniforms. Home races occur in markets where there are Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships nearby, and the Nashville market is home to three 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.

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

HELL OF A VIEW: Following his eighth-place run at Sonoma Raceway, Chase Elliott continues to hold the NASCAR Cup Series points lead, now by 16 points over Ross Chastain. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native first took over the point standings lead following the fifth race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway and, outside of a tie with Ryan Blaney coming out of Richmond Raceway, has held sole possession at the top.

FAST AS YOU: With 16 races in the books in the 2022 season so far, Elliott has one win (Dover Motor Speedway), one pole award (Martinsville Speedway), three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He’s led laps in 50% of the events this year for a combined total 471 circuits, his most laps led through 16 events in his Cup Series career. That total is also second in the series behind only Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron (570). His 10 top-10 results are tied for second (with Chastain) across full-time drivers this season, trailing Kyle Busch who has 11. His average finish of 12.63 is third best behind Busch and teammate Alex Bowman.

EVERY MILE A MEMORY: During the Cup Series race at Sonoma, Elliott was credited with leading the 100,000th mile for Hendrick Motorsports. The team is the first in the sport to accomplish the feat. Overall, the 26-year-old driver has led the third-most miles (5,819.724) among all Hendrick Motorsports drivers, trailing only Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

ROLLER COASTER RIDE: In last year’s inaugural Cup event at Nashville Superspeedway, Elliott started sixth and finished first in the opening stage of the race. He followed that up with a seventh-place result in stage two. In the final stage, Elliott raced as high as fourth but dropped out of the top 10 after experiencing a left-rear tire issue. He crossed the finish line 13th but was credited with a 39th-place finish due to loose lug nuts on his Chevrolet.

STOP ON A DIME: Elliott’s No. 9 pit crew continues to hold the fastest average time for four-tire pit stops in 2022 at 11.671 seconds. The team is comprised of jackman T.J. Semke, gasman John Gianninoto, tire carrier Jared Erspamer and tire changers Chad Avrit (rear) and Nick O’Dell (front). The No. 9 team is no stranger to being at the top, as last season it was named the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew for demonstrating the most consistency on pit road throughout the 36-race schedule.

THE GOOD STUFF: This Sunday, Elliott will make his second Cup Series start at Nashville. In 46 starts on tracks measuring 1- to 1.37-miles in length (Dover Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Nashville, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway), the 2020 Cup Series champion has three wins, including a victory at Dover earlier this season. Accompanying those victories are 18 top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and 1,190 laps led. While he’s winless at the 1.33-mile oval, he has enjoyed success in Music City. At Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Elliott won the 2013 All-American 400 in a Super Late Model when he was 17 years old and in 2021, he won the SRX race at the track.

I FEEL LUCKY: 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: 8th

No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

I LIKE IT, I LOVE IT: Before the off weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series field took to the 1.99-mile road course of Sonoma Raceway on June 12. Despite qualifying 20th, William Byron and the No. 24 team worked diligently all race long to gain track position before ultimately crossing the finish line in the ninth position – a track-best finish at the Cup level for Byron at Sonoma.

RECORD YEAR: So far in the 2022 season, Byron has scored two wins, four top-five finishes, five top-10s and three stage wins. His 13 playoff points accumulated are tied with Ross Chastain for the most by any driver so far this season. He is also currently eighth in the driver point standings, locked into the Cup Series playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.

HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?!: With 16 races complete in 2022, Byron has led laps in 11 of them – tied for the third-most with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native’s 570 laps led are the most by a driver this season. He has also spent the fourth-most laps running in the top-10 (2,549) as well as the second-most laps running within the top-five (1,689).

THE RACE IS ON: This Sunday’s race at Nashville Superspeedway will mark Byron’s 32nd start on tracks 1-mile to 1.37-miles in length (Dover Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Nashville, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway). In his previous 31 starts, the 24-year-old driver has collected one pole award, five top-five finishes, 10 top-10s with 82 laps led.

THE SIGN SAYS NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: In the first Cup race at the Nashville venue last year, Byron qualified fourth but was forced to start at the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment pre-race. However, Byron wasted no time racing his way through the field, scoring a third-place finish. Byron has one other start at the 1.33-mile oval, also coming last season, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he qualified 10th and was running up front before suffering a mechanical issue just past halfway.

HARD WORKIN’ MAN: Last year, crew chief Rudy Fugle scored a third-place finish with Byron and the No. 24 team in his Cup Series debut at Nashville. Aside from that Cup Series start, the Livonia, New York, native has three other starts at the Tennessee track, including two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, both coming in 2010 where he recorded one top-10 finish and two top-15s, as well as a 16th-place result in Truck Series in 2011.

BLAME IT ALL ON MY ROOTS: Byron once again continued his winning ways, scoring the victory at Berlin Raceway on Thursday, June 9 – his fifth straight win in the No. 24 Super Late Model for Wilson Motorsports. He’s now collected two wins at New Smyrna Speedway, one at Hickory Motor Speedway, one at Berlin Raceway and one at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway – just under an hour away from Nashville Superspeedway.

YOU MAKE MY MOTOR RUN: Valvoline will make its second appearance as the primary sponsor of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Nashville Superspeedway. This will be the second race that the Valvoline colors will be onboard Byron’s No. 24, with a third race coming at his hometown track for the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which time it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. To learn more, visit www.valvoline.com. For a closer look at Byron’s No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.

48 Alex Bowman
Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Resides: Concord, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Greg Ives
Standings: 9th

No. 48 Ally Music City Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

DIRT ON MY BOOTS: Alex Bowman spent the week away from the NASCAR Cup Series behind the wheel of the No. 55 Ally sprint car for Alex Bowman Racing, competing in Ohio Sprint Speedweek. As part of the week on dirt, Bowman made starts at Wayne County Speedway, Sharon Speedway, Atomic Speedway, Waynesfield Raceway Park, Limaland Motorsports Park, and Portsmouth Raceway Park.

WHOLE LOT OF SPEED: Last time the Cup Series raced on June 26th, Bowman took home his fifth career win in NASCAR’s premier series at Pocono Raceway in 2021. Bowman led 16 circuits at the “Tricky Triangle” and beat teammate Kyle Larson, who had a tire go down in the final turn. The win was his third in his banner year in Cup. Bowman’s Pocono win was Hendrick Motorsports’ sixth consecutive win, setting the modern-era record for consecutive wins.

REAL GOOD MAN: After 16 events in the 2022 Cup Series season, Bowman continues to hold the second-best average finish at 12.06. He trails only Kyle Busch, who holds an average finish of 11.81. The Tucson, Arizona, native also has nine top-10s through 16 events – his most at this point in any of his Cup Series seasons. Bowman didn’t take home his ninth top-10 in 2021 until the 18th race at Pocono, where he won the race.

CHASIN’ THAT NEON RAINBOW: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet will adorn a more vibrant look for the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway this Sunday. For the second year in a row, Ally tagged in Dale Earnhardt Jr. to design the look for the ride. Fans can see all angles of the No. 48 Ally Music City Chevrolet here.

PURPLE RAIN: Ally, who is the primary sponsor of the No. 48 Chevy and the title sponsor of the race in Nashville, Tennessee, will cash it all in with activations all weekend. Fans can come to Ole Red on Broadway to see the No. 48 Ally Music City Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 show car wrapped in the neon colors designed by Earnhardt Jr. all weekend. On Friday evening, fans also have the opportunity to be a part of the first live recording of the Dale Jr. Download from Ole Red with special guest Bernard Pollard. On Saturday evening, Ally will light up the sky over Broadway with an aerial drone show, starting at 10:30 p.m. local time.

WHEN THE DEALIN’S DONE: In a new five-year agreement announced on Tuesday, Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) extended its relationship as the Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports. The deal includes a major associate sponsorship of the team’s four-car lineup in the NASCAR Cup Series as well as serving as the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson (three races) and William Byron (two races). For 2022, the company added a sixth primary race with Byron and the No. 24 team for this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. The global leader in vehicle care and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services will also remain the presenting sponsor of the annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engines Builder Showdown, a competition that brings together engine builders from Hendrick Motorsports and master technicians from Hendrick Automotive Group. For more on the deal that runs through 2027, click here.

THAT’S SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF: By leading the first 50 laps at Sonoma Raceway on June 12, Hendrick Motorsports became the first Cup Series organization to lead over 100,000 miles in the sport’s top series. Through 16 points-paying races in 2022, the team has led 1,548.91 miles.

ROAR OF A SUNDAY CROWD: Since its inception in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins after an off weekend in the Cup Series. The organization has 37 wins coming off a weekend of rest – the next closest mark is 27 by Richard Childress Racing. Larson (2021, Watkins Glen International) and Chase Elliott (2019, Talladega Superspeedway spring race) are the two most recent winners for the team after a break.

HOME ON THE (CONCRETE) RANGE: Concrete tracks have been a boon for Hendrick Motorsports recently. Going back to Alex Bowman’s 2021 May win at Dover Motor Speedway, the organization has won four straight races on that track type. That stretch includes Larson’s wins at Nashville and Bristol Motor Speedway last year as well as Elliott’s win at Dover last month.

THE FUN IS JUST BEGINNING: The 2022 race at Nashville marks the second time the Cup Series has visited the 1.33-mile venue. In last year’s inaugural Ally 400, Larson scored the win. It was one of three new tracks that Hendrick Motorsports won on in 2021 – Elliott’s wins at Circuit of The Americas and Road America stand as the others in that category.

FOLLOW YOUR ARROW: Through the first 16 points-paying races of the season, Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps in the Cup Series. The 1,332 circuits out front are 484 more than the next closest team and account for 31 percent of all the laps run this year.

WHEREVER IT POINTS: The Rick Hendrick-owned organization is the lone team to have its entire lineup inside the top 10 in the point standings. Elliott holds the lead, while Larson ranks seventh, Byron is eighth and Bowman stands in ninth.

WE’RE GONNA BE THE ONES THAT HAVE IT ALL: Hendrick Motorsports five wins this season are the most in the Cup Series by two over Trackhouse Racing. The four drivers have accounted for 20% of the top-five finishes (16) and top-10s (32) this season in the Cup Series.

QUOTABLE /

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how he expects Nashville Superspeedway to race this year versus last year: “It raced really well (last year). I had only tested there before and it was always kind of just right around the bottom. Last year, I think they put some resin on the track or something and we were able to move up the track. It was pretty slick and you could move around. I hope it’s similar to that. I think it should be and probably even better. It seems like these Next Gen cars slide around even more, so it should be fun.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Nashville: “I think Nashville (Superspeedway) will be similar to the rest of the mile and mile-and-a-half tracks we go to. I don’t see it looking much different than last year. I think we have the potential to be really good there. We’ve had some pretty good speed this year, we just need to focus on putting everything together and getting more consistently strong finishes and hopefully another win or two during this stretch of races before heading into the playoffs.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on heading back to Nashville: “I think for sure the heat will play a role and everything is going to be a bit more difficult for everybody. The car’s performance, your driver is going to be in a little more difficult situation. The grip of the tires is going to be a little worse, pitting the car on pit road is a little more difficult when it’s hot. It’s hard to get calm and cool. It’s a little bit more uncomfortable. It’ll make it a little bit tougher. I like it. I think those mental challenges are fun, for me. We were OK there last year. I wouldn’t say we were great, but we need to improve and get the car driving a little bit better. The car is typically loose in there and tight in the center and can be tight exit or loose exit depending on what you’ve got, but stringing that whole corner together is key.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for this weekend at Nashville: “I think last year’s race at Nashville (Superspeedway) was a ‘learn as you go’ type of situation. With so few people having experience there, and even my short stint in the (Camping World) Truck Series race that weekend, we still didn’t know a lot of what to expect. We ended up having a really solid run though and that does offer some extra confidence for this weekend. You don’t want to be overly confident, though. Just because you had a good finish, that was last year’s car, and the Next Gen car handles differently. We have a starting point, and we’ll use practice on Friday to really dial the race setup in. Nashville presents its own challenges though as it looks like a superspeedway but it’s more similar to a short track in how tight the corners are.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how he’s approaching this weekend at Nashville: “I think this will be another weekend that we have a good starting point to work from when we unload. We ran well in last year’s race at Nashville Superspeedway. We had to start at the rear and were still able to race our way back to the front. I’m not sure if there will be as much passing this year as there was last year, but between our notebook and our teammate’s notebook (No. 5 team, defending winner), we have a good starting point. Plus, a full 50-minute practice really allows us to try some different things and make longer runs. It’s going to be hot, which will make for a slick track and with the resin down, we’ll want to practice with that as much as we can ahead of Sunday to get the balance right over a run.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what it means to have primary sponsor Ally be the title sponsor of the race in Nashville: “It is cool to see Ally have such a presence in NASCAR beyond just my team. Whatever Ally does, they do it to the best and fullest extent. Whether it is my Cup car, my sprint car and midgets at ABR, helping dogs with Best Friends – Ally does it right and I am happy to see them getting involved in NASCAR beyond just being the primary partner of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his expectations heading to Nashville for the Ally 400: “We have a lot of data and notes to look back on from last year and the races we have completed this year, so we expect to go out to Nashville and have a competitive car. Having a weekend off last weekend and the race being sponsored by Ally, I feel like our team has a lot of positive, motivating factors to head to Tennessee with. Obviously, we want to win the race for Ally, but we have to take it one step at a time and that means getting the car ready during practice, qualifying well, and then getting it done on Sunday.”



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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