5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 30 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Kevin Meendering (interim)
No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
COTA RECAP: Kyle Larson posted the second-fastest speed in practice at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). During qualifying, he solidified a 13th-place starting position for the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team. Following an on-track incident in stage one of the race, Larson and the team utilized a different pit strategy to gain track position in stage two. That decision led to a seventh-place result in the second stage and four stage points. An eventful final stage saw Larson rally from a mechanical issue that put him two laps down to finish 14th.
MOST LAPS LED: Larson remains the NASCAR Cup Series driver with the most laps led in the 2023 season after six races. The 30-year-old has paced the field for 270 laps, with teammate William Byron (268 laps) just behind him. Larson’s laps run in the top five (691 laps) this year are second to Byron (774 laps). Larson also ranks fourth in laps run in the top 10 (813 laps) in 2023.
RACING IN RICHMOND: This Sunday, Larson and the No. 5 team will compete at Richmond Raceway. The race on the .75-mile D-shaped oval will mark his 17th Cup Series start at the Virginia track. Of the 16 previous starts, he has one victory (2017), three top-five finishes, seven top-10s, 92 laps led and has completed 95.7% of his laps run.
SCORING ON SHORT TRACKS: Last season, Larson ranked fourth in points earned on short tracks (182). Teammates Byron (203 points) and Chase Elliott (202 points) ranked second and third, respectively. The Elk Grove, California, native had the fifth-best average finish (9.00) on short tracks in 2022 and was one of six drivers to have an average finish inside the top 10 on that track type. In addition, Larson was tied with three others, including teammate Byron, for a series-best three top-five finishes on short tracks last year.
VICTORY BELL: Larson has two short-track wins in his Cup Series career. The first came at Richmond in September 2017 when he was with Chip Ganassi Racing. The most recent came in September 2021 with a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway during his record-setting title-winning season for Hendrick Motorsports.
HOME RACE HATS: This weekend’s race at Richmond will mark the third home race of the season for the HendrickCars.com team and the new exclusive hat program for fans continues. For every HendrickCars.com home race this season (15 total), there will be a unique hat released the week of the race. Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be available for sale at the trackside merchandise haulers and one will be available to win on HendrickCars.com. This week’s Richmond themed hat will be released Thursday and can be found here.
HENDRICKCARS.COM IN VIRGINIA: The Richmond automotive market is home to HendrickCars.com dealership, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Buick GMC Richmond. If you don’t reside in Richmond, Virginia, or aren’t in town for the race, you can pick from any one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 95 dealerships nationwide. Customers can also shop from the convenience of their home selecting 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.
HENDRICK IS HIRING: Join 10,000+ others nationwide in working at Hendrick Automotive Group. Hendrick is hiring technicians and other positions at its dealerships throughout the country. Positions are open for all skill levels and offer tuition and training reimbursement. Individuals who are interested can apply at HendrickCars.com.
9 JOSH BERRY
Age: 32 (Oct. 22, 1990)
Hometown: Hendersonville, Tennessee
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Tom Gray (interim)
Standings: 20th (owner’s points)
No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
BERRY LATEST: This weekend at Richmond Raceway, Josh Berry will make his fourth start for Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 9, filling in for Chase Elliott as he continues to recover from a fractured tibia. His best finish of 10th at Phoenix Raceway came in only his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series start, making him just the seventh driver in the last 15 years to accomplish that feat in four races or less. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native is also the 29th different driver to score a top-10 finish for Hendrick Motorsports. His other two starts in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he earned finishes of 29th and 18th, respectively.
RICHMOND EXPERIENCE: Berry, a full-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, has three career Xfinity Series starts at Richmond. He earned his first career top-10 finish in the Xfinity Series at the track in 2015, making a name for himself with a seventh-place finish. In all, he has two top-10 results across those three races at the short track.
BERRY BACKGROUND: With 68 career Xfinity Series starts to his name, Berry has compiled five victories, 19 top-five finishes and 39 top-10s, with 594 laps led. The 2022 season marked his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series. He earned three wins and advanced to the Championship 4, ultimately placing fourth in the series standings.
DELIVERING IN OLD DOMINION: While Berry is winless at Richmond, he has visited victory lane in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 32-year-old driver captured the Xfinity Series win at Martinsville Speedway in 2021 after leading 95 of 250 laps. It was Berry’s first NASCAR national series win and also the first of two victories on the season for the driver.
9 PERFORMANCE: This weekend, the Cup Series makes its first short-track visit of 2023. Last season with Elliott, the No. 9 team was fast on this track type. Elliott captured two front-row starting positions on tracks less than 1-mile in length – both at Martinsville Speedway – earning the pole position in April and securing second in October. The 2020 Cup Series champion led 240 laps on short tracks in 2022, netting two top-five finishes and four top-10s, with a best effort of second at Bristol Motor Speedway in September. The No. 9 team ranked third in points earned on short tracks (202) and average finish on that track type (8.20) last season.
GET UP AND GO: NAPA Auto Parts returns as the primary partner on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Richmond. The Atlanta-based brand’s colors were on board for the team’s most recent start on the Virginia short track, in which Elliott earned a fifth-place finish. See every angle of the paint scheme here.
24 WILLIAM BYRON
Age: 25 (Nov. 29, 1997)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Brian Campe (interim)
No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
COTA CATCHUP: Pulling double duty this past weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), William Byron was competitive at every level. Lining up ninth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, the driver of the No. 17 HENDRICKCARS.COM Chevy battled up front all race long before ultimately finishing second. Byron followed it up by capturing his first pole award of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. He once again battled up front all race long and endured three overtime attempts, which left him with a fifth-place finish.
24 IN ’23: Byron and the No. 24 team are off to a hot start in the 2023 Cup Series season. So far this year, Byron has led the second-most laps (268) behind only his teammate Kyle Larson (270). After six races, he leads the series in wins (two), stage wins (four), and laps run in the top five (774). On top of that, the 25-year-old is tied for the most top-five finishes (three) and most top-10s in a stage (eight) and is second for laps run in the top 10 (935).
STAGE WINNER: After winning stage one in the Cup Series race at COTA, Byron now has four stage wins this year. This matches his highest amount of stage wins in a season – winning four stages in 2021 and 2022. His four stage wins are also tied for the most by a driver through six races in a year. Of note, the other two drivers that did this went on to win the championship in those years (2017 and 2019).
SHORT-TRACK SUCCESS: With this Sunday marking the first short-track race of the 2023 season, Byron is no stranger to success at this type of track. In the 2022 season, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native collected 203 points – second-most in the series. He had the best average finish (5.00) and was tied with three drivers (including teammate Larson) for the most top-five finishes (three) on short tracks last season. In his last seven short-track races, Byron has one win, five top-five finishes, six top-10s, 334 laps led and an average finish of 4.71. Of those stats, his top-five finishes, top-10s and average finish rank the best of all drivers in that span.
READY FOR RICHMOND: This Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway will mark Byron’s 10th Cup Series start at the .75-mile track. He currently has a track-best finish of third that came in April 2022 after starting on the front row and leading 122 laps – his third-most laps led in a single race. In the last four races at the Virginia-based track, Byron has one top-five finish, two top-10s and 122 laps led with an average finish of 10.00.
FAST STOPS: In the first six races of 2023, the No. 24 pit crew has an average four-tire pit stop time of 11.459 seconds – the second-best average in the field. The team’s pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler). The No. 24 pit crew also had the best four-tire pit stop in the 2023 DAYTONA 500 with a time of 11.278 seconds.
GOT 99 PROBLEMS, BUT WINNING AIN’T ONE: With his two victories to start the year, Byron continues to make his mark on the legacy of the No. 24 at the Cup Series level. Those two wins bring the No. 24 one victory away from 100. Currently fifth with 99 wins, the No. 24 is only behind the No. 3 with 101, the No. 2 with 102 wins, the No. 43 with 200 wins and the No. 11 with 228 wins on the all-time list.
RAPTOR® TOUGH: The last time RAPTOR® Tough and Tintable Protective Coatings was on Byron’s No. 24 he went to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He hopes to do that again when he powers the RaptorTough.com Chevy at Richmond. RAPTOR® is a durable protective coating that is designed to tolerate the toughest climatic conditions and can be applied to a wide range of items, including truck beds, lawnmowers, outdoor furniture and more. With 16 pre-mixed colors available, it’s easy to personalize anything you want to protect. RAPTOR® is available at local paint distributors, auto parts stores, and online retailers. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.
48 Alex Bowman
Age: 29 (April 25, 1993)
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Resides: Concord, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Greg Ives (interim)
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
COTA RECAP: Alex Bowman took home his third top-five result of the season at Circuit of The Americas last Sunday, crossing the start-finish line in third. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 started the race in sixth after Saturday’s qualifying session – just ahead of his average starting position of 7.66 at the Austin, Texas, venue. He finished the first stage in fourth to score valuable stage points. Bowman has finished all three NASCAR Cup Series races at the 3.41-mile road course in the top 10, including a runner-up finish in 2022.
ABOVE AVERAGE: Through six races in the 2023 Cup Series season, Bowman has an average finishing position of 7.00 – best of all Cup Series drivers this season by two positions. This is the sixth-best average finish all time through six races by a Hendrick Motorsports driver and the best average finish by a driver in the organization through this point in a season since Jimmie Johnson in 2016 (6.83).
NO. 1 IN YOUR HEART (AND IN POINTS): As a result of his consistency this year, Bowman is the current regular season points leader, 15 markers ahead of the second-place driver. This is his first time entering a race weekend as the points leader in his nine-year Cup Series career.
RALLY48: Heading to Richmond Raceway, Bowman has tallied three top-five finishes, five top-10s, 31 laps led and an average starting position of 9.80. He is tied with teammate William Byron and two others for the most top fives and Bowman has the most top 10s so far in 2023. The 29-year-old driver also has led laps in three of six races and tallied his sixth straight front row start in the DAYTONA 500 when he captured the pole position in February.
VIRGINIA IS FOR WINNERS: In the last nine races on short tracks in the Cup Series, Bowman has taken home hardware twice – which is tied for the most during that stretch of time. His initial victory came at Richmond in April 2021. In that race, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevy finished the first stage in seventh and the second stage in fourth before leading the final 10 laps to earn the win. His next short-track triumph came six months later in the penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway. Bowman started the race in 13th, before finishing the second stage in second and leading the last eight laps en route to victory lane.
PIT POWER: The No. 48 Ally Racing pit crew holds the fifth-fastest pit stop of the 2023 season. On lap 185 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the five-man crew made a four-tire pit stop of 9.776 seconds. The over-the-wall crew is made up of rear-tire changer Andrew Bridgeforth (rear-tire changer), Jacob Conley (fueler), Allen Holman (jackman), Scott Riddle (tire carrier) and Donnie Tasser (front-tire changer).
SAVE THEM ALL: Bowman and primary partner Ally are teaming up this year to bring back the Best Friends Animal Society donation effort. This week, the duo will make charitable contributions to the Richmond SPCA, which serves the local community in Virginia’s capital city. Bowman and Ally will donate $4,800 to Best Friends and the Richmond SPCA. Ally will increase its donation to $10,000 if the No. 48 team wins on Sunday.
DAY ‘N’ NITE: The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will adorn two versions of its primary scheme during the 2023 Cup Series season. The No. 48 Ally Chevy “day” scheme will host a white base with bright plum, grapefruit, and seafoam stripes down the side. This version of the primary scheme will appear at races that take place during the day. When the lights come on over the racetrack, the black-based No. 48 Ally Chevy “night” scheme will be sported with a similar design to its daytime counterpart. This weekend, the No. 48 machine will adorn the “day” scheme. Check out all the angles of the new look here.
*Most **Most (tie)
CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is seven points-paying victories away from 300 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 293 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. With two wins this season, Hendrick Motorsports achieved its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series. In each of the last 30 seasons, the organization has won at least two races.
ATOP THE BOX: For the next two races, Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will continue to fill in as crew chiefs. While Hendrick Motorsports recouped all of its driver, owner and playoff points in the appeal process, the crew chief suspensions will remain for the next two races. Meendering and Ives have a wide range of experience as crew chiefs and currently lead the organization’s NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts. Gray is the former lead engineer on the No. 9, while Campe is Hendrick Motorsports’ technical director.
IN THE KNOW: This weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway will use the rules package designed to have a decrease in downforce for most short ovals and road courses. In the event of damp conditions, teams will be able to use “wet weather equipment” at the short track.
WINNING IN THE RIVER CITY: In its storied history, Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 11 wins at Richmond. Jimmie Johnson and Terry Labonte lead the way with three victories apiece, followed by Jeff Gordon with two. Alex Bowman, Joe Nemechek and Tim Richmond each have one win at the .75-mile track. The six different drivers to win in Virginia’s capital city are tied for the most by a single organization at this venue.
SPRING REWIND: In last spring’s race at Richmond, three of the organization’s drivers finished in the top 10 at this track. William Byron came in third, Kyle Larson placed fifth and Bowman took eighth. That result was the first of its kind for the team at the short track since September 2015.
VICTORY IN VIRGINIA: Team owner Rick Hendrick grew up in Palmer Springs, Virginia, and his teams have won 38 Cup Series races in his home state. Hendrick Motorsports has gone to victory lane in Virginia at least one time in 27 different seasons, including the past three seasons. The past nine races in Virginia have seen one of his drivers emerge victorious on four occasions.
NO SHORTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports leads all active Cup Series teams with 55 points-paying victories on short tracks – 10 more than the next closest team. Gordon leads all drivers in team history with 17 short-track wins.
STUDYING THE TRENDS: Over the last 11 short-track races, the winningest team in Cup Series history has scored five wins. During that span, all four of the organization’s current full-time drivers have victories: Bowman (two), Byron (one), Chase Elliott (one) and Larson (one).
TOP FIVE JIVE: Through six races this season, Hendrick Motorsports has nine top-five finishes – best in the series. That mark is tied for third-most in team history at this point in the season. In 2007 and 2013, the organization had 10 top-five finishes through six races and in 2006, the squad had nine top-fives. What was one thing all three of those seasons had in common? They each ended in a Cup Series driver and owner championship for team owner Hendrick.
STAGE SAVANTS: With five stage wins in 2023, the Concord, North Carolina, based organization has the most stage wins in the series. Those stage wins have come between two drivers – Byron (four) and Larson (one).
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what he learned from running the Gen-6 car and the Next Gen car at Richmond Raceway: “They both drove similarly at Richmond (Raceway). The entry to (turn) three was a little bit looser in the Next Gen car as the run progressed. Richmond was already a hard track to pass on and is probably (now) one of the most difficult tracks to pass on in the Next Gen car. The spring race at Richmond Raceway is really slick and slow. Richmond in general is very finesse.”
Josh Berry, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing at Richmond: “Richmond Raceway has always been one of my favorites to race at. I feel like its nature fits my style, and I was able to get my first top-10 finish in the (NASCAR) Xfinity Series there. Since then, I’ve continued to perform well at Richmond and I’m hoping that will cross over into Sunday.”
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his fast start in 2023 lending itself to the upcoming short-track races: “With the variety of tracks we’ve raced at so far this year, it really shows the strength of this team overall. Our short-track program was strong last year. Those tracks are a real strength of mine in general, which makes me really excited for this weekend. We should have a really good shot at being one of the cars to beat again this weekend and that’s how we want it to be. We want to keep that momentum up and keeping playing offense.”
Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his consistency to start 2023: “Being able to start the year so strong is a testament to the hard work by everyone on the No. 48 team. Becoming more consistent is something I have wanted to get to for a while now. To have this season start this way has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. The team at the shop are building really fast No. 48 Ally Chevrolets and Blake (Harris, crew chief) has put a lot of energy back into this group. It’s a really exciting time for us. I am just trying to take it one race at a time and do everything I can to continue our string of good races.”