TEAM CHEVY NASCAR RACE ADVANCE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 1-3, 2024

CHEVROLET CARRIES UNDEFEATED RECORD OUT WEST

Chevrolet continues to live up to its title as the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR history with a record-setting start to the 2024 season. The Bowtie brand has been the only manufacturer to earn a trip to victory lane across NASCAR’s three national series with back-to-back weekend sweeps at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Courtesy of wins by William Byron, Austin Hill and Nick Sanchez – Chevrolet swept the season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the second time in history. The Bowtie brand first accomplished that feat in 2018, with this season’s sweep making Chevrolet the only manufacturer to sweep the series’ season-opening weekend more than once. Chevrolet backed that performance up with yet another sweep at Atlanta Motor Speedway – marking the first time in NASCAR history that a sweep streak by a manufacturer has lasted through the second weekend of the season.

The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS), NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) will make the trek out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the third-straight tripleheader of the season. Looking to remain undefeated, Chevrolet has fared well at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval in recent years – returning to the track with wins in all three series last season:

· NCS: William Byron (March 2023) and Kyle Larson (Oct. 2023)
· NXS: Austin Hill (March 2023)
· NCTS: Kyle Busch (March 2023)


…AND THE STREAK CARRIES ON

Victories by Team Chevy’s AJ Allmendinger and Sam Mayer at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course in October 2023 ultimately marked the start of an impressive run for the Bowtie brand in the NASCAR national ranks. Dating back to the ROVAL race weekend last season, Chevrolet has since recorded at least one victory in NASCAR’s three national series each points-paying race weekend – further demonstrating the strength in the Chevrolet camp across the NASCAR national ranks. Those victories include:

Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (Oct. 7-8, 2023): AJ Allmendinger (NCS) and Sam Mayer (NXS)

Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 15, 2023): Kyle Larson (NCS)

Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 21, 2023): Sam Mayer (NXS) and Carson Hocevar (NCTS)

Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 28, 2023): Justin Allgaier (NXS)

Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 3-5, 2023): Ross Chastain (NCS) and Christian Eckes (NCTS)

Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 16-19, 2024): William Byron (NCS), Austin Hill (NXS), Nick Sanchez (NCTS)

Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 24-25, 2024): Daniel Suarez (NCS), Austin Hill (NXS), Kyle Busch (NCTS)


NEXT GEN IN NEVADA

NASCAR’s premier series made its first appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 1998, with Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube marking the series’ 33rd appearance at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval. Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon delivered the Bowtie brand its first NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2001, and the manufacturer has since collected 12 all-time victories at the track.

Since the Next Gen vehicles were introduced to the series at the beginning of the 2022 season, the Camaro ZL1 has earned victories in three of the series’ four events – recorded by Alex Bowman (March 2022), William Byron (March 2023) and Kyle Larson (Oct. 2023). Two of those victories were supported by a podium sweep by the Bowtie brand – with Bowman leading fellow Team Chevy drivers Larson (second) and Ross Chastain (third) in March 2022; and Byron leading his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Larson (second) and Bowman (third) in March 2023.

Alex Bowman

No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 March 6, 2022

William Byron

No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 March 5, 2023

Kyle Larson

No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 October 15, 2023


CHEVROLET IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT LAS VEGAS

In the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ 33-race history at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chevrolet leads the series with a winning percentage over 50 percent – heading into the weekend with 17 victories at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval.

The NXS’ debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 1997 saw Chevrolet atop the leaderboard in both qualifying and the race – both courtesy of Jeff Green in the No. 8 Chevrolet for team owner Gary Bechtel. In recent years, drivers from three different Chevrolet teams have recorded a combined four wins in the series’ past six races at the track – most recently one year ago by Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill and the No. 21 Camaro SS team.

HILL AIMS FOR RECORD WEEKEND

Team Chevy’s Austin Hill is off to dominant start in 2024 – making back-to-back trips to victory lane in the series’ first two races of the season. The 29-year-old Winston, Georgia, native will have the opportunity to make history in the series this weekend. A victory in Saturday’s ‘The LiUNA!’ race at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval would make Hill the first driver in series’ history to win the first three races in a season. Hill is no stranger to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the Team Chevy driver returning as the series’ defending winner of the track’s spring event. Hill also owns two victories in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – recorded in Sept. 2019 and Sept. 2020.


CHEVROLET IN THE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS

The Truck Series was the first of NASCAR’s three national series to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Jack Sprague driving the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Silverado to the win in the series’ inaugural event (Nov. 1996). In the series’ last appearance at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval (March 2023), Kyle Busch took Chevrolet to a double-digit win count at the track – driving his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Silverado RST to the manufacturer’s 10th NCTS victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

REIGNING ROWDY

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Las Vegas Motor Speedway holds a special place in Kyle Busch’s storied NASCAR career. The “hometown hero” made his first career NASCAR Cup Series start at his home track in March 2004 while competing in select races with Hendrick Motorsports that season. Busch has since made 25 NCS starts at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval – collecting one win (2009), two poles and a series-leading 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes.

The 38-year-old Nevada native has recorded victories in all three NASCAR national series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In addition to his one win in NASCAR’s top division at the Nevada oval, Busch has also tallied two NASCAR Xfinity Series wins (2016 and 2019) and four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wins (2018, 2019, 2020, 2023) at the track.

Busch’s most recent trip to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came one year ago in the NCTS – leading a race-high 84 laps and pulling away to a nearly five-second lead to take the checkered-flag. The victory came in Busch’s first start with KBM following the organization’s manufacturer switch to Chevrolet at the beginning of the 2023 season. The Team Chevy driver is heading to his home track as the series’ most recent winner this season after capturing his series-leading 65th NCTS victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend.


BOWTIE BULLETS:

· Chevrolet is the only manufacturer to win across all three NASCAR national series this season – the first time in NASCAR history that a sweep streak by a manufacturer has lasted through the second weekend of the season.

· Chevrolet has the opportunity to extend its sweep record even further this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – returning to the track with wins in all three series last season:

NASCAR Cup Series: William Byron (March 2023) and Kyle Larson (Oct. 2023)
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Austin Hill (March 2023)
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Kyle Busch (March 2023)

· Active Chevrolet drivers with a NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Kyle Larson – two wins (March 2021, Oct. 2023)
William Byron – one win (March 2023)
Alex Bowman – one win (March 2022)
Kyle Busch – one win (March 2009)

· In 32 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chevrolet has recorded 12 victories. Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at the track with nine, recorded among five drivers: Jeff Gordon (2001), Jimmie Johnson (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010), Kyle Larson (2021, 2023), Alex Bowman (2022), William Byron (2023).

· Since the debut of the Next Gen vehicles in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, Chevrolet has won three of the series’ four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – recorded by Alex Bowman (March 2022), William Byron (March 2023) and Kyle Larson (Oct. 2023).

· With its victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend, Chevrolet continues the streak of earning at least one win in the NASCAR national ranks each race weekend since the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course events in October 2023.

· With its 42 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships, and 853 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title as the winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history.

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 80
Toyota: 66 (-14)
Ford: 63 (-17)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 80
Toyota: 70 (-10)
Ford: 53 (-27)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 80
Toyota: 69 (-11)
Ford: 65 (-15)

TUNE-IN:

NASCAR Cup Series

Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Sunday, March 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET

(FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

The LiUNA!

Saturday, March 2, at 5 p.m. ET

(FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 presented by Westgate Resorts

Friday, March 1, at 9 p.m. ET

(FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)


QUOTABLE QUOTES:

ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 KUBOTA CAMARO ZL1

How much are you looking forward to racing at Las Vegas?

“We’ve obviously had strong cars for the first two races of the season and Daniel has too. Trackhouse as a whole has had good start to the season with Daniel’s win last week at Atlanta. This weekend is the first mile-and-a-half we’re going to, so we’ll get to see how much our off-season work is going to pay off for us. I enjoy racing at Vegas, and we’ve had some strong runs there in the Cup car with Trackhouse and obviously I’ve won there in the Xfinity Series.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1

What are your thoughts on Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

“I can’t wait to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s one of my favorite racetracks. It’s big, fast, bumpy, and it has a lot of lines that you can choose. It’s going to be a great race weekend for everyone coming to check us out. We’re on a mission on the No. 3 team to turn our luck around and Las Vegas is the perfect place to do that.”

How has racing on 1.5-mile tracks with the Next Gen car changed and how do you think it’s improved?

“I think the racing on the 1.5-mile tracks is probably the best racing we have now with this new car. It really seems to put on a good show, and you find certain times and tracks that race really competitively. The restarts are really pretty wild.”

COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 USANA CAMARO ZL1

LaJoie on the start of the 2024 season:

“I think it’s super-important to start the year out strong, especially to get through the west-coast swing in as good of a points position as possible. Jeff Dickerson’s favorite thing to say is ‘get out ahead of it early.’ We want to try and build ourselves a little bit of a points cushion between our team and the guys who might catch you throughout the course of the year. If you start the year strong, like we have, and we continue that, it’s going to be tough for some of those guys to catch us.

I’m always excited to go to Las Vegas. I’ve had some really good runs there the last couple years. That’s going to be a true barometer of where we stack up as a team with downforce and horsepower. I think we have a lot of the tools we need to bring a really good USANA Chevrolet Camaro to the race track this weekend. I’m excited to go out there and see how we stack up at the first true intermediate track of the season.”

Are you relieved to get Daytona and Atlanta out of the way? Those two tracks are variables and now you can focus on the bulk of the season.

“You’re much less in control of your own destiny at those places. You are, but you aren’t. Someone else’s mistake can take you out of the race. No different than Vegas, with the crazy restarts, but I feel like you’re in control of your destiny a little bit more at Vegas than the first two. The angst is the same no matter what racetrack you go to. You want to perform and you want to do the best you can for your partners, team and fans. I don’t know if I’m excited or happy to get those two out of the way, I just know there are 34 more race where we need to try and make a notch in the win column.”

Are you a fan of mile-and-a-half racing?

“Those tracks have become one of the strengths of our team, which is a little surprising because I’m more of a short-track guy at heart. We’ve had some really good runs at Vegas and Charlotte and some other places like that. Ryan Sparks has a pretty good knack for setting a car up at mile-and-a-halves so hopefully we’ll see that this weekend, as well.”

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1

What do you remember of your first Cup win at Las Vegas in 2009 and what did that victory mean to you? Being in front of the home crowd, what did that mean to you?

“It was huge and such a cool deal. That to me felt like my Daytona 500. I’ve had some big wins. I’ve won Indy. I’ve won the Southern 500. I’ve won the Coke 600, All-Star Race, all that stuff. But the Vegas win, it was just like such a relief, such a monumental win for me because I remember I grew up right down the street watching that place be built.”

Is there less pressure when you go back to Vegas?

“Because I’ve won there, yes, there’s less pressure, but I’ve never backed it up. You still want to win there every time you go, being the hometown. I think I have four or five third-place finishes there in the last six or seven races, whatever the hell it is. We’re right there, we just don’t get it.”

DEREK KRAUS, NO. 16 WESTERN STATES FLOORING CAMARO ZL1

“I’m really excited to make my first Cup Series start with Kaulig Racing, the team that I also made my Xfinity Series debut with! I’m thankful to Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice for believing in me, as well as Western States Flooring, a partner that has supported me throughout my career. I can’t wait to get to work with Travis Mack’s group and see what we can do in Las Vegas.”

DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 31 SOUTH POINT HOTEL AND CASINO CAMARO ZL1

“I’ve said for many years that Las Vegas feels like a second home now. It’s really special to have South Point Hotel Casino and Spa back on the Cup car after a five-year hiatus in the series. They have done so much for me in my career since 2017, so returning to the top level of racing with them feels like having family at the racetrack. Las Vegas is a track that has always been a good one for me. I think this No. 31 team is excited for our first, true mile-and-a-half event to show the work that we’ve put in throughout the off-season. I’m looking forward to seeing where we shake out once we unload and hopefully having a solid weekend.

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

Bowman on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“I’m excited for this weekend at Las Vegas (Motor Speedway). I went to the simulator this morning trying to get dialed in. There are places we are starting to get pretty consistently good at and (Las) Vegas (Motor Speedway) is one of them. We scored a podium finish last spring (2023) and then I did crash there last fall (2023), but hopefully I won’t do that again. It would be awesome to get the No. 48 team and Ally another win there (Las Vegas Motor Speedway). I look forward to going back and to get back to where we should be running. Getting back to victory lane, winning races, making the playoffs and going to contend for a Championship is really this year’s goal.”

BLAKE HARRIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

Harris on racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

“We had a couple really fast cars there (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) last year. Obviously being a part of the Hendrick Motorsports 1-2-3 finish in the spring (2023) was great. We had a fast car again in the fall and got ourselves in the top-10 before we wrecked. I expect to go back there (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) with speed. It’s a good track historically for Hendrick Motorsports and we hope to kick-off our intermediates the right way.”

ZANE SMITH, NO. 71 FOCUSED HEALTH CAMARO ZL1

Are you excited to get back and race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

“I’m very eager to get back to Las Vegas and race there. I classify Las Vegas as my home track so it is always a special weekend. Especially because this will be my first start in the Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, so it is bittersweet. I always dreamed of racing in the Cup Series at that track.”

How did you feel leaving Atlanta and what are you looking to capitalize on this weekend in Las Vegas?

“I was disappointed with how our race ended on Sunday at Atlanta. My City of Refuge Chevy Camaro was super-fast and unfortunately, I made some contact with the wall. This No. 71 Spire Motorsports team is special and I know we will have another fast Focused Health Chevy Camaro this weekend in Las Vegas. I’m looking forward to getting on the track and seeing what this team can accomplish together.”

CARSON HOCEVAR, NO. 77 PREMIER SECURITY CAMARO ZL1

“I feel good heading to Vegas, excited to start working on our mile 1/2 package in our No. 77 Premier Security Chevy. I’m even more excited to see where we stack up with all our off season work and preparation and have a solid smooth day after what happened at Daytona and then Atlanta. Wrong place wrong time sometimes but hey that’s racing, and we have another chance this next week to finish better!”

DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 FREEWAY INSURANCE CAMARO ZL1

What does the Atlanta victory mean to you?

“We have done a lot of work on this race team to make it better and to keep moving forward. This is just the beginning of something amazing that we are going to go through together. I am so happy for all my Amigos at Freeway Insurance who have been with us for so long. That victory was a group effort. Our partners at Chevrolet, all of our sponsors and all of the people at Trackhouse Racing.”

Are you ready to relax now that you have a victory and likely secured a playoff spot?

“No way. Atlanta will be the first of many victories. This makes us want to keep working and win more. I have always said I don’t want to just get in the playoffs. We want to win and advance in the playoffs.”

What are your thoughts on Las Vegas?

“I hope practice and qualifying go better than last year. We had an issue and crashed, but on race day our backup car was pretty quick. I was very proud of my guys. That wreck Saturday put us back and we had to get the backup car ready with no laps of practice. They stayed late Saturday night and came in early on race day. The car didn’t feel like a backup and if we had another 100 miles we would have finished even better than 16th. We passed many cars coming from the back a few times.”

What did you do in the offseason to make Daniel Suarez stronger?

“Well, I did a lot of work with my crew chief Matt Swiderski and the rest of the engineers in the simulator and analyzing myself what can I be better at. This is not just ‘we changed the crew chief’ that’s the solution. No, it has to be way more than that and I think we all need to change a few things here and there. Myself, crew chief, engineering department, pit crew department. With these changes, I believe we’ll be in a different place this year.”

What will it take for Trackhouse to break through?

“There are a lot of young teams like Trackhouse that are getting stronger every year. I truly believe that this year Trackhouse is really going to be stronger than last year. I can’t wait to see that reflected on track and hopefully we can give them a run for the money.”


Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics

Manufacturers Championships:

Total (1949-2023): 42

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, 2021, 2022, 2023

Drivers Championships:

Total (1949-2021): 33

First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)

Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)

Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021)

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, 2021

Event Victories:

Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)

2024 STATISTICS:

Wins: 2

Poles: 0

Laps Led: 117

Top-five finishes: 5

Top-10 finishes: 8

Stage wins: 1

· Chase Elliott: 1 (Daytona)

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:

Total Chevrolet race wins: 853 (1949 to date)

Poles won to date: 743

Laps led to date: 249,292

Top-five finishes to date: 4,303

Top-10 finishes to date: 8,869

Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:

       General Motors: 1,187

       Chevrolet: 853

       Pontiac: 154

       Oldsmobile: 115

       Buick: 65



       Ford: 828                                                           

       Ford: 728

       Mercury: 96

       Lincoln: 4



       Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467

       Dodge: 217

       Plymouth: 191

       Chrysler: 59



       Toyota: 180

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands. 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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