ANCEL Bidirectional Automotive Scanner

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: St. Louis

5 KYLE LARSON

Age: 31 (July 31, 1992)

Hometown: Elk Grove, California

Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels

Standings: 3rd

No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Sunday marks the third NASCAR Cup Series race at WWT Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Last year, HENDRICKCARS.COM driver Kyle Larson led five laps before finishing fourth in the 243-lap race. Overall, he has one top-five finish, one top-10 and an average finish of eighth at the 1.25-mile oval.

OUT FRONT: This season, 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Larson has led 649 laps – the most of any driver by 42. He also has a series-high seven stage wins and three pole positions while his six top-five finishes are tied for the most in NASCAR’s premier series.

VICTORIOUS: Larson has visited victory lane twice in 2024. In March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 31-year-old driver led 181 laps and won both stages en route to the win at the desert track. In May at Kansas Speedway, Larson nosed ahead of Chris Buescher at the finish line to win by 0.001 seconds – the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history.

FOUR TIRES FAST: The No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM pit crew holds the sixth-fastest average four-tire pit stop time in 2024 at 10.921 seconds. Larson’s pit crew consists of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer). 

AWAY BUT ALWAYS AVAILABLE: In 2024, the No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM team recognizes “home” events by wearing white firesuits and “away” with blue. Its home races come at tracks with nearby Hendrick Automotive Group car dealerships. This weekend, the team will race “away” just outside of St. Louis. However, you can pick up a new set of keys from any one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 93 dealerships nationwide. Customers can also shop from the convenience of their home by 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 AUTOMOTIVE GROUP IS HIRING: Join 10,000+ others nationwide in working at Hendrick Automotive Group. The company 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 CHASE ELLIOTT

Age: 28 (Nov. 28, 1995)

Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia

Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

Standings: 4th

No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

KING OF CONSISTENCY: Chase Elliott continues his strong 2024 NASCAR Cup Series campaign. The 2020 champion sits fourth in the standings, just 17 points behind the leader. His average finish of 9.64 is the best in the series and is also his best average finish through 14 races since 2019 (9.21). Elliott is the only driver this season to finish every event inside the top 20. He’s completed all but one lap of competition, tied for most in the series.

2024 NUMBERS: This season, Elliott has secured one win (Texas Motor Speedway), and his five top-five finishes – which are in a three-way tie for second-best in the Cup Series field – have all come in the last eight races. After 14 starts, he ranks seventh in laps run in the top five (997), fourth in laps run in the top 10 (2,163) and fifth in average running position (11.59). Additionally, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has started inside the top 10 in nine events.

RECAPPING 300: Last Sunday, Elliott made his 300th Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway – a day after winning his sixth career NASCAR Xfinity Series race. In Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native rolled off the grid from the fifth position. After finishing the first stage in 11th, Elliott led laps in the second stage, marking his sixth consecutive Coca-Cola 600 pacing the field. The 28-year-old driver ended the second stage in seventh and was battling inside the top 10 during the third segment of the race when weather entered the area, bringing out the red flag. Officials were ultimately forced to call the race with 249 laps completed. Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts team were scored with a seventh-place finish.

SIMILAR TRACK STATS: In 59 Cup starts on tracks measuring 1 to 1.37 miles in length (Darlington Raceway, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway), Elliott has four wins. His first came at Dover in 2018 and was followed by his championship-winning performance at Phoenix in 2020. His two most recent victories on a track in this length range came in 2022 at Dover and Nashville. Accompanying the quartet of triumphs are 23 top-five finishes, 30 top-10s and 1,246 laps led across his starts on this track type. This season in two races on this variation of track, Elliott’s best finish is fifth (at Dover).

NEXT GEN STRONG: Since the introduction of the Next Gen race car in 2022, Elliott has earned six victories, placing him fifth on the Cup Series win list. In that span, he holds the best average finish (12.19).

FASTEST FIVE: In April at Texas, the No. 9 pit crew laid down the fastest four-tire pit stop (9.076 seconds) of the 2024 season. The over-the-wall squad has remained the same since 2018 and currently holds the fastest average four-tire pit stop time (10.575 seconds) this season. The 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew award-winning group is comprised of Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), John Gianninoto (fueler), Nick O’Dell (front-tire changer) and T.J. Semke (jackman).

GET UP AND GO: This weekend at WWT Raceway, the white-based NAPA Auto Parts scheme is back on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It will mark the fourth appearance of 2024 for the scheme, which debuted at the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February. Elliott’s best finish of third in this livery came at Kansas Speedway in May. Get a look at all the angles of the white No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet here.

24 WILLIAM BYRON

Age: 26 (Nov. 29, 1997)

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

Standings: 5th

No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

24 IN ‘24: William Byron’s 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season continues to be impressive. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native is tied for the series lead in wins (three), is in a three-way tie for second in top-five finishes (five), and in a two-way tie for the most top-10s (nine) with teammate Alex Bowman. He has the third-best average finish (11.79), spent 1,046 laps in the top five (sixth-most) and 2,076 laps in the top 10 (fifth-most). Byron sits fifth in the 2024 Cup Series standings after 14 races and holds 16 playoff points.

NEXT GEN DUO: Since the Next Gen Cup Series car was introduced in 2022, Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle have a series-leading 11 wins. Byron also has the second-best average finish (13.023) in the Next Gen car behind teammate Chase Elliott.

SIMILAR IN SIZE: This Sunday’s race at WWT Raceway will mark Byron’s 47th start on tracks between 1 and 1.37 miles in length (Darlington Raceway, Dover Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway and WWT Raceway). In his previous 46 starts, the 26-year-old driver has collected two pole awards, two wins, 10 top-five finishes, 20 top-10s and 537 laps led.

GOING TO GATEWAY: This Sunday’s race marks the third time the Cup Series will race at WWT Raceway. In last year’s event, Byron qualified seventh and had his best showing at the track, where he led 30 laps before finishing eighth. In 2016, Byron competed at WWT Raceway in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He started third and led 47 of 160 laps before being collected in a late race incident that resulted in a 17th-place finish.

THE RUDY RUNDOWN: Crew chief Rudy Fugle has extensive experience at WWT Raceway in addition to his three Cup Series starts. The Livonia, New York, native has called six previous races at the 1.25-mile oval, all in the Truck Series. His drivers collected two pole awards and two top-10 finishes with a best finish of sixth, all while leading 258 laps. One of the six starts was with Byron in 2016.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 14 races in 2024, the No. 24 pit crew continues its success from last year when it was one of the best in the Cup Series. The five-person crew ranks second for the fastest average four-tire pit stop (10.755 seconds). It consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler).

VALVOLINE RETURNS: Valvoline will make its first appearance of 2024 as the primary sponsor of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Sunday’s event at WWT Raceway. 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. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume.

48 ALEX BOWMAN

Age: 31 (April 25, 1993)

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Blake Harris

Standings: 8th

No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

BEST TOP-10 STREAK: Alex Bowman’s ninth-place performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway marked his ninth top-10 finish of the year and his fifth in a row. It is the longest active top-10 streak amongst Cup Series drivers and Bowman’s personal best thus far in his career. The nine top-10s are tied for his most through 14 races in a season (2022). The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is now tied with Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron for the most top-10 finishes of any driver in 2024.

MEMORABLE WEEK WITH ALLY: On May 22 ahead of Memorial Day, Bowman, the No. 48 team, primary sponsor Ally and United Service Organizations (USO) volunteers held a fifth annual packing event (2019, ’21, ’22, ’23 and ’24). The group assembled more than 2,000 care packages full of cards, snack and hygiene kits for deploying service members from the state of North Carolina. Check out Racing America’s YouTube video recapping the event here. On Sunday, May 26, Ally hosted a cookout for Hendrick Motorsports employees with veteran status and their families.

COCA-COLA 600 RECAP: At Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Ally Racing team advanced to the second round of qualifying to secure a sixth-place starting spot for Sunday’s 600-miler. In the first stage of the longest race of the year, Bowman gained three positions to finish third and earn valuable stage points. The second stage ended under caution with the 31-year-old driver sixth. Halfway through stage three, inclement weather caused NASCAR to stop the race, which was ultimately cut short at 249 laps. Bowman earned a ninth-place finish.

RACE 15: Entering Sunday’s race at WWT Raceway, Bowman ranks eighth in the Cup Series standings, up one position after Charlotte. The Tucson, Arizona, native is having a strong year with one runner-up finish and four top-fives, which are his most ever through 14 races in a season.

THE LOU: This weekend NASCAR returns to WWT Raceway near St. Louis for the third consecutive year. Bowman enters the 300-mile race seeking his eighth victory in the Cup Series. In his two previous starts at the 1.25-mile oval, the Ally Racing driver has a best finish of 13th (2022) and has completed all laps attempted at the venue.

ON STAGE: On Sunday, fans can see Bowman in the WWT Raceway fan zone. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will make an appearance at 11 a.m. local time at the NASCAR Experience Stage. Come prepared to #Rally48 with Bowman by learning more here.

OVER-THE-WALL CREW: The Ally Racing pit crew ranks eighth in the Cup Series for best average four-tire stop at 10.941 seconds. The five-man No. 48 crew is composed of jackman Allen Holman, tire carrier Brandon Grier, front-tire changer Donnie Tasser, rear-tire changer Andrew Bridgeforth, and gasman Jacob Conley.

ADOPT A BEST FRIEND: 2024 marks the fourth consecutive year Ally and Bowman are supporting Best Friends Animal Society and its vast network of partners. This weekend’s beneficiary of the pair’s $4,800 donation is Needy Paws Rescue, located just 17 miles south west of WWT Raceway. Visit the shelter this weekend or view their dogs available for adoption online.

HENDRICK
MOTORSPORTS /

2024All-TimeSt. Louis Stats
Races141,3592
Wins6*307*0
Poles4*250*0
Top 520*1,252*1
Top 1031*2,143*2
Laps Led1,02480,781*35
Stage Wins91070

*Most **Most (tie)

FAB 40: In 2024, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The team holds the all-time NASCAR Cup Series records in every major statistical category, including championships (14), wins (307), pole positions (250) and laps led (80,781). This season, it leads all Cup organizations with six points-paying victories through 14 races.

ONLY THREE: On Sunday, the Cup Series will make its third trip to WWT Raceway near St. Louis. It is one of just three active tracks where Hendrick Motorsports has not recorded a Cup-level win. The others are the Chicago Street Course, which made its debut last season, and Iowa Speedway, where the tour will race for the first time this season.

CRACKING 30: After 14 points-paying events this season, Hendrick Motorsports leads the Cup Series with 31 top-10 finishes. The team also led the tour at this point in 2023 with 29 top-10s going into the 15th race.

ABOVE AVERAGE: This season, Hendrick Motorsports drivers occupy four of the top-seven positions in average finish. Chase Elliott is best in the Cup Series at 9.64, with William Byron third (11.79), Alex Bowman sixth (12.43) and Kyle Larson seventh (12.62).

QUOTABLE /

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on racing in the Midwest: “I really enjoy racing in the area – whether it be a stock car or on dirt. The fans are really passionate. We didn’t have a great race the first time we went back in ’22 but made some gains as a team and as an organization last year. Hopefully we made some more steps forward so we can battle for the win this weekend.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on adjusting his driving style for the Next Gen car: “It’s definitely been different. This is a car that likes to be driven off the right-front tire. With the old cars, I think you could get away with really being on the rears and getting by with it at a lot of tracks with the side force that those cars had. This car is just not that way. It wants to be really straight. A lot of the aero and the downforce that it makes is underneath the car. Whereas the old car was kind of more on the right side, this one really wants to be just dead straight and it’s a strange thing for me. It’s just not how I’ve wanted to go about it. So I’m just trying to adjust those things. We’ve been working at it really hard over the last six, eight months or more.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on this weekend’s race at WWTR Raceway: “One of the biggest factors at this track is pit road. It’s one of the toughest ones on the circuit, so qualifying well and getting a good pit selection is key. From there, it is doing what you can to minimize mistakes and stay towards the front because it’s extremely tough to pass. This track hasn’t been the best for us statistically, so I know we’re all eager to improve upon that and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this weekend.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what racing at WWT Raceway is like: “It’s only our third time going to WWT Raceway in the Cup Series so we don’t have a whole lot of notes with this car there. The interesting thing is that we will run the same package that we ran at Charlotte a few days ago and other mile-and-a-half tracks, but it races like a short track in the corners. Turns one and two are a lot like Richmond and turns three and four are a lot like Phoenix Raceway with really long straightaways. There’s also a lot of shifting and shift points with high brake usage. Pit road is really narrow. It’s barely wide enough to run two-wide.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the biggest challenges of racing at WWT Raceway: “It’s just a tough track. All drivers will be complaining about three things: loose in, tight middle and loose off. You have to pick the right thing to make the car go faster, but you can’t fix it all. Strategy will also be a big factor. It’s a really short race, kind of like a truck- or Xfinity-style race. In the past you’ve only seen three, maybe four, pit stops at most. There’s going to be times that the caution comes out and you’re going to have to nervously say to stay out. We’ve seen some people take two right-side tires and it work out and then seen it not work for others. That’s one of those decisions that could work out well if enough people do it with you, or you could look like a dummy because no one else did it. It’s a track where you can really look like a hero or a zero as a crew chief.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on WWT Raceway: “I’m excited to go back and get another shot (at WWT Raceway). I’ve put in some time in the simulator and feel like we have some really good notes that we were able to build on years past with. The two different ends of the racetrack are so different than each other, and it’s pretty flat in (turns) three and four. (Turns) one and two have a tighter corner, but it has some banking. The track has long straightaways, requires a lot more shifting than normal and is just vastly different than our other tracks. Hopefully we can go out there this weekend and perform better than in 2023.”

Blake Harris, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his outlook for Sunday’s race: “Last year (at WWT Raceway), Alex and I were just kind of getting back into the swing of things with him getting back in the car (from injury). We kind of made something that was not a great day into something that was decent, until we had an issue there at the end (of the race). I think we can build off of it. This Ally Racing team has some good momentum going and we aim to make good at the end of it 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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos

RacingJunk.com and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

Winspirit Australia

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles