Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Atlanta – 9 24 48 88

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: HAMPTON, GEORGIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE FIVE OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MARCH 15 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

Chase Elliott
No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 24                       Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2020 Season

  • 3rd in standings
  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 186 laps led

Career

  •  153 starts
  • 6 wins
  • 9 pole positions
  • 45 top-five finishes
  • 76 top-10 finishes
  • 2,030 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
Dawsonville, Georgia, native Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, will be available to members of the media on Friday, March 13, at 1 p.m. local time in the Atlanta Motor Speedway media center.

LEADING THE FIELD: Through the first four races of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Chase Elliott has led more laps (186) than any other driver and 27 laps more than Kevin Harvick, who has the second most.

GEORGIA ON HIS MIND: On Sunday, Elliott could become just the second Georgia-born driver to win a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, joining his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who won five races at the track.

ATLANTA BASED: In addition to NAPA AUTO PARTS, Elliott’s primary sponsor this weekend at Atlanta, fellow No. 9 team primary partner Hooters also is headquartered in Atlanta. Hooters, a casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, will make its season debut next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ELLIOTT AT ATLANTA: The 24-year-old driver has made starts at Atlanta in each of NASCAR’s top-three series – four in the Cup Series, two in the Xfinity Series and one in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Last season was the only time he finished outside the top 10 in the Cup Series (19th). Elliott currently holds a 10.5-average finish at Atlanta, the best among active drivers at the 1.5-mile track. He also has finished in the top five in all of his Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series starts at Atlanta.

DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his full-time duty piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the Cup Series, Elliott will compete in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race, driving the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet for GMS Racing on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also will drive the No. 24 Chevy in the upcoming Kansas Truck race on May 30.

HEADING HOME: Elliott hails from Dawsonville, Georgia, just 84 miles north of the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last month, Elliott spent a little extra time around his hometown to promote this weekend’s race. He visited students at Dawson County Middle School, helped unveil Atlanta’s 60th anniversary pace car at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and finished the day off with media and signing autographs for fans in attendance.

FIRST FOUR: Four races are in the books as the Cup Series heads back east this weekend. In just four events, Elliott has collected one pole award, one top-five finish and two top 10s. The driver of the No. 9 also has earned more stage points (50) than any other driver this season. He ranks third in the point standings, a big improvement of being ranked 13th after four races last season.

DESI9N TO DRIVE: As part of the Chase Elliott Foundation’s fourth annual “DESI9N TO DRIVE” art collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, patient-designed racing shoes will be worn by Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron, Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson during the NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Elliott’s shoes were designed by 8-year-old Brooke Winokur and features a colorful outer space design with Mars, stars and astronauts. They will be signed and put on the auction block starting March 13 at the NASCAR Foundation online auction site to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s summer camps.

CHECK OUT THOSE HATS: For the second time this month, the No. 9 team will wear special, limited-edition NAPA hats at the track. The hats are part of NAPA AUTO PARTS’ March in-store promotion. During the month of March, when customers spend $25 in store, they will receive the No. 9 NAPA Racing-Chase Elliott hat while supplies last.

William Byron
No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver William Byron   Hometown Charlotte, North Carolina
Age 22                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season

  • 19th in standings
  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 1 lap led

Career

  • 76 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 5 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 18 top-10 finishes
  • 295 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
FINAL STOP, PHOENIX: Qualifying 17th at Phoenix Raceway for the final race of the West Coast swing, William Byron methodically worked his way through the field, ultimately finding himself battling inside the top-five running order with under 100 laps to go. However, right-side damage on a restart forced Byron down pit road for repairs, lining him up outside the top 15 when the field went back green. As the race came to a close, multiple restarts aided in the 22-year-old driver’s march back to the front and he crossed the finish line in 10th.

LIBERTY U RETURNS: After making its 2020 NASCAR Cup Series debut at the Clash during Daytona Speedweeks, Liberty University will be back on board Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. With a long history with Byron dating back in 2014 in the late model ranks, Liberty University is in the midst of its sixth season sponsoring the 22-year-old driver. Liberty has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of central Virginia, Liberty 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 business communication, Byron now is in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program.

THE ATL ARCHIVE: With two previous Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Byron has a track-best finish of 17th from last spring’s race. Byron has two other NASCAR starts at the 1.5-mile track, including one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he finished seventh, the third-highest of the Xfinity Series regulars. He also has one start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series, where he was running second before losing an engine, leaving him with a 32nd-place finish.

KNAUS HOT AT HOTLANTA: Calling the shots for 28 NASCAR Cup races at the weathered track, crew chief Chad Knaus has snagged the checkered flag five times at Atlanta Motor Speedway, most recently in back-to-back wins from 2015 and 2016. Out of the 28 races as crew chief, Knaus’ car has left the 1.5-mile oval with 14 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. In fact, Knaus has a knack for intermediate tracks in general, collecting 34 wins across his Cup Series crew chief career.

DESI9N TO DRIVE: This year, Byron will take part in the Chase Elliott Foundation’s “DESI9N TO DRIVE” shoe program. Benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s summer camp program, Byron and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates selected racing shoe designs created by patients at the hospital. Byron will sport 9-year-old Julia Hope Sears’ design on his racing shoes that encompasses the theme of “Dream Big.” With a variety of colors present, Sears’ design also includes stars throughout and the phrase “lights, camera, action.” Not only will Sears get to meet the Hendrick Motorsports drivers before Sunday’s race, she will see her design transfer from paper to real life when Byron wears her racing shoe design during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After the event, the race-worn shoes will be signed by Byron and auctioned off online by the Chase Elliott Foundation.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 44                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2020 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 13 laps led

Career

  • 655 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 228 top-five finishes
  • 366 top-10 finishes
  • 18,847 laps led

Track Career 

  • 28 starts
  • 5 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 14 top-five finishes
  • 16 top-10 finishes
  • 586 laps led
DEDICATION: This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will receive an honor only the two other seven-time NASCAR champions, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, have received at the track – a grandstand named after him. The dedication will take place on Friday, March 13 at the base of Stair Tower 8.

DUTY CALLS:  Before the green flag drops on this year’s race in Hampton, Georgia, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and five-time Atlanta Motor Speedway winner will be the grand marshal of the race. Johnson will give the command and recite the “most famous words in motorsports” for drivers to start their engines from the cockpit of his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet.

PERFORMANCE: Johnson has the third-best average finish of all active drivers at Atlanta with 12.0 over his 28 starts. He is the proud owner of five wins at Atlanta and, of the last nine races at the 1.5-mile track, Hendrick Motorsports has won four of them – with Johnson’s victories coming in the 2015 and 2016 events.

1.5-MILE WIN PERCENTAGE: Johnson has the most all-time wins on a 1.5-mile racetrack with 28 victories overall. The next-best record is 17 wins by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, followed by competitor Kevin Harvick with 16 from an active driver standpoint. In 190 starts on 1.5-mile tracks, Johnson has won 14.7% of those races, which is second of all time. Johnson trails former driver Fred Lorenzen, who won 21.1% of his races with 38 starts and eight wins on this type of track.

BEST SHOES EVER: To support teammate Chase Elliott’s “DESI9N TO DRIVE” initiative, Johnson will don unique Alpine Stars racing shoes this weekend – designed by 5-year old Evelyn O’Dell. She created Johnson’s shoes with one thing in mind – her sister, Ellie. The design features a predominantly green and orange scheme, with five hearts for Ellie’s five heart surgeries, and two butterflies – one for each sister. Evelyn’s hope is that her sister will be able to dream big and be happy. Each shoe will be signed by the respective drivers and will be auctioned off online for nine days (March 13–22) with proceeds going to the Chase Elliott Foundation to benefit the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta summer camp program. Participating corporate partners of the program are “matching” the highest-winning auction bid for his racing shoes.

NOT DONE YET: There are some huge milestones on the horizon for Johnson. The next time he crosses the finish line first, he will have scored his 84th points-paying Cup Series win to tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth of all time. Johnson currently is 10 wins behind former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers with 83.

GOING HOME: Jackman Kyle Tudor, who hails from Augusta, Georgia, calls Atlanta Motor Speedway his home track. Tudor played football at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, as a linebacker and has been on the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet team for four seasons.

Alex Bowman
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Driver Alex Bowman   Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Age 26                         Resides Concord, North Carolina

2020 Season

  • 4th in standings
  • 4 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 113 laps led

Career

  • 157 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 27 top-10 finishes
  • 587 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
AXALTA ON BOARD: This weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway marks the second event of the 2020 season in which the Axalta colors will adorn Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings and Hendrick Motorsports announced an extension last month that will take their partnership through the 2027 season. Read more here.

ATL BOUND: The driver of the No. 88 machine has four previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bowman’s best finish of 15th came in last year’s event at the 1.5-mile facility. He has one start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2013, where he qualified 18th. In 2017, Bowman ran in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, where he finished sixth after qualifying fifth.

1.5-MILE STATS: In 2019, Bowman had 11 starts on tracks measuring 1.5 miles in length. The 26-year-old driver had an average start of 13.7 and an average finish of 9.3 on these tracks last season. Bowman captured three top-five finishes and six top 10s at intermediate tracks, including the win at Chicagoland Speedway. In the last nine events on tracks of this length, Bowman’s average finish of 7.9 is the second best of all drivers and his six top-10 finishes over the last nine are tied for the second most. Earlier this year, the team finished 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after battling inside the top 10 for most of the event.

NEW KICKS: During this weekend’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bowman will be sporting some new shoes. The Chase Elliott Foundation is supporting the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta through the “DESI9N TO DRIVE” shoe program. The shoes, designed by 14-year-old Justin Mingo, will be autographed by Bowman and auctioned off by the Chase Elliott Foundation for nine days (March 13–22). Proceeds will go to the foundation to benefit Children’s summer camp program. Visit the auction page here.

IVES IN ATLANTA: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the sixth time on Sunday with the No. 88 team at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Michigan native has two top-five finishes at the track, which includes a runner-up finish with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016. Ives has two career starts as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 1.5-mile facility. In 2014, Ives’ driver sat on the pole for the 195-lap event and led 36 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. From 2006-12, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of two wins and one pole award.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT ATLANTA: The organization has 14 wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the most among all teams. Hendrick Motorsports also has 59 top-five finishes, 90 top-10s and a total of 3,031 laps led. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are tied for fifth with the most wins at the Hampton, Georgia, track, along with Bill Elliott and Bobby Allison.

WINS IN THE PEACH STATE: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick’s first Atlanta Motor Speedway win in the Cup Series came on March 19, 1989, with driver Darrell Waltrip. The organization has posted Atlanta victories with six different drivers: Gordon (five wins), Johnson (five wins), Waltrip, Ken Schrader (1991), Jerry Nadeau (2000) and Kasey Kahne (2014).

2020 IN A NUTSHELL: Three of Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers are in the top five in the points standing after four races this season. Chase Elliott is in third place, followed by Alex Bowman in fourth and Jimmie Johnson in fifth. Elliott leads all drivers with the most stage wins (three), while Bowman is one of three drivers this season to have a win under his belt.

LUCKY MARCH: Bowman’s victory in Fontana, California, pushes Hendrick Motorsports to the all-time leader in wins during the month of March with 23, which ranks fourth on the organization’s winningnest month list. The team has 35 total wins in June, 33 in September and 32 in October. The 88 team’s win on March 1 also makes the first of the month Hendrick Motorsports’ most winningnest date with 13.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 257 race victories, 226 pole positions, 1,074 top-five finishes and 1,854 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led more than 68,000 laps since 1984. With Bowman’s win at Auto Club Speedway this season, the organization extended its streak to 35 consecutive seasons with at least one win, the longest streak all-time.

QUOTABLE / 

Chase Elliott’s expectations and improvements going to his home track:
“We started off there and I thought 2016 went really good. That was kind of my first 1.5-mile with the No. 24 team at the time and I thought things went really good. In 2017, we went back and were even better. I thought we had a real chance that day. And then in ’18 and ’19 (we) have been dismal. So, hopefully this weekend is better and you never want to run bad at your home track. So, hopefully we can turn that around. It’s been, I feel like, it’s been a rough go the past two years. So, yeah, hopefully we can improve and be back like we were in 2017.”

William Byron on his feelings about Atlanta Motor Speedway being repaved:
“Oh yeah. I mean I don’t think Atlanta is a bumpy track, but it’s just really worn out and slick. The rubber doesn’t really build up there, it just stays slick all the time. It’s a very interesting track because of it. We only go there once year, like Auto Club, so you have to go in with a different mindset this weekend and learn what you can.”

Jimmie Johnson on the challenges at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
“For a 1.5 mile track, Atlanta has the most banking and the asphalt is so old. For qualifying, it’s truly one of the most gnarliest tracks we go to — the bumps, speed and commitment level is off the charts. I’ve often climbed out of the car and been shaking like a leaf — it’s intense. Winning there as much as we have has been so special, one of my greatest races was the battle with Carl Edwards where he edged me at the start finish line. It’s a great track, I’m looking forward to it.”

Alex Bowman’s thoughts on going into Atlanta with Hendrick Motorsports’ strong intermediate program:
“We should be good. Atlanta is a lot of fun. I’m excited about the new Camaro ZL1 1LE and what we’ve seen with it so far. I think we can be really strong there. It’s another place where you can move around a lot. Tire management is really key. You can move to the top and pass a lot of cars and five laps later, you’re going backwards. So, managing that is a lot of fun. It should be a good race for us.”

TRENDING / 

Look what made its way back to the shop from@ACSupdates!

@TeamHendrick via Twitter
3/10/20, 12:40 p.m. ET

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