TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE AUTOTRADER ECHOPARK AUTOMOTIVE 500 TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FORT WORTH, TEXAS OCT. 17, 2021
RACE #33 – TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAYHendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott head into the opening race of the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Playoffs Round of 8 focused on moving one step closer to the coveted Driver Championship title.
Sunday’s 334-lap Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is the first of three races on tap for the NCS Playoffs Round of 8. The 1.5-mile Texas oval was added to the Playoff schedule in 2005, but this season marks the first time that the venue will host the seventh race on the post-season schedule and the first race of the Round of 8. Texas Motor Speedway is now the fifth different track to host the seventh race of the Playoffs, alongside Atlanta Motor Speedway (2004-2008), Talladega Superspeedway (2009-2010), Martinsville Speedway (2011-2019) and Kansas Speedway (2020).
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE, reclaimed the top spot in the standings with his field-high seventh victory of the season at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. In his fifth Playoff appearance, the 2021 season marks Larson’s first time advancing to the Round of 8. Joining Larson in the eight-driver Playoff field is Hendrick Motorsports teammate and reigning NCS Champion Chase Elliott. Behind the wheel of the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Camaro ZL1 1LE, Elliott enters the 501-mile race sixth in points as he seeks a second consecutive NCS title.
Team Chevy has recorded 14 wins in 40 NASCAR Cup Series races on the high-banked Texas Motor Speedway track. Career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with seven wins at the racetrack, including five in the Playoffs.
A capsule look at Team Chevy in the title hunt:
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE – 1st in Playoff Standings (+42 points above cutline)Victories: 7 (field-high)Top-Fives: 17; Top-10’s: 23; Poles: 1; Laps Led: 2,011Average Finish: 9.7Stage Wins: 15At Texas (13 career NCS starts): Top-Fives: 3; Top-10’s: 4; Average Finish: 19.769Of Note: Larson has captured two points-paying wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season (Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway), in addition to the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway in June. His career-best finish at Texas of second was captured in the April 2017 after starting 32nd.
Chase Elliott, No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Camaro ZL1 1LE – 6th in Playoff Standings (-2 points below cutline)Victories: 2Top-Fives: 13; Top-10’s: 18; Laps Led: 527; Average Finish: 11.8Stage Wins: 4At Texas (10 career NCS starts): Top-Fives: 2; Top-10’s: 5; Average Finish: 12.000; Of Note: Elliott has finishes of seventh or better in four races in a row on 1.5-mile tracks this season. His best finish at Texas of fourth came in the November 2016 race. Elliott has one NXS win at the track (April 2016), among three top-five finishes in the series. The 2021 NCS season marks Elliott’s sixth consecutive year of being part of the Playoff field. Six of his 13 career NCS wins have come in the Playoffs.
FOUR TEAM CHEVY DRIVERS IN NXS ROUND OF 8NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) Regular Season Champion AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Camaro SS, won for the third consecutive year on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course to clinch a spot in the Round of 8. Team Chevy drivers also advancing were Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley. The Bowtie brigade made a strong showing in the series’ opening round of the Playoffs, with a Chevrolet driver capturing the victory in all three races of the Round of 12.
The NXS Round of 8 gets underway Saturday, October 16, with the 200-lap/300-mile Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 at Texas Motor Speedway. Last weekend’s race winner, AJ Allmendinger, will lead the field to the green from the pole. Chevrolet, now with 15 wins, continues to sit atop of the Manufacturer Standings.
CHEVROLET CONTINUES ATOP STANDINGSChevrolet remains the leader in the NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Standings in pursuit of its 40th title. Team Chevy has recorded manufacturer highs of 15 victories, 137 top-10 finishes, 3,495 laps led and 28 stage wins through 32 races. The Bowtie Brand has already surpassed its totals for wins (9), top-10 finishes (120), laps led (2,399) and stage wins (21) from the 36-race 2020 season.
KING OF THE ROADChevrolet won five of the six NCS road course races this season: Chase Elliott (Circuit of The Americas, Road America), Kyle Larson (Watkins Glen, Sonoma, Charlotte ROVAL) and AJ Allmendinger (Indianapolis). The Bowtie Brand has led 324 of the 572 total laps and recorded 14 top-five finishes on road courses this season.
CHEVROLET CONTINUES ‘MAKING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER’ AT TEXASFor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Chevrolet again supports the American Cancer Society by contributing to the cause $350 for every lap run under caution, with a maximum of $50,000, during three NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) races in October, including this weekend’s NCS race at Texas Motor Speedway. To also help raise awareness, a specially-themed pink “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will serve as the pace car for the 334-lap/501-mile NCS race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 17. Chevrolet will also host a limited number of breast cancer survivors and guests at Texas, offering them a fun-filled afternoon at the track.
“We are very proud to partner with the American Cancer Society and carry the ACS logo on the pace car during October races,” said Sean Finegan, Director, Chevrolet Motorsports Marketing and Activation. “The responses we receive at the tracks are always so positive, and we’re very humbled that we’re able to participate in this cause.”
ON THE WAY TO THE GREENWith no practice or qualifying for the 334-lap race, the starting lineup is determined by NASCAR’s metrics system that was introduced to the series last year and incorporates results from both individual races and season-long results. Team Chevy’s Top-20 starters:1st Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE 6th Chase Elliott, No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Camaro ZL1 1LE 9th Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Camaro ZL1 1LE12th William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE14th Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE15th Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Camaro ZL1 1LE17th Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE19th Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Freeway Insurance Camaro ZL1 1LE
BOWTIE BULLETS· Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 15 wins, 137 top-10 finishes and 3,495 laps led of 7,786 total this season.· Chevrolet’s next win will be the 25th with the Camaro ZL1 1LE over two seasons.· In addition to its 14 wins, Chevrolet has amassed 71 top-five and 167 top-10 finishes in 40 races since 1997 at Texas Motor Speedway.· Austin Dillon won the July 2020 race at Texas Motor Speedway and Richard Childress Racing teammate, Tyler Reddick, was runner-up. · Chevrolet has registered three consecutive wins at Texas Motor Speedway on two occasions: Nov. 5, 2006 (Tony Stewart), April 15, 2007 (Jeff Burton), Nov. 4, 2007 (Jimmie Johnson) and by Johnson on Nov. 2, 2014, April 11, 2015, and Nov. 8, 2015.· Johnson leads all drivers with seven wins and 16 top-five finishes at Texas Motor Speedway.· Kurt Busch is tied for most starts at Texas Motor Speedway with 36 and most top-10 finishes with 23. · Kyle Larson paces all drivers with 2,011 laps led this season.· Larson will start on the pole for the ninth time this season.· Hendrick Motorsports, which leads the Owner Standings, is tied for most wins at Texas Motor Speedway with nine.· Five Team Chevy drivers have combined for 28 stage wins: Chase Elliott (Daytona RC, Michigan, Daytona2, Charlotte2); William Byron (Homestead, Pocono2, Road America); Tyler Reddick (Road America, Indianapolis road course x2); Kurt Busch (Nashville Superspeedway, Pocono1, Atlanta2); Kyle Larson (Las Vegas, Atlanta x2, Kansas, Dover x2, Charlotte x3, Sonoma x2, Nashville, Darlington2, Bristol2, Las Vegas2).
FOR THE FANS:
- Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at Texas Motor Speedway.
- Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles including: 2021 1500 Trail Boss, 2022 Camaro ZL1, 2021 Tahoe, 2022 Trailblazer RS, 2022 Silverado HD High Country, 2021 Colorado LT and 2020 Pink Corvette.
- At the Chevrolet Display, fans can also view Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE show car.
TEAM CHEVY QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSIONS AT THE DISPLAY:Saturday, October 16· Sam Mayer: 11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. · Joe Graf Jr: 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. · Landon Cassill: 11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. · Jeremy Clements: 12:00 p.m. – 12:15 p.m. Sunday, October 17· Ross Chastain: 10:05 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. · Erik Jones: 10:40 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. · Daniel Suarez: 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation:
- Saturday, October 16: 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Sunday, October 17: 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
TUNE INNBC will telecast the 334-lap NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 17. Live coverage is also on PRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. NBC will also telecast the 200-lap NASCAR Xfinity Series Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 16.
QUOTABLE QUOTESKYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 1st IN STANDINGSLARSON ON OUTLOOK FOR THIS ROUND: “We’ve been good on the intermediate tracks this year and we have two to start this round. We weren’t as good as I would have liked at Texas, but we were able to get the victory in the All-Star Race. And we led a lot of laps at Kansas, so we are looking forward to getting back there. We ran top five at Martinsville, and that is a track where I don’t have much success but feel positive about it because of how we ran there in the spring.”
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LEDANIELS PREVIEWING ROUND OF 8: “We won the Texas All-Star Race, but we weren’t that good at the beginning and had to work on that car a lot. We learned a lot in that race. We led a lot of laps at Kansas but didn’t finish out that race like we wanted. Martinsville has not been one my or Kyle’s best tracks, but we had great notes from the (No.) 9 team from their win last year and we ran fifth earlier this year.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 6th IN STANDINGSELLIOTT ON KICKING OFF THE ROUND OF 8: “Texas, obviously, has been a real tough place for us. I feel like the good news is we had a really good run there at the All-Star Race for the first time since the repave, so that was really encouraging. Sometimes you’ve got to be careful about having a good run and going back because it doesn’t always work out. The way that we’ve performed at all three of the upcoming tracks earlier in the year, I feel like we can go and have a shot to win any of them, really. I hope we can lock ourselves in and go have another shot at a championship.”
ELLIOTT ON IF ANYTHING FEELS DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS YEAR’S PLAYOFFS VS LAST YEAR’S PLAYOFFS: “Not a lot, to be honest. Other than just a little more experience of going through the rounds and what some of those challenges were down the stretch last year. I feel like that helps prepare us a little better. Some of the guys on our team, myself included, had never been in those situations, never been in the running at Phoenix and seen what that was like. I think that’s a good thing, but at the same time I don’t know that the message really changes a ton. The big thing for us last year was just trying to enjoy those big spots, having fun with them and trying to thrive in those big moments and I honestly don’t think that ever really changes. I really don’t feel a ton different; I am excited. Again, this is my favorite time of year and a part of the season that matters most so we are ready to get after it.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 13th IN STANDINGSBYRON ON HIS MENTALITY FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON: “I have learned pretty quickly to put the past behind you and move forward. We have four more chances to win coming up before the season ends and we’re going to take every opportunity that we get. If we look at the last round, we probably had the best car in two of those races. We just had bad luck, and even then we almost overcame it all. Moving forward, these next tracks are strong for us, especially our mile-and-a-half program. I think we’re going to do good things in these last races. It sucks that we won’t be in the playoffs, but a win is a win, and that’s what we’re here to do still.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LEFUGLE ON CLOSING OUT THE 2021 SEASON STRONG: “I couldn’t be more proud of what William and the guys of the No. 24 team have done this season, especially in the playoffs. We controlled as much as we could have. And when things happened that we couldn’t control, we still worked as a group to overcome them as best as we could. Would we have loved to make it to the next round? Of course we would. That doesn’t mean our season is over, though, at this point. We’re going to go out there and try get as many wins as we can to close out the season and keep them still talking about us. We know what we’re capable of as a team, and we will continue to have the same goals – show up to the racetrack and execute the best race we can. First stop is winning a cowboy hat in Texas Sunday.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 14th IN STANDINGSBOWMAN ON HIS MINDSET HEADING TO TEXAS: “Obviously being out of the playoffs isn’t what our team wanted, but a lot of things just didn’t go our way in Charlotte. We really wanted to go into the Round of 8 and on to compete for a championship for Ally, but we still have four more races to compete for wins and that is what we are going to do. Our mile-and-a-half program is really strong at Hendrick Motorsports and I know each time we unload we are going to have a good day.”
BOWMAN ON TESTING THE NEXT GEN CAR: “It’s a big change for sure. I think the car tends to make a lot more grip around the ROVAL, which I think we all expected that bring the NextGen to a road course. It is a lot of fun to drive and drives really well. You can slide it around and drive it pretty hard. The sequential transmission is pretty cool to work with as well. Anytime that you make significant changes to the airflow of a racecar, you are going to change how the car drives. Each change we made had its own characteristics that it brought to the racecar.”
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE IVES ON OVERCOMING CHALLENGES AT THE CHARLOTTE ROVAL: “We needed to be about nine spots better on Sunday, but in the end we had to battle alternator issues and changing batteries, so all in all it was a race full of adversity. In the end, we struggled with the battery we had but thankful to get a top 10 out of it. The ROVAL lived up to its playoff-ending round event. We were still able to make passes and I feel like if we were able to get up front it would have been exciting.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 17th IN STANDINGSTELL US ABOUT RACING AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY AND HOW IT DIFFERS FROM OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS, SUCH AS KANSAS SPEEDWAY? “Texas Motor Speedway is a bit different from Kansas Speedway in that it has two different ends. You have one end that’s very banked and has high speeds, and then you have a hard end where you have to get turned and get back on the gas. Texas Motor Speedway just has so much grip now. It’s quite a bit different, and the banking has changed a lot from the old track to the new track. I really like Texas and am looking forward to getting there. Our team is hungry to get back to Victory Lane, and I’m looking forward to debuting our Bass Pro Shops Flannel Fest paint scheme.”
ERIK JONES, NO. 43 MEDALLION BANK CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 24th IN STANDINGSTALK ABOUT RACING AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY AND HOW IT DIFFERS FROM OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS? “Texas (Motor Speedway) is kind of it’s own animal, as far as 1.5-mile tracks go. All four turns are just so different that it’s hard to get your car to handle well. You have to really have your car so high in the air, essentially, for (turns) 3 and 4, that it’s hard to get through (turns) 1 and 2 and have your car driving good. It’s a tough balance, but I like Texas. I enjoy racing there. Since the repave, it’s been a little bit narrow. But I think in the last year or so, it’s started to widen out a little bit. Hopefully it continues to go that way so we can start to move around a little bit more. I think that’s going to help the racing a lot.”“It is tough. It’s its own animal where you want to be really trimmed down and fast in 3 and 4; and in 1 and 2, you kind of need to be the total opposite. You need a lot of downforce and a lot of handling to get through there. It’s tough to get your car to do both.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 FREEWAY INSURANCE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 25th IN STANDINGSWHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT TESTING THE NEXT GEN CHEVROLET CAMARO AT CHARLOTTE ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY? “That was a blast. Our new car was looking great and a lot of fun to drive. It’s a completely different race car. The transmission is amazing. The brakes are amazing and the aero is awesome. We have to keep working. learning and prepare for next year.
“That doesn’t mean we are giving up on this year. My focus is still on this season. I believe the best thing you can to for the future is do well in the present. We have lots of racing left this season and that’s my focus.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TEXAS? “I have had some of my best finishes of my career at Texas so I am very optimistic about Sunday. We really didn’t get to race much in the All-Star Race (at Texas) because of a wreck in front of us that took us out of the race. We just need to keep working and getting better and I think that will happen in Texas.”
ARE YOU READY TO MEET FANS ON SATURDAY AT TEXAS? “Oh yes. That’s going to be a lot of fun. I am honored to be part of this event that I hope will make a lot of children happy, and will be a lot of fun for everyone who comes out. My friends at Freeway Insurance have a big day planned for us and I can’t wait to get to Texas. I want to have a good time Saturday with Freeway Insurance and win the race for the fans on Sunday.”
RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 LITTLE HUG CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 26th IN STANDINGSPREECE ON HAVING LITTLE HUG FRUIT BARRELS ON HIS CAMARO ZL1 1LE AND HIS OUTLOOK ON TEXAS: “I think all of us growing up had Little Hug Fruit Barrels. Whenever you took a break from playing outside, you ran inside and grabbed a Little Hug. My favorite flavor was grape. I would have a grape Little Hug and it was a good refresher.”
“I learned recently that Little Hug’s parent company is based in Connecticut not far from where I grew up. That makes me even more proud to have them on our Camaro at Texas.”
“We’re looking forward to Texas and we feel like we’ve been moving forward in the right direction. We learned a lot when we were there last time and feel good about having a strong finish for Little Hug.”
Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series StatisticsManufacturers Championships:Total (1949-2020): 39First title for Chevrolet: 1958Highest 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 Drivers Championships:Total (1949-2020): 32First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)Most Recent: Chase Elliott (2020) 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 Event Victories:Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007) 2021 STATISTICS: Wins: 15Poles: 5Laps Led: 3,495Top-five finishes: 64Top-10 finishes: 137Stage wins: 28 – Chase Elliott (Daytona RC, Michigan, Daytona, Charlotte RC), William Byron (Homestead, Pocono 2, Road America), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta x2, Kansas, Dover x2, Charlotte x3, Sonoma x2, Nashville, Darlington, Bristol), Kurt Busch (Nashville, Pocono 1, Atlanta 2, Las Vegas 2), Tyler Reddick (Road America, Indy RC x2) CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:Total Chevrolet race wins: 810 (1949 to date)Poles won to date: 722Laps led to date: 240,200Top-five finishes to date: 4,129Top-10 finishes to date: 8,539 Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date: General Motors: 1,144 Chevrolet: 810 Pontiac: 154 Oldsmobile: 115 Buick: 65 Ford: 811 Ford: 711 Mercury: 96 Lincoln: 4 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467 Dodge: 217 Plymouth: 191 Chrysler: 59 Toyota: 162