TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE ALLY 400 NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE JUNE 20, 2021
RACE #17 – NASHVILLEAll three NASCAR national series will take on Nashville Superspeedway this weekend for the first NASCAR races at the track since Austin Dillion drove his Chevrolet to a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory in August 2011. The Ally 400 on Sunday, June 20, will be the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) race on the 1.33-mile D-shaped concrete oval and the first in Middle Tennessee in more than 30 years. Chevrolet will aim for its fifth-consecutive NCS regular-season victory, which it last accomplished between May 10 and June 15 of the 2014 season with Jeff Gordon starting off the streak at Kansas; Jimmie Johnson winning at Charlotte, Dover and Michigan; and Dale Earnhardt Jr. prevailing at Pocono. Chevrolet last won four races in a row to close the 2014 season.
Kyle Larson, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports, has the hot hand. He has won the past two regular-season, points-paying races – on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval and the Sonoma Raceway road course – in addition to pocketing the $1 million bonus for winning the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. Larson is among eight drivers to win the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race in the same year. The 300-lap Ally 400 will include same-day qualifying. Chevrolet drivers have earned all three poles this season.
Team Chevy NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) drivers will compete in the 188-lap Tennessee Lottery 250 on Saturday, June 19, in the 22nd race at the track since 2001. AJ Allmendinger is second in the Driver Standings, with six Team Chevy drivers in the top-10. Chevrolet remains on top of the Manufacturer Standings heading into the 15th race on the series’ schedule.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) drivers will race in the 150-lap Rackley Roofing 200 on Friday, June 18, in the 14th visit to the track dating to 2001. Zane Smith is fifth and reigning NCWTS champion Sheldon Creed is sixth in the Driver Standings. William Byron will drive the No. 27 Cruisin’ Sports/Rackley Roofing Chevrolet Silverado in his first NCWTS race since 2016.\
BOWTIE TOPS IN STANDINGSChevrolet is atop the NCS Manufacturer Standings. Team Chevy drivers have recorded a field-high seven victories and earned all three poles in the 16 regular-season races.
Kyle Larson remains second in the Driver Standings, but has closed to 47 points of the lead after his victory at Sonoma Raceway. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott sits in third and William Byron is fourth to give the Bowtie Brand three of the top-five in the Driver Standings heading into the Nashville race weekend.
PLAYOFF PICTURE WITH 10 TO GOWith 16 of the 26 regular-season races in the books, Team Chevy drivers Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron have qualified for the Playoffs by virtue of a race win. The top-16 drivers in the standings will qualify for the 10-race dash for the Driver Championship. Of the Team Chevy top-16 in the Driver Standings, Austin Dillon currently sits 12th and Tyler Reddick, who has seven top-10 finishes in the past 10 races, is 13th. Kurt Busch (18th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (19th), Ross Chastain (20th), Daniel Suarez (22nd) and Erik Jones (25th) are all in striking range. Among the nine upcoming races that make up the rest of the regular season, Busch has won at five. TAKING IT IN STAGESKyle Larson swept both stages before driving his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to victory lane at Sonoma Raceway. The 28-year-old California native leads all drivers with 11 stage wins through the 16 races thus far this season. Reigning NCS champion, Chase Elliott, and William Byron each have a stage win in their Camaro ZL1 1LE.
BOWTIE BULLETS· The victory at Sonoma Raceway was the 802nd for Chevrolet, the most of any manufacturer in NCS history.
· Chevrolet leads manufacturers in laps led (1,792) of the 4,291 total and top-10 finishes with 73.
· Kyle Larson has led a series-high 1,162 of the 4,291 laps completed in points races during the 2021 NCS season.
· Kyle Larson has recorded five consecutive top-two finishes.
· Austin Dillon has completed 99.1% (4,287) of the total laps made this season.
· Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch are among four active drivers to win a NCS race on Father’s Day. Larson is the most recent winner (2017 at Michigan International Speedway).
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start in 2009 at Nashville.
TUNE INNBCSN will telecast the NCS Ally 400 live at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 20. Live coverage can also be found on the NBCSports Gold App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. The NXS Tennessee Lottery 250 will be telecast live by NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, June 19. FS1 will telecast the NCWTS Rackley Roofing 200 at 8 p.m. ET Friday, June 18.
QUOTABLE QUOTESKYLE LARSON, NO. 5 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 2nd IN STANDINGSLARSON ON GETTING UP TO SPEED AT NASHVILLE: “I’ve tested there before – a couple times in a Xfinity car and I think once in a Cup car. It’s a track where very few drivers have any experience. We will have practice and qualifying before this Sunday’s race, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting up to speed quickly. This team and Hendrick Motorsports as a whole have been strong on intermediate-type tracks this year, so I hope we can have another strong finish in the Valvoline Chevrolet.”
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 1LEDANIELS ON PAST EXPERIENCE AT NASHVILLE: “The most relevant things to pull from my previous experience there and Kyle’s testing experience there is the nuance of the track. It’s a really unique track geometry. It’s sweeping into turn one but then gets tight off of turn two. We know the track is going to be temperature sensitive. Knowing that will help us, but we don’t have a pure setup or race strategy standpoint. We don’t have any data points to go off of.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 3rd IN STANDINGSELLIOTT ON HOW HE IS PREPARING FOR NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY: “My preparation for this weekend is really going to revolve around the test that I’ve had at Nashville in the past. I actually had a test with the 24 team in 2013, back when Jeff (Gordon) was driving with Alan (Gustafson) and (engineer) Tom (Gray) and a lot of our same group that we have now. I’ve spent some time talking about that and just some of the tendencies that I remember from the racetrack. I feel like the rules have changed, the cars are different, and Cup has never raced there to look back at a ton of races. Maybe watching a Xfinity race or something, but I think a lot of it is really just going to be more from the test for me, personally.”
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LEGUSTAFSON ON TESTING AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY: “We were lucky to have been able to test at Nashville Superspeedway when he tested for Hendrick Motorsports back seven or eight years ago. There may be a couple things that we can apply, but that test just gives us a rough baseline to know what drove decent back then, but things are so much different now. We have different tires, aero package and hopefully we are smarter than we were in then (laughing). Having that test definitely helps; it’s better than starting from square one with nothing.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 4th IN STANDINGSBYRON ON THE CHALLENGES OF RACING AT A NEW TRACK: “You’re not going to have a good feel in general going into this weekend, I think. Nashville (Superspeedway) is going to be one of those places that you just need to adapt and learn as you go. It looks like a superspeedway but it’s more of a short track with how tight the corners are. It’s going to be tough, especially with the heat. I think that this race is going to be one of the toughest places we will go this season just because we don’t have any notes on it. No one has any notes from any series, really. Things have changed so much since the last race there. I’m going to rely heavily on the truck race and watching the Xfinity race. I’ll use that info to hopefully learn and be able to adapt faster in our race. It’s going to be challenge but it’s good to have a new environment and the excitement around it.”
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE FUGLE ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY:“Nashville is a tricky place. It races like a short track and has short track features, but it also has the characteristics of a mile-and-a-half track. That’s going to be your biggest issue; finding a setup that balances that line perfectly. You want it to handle similar to how it would at a concrete short track like Dover but also handle well, aero-wise, like a mile-and-a-half. While we have limited notes across the board, we do know that it will also be a very temperature-sensitive track, as well. There’s going to be a lot of obstacles to overcome, but I think with William running the truck race and us having a practice session on the Cup side, we’ll be as prepared as we can be. I’m excited to get back to Nashville and see what we can do as a team.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY NEON LIGHTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 11th IN STANDINGSBOWMAN ON COMPETING AT NASHVILLE: “I have tested at Nashville Superspeedway before but haven’t actually raced there. It is going to be interesting learning the track with the No. 48 Chevrolet in practice on Saturday. Our last race we ran on concrete we were able to claim the victory, so we are hoping for the same result on Sunday in our No. 48 Ally Chevy.”
BOWMAN ON ALLY HOSTING ITS FIRST ENTITLEMENT RACE: “This is a huge weekend for our partner Ally. It is their first entitlement race and they have a lot of fun things planned for the sold-out crowd coming out to Nashville. We have a fun, neon paint scheme designed by Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and I will have a new helmet design that Bernard Pollard and Greg (Stumpff) from Off Axis Paint and I designed this weekend. It would be really cool to be able to bring home the Ally 400 trophy on Sunday with so many great people from Ally in attendance.” GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY NEON LIGHTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE IVES ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY: “Nashville was always a fun track. You used to be able to test at the speedway all the time and it was always a lot of fun. I remember testing when it was 40 degrees out and you were shivering and wondering how the tires were holding up. Then there were times where you would test and it would be extremely hot out. We have been to Nashville Superspeedway a lot, just not with this configuration. We have been around this track with rental cars multiple times to try to dry the track, so hopefully I can study from some videos I have of that. It is going to be a fun track.” AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 GET BIOETHANOL CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 12th IN STANDINGSWHEN YOU THINK OF NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MEMORIES AND EXPERIENCES THAT COME TO MIND FOR YOU? “Nashville Superspeedway kicked off my NASCAR Cup Series career. One of my first Cup tests was at Nashville. I remember going there to test with the team leading into the season and having a really good time. We won there in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third there in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with KHI. We had fun at Nashville. It was a good track for me.”“I’m looking forward to going back. I always felt like if we got a shot in the NASCAR Cup Series car at Nashville Superspeedway that it would be a good track for us. I can’t wait. We’ll definitely be grinding it out on the SIM this week to see what we can learn.” ONE OF YOUR FIRST NASCAR CUP SERIES TESTS WAS AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY. WHAT DID THAT MEAN FOR YOU AT THAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER?“It was exciting, getting to go have my time to be in the NASCAR Cup Series and getting the time with the team. Obviously, they were Kevin Harvick’s team and then we kind of jumped into that season. I was the new guy, so getting to hang out with the guys and just be a part of it was important. It was a fun time, obviously starting off my Cup career. I remember going there, testing, and just trying things. We didn’t get to race there, but it was cool to go through and get ready for a practice session. It was also team building. After the test, we went out to downtown Nashville and had a really good time. The second day of the test was not as productive as the first day.” NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY IS INTERESTING BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH THERE HASN’T BEEN A NASCAR CUP SERIES RACE, THE CUP TEAMS HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF TESTING THERE SO THERE’S A FEW TEAMS THAT HAVE A PRETTY THICK NOTEBOOK. WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU ANTICIPATE? “I talked to Kurt Busch because he did the NASCAR test for Chevrolet. He was a bit concerned about tires and being able to last because the concrete had some edges that were created over the years from not being raced on. The edges weren’t really knocked down, kind of like when we got to Dover and Bristol. Nashville seemed to be tough on tires when they were testing. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when we all get out there and all that rubber gets laid down. I’m assuming it’s going to lay a ton of rubber down after the practice sessions, so it could change. But I think what’s cool and what I enjoyed about Nashville is people fought for that bottom line and you really had to be disciplined and not miss your exit leaving the corner at Nashville. The car that rotated the most was pretty good. I’m looking forward to racing there this weekend. It’s been a good track for us in the past. I did get to test there a long time ago, so we’ll look at some of the notes. I’ve already looked at all of the notes from my NASCAR Truck Series races there. I think we have the NASCAR Xfinity Series notes, as well.” TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 JOE NICHOLS / QUARTZ HILL RECORDS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 13th IN STANDINGSTHIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME RACING AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPPEDWAY. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS WEEKEND, AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN NASHVILLE AND OTHER TRACKS YOU’VE RACED AT? “The size itself is not that common and only somewhat similar to Darlington, but the shape and surface is totally different. I actually have a small handful of laps at Nashville from my very first outing with Brad Keselowski Racing when I was just getting into the Truck Series. We did a rookie test there, but I unfortunately had a tire cord and completely come apart on me, causing the truck to receive some day-ending damage to it. So, it was a short test for me, and it has been such a long time that I had even forgotten it is a concrete surface there. That’s how green I was when I originally tested there; I didn’t even know the difference in track surfaces. Obviously, I’ve learned a lot since then and have a lot more experience, but there is still a lot for me to figure out at Nashville this weekend. I’ll be running double-duty and competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race to help give me some extra on-track time, which should hopefully help us out a lot on the Cup side with our No. 8 Joe Nichols / Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet on Sunday.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER/NATURE VALLEY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 19th IN STANDINGSWHEN YOU THINK OF NASHVILLE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF?“For me, it was always that racetrack that for me when I was first starting out in my career, it was really close to home. It’s only 3.5-hours away from my hometown, so I always had a lot of friends and family that came. I’ve had some good memories of the track and I’ve had some bad ones. I was actually just watching the pre-race of 2011. We ended up running second in that race to Carl. Then, like you said, a lot of the testing that we did in the wintertime – it was really cold there. So, obviously now, it’ll be really hot, slick and a lot of fun.”
“There’s a lot of things that I think I remember, but also a lot of things I feel like I don’t remember – what exactly it feels like driving the car around a concrete racetrack that big and also kind of that flat. There will be a lot of things to pick up on in that 50-minute practice that we have.”
IS THERE A TRACK THAT’S ON THE CURRENT SCHEDULE THAT IS MOST SIMILAR TO NASHVILLE THAT YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING AT ALL?“No, I think Nashville (Superspeedway) is kind of its own beast. It’s concrete and fairly flat compared to most other racetracks of similar size. The concrete does have a little bit of a different reaction, as far as however much rubber is laid down and things like that. It definitely took more rubber than I remember when I went back and watched some of the races, so I’m anxious to see if we can get the groove moved up instead of just running the bottom of the racetrack. I think the weather is going to be good this weekend for the opportunity to move around the racetrack, especially with the Trucks, Xfinity and Cup all in the same weekend.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 TOOTSIES ORCHID LOUNGE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 22nd IN STANDINGSHOW IMPORTANT IS SUNDAY’S NASHVILLE RACE TO YOU? “Sunday is important because it’s important to Justin and everyone at Trackhouse Racing as well at Tootsie’s. Plus, it is a new market for us, or at least a place we haven’t been to in a long time. I don’t know much about Nashville Superspeedway so I have been learning as much as I can. It’s going to be a new but fun experience for us.” ERIK JONES, NO. 43 BLACK ENTREPRENEUR INITIATIVE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 25th IN STANDINGSTHOUGHTS AND EXPECTATIONS GOING TO NASHVILLE?“I am excited for the Nashville Superspeedway – we are getting back into the Nashville market. That track has been sitting there for a few years now, so to get back out there is going to be great. They have sold out for this race weekend. That is awesome to have all the fans and to have a packed house.”
“It is hard to say what the expectations are. I have only been to the track one time and that was for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series test, so I do not have much experience there. All I can really do is go back and watch some of the older races. Hopefully, we can go out and have a good run. It is kind of a unique size and shape of a track, with it being just over a mile. I do not know exactly how our cars are going to do with that.” COREY LAJOIE, NO. 7 PRYOR & LEE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 29th IN STANDINGS“I’m excited to head over to Music City this weekend. Being a giant country music fan, it’s pretty cool to have Pryor & Lee on board our Chevy Camaro. It’s obvious they have a passion for sharing their music through a grass roots, ‘pounding the pavement’ effort, so I can definitely relate to that in my racing career. It’ll be my first time at Nashville Superspeedway, so I’ll have to learn the track quickly and get our Camaro dialed in during practice.”