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      Alex Bowman and William Byron back on track at Talladega as NASCAR returns from break


      © Axalta Coatings / Phil Cavali Photography

      Axalta-backed drivers Alex Bowman and William Byron are geared up and ready to return to racing after a one-week break as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes on Talladega Superspeedway.

      “I think superspeedway racing is just something where you have to stay out of trouble,” Alex Bowman said of this weekend’s challenging venue. “Things can change on track quickly and you just have to be able to stay out of harm’s way. We were strong in Daytona and our Nationwide Camaro ZL1 is usually pretty good on superspeedways. The new aero package that we tested in Daytona a few months ago should be interesting to run and I am definitely looking forward to how it does on track.”

      “Talladega is a wild card for sure, just like Daytona is,” William Byron added. “Last year we ran well there, leading laps in both races, but the finishes don’t tell the whole story. I think the rookie stripes made people hesitant to work with me, so hopefully that’s not the case this time. I think our strong run in Daytona in February will help as well. We were up front basically all race and I could really put my car wherever I needed to on track to get back to the front. Chad [Knaus] and the No. 24 team worked hard to build that car and get us that speed, so I’m excited to see what our Hertz Chevy will have this weekend at a similar track.”

      RACE INFO: GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway | Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. ET

      © Axalta Coatings / Phil Cavali Photography

      ALEX BOWMAN

      BOWMAN AT ‘DEGA: Alex Bowman will make his eighth start in the NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Last spring, the No. 88 Nationwide team finished eighth at the track after starting just outside the top 10 in 11th. The 25-year-old driver led 26 laps in the spring event last year at the 2.66-mile facility. The Tucson, Arizona, native has one start at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series back in 2013, when he qualified 14th and finished 13th. Bowman also ran an ARCA Series race at the Alabama-based track in 2012.

      FIRST-TIME WINNER: Bowman is aging into the first-time winner sweet spot after turning 26 on Thursday. All-time, 81 percent of drivers scored their first career win after turning 26 years old. There have been nine drivers to score their first career Cup Series win while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, two of which came at Talladega. The average age for the two drivers to win at the superspeedway was 27.

      BOWMAN ON TALLADEGA VS. DAYTONA: “Daytona and Talladega are a little different, but not terribly different. I feel like if you have an ill-handling race car but it’s fast at Daytona, you can get away with it at Talladega. We had a pretty good car in Daytona in February, we just got caught up in an incident on track late in the race. Greg [Ives] and the guys have been working throughout the off week to get this Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 dialed in and I know when we get on track on Friday, we will have some fun.”

      IVES IN ALABAMA: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the ninth time for the No. 88 team at Talladega this weekend. The Michigan native has one win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2015, two top-five finishes and four top-10 results at the track. Ives’ drivers have an average start of 6.5 at the track. The crew chief’s résumé includes one win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the superspeedway with Regan Smith in 2013. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006 until 2012. During that time, he was a part of two wins, two pole awards and seven top-10 finishes at Talladega.

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      WILLIAM BYRON

      TAMING TALLADEGA: Returning to Talladega Superspeedway for the third time in a NASCAR Cup Series car – but for the first time without yellow rookie stripes – William Byron is optimistic about a strong run this weekend in the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In both Cup races last year Byron had solid runs, including leading 19 total laps – 14 laps in the spring and five laps in the fall. Byron also has one NASCAR Xfinity Series start as well as one NASCAR Truck Series start at Talladega, collecting a track-best finish of 10th in his debut at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Byron has one superspeedway race already under his belt in 2019, the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, where he sat on the pole, led 44 laps and was in contention for the win before a late-race incident with two laps to go ended his night early.

      KNAUS’ KNACK: With a skill for superspeedway racing, crew chief Chad Knaus is set to call his 37th NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega when the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 hits the track this weekend. Racking up six pole awards at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, including a streak of four in a row in his first four races at the track as a Cup crew chief, Knaus also has two wins at Talladega.

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      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

      TEAM HENDRICK AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports holds multiple all-time records, including 12 poles, 13 runner-up results, 56 top-five finishes, 85 top-10s and 2,757 laps led. The organization’s 12 wins at the track are tied for the most all-time. Hendrick Motorsports has the most different drivers to win at Talladega with six, with the organization’s most recent win at the venue coming in 2015 thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

      SUPERSPEEDWAY SUCCESS: Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for the most superspeedway wins all-time with 26, six ahead of Wood Brothers Racing in second place. Hendrick Motorsports also holds the record for the most pole positions at a superspeedway with 32. The next-closest team is Ranier Racing with 18.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports