RACE INFO: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Sunday, July 21 at 3 p.m. ET
BOWMAN ON THE PLAYOFFS: “With seven races to go in the regular season, we are really focused on the points. Getting the win in Chicagoland locked us into the playoffs, which was what we have been looking to do all season. Now, we are looking at getting the most amount of points that we can during a race to get ourselves in a good position when we head to Las Vegas in September.”
BEST AVERAGE FINISH: Over the last nine events in the NASCAR Cup Series, Alex Bowman is tied for first with Kyle Busch for the best average finish. The Chicagoland Speedway winner has an average finish of 9.89 since the event at Dover International Speedway on May 5.
BOWMAN STATS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bowman is set to make his eighth Cup Series start at New Hampshire this weekend. The Tucson, Arizona, native earned his best start (eighth) and best finish (11th) at the track last season. In 2016, he made his first start behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet at New Hampshire when it was announced that he would take over for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10 events. Bowman has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 1.058-mile oval track with an average finish of ninth. Back in 2011, the driver made two starts at the track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he completed 100 percent of the total laps run and also had an average finish of ninth.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CAREER NUMBERS: Since Bowman’s first start at New Hampshire in 2016, the driver has made 65 starts and has two pole wins (Phoenix in 2016, Daytona 500 in 2018). Three weeks ago, he claimed his first Cup Series victory at Chicagoland. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has claimed seven top-five finishes, 20 top 10s and 453 laps led with Hendrick Motorsports in that span.
BOWMAN ON NEW HAMPSHIRE:
“New Hampshire is a really tricky place to go. The track is sort of awkward, but very unique compared to anywhere else we go. I have struggled there in the past, but last year we were able to unload with a ton of speed, which was great.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE CREDENTIALS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the seventh time at New Hampshire this weekend. The Bark River, Michigan, native’s resume includes one top-five finish, two top 15s and 10 laps led. In 2013 and 2014, Ives was a crew chief at JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His drivers earned an average start of fifth and an average finish of eighth at the Loudon, New Hampshire, track. From 2006-2012, the crew chief was a race engineer on the No. 48 team with Jimmie Johnson. During that time, the team had one win (2010), six top-five finishes and 11 top 10s at the venue.
EYES ON THE POINTS: Since the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Bowman and the No. 88 team have captured 225 points, which are the fifth-most earned in that span in the Cup Series. The driver is currently ninth on the list of drivers who have earned the most stage points since that May 26 race, collecting 47 points in total.
POINTS, POINTS AND MORE POINTS: William Byron continues to improve week-in and week-out during his sophomore season in the NASCAR Cup Series. In the last seven races, going back to the 600-mile event at Charlotte in May, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has collected 240 points, the third-most among Cup Series drivers this season. In those same seven races, he has scored 64 stage points, which is the second-most of all drivers on the circuit, and currently holds a 46-point lead over the playoff cutoff bubble. In the last nine races, Byron is tied with teammate Jimmie Johnson for the sixth-best average finish (12.33) across the Cup field.
NEW HAMPSHIRE NOTION: Of all the tracks on the NASCAR circuit, New Hampshire is one that Byron has had circled on his calendar. Last year, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native qualified 11th in his first Cup Series start at the “Magic Mile,” and despite fighting handling woes, he was able to score a top-15 finish, crossing the line in 14th. In 2017, he earned a top-five finish in the Xfinity Series after starting seventh and finishing third. The driver earned two wins at the 1.058-mile track prior to his Xfinity start. His most recent win came in the 2016 Truck Series race, when he started from the pole and led a dominating 161 of 175 laps en route to his sixth of seven victories that year. Before that win, Byron competed at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the K&N Pro Series East in 2015, qualifying on the pole and again going on to collect the win after leading 68 of 70 laps.
KNAUS’ KNACK: Byron isn’t the only one who enjoys racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – his crew chief Chad Knaus does as well. Knaus leads active Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs with three wins and one pole at the venue. The seven-time champion crew chief also has 10 top-five finishes and 22 top 10s on his resume at the “Magic Mile.”
EYES ON A FIRST-TIME WINNER: If Byron wins at New Hampshire, it will mark the 10th time a driver has recorded his first career Cup Series win while racing for Hendrick Motorsports. Currently, the organization holds the record having sent nine first-time winners to Victory Lane.
‘NEVER GIVE UP’ ATTITUDE AT KENTUCKY: After qualifying 12th last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Byron showed speed throughout Saturday night’s race at the 1.5-mile oval, including battling for the lead during the opening laps of the final stage. However, a late-race restart penalty forced the No. 24 team to switch up its strategy and fight back through the field. In the closing laps, Byron was able to work his way through traffic to cross the finish line in 18th.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has accumulated nine wins, seven pole positions, 43 top-five finishes, 77 top 10s and 2,561 laps led. The organization’s most recent win at the track came in 2012 via Kasey Kahne after he started on the outside pole.
HOT STREAK: As the weather has gotten hotter, Hendrick Motorsports’ performance on the track has been heating up as well. In the last 10 races, the organization leads the NASCAR Cup Series with three pole positions and four runner-up results. Its two wins, 12 top-five finishes, 20 top 10s and 580 laps led in that span are second-best among all teams, as is the organization’s average finish of 12.58.
PLAYOFF POSITIONING: Currently, all four Hendrick Motorsports teammates are in a position to make the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at the end of the regular season. Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman have both essentially locked in their spots by finding Victory Lane and rank eighth and ninth, respectively, in the point standings. William Byron currently ranks 12th in the standings, with Jimmie Johnson in 15th