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      NASCAR heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for back-to-back events


      © 2019 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      Coca-Cola 600 | Alsco Uniforms 500
      Sunday, May 24 at 6 p.m. ET | Wednesday, May 27 at 8 p.m. ET
      Charlotte Motor Speedway

      WILLIAM BYRON

      HOME SWEET HOME: Byron, 22, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, has five NASCAR national series starts on the oval at his home track. In 2019, he became the youngest pole winner in the history of the Charlotte 600 at 21 years, 5 months and 24 days. The driver went on to lead 91 laps and post a ninth-place finish, which is his personal best in just two career Cup races there. In the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, Byron earned the pole position, led 25 laps and earned a 10th-place finish in 2016. He also has two Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte.

      KNAUS KNOWS CLT: There’s no better crew chief at Charlotte Motor Speedway than Chad Knaus. Calling the shots for 36 NASCAR Cup Series races on the oval, his teams have posted eight wins, including a sweep of all four races in the 2004 and 2005 Cup seasons. In 19 attempts, he has won the Charlotte 600 four times – all coming with the No. 48 team and driver Jimmie Johnson. In his first 600-mile event with Byron and the No. 24 team last season, the group captured the pole, led 31 laps, and finished with a solid ninth-place finish.

      HOMETOWN FAVORITE: Byron is the only current NASCAR Cup Series driver who calls Charlotte his hometown. After visiting the U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina, with his father in 2012, Byron found himself behind the wheel for the first time the next year competing in the Young Lion Division. He won an incredible 33 of his 69 legend car events in 2013 and went on to lock up the U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship and the Thursday Thunder Young Lion championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 2014, he progressed to the Legend Car Pro Division and signed with the JR Motorsports developmental program. From that point on, Byron hasn’t slowed down, quickly climbing the NASCAR national series ranks before making his Cup Series debut in 2018.

      BYRON ON RACING AT CHARLOTTE AND THE NO. 24 TEAM’S MENTALITY: “The races at Charlotte are going to be critical for our team. There are a lot of points up for grabs at the 600 and we need to keep building those points to overcome misfortune from earlier in the season. It’s a home race for me as well so there’s a bit of added motivation to run up front. We ran well there last year in both the All-Star Race and the 600 so I’m excited that we’ll have back-to-back races there. I think we will definitely be in contention for the win and that’s an exciting feeling.”

      BYRON ON THE MEANING OF RACING ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: “Racing on Memorial Day weekend is always special. It’s a time for us to try do something small to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to do what we love. It’s also special for me, not only because I’m racing where I grew up, but because I’m able to honor those who share connections to Liberty University. It gives me even more motivation and satisfaction to be able to run well, and I hope I’m able to make them proud again on Sunday.”

      Hendrick Motorsports drivers honoring fallen military members at Charlotte

      KNAUS ON THE WORK THAT HAS GONE INTO NASCAR’S RETURN TO THE TRACK: “It has been a lot of work by everyone at Hendrick Motorsports to get back to competition in such short order. I’m really proud of the organization working to get us back to the track so quickly. The guys in the shop are working harder than ever to make sure we unload with the best equipment possible and I think that showed across the board on Sunday and Wednesday at Darlington and will continue to show the more we race.”

      KNAUS ON THE MEANING OF SUCCESS AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “I love racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track is really starting to develop character again from when it was repaved in 2006. Aside from that, it’s literally in the backyard of Hendrick Motorsports. Being able to get a win in not only such a historic race like the 600, but winning within sight of our campus is always a great feeling for the team and the organization as a whole. Now we’ll have two chances to race there in one week. It will be similar to when we prepare for the All-Star Race and then the 600 just a week later. I always look forward to those races in the normal schedule so I’m more than ready to run there twice in one week this time as well and hopefully it will be a Hendrick Motorsports sweep.”


      Chad Knaus talks William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, returning to the No. 24 & more
      Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Chad Knaus, crew chief of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 car, discusses the difference between a young Jimmie Johnson and William Byron, how NASCAR has evolved during his time in the sport, his experience working as a crew chief when he was just a teenager and whether he ever wanted to become a driver.
      Watch Part 2 of Jeff’s interview with Chad

      ALEX  BOWMAN

      BOWMAN AT CHARLOTTE: Bowman has seven NASCAR Cup Series starts at the Charlotte oval, including top-10 results in his two most recent races there: ninth in May 2018 and seventh in May 2019. The Tucson, Arizona, native has also competed in four Xfinity Series events at the track, including his first career NASCAR national series victory in October 2017.

      1.5-MILE STATS: Bowman has 50 combined starts at eight different 1.5-mile tracks with one win, three top-five finishes and 11 top 10s. The driver’s first Cup victory came at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019, after leading 88 laps. His average finish of 7.89 over the last nine races on 1.5-mile tracks is the second-best of all drivers, and his six top-10 finishes over the last nine are tied for second-most. He has led 177 laps in the last nine events at 1.5-milers.

      RETURNING IN 2021: On May 16, Bowman announced via Twitter that he would be back at Hendrick Motorsports in 2021 after signing a one-year contract extension with the team. Since joining the 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions full-time in 2018, the driver has two wins (Chicagoland in 2019 and Auto Club Speedway in 2020), 10 top-five finishes, 23 top 10s and one pole award (2018 DAYTONA 500). He competed in the Cup Series playoffs in 2018 and 2019 and has already secured a berth in 2020 by virtue of his victory at Auto Club.

      IVES AT CLT: For the eighth time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots at the Charlotte oval for the No. 88 team. His cars have posted one top-five finish and three top-10 results, including last year’s seventh-place finish with Bowman in the 600-mile event. The Bark River, Michigan, native was also a NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief for four Charlotte events in two years for JR Motorsports. In 2014, Ives led driver Chase Elliott to the pole position in the fall race that saw the team lead 66 laps and finish eighth. All told, the crew chief has two top-10 results at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series and has led a total of 94 laps there. In addition, he was a race engineer for seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson between 2006 and 2012 when the No. 48 team won the 2009 Charlotte fall event and captured seven top-10 finishes and two pole awards at the track.

      BOWMAN ON THE TRANSITION FROM DARLINGTON TO CHARLOTTE: “This weekend will be a little different since we are able to qualify. That will give us a little more knowledge about the car before taking the green flag. We had strong cars in Darlington, and I am confident that everyone back at Hendrick Motorsports is building dominant Chevrolets for the Charlotte events.”

      BOWMAN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF RACING ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: “It is always special honoring the men and women in the Armed Forces, and we will have United States Army Staff Sgt. Scott W. Brunkhorst on our ChevyGoods.com/NOCO machine. Scott passed away in 2010 from injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an IED. It will be an honor having him on board and hopefully we can put the car in victory lane for his family and friends.”

      IVES ON THE PHYSICAL ASPECT OF THE CHARLOTTE 600: “The Charlotte 600 race is one that shows strength and endurance of the team, from driver to pit crew. Being the third race in a week will be a test for Alex’s physical conditioning and our ability to adjust the car through changing track conditions. We are looking forward to getting back to the racetrack and represent Scott W. Brunkhorst and his family.”

      Rick Hendrick on his early days in NASCAR and the driver who surprised him most
      After racing for him for 23 full-time seasons, Jeff Gordon sits down with fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick to discuss Hendrick Motorsports’ beginnings, what surprised them about Jimmie Johnson, big risks paying off and more.
      Part 2 | Part 3

      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

      HENDRICK’S HOUSE: Car owner Rick Hendrick has 28 major NASCAR Cup Series wins at the Charlotte Motor Speedway facility. His teams have won 19 points-paying races on the 1.5-mile oval and one on the track’s road course known as the ROVAL. Hendrick Motorsports has also posted a record eight NASCAR All-Star Race wins at Charlotte.

      LET’S MAKE IT 12: Hendrick Motorsports has won a record 11 times in the 600-mile race at Charlotte. No other team has more than six victories in NASCAR’s longest race. An all-time record five different drivers have earned Charlotte 600 wins for car owner Hendrick: Jimmie Johnson (4), Jeff Gordon (3), Darrell Waltrip (2), Kasey Kahne and Casey Mears.

      A WIN FOR THE BOOKS: No team has ever produced eight different winners at any racetrack, but a Charlotte victory by Chase Elliott, William Byron or Alex Bowman would alter the record book. Hendrick Motorsports has won Cup Series races with seven drivers at three tracks: the Charlotte oval, Pocono Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. Wood Brothers Racing has gone to Victory Lane with seven different drivers at venerable Daytona International Speedway.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports