CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports will head to Daytona International Speedway for the final race in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season and Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 team, is ready to make a final push before heading to the playoffs.
With the Daytona Beach, Florida, venue hosting the last race of the regular season, Ives knows that collecting the last remaining points will benefit the team down the road during the playoffs.
“Ultimately, we have to go into this race thinking, ‘Get as many stage points as we can or as many stage wins as we can,’” Ives said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I think that is always the goal and try to get some more playoff points with an overall win and that’s our goal. Obviously, we want to learn as much as we can because Talladega is going to be another key factor to win and move on to the next round.”
Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, has 10 starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. He earned the pole position in his last start in February and claimed two top-10 finishes there. Ives knows that part of competing at Daytona is being flexible with race strategy and avoiding the inevitable “Big One” that takes out part of the field.
“The best plan is to always change your plan. You have an understanding of what you need to do and that’s the key to it, right,” Ives said. “Understand what options are out there, what you need to do to get to the end and hope you are able to execute the most flawlessly you can. I have been a part of some speedway races where I was able to set up a plan back in 2015 with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and we were able to go up there and execute and win the race.
“That is far and few in between, but hopefully we can go and do that this weekend.”
This season, Bowman and Ives have teamed up to take home three wins, six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s through just 25 races. It marks the first year the duo has won multiple races in a season, despite some unfortunate luck that didn’t allow the team to finish three races this year.
“Despite some of the lackluster finishes here – we have to turn that around for sure – but you can’t dwell on being miserable right,” Ives said. “You have to look at the great season we have had so far; we are going into Daytona, a place that Hendrick Motorsports has always run strong at, and just (going) out there and putting it all on the line. I think we are capable of doing that and coming out of there with some momentum heading into Darlington.”
Be sure to tune in this Saturday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC to see Ives, Bowman and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports teams make their final regular-season laps at Daytona.