CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway this Sunday for the first race in the 2021 Cup Series playoffs and the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are ready to tango with “The Lady in Black.”
Sunday’s event at Darlington will mark the first of 10 NASCAR Cup Series playoff races in 2021. Hendrick Motorsports has 47 playoff wins (28%) since the introduction of the system in 2004, more than any other organization. The team has won playoff races with seven different drivers (the most), has earned eight of the 17 championships in the playoff era (47%) and has won playoff races in a record 16 different seasons.
Take a look at some of Hendrick Motorsports' stats as the four drivers get ready to take on the track “Too Tough to Tame.” The race will begin on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN.
- Hendrick Motorsports has posted a track record 14 NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway, including 11 in the prestigious Southern 500 – more than any other team. The organization has sent a record six different drivers to victory lane at the track: Jeff Gordon (seven wins), Jimmie Johnson (three), Tim Richmond, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Mark Martin.
- In seven NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Larson has four top-five finishes and six top-10s with his worst finish of 14th occurring in 2017. He has an average finish of sixth and has led in five of those seven races for 500 laps – 20% of the laps he has competed in at the egg-shaped track. Larson has posted runner-up finishes in his last two starts at the 1.366-mile track.
- Larson has finished top three in 10 of the last 15 races dating back to Darlington Raceway in May. Over that span, the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has four wins, four runner-up finishes and two third-place results to move from 144 markers down in the point standings to being crowned the Cup Series’ regular-season champion following last Saturday night’s event at Daytona International Speedway. Larson holds a 28-point advantage over second place in the standings heading into the 10-race playoffs.
- Chase Elliott is set to make his 10th Cup Series start at Darlington Raceway this weekend. In his previous races at the 1.366-mile track, he has two top-five finishes, four top-10s and led 151 laps. Elliott also has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the South Carolina venue, where he won in his 2014 track debut. He is one of only four drivers to win at Darlington in their first race there.
- With six previous Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, Byron is looking to capitalize on his previously strong showings at the South Carolina track this Sunday. Despite running well early on, Byron’s results in his first four starts at the 1.366-mile track don’t accurately represent the strength he had shown. However, in his last two starts at “The Lady in Black,” Byron has started within the top five both times and secured a fifth-place result in the fall of 2020 and a fourth-place result earlier this season in May.
- When the Cup Series returns to Darlington on Sunday, it will mark the second trip to the South Carolina track for crew chief Rudy Fugle at the top level of NASCAR. Earlier this season, Fugle called the shots for Byron at Darlington, starting fifth before racing their way to a fourth-place result. Prior to this season, Fugle had only three previous starts at Darlington Raceway – two in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one in the Xfinity Series.
- Alex Bowman has eight previous starts in the Cup Series at Darlington Raceway. His best finish of second came in May last season when the sport returned after a two-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bowman led for 41 laps after rolling off second, earning the second-most points in the event. During the three races held at the 1.366-mile venue in 2020, Bowman captured the second-most stage points (39) and led the sixth-most laps (42) among active drivers.