CONCORD, N.C. – This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series begins its trek out west at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It’s the first of three races of the famed “West Coast Swing;” with races in Phoenix and Fontana the following weeks.
Though kicking off a new year and arriving with two new drivers and a new car model, history gives good reason to believe the Hendrick Motorsports teammates will fare well out west.
Here’s a look at how Hendrick Motorsports has performed during the “West Coast Swing” in previous years.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads all Cup Series teams with 34 wins on West Coast tracks – including California, Nevada and Arizona. Roush Fenway Racing is the next closest team with 23 wins.
- Of those 34 West Coast victories, California natives Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have combined to win 26 of them, 15 and 11, respectively. The two lead all drivers for most West Coast victories.
- At Las Vegas, Johnson has led in the last six races and is tied with Brad Keselowski for the longest streak at the track. If Johnson leads for a seventh straight race on Sunday, he would tie Matt Kenseth for the all-time record.Over 16 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Johnson has led a total of 595 laps on the 1.5-mile racetrack and has held the lead for at least one lap in 14 of those starts.
- It’s Darian Grubb’s first West Coast visit as crew chief of the No. 24 car, but he’s fared well in his past trips. As a crew chief, Grubb has won at all three “West Coast Swing” destinations (Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, California), each with a different driver.
- The No. 88 has been a consistent contender in Las Vegas. Since 2008, the No. 88 team has logged eight top-10 finishes, the most of any car number in that timeframe. This will be Greg Ives’ fourth race at Las Vegas as the No. 88 team crew chief. At the helm, Ives has one top-five finish and two top-10 finishes at Las Vegas in the Cup Series.
- There has yet to be a first-time winner or a rookie winner in Las Vegas, but three Hendrick Motorsports have the chance to change that Sunday. Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott are seeking their first career wins and William Byron could become both the first rookie and first-time winner at Las Vegas.