DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Last year, Hendrick Motorsports became the first team in NASCAR history to start three drivers under the age of 25 in the Daytona 500.
This time around, the organization has another piece of history entering “The Great American Race.”
William Byron and Alex Bowman’s combined age of 46 makes the duo the youngest front row tandem ever to start the Daytona 500.
Below is a look at some key facts and figures surrounding the fast-approaching Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports.
- Hendrick Motorsports has earned eight Daytona 500 wins with five different drivers – tied with Wood Brothers Racing for the most different drivers for one team – including three by Jeff Gordon and two by Jimmie Johnson. The organization's first Daytona 500 victory came with driver Geoffrey Bodine in 1986, with Darrell Waltrip (1989) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014) also posting wins for Hendrick Motorsports. A victory for the organization Feb. 17 would tie Petty Enterprises for the most Daytona 500 wins all-time with nine. Hendrick Motorsports leads organizations in nearly every category in "The Great American Race," including starts (116), poles (12), top-five finishes (28), top-10s (46) and laps led (1,222).
- In each of the last three seasons, Chase Elliott has won at least one race during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway – the longest active streak. In 2016, the 23-year-old driver won the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener. The following year, Elliott collected his first career Duel victory at Daytona in the first qualifying event of the evening. He continued the streak in 2018 by winning his second consecutive Duel. In addition to those victories, Elliott was in position to win the 2017 Daytona 500 before running out of fuel from the lead on Lap 198 of 200.
- If Elliott wins the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17, he and his father would join Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the second father-son duo to win "The Great American Race" on the same date. Bill visited Victory Lane at Daytona on Feb. 17, 1985, after leading 136 laps and retaking the lead with six laps to go. The Earnhardts accomplished the feat on Feb. 15 of 1998 and 2004, respectively.
- Though No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson has never won a points race at Daytona, he has collected two Duel wins (2017, 2018) with Elliott. The 43-year-old crew chief also has two runner-up finishes at the 2.5-mile oval with Kyle Busch in 2006 and 2007. The 2007 result with Busch and Jamie McMurray was the closest margin of victory ever in the July race at Daytona (0.005 seconds).
- When Byron earned the pole in Daytona 500 qualifying, it meant that in four of the last five DAYTONA 500 races, the No. 24 has started from the pole position – in 2015 with Gordon and in consecutive seasons, 2016 and 2017, with Elliott prior to Byron’s pole this season.
- With two "Great American Race" victories, Johnson is the only multi-time Daytona 500 winner expected to compete in this year’s event. No. 48 team crew chief Meendering also has a Daytona 500 win under his belt, as he was the lead engineer for Earnhardt's 2014 victory in "The Great American Race." That day, Earnhardt led 54 of the 200 laps to take home the highly coveted Harley J. Earl trophy.
- A win this weekend in the Daytona 500 would be Bowman’s first win in the NASCAR Cup Series in his 117 career starts. Each of the last five Daytona 500s held on Feb. 17 were won by drivers getting their first Daytona 500 win. Bowman would be the sixth different driver for Hendrick Motorsports to win the prestigious event, which would set a new NASCAR Cup Series record.