CONCORD, N.C. – One race remains in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season before 16 drivers are locked into the NASCAR Playoffs field.
And it all happens this Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports currently has three drivers locked into the playoffs, which is tied for the second-most among all organizations. Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman clinched their way via wins, and William Byron secured his spot on points via his performance at Darlington last weekend. Jimmie Johnson has a chance to race his way in this weekend, as he is just 18 points below the cut line. Including this year, Hendrick Motorsports has sent at least three drivers to the playoffs in 12 seasons, the most all-time.
With all eyes on the 2019 playoffs picture, take a look at some of the stats and streaks to keep an eye on in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, which begins at 2 p.m. on NBC.
- Hendrick Motorsports owns a variety of NASCAR Cup Series records in the Brickyard 400. The organization's 10 wins are the most by five, its 26 top-five finishes are the most by four, its 40 top-10s are the most by six and its 1,025 laps led are the most by 328. The organization owns five Brickyard 400 poles, which is tied for the most all-time with Joe Gibbs Racing. In fact, the organization has never gone more than three races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway without a trip to Victory Lane. That streak began with the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, which was won by Jeff Gordon, the youngest driver ever to win at Indy.
- Although he ranks eighth in the NASCAR driver point standings, Elliott is currently ranked seventh in the playoff standings as the series heads into the regular-season finale this weekend. This Sunday, the driver is set to make his fifth start at the Speedway, Indiana track with crew chief Alan Gustafson who will make his 15th appearance at the track from atop of the pit box. With his 14 previous starts and five different drivers, Gustafson has collected five top-five finishes, including a win in 2015 with Gordon and one runner-up result, eight top-10 finishes and 137 laps led.
- So far in the 2019 season, Byron has exceeded his totals in virtually every category from his 2018 rookie-of-the-year campaign. Sitting at 66 points above the cut-off line, Byron is optimistic about the No. 24 team’s chances at a track where he’s had past success. While his lone Cup start at Indy last season was hindered by weather washing out all practice and qualifying, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native started the race 22nd and raced within the top 10 for parts of the race, even leading laps due to pit strategy. However, with varying strategies in the closing laps, Byron crossed the stripe in the 22nd position. In 2017, Byron made his first trip to Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. While battling for a championship, he became the youngest driver to win a major race at the historic track at 19 years, 7 months and 23 days. He’s not only the youngest driver to win a NASCAR race at the 2.5-mile track but is the third-youngest winner in any series, behind two Indy Car Light Series drivers. Byron would love to kiss the bricks again this weekend, adding to the already lengthy legacy the No. 24 team has at Indy.
- Returning to Indianapolis for the 18th time as a Cup Series crew chief, Chad Knaus leads all crew chiefs for Brickyard 400 wins with four. Those four wins with Johnson included trips to Victory Lane in three of four seasons from 2006-2009. His last win at the 2.5-mile oval came in 2012. Knaus has also visited Victory Lane at Indy one other time as a member of Gordon’s No. 24 team in 1994 during the inaugural running of the Brickyard 400.
- In his 17 starts at the Brickyard, Johnson has racked up some impressive stats. In addition to his four victories (2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012), the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet has one runner-up result, six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 302 laps and has an average finish of 15.41 at the iconic 2.5-mile facility.
- The Brickyard 400 is considered one of NASCAR’s "crown jewel" races. Johnson is one of only four drivers in NASCAR history to have won all four – the Daytona 500, the Charlotte 600, the Brickyard 400 and the Southern 500.
- Bowman has three previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 88 machine qualified 15th last season at the track and finished 33rd after the team suffered right-side damage from an incident on Lap 65. The Tucson, Arizona, native has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the historic track, where he finished inside the top 17 in both events
- Accompanying Bowman at the track will be the No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives, who has called the shots four times at Indianapolis with three different drivers. The Bark River, Michigan, native earned his best finish of 13th with Gordon back in 2016 at the 2.5-mile oval. Ives has two starts in the Xfinity Series at the Brickyard, which includes one top-15 finish with driver Elliott when he finished 12th in 2014 after starting fifth. As a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006-12, Ives was a part of four wins at the track.