CONCORD, N.C.— Hendrick Motorsports heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend to take on the debut race of “The Last Great Colosseum” covered in dirt for the first time in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Although not on dirt, Hendrick Motorsports has posted 11 points-paying Cup Series wins at the half-mile oval. Most recently, Chase Elliott won the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race held there last July. The eventual 2020 NASCAR champion led 60 laps en route to the victory.
Take a look at how the Hendrick Motorsports drivers have fared at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” before slinging dirt at the Tennessee bullring this Sunday.
- The much-anticipated dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway will mark the 11th new track configuration the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on since 1994. In the previous 10 inaugural races, Hendrick Motorsports has gone to victory lane four times – twice the total of any other team. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon won the debut events at Indianapolis in 1994, California in 1997 and Kansas in 2001. Elliott won the most recent new addition at the DAYTONA Road Course in August 2020. The six other venues to hold first-time Cup Series races since 1994: Texas in 1997, Las Vegas in 1998, Homestead in 1999, Chicagoland in 2001, Kentucky in 2011, and the Charlotte ROVAL in 2018.
- In January, Kyle Larson collected two victories on dirt tracks - his second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals victory, an annual event held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a win in a late model dirt car at All-Tech Raceway. In 2020, Larson had one of the most successful years in the history of dirt track racing, winning 46 total events across various series.
- It was a trio of second-place finishes for Larson last weekend. Along with his runner-up finish at Atlanta, the 28-year-old driver finished second in a pair of super late model events at the Bristol Dirt Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway. Larson drove his entry to second-place finishes in the preliminary event Friday and the main event Saturday.
- Elliott heads into the Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend with some dirt experience under his belt. Last week, the 25-year-old driver participated in the Bristol Dirt Nationals where he advanced to the super late model main event on Friday night. He was collected in an accident that ultimately ended his night. During the offseason, Elliott was behind the wheel of a midget dirt car at the Chili Bowl Nationals where he finished seventh in the F-Main.
- Elliott has made 10 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway. In those 10 events held on the .533-mile concrete oval, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE garnered three top-five finishes, five top-10s and led 310 laps. In addition, Elliott also led 60 laps en route to winning the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race held at Bristol last July.
- Despite issues in the first two races of the season, William Byron and the No. 24 team have been on a hot streak. For the first time in his Cup career, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native is on a run of four consecutive top-10 finishes that date back to his Feb. 28 win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- No. 24 crew chief Rudy Fugle has an extensive background in the dirt racing world. Growing up in Livonia, New York, Fugle got his start on dirt, competing in a 600cc micro sprint and working on a friend’s dirt modified at the local track level. In his time as a crew chief, Fugle has six Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway, collecting a track-best finish of fourth in 2015 with Erik Jones.
- Alex Bowman is no stranger to racing on dirt. The 27-year-old driver qualified on the pole for the 2012 ARCA Racing Series event at Illinois State Fairgrounds’ 1-mile dirt track. He led 20 of 100 laps during that event to bring home a second-place result. Bowman competed in the 2019 and 2020 Chili Bowl Nationals under his own banner of Alex Bowman Racing. In 2019, he earned a top-10 finish during his preliminary night and ultimately finished 12th in the B-Feature. Last year, the Tucson, Arizona, native finished third in his heat race in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, event, was second in the B-Feature, then placed 10th in the A-Main. In preparation for Sunday’s race on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bowman has been practicing at Millbridge Speedway in a micro sprint car.
- The No. 48 Ally team has been utilizing the iRacing program to get ready for the real-world dirt event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Both Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives have laid down laps at the virtual .533-mile venue to get a better idea of what the track will do over the course of the weekend. Both Ives and his team of engineers used iRacing to test changes to the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to see how it will handle on the track.
Don’t miss all the dirt racing action from Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.