HAMPTON, Ga. – Kyle Larson led the way in qualifying for Hendrick Motorsports at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Larson will start Sunday’s 260-lap race from the ninth position after a lap of 176.213 mph in the final round of qualifying. He is making his 300th NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday afternoon. The 30-year-old driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has two straight top-five finishes and his 270 laps led on the season are the most in the series.
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William Byron, who comes into this weekend as the defending race winner, will take the grid in the 11th position. The driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has won the last two races of the 2023 season with victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway. Five of his six career Cup Series wins have come in the first eight races of a season.
"We’ve got more to prove, and we’ll just keep going," Byron said during a media availability ahead of qualifying. "It’s good to get two in a row the last couple of weeks. I feel like we’re on a good roll. This is a really good racetrack for us as we won here last year."
Alex Bowman is set to line up 15th in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four races this season. The 29-year-old driver has his best marks at this point in a season with two top-five finishes, four top-10s and an average finish of 6.25.
Josh Berry will start 21st in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as he fills in for the sidelined Chase Elliott. Berry became the 29th driver in Hendrick Motorsports history to score a top-10 finish for the team with his 10th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway last weekend. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native finished second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series summer race at Atlanta. Earlier this month, Elliott had successful surgery on his fractured tibia and is expected to be out approximately five more weeks.
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Joey Logano won the pole position for the race at the 1.54-mile track.
As a team, Hendrick Motorsports has accounted for 16 wins at the track located in Hampton, Georgia. Team vice chairman Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each earned five victories at Atlanta. Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Kasey Kahne, Byron and Elliott have all earned a single victory for the organization at Atlanta.
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The organization swept both races at the Georgia circuit in 2022. In the first event since the repave and reconfiguration, Byron led 111 laps on his way to earning his first checkered flag of the year. July’s second race saw a similar outcome as Elliott paced the field for 96 circuits to win for the first time in his home state.
This weekend will see all four teams without its regular crew chiefs as part of the penalties imposed by NASCAR on the organization following the race weekend at Phoenix. Hendrick Motorsports is appealing those penalties, but the organization made the strategic decision to not request a deferral of personnel suspensions since Atlanta is now a drafting track and a superspeedway-style race. An appeal date has not yet been set.
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For this weekend’s race, Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will fill in as crew chiefs. Meendering and Ives have a wide range of experience as crew chiefs and currently lead the organization's NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts. Gray, the former lead engineer on the No. 9, will be serving as a crew chief in the Cup Series for the first time. Campe, Hendrick Motorsports' technical director, has experience as a Xfinity Series crew chief, but Atlanta will also be his first Cup Series race atop the pit box.
Over the last two race weekends, Hendrick Motorsports has two wins, five top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led 506 of a possible 588 laps run (86.05%). At Las Vegas, the organization swept the top-three spots in the finishing order and the Phoenix race saw all four of its cars place in the top 10.
Sunday's race at Atlanta marks the fifth race of the season. Tune in to catch the action at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).