CONCORD, N.C. – It’s that time of year again. For the first time in 2023, Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Cup Series head to Talladega Superspeedway for the first of two events at the longest oval on the schedule. The organization enters the 2.66-mile facility in search of an opening win on a drafting track this season.

RELATED: Chase Elliott earns top-10 run in return 

The 2023 Cup Series schedule is one of the most unique in the sport’s history. From six road course events (including a street course) to the return of North Wilkesboro Speedway as the site of All-Star Race, the sanctioning body is diversifying the slate with distinctive venues.

Talladega has long been one of the series' most unparalleled venues and fan experiences.  Opening in 1969, the track has seen Cup Series action for 54 consecutive seasons. With 33 degrees of banking, it clocks in at the steepest-banked track on the Cup Series calendar. The drafting-style aero package used here promotes tight racing throughout the field; it’s an aero package that is also used in races at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. From the close-quarters racing to the atmosphere and history in and around the track, there’s nothing quite like Talladega.

In total, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 14 victories at the famed track, which are the most among all teams. Vice chairman Jeff Gordon holds the record for most wins in organizational history with six. Two others have earned double-digit tallies with Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott each owning two victories. Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each won a single race at Talladega in their time with Rick Hendrick’s team.

RELATED: See every Talladega win for Hendrick Motorsports

Elliott is the most recent winner at Talladega with his victory in the Round of 12 opener last fall. The driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy, who returned to competition last weekend, has had success at the Alabama facility in the past. His two wins at the track are the most of any active driver in the Hendrick Motorsports stable. The facility is also one of four tracks that the Dawsonville, Georgia, native has earned multiple victories at. With 14 starts at Talladega, his average finish of 14.21 is the highest among any active driver in the Cup Series. The 2020 Cup Series champion is also one of four drivers that earned top 10s in both races here last year.

Sunday's race also marks a significant milestone for No. 9 team crew chief Alan Gustafson, who will be making his 650th start atop the pit box. His 38 wins are tied for the second-most among active crew chiefs and his 18 wins with Elliott are the second-most for an active driver-crew chief combination. 

While Kyle Larson has yet to earn a victory on a drafting style track in his career, the Elk Grove, California, native will look to earn a career first for the second straight weekend. Last Sunday, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet earned his first win at Martinsville Speedway in 17 starts and his second victory of the season. This season, in drafting style races at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, Larson has been towards the front. At Daytona, he was on the front row for a late restart and pushed eventual race-winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to the lead before getting collected in a last-lap crash. At Atlanta, Larson occupied the second position late in the day when a flat tire caused the race leader to spin into the No. 5. His fourth-place finish at Talladega last spring stands as his best result both there and on a drafting-style track.

William Byron has been impressive in his career on drafting-style tracks. His first Cup Series win came at a superspeedway with a victory at Daytona in August 2020. Last year, he won the first race on the reconfigured and repaved Atlanta track. The 25-year-old driver has a runner-up finish at Talladega, which came in the April 2021 race. He is one of four drivers, along with teammate Alex Bowman, to finish second at this track in a Cup event but has not won there yet. Byron led a race-high 38 laps and led the most laps on drafting-style tracks last year (193). The two-time winner in 2023 has the best average running position (8.90) in the series this year.

RELATED: Byron sounds the siren at Carolina Hurricanes game

Bowman’s always seems to qualify well on the drafting-style tracks as he’s earned the pole three times for the DAYTONA 500. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 typically finds his way to the front as evidenced by scoring stage points in six of the last seven events held at Talladega. All four of his top-10 results at this track have come in the spring event, highlighted by a runner-up finish to Elliott in 2019. The 29-year-old enjoyed a fifth-place run in the season-opening 2023 DAYTONA 500 with this rules package. His crew chief, Blake Harris, earned a top-five finish and two top-10s last year at this track with Michael McDowell. 

Here's what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action:


There will be no group practice this weekend. Single-car qualifying will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 22nd, and will be broadcast on the FS1Single-car qualifying will consist of two rounds with the top 10 from the first round transferring to the final round to battle for the pole. 


The 188-lap Cup Series main event is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 23rd, and will be broadcast on FOX.


Cup Series broadcast will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).


Yes. Download the FOX Sports Live app for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick.  


It varies by location, but this link allows viewers to find the channels by entering their zip code and selecting their television provider.  

Data provided by Racing Insights  

5: A Hendrick Motorsports engine has won five of the first nine races in the 2023 season. In addition to the two wins each for Byron and Larson, Stenhouse Jr.'s DAYTONA 500 victory (for fellow Chevy team JTG Daugherty Racing) came with a Hendrick Engine.

10.00: Average finish from Bowman in the nine races run this season. The driver of the No. 48 leads the field in this category. 

12: In 18 stages that have been completed this season, Byron has scored stage points 12 times. This mark is the most of any driver in the Cup Series.

19: Percentage that Larson has gone to victory lane in races with Hendrick Motorsports. Since coming to the organization for the start of the 2021 season, the 30-year-old driver has won 15 races in 81 starts with the team. 

20: Elliott still holds the record as the youngest driver to win a pole position at Talladega at 20 years of age (2016).