CONCORD, N.C. – William Byron will lead the field to green for Monday's NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600.
Inclement weather washed out the planned Saturday night session of practice and qualifying for the series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a result, the starting lineup is set by the rule book and metric used to determine the qualifying order.
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This season, Byron ranks first in the following statistical categories: Wins (three), laps led (596), laps run in the top five (1,787), stage wins (six) and top-five finishes (six). Competing at his home track, the driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Patriotic Chevy has one top-five finish and two top-10s on the oval layout.
"It’s a time period that I look forward to, just coming to the Coca-Cola 600 and getting ready for the Charlotte (Motor Speedway) race," Byron said during a media availability on Saturday. "Being back home and being able to see a lot of family. It’s a busy time, for sure, but I just always have great memories of Charlotte Motor Speedway, going to the 600-mile race and just being up in the stands. Every time I come back, it gives me a lot of excitement and I think my team thrives off of that.
"With Hendrick Motorsports being right across the street, certainly we look forward to Charlotte every year and that’s no different this year. I think honestly this year, this is probably the most we’ve looked forward to the 600."
Chase Elliott will line up sixth in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Since returning from injury, the 27-year-old driver has not finished outside the top 12 and is now 63 points outside the provisional playoff cutline. In 11 Charlotte oval starts, he has one win, five top-five finishes and six top-10s. Notably, four of those top-five finishes have come in his last five starts at the 1.5-mile venue.
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Kyle Larson will take to the grid from the 12th position in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Patriotic Chevy. Through 13 races this season, the 30-year-old driver has led the second-most laps (582) in the series and is tied for second in points-paying wins (two) and top-five finishes (five). On the Charlotte oval, he has one win, two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 13 starts.
Alex Bowman will start 31st in the No. 48 Ally Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. This race marks Bowman’s return to action after missing the past four weeks recovering from a fractured vertebra. Prior to his injury, he had recorded three top-five finishes, six top-10s and an average finish of 10.30 in 10 Cup Series races this season. At 17th in the standings, he currently sits just five points outside the provisional playoff cutline. He has one top-five finish and four top-10s in 11 starts at the Charlotte oval.
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Hendrick Motorsports has 21 wins on the 1.5-mile track, which are tied for the third-most Cup Series victories at any one particular track by an organization. The team also holds the top-two spots on this list with its win totals at Martinsville Speedway (28) and Dover Motor Speedway (22). Twelve of those wins have come in the Coca-Cola 600, which is the most victories in the event by any team.
"It’s been a really good track for Hendrick Motorsports over the years, even before I was around," Elliott said during a media availability on Saturday. "I hope that those trends continue.
"... The 1.5-mile program has been solid as a whole for Chevrolet, which is a good thing, and also very solid for Hendrick Motorsports, in particular with William (Byron), Kyle (Larson) and Alex (Bowman), as well, before he got hurt. I think that’s been a strong suit, so would love to capitalize on that. I think it’s a place where we can come and run well at."
Six drivers have won the Coca-Cola 600 in the team’s history. Jimmie Johnson's four wins (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2014) are part of his track-best eight wins on the oval. Next on the list is Jeff Gordon with three wins (1994, 1997 and 1998). Darrell Waltrip was the first Hendrick Motorsports driver to win this prestigious event and he won it in back-to-back years (1988 and 1989). Casey Mears (2007), Kasey Kahne (2012) and Larson (2021) each have one win.
Larson’s victory in 2021 was the organization’s 269th Cup Series win, surpassing Petty Enterprises to become the all-time winningest team in premier series history. All four Hendrick Motorsports cars placed in the top five, marking the first time in the history of the Memorial Day weekend event that a team had four drivers finish in the top five. Larson and Elliott’s one-two finish was one of four instances that teammates have finished in the top two in this race.
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Tune in for Monday’s 600-mile race at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).