MADISON, Ill. – William Byron will begin Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at WWT Raceway as the highest-running driver from Hendrick Motorsports. His time of 33.030 seconds earned him the seventh spot during the final round of qualifying at the 1.25-mile circuit.
Byron enters St. Louis riding a wave of successful results. Dating back to Talladega Superspeedway in April, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has finished inside the top-seven positions in a points race in the last five races. In fact, Byron has earned top-three results in the last three points paying events (Kansas Speedway-third, Darlington Raceway-first and Charlotte Motor Speedway-second). He’ll look to earn his fourth win of the season this weekend.
Alex Bowman missed out on the final round of qualifying by one spot and will roll off from the 18th position. On the heels of a 12th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600, the Tucson, Arizona, native will look to add another solid result to his season. Although he missed four events due to a fractured vertebra, Bowman currently occupies the final playoff spot by 15 markers. The No. 48 Ally Racing team will look to St. Louis as opportunity to grow this lead and build momentum for the summer stretch.
Despite showing speed in practice, Kyle Larson took the 22nd starting spot. In a season of ups and downs for the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team, Larson will aim to move forward shortly after the drop of the green flag tomorrow afternoon. The team has been in contention to win in the final stage of the last three points-paying events.
Corey LaJoie is filling in for Chase Elliott and will start from the 30th position. The driver from Kannapolis, North Carolina, will be behind the wheel of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet this weekend as Elliott misses a race resulting from a NASCAR penalty. Sunday afternoon will be the second time a LaJoie has driven for Hendrick Motorsports. LaJoie’s father, Randy, ran nine races for the team in the No. 50 entry during the 1998 Cup Series season.
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During practice, Larson and Byron continued their run of form at the front of the pack. The No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet led the way for Rick Hendrick’s squad as the duo finished second and third, respectively, in practice. On the 10-lap consecutive averages, Bowman and the No. 48 Ally Racing group clocked the fifth-best result.
Another notable storyline on Saturday was track temperatures. By the final round of qualifying, the surface of the track clocked in at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. With warm temperatures scheduled to stick around through the weekend, drivers and teams will need to find speed and adjust to the hot and slick track conditions as Sunday afternoon rolls around.
See all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets on-track tomorrow from WWT Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Catch all of the action at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).