CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Cup Series will head to Richmond Raceway for the top series' second stop this season at the .75-mile short track.
The spring race at the facility saw the Hendrick Motorsports quartet run at the front of the field, highlighted by the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of William Byron. The 24-year-old driver led 122 laps before crossing the line in the third position as the fresher tires of race winner Denny Hamlin and runner-up finisher Kevin Harvick overtook him in the final five laps. Joining Byron in the top five was Kyle Larson, who ended the race in the fifth position after working his way through the field over the course of the day.
Alex Bowman overcame a pit road penalty to finish in the eighth position, continuing his run of solid results at Richmond. Last season, the Tucson, Arizona, native took the No. 48 Ally Racing team to victory lane at the short track. While Chase Elliott finished 14th, he scored stage points in the opening two segments and ran in the top 10 for much of the race.
With only three races remaining until the Cup Series playoff opener at Darlington Raceway, the pressure is starting to turn up around the garage. Heading into Richmond, Elliott holds a 119-point lead over Ryan Blaney in the regular season championship and has a chance to secure that honor this weekend. To do so, the driver of the No. 9 must leave the race with a 121-marker advantage over second place and that will lock down the bonus of 15 playoff points. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will also look to Richmond with an opportunity to head back to victory lane, as the 26-year-old has secured four finishes inside the top five during his career at this venue.
Both Larson and Bowman have tasted victory at the southern Virginia short track. In addition to his win in 2017, Larson has earned six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts at Richmond. Bowman is the most recent driver from Hendrick Motorsports to win a race at the facility, capitalizing on a late restart and strong work in the pits to grab victory. His win last year marked the 11th time that the Rick Hendrick-owned organization has won in the capital city of Virginia.
Byron's ability to adapt can been seen in his last few visits to the track. In the past three races at the facility, he has netted two finishes inside the top 10, highlighted by April’s performance of third place.
Hendrick Motorsports has won 38 races in the state of Virginia, which is second-best all time among teams. The organization also sits atop the list of short-track wins by active teams with 55. Within the past two years, each member of the Hendrick Motorsports quartet has claimed victory on a short track. Byron’s Martinsville Speedway win in April stands as the most recent triumph.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
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WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
On Saturday, Aug. 13, Cup Series group practice will start at 5:05 p.m. ET on USA Network. Group qualifying will take place immediately after practice, starting at 5:50 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on USA Network as well.
Elliott will be in Group A, while Byron, Bowman and Larson are all in Group B.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The 400-lap Cup Series main event is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 14, and will be broadcast on USA Network.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO RICHMOND
Data courtesy of Racing Insights
5: Since the start of 2021, Byron’s run of five finishes inside the top five puts him in a tie with Martin Truex Jr. for the most in the Cup Series.
7.5: In his last four starts at Richmond, Bowman has earned an average finish of 7.5. That mark is the best among the Hendrick Motorsports quartet.
11: Crew chief Cliff Daniels and Larson have earned this many victories together, ranking the pair as the fourth-winningest in the Cup Series among active crew chief-driver combos.
661: Elliott has led this many laps in the last five short-track events, which is 291 more circuits out front than the next closest competitor.
1,578: The number of laps led by Hendrick Motorsports in 2022, the most of any team through 23 races this season.