CONCORD, N.C. – With 26 NASCAR Cup Series wins on road courses throughout its history, Hendrick Motorsports is no stranger to success on serpentine layouts.
In 2021, Kyle Larson became the first Cup Series driver to win three road course events in one season. Chase Elliott’s seven wins on layouts that turn left and right are the most among all active drivers. Alex Bowman has two runner-up finishes on road courses in his career and three of William Byron’s last four poles have come on road layouts.
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The 2023 schedule will see six road courses on the schedule – Circuit of The Americas, Sonoma Raceway, the Chicago Street Course, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
HendrickMotorsports.com sat down with all four of the organization’s drivers – Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson – to find out which is their favorite road course on the schedule? Once again, no answer repeated among the quartet.
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Larson always looks forward to the series’ annual trip to Sonoma Raceway since its roughly an hour-and-a-half away from his hometown of Elk Grove, California. The fact that he has had success there with a win in 2021 and four consecutive poles when qualifying has taken place doesn’t hurt either.
"I always love going back home and racing at Sonoma," Larson said. "I always get to see a lot of friends and family and race fans that grew up watching me race sprint cars around Northern California.
"I’ve always qualified really well there. Since I’ve been with Hendrick (Motorsports), I’ve raced well there. It’s kind of a flowy track. Tires wear out so you kind of manage your runs quite a bit. It’s got a lot of elevation change and I enjoy all that."
Elliott has won on five different road courses since 2018, but there was little surprise as to which one stood out to him.
"Watkins Glen (International) always stands out to me because of the first win (in 2018)," Elliott said. "That one will always be special because of that. Will it always be good to us? Probably not, but I do enjoy going up there. It is a very nice part of the country – a very underrated part of the country. The memories I have from that first win weekend are super special and something that I will hold onto forever."
Elliott’s win at the New York track was his first of two wins to date there and earned him his first Cup Series victory in 98 starts.
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In his five full-time seasons at Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman has come close several times to winning at a road event. One of those came at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) where he battled AJ Allmendinger and Ross Chastain for the win on the closing lap. That helped inform the driver of the No. 48’s selection as the series heads to the Austin, Texas, venue for the third time in 2023.
"This past year I figured it out a bit," Bowman said of COTA. "Picked up some tricks and felt really good. We also had a great race car, which made my job a bit easier. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back there. I felt like we could have won that race."
For his pick, Byron went with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The layout, which utilizes the infield road course and parts of the legendary and traditional route, will be run for the third season in the Cup Series in 2023. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet was in the mix for the win late in last year’s race before late-race contact put an end to his day.
"I really like the Indianapolis Road Course and the prestige of it," Byron said. "With how cool and historic that place is would make for a really cool win."
The 2023 season is right around the corner with the exhibition Clash at the Coliseum kicking things off on Sunday, Feb. 5. The season’s first road course race will be run at COTA on Sunday, March 26.