Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Sonoma


Hendrick Motorsports
Sonoma Raceway
Sunday, June 9, 2024
1.99-Mile Road Course
3:30 PM ET

Location: Sonoma, California
TV: Fox
Event: NASCAR Cup Series (16 of 36)
Radio: SiriusXM PRN

5 Kyle Larson
9 Chase Elliott
24 William Byron
48 Alex Bowman


Age: 31 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
Standings: 2nd
No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

THE ROAD HOME: This weekend NASCAR visits wine country in Sonoma, California. The event is a homecoming for Kyle Larson, who is from Elk Grove, California, and considers Sonoma Raceway his home track on the Cup Series circuit. Located less than 100 miles from his hometown, the 1.99-mile road course is a place Larson looks forward to racing annually. During his 2021 championship season, he led 57 laps en route to a win at the venue.

OUT FRONT: In 2024, Larson has led 656 laps – the most of any driver by 48. The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion also has a series-high seven stage wins and three pole positions.

SONOMA SUCCESS: Larson, who will drive the No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend, holds the record for most consecutive poles at Sonoma (2017-2019, 2022). The track did not host a race in 2020, and although time trials were not held in 2021, the driver still started from the top spot via NASCAR’s qualifying metric. With an average starting position of 3.7, Larson holds the best mark of all drivers to ever compete at the California road course.

VICTORIOUS: Larson, 31, has visited victory lane twice in 2024. In March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the 2014 rookie of the year led 181 laps and won both stages before winning at the desert track. In May at Kansas Speedway, Larson nosed ahead of Chris Buescher at the finish line to win by 0.001 seconds – the closest finish in Cup Series history.

ROAD RANKS: With four road course wins, Larson is tied for third-most among active Cup Series drivers. All four have come with crew chief Cliff Daniels, who ranks second among active crew chiefs for victories on serpentine layouts. Both marks trail the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports duo of driver Chase Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson, who have combined for seven road course wins.

FOUR TIRES FAST: In 2024, the No. 5 HendrickCars.com pit crew holds the seventh-fastest average four-tire pit stop time in the Cup Series at 10.91 seconds. Larson’s over-the-wall crew consists of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer).

VALVOLINE ON BOARD: At Sonoma, Valvoline will appear for its second of three 2024 primary races with the No. 5 team. Valvoline Inc. is a global leader in vehicle care and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services. Since 2014, Hendrick Motorsports has earned a NASCAR-best three Cup Series championships (2016, 2020 and 2021) with Valvoline products in its Chevrolet racing engines. Off the track, Valvoline is the preferred lubricant of Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates 95 car dealerships across the United States.


Age: 28 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
Standings: 3rd
No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Gold Filters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

SONOMA REWIND: Last season at Sonoma Raceway, Chase Elliott qualified 10th for the 110-lap NASCAR Cup Series event. The 28-year-old driver finished the first stage 12th and the second stage 16th before ultimately taking the checkered flag in fifth position. Elliott led twice for a total of seven laps, marking his fourth consecutive race pacing the field at Sonoma. It was his third straight finish of eighth or better at the Napa Valley track.

ROAD RUNDOWN: While it has been three years since Elliott’s last Cup Series victory on a road course, he has continued to be among the best in the field since the 2022 introduction of the Next Gen race car. Since then, he is ranked second in laps run inside the top five (474) and third in laps run inside the top 10 (708). Elliott also holds the second-best average finish (10.08) and fourth-best average start (8.67) on serpentine tracks in the Next Gen era. His six top-five finishes are tied for most by active drivers and his eight top-10s have him tied for third.

KING OF THE ROAD (COURSE): Elliott, who will drive the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Gold Filters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend, leads active drivers with seven Cup Series victories on road courses and is tied for the most stage wins with eight. He’s also third on the all-time road course victories list, trailing only NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon (nine) and Tony Stewart (eight). Elliott has triumphs across five different road courses, the most in series history. In 31 Cup starts on tracks with left and right turns, Elliott has an average finish of 8.74, which is not only the best among active drivers, but fifth all-time (minimum of five starts). He also leads active drivers with 486 laps led on road courses.

SEEKING A WINE COUNTRY WIN: Sonoma and the Chicago Street Course are the only two road courses on the current Cup Series schedule where Elliott has yet to win. The 2020 Cup Series champion has been impressive on the Napa Valley track, earning a best finish of second in 2021. In just seven Sonoma starts, Elliott has three top-five finishes and five top-10s with 49 laps led. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native holds the third-best average starting position all-time at Sonoma (6.43). In fact, he’s started from the front row in two of his last three starts on the California road course.

FIRST VICTORY: Elliott’s first career Cup Series victory came at a road course: Watkins Glen International in 2018. The six-time National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award winner started the race from the third position and led 52 of 90 laps en route to the win.

TALKIN’ 2024: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, continues his strong 2024 Cup Series campaign. Following a solid points day at WWT Raceway on Sunday, Elliott improved to third in the standings, just 27 points behind the leader. His average finish of 9.87 is the best in the series and is also his best average finish through 15 races in his Cup career. Elliott is the only driver this season to finish every event inside the top 20. He has posted a top-five result in five of the last nine races and has seven top-10s in 2024.

VIEW FROM THE TOP: This Sunday at Sonoma, No. 9 crew chief Alan Gustafson will call his 53rd road course race from atop the pit box. In those starts, he’s led his team to seven wins – a series high among active crew chiefs – along with 20 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s.

FASTEST FIVE: In April at Texas Motor Speedway, the No. 9 pit crew laid down the fastest four-tire pit stop (9.076 seconds) of any team in 2024. The over-the-wall squad has remained the same since 2018 and currently holds the fastest average four-tire pit stop time (10.557 seconds) this season. The 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew is comprised of Chad Avrit (rear-tire changer), Jared Erspamer (tire carrier), John Gianninoto (fueler), Nick O’Dell (front-tire changer) and T.J. Semke (jackman).

GOLD STANDARD: Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will have a different look this weekend at Sonoma. Primary partner NAPA Auto Parts is trading in its iconic blue and yellow for a black and gold livery, highlighting its line of NAPA Gold™ oil filters. Since 1966, NAPA Gold™ oil filters have earned the trust of generations of drivers and car enthusiasts. Each one is built to offer better strength, performance benefits and is specifically designed to remove contaminants to keep engines running at peak performance. Elliott raced this scheme for the first time last fall at Bristol Motor Speedway, earning a seventh-place finish.


Age: 26 (Nov. 29, 1997)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle
Standings: 5th
No. 24 RAPTOR Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

24 IN ‘24: William Byron’s 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season continues to be nothing short of impressive. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native is tied for the series lead in wins with three, has five top-five finishes and is tied for the most top-10s with nine. After 15 races, he has the fifth-best average finish (12.0) while sitting fifth in the 2024 Cup standings with 16 playoff points.

NEXT GEN DUO: Since the Next Gen Cup Series car was introduced in 2022, Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle have a series-leading 11 wins. Byron also has the second-best average finish (13.05) in the Next Gen car behind teammate Chase Elliott. On road courses, he is tied for the fifth-best average finish (12.00) and has four top-10 results (tied for the fourth-most) with 352 laps run in the top five and 468 laps in the top 10 (both ranked sixth-most), all in the Next Gen era.

ROAD COURSE RINGER: Byron picked up his first Cup Series road course win at Watkins Glen International in August 2023 and his second at Circuit of The Americas in March 2024. In fact, in the 2023 season, he scored the most points on road courses (213) and led the most laps (94). In 2024, the series has competed on one road course, COTA, where Byron dominated by capturing the pole before going on to earn the win. The driver of the No. 24 RAPTOR Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has won two of the last three road course races and is on a three-race streak of consecutive top-10 finishes (tied for the second-longest) in which all were top-two results.

OVER-QUALIFIED: In 28 Cup Series starts on road courses, Byron has five pole awards on four different layouts. He is the only driver in history to earn Cup pole positions at four different road courses: the Charlotte ROVAL, the Indianapolis Road Course, COTA and Road America.

SONOMA STATS: Sunday’s race will mark Byron’s sixth career Cup start at Sonoma Raceway. In five previous appearances, his best qualifying effort came in 2019 when he captured the outside pole position and he notched his top finish of ninth in 2022.

FUGLE FILES: So far in 2024, the Cup Series has raced on one road course, Circuit of The Americas, where crew chief Fugle and the No. 24 team captured the pole and the win. All told, Fugle has 29 NASCAR national series starts on road courses (19 Cup Series, three Xfinity Series and seven CRAFTSMAN Truck Series). With triumphs at Watkins Glen and COTA, he is tied for the fourth-most road course wins by active Cup Series crew chiefs. He also has a road win in the truck ranks in 2015.

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER: With his third straight multi-victory season, Byron continues the winning tradition of the No. 24 team. In the Cup Series, the iconic car number is third on the all-time wins list with 106, trailing only the No. 11 (233) and the No. 43 (200). All of Byron’s 13 premier series wins have come in the No. 24 car, while Jeff Gordon accounts for 93 race victories in the number. The No. 24 also has 11 Cup wins on road courses – two with Byron and nine with Gordon – which is tied with the No. 9 for the most on serpentine layouts.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 15 races in the 2024 season, the No. 24 pit crew continues its success from last year. The five-person crew ranks second in the Cup Series for the fastest average four-tire pit stop (10.747 seconds). The No. 24 pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler).

RAPTOR® TOUGH: For this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, Byron will sport his Raptor paint scheme that will continue to run the majority of the season on the No. 24 Chevy. RAPTOR® is a durable protective coating that is designed to tolerate the toughest climatic conditions and can be applied to a wide range of items, including truck beds, lawnmowers, outdoor furniture and more. With 16 pre-mixed colors available, it’s easy to personalize anything you want to protect. RAPTOR® is available at local paint distributors, auto parts stores and online retailers.


Age: 31 (April 25, 1993)
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Resides: Concord, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Blake Harris
Standings: 10th
No. 48 Ally Pride Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2024 SO FAR: Following the 15th race of the season, Alex Bowman and the No. 48 Ally Racing team are tied for 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, 117 points behind the leader. The team has secured four top-five finishes, tied with 2021 for Bowman’s most through 15 races in a season. The Tucson, Arizona, native has also earned an impressive nine top-10 finishes, tied with 2022 for his most through 15 starts. The nine top-10 results place him in a three-way tie for the most in 2024 alongside Tyler Reddick and Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. Bowman has finished in the top 10 in eight of the last 11 races.

SONOMA DEETS: This weekend, the Cup Series will compete at Sonoma Raceway in northern California wine country. Bowman has seven Cup starts at the 12-turn road course. In these Golden State starts, the 31-year-old driver has secured two top-10 finishes (2018 and 2021).

ROAD #RALLY48: Since the introduction of the Next Gen race car in 2022, Bowman is in a five-way tie for second in top-five finishes on road courses. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Pride Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ranks second in the sport’s premier series for the most runner-up finishes on road courses (two) without a win. His second-place performances occurred at the Charlotte ROVAL (2019) and Circuit of The Americas (2022).

ALLY PRIDE: On Wednesday, primary sponsor Ally released the No. 48 Ally Pride Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that will unload for competition this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. June is Pride Month, and Ally will celebrate by running a Pride-themed scheme for the fourth consecutive year. The 2024 design features the logo of Pride Allys on the hood and a rainbow treatment to the digital bank’s motto “do it right” on the rear-quarter panel. Pride Allys is Ally Financial’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group.

FIRST LAP: In Sonoma, Ally’s First Lap initiative returns to the track for a third time this season. The second-year program focuses on introducing NASCAR to new fans from minority communities. In conjunction with June’s Pride Month, Ally will host a group of more than 20 individuals from Positive Images on race day. Positive Images is a community center based in Sonoma County dedicated to providing essential services that encompass mental health support, advocacy and education to California’s LGBTQIA+ population. These first-time race-goers will meet Bowman and receive a tour of the garage area, the No. 48 team transporter and more.

GOLDEN GATE BASSET RESCUE: Did you know Basset Hounds were originally bred in France for hunting small game such as rabbits? Today these short-legged dogs known for their long ears and droopy eyes are a fond pet of Americans nationwide. 2024 marks the fourth consecutive year Bowman and Ally are supporting Best Friends Animal Society and its vast network of partners. This weekend, the pair’s weekly donation of $4,800 will go to Golden Gate Basset Hound Rescue. The shelter is located at 1032 Crinella Drive, Petaluma, CA 94954, just 13 miles northwest of the track.

ALLY RACING PIT CREW: This year, the Ally Racing pit crew ranks ninth in the Cup Series for the best average four-tire stop (10.978 seconds). The five-man No. 48 crew is comprised of jackman Allen Holman, tire carrier Brandon Grier, front-tire changer Donnie Tasser, rear-tire changer Andrew Bridgeforth and gasman Jacob Conley.