After a hard-fought race, William Byron and the No. 24 PODS Camaro ZL1 team took the checkered flag in the NASCAR Cup Series Round of Eight elimination race at Martinsville Speedway in the 13th position – clinching the team’s spot in the series’ Championship Four.
· In his fifth consecutive appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, this season will mark William Byron’s first career berth into the series’ Championship Four.
· Already clinching a spot into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Four with his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson will join his Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate William Byron in the championship-deciding race at Phoenix Raceway.
· Chevrolet is the only manufacturer to have two drivers represented in the Championship Four across all three NASCAR national series:
o NASCAR Cup Series: Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson and William Byron
o NASCAR Xfinity Series: JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier
o NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar and GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger
· Chevrolet clinched three manufacturer championship titles before entering the season finale race weekend at Phoenix Raceway – claiming its 42nd NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championship; its 25th Bill France Performance Cup in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; and its 11th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturer Championship.
· This marks Chevrolet’s fifth time sweeping the manufacturer championship titles across all three NASCAR national series – also accomplishing the feat in 2012, 2005, 1998 and 1996.
TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-20 RESULTS:
6th Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1
13th William Byron, No. 24 PODS Camaro ZL1
14th Ross Chastain, No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1
17th Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1
19th Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger / Reese’s Camaro ZL1
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season will conclude at Phoenix Raceway with the series’ Championship Race on Sunday, November 5, at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on the NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE QUOTES:
Ross Chastain, No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1
“Well, it was a lot less exciting finish for me than it was a year ago in the Moose Fraternity Chevrolet, that’s for sure. We fought the handling a little bit today but ended up with a 14th-place finish which wasn’t bad considering we had something mechanical going wrong there towards the end of the race. Good news is we still have one more next weekend at Phoenix.”
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1
Take us through your day. You already had advanced on, but was there a part of you that thought – what a dog fight, I’m glad I’m not fighting for the position today?
“I was glad we weren’t fighting for points, just because our car wasn’t that good so that would have been difficult to advance. But our No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy team did the best we could out of the day. My team made some good strategy calls there in the final stage to get some track position and come away with the best finish possible.”
How were you on fuel? A lot of the drivers were worried about that.
“We were on the same plan as the guys in front of us. I had a gap early on in that run, so I tried to save as much as I could. It sounded like we were going to make it, so from then on, I pushed and we made it. Just tried to do what I could early on while the grip was in the tires and I had a gap behind me.
But all-in-all, it was a great day for our No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy team, as a whole, with the strategy, pit stops and all that. Excited to get to Phoenix (Raceway).”
Are you looking forward to getting to Phoenix Raceway?
“Yeah, I’m excited to get there. I know it’s going to be a tough battle. Ryan (Blaney), whatever their team has found over the last two-and-a-half months, they’ve done a really good job and they’ve been probably the best team here lately. They will be really tough to beat, as well as Christopher (Bell) and William (Byron). So yeah, it’s going to be fun.”
William Byron, No. 24 PODS Camaro ZL1
Finished: 13th; Advanced to Championship Four
First of all, how are you feeling? That was a drive to put yourself into the Championship Four, and I know it took every ounce of energy behind the wheel.
“Yeah man, I feel terrible, but it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is the result. My crew chief (Rudy Fugle) knew what buttons to push. Our car was so hot from, honestly, around lap 30. I’ve never been that hot. The helmet fan – it really wasn’t pushing enough clean air to me. I would have to shut it off, turn it back on and it would recycle. But overall, our No. 24 PODS Chevy was not great honestly, but we dug deep. I’m just proud of my whole team. They stuck behind me and they gave me adjustments that I needed, and I’m just really proud of them. I wanted to make the Championship Four for them. Just drove the hell out of it for the last 30 laps. We were sliding all around, but that’s what it took.”
How aware were you of the points battle, especially inside 150 laps to go?
“My team was keeping me pretty aware. I wish I had information every lap because I needed some kind of carrot to keep me motivated. I should have learned from the first race here; I was the same way. Just need to get better at that and make improvements. But overall, really proud of this No. 24 PODS Chevy team. We work really hard and they deserve this.”
Carson Hocevar, No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Camaro ZL1
“Just a tough day. We were about one adjustment or two behind all day and couldn’t really catch up. Once we got trapped a couple of laps down it’s nearly impossible to regroup and get a reset, and we just never got that today. So it was a tough one, every now and again you’ll just miss it and today it felt like we missed it. Thanks to Sunseeker Resort, Maury (Gallagher) and Jimmie (Johnson) for allowing me to drive their car. We’ll move onto Phoenix!”
Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Always Rewards Camaro ZL1
“It was an up-and-down day for the No. 43 Allegiant Always Rewards Chevy team. It was probably going to turn out a little bit better than we deserved, but strategy just didn’t quite play out. Martinsville (Speedway) has been tough for us. Hopefully we learned a little bit for next year – come back, take something we learned and just make it that much better.”
· At the green flag in the Round of Eight elimination race at Martinsville Speedway, Chevrolet clinched the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championship. This marks the third consecutive year, and 42nd time overall, that Chevrolet has won the prestigious title in NASCAR’s premier series.
· Already clinching this season’s manufacturer championship titles in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, this marks Chevrolet’s fifth time sweeping the manufacturer championship titles across all three NASCAR national series – also accomplishing the feat in 2012, 2005, 1998 and 1996.
· Martinsville Speedway’s most recent NASCAR Cup Series winner, Kyle Larson, led Chevrolet to the green flag in the 500-lap event from the fifth position. Larson settled his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 into the fifth position during the race’s opening laps but fell to the eighth position by the 50-lap maker as the driver progressively found a rhythm around the .526-mile South Virginia short-track.
· Rolling off in the 16th position, Team Chevy playoff driver William Byron gained a couple of positions at the start – going on to settle into the 14th position as the field clicked-off laps in the long green flag opening run. At the midway point of Stage One, Byron reported that the handling conditions of his No. 24 PODS Camaro ZL1 was a “little tight” and he was struggling to roll the center.
· Still sitting in the eighth position 100-laps into the race, Larson was progressively closing the gap to the frontrunners when the first caution flew. On horizon of the first round of pit stops, crew chief Cliff Daniels went to work on adjustments to help the center-turn and rear-air for the drive of Larson’s Camaro ZL1. Hitting pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, Larson lined up in the ninth position for the restart with 19 laps to go in the stage.
· On the restart, the lead pack quickly fell into single-file conditions with the Hendrick Motorsports’ trio of Larson, Byron and Chase Elliott leading the Bowtie brand to the end of Stage One in the 11th through 13th positions, respectively.
· Among the varying pit strategies under the stage break, crew chief Fugle called Byron down pit road for a pair of right-side tires and a chassis adjustment on the No. 24 PODS Camaro ZL1. Opting for the low lane at the choose cone, Byron took the 18th position for the start of Stage Two.
· At the green flag for the start of the stage, a mid-pack stack up forced Byron to lift after being put in a three-wide situation – ultimately losing a handful of positions. The Team Chevy driver hovered between the 21st – 22nd positions as the race neared the halfway point of the stage.
· Sitting in the 22nd position when the second caution flag flew, Fugle called Byron down pit road for four tires, fuel and a major chassis and air pressure adjustment. Despite the longer stop for adjustments, Byron maintained his track position and lined up in the 22nd position for the restart with 35 laps to go in the stage.
· Picking up a couple more positions, Byron reported that the changes made in the last pit stop gave him “a little more security”, but he was still struggling with rear-tire chatter as he settled with a 20th-place finish in Stage Two.
· Following a 17th-place finish in Stage Two, crew chief Daniels opted with a pit strategy for track position – calling for Larson to stay out during the stage break to take the sixth position for the start of the final stage.
· Aggressive racing quickly ensued at the drop of the green flag for the final stage, leading to the third caution of the race at lap 272. Still sitting in the sixth position, Larson reported that his biggest struggle was being too tight in the center. Not pitting under caution, Larson remained in the sixth position for the restart.
· Under caution with just under 200 circuits remaining, the leaders opted to forgo pit road while ninth place running Larson was the first car to hit pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Meanwhile, teammate Byron reported that the last stop resulted in a “really powerful adjustment” – giving the Team Chevy playoff contender the ability to progressively work his way up the field to the 16th position leading up to the caution. Indicating the importance of track position, Fugle called for the No. 24 Chevrolet team to not pit under the caution – taking the 15th position for the restart.
· Running in the 19th position at the time of the race’s seventh caution period, the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team led by crew chief Alan Gustafson decided to stay out in favor of track position to take over the race lead under caution. Elliott quickly opened his lead up to nearly a one-second margin as the Team Chevy driver approached lap traffic with 100 laps to go.
· Reporting that he was battling wear on his right-rear tire, Elliott fell to the third position before coming to pit road for a necessary fuel stop – ultimately taking the checkered-flag in the 17th position.
· Running in the 16th position in the closing laps, Byron picked up three positions before crossing the start-finish line in the 13th position to solidify his spot in the Championship Four.
Inside Track Communications PR