5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 31 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
Standings: 1st

Army Air Force Exchange Veterans Block

SEASON SUMMARY: Through the first half of the regular season, Kyle Larson leads the NASCAR Cup Series points standings by 30 markers. He is one of three drivers with multiple wins on the season – earning victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March and Kansas Speedway in May. The 31-year-old driver has series-best marks this year in top-five finishes (six), laps led (649) and stage wins (seven). 

MONTH OF MAY: Larson began his attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in earnest this week with multiple practice sessions at the 2.5-mile track. Arrow McLaren is fielding the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and team owner Rick Hendrick is the car owner. Larson is looking to become the fifth driver to run “The Double” of the Indy 500 and the Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600.

DEFENDING THE WIN: In last year’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Larson dominated the 200-lap event to win for the third time in his last four all-star starts. The Elk Grove, California, native led 145 of the final 146 laps and stomped the field by 4.54 seconds. In the past 11 All-Star Races, he is the only repeat winner. Should Larson win on Sunday, he will become the third driver to win consecutive All-Star Races, joining Davey Allison (1991 and 1992) and Jimmie Johnson (2012 and 2013) in that club.

RECORD SETTER: Larson’s three wins in the All-Star Race have come on three different tracks, making him the only driver to accomplish this in NASCAR history. His 2019 victory came at Charlotte Motor Speedway (after transferring from winning the All-Star Open), his 2021 win was at Texas Motor Speedway and his 2023 win was at North Wilkesboro. The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s wins at Texas and North Wilkesboro came in the first all-star events held by those tracks. The 2021 Cup Series champion’s all-star win at Texas was part of his title season and it was one of seven times that a Hendrick Motorsports driver won the All-Star Race and championship in the same season. The others are team vice chairman Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2013) and Chase Elliott (2020).

BY THE NUMBERS: In seven All-Star Race starts, Larson’s average finish of 7.43 is the third-best among active drivers and sixth-best all-time (among drivers with a minimum of four starts). His 239 laps led are the third-most in the event’s history. With three wins, he is tied with NASCAR Hall of Famers Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for second on the all-star victory list, trailing only Johnson (four wins). 

STANDBY UPDATE: Kevin Harvick will practice and qualify (via the Pit Crew Challenge) the No. 5 HendrickCars.com entry on Friday, May 17, at North Wilkesboro. Due to commitments with the Indianapolis 500, Larson is scheduled to miss Friday and Saturday’s on-track activity at the 0.625-mile track.

PUTTING IN WORK IN THE PITS: The No. 5 HendrickCars.com pit crew has this season’s fifth-best average four-tire pit stop time (10.966 seconds). The five-person crew is comprised of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer). The team will showcase its skills during Friday’s Pit Crew Challenge. 

HENDRICKCARS.COM IS HOME: This Sunday is a home race for the HendrickCars.com team. The state of North Carolina is home to numerous Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships. Respectively, the No. 5 driver and crew can be found in their white firesuits this weekend. For every HendrickCars.com home race this season, there is a unique hat released the week of the race and only available for sale on the trackside merchandise haulers or available to win on HendrickCars.com. Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be available to the public. This week’s North Wilkesboro-themed hat will be revealed Thursday and can be seen here

WE’RE HIRING: Hendrick Automotive Group is hiring more than 300 technicians at its dealerships throughout the country. Positions are open for all skill levels and offer tuition and training reimbursement. Interested people can apply at HendrickCars.com.

9 CHASE ELLIOTT
Age: 28 (Nov. 28, 1995)
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
Standings: 4th

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media in the North Wilkesboro Speedway media center on Friday, May 17, at 3:30 p.m. local time.

THE STARS ALIGNED
: In 2020, Chase Elliott earned his first career NASCAR All-Star Race victory, claiming the checkered flag after dominating at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott won stages two and three before crossing the finish line first in the final stage to earn the $1 million prize. It marked the first time the All-Star Race was held on a short track and a Wednesday. The driver of the No. 9 is the third-youngest all-star winner at 24 years, seven months, 17 days. Elliott is also one of four Hendrick Motorsports drivers to win the exhibition race and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same year. The others are team vice chairman Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2013) and Kyle Larson (2021). 

WINNING AT (NORTH) WILKESBORO: This weekend, the All-Star Race returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the second consecutive season. Outside of last year’s All-Star event – where he drove to a fifth-place finish – Elliott does have some additional experience at the track, racing in PASS late model races. When the driver was just 14 years old, he visited victory lane at the short track on September 4, 2010, in the first race the track had hosted since the mid-1990s. 

HE’S AN ALL STAR: Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will make his ninth consecutive appearance in the All-Star Race this weekend. Elliott’s 2020 Cup Series championship and All-Star Race win locked him into the event for the remainder of his full-time Cup Series career under current rules. The 28-year-old driver finished in the top 10 in six of his eight All-Star Race appearances and led in three of the last five races for 74 laps. He has an average finish of 8.00 across his eight All-Star Race starts, fourth-best among active drivers with at least four starts.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: With Elliott’s 2020 victory, he and his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the only father-son combinations to win the All-Star Race. Bill won it driving the No. 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986 when he led all but one of 83 laps. Only one other driver has won the All-Star Race in the No. 9 – which is in a five-way tie for second (along with the Nos. 24 and 5) on the list of most wins by car number in the exhibition race. Kasey Kahne also won the event in the No. 9 in 2008.

SEASON UPDATE: Through 13 points-paying Cup Series races in 2024, Elliott has one win (Texas Motor Speedway), five top-five results and six top-10s. He is the only driver to finish inside the top 20 in all 13 events and has the best average finish among full-time premier series drivers (9.85). The Hendrick Motorsports driver sits fourth in the Cup Series points standings, just 49 points behind the leader, teammate Larson.

FAST FIVE: The pit crews will take center stage for the Pit Crew Challenge during All-Star Race qualifying on Friday evening. Last month at Texas, the No. 9 pit crew laid down the fastest four-tire pit stop (9.076 seconds) of the 2024 season, according to data from Racing Insights. The over-the-wall squad has remained the same since 2018 and currently holds the fastest average four-tire pit stop time (10.643 seconds) this season. The 2021 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew award-winning group (and winners of the 2021 Pit Crew Challenge) 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).

HONORING THOSE WHO SACRIFICED: On Tuesday, NAPA Auto Parts unveiled a special scheme for next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will don a grayscale digital camouflage livery for the Memorial Day weekend race. Get a look at all the angles of the patriotic scheme here.

 
 24 WILLIAM BYRON
Age: 26 (Nov. 29, 1997)
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle
Standings: 5th    
WHAT’S IN A NUMBER: With his three wins in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron continues to extend the history and legacy of the No. 24. The iconic car number is third on the all-time list with 106 Cup Series wins, trailing only the No. 43 (200 wins) and the No. 11 (234 wins). Byron’s 13 premier series wins have come in the No. 24, while Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon accounts for 93 wins. Heading into this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race, the No. 24 has won this race three times – tied for the second-most wins by a car number in the exhibition event, all coming with Gordon. If Byron were to end up in victory lane on Sunday, the No. 24 would be tied for the most wins in all-star history with the No. 48 (four).

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. The duo is ahead of teammates Kyle Larson (nine wins) and crew chief Cliff Daniels (eight wins). Fugle and Byron rank fourth for the most wins by an active driver and crew chief pairing with 12 victories. 

LOCKED IT IN: Sunday will mark Byron’s sixth start in the All-Star Race, but for the fourth time in his Cup Series career, Byron heads into the event already locked in thanks to his three wins this season. In the past, when he had to race his way into the main event, Byron has gotten the job done in the Open qualifier races in 2019 and 2020. Across his five All-Star Race starts, Byron has two top-10 finishes. His best showing came in 2021 at Texas Motor Speedway when he led the most laps (30), had the lowest cumulative finishing position across the first four rounds and scored his best finish of seventh after being shuffled from the front row for the final 10-lap dash.

PIT ROAD PROWESS: After 13 races in the 2024 season, the No. 24 pit crew continues their success from last year. The five-person crew ranks third for the fastest average four-tire pit stop (10.849 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). The team will be in the spotlight in Friday’s Pit Crew Challenge during qualifying. 

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: While this may be the second time for many racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway, a member of the No. 24 team calls it home – Walker. The fueler of the No. 24 hails from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina and grew up there before playing football at Clemson University. The former college offensive tackle earned a scholarship to Clemson in 2007 after being named an All-American offensive lineman in his hometown at East Wilkes High School. While playing at Clemson, Walker recorded 3,131 snaps with 49 starts at tackle through four seasons at the University. In 2011, Walker was named team captain, the same season Clemson won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The college football standout was recruited by Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 and earned a position as the starting fueler for the former No. 5 (now No. 24) team in 2015.

  

48 ALEX BOWMAN
Age: 31 (April 25, 1993)
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Resides: Concord, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Blake Harris
Standings: 9th    
TOP-10 STREAK EXTENDED: Alex Bowman’s eighth-place finish in the No. 48 Ally Throwback Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Darlington Raceway marked his fourth consecutive top-10 finish of the season. Bowman has had six streaks of four top-10s in a row in his NASCAR Cup Series career but has yet to extend the mark to five. At the midpoint of the regular season, Bowman is tied for the Cup Series lead in top-10 finishes (eight) with Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. That matches his high mark for the most top-10s through 13 races, set in 2022. 

SEASON SUMMARY: After 13 points-paying races this season, Bowman and the No. 48 team are ninth in the Cup Series points standings, 121 points behind the leader, teammate Kyle Larson. The 31-year-old driver ranks sixth in average finish among series regulars at 12.69 and is part of a six-way tie for fifth in top-five finishes (four). Those top-five results occurred in the DAYTONA 500 (second), at Bristol Motor Speedway (fourth), at Circuit of The Americas (fourth) and Talladega Superspeedway (fifth). 

APPROACHING THE ALL STAR: Bowman will look to race his way into the NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, May 19, at North Wilkesboro Speedway. He can do this by finishing in the top-two positions of the All-Star Open on Sunday or by winning the All-Star Fan Vote. Due to an injury last season, Bowman did not run at North Wilkesboro last year, but his No. 48 Ally Racing team won the Open with Josh Berry behind the wheel. This advanced the Ally Racing team into the main event, where they finished 15th.

ADVANCING IN: On two previous occasions, Bowman has made his way into the All-Star Race via a stage win in the Open (2018) or through the Fan Vote (2019). In five All-Star Race starts, he has four top-10 finishes, with a pair of sixth-place runs at Texas Motor Speedway (in 2021 and 2022) serving as his best results. 

DON’T WAIT, VOTE FOR 48: Want to see Bowman in the All-Star Race this Sunday? #Rally48 by casting your vote for the driver of the No. 48 in NASCAR’s Fan Vote. In the latest voting update released by NASCAR, he was among the drivers in the top five. Individuals can vote up to five times a day. Voting concludes at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The official rules can be found here

PIT CREW POWER: The No. 48 Ally Racing pit crew has the fourth-fastest average four-tire stop on the season (10.958 seconds). The No. 48 five-person crew is composed of Andrew Bridgeforth (rear-tire changer), Jacob Conley (fueler), Brandon Grier (tire carrier), Allen Holman (jackman) and Donnie Tasser (front-tire changer).