FIRST OF THE YEAR FOR UNIFIRST: UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF), a North American leader in providing customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products, will debut in its first race as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Pocono Raceway. Following Pocono, the No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet, whose paint scheme incorporates the company’s signature green and white colors, will run in three additional races in 2018 – Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sept. 30 and Kansas Speedway on Oct. 21. The 2018 season marks the second of an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that names UniFirst as a primary sponsor of select races and a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team through 2023. UniFirst is the official workwear provider for Hendrick Motorsports and sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States.
POCONO STATS: While William Byron will be making his first NASCAR Cup Series start at the "Tricky Triangle” this weekend, the 20-year-old driver has experienced success at the 2.5-mile triangle in the other NASCAR national series. In his lone Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway, Byron started fifth and finished 12th. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has one start at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track in the Camping World Truck Series in 2016, where he started on the pole and then led 44 of 60 laps en route to the victory. Byron also has one ARCA Racing Series start at the track in 2016, where he led three laps and finished eighth.
NO. 24 AT POCONO: Pocono Raceway has been a good track for the No. 24 team in the past, with four-time champion and newly-elected Hall-of-Famer Jeff Gordon earning six wins at the Pennsylvania track, the most of any Cup Series driver, while behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet. Hendrick Motorsports holds the record for having the most drivers score victories at Pocono with seven different drivers having accomplished the feat, which would make Byron the eighth if he could pull off a win there this weekend. Crew chief Darian Grubb has also led a driver to victory at Pocono, scoring a win with Tony Stewart in June 2009.
FIRST-TIME WINNERS: There have been four first-time winners at Pocono, a great sign for Byron who has a successful history at the "Tricky Triangle” himself. Two of those first-time winners have come in the past two seasons – Chris Buescher as a rookie in August 2016 and Ryan Blaney in June 2017. In addition to Buescher, another Cup rookie had a great record at Pocono when Denny Hamlin swept both events in his rookie year in 2006. Overall, 16 rookies have earned top-five finishes in at least one of the Pocono events in their respective rookie seasons, another positive omen for Byron.
TWO MORE VIP EXPERIENCES REMAINING: After a sellout at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, fans have just two more chances to purchase a spot for the 2018 Jeff Gordon #24Ever VIP Experience – at Michigan International Speedway and Sonoma Raceway – the final two races where the package will be available. The experience gives fans the opportunity to meet two drivers of the No. 24 Chevrolet – Byron and Gordon – and includes a meet-and-greet, an autograph and a photo, along with a behind-the-scenes garage tour and an exclusive gift. Spots are extremely limited – visit www.jeffgordonvip.com for more information or to purchase a spot for Michigan or Sonoma.
William Byron on racing at Pocono:
“Pocono is a little different; I haven’t run there in the Cup car, so the shifting will be different from Xfinity. Pocono has always been a fun place to go to – I had a win there in the Truck Series and it’s a different, unique racetrack – every corner is different. I’m looking forward to running there in the UniFirst Chevy for the first time and hopefully having a good result with them.”