The NASCAR Cup Series is returning to the 1.3-mile oval in Lebanon, TN, with the Ally 400 on June 26. In 2011, the track hosted its last event before racing returned to the facility in 2021 with all three NASCAR series.
The race winner receives a custom guitar to celebrate the city’s culture. Kyle Larson took the checkered flag last year, but this year could be a completely different race. There is a lot of great talent, including Daniel Suarez, who just made history.
Suarez Raises the Bar
Suarez is the first Mexican-born NASCAR driver to win a cup series race. Before him, there were only four foreign-born drivers who took a checkered flag in a Cup series race. Among these are Mario Andretti, Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcus Ambrose of Australia, and Earl Ross from Canada.
Suarez’s first cup series victory in 195 starts was Sunday as he was able to pull away in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway in California, in the final laps. Heis the 12th driver to win a race in this season’s series and the fourth to achieve a first career cup series victory in 2022.
Chevy and Ford drivers dominated the race. Suarez finished first, with three other Chevy drivers making it inside the top 10. These include Ross Chastain, William Byron, and Chase Elliot.
The top five also included four Ford drivers, with Austin Cindric, Chris Buescher, and Michael McDowell making it onto the list. There’s a break in the schedule this weekend, with Ally 400 coming quickly on June 26.
Larson Still the Man to Beat
Larson won last year’s inaugural Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race with no trouble. He led a dominant 264 laps and made it clear that Hendrick Motorsports, especially his Number 5 car, was going to be tough to beat.
The 28-year-old California native captured the first Cup Series event held in Middle Tennessee in 37 years. In addition, Larson is the first driver since Brad Keselowski to win three consecutive Cup Series points races. Keselowski achieved the feat in 2018.
He also has six consecutive top-2 finishes. With Larson’s win, Hendrick Motorsports captured five consecutive regular-season races and the All-Star race.
Larson covered the 400-mile course in just over three and a half hours. He averaged 113.79 mph, beating Ross Chastain by 4.335 seconds. William Byron, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports colleague, finished third. Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Alex Bowman Has a New Look
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has designed a new scheme for Alex Bowman. The new #48 Chevrolet Camaro will be a bright beacon for NASCAR’s return at the Nashville Superspeedway in the Ally 400. Bowman’s theme, which pays homage to Music City, was also created with the help of JR Motorsports’ Ryan Williams.
Hendrick Motorsports spent many weeks teasing the news before finally unveiling the Music City-themed on June 13. The two drivers raced on a closed track to try and reach the racing shop first.
Music City is a special part of the car’s design. The neck, head, and pegs for a guitar are all on the hood. The scheme will also include some guitar picks, as well as Bowman’s name on the windows along with his signature.
Kane Brown to be Grand Marshall
Kane Brown, a five-time American Music Award (AMA) winner, will be the grand marshal at the race. Brown was the first artist to lead all five Billboard country charts in 2017 at the same time. He has since added seven country hits that made it to the top spot. These include the seven-time platinum hit “Heaven” and others.
In addition to Brown, Brothers Osborne, who won their first Grammy Award last month, will be performing before the race. The country music duo will take the pre-race concert stage on pit road.