O’Reilly Auto Parts 500



FORT WORTH (January 11, 2018)

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returned to the track for the first time in 2018 with a two-day Goodyear Tire Test at Texas Motor Speedway this week that featured the first on-track laps of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, had the honor of those initial laps in the Camaro, which will be the manufacturer’s new model in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning this season. The Camaro replaces the SS, which made its Cup debut in 2013.

“The car looks great. I don’t know how you could not identify the Camaro with the Camaro on the street. It looks the same,” Elliott said. “I think that is something to be very proud of from Chevrolet. The work they did on that and the thought process behind it.  It is the same car; it looks just like it. I think job well done from that standpoint.”

Elliott piloted the Camaro onto the 1.5-mile speedway for the first time around 9:45 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 9, a fitting date for the Hendrick Motorsports driver who changed car numbers from 24 to 9 this season.

“Is it going to make me go any faster? No, probably not,” said Elliott about the change in numbers. “Do I think it looks better? Yes, I do. Is it my favorite number? Yes, it is. Has it always been my favorite number? Yes, it has been. So, all those things are great,” Elliott said. “I’m very lucky and honored to carry the number that I’ve carried for a number of years before this year, so it’s like getting back home to me from that sense.”

Each of the manufacturers were represented in the tire test as four Cup drivers were on hand to test various compounds on Texas Motor Speedway’s high-banked oval that was repaved and re-profiled last year. Joining Elliott at the test that was held Tuesday and Wednesday were defending Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota Camry), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Menard’s Ford Fusion) and Aric Almirola (No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion).

Elliott will be one of many Chevrolet drivers putting the new Camaro ZL1 to the test when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season drops the green flag in Daytona next month. Speed Weeks will culminate with the running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 (1:30 p.m. CT / TV: FOX).

The Camaro ZL1 also is the Official Pace Car of Texas Motor Speedway and will be used to lead the field during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 8 (1 p.m. CT / TV: FOX Sports 1).

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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