Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15932)

Old World Industries, the makers of PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment, has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the championship-winning NASCAR team.

 

PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment will be the primary sponsor for driver Clint Bowyer and the No. 14 team for three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2019 with associate sponsorship on the No. 14 Ford Mustang at all other races.

 

“Old World Industries has successfully leveraged motorsports for decades to build strong brands and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of their history by representing PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment,” said Mike Verlander, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SHR. “They have a lineage with Clint that goes back to his dirt late model teams and we’re happy to transcend PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze’s and BlueDEF’s grassroots racing efforts with Clint to the NASCAR Cup Series.”

 

“PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF are synonymous with racing, from grassroots dirt late-model racing to NASCAR and NHRA and even Formula One,” added Bowyer, a winner of 10 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two this season that have earned him a spot in the exclusive NASCAR Playoffs. “They know that you have to have the best to compete and win, and it’s an attitude they promote on the racetrack because it’s the same attitude they use to make their products the best in the business. That’s the kind of mentality we have here at Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s a true partnership.”

 

This agreement expands an already aggressive and diverse motorsports portfolio for PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF, with the leading automotive brands enjoying relationships in NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA and the Late Model Dirt Series. It also augments Old World Industries’ existing partnership with Haas F1 Team, which will expand in 2019 as the PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF brands move from the nose of the racecars driven by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen to the much more visible rear-wing endplates.

 

“We get the best of both worlds with Haas F1 Team and Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer, Old World Industries. “The PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF brands get global exposure and continued recognition domestically. The technology of Formula One and NASCAR help sell our products, as do the personalities we’ve aligned ourselves with. Clint Bowyer, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are genuine people who engage well with our customers. Racing is a relationship business, and we’re extremely proud of the relationships we’ve fostered with Haas F1 Team and Stewart-Haas Racing.”

 

Old World Industries has been a leader in the development and distribution of high-quality automotive and heavy-duty products for more than four decades. For nearly the same amount of time, PEAK has been actively involved in motorsports as a way to highlight the excellence and competitive quality of its family of brands. From partnerships with such racing icons as Dale Earnhardt and John Force to title sponsorships of international series, specifically, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, PEAK has successfully utilized motorsports to showcase PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment.

 

PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze features patented, advanced technologies allowing for superior protection for all vehicles, both on pavement and off-road, and BlueDEF is the number one brand of Diesel Exhaust Fluid in the United States.

 

TSC PR

Team Penske has announced a new partnership with VF Workwear.  Under the multi-year agreement, VF Workwear’s Wrangler Riggs brand will be the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney in the NASCAR Cup Series, beginning with this weekend’s event at Kansas Speedway. The new partnership also includes VF brands serving as a primary sponsor on the No. 12 Ford for the Cup Series races at Michigan (June) and Kansas (October) in both 2019 and 2020.

The VF Workwear family of brands features names that are very familiar to NASCAR fans, including Wrangler®, Dickies®, Timberland Pro®, Red Kap®, Kodiak®, Bulwark® and Horace Small®.

“We are excited to welcome VF Workwear as a new partner to Team Penske and we believe the company and its brands will bring new energy and vision to our organization,” said Roger Penske. “All of the VF Workwear brands are well known to motorsports fans and this represents a great opportunity to connect the Wrangler brand and its heritage in racing to our team. The VF brands also align well with Ryan (Blaney), a terrific young driver on the track and a great representative off the track as well. To me, Wrangler and Ryan just represents a great combination.”

VF Workwear is part of the VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), which outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels.

“VF Workwear is proud to partner with Team Penske and Ryan Blaney and we think it’s a great fit across the board,” said Chris Holcombe, President of VF Workwear. “Consumers already know a lot about our brands, and NASCAR fans have an affinity with our Wrangler name and the history it has in the sport. So, to bring a brand onboard like Wrangler Riggs – and have it associated with someone like Ryan who is sort of a throwback in this younger generation of drivers – is a perfect fit for us. We are excited and look forward to having our other brands involved in the future.”

At just 24 years old, Blaney is a key pillar of NASCAR’s youth movement. Competing in his first full-season with Team Penske in the Cup Series in 2018, Blaney captured his second career victory at the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 30. Blaney has already eclipsed his career-best totals in top-five finishes and laps led this season as he’s advanced to the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12.

“I’ve always loved the history of our sport and there is definitely a lot of history with Wrangler in racing,” said Blaney. “Knowing that I will have that Wrangler name on my car this weekend – and hopefully have the chance to help introduce some of the other VF brands to the sport – will be awesome. It’s great that VF Workwear is coming back to our sport and I’m excited for the opportunity to represent them.”

The 2018 Cup Series season continues with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 21 with race coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC. 

Team Penske PR

Aric Almirola won for the second time in his career and first time in the No.10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion to automatically advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Almirola’s win continued Ford’s winning streak at Talladega, recording their seventh in a row at the SuperSpeedway. It was also SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying MENCS win and its first victory at Talladega.

“I’m so happy for Aric, Tony and SHR,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “They executed their plan perfectly today. I’m just so proud of all the hard work at Ford Performance, all the things that Mark Rushbrook is doing leading our group, and everybody at Roush Yates Engines and the dedication they put into the plate racing here at Talladega and when we go to Daytona. It takes a total team effort and I’m just proud to be part of the team. It’s an incredible day here at Talladega. My dad loved racing here.

We raced here together a lot and it kind of started back when we had Davey Allison as our driver in the 28 car. It was interesting, I asked Aric yesterday I said, ‘Maybe we should put a 28 on the side of this car.’ I thought he was gonna win the race and I asked him if he’d mind to carry that 28 to Victory Lane today and to be here with him is amazing. I’m trying to carry on what my dad, Robert Yates started, and our family tradition of plate racing and just really proud to have my daughter Olivia here with me today and carrying on the family tradition. What a way to win our company’s 350th overall win.”

The power of the Ford Performance, Roush Yates Engines powered Ford Fusions made a statement in Talladega, after qualifying 1-2-3-4 and leading 184 total laps (489 miles) out of a 193-lap overtime race on Sunday.

“We came and brought four amazing racecars,” Almirola commented in Victory Lane. "As an organization, we were so committed to each other about running up front, staying up front, scoring as many points as we can, and staying committed to the bottom lane, to each other. I feel like that strategy, honestly, was what obviously won us the race. I think our cars were so fast that as long as we stayed single file, all four of us lined up, nobody could get that outside lane working to go up there and challenge us.”

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates hooked up and showed great disciple to lead the field for all but 2 laps during the first two stages of the race. Pole and Stage 1 winner, Kurt Busch lead the field for 108 laps while teammate Kevin Harvick led 46 laps on his way to winning Stage 2.

“I want to thank everybody from the engine department at Roush Yates for all the work and effort that they put into everything that goes on the race track,” said Harvick. “This is all about cars and people and engines and everything that goes and when you can have a group of guys that work together like we did today, you can control the situation in the race a lot more than just battling it out amongst each other. I’m really, really happy for Aric. He works his butt off. Those guys have done a great job all year and to see them get to Victory Lane is a lot of fun.”

A late race caution caused the race to go into overtime, the additional laps caused fuel challenges for Harvick, Blaney and Busch as they ran out of fuel during the last laps of the race, shuffling the field on the final two laps of the race.

It was a 1, 2, 3, & 5 finish for Ford; SHR teammates Almirola and Clint Bowyer finished 1-2 while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from Roush Fenway Racing drove up through the field to finish third. Team Penske’s Joey Logano finished fifth and Wood Brother’s Racing, Paul Menard finished ninth.

Kansas will be the next cutoff race for MENCS. The Ford drivers are currently in P1 Almirola, P3 Harvick, P5 Logano, P6 Kurt Busch, P7 Bowyer, P9 Brad Keselowski and P10 Ryan Blaney.

RYE PR

Race Winner:      Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner:  Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

● Aric Almirola started fourth and finished Stage 1 in fourth to earn seven bonus points.

● Almirola and the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent ran the entire stage in positions one through four.

● During the Stage 1 break, the Tampa native reported the No. 10 Smithfield Bacon for Life Ford was “handling pretty well.” He visited pit road for fuel and four tires during the break.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

● Almirola started Stage 2 in eighth and ended it in fourth to accumulate another seven bonus points.

● Almirola started the second stage eighth and remained in the top-10 until the second caution of the race came out on lap 63. During the caution the Smithfield driver pitted for fuel only.

● The pit strategy worked out well for the No. 10 team and SHR with all four Fords restarting in the first four positions on lap 66.

● The Smithfield driver stayed out on track through one more caution to end the stage in fourth.

● The Stage 2 break allowed Almirola to visit pit road for fuel and four tires, but varying pit strategies meant the 34-year-old had to restart in the 19th spot, the furthest back he had been all day.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-193):

● Almirola started the final stage 19th and ended it as the race winner.

● After the green flag dropped on the final stage, Almirola began to work his way forward and, by lap 124, he was up to the third.

● When the sixth caution came out on lap 136, Almirola was seventh and visited pit road for two right-side tires and fuel.

● He restarted sixth on lap 142 and was back up to third on lap 159, when the caution was displayed once again.

● The No. 10 team, along with its SHR teammates, stayed out for the seventh caution of the race, and Almirola restarted third.

● One lap after the green flag was displayed, Almirola was fourth on lap 165 behind his three SHR teammates, and the four stayed together and held their position well in front of the field until the final caution period for a multicar incident behind them on lap 187, just one lap before the scheduled race distance.

● With the race extended past its scheduled distance, fuel became a concern for Almirola, who last pitted on lap 138, and his SHR teammates. It was calculated the No. 10 would have enough to complete one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

● The race restarted on lap 192 with Almirola in fourth place. Shortly after, teammate Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel and had to pit while Almirola moved into second behind teammate Kurt Busch.

● Busch then ran out of fuel on the final lap, and Almirola was able to move into the lead and hold it for the win.

 

Notes:

● This was Almirola’s first victory of 2018.

● Almirola earned his first victory in 18 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.

● Almirola’s one lap led on the final lap increased his laps-led total at Talladega to 16.

● Almirola’s victory in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 marked the 56th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s milestone 50th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its first victory at Talladega.

● Almirola’s win marked SHR’s series-leading 11th points-paying victory 31 races into the 2018 season. SHR also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.

● This was SHR’s 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.

● Almirola’s triumph delivered the 105th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 674th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.

● Ford now has 28 all-time series wins at Talladega, including 10 of the last 13. This was its seventh straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega.

● This was Almirola’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first since joining SHR this year.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 finished on the lead lap.

 

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Bacon for Life Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I felt like I kept giving it away, and I was so disappointed for all these guys behind me because they’re awesome. They’re the best. I’m with the best team in the garage, and I felt like I kept letting them down not winning a race. Today, the good Lord was shining on us and we went to victory lane. We did it, finally.
 

“I knew (we were going to have a good day) when we qualified, all four of us starting up there in the front. We kind of talked about it in our competition meeting, that we needed to be committed to each other, we needed to score as many stage points as we can, we needed to score more stage points than the 12, than the 42 and the 88. We knew all that. Going into the weekend, that was our focus, was to be committed as an organization to doing everything we can to help each other, making sure that we continue to get points, especially for Clint and myself being in the situation we were in going into this weekend. Then when we qualified top-four, all of us together, I knew that all four of us were going to be tough to beat. We were going to have really fast racecars. We’ve been chasing those Penske cars. We talked about it Saturday. We’ve been chasing Penske at the restrictor-plate races. They’ve been able to do somewhat of what we did today, where they get out front, Brad and Joey and Paul and Blaney get organized, basically dominate the race. Today, we were able to do that. We stayed so committed to each other. We worked every restart out to where we stayed committed to each other, got in line. It was us against the field.
 

“When we started to drive off from the field in the first stage, as the stage went on, I knew we had something special. I knew one of our four cars was going to win. Just by happenstance, we were the ones that qualified fourth, so I kept being the third or fourth guy in line. It was like, ‘Man, this is nice that we’re all four running together, but I’m scoring less stage points than Bowyer – I’m racing him in points. Eventually we’re going to have to try and win this race, we’re going to have to separate and start to fend for ourselves.’ That opportunity honestly never really presented itself. It seemed like, the way the race played out, such long green‑flag runs, we would get committed to each other. As we would drive away from the field, me being the fourth guy in line, I never really had anybody behind me to help me make a move on my teammates.
 

“It was an incredible day for us as an organization at Stewart‑Haas Racing, and I am so proud and so thankful for the opportunity to be driving these racecars.”

 

Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8):

1.       Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points

2.       Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points

3.       Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points

4.       Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points

5.       Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win

6.       Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points

7.       Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points

8.       Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win

9.       Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18

10.      Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points

11.      Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points

12.      Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Trevor Bayne fought back from an ill-handling car early on charging his way towards the front crossing the line 13th at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday afternoon in his AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford Fusion.

“Little disappointed in the speed we had in the car today, especially early on we weren’t able to stay with that lead pack,” Bayne said. “The Stewart-Haas cars were just so fast and able to check out, but all the Fords were decent. We just struggled to have what we needed to be able  to lead a lane and get where we needed to be, so I had to push and follow people. I wasn’t able to make the big moves and get to the top-10 like I wanted to, so just had to have a steady race and gradually work our way up there. At the end we were in a decent spot coming to the lap when the 88 wrecked, then the caution came out. On the front stretch I thought we were wrecked and we came out going straight so we’ll take it.”

The 2011 Daytona 500 winner rolled off the grid 24th for the 188-lap event. In the opening laps, Bayne complained of loose-handling conditions, something much of the field reported in the first stage. After a yellow at lap 10 in which he would pit, Bayne eventually crossed the line 27th to end the segment.

Following more adjustments and service to the No. 6 under the stage break, Bayne would line up 20th for the second stage. Just a couple laps later, the yellow came out in which he again pitted, but on exit made contact with the No. 72, who was pitting on the wrong lap. The team would repair the small damage to the right front, as he lined back up 33rd for the restart at lap 65.

Upon the restart, Bayne was able to pass a plethora of cars, getting up to 11th by lap 82. Following another yellow just prior to the stage end, Bayne crossed the line 21st at lap 110. The team pitted for fuel only at the stage break, setting up to restart 10th at lap 115. After another yellow, Bayne restarted 15th with 47 to go. His final pit stop of the day came at lap 160, where he’d line up 18th after the yellow. The field once again went under yellow with two to go, where Bayne avoided a multi-car accident, before going on to finish 13th.

The No. 6 returns to the track next weekend with Bayne back behind the wheel at Kansas Speedway. Race coverage begins next Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC and MRN.

RFR PR

Despite going a lap down early due to making a shock change under caution, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 SunnyD Team rallied back to score a third-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“We definitely had to fight hard today,” Stenhouse said. “We fought hard and made a lot of adjustments to try and make our car faster. It seemed work a little bit there we obviously fell on the lucky side of having to pit and having enough fuel, so everything worked out for us today. To get that good finish and back-to-back top 10s is a solid start.”

After advancing to the final round of qualifying, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 12th position for the 188-lap race. When the first caution waved just 10 laps in, Stenhouse was scored in the 20th position after battling a tight handling car in the draft. Stenhouse worked his way up to the ninth position but fell back to 18th in typical plate race fashion when the first green checkered waved.

After making big changes to the SunnyD Ford during the stage break, the 2017 Talladega winner restarted in the 20th position and was working his way forward before another caution was displayed with 85 laps remaining. Crew chief Brian Pattie decided to change front shocks under the caution to improve the handling. Unfortunately, the change cost Stenhouse to lose a lap to leaders forcing him to settle with a 32nd-place finish in stage two.

A much needed caution was displayed on lap 136 allowing the Roush Fenway Racing driver to be awarded the free pass and get back on the lead lap. After restarting in the 31st position, Stenhouse steadily worked his way forward and was scored in the eighth position when the caution flag was displayed sending the race into over-time. On the final green-white-checkered restart, Stenhouse lined up in the eighth position and bullied his way forward scoring a third-place finish.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team head to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400. The race is set for Sunday, Oct. 21. Coverage will begin at 2 p.m. (EST) on NBC.

RFR PR

Race Winner:      Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

Kurt Busch started first and finished first, earned 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted under caution on lap 12 while leading for fuel and a wedge adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

Busch started fourth and finished third, earned eight bonus points.

Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment on lap 57.

On lap 64, Busch pitted for fuel only and a wedge adjustment.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-188):

Busch started 14th and finished 14th.

The car was still tight, so Busch pitted on lap 112 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

By lap 130, Busch was up to second.

Busch pitted on lap 138 for right side tires and fuel.Will restart first.

● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation started on the front row on the restart on lap 191 and was leading on the final lap when an accident occurred in turn one. No caution was called and Busch ran out of fuel while leading on the backstretch and finished a disappointing 14th.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was a very different Talladega for me. I really enjoyed leading the race, working with my teammates. I’m really happy a Stewart-Haas car won, but the four of us, I’ve never seen so much synergy. We knew we were going have to race when we got to Kansas. It would have been nice to have the win. We’re here to win. That’s what Monster Energy wants. Thanks to them. That’s what Team Haas wants. Thanks to Gene, Tony Stewart, everybody.  But there were two human element calls there at the end.  I don’t know why we ran an extra lap under yellow and why there wasn’t the yellow for a dispatch of an ambulance.” 

 

Notes:

● Busch finished first in Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point, and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.

● Busch led three times for 108 laps to increase his laps-led total at Talladega to 266.

● Almirola’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 victory was his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, his first of the season and his first at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Bowyer was .105 of a second.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 finished on the lead lap.

 

Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8):

1.       Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points

2.       Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points

3.       Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points

4.       Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points

5.       Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win

6.       Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points

7.       Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points

8.       Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win

9.       Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18

10.     Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points

11.     Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points

12.     Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy team battled back from two laps down to finish ninth in Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

It was Menard’s seventh top-10 finish of the season and his third in the past six races.

Menard lined up 30th to start Sunday’s race and had worked his way up to 16th place when a flat tire sent him to pit road under the green flag.

The setback put him two laps down early, but the team took a chance by opting to do the wave-around when the caution flag flew shortly after the start of stage 2. Menard held on until another caution with a handful of laps remaining in that stage, allowing him to be the beneficiary of the feee pass. Greg Erwin opted to pit just before the conclusion of stage 2 and this set Paul up to be able to stay out at the break and not pit with the leaders, cycling up to the 8th position.

From that point on, Menard ran inside the top 10 – and often in the top five – and was as high as second at one point.

He lined up sixth for a green-white-checkered-flag run to the finish line, but with no drafting help he wound up ninth at the finish as Ford drivers took the win and swept five of the top nine finishing positions.
 
“It was an exciting finish for us,” Eddie Wood said. “All you can ask for at a restrictor-plate race is to be in position to win with the checkered flag in sight.”
 
“Paul was as high as third on the green-white-checkered and came up a little short at the end, but he drove a great race.”
 
Wood said that once Menard made his final pit stop he did a great job of balancing fuel mileage and maintaining his spot among the leaders.

 “Paul had a great day,” he said. “And [crew chief] Greg Erwin called the perfect race.

A lot of times it doesn’t pay to try the wave-around on a superspeedway, but it worked and we were able to get the free pass and then lined up seventh for the next restart.”
 
Menard and the No. 21 team head next to Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

WBR PR

When Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway went into overtime it was looking like Martin Truex Jr. would go into next week’s final playoff race in the Round of 12 below the eighth-place transfer spot.

But when the dust cleared following a final-lap multicar wreck in overtime at the 2.66-mile oval, Truex’s playoff point standing quickly went from a negative to a positive.

Though his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota got clipped in the final-lap wreck, Truex was able to drive his car to the checkered flag with a 23rd-place result. The finish gave Truex an 18-point playoff cushion heading to Kansas Speedway next Sunday for the third and final race in the Round of 12.

Truex, who had a 36-point playoff advantage entering Talladega, had car issues almost from the get go. And since he felt the car’s handling would not allow him to run with the lead pack, he played it safe and hung in the back at the multi-accident prone track.

When asked in post-race interviews if he knew the cause of the handling issues, Truex said, “No. It didn’t really matter what we did to the car. It didn’t go away. We tried a lot of stuff. It was tough to drive. It couldn’t even go straight. I could run hard for two or three laps. As soon as the tires got some air pressure, I was just hanging on. The longer the runs were, the worse it got.

“There was no chance of me just getting up there and racing. I wanted to. Luckily, we were able to get some tires there in the end. I could go for about three laps. I felt good going to the green-white checkered. They wrecked in front of us and we barely made it through. As soon as we got through there, I was able to salvage something.”

While Talladega has never been one of Truex’s best tracks, the next race at Kansas Speedway has been one of his best venues.  In his last three races at the 1.5-mile Kansas track Truex has two victories and a runner-up.

“Yeah. I think that’s a good place (Kansas) for us even if we had to win,” Truex said. “I am not saying we’re going to go there and win. But anytime we can go to any of those (1.5-mile) tracks, I feel like we have a shot. It’s racing. A lot can happen as we saw today. We’ll give it everything we got and bring a great car to Kansas. We’ll try to get the checkered flag.”

The race winner and advancing to the Round of 8 was Aric Almirola. Rounding out the top 10 were: Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Paul Menard and Regan Smith. Only three of the top-10 finishers were playoff contenders.

The race had eight cautions for 32 laps and  there were 15 lead changes among 11 drivers.

FRR PR

Race Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

Harvick started third and finished third, earning eight bonus points.

Started third but lined up fourth behind his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates after taking the green flag.

Took advantage of caution and pitted his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for fuel only on lap 12.

● Was third for the lap-15 restart, but he grabbed third place from teammate Aric Almirola after one lap.

● Pitted for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

Harvick started fifth and finished first, earning 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

Took advantage of caution to pit for fuel only on lap 64. Came off pit road in first place.

● Led laps 65-68 and then laps 70-110. Kyle Busch made a bid for the lead on lap 69 before falling back.

● Pitted for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-193):

Harvick started 12th and finished 28th.

● Caution period beginning on lap 136 allowed Harvick to pit for right-sides tires and fuel on lap 138. Came onto pit road in third place and left in third for lap-142 restart.

● All four SHR drivers were able to line up on the inside for the restart, with Harvick rising to second behind leader and teammate Kurt Busch.

● Harvick kept his Jimmy John’s Ford out on the track and in second place when the caution flag waved on lap 159. Crew chief Rodney Childers said, “Keep saving fuel.”

● On the lap-165 restart, Harvick dropped one spot back to third as teammate Clint Bowyer fell in line ahead of him to take second.

● The field remained single file until a caution on lap 187 forced overtime.

● As the field came to the green flag for the restart, Harvick peeled off the track and pitted for fuel.

● The stop dropped him to the middle of the field, and the race finished under green with Harvick in 28th.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I’m just really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. Mine sputtered there on the fuel pressure and it dropped down in the red, and they did the right thing of coming in and pitting and not taking a chance. You just need to put yourself in a position to where you’re good for next week, and I’m just glad that one of our cars won and happy for Aric (Almirola). I want to thank everybody from the engine department at Roush Yates for all the work and effort that they put in to everything that goes on the racetrack. This is all about cars and people and engines and everything that goes, and when you can have a group of guys that work together like we did today, you can control the situation in the race a lot more than just battling it out amongst each other.”

 

Notes:

● Harvick led twice for 46 laps to increase his laps-led total at Talladega to 259.

● Almirola won the 1000Bulbs.com 500 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was .105 of a second.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 finished on the lead lap.

 

Playoff Standings: (with one race to go before Round of 8):

1.       Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points

2.       Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points

3.       Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points

4.       Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points

5.       Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win

6.       Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points

7.       Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points

8.       Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win

9.       Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18

10.    Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points

11.    Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points

12.    Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

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Race Winner:  Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner:  Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

Kyle Buschstarted ninth and finished 16th.

● Busch quietly logged laps during the first half of Stage 1, racing his way into fifth place by lap 10. A caution one lap later gave the team the opportunity to come to pit road to top off the fuel, allowing the No. 18 to make it to the end of Stage 1 without stopping again.

● It was on lap 20 that Busch made his first report on the car’s handling, noting that the M&M’S Toyota was sitting a too high on the track and was really tight at the exits of the turns.

● Eight laps later Busch started dropping back in the running order and reported that the car simply would not turn. By lap 30 he was running just outside the top-15.

● Busch hung on to finish Stage 1 in 16th place. The team used the break to pit for chassis adjustments, four tires and fuel. Quick pit work placed Busch in ninth place for the start of Stage 2.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

Busch started ninth and finished seventh.

Caution slowed the start of Stage 2 on lap 62. Busch and the majority of the frontrunners made a stop for fuel only in the hopes of being able to race to the end of Stage 2 without another stop. The team also made a slight wedge adjustment. Busch was in sixth place when green-flag racing resumed on lap 66.

The 2015 Cup Series champion started challenging for the lead once green-flag racing resumed. He took over the top spot on lap 69 only to relinquish it one lap later. Three laps later Busch had to jump out of line due to the persistent tight-handling issue and settled into a comfortable pace in 15th place.

Busch had raced his way back into the top-10 when a caution was displayed for a single-car incident on lap 103. The team elected to stay out to maintain track position for the conclusion of Stage 2. Busch restarted in eighth and picked up one more spot to finish Stage 2 in seventh place.

The team used the break to make an extended stop on pit road for adjustments, making changes to the shocks, chassis and air pressure. After adding four fresh tires and fuel, Busch returned to the track in 25th place for the start of the final stage.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 111-193):

Buschstarted 25th and finished 26th.

The M&M’S driver logged laps toward the back of the pack to start Stage 3. He tested out the changes, noting that while the car was still handling on the tight side it was easier to run the top lane and easier on the tires.

Rather than mix it up at the front of the field and risk getting involved in an accident, Busch exercised a little preservation by running comfortably further back in the field.

As the laps wound down, Busch attempted to make a move to the front, leveraging the momentum of cars around him.

Caution waved on lap 185 with Busch in 16th place. The caution set up a green-white-checkered overtime finish. As the field came around to take the white flag signaling the final lap, a number of cars started running out of fuel and setting off a series of accidents. Unable to avoid the melee, Busch made contact with the retaining wall.

Although the damage was severe, Busch was able to finish the race scored in 26th.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“I don’t know what happened (in the last-lap accident). There was a wreck in front of us, we piled in and got collected in it. I didn’t really see what happened there. We tried everything today with our M&M’S Toyota Camry and just struggled to get up front.”

 

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race starts at 2:20 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.

 

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