Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16162)

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn are announcing the Second Annual Jacob Damen: A Friend and Fan Remembered Event at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.

Jacob Damen, a life-long best friend of Cole Pearn, tragically passed away last August, leaving a beautiful wife and two young boys.  

“The inaugural event last January was awesome,” Pearn said. “Last year, we donated the funds to help pay for the boys’ college education. This year, we’re reaching out to help SickKids Foundation.”

Plans for the evening include a bar, food, live entertainment, Hockey Hall of Fame interactive games, silent and live auction, as well as celebrity appearances.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the Jacob Damen: A Friend and Fan Remembered Event, visit

SickKids Foundation recently launched their “SickKids VS Limits campaign with a mission to raise $1.3 billion through philanthropy for a renewed, re-imagined SickKids in Toronto. This new state-of-the-art facility will provide top-notch care to the hospital’s patients. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the SickKids VS Limits campaign. 

“We rely on the community and are grateful to Martin Truex Jr. Motorsports for their support,” said Andrew Petrick, Community Events at SickKids Foundation. “The funds raised will support cutting-edge operating suites, more room for families and more room for the innovative technologies that will deliver better outcomes for children in Canada and around the world.”

Truex and Pearn are the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion driver-crew chief combination. The pair have cemented themselves as perennial championship contenders after qualifying for NASCAR’s Championship 4 in three of the past four years. In that time, Truex and Pearn have earned 17 race victories. For 2019, Truex and Pearn will move to Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Toyota Camry team.


Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today it’s crew chief lineup for the 2019 season.

Chris Gabehart will serve as crew chief on the No. 11 MENCS Toyota. Gabehart spent the past three seasons as a crew chief in JGR’s Xfinity Series program, capturing a total of nine wins over that time. Eric Phillips will also make the move from the Xfinity Series to assume the role of car chief with the No. 11 team. He compiled eight wins over three seasons as crew chief on the No. 18 Xfinity Series team.

In addition, JGR announces the addition of two crew chiefs to its Xfinity Series program.

Jeff Meendering returns to the organization to fill the role vacated by Gabehart as crew chief on the No. 19 Xfinity Series with driver Brandon Jones. Meendering spent that past two seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing as crew chief on the No. 00 car.

Ben Beshore will move from his current role as engineer on JGR’s No. 18 MENCS team to replace the vacancy left by Phillips as crew chief for the No. 18 Xfinity Series Toyota.

JGR’s ARCA Series team will also have an addition for 2019 with the hire of crew chief Mark McFarland. He joins the organization from MDM Motorsports where he served as team manager and crew chief in the K&N Series as well as ARCA.

“With such a short offseason it’s important to start work toward the 2019 season immediately and we are proud with the teams we have assembled now, both in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and in the Xfinity Series,” said Joe Gibbs, Owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “With Chris Gabehart joining Adam Stevens, Chris Gayle, and Cole Pearn on the Cup side we believe we have the right leaders in place to benefit our entire organization.

“In addition, we take a tremendous amount of pride in our accomplishments in the Xfinity Series and are excited to have Jeff Meendering and Ben Beshore join Jason Ratcliff to lead our efforts there, as well as bolster our developmental program in ARCA with the addition of Mark McFarland.” 


When Team Penske driver Joey Logano drove his No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion to victory in Homestead, Fla. on November 18, winning his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship, it was a big win for graduates of NASCAR Technical Institute, too. Logano's front-end mechanic and two members of his pit crew graduated from NASCAR Tech and have been working all season to help Team Penske get a checkered flag.

NASCAR Tech, one of 13 Universal Technical Institute campuses nationwide, is the exclusive educational provider for NASCAR and the only school in the country to offer NASCAR-endorsed training.
Team Penske has more than 30 combined victories in the 2018 race season across NASCAR, INDYCAR, IMSA and Australian Supercars and, in the last decade, has hired more than 60 NASCAR Tech graduates - highly trained technicians who hold positions ranging from entry level mechanic to Chief Mechanic.
"Winning races takes more than a driver and a crew chief," said Logano. "It takes a whole team of people to put this all together and, because NASCAR Tech delivers the training race teams are looking for, their graduates are vital to a drivers' success."
"Without a doubt, there's always a demand for good people," said Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske. "NASCAR Tech is where Team Penske turns for the future of the organization. The relationship we have with the school is a special one."
Team Penske is one of many industry leaders that rely on NASCAR Tech to train skilled auto and motorsports technicians.
"Our industry relationships are critical to both our partners' success and to ours," said John Dodson, vice president of Business Alliances & NASCAR for Universal Technical Institute. "We are honored that Team Penske, Roush Yates Engines, and the entire motorsports community comes to NASCAR Tech to build winning teams."
NASCAR Tech's Mooresville, N.C. campus offers the standard Universal Technical Institute core automotive training program, with an optional 15-week elective to train students preparing for a career in motorsports. The 15-week elective trains students in everything from engines, fabrication, and welding, to aerodynamics and pit crew essentials. Through NASCAR Tech's elite Spec Engine program, select students have the opportunity to build engines that will compete in NASCAR-sanctioned races.

What had been rumored – and in fact, a deal made -- months ago, was formally announced Tuesday afternoon. Kurt Busch will drive the Chip Ganassi Racing team’s No. 1 Chevrolet – sponsored by Monster Energy – in 2019.

Busch, the 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series champion and 2017 Daytona 500 winner, said he and the Ganassi team decided to hold off on the announcement until after his run at the 2018 Cup championship. He won at Bristol to qualify for the Playoffs and advanced to the penultimate round driving for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Busch and longtime racing team owner Ganassi announced their pairing Tuesday to the national media. Busch, 39, has a one-year contract with Ganassi that would carry him through his 20th season in Cup next year. However, both men indicated they would revisit an option for 2020 if the upcoming season works out particularly well.

They certainly seem optimistic.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to go out and win races, to have a shot at the championship and to use my experience that I’ve gained over all these years with a group like Chip Ganassi Racing,’’ Busch said. “I feel like it’s a good mesh with [fellow Ganassi driver] Kyle Larson. Something that Chip and I talked about as far as the driver line-up and the way that we wanted to go into 2019 and attack and go right out of the gate and go for wins and get this program where it needs to be and what Chip has for his championship dreams.”

Busch will take over the No. 1 car from fellow Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray. But Ganassi said he is hopeful McMurray will remain with the organization, which fields teams in NASCAR, the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Series and IndyCar.  McMurray could be an advisor and/or have other driving opportunities.

As for now, Ganassi was extremely optimistic that adding Busch might well be the extra boost his team needs to contend for that elusive Cup title.

“I’ve had calls from two different people at his previous team saying they were going to miss him, and they liked him around the shop,’’ Ganassi said. “They liked him how he got involved with the cars, they liked his input, they liked what he did as a builder of the team and as a teammate. 

“So, I think anytime you can have a veteran guy like that, that A. knows how to win races, but B. is a good guy in the locker room per say, I think that brings something to our team that I think will only enhance a young guy like a Larson or any of the other young guys we have that maybe don’t have the years of experience that put a little gray hair on me from time to time.”

Busch has 30 Cup victories over 19 seasons, highlighted by the 2004 title run and a dramatic Daytona 500 victory in 2017. He’s driven for many of the sport’s most iconic teams such as Roush-Fenway, Penske Racing, Furniture Row Racing and most recently the Stewart-Haas organization.

Busch sounded particularly optimistic that his resume and experience would be especially helpful for the Ganassi team, which is still looking for its first Cup title. And Busch said he’s excited to team up with Larson, one of the sport’s brightest young stars.

“Kyle Larson and I have a good racing relationship on track and I saw things change even during the Playoffs this year with some of the talks we have had behind the scenes,’’ Busch said. “As far as outside the track, we haven’t hung out all that much. If I had half a day off, I would go hang out with Chip and his sportscar program, if Larson has a half a day off, he is already at the dirt track, so we will have our time to get caught up. 

“… I’m looking forward to that relationship. He is a hard charger, he is always up front, there are things he has done to win races, there are also things he has done to lose some races where he was really fast and it’s a matter of putting all of the puzzle pieces together. For me, there has just been that change in life where I feel like I want to help somebody like him.

“I see the talent and for me with all these years of experience, I still have that fire and that desire to challenge and to be upfront and I was only a few laps away from making it to the championship round this year. 

“Two-car team, that is where I think there is a positivity of a balance shift to where all efforts are put into two and you don’t have to spread it out across four.”

Both Busch and Ganassi kept open the possibility that Busch might also compete in one of Ganassi’s other racing programs, such as February’s Rolex 24 at Daytona or even make another run in the Indianapolis 500. Busch finished sixth in the 2014 Indy 500 and was Rookie of the Race.

“In my conversations with Kurt, all that stuff is available,’’ Ganassi said. “All our cars are available to all of our drivers. I think it’s just a matter of if the opportunity presents itself and there is obviously a lot more than just me saying ‘hey let’s do it’ and him saying ‘yeah let’s do it’. I am game. “

Adam Stevens, crew chief for Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing's MOOG®-equipped #18 Toyota Camry, is the 2018 MOOG "Go the Extra Mile" Crew Chief of the Year. The award, given to the crew chief with the best overall performance in advancing a team's competitive position during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ season, was presented to Stevens during the NMPA Myers Brothers awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev. MOOG is a premium brand from Federal-Mogul Motorparts and the Official Steering and Suspension of NASCAR.

Stevens won a season-high five weekly MOOG "Go the Extra Mile" Crew Chief awards, which are presented to the crew chief whose car delivers the greatest improvement in average lap time from the first to the second half of a race while finishing on the lead lap. A total of 17 different crew chiefs earned the weekly award over the 36-race season.

"Succeeding with this team was inevitable, as it was through Adam's initial success as Kyle Busch's crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series™ that he was rewarded by moving up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, where they continued their winning ways and developed their chemistry," said Tim Nelson, director of motorsports for Federal-Mogul Motorparts. "Adam's engineering skills and on-the-spot decision-making earned him eight wins in 2018 alone, and pushed the team to become regular season points champion, qualified for the Playoffs, and advanced to the Championship Four.

"We congratulate Adam on his 2018 MOOG Crew Chief of the Year Award."

As the MOOG brand's Crew Chief of the Year, Stevens received a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy and $100,000 check from Federal-Mogul Motorparts.

The MOOG brand is the preferred choice of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs. MOOG product engineers go the extra mile in developing innovative steering and suspension parts that provide superior performance, greater durability and easier installation. These benefits have helped drive the brand's unsurpassed success in NASCAR competition, with every NASCAR Cup Series champion for the past 53 seasons driving to victory with MOOG parts.

To learn more about MOOG parts, please visit contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at, follow MOOG on Twitter at, or connect with the brand on Instagram at

Moog PR

Today Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced a partnership with Monster Energy, for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season. Monster Energy will be a primary sponsor on the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to be driven by 2004 MENCS Champion Kurt Busch. Busch will compete in his 20th season in the MENCS during the 2019 campaign.

Monster Energy became the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series, starting with the 2017 season, renaming it to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Monster Energy has also been a staple in the action sports world sponsoring many athletes, sporting events in addition to musical acts and events.


  • A Monster Lifestyle: Refusing to acknowledge the traditional, Monster Energy supports the scene and sport. Whether motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MMA, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster Energy is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes and musicians represent. More than a drink, it’s the way of life lived by athletes, sports, bands, believers and fans.  
  • A Monster Career: Kurt Busch is an accomplished veteran in the MENCS, both as a race winner (30) and a series champion (2004). He has also won marquee MENCS events such as the Daytona 500 (2017) the Coca-Cola 600 (2010) and the NASCAR All-Star Race (2010). His racing resume highlights also include four victories in the NASCAR Camping World Series (NCWTS), runner-up finish in the NCWTS point standings in his first full-time year of competition in 2000, five wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), two starts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2005, 2008) and one start in the Indianapolis 500 (2014). He also boasts championships in the 2003 International Race of Champions (IROC) and the 1999 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series
  • Man of Many Talents: Busch has not only won a race on every type of track that the series competes on, (superspeedway, intermediate, short-track and road course), he has also claimed a pole on each type of track, in addition to being named the 2018 MENCS Busch Pole Award winner for the most pole awards on the season, at five.



·         Mitch Covington, Vice President of Sports Marketing, Monster Beverage Company: “Monster is super happy to get onboard with Chip Ganassi Racing and Kurt Busch. Kurt has been a Monster Energy athlete for several years now and we were glad to see him team up with another strong team. I believe Kurt and the team will win a lot of races and we will have a lot of fun.”

  • Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “We have had the good fortune of having a lot of great drivers here at Chip Ganassi Racing across all forms of racing and Kurt Busch adds to that list of great drivers. He is a former NASCAR Cup Series champion and Daytona 500 winner and I believe still has a burning desire to win races and compete for a championship. In addition, getting to work with and represent a brand like Monster Energy makes it even that much more exciting.” 
  • Kurt Busch, Driver, No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: “I am tremendously proud to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing and the prestigious group of alumni. Along with Monster Energy, winning races and competing at the highest level, it’s what we are all about. Ganassi’s forward thinking approach is why I have decided to commit all my years of Monster Energy Cup experience to CGR. Let’s win, let’s have fun!


Obaika Racing is excited to announce that Tanner Berryhill will be the full-time driver of the No. 97 Toyota Camry for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season. Berryhill made the announcement live on SIRIUS XM NASCAR (Channel 90) on "Late Shift" with hosts Brad Gillie and Brad Daugherty.

Obaika Racing and Berryhill will kick off the 2019 season by making their first attempt at the iconic Daytona 500 on February 17th at Daytona International Speedway.

“Tanner is a very intelligent and motivated young man, and I am very excited to what he can accomplish during his rookie season,” said team owner, Victor Obaika. “The Obaika Racing team is working hard through the winter to put fast cars on track next year, and I have every confidence that Tanner is going to work hard to improve every race and get the most out of our equipment. 2019 is going to be a great year for this team.”

Berryhill made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2018 with Obaika Racing, competing in the final two races of the season at ISM Raceway (Phoenix, AZ) and Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has made 40 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in previous years. 

“I am very thankful for the opportunities that Victor Obaika, the whole race team, and our partners are giving me, and I’m looking forward to making the most of it” said Berryhill. “It’s a dream come true to be racing full-time again, and I’m excited to see this program continue to grow. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, and I’ll see you in Daytona!”

Sponsors and crew chief for the No. 97 MENCS car will be announced in the coming weeks.

Obaika Racing PR

Though Joey Logano said the reality of his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship sank in as soon as he took the checkered flag on Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his words at Thursday night’s awards ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas seemed to belie that assertion.

“Who’d have thought… 23 years ago, Santa Claus brought me a go-kart,” Logano said during the champion’s speech. “Who’d have thought I’d be a NASCAR champion?”

Logano won the title in NASCAR’s premier series by winning the Championship 4 race at Homestead, capping a season in which he peaked during the Playoffs. Logano secured his spot in the Championship 4 by winning the first event of the Round of 8 at Martinsville, where he executed a bump-and run on defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. in the final corner.

“To the NASCAR fans,” Logano said, “love me or hate me, I just love your passion.”

The night before the season finale in Miami, Logano spent the evening providing dinners to the less fortunate, emblematic of the charitable work of the Joey Logano Foundation. The Cup championship will provide him an even larger platform for his philanthropic activities.

“I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes on and off the race track,” said Logano, who got his ride in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford in 2013 after being released from Joe Gibbs Racing. “But God’s given me an amazing opportunity to learn from each one and teaching me what it’s like to have a second chance in life.

“That’s why we started the Joey Logano Foundation, to give second chances to children and young adults in times of crisis. The other part of our mission. The other part of our mission is maybe more important, to inspire others to live a life of generosity.

“I talk about how our sport gives us such a large stage to make a difference. Here I am standing on the largest stage in NASCAR, so I need to use this moment to challenge all of us and inspire all of us to be the change… Let’s just remember that life is so much more than what we see here tonight.”

Team owner Roger Penske reflected on a year that brought him not only Logano’s championship but also his 17th Indianapolis 500 victory with Will Power, his first Brickyard 400 win with Brad Keselowski and an Australian V8 Supercars title with Scott McLaughlin.

“To see this whole championship unfold over 38 weekends and to culminate here in Las Vegas—sitting up on the stage there with Joey, all the sponsors and Ford Motor Company and my wife Kathy, that she hangs out with me for over 45 years is amazing,” Penske said.

“It’s just hard to believe. We’re going to be back after it next year. Each year, we set the bar a little bit higher, and I think that’s what makes us so good.”

To no one’s surprise, Chase Elliott received the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of the previous 15 Most Popular Driver awards, made the presentation. Elliott follows in the footsteps of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who earned the distinction a record 16 times.

“I figured it was maybe going to be a tossup between me, Joey and maybe Kyle (Busch),” Elliott joked. “It’s definitely a big passing (of the torch). It’s so cool to know it stayed between Elliott and Earnhardt for so long.”

Then Elliott turned his attention to Earnhardt, who moved from the driver’s seat to the NBC Sports TV booth this season.

“I am glad, though, that you quit a year before you tied Dad’s record,” Elliott said. “I’m pretty happy about that.”

NBC Sports’ Kelli Stavast and Rutledge Wood hosted the event, along with co-host Marty Snider. All 16 drivers who made the 2018 Playoffs were recognized and interviewed during the program. Two of the drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, failed to win at least one race for the first time in their careers.

Johnson will race in 2019 without crew chief Chad Knaus, ending a partnership that started in 2002.

“I just look back at 17 amazing years,” said Johnson, who is paired with crew chief Kevin Meendering for next season, “and really excited about what’s ahead of us.”

Hamlin seemed ready to embrace the new higher-downforce, lower-horsepower 2019 competition package announced for the Monster Energy Series next year.

“It can only go up,” Hamlin said of his prospects. “Everything’s going to be different. Everybody’s going to be starting from scratch.”

Logano, however, will be starting the 2019 season as the reigning champion, a role he is certain to enjoy, no matter what’s in the rule book.

What was a dream to Joey Logano became an ambition, and on Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, ambition became reality.

The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford won the season finale at the South Florida track to claim his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, and the reality of that first title sank in as soon as Logano crossed the finish line.

“This is what we’ve worked for our whole life,” Logano said on Wednesday at the Wynn Las Vegas after the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards. “Not 10 years that we’ve been trying at the Cup level, but it started in ’95 when I first got behind the wheel of a go-kart. That’s when this goal started.

“There was never a second thing that I was going to try to do. This was it—NASCAR champion.”

Not that Logano considered a Cup championship a possibility when he was five years old—but he could dream.

“You’re a kid, and it’s a dream,” Logano said. “Maybe a goal is a little different. It’s a dream at that point. A lot of kids want to be NASCAR champion, and I’m here to say it can happen, as long as you keep working hard and taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you.

“When I went to elementary school, and they said, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, it was always race car driver.”



Martin Truex Jr. thought he had the Championship 4 race won—until a late caution intervened and gave Joey Logano the chance he needed to deny Truex a second straight title.

“No question,” Truex said. “If it wasn’t for a bad pit stop on the (earlier) green-flag stop… we had a straightaway lead at that point. We were running those guys (leader Kevin Harvick) down really fast.

“I had already passed the 22 (Logano) for second, and I was catching the 4 car (Harvick) three or four tenths (of a second) a lap. I mean, it wasn’t going to take long—but it doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

Truex didn’t have the fastest car last year, but he managed to hold off Kyle Busch in the championship race.

“It’s hard to get completely devastated about a race working out that way,” said Truex, who will be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019. “We did all we could do. We put ourselves in position, made the right decisions.

“The year before, we were the second-best car. Kyle had it won, and the pit strategy—the way we played it out—we caught the caution at the right time and got the lead and were able to hold him off. So it’s like you win one you maybe shouldn’t have, and you lose one you maybe shouldn’t have. They kind of even out.”



During his recent car swap in Bahrain with former Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was impressive in his first stint in an F1 car, running only two tenths of a second slower that Alonso’s fastest lap.

But Alonso impressed Johnson in a stock car, too—and surprised the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

“One thing that really surprised me was how good he was at sliding the car around,” Johnson said. “In Formula 1, you don’t really slide those cars, but I rode with him in some type of McLaren sports car on some hot laps, and he was dead sideways the entire time.

“I said, ‘I thought you drive a Formula 1 car straight,’ and he said, ‘You do, but I like to slide. So, the entire time, he was boiling the tires in the sports car. And when he got in the Cup car, I don’t think he ever went straight. He was sliding and drifting through every turn, amazing car control…

“I don’t think he knows what his plans are for 2019, but I’d love to have him in NASCAR.”

NASCAR presented several season-ending awards on Wednesday afternoon at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas, during the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards.

A number of honors were handed out during the Champion’s Week mainstay, highlighted by the Champion Crew Chief Award, which was bestowed to Todd Gordon, crew chief for the championship winning No. 22 Ford with driver Joey Logano.

During his acceptance speech, Gordon detailed the team’s roller-coaster season, including the thrilling win at Martinsville Speedway that locked Logano into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“This win allowed everyone at Team Penske to focus on Homestead for three weeks,” Gordon said. “It was awesome to see all 550 Mooresville Employees pulling in the same direction, getting us as prepared as we’d ever been for the Championship race.”

Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards


  • NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Jim France
  • Buddy Shuman Award: Grant Lynch
  • NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Mobil 1
  • American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
  • Busch Pole Award: Kurt Busch
  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Award: Joey Logano
  • MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Doug Yates
  • Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team
  • Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • MOOG Go the Extra Mile Crew Chief of the Year Award: Adam Stevens, crew chief No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team
  • Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Joey Logano
  • Champion Sponsor Award: Shell-Pennzoil
  • Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: William Byron
  • Champion Crew Chief Award: Todd Gordon


NASCAR drivers, team members, the sport’s national media and loyal fans are descending upon Las Vegas this week for the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards and related end-of-year galas and activities.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano will formally receive the 2018 Monster Energy Series trophy he earned and enjoy days of proper feting. And the sport will celebrate a dramatic season and recognize some of its most impactful participants.

William Byron will receive the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and Logano’s fellow Championship 4 contenders Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will be recognized, as well as the entire 2018 16-driver Playoff field.

There will be a changing of the guard among the Most Popular Driver Award voted on by NASCAR fans with retired racer-turned-NBC broadcaster Dale Earnhardt Jr. ceremonially handing over the recognition after a 15-year run of trophies.

And the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award – named after the generous and charitable late founder and chairwoman of The NASCAR Foundation, who was also the wife of former NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr. – will be announced Thursday evening during the awards show.  It is perhaps the most impactful recognition of the weekend, recognizing a NASCAR fan who has made a difference in his or her community.

This year’s honorees include: Carl Dakes, of Maryland, who is an 18-year volunteer representing the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation that helps provide housing for critically ill children and their families.

Ohio’s Sarah Kersey is not only a cancer survivor herself, but is a longtime volunteer at the Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead, Ohio. The camp provides “transformative” experiences for seriously ill children at no cost for their family.

Cliff Preston, of Gainesville, Florida, is nominated for his 25-years serving as a “cuddler” to comfort hospitalized newborns in the University of Florida Shands Hospital during the absence of the babies’ parents.

The final nominee is Rex Reynolds, of Alabama, a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama. Reynolds grew up attending the Boys & Girls Club and has been a long-time volunteer there, including 13 years on the board of directors.

The awards show will be televised on NBCSN at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 29, as well as on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 8 p.m. EST.