Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14026)

The unique paint scheme of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota that 2017 NASCAR Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones will drive in the Sept. 3 Bojangles’ Southern 500 will honor the great rookie classes of the celebrated throwback era.  The paint scheme is a photographic Who’s Who of the NASCAR Cup Series rookie drivers from 1984 to 1989, featuring Cup Series Champions, Daytona 500 winners and a couple of Hall of Famers.

Additionally, the scheme will include a photo of The 5-hour ENERGY Racing Throwback Sweepstakes winner, which gave fans the opportunity to submit their personal photos from the 1985-89 era. The winner, Rick Redpath of Greene, NY, was randomly selected among hundreds of entrants and will share the hood of the No. 77 at Darlington with some of racing’s royalty.

“I have been a race fan most of my life so this is a real treat for me,” said Redpath. “It’s an honor and I’m stoked to be part of 5-hour ENERGY’s throwback paint scheme and the whole throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway. It has me just grinning from ear to ear.”

The hood as well as the left- and right-side bodywork is covered with a photograph collage. The now legendary drivers honored include rookie-of-the-year winners Rusty Wallace (1984), Ken Schrader (1985), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Davey Allision (1987), Ken Bouchard (1988), and Dick Trickle (1989). Many of the images pair the driver’s rookie photos with snapshots from their crowning achievements.

“I’m proud to be driving the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota with a paint scheme that honors all of the rookie drivers from the mid-to-late 1980s,” said Jones. “There are some great names with great histories and lot of experience in the design that I’m hoping will help me get around Darlington Raceway that much better.”

The names of each rookie class is showcased on the rear quarter panels and many of those drivers are also honored with photographs in the paint scheme. A list of those drivers include Hall of Famer and Cup Champion Dale Jarrett, two-tie Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, Ernie Irvan, Greg Sacks, Eddie Bierschwale and Hut Stricklin.

“The No. 77 5-hour ENERGY paint scheme created for the Southern 500 was designed to honor the rookie drivers from the throwback era as well as pay tribute to the great rookie season Erik Jones is having with Furniture Row Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Melissa Skabich, communications director for Living Essentials, LLC, makers of 5-hour ENERGY. “Erik is part of a strong rookie class so we thought it would be great if he and the team could honor those great rookie drivers of the past.”

The Southern 500 is scheduled to air Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Ch. 90.

FRR PR

Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) earned their 11th Top-20 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

At the beginning of the weekend, the team worked on a few different setups in McDowell’s No. 95 Wipes.com Chevrolet SS. They went on to barely miss the second round of qualifying and earned a 26th place starting position for Saturday’s night race.

McDowell was able to run in the Top-25 at the start of the race until the first caution on lap 63. Crew Chief, Todd Parrott, called for a rear adjustment and a full pit service. McDowell restarted in the 24th position.

With only a few laps remaining in the first stage, the leaders finally caught McDowell, putting him in the Lucky Dog spot just in time for the stage to end on lap 125.

At the start of the second stage, McDowell restarted 26th and on the lead lap. McDowell reported an extremely tight-handling car as the next caution flag fell on lap 200. Parrott and McDowell discussed pitting for adjustments, but the pair decided to take a risk and wave around under caution.

The risk paid off, as the leaders passed McDowell just before a caution flag fell, and he was once again the Lucky Dog.

McDowell was able to pit under caution to fix some minor front fender damage from earlier contact. Parrott made the call to service the No. 95 Wipes.com Chevy during the caution in order to stay out at the end of the stage. The field went green with six laps remaining, and McDowell was able to finish the stage in 20th.

McDowell took the green flag on lap 257 for the final stage from the 14th position and ran as high as 12th. He continued to battle a tough-handling car, but took the wave around one final time with 100 laps remaining.

The final caution of the race fell on lap 416 where McDowell was running 19th. He told the crew he needed to be tightened up and restarted 20th after his last pit stop.

The race ended on a long green-flag run, and McDowell went on to cross the finish line in 20th, earning LFR’s 11th Top-20 of the season.

“I think we all wanted more out of tonight,” said McDowell. “We couldn’t quite get our car handling the way we wanted to, but we will take another Top-20! We’re extremely thankful to everyone at Wipes.com for coming on board with us this weekend and hope to partner with them again in the future.”

Next up for McDowell and LFR is the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, where they will honor the late Alan Kulwicki with his 1986 rookie MENCS season throwback scheme.

LFR PR

Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that First Data (NYSE: FDC), a global leader in commerce-enabling technology, will partner with Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Chevrolet SS team for two upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway.

This expands on a relationship that began last season when First Data joined Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 Chevrolet SS as a partner for the Fall Martinsville race. Additionally, First Data returns this year on McMurray’s car at Martinsville as an associate sponsor. First Data also recently announced a three-year agreement with Martinsville to be the entitlement sponsor for the track’s fall MENCS race, starting with the First Data 500 on October 29.

CGR PR

Short track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway is always action-packed, but when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes to the half-mile bullring at night, the atmosphere becomes electric. Unfortunately, Ty Dillon and his Germain Racing team were unable to use that energy to their advantage, as two pit road penalties hindered their performance, before a pair of blown tires ended the night early with just over 100 laps remaining.
 
"It really felt like we had some raw speed in our GEICO Chevrolet," said Dillon, after the race. "We had a couple pit road penalties and ended up three laps down. We earned one back and felt like we were fast enough to get more laps back. We got into the wall a little earlier on and probably weakened the ball joint a little bit. Once we hit the wall again, the car was done. It was a really rough night, but we did seem to have good speed in our car tonight."
 
After rolling from the 22nd starting position, Dillon ran inside the top-25 for the entirety of the opening stage before completing the segment in 24th-place. Misfortune would strike the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender on lap 133, as Dillon was forced to serve two pit road penalties for pitting outside the box and working on the car while serving his original violation. Despite these penalties relegating Dillon to the 33rd position, three laps behind the leaders, the GEICO Racing team continued to press on.
 
At the conclusion of stage two, Dillon had not only worked his way back inside the top-25, but also regained a lap, placing the No. 13 machine only a pair of circuits behind. While running in the 24th position, the right front tire on the GEICO Chevrolet blew on lap 354 to bring out a caution. The over-the-wall crew changed tires and fixed the minimal damage on pit road before allowing Dillon to resume. However, the misfortune continued to plague Dillon, as another right front tire blew on lap 397, forcing the car behind the wall. After surveying the damage, the Germain Racing team found an irreparable broken ball joint, which cut the race short and left Dillon with a 36th-place finish.
 
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Racing team will now enjoy a well-deserved weekend off, before returning for the final stretch of 12 races to end the 2017 season. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take to the historic Darlington Raceway on Friday, September 1st for opening practice at 1:00 pm ET, with qualifying scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd at 2:00 pm ET.
 
The green flag will fly for the Bojangles Southern 500 on Sunday, September 3rd at 6:00 pm ET. NBC Sports Network will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
 
PMI PR
Stage 1: Laps 1-125
«  Cole Whitt qualified in the 32nd position in the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 to start the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
 
«  Lap 15: running 32nd, Whitt relayed the "frontend was giving up"
 
«  Caution Lap 63: scored 29th, one lap down from the leader. Whitt stayed out to take the wave around to gain track postion
 
«  As Stage 1 was nearing end, Whitt, 29th, radioed something was wrong with the steering of the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72. He started losing track positon and fell back to 34th.
 
«  Lap 125: Stage 1 Completion Caution: Cole Whitt completed the stage in the 34th position. He stated he no longer had power steering. Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him to pit to assess the issue. It was determined the power steering line needed to be replaced. Whitt went out to make another lap when NASCAR made the call to have him exit the track and go to the garage for repairs. The power steering was repaired and Whitt returned to the field.
 
 
Stage 2: Ended Lap 250
«  Whitt returned to the track after on lap 140, posted 40th and 13 laps down from the leader.
 
«  Caution Lap 202 for an incident: Whitt was scored 40th, 14 laps down. He relayed the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 was "getting loose into the corner and sideways getting in." He pitted for four tires, fuel and a round of wedge in the left rear. He cycled back to the filed 40th, 14 laps down from the leader.
 
«  Caution Lap 233: Despite Whitt lacking grip and control of the front and rear, Crew Chief Frank Kerr opted to keep Whitt out on track
 
«  Lap 250: Stage 2 Completion Caution: Whitt pitted for four tires, fuel, and a packer pulled from the left front. He took the green flag to start Stage 3 in the 38th position, 15 laps down from the leader.
 
 
 
Stage 3: Ended on Lap 500
«  As Stage 3 was underway, Whitt relayed the handling was tight from the adjustments made from the previous pit stop.
 
«  As Stage 3 progressed, Whitt continued to run 37-38th. He pitted under two additional cautions.
 
«  Whitt remained steady and consistent. Despite a challenging day, he managed to salvage a 33rd place finish in the Bad Boy Mowers No. 72 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
 
Tristar PR

Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team came away from the Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a 10th-place finish and some growing momentum heading into an off week followed by the final two races of the regular season.

Saturday night’s finish was Blaney’s ninth top 10 of the season and his second in the past three races. In between he had a 15th-place finish at Michigan, and he and the team head into the off week 12th in the championship standings.

Blaney started 10th and finished the first 125-lap Stage in seventh place, collecting four bonus points. It was the 19th time this season that he has scored stage points, and he now has 168 stage points.

He finished outside the top 10 in the second stage due to damage from contact on the track and the misfortune of having to restart several times on the bottom line, which was slower than the top on restarts.

He and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team gambled on a late-race caution and saved its last set of tires for a yellow flag that never flew.

Still, Blaney was optimistic about his team’s prospects going forward when he spoke with reporters after the race.
 
“We were probably a little better at the beginning and we had really good short run speed and really good long run speed, but that middle portion wasn’t the best,” he said. “It’s something to be proud of. I wish those guys at the end with tires didn’t get us, but I didn’t think they were going to run all those green flag laps.”
 
“I thought there was going to be a caution, and we could come get tires and be in a good spot. That’s the way it goes. We persevered all night. I’m really proud of our team getting our car better.”
 
“I can’t thank Motorcraft and Quick Lane and Ford enough for what they do.”
 
He added that the solid runs of recent weeks are just what he and his team are looking for at this point in the season.
 
“That’s what we need to build on for the playoffs in a few weeks,” he said. “Hopefully we can have some solid momentum going into [the playoffs].”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that while he would have liked to have had a better finish to honor the memory of his cousin and fellow team member Butch Moricle, who died unexpectedly last week, it’s hard to be disappointed with a 10th-place finish at Bristol.
 
“Any time you can have a car that will still roll at the end of Bristol and a top-10 finish, you take that and be happy with it,” Wood said. “And it was nice to see [track owner] Bruton Smith at the drivers’ meeting and a good crowd in the stands.”

 “They’ve had some bad luck with weather here the last few races, and it’s looking like Bristol is on its way back.”
 
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team will enjoy a week off before getting back to work at Darlington Raceway in two weeks.

WBR PR

After a punctured tire sent the Fastenal Ford into the outside wall on lap 200, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity to earn a 14th-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“We battled back from a blown right-front and then the last stop they said I was a little too fast on pit-road,” Stenhouse said. “We had to make up a lot of ground.  Our Fastenal Ford was really good. It’s just a bummer.  I feel like we didn’t get an opportunity to go race for a win there with the speeding penalty, but the guys gave me a good car, so you’ve got to be happy about that.”

After earning his best starting position in his past three starts at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’, the Olive Branch, Miss. native quickly gained six positions in the first four laps working his way inside the top 10.

When the first caution was displayed on lap 61, Stenhouse was battling a tight handling condition. After restarting in the 14th position due to an issue with the jack during the pit-stop, the two-time XFINITY champion settled with a 12th-place finish in stage one.

After patiently maneuvering his Ford inside the top 10, Stenhouse punctured his right front tire sending the Fastenal Ford into the outside wall.  With less than 50 laps remaining in stage two, crew chief Brian Pattie ensured that the fenders were clear and made a plan to repair the damage during the stage break.

After restarting in the 22nd position, Stenhouse was working his way thru the field when a multi-car accident occurred near the front causing the Fastenal Ford to sustain nose damage due to contact with teammate Trevor Bayne. After making multiple pit-stops under the caution, Stenhouse restarted in the 21st position, the last car on the lead lap.

In the final stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver patiently maneuvered his Ford up to 11th place before having to fall to the tail end of the field due to a speeding penalty on the final pit stop. Stenhouse gained six positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 14th position.

Next up for the MENCS is Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 3.

RFR PR

Erik Jones started from the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway in his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota and led the most laps in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race but eventually “settled” for a NASCAR Cup Series career-best second-place finish.

His Furniture Row Racing teammate, Martin Truex Jr., finished 21st after his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Toyota developed a vibration after stopping for service under caution on Lap 205. He returned to pit road as the field took the green-flag and went two laps down when hit with a pit road penalty.

Jones led nine times for a race high 260 laps on the 0.533-mile high-banked oval after leading a total of 50 laps in the season’s first 23 races. He led 104 consecutive laps (254-360) in the middle of the 500-lap race and Laps 398-444 before relinquishing the lead to eventual race winner Kyle Busch, who took the checkered flag 1.42 seconds ahead of Jones.

“I thought we had a really good day and we fought hard all day,” said Jones. “We had our ups and downs and led a lot of laps and didn’t have quite enough at the end. Kyle (Busch) is really good here. But we had a good 5-hour ENERGY Camry. Just needed a little more at the end. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t have it. I did what I could, but it just wasn’t quite enough.

“We did almost everything we needed to do. We qualified on the pole and ran second, so I wish we would’ve had a little bit more. It’s a bummer. It’s a great weekend for us. You can’t take that away. The 5-hour ENERGY Camry was fantastic, but you still wish you could’ve had that little bit more to grab the win. That one would’ve meant a lot to us, but we’ll just have to keep after it. That’s two good weeks for us and we’re going to keep fighting and keep going after these wins.”

Jones is tied Ryan Newman for 15th in driver points with two races remaining in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series regular season. The runner-up finish was the team’s fourth straight top-10 finish and second straight top five after finishing third last week at Michigan.

Truex remains in first place in the NASCAR Cup Series driver points, 101 markers ahead of second place Kyle Busch. There are two races remaining in the regular season. If he leaves the next race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway with a 61-point margin he will clinch the title with one race remaining.

The balance of the top-10 finishers were: Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney.

The race had 21 lead changes among six drivers. There were eight cautions for 53 laps.

The next race is Sunday night, Sept. 3, at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

FRR PR

Cut Tire Ends Austin Dillon's Race Early in the Dow Energy and Water Chevrolet
"From my perspective, we were running really good and all of the sudden the left-rear tire went flat. I don't know what happened. I don't know if we had contact on the restart or if our track bar broke. My car chief was standing in Turn 3 and he said the letters on the Goodyear tire were rubbed off and about two laps later we were done for the night. It's really disappointing because I was moving forward. I passed about four cars and then busted a tire. It never works out that you break when you are running bad. It always happens when you are running really well. I really love this track and was having a blast tonight. It sucks to end this way. We had a lot of people here from the Dow Energy and Water family, and we had a good car all night. I just wish we could have finished."
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Fights to 16th-Place Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in Knauf/Menards Chevrolet 
"Tonight was a battle for everyone on this Knauf/Menards Chevrolet. We got the free pass a couple of times, Matt Borland and the guys kept adjusting on the car throughout the night. We used pit strategy to get inside the top 10 late in Stage 2. I was able to hold off a lot of those guys with fresher tires to pick up some stage points, which was big for this team. We took the wave around in the final stage and the car really came to life. The car worked well on the bottom on the last run, but it just got too tight at the end." 
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Earns Caterpillar Racing Its Ninth Top-10 of the Season at Bristol Motor Speedway 
"Overall, I'm proud of our team effort. I was too fast on pit road, which cost us, but the guys did a good job in the pits which was a great help. We fought hard and kind of got lucky there with tires. I don't know that we had a sixth-place car, but we did tonight. It was a lot of fun out there and I think we are all looking forward to the last off weekend of the season."

- Ryan Newman
 
 

RCR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Kurt Busch started 25th and finished 14th.

The Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was stuggling with right-side grip early on.

Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on lap 63.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Busch started 21st and finished 12th.

The Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 129 for four tires, fuel and air and wedge adjustments.

Due to Busch having to back up in his pit stall to leave, he restarted 21st.

Busch indicated that the car was still tight.

The No. 41 team came to pit road on lap 202 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure and wedge adjustment.

On lap 239 Busch said the car was much better, and he pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

Busch started ninth and finished fifth.

On lap 272 Busch made slight contact with the outside SAFER Barrier in turn four, but he was able to continue.

As Busch was about to go down a lap on lap 353, a caution came out that enabled him to stay on the lead lap.

On lap 355 Busch pitted for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and repairs of the fender damage from the slight contact.

Busch pitted on lap 397 while in ninth place for four tires and fuel.

The move of the race came on lap 417 when Busch took the last set of sticker tires and fuel.

There were no further cautions, and Busch worked his way up to his fifth-place finish.

 

Notes:

This was Busch’s 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol and his 600th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● Busch now has 17 top-five finishes at Bristol and this was his third top-five finish of the 2017 season.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 53 laps.

● Fifteen of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 40th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was 1.422 seconds.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 951 points and holds a 101-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

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

“We’ve been struggling with the VHT on the bottom, so I just knew we needed to wait and wait and wait, and I was hopeful at lap 250 that it would come to us. I pushed it too hard then and got some right-front tire damage on the fender. We had to work through that, but I think at the end we got in position because Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a good call and put us on fresher tires than the competition, and it was the old fun Bristol for me. So I’m really proud of this Monster Energy Ford – to be first in class, to get a top-five in my 600th start and to see the lead with 50 to go.”

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished 15th.

After 26 laps, Bowyer radioed that he was starting to lose the nose of his No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford. Dropped to 10th.

By lap 41, Bowyer was 14th. “Gotta wait on it in the center (of the corner) and I spin the tires off the corner.”

While under caution on lap 63, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Restarted in 13th.

Bowyer radioed he was “too loose up off (the corner)” on lap 103 while running 15th.

At the conclusion of the stage, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel and a right-front tire pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Started 16th and finished 10th. Earned one bonus point.

Caution on lap 201 allowed Bowyer to pit and grab four tires and fuel. It was a good stop, with Bowyer advancing from 11th to ninth.

Another caution on lap 231 provided another opportunity to pit. Four tires and fuel with a left-rear wedge adjustment to help free up the Rush Truck Centers Ford.

Restarted in 13th on lap 245, but fresh tires provided the grip Bowyer needed to break into the top-10.

Stayed out at the end of the stage in an effort to gain track positon. It worked, with Bowyer restarting in fifth for the final stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

Started fifth and finished 19th.

Still fighting a loose-handling racecar, Bowyer dropped to 12th by lap 339 and radioed, “I’m out of control.”

Pitted for four tires and fuel with tire pressure adjustments during caution on lap 356. Restarted in 13th.

When caution came out again on lap 396, Bowyer remained 13th and said his car was “up on top of the track with no grip.”

Made final pit stop on lap 398, dropping left rear and right rear wedge in an attempt to get back of car better planted into track.

Restarted 13th with 100 laps to go.

Final caution came out on lap 416. Team opted not to pit since they only had one set of tires remaining and felt another caution was imminent.

As race went green through to the finish, Bowyer’s No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford faded to 19th.

 

Notes:

●  Although 10th in points, Bowyer remains 17th in the standings to make the NASCAR playoffs, trailing the cutoff position held by Jamie McMurray by 58 points with two races remaining. Only the top-16 drivers make the playoffs, with those having won a race locked in with the remaining positions based on a driver’s point standing. Thirteen drivers have won a race this season, leaving only three playoff spots available for drivers to earn a berth via their point standing.

●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 53 laps.

●  Fifteen of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.

●  Kyle Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 40th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was 1.422 seconds.

●  Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 951 points and holds a 101-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just used up all of our stuff there at the end. The car was up on the track and we fought the handling all night, but that long, green-flag run at the end didn’t do us any favors.”

 

TSC PR