Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14571)

There were no high-fives or pats on the back by Furniture Row Racing after Martin Truex Jr. clinched a spot in the Final Four as a result of finishing second in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

But there was an expected sigh of relief for the Denver, Colo.-based team, which will compete for the season championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19.

It will be Truex’s second time as a Final Four participant. He also accomplished the feat in 2015.

Truex is one of three drivers locked into the Final four. He joins Kyle Busch and Sunday’s race winner Kevin Harvick. The final participant will determined in Phoenix next week (Sunday Nov. 12).

The NASCAR Cup Series champion will be determined at Homestead with the driver having the best finish among the four finalists.

The 334-lap AAA Texas 500 was a mixture of emotions for the No. 78 team. Truex, who led a race high of 107 laps, lost the lead to Harvick with 10 laps remaining on the 1.5-mile track. Before losing the lead, Truex led 37 consecutive laps.

“The Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota got loose in the final run and we just couldn’t hold off the No. 4 (Harvick),” said Truex. “But on the good side of things, we did what we had to do to compete for the season title at Homestead in two weeks. I am really proud of this team, the guys on the road and all the guys back at the shop in Denver for building fast race cars.”

Regarding the final run of 47 laps, Truex said, “On the long runs I would get really loose getting into the corners. As the run went on, I would get looser and looser. Wasn’t much I could do about it. I could hold my own in clean air, but as soon as I caught lapped cars, I would get loose in the corner. He (Harvick) got to my outside and was just faster at the end. Once he got in front of us he was just gone. Nothing I could do. Just one of those deals where he was quicker.”

The Texas result was the second straight runner-up result for Truex, who also finished second last week in Martinsville, Va. Take away the Talladega playoff race where Truex was involved in multicar accident, his average finish in the other seven playoff races is 2.28. He has had three wins, two runners-up, a fourth and a fifth.

The Texas result was also Truex’s 17th top-five and 24th top-10 finish of the season. And going into Phoenix, he continues to lead the point standings.

The race had 27 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were eight cautions for 40 laps and one red flag for 10 minutes.

FRR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):

Danica Patrick started 14th and finished 18th.

● The No. 10 Aspen Dental “$10M for Veterans” Ford Fusion driver battled a tight-handling condition a majority of the stage.

● Patrick pitted under green for fresh tires at lap 54, but the team opted not to pit at the end of the stage in order to take the wave-around.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):

Started 18th and finished 17th.

● The Aspen Dental driver noted a loose-handling sensation on the initial stage restart.

● Patrick pulled onto pit road for a stop on lap 94 for four tires and fuel. She restarted 16th.

● Lap 143 saw the Aspen Dental crew pit for right-side tires and fuel. Once Patrick was back on the track, the team relayed that her lap times were better than the pack ahead of her.

● Patrick noted at the end of the stage that, “If I drive in hard it slides.” She also reported a lack of grip through the rest of the turn.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-334):

Started 17th and finished 17th.

● Patrick pitted during the first caution in the stage for four tires and fuel. She was racing as high as 15th by lap 185.

● The Aspen Dental Ford was loose off of turn four and into turn one during the middle of the final stage.

● Patrick earned the wave-around on lap 236 with only nine cars on the lead lap prior. The Aspen Dental team maintained a top-20 position through the remaining laps, ultimately finishing 17th.

 

Notes:                   

● This was Patrick’s 11th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and her 188th career NASCAR Cup Series start. 

● Patrick earned 20 points in Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, which puts her at 498 total points for the season thus far. She is ranked 27th in the driver point standings.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 40 laps.

● Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Kevin Harvick won the AAA Texas 500 to score his 37th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas Motor Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.58 seconds.

● Truex leads the championship standings with 4,168 points and has a 50-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Nov. 12 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):

Clint Bowyer started 20th and finished 16th.

Bowyer moved from 20th to 17th while reporting his car was loose in and tight off the turns.

Pitted on lap 53 for four tires and fuel as well as adjustments to help the handling issues.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):

Started 17th and finished 11th.

Crew made major handling adjustments before the stage and improved the car’s performance as Bowyer moved to 14th by lap 104.

Bowyer climbed to 11th in the final laps of the stage.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):

Started 15th and finished 36th.

At the lap-200 mark, an oil leak forced the No. 14 to the garage for more than 30 laps as the crew made major rear-end repairs, including a gear change.

● Bowyer returned to the track in 39th. He was 32 laps behind the leader.

● No. 14 gained three spots in the closing laps.

 

Notes:

● Kevin Harvick won the AAA Texas 500 to score his 37th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas Motor Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.58 seconds.

● This was the 39th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), its third of 2017 and its second at Texas.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 40 laps.

● Sixteen of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 4,168 points and has a 50-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, we are plagued with bad luck lately. I think we would have had a top-10 today. Maybe we’ll get a break or two next week in Phoenix.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Can-Am 500 on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Phoenix Raceway. It is the penultimate race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.

 

TSC PR

 

Austin Dillon and the Dow Winter in PyeongChang Team Lead RCR Entries at Texas Motor Speedway with 13th-Place Finish
"We were able to grab a couple of Stage points at the end of Stage 1 and Stage 2 today, which I am really proud of. My crew chief, Justin Alexander, and the entire Dow Winter in PyeongChang team did a great job of keeping up with adjustments throughout the race. We could hit our marks as good as anybody. Speed-wise, we weren't the fastest car, but we are obviously doing something right because it seems like nobody could keep up behind me. With everyone running such similar speeds today, track position was big. I'm proud of the team for all working together to get this 13th-place finish." 
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Comes From the Rear to Finish 23rd in Atlas/Menards Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway 
"First off, I have to thank Daniel Hemric and all of the guys on this No. 27 team for getting this Atlas/Menards Chevrolet set up and ready for me this weekend. We made some headway at the start of the race but suffered damage to the nose during the first stage. The guys fixed it up as best they could. We kept adjusting on the handling of the car but had to pit under green for a vibration in the final stage. These guys never gave up, and we were able to come out of here with a 23rd-place finish."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Perseveres to Finish 20th at Texas Motor Speedway in Grainger Chevrolet 
"Texas hasn't been good to us this year. We struggled since we unloaded off the truck on Friday. We got behind early. We were super loose so between major chassis changes and strategy, we raced back onto the lead lap in Stage 2 but struggled again on the next long green-flag run. We definitely need to pull together and figure out what the 31 needs because the 3 car raced on the lead lap and in the top 10. We've obviously made some gains as a team, and we just need to figure out what works for us. On top of that, we had some cooling issues so, as a driver, I was burning up a bit. I'm OK, but it wasn't fun out there for me at times."  

- Ryan Newman

RCR PR

After running in the top-15 for a majority of the day, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a 12th-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Our Fastenal Ford was solid all day,” Stenhouse said. “The guys did a great job making changes overnight. I’m bummed we didn’t get a top 10 but it was still a solid weekend for us overall.”

After advancing to round three of qualifying on Friday, the two-time XFINITY Series Champion started the 334-lap race in the 12th position but lost a few spots later in the run due to an ill-handling race car. With a caution free stage one, the Olive Branch, Miss. native fell one lap down to the leaders with two laps remaining in the stage but was able to hold on to the lucky dog position.

The two-time XFINITY champion started stage two in the 17th position but caught a lucky break when the caution flag waved on the restart. Now lined up with the other lead lap cars, Stenhouse steadily marched his way forward taking the green and checkered flag to end stage two in the 13th position with only 14 cars on the lead lap.

After restarting stage three in the 12th position, the Roush Fenway Racing driver patiently maneuvered his Fastenal Ford inside the top-10 before bringing his machine to pit-road for four tires and fuel. When the caution flag waved on lap 233, Stenhouse was scored in the lucky dog position as a handful of cars had not pitted.

After running in the top-10 for a majority of stage three, Stenhouse took the final restart in the ninth position but lost a few positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 12th position.

Next weekend Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Phoenix Raceway for the Can-Am 500. Race coverage begins at 2:30 pm ET on NBC.

RFR PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, finished in the 28th position in Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway as a result of an unscheduled pit stop due to damage sustained following a Lap 245 restart.

“We were starting to make some headway before we got that damage on the restart,” said Bayne after the race. “(Crew chief) Matt (Puccia) had our AdvoCare Ford heading in the right direction but we lost all of our track position unfortunately because we had to pit under green to fix the damage. We will recover from this and be sure that we end the last two weeks of this season on a strong note.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 334-Lap event from the 37th position after not being able to make an attempt in qualifying on Friday due to issues in the tech line. Once the race was underway, Bayne reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was loose on entry and tight on exit of the distinct Texas corners. Despite not handling to his liking, Bayne steadily worked his way forward, improving 13 positions throughout the course of the opening stage to take the green and checkered flag on Lap 85 in 24th.

After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment in between stages the Knoxville, Tenn. native returned to the track in 26th and immediately reported he was battling a tight-handling condition on the exit of the corner. Although continuing to fight the handling Bayne pressed forward, moving up to 23rd before pitting during a round of green flag pit stops on Lap 154. As a result of staying out toward the end of the pit window, Bayne cycled out following the stop in 28th just before the end of Stage 2.

The final stage began with the AdvoCare Ford shifting from tight to loose through the corners as a long green flag run controlled the early portion of the stage. Then, following a flurry of cautions, Bayne moved back up to the 24th position as the handling continued to improve. However, damage sustained to the left rear fender of the AdvoCare Ford following a Lap 245 restart forced the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion to make an unscheduled pit stop under green on Lap 247 for repairs.

Bayne returned to the track following repairs in 28th and maintained his track position for the remainder of the event.

Next up for the MENCS is Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 12

RFR PR

Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team scored their 14th top-10 finish of the season this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing sixth with a last-lap pass of Joey Logano to claim the position.

Even though Blaney scored 11 stage points with an eighth-place finish in Stage 1 and a third-place finish in Stage 2, and even though he is still in sixth place in the NASCAR Playoffs standings, the Wood Brothers wheelman now is 22 points behind the cutoff for the run for the championship at Homestead.

Kevin Harvick’s Texas win, in addition to putting a Ford teammate into the Championship Four at Ford Championship Weekend, creates a must-win situation for Blaney and company at Phoenix.

“It’s a shame we’re not in victory lane but now we have to win at Phoenix and we’ll see if we can make that happen,” Blaney said following the race. “Hopefully we can rise to the occasion.”

Blaney was a threat to win the AAA Texas 500 most of the day, starting eighth on the grid and moving into sixth at the drop of the green flag. After starting the second segment where he finished, eighth, he assumed third place on lap 126 of the scheduled 334.

“We weren’t great at the beginning of the race but we got it better for the second stage and we ran third,” Blaney said. “I was really happy with our car then then we kind of got shuffled back. We were sitting fourth and I thought the car was okay and then I got really, really loose between (turns) three and four. Then I had to protect and probably over protected and lost like five spots and that really hurt us. It was hard to make those up. We just had that one run toward the end that wasn’t very good and that’s all it takes.”

Despite that slip, which dropped him from fourth to ninth during lap 257, Blaney recovered and was in eighth place when Kyle Larson hit the wall in lap 283 bringing out the red flag. He moved into seventh on the re-start and maintained that position until passing Logano on the white-flag lap to grab sixth.

The NASCAR Playoffs continue next Sunday, Nov. 12, with the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway when four more drivers will be excluded from championship contention.

“You pretty much have to go and win the race,” Blaney explained. “That’s all we can do. It’s gonna be hard to point your way in because everyone is running pretty good. We’ll just try to win Phoenix and do the best we can. Obviously, we need to be really aggressive.”

The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. in Phoenix and will be televised on NBCSN. SKF will be the primary sponsor of the No. 21 Ford Fusion next week.

Ford Performance PR

Team Penske announced today that the Würth Group will continue as a key partner of the team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) for 2018 and beyond. Under the terms of the multi-year extension, Würth will once again adorn the No. 2 Ford Fusion driven by Brad Keselowski as a primary sponsor for three MENCS races – at Auto Club Speedway in March, Dover International Speedway in October and Texas Motor Speedway in early November.

Würth will also continue to serve as a full-season associate sponsor for Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford.

A leading supplier of high-quality automotive parts, cabinet supplies and industrial fasteners servicing over 200,000 customers across the nation, Würth’s partnership with Penske extends beyond motorsports. Würth products are also featured in Penske Automotive Group dealerships and Penske Truck Rental facilities nationwide.

“Our relationship with the Würth Group has been successful and mutually beneficial on many levels and we look forward to continuing our growth together into the future,” said Roger Penske. “They have been able to leverage their partnership in many ways, including customer and employee programs at the track. Würth is a terrific partner, not only for our race teams but also across all our businesses. We are excited about continuing to win with Würth both on and off the track.”

Team Penske and the Würth Group first joined forces in 2012 when the company came on board as an associate sponsor with the team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The following season, Würth enhanced its partnership as sponsor with the No. 2 team and Keselowski in the Cup Series and the relationship has continued to blossom each season.

While the Würth Group first became involved in NASCAR racing through its partnership with Team Penske, the company has had a presence in motorsports since 1982, serving as a partner in both the DTM and Formula One racing series.

“The Würth Group is excited about our continued alliance with Team Penske,” said Executive Vice President of the Würth Group, Thomas O’Neill. “Team Penske is a premier partnership of which the Würth Group is proud to be a part of. This relationship is an overall benefit to our customers, companies, and the Würth brand in the United States. We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series regular season begins with the 60th anniversary running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on February 18.  Würth’s first primary race will be the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 18.

Team Penske PR

Team Penske announced today that Auto Club of Southern California and AAA will continue its partnership with the team as sponsor of the No. 22 Ford Fusion driven by Joey Logano in the NASCAR Cup Series. The multi-year extension with Team Penske follows an announcement earlier this year that Logano will remain a driver for the team through the 2022 season and beyond.

Through the partnership with Team Penske, AAA will continue its primary sponsorship of the No. 22 Ford Fusion driven by Logano for three races over the next several seasons, including the events at Auto Club Speedway in March, Kansas Speedway in May and Texas Motor Speedway’s playoff event in November.

In addition, AAA will continue as a full-season associate sponsor for Logano and the No. 22 Ford team.

“Our relationship with AAA and The Auto Club has been an important one that dates back to our years when we owned California Speedway,” said Roger Penske. “We are excited that we are able to continue on with the successful partnership that we have established with such a great group of people and the thousands of members they represent. They have been terrific partners and cornerstones in our success across the board. We look forward to many more winning seasons together into the future.”

AAA utilizes its platform with Team Penske and racetracks across the United States to activate in a variety of ways geared towards increasing membership and informing the public about the dangers involved with distracted or impaired driving. In addition, AAA works to promote “move over laws” nationwide, where motorists are required to move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulances and other emergency response vehicles to save lives.

“AAA has been a great partner for Team Penske over the years and it’s been an honor to represent them since I joined Team Penske,” said Logano. “Being passionate about cars, I don’t just carry the AAA colors on Sunday afternoon - I’m a proud, card-carrying member of the AAA and I’ve used their award-winning road side assistance on more than one occasion. It’s great that they’ll continue to be such a big part of our program going forward.”

The extended agreement with Team Penske allows the Auto Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs to not only better serve its members, but will also provide an effective, highly-visible way to promote its insurance options. The Auto Club's partnership with the team also includes member and employee benefits, discounts and community outreach initiatives.

”The Auto Club and Penske have been long-time partners, not just on the race team but in many other aspects of our businesses that brings value to our members. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Team Penske for many more years to come,” said John Boyle, President and CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California.  “Our organization’s mission is to deliver legendary service and valuable products to our members, a philosophy shared by the Penske organization.  Motorsports has proved to be an effective place for us to promote our Insurance products, and Team Penske’s high level of performance is a perfect fit.”

The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series regular season begins with the 60th anniversary running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on February 18.  Auto Club of Southern California’s first primary race will be the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 18.

Team Penske PR

This weekend, Chevrolet is taking the opportunity to pay homage to Dale Earnhardt Jr., a key member of the Team Chevy family and a NASCAR fan favorite who is retiring at the end of this race season. The brand will debut a new TV spot celebrating the major milestones in Earnhardt Jr.’s professional racing career during the broadcast of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 30-second spot, called “What a Ride,” features a collage of memories from Earnhardt Jr.’s career, including never-before-seen photos, and footage from defining moments like his two Daytona 500 victories and his 26 Cup Series race wins.

“We have been so fortunate to have Dale Earnhardt Jr. as part of the Chevrolet family,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “His ‘Never Give Up’ attitude and true passion for performance are the same qualities that drove Louis Chevrolet to race more than a hundred years ago, and still drive us today to innovate and win.”

Earlier this year, during his retirement speech, Earnhardt Jr. affirmed his loyalty to the brand: “It’s an honor to carry the Chevrolet bowtie on my cars. And I don’t just mean that on the race track — I’m Chevrolet for life.”

The new TV spot will air for the first time this weekend on the NBCSN broadcast during this weekend’s 334-lap event at Texas Motor Speedway and continue to be shown through the year-end championship banquet celebration in Las Vegas.

Team Chevy PR