Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16338)

Martin Truex Jr. will make his official debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2019 DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.

Before he takes to the track to compete in “The Great American Race” driving the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Truex will participate in a special ticket package built around the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.

The two-day Martin Truex Jr. DAYTONA 500 Ticket Package includes:

  • General admission ticket to the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, Feb. 16
  • Reserved ticket to the 61st running of the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17
  • Exclusive question-and-answer session with Truex prior to the start of Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300 in a Midway suite
  • UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access prior to the NASCAR Racing Experience 300
  • Autographed item signed by Truex

The package is available for $219 per person and capacity is limited. To purchase, fans can visit or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest news throughout the year.


FOX Sports embarks on its 19th season of NASCAR coverage at Daytona Speedweeks in February with unparalleled expertise broadcasting the DAYTONA 500 in front of and behind the camera.



Led by veteran play-by-play announcer Mike Joy, broadcasting his 40th DAYTONA 500 for live television or radio, the FOX NASCAR on-air team brings a collective 200 years of experience covering the “Great American Race.” Joining Joy in the FOX NASCAR booth is the Hall of Fame duo of three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, broadcasting his 16th DAYTONA 500, and four-time champion and 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Gordon, covering his fourth in the FOX Sports booth. Gordon is a three-time DAYTONA 500 champion, and Waltrip won the 1989 running.

Longtime race analyst and two-time DAYTONA 500-winning crew chief Larry McReynolds, back with FOX for his 16th Daytona Speedweeks as a broadcaster, continues to partner with Joy, Waltrip and Gordon, delivering unmatched insight from the brand-new state-of-the-art, multi-purpose virtual studio set housed in the FOX Sports studios in Charlotte.

FOX Sports’ pit road reporting team of Matt Yocum (19th DAYTONA 500), Jamie Little (fifth), Vince Welch (fifth) and Regan Smith (second) are poised to deliver behind-the-scenes stories from pit road, as well as up-to-the-minute updates as the race unfolds.

By McReynolds’ side in the virtual studio for DAYTONA 500 coverage is new network coverage cost Shannon Spake, covering her 13th DAYTONA 500, and analysts Ricky Craven and Bobby Labonte. Spake broadens her skill set in 2019, hosting FOX NASCAR’s coverage of all MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races. She also anchors NASCAR RACEDAY, FOX Sports’ prerace show for the Cup Series, and NASCAR RACEDAY-XFINITY, its prerace show for the Xfinity Series.

Also in the Charlotte virtual studio for the DAYTONA 500 are FOX NASCAR analysts Ricky Craven and Bobby Labonte. Spake and FOX NASCAR host Adam Alexander anchor DAYTONA 500 Qualifying and THE CLASH AT DAYTONA studio shows with analysts Michael Waltrip and Smith.

Longtime FOX NASCAR host Chris Myers helps shoulder the load for Daytona 500 prerace programming for the 17th time, as do Alexander and analyst Michael Waltrip (eighth).

FOX NASCAR lead race producer Barry Landis, coordinating producer Richie Zyontz and director Artie Kempner return for their 16th DAYTONA 500 and 19th NASCAR season with FOX.


NASCAR XFINITY SERIES & “Drivers Only” Broadcast

The NASCAR XFINITY SERIES returns to FOX Sports for the fifth consecutive season, with Alexander again handling play-by-play duties alongside analyst Michael Waltrip and a rotation of prominent Cup Series drivers to be announced in the near future. At Daytona, defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano calls the NXS season opener with Alexander and Waltrip.

Little, Yocum and Smith cover stories and updates on pit road. Additionally, FOX Sports brings back its “Drivers Only” NASCAR XFINITY SERIES broadcast, with a driver lineup to be announced in the near future.  Pam Miller returns as lead race producer for all NASCAR XFINITY SERIES events on FOX Sports, with Kempner directing.



FOX Sports offers exclusive coverage of the entire NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES season for the 18th consecutive year with Welch on the call alongside analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Hermie Sadler, Alan Cavanna and Jamie Howe deliver pit reports from Daytona.

Kaitlyn Vincie steps up with a move from pit road to the prerace anchor chair, hosting NASCAR RACEDAY-NGOTS prior to each NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES race, alongside Jeff Hammond and two-time series champion Todd Bodine.

FOX NASCAR race producer Mark Smith returns for his eighth Truck Series season in 2019, while director Roger Vincent is back for his 12th.

A final announcement regarding the full NASCAR RACE HUB and NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION on-air team, including additional new hires, is forthcoming next week.

FOX NASCAR has won 18 Sports Emmy Awards since its inaugural year of coverage in 2001, including four for Outstanding Live Sports Series, seven for Live Event Audio/Sound and five for Live Technical Team Remote. For more information, visit FOX Sports Press Pass.

FOX Sports PR

Growing up, Chris Long ’06 never gave a lot of thought to the inner workings of race cars while watching his father, an amateur road racer, race tracks along the east coast. But now, Long, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNC Charlotte and has worked for 12 years in motorsports, says engineering has taught him how to be a better problem solver.

An engineer with Chip Ganassi Racing, Long has had a hand in improving the ergonomics of the team’s cars, helping to mold their shape to make them faster. As a member of the simulation team, he uses computer simulations to measure vehicles’ input and output. And as leader of the quality control team, Long verifies that parts built in-house meet design specifications and ensures that parts from outside vendors meet the proper tolerances.

“I don’t know if I’d be able to do what I do without an engineering degree,” Long said.

As the pace of competition has increased, so has the number of engineers working in NASCAR. It’s a trend that can be traced to the late Alan Kulwicki, NASCAR’s first driver to hold a degree in engineering -- and who on Feb. 2 will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Kulwicki’s NASCAR success was sown in independence. Bucking the tradition of the Southern-bred driver, Kulwicki, a Wisconsin native, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Choosing to race independently, he shunned big-name sponsorships throughout his career. Tragically, a year after winning the 1992 Winston Cup Series, Kulwicki died in a plane crash near Blountville, Tenn., at age 38.

Kulwicki’s dedication to his sport is celebrated at UNC Charlotte, where the Alan D. Kulwicki Motorsports Laboratory trains engineering students interested in motorsports to design, build and race their own cars. Ryan Zeck ’99 started a petition to implement the motorsports program, and Bob Johnson, now dean of the William States Lee College of Engineering, proposed the program during his tenure as head of the mechanical engineering department.

A renewable scholarship in Kulwicki’s name is funded through the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and given to a UNC Charlotte freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.


Memories of Kulwicki flow freely from his friend Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, many of them referencing Kulwicki’s characteristic frugality -- as well as his generosity.

Kulwicki owned his cars, but would rent transmissions, gears and other parts for them. “He won with almost no money.” Sabates said. “He had to be tight with his resources because he didn’t have any.”

Sabates recalled that he had to almost force Kulwicki to buy a house after his Winston Cup victory. Yet, he said Kulwicki would write a big check annually to a Boys and Girls Club in Florida, an organization with which Sabates was heavily involved.

Money was not something that motivated Kulwicki. Winning races did. And he did what it took to do so.

“He was like a bull in a china shop,” Sabates said. “When he made up his mind to do something, he got it done.”

As an engineer, Kulwicki understood mechanics and aerodynamics, and performed work on his car by hand that today machines complete. Driven by his analytical mind, he remained grounded through his faith, attending Mass no matter where he was. Even if that meant driving hours to find a Catholic church.

Sabates underscored Kulwicki’s playful side, sharing the time he bet Sabates about how fast he could drive through a McDonald’s parking lot at 1 a.m. He described Kulwicki’s legacy as giving hope to talented young drivers “who come from nowhere.”


When Chris Long joined Chip Ganassi Racing, he was one of 10 engineers; a number that has expanded to nearly 30 who work on just the NASCAR side of the operation. (The team also has cars competing in the IndyCar Series.) These engineers work in every area of the team’s operations, including simulation, design and quality control.

“Definitely quite a transition over the past 10 to 15 years for a sport that’s been around for 50 to 60 years,” Long said.

UNC Charlotte’s engineering programs reflect the industry’s growth. As recently as 2012, the University’s motorsports engineering program enrolled fewer than 80 students. Today, more than 160 students are enrolled across programs.

According to Mesbah Uddin, director of the University’s North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center, in the 1980s, despite Kulwicki’s groundbreaking credentials, it was unlikely that NASCAR teams included any engineers with a degree from an accredited university. “Team members performing engineering work learned primarily while working on their dads’ cars,” he said. “They’re extremely talented people.” 

But cars were simpler then and the pace of competition was slower. In the absence of sophisticated computer systems and qualified engineers to process vast amounts of information--such as how the various components of race cars interact with one another on different tracks and under different racing conditions--racers and teams relied mostly on trial-and-error-based designs.

Uddin said as NASCAR rules became stricter in the 1990s and design freedoms narrowed, racing teams realized the limits of the trial-and-error approach. They began hiring more engineers to design cars that, to a great extent, eliminated the guesswork from design and development. Today it’s not unusual for a race team to include between 20 and 40 engineers.

“We see that making quicker changes is necessary because the competition is becoming more fierce,” Uddin said. “The quicker that changes can be made, the more races can be won.”

Long said the increase of engineering professionals in NASCAR has led to safer and more efficient cars on the track.

“Knock on wood, we haven’t had any major injuries in the sport in quite a few years," he said.

Long described the number of UNC Charlotte alumni in the industry as “impressive.” He said the University has a “top-level, state-of-the-art” racing shop, which familiarized him with the equipment he uses on his job.

“I love that UNC Charlotte offers a designated motorsports concentration,” Long said. “Students work on real cars on which you can apply textbook knowledge and gain real-world application and theory.”

UNC Charlotte, University Communications

Setting the stage for The Great American Race, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today that Sport Clips will join Erik Jones and the No. 20 Toyota Camry team as the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Debuting a special scheme for the Daytona 500, Sport Clips will feature the Sport Clips app on the No. 20 Toyota Camry.

Sport Clips Haircuts has launched a new mobile app that makes check-in for a haircare service faster and easier. The app offers check in, information about wait times, the choice of a favorite store and preferred stylist, and the ability to set personal reminders for the next MVP Experience.

“We are excited to have Erik once again represent Sport Clips in the NASCAR Cup Series.  It’s been fun to work with Erik as he has developed into one of the sport’s premier drivers,” said Gordon Logan, founder and CEO of Sport Clips. “Our partnership with NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing goes back many years and Erik is a great representative for Sport Clips, NASCAR and JGR. Our franchisees and clients are huge NASCAR fans and we can’t wait to see Erik repeat his July win at Daytona and continue that success throughout the season.”

A longtime partner of JGR, Sport Clips first partnered with Jones in 2015 at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Continuing to sponsor Jones in the Xfinity Series, Sport Clips made the move with Jones to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017 during his rookie season. This season will mark the third year Sport Clips has partnered with Jones in the Cup Series.

“Sport Clips has been a great partner for me over the years, all the way back to 2015,” said Jones. “It’s really neat to watch their growth and to have them now sponsor our car for the Daytona 500. Gordon (Logan, CEO and Founder) is such a passionate race fan and supporter of our sport. I’ve really enjoyed representing Sport Clips over the years and what better way to kick off our 2019 season than getting them to victory lane at Daytona. That would be pretty cool and we’re going to do our best to make that happen.”

The 2019 season will mark Sport Clips 11th season partnering with JGR. During their 10 year relationship, Sport Clips has been teamed up with multiple drivers including Jones, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. 

Including the Daytona 500, Sport Clips will join Jones and the No. 20 team for multiple races this season:

  • Daytona International Speedway – Clash and Daytona 500 – February 10 and 17, 2019
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway – March 3, 2019
  • Dover International Speedway – May 5, 2019
  • Michigan International Speedway – June 9, 2019
  • Darlington Raceway – September 1, 2019
  • Texas Motor Speedway – November 3, 2019


NBCSN will present live coverage of the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Friday, February 1, at 8 p.m. ET. The two-hour special will celebrate the 10th annual NASCAR Hall of Fame class, featuring five NASCAR legends who have shown immense commitment to the sport.

The Class of 2019 includes four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; Daytona 500 champion and beloved fan favorite Davey Allison; NASCAR Cup Series champion driver/owner and one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers Alan Kulwicki; NASCAR’s winningest car owner & five-time NASCAR national series champion owner Jack Roush; and “The Captain” Roger Penske, whose race teams have won more than 500 major motorsports events. 

In addition, the ceremony will recognize executive Jim Hunter, with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, as well as longtime motorsports reporter and publisher Steve Waid, with the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

NBC Sports Group’s Krista Voda and Rick Allen will co-host Friday’s ceremony from the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center, in Charlotte, N.C. NASCAR on NBCSN reporter Marty Snider will provide interviews with drivers and owners in attendance. NBCSN’s 2019 Hall of Fame telecast will also feature a special show open narrated by iconic NASCAR broadcaster and Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Ken Squier.


NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily motorsports show dedicated to speed and stock car racing, returns for its sixth season on Monday, February 11 at 5 p.m. ET.


NBC Sports Group returns for its fifth season of NASCAR on NBC coverage beginning Sunday, June 30 from Chicagoland Speedway.

The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports Group will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials.

NBC Sports Group PR

Tommy Baldwin Racing welcomes long time partner, Accell Construction, as the primary sponsor on the No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. 

Accell Construction, an Oklahoma based company, operates a full service site civil contractor for the petroleum terminal and bulk storage industries. Accell has been a partner with Tommy Baldwin Racing since the inception of TBR, in 2012. 

"I am excited to have Accell Construction back on board with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season," commented team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "Steve Todhunter and Accell Construction have been a great partner over the years, and I am looking forward to having those familiar colors on the No. 71 Chevrolet this year."

"I'm excited to again have the opportunity to put the red and black colors of Accell Construction, Inc. on another Tommy Baldwin race car," said Steve Todhunter, owner of Accell Construction. "This will mark the first time for me to field an Accell car in the World Famous DAYTONA 500. We are proud to represent the pipeline terminal construction industry in this great American event!"
Be sure to stay up to date on new driver and sponsor announcements coming soon by following TBR on social media (Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram). For more information on Tommy Baldwin Racing, visit For interest in sponsorship opportunities, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



On the heels of marketing partner JACOB Companies returning to Rick Ware Racing (RWR) for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season, the team announced today it has signed Tioga Trading Company as an associate marketing partner beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sun., Feb. 17.

The Warren, Pennsylvania-based company recognizable for its line of K2 Sauce products will build upon its local auto racing partnerships and enter the pinnacle of Motorsports – the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for its inaugural national foray.

Currently available in multiple grocers across the tri-state area of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, K2 Sauce is looking to rapidly expand its footprint and bring “the only sauce you will ever need” to homes across the United States in time for this year’s barbequing season.

Available in both original formula and hot, all-natural K2 Sauce is gluten free, has no preservatives and is a great alternative to BBQ sauce, steak sauce, hot sauce, wing sauce and can even be used as a stir fry sauce.

“Rick Ware Racing is excited to add K2 Sauce to our growing list of marketing partners this season,” said team principal Rick Ware. “We pride ourselves with being able to provide various marketing programs to our partners including, but not limited to, being a part of our Motorsports program.

“Having their logo on our hauler, race cars, uniforms and equipment is exciting and looks great – but what’s most satisfying about our new relationship is that RWR offers a great business-to-business opportunity for companies like K2 to participate in.

“We are thrilled to have K2 Sauce join us for the greatest spectacle in racing, the Daytona 500, and of course the rest of the year too.”

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 17 with coverage on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90. Event coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET).

Stay tuned to K2 Sauce’s official social platforms:, K2Sauce on Facebook, @k2sauce on Twitter and saucek2 on Instagram.

Following K2 Sauce’s social media channels, fans and consumers will have the chance to sample K2 Sauce, plus embrace the opportunity to win fabulous prizes, including a chance to attend an upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races as an honorary crew chief.

\For more on Rick Ware Racing, please “like” them on Facebook ( or visit


2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. today announced the official opening of Truex Management Group (TMG), a company specializing in fully-integrated management services for professional race car drivers and athletes.

TMG offers an array of services, including risk management, financial advisement and investment, accounting, personal services and sponsorship development, turn-key in-house merchandise management via in-house screen printing and embroidery services, aviation services, in-house creative and social media management.

“I feel like we have developed a solid management model over the years and we’ve been talking about extending those same services to other drivers and athletes,” said Truex. “I’m proud of the work that Tony Mangini (President of TMG) and the team has done over the past year to build a new management model in sports.”

Tony Mangini brings more than 10 years of experience in corporate sales to lead TMG. Over the past four years, Mangini has successfully managed NASCAR drivers Ryan Truex and Ryan Reed while helping both athletes secure personal service endorsements. His passion, work ethic and desire to never stop learning continues to help elevate TMG.

“The TMG business model is such that our clients are the owners of the company,” said Mangini. “They help steer the company strategically. Having them invested in TMG gives us another level of engagement and they care about the success of the business. With the MTJ Motorsports model, we are well on our way to becoming one of the premier athlete management companies in America.”


 David Ragan was all smiles at the world renowned car auction house, Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Ragan joined patients from the Shiners Hospitals for Children on stage to watch the hammer drop after a final bid of $300,000 to purchase a 2018 No. 38 Shriners Hospitals for Children Ford Fusion Cup car.  All of the proceeds of the bid will benefit the Shriners Hospitals. 
The Ford Fusion from Front Row Motorsports was raced at Dover in 2018, with a livery to promote the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children located in the United States, Canada and Mexico.The NASCAR-sanctioned car was complete with a Ford Performance Roush Yates Racing engine that produces 750 horsepower. It was also equipped with the original four-speed G-Force transmission, a 4.63 rear gear and Goodyear racing tires. 
The winning bid came from entrepreneur Rick Steele.  Steele came to Barrett-Jackson on Thursday night determined to buy a race car and to help Shriners Hospitals- the healthcare system that treated his mother.  Steele was happy when he made the final bid that drew the largest charity donation of the evening.  Ragan was thrilled for Steele and for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
"I really can't thank Rick enough for his generous bid and donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children," said Ragan.  "He really made tonight memorable for me, but also made a huge impact and benefit to the Shriners Hospitals and their patients and families.  It was a wonderful night and $300,000 raised is amazing.  I have to thank Bob Jenkins of Front Row Motorsports for donating the car and Doug Yates for donating the engine. There are so many other people who made this possible, too.  I hope they all feel great for making such a big impact."
Ragan has been a champion off the track for the patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children, a charity that he has supported since becoming a member of Shriners International in 2012 and serving as its NASCAR ambassador. Ragan visits Shriners Hospitals during the race season and invites patients to the track for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. He also raises awareness and funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children through various campaigns, public service announcements, donations and activities.

In a seamless transition, Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) has promoted lead engineer Derek Stamets to crew chief of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team and driver Bubba Wallace. Stamets is a veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and within RPM where he has been a lead engineer since 2012.

Stamets has recorded multiple wins with drivers such as Rusty Wallace, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan. In addition, Stamets has wins at RPM with Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola. Stamets has been critical in calling the race atop the pit box while also using his experience to lead vehicle set up and in-race performance adjustments. Stamets, who is familiar with Team Chevy and team affiliate, Richard Childress Racing, will bring an engineering-focused approach to the famed No. 43.
"Derek was a logical decision for us to move up," said Philippe Lopez, Director of Competition. "He spent the full season with Bubba and our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 program last year and has been with our organization for seven seasons.  We want to keep the chemistry that Derek and Bubba built together while continuing the experience we built with Chevrolet and Richard Childress Racing. We are confident in Derek's leadership of the No. 43 team."
"Derek has a lot of knowledge of our program," said Wallace Jr. "He's not having to learn a new program and I'm not having to learn a new personality. I'm comfortable working with Derek and this makes the most sense for improvement. Derek was working as our lead engineer, and I think he's eager to make more of the decisions and put his footprint on our race team."
Stamets begins his new duties immediately and will lead the team beginning with this week's test sessions at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will invade Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a two-day test session at the 1.5-mile oval. Teams will test the new rules package for 2019 that will see slower speeds, which will increase corner speeds and allow drivers to draft. The goal of the new package is to provide better overall racing for the series.

A total of 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will participate in the two-day test. In addition, there will be four NASCAR XFINITY Series teams and three manufacture Wheel Force cars on-site, raising the total to 21 cars.




Landon Cassill


Kurt Busch


Brad Keselowski


Austin Dillon


Ryan Newman


Ty Dillon


Clint Bowyer


Kyle Busch


Paul Menard


Bubba Wallace


Ryan Preece


Jimmie Johnson


Cody Ware


Matt DiBenedetto


Ross Chastain


David Ragan


Drew Herring


Zane Smith


Noah Gragson


Riley Herbst


Chase Briscoe

Jimmie Johnson, who enters the new season with a new crew chief, will test at Las Vegas for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson also participated in a 2019 rules package test at Atlanta Motor Speedway awhile back.

“The speeds are going to be a little bit higher than what we had at Charlotte. And then, I think depending on the track, it’s really going to showcase this rules package and at some tracks, I think it’ll put on a great show and at other tracks the potential is there but it might not do what we want,” said Johnson. “I think we all new that inside the competition space of NASCAR teams and drivers and even NASCAR has as well. They needed to make a decision. They needed to make a change. We know this isn’t going to be the perfect package everywhere, but I do feel like at the majority of the tracks it will be highly entertaining.”

Johnson later spoke about the unknowns of the package going into the test during Hendrick Motorsports media day. The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion mentioned a lot of tire fall-off at Atlanta and Auto Club Speedway.

“Vegas has so much grip, I think it will be pretty forgiving for the package and I think will put on a pretty strong show,” Johnson said. “I did the Atlanta tire test last year and there was a lot of tire falloff. I don’t know how the package is going to do in that environment. At California, again a lot of tire falloff. Cars can start close together and then spread out. So, I think the tracks where the tire falloff is low, we will all have grip regardless of where you’re running on the track; and dirty air won’t make that big of a difference, and it’ll be really entertaining and put on a good show.”

Chase Elliott, Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, will not participate in the two-day test. Elliott is, however, looking forward to hear what Johnson has to say on the new package at the desert oval.

“Yeah, I don't have the test. I think Jimmie is testing this week, but I think it's going to be a valuable test. Vegas comes up quick on the schedule, and I think Vegas will be a good indicator as to how the package is going to race at some of the -- a little more freshly paved mile-and-a-halfs that we'll go to,” said Elliott. So I think it'll be interesting to hear his take and honestly kind of let them do their thing and then digest it, and then talk to them after they've done all that. Yeah, look forward to talking to him about it, but I think it'll be valuable for all of us, and Jimmie is a great asset to go test. He does the best of explaining things and feeling them in the car and then being able to put it into words for the rest of us to understand. So he's a perfect candidate to go out there and do it.”

Denny Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart will also be sitting on the sidelines as Kyle Busch will participate for Joe Gibbs Racing. The duo joined the media via teleconference this week and mentioned how drivers and teams can attack the new package in many ways.

“With this year's rules package, it's really exciting because there's just so many different ways to attack it, and it's really going to depend on the weekend and the track,”said Gabehart. “I think you're going to see a lot of people, especially early on, trying to figure this out, and that's going to change from racetrack to racetrack, which is going to create good racing and I think a lot of comers and goers week to week.”

As for Denny Hamlin, it’s seeing the driver data.

“I know for me personally, it's all about kind of driver data, seeing how my teammates are driving this new package, the things that they're going to get speed out of it,” said Hamlin. “That's kind of the gist of what I got.  I think Chris will have a lot bigger scope of things that he happens to look at other than just the driver aspect. He's going to have more data to look over than certainly I will.”

Testing at the 1.5-mile oval will begin at 11 a.m. ET. and run until 10 p.m. ET. on Thursday. Testing will pick back up on Friday starting at 11 a.m. ET. and conclude at 4 p.m. ET. The sessions will include general on-track time along with three 25-lap races on Thursday.

A portion of the grandstands and pit road will be open to fans free of charge. will live stream a portion of the test on Thursday from 11 a.m. ET. to 3 p.m. ET. It’s unclear whether or not timing and scoring will be offered.

The test comes just nine days before NASCAR on-track activity begins at Daytona International Speedway.

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