Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16162)

The King of the Desert hasn't always been the King, he's earned it, just like what he's trying to do with a Championship 4 position.

Harvick has the most all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix's ISM Raceway with 9. He also has led 1,522 laps in Arizona, all from 2006 to present. Harvick’s first win in the desert came in the Spring of 2006, where he led only 10 laps of the 312. When the NASCAR Cup Series came back to town in the fall, Harvick won once again, leading 252 laps this time. Harvick led 54 in the Spring of 2007 but ended up with a 10th-place result. Harvick wouldn't lead again until he led a singular lap led in Spring 2011. Harvick finished 4th that day, his best finish since his Fall 2007 victory.

In the Spring of 2012, Harvick led 88 laps and finished second to Denny Hamlin. Harvick would head to the Playoff race that season, looking for his first desert trophy in nearly 6 years in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). Harvick’s 2012 win was foreshadowed by Jeff Gordon’s intentional dump on Clint Bowyer shortly before the white flag, which led to a garage area brawl. Once the race got restarted in NASCAR Overtime, a spin by Danica Patrick caused oil to leak from her car, however the oil in setting sun couldn’t be seen by NASCAR, and the track remained green, with Harvick sliding across the line in first, and a gaggle of cars on fire and torn up crossed the line behind him. While Harvick only led 15 laps that day, a familiar Kevin Harvick in Phoenix was born. With his swap from Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) on the near horizon, Harvick’s penultimate race with RCR ended in victory circle. Carl Edwards’ Roush Fenway Ford ran out of fuel shy of two laps to go, which promoted a 68-lap leader of Kevin Harvick back to the top spot.

In just his second race at SHR, Harvick took Rodney Childers and the Jimmy John’s crew to victory lane after a lead total of 224 laps. Since the Spring 2014 victory, Harvick has continued his dominating traditions. Harvick swept the 2014 season at Phoenix, won the Spring 2015 event and finished second in November. Another win came in 2016 Spring race, followed by a fourth-sixth-and fifth place finishes up until his redemption victory in the Spring of this season. Harvick’s “redemption” was from the week prior, where Harvick won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, however, NASCAR ruled the win “encumbered” after an illegal and bent in windshield. Harvick only led 38 laps in April, but when the bull gets messed with, he gives the horns.

Will Harvick keep his 3 point gap over SHR teammate, Kurt Busch, this weekend at ISM Raceway and lock himself into the Championship 4 for a bid at just his second MENCS title?

The Can-Am 500 is Sunday, November 11 at 3:30PM EST on NBC.

NY Racing/BK Racing announce SHE Beverage as a partner, starting at ISM Raceway's Can-Am 500 this weekend. Veteran driver, JJ Yeley in the No. 23 Toyota Camry. In addition to this weekend, SHE Beverage will be on board at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2018 NASCAR Season. 

SHE Beverage is a celebrity driven Beverage Company that manufactures, sells and distributes several products. Our products are designed to meet the nutrition needs of a health cautious audience, and have proven to be the best in a healthy beverage for the entire family. SHE Beverage Company is heating up rapidly and shows no sign of cooling. The demand for bottled drinking water has been growing rapidly since the 1980s, increasing nearly 400% in the last decade according to the Council of Bottled Water Manufacturers. 
 
"SHE Beverage is excited to be on board with JJ Yeley and NY Racing at ISM Raceway this weekend," commented Lupe Rose, President of SHE Beverage. "Nutrition is a key focus of SHE Beverage, and partnering with JJ and the NASCAR community, is a great way to showcase our products." 

"I am looking forward to racing at the new ISM Raceway configuration this weekend," JJ Yeley said. "I am excited to have SHE Beverage on board my No. 23 Toyota as a partner for the remainder of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. They are a new partner to the sport, and I'm looking forward to partnering together with a company that focuses on health a conscious lifestyle." 
 
Be sure to tune into NASCAR on NBC on Sunday at 2:30pm to catch the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway! For more information on SHE Beverage, visit http://www.shebeverages.com.

BK Racing PR

Paul Menard and the Menards/Cardell team have good ideas about what to do – and what not to do – when it comes to tuning their No. 21 Fusion for Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
 
“We struggled there in the spring for sure,” Menard said of his team’s 36th-place finish after a blown tire and subsequent crash. “So we have a pretty good idea what not to do.”
 
But the team has some new ideas from a recent test session at the relatively flat, one-mile track in the desert west of Phoenix, Ariz.

 “We have a new mindset as far as our set-up,” Menard said. “We tested there a few weeks ago and had a good-driving car. We’ll take what we learned there and keep working on it.”

 This weekend’s race at ISM will be the first since a major overhaul of the facility, and of particular interest to drivers and fans is the moving of the start-finish line to near the exit of what once was Turn Two.

 “As far as lap times, the change means nothing,” Menard said. “But it will get kind of wild on restarts.”
 
With the restart zone being in the widest part of the track, drivers likely will take chances to gain positions before re-entering one of the narrower parts of the track.
 
“There’s lots of real estate to fan out there and try to make something happen before you have to get back in line,” Menard said. “There will be a lot of four-wide fighting to get back to two-wide.”

 For Menard and the No. 21 team, this weekend’s race offers another chance to gain positions in the points standings.
 
Last week at Texas Motor Speedway, their 13th-place finish allowed them to move from 20th to 19th, with 18th-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just four points ahead.

 The 17th position is held by Ryan Newman and he holds an 49 point lead over Menard with just two races – this weekend at Phoenix and the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway the following week – left on the schedule.
 
“Seventeenth place is pretty far off, but we can certainly get to 18th,” Menard said. “If we have solid days, we’ll be fine.”
 
Qualifying for the Can-Am 500 is set for Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on NBCSN.
 
Sunday’s 500-kilometer, 312-mile race is scheduled to start just after 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time with NBC carrying the broadcast.

WBR PR

Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) make the long trek out to ISM Raceway near Phoenix for the 35th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this season. Almirola heads into the event after finishing eighth last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

The entire four-car SHR contingent remains in the hunt for the winner-take-all Championship 4 season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with only this weekend’s event at Phoenix left to try and qualify. The two-time championship-winning SHR organization, which makes up 50 percent of the remaining playoff field, is the first since Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016 to have all of its entries reach victory lane. Almirola currently ranks seventh in the playoff standings with 4,068 points, 35 behind the final cutoff spot for the Championship 4. The 34-year-old is in a virtual must-win situation if he is to be one of the four championship-eligible drivers at Homestead. 

The Smithfield driver heads into the weekend coming off his 15th top-10 of the season behind the wheel of the No. 10 Ford Fusion. Almirola scored one of those top-10s in March on the mile oval at Phoenix, his second straight top-10 there. The Tampa native ran as high as second in this year’s spring event before finishing seventh.    Almirola has 15 career starts at Phoenix with an average starting position of 19.5, an average finishing position of 16.3, and he’s completed 99.9 percent of all laps possible at the desert track.

Almirola is back to piloting the traditional Smithfield paint scheme this weekend but, with the holiday season is just around the corner, Smithfield continues to promote its perfectly cooked, spiral sliced ham as an ideal addition to most every kind of holiday feast to make family and friends feel special. Not only does it make holiday cooking a breeze, it provides equally flavorful leftover dishes. Fans can visit Smithfield.com/HolidayHub for information on how to make every holiday soiree a breeze, as well as foolproof tips and simple recipes that are sure to wow holiday guests with flavor-filled dishes for all the celebrations the season brings.

Over Almirola’s last 10 starts at a track less than or equal to a mile in length, he’s scored one top-five finish and four top-10s. Additionally, he’s led 67 laps and completed 98.3 percent of all laps possible while earning an average starting position of 14.1 and an average finishing position of 12.4.  

On Oct. 14, the Tampa native piloted a special bacon-themed Smithfield Ford Fusion to victory lane at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The unique paint scheme coincided with Smithfield’s Bacon for Life promotion. Yes, it’s possible to win bacon for life. The sweepstakes runs until Dec. 31, and fans can enter by finding specially marked packages of Smithfield bacon in stores, then visiting Smithfield.com/BaconForLife and entering the unique code provided in the package. More than 1,000 runners-up will be awarded select bacon merchandise.

Phoenix is the 32nd points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Fusion. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

Through 34 races this season, Almirola has one win with an average start of 15.6 and an average finish of 13.1 with three top-five finishes and 15 top-10s. He’s also led 181 laps this season, already a career best with two races remaining.

TSC PR

The following is a statement from Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser about today’s announcement that driver Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn will join Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2018 season.

“I want to personally thank Martin and Cole for their contributions in making Furniture Row Racing a championship-caliber team. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will continue to be a winning driver/crew chief combination with Joe Gibbs Racing.  They are outstanding representatives for NASCAR and I am proud to have been associated with them. But before Martin and Cole depart for a new endeavor we still have two races remaining, and hopefully we will be celebrating another championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”

FRR PR

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Champions driver Martin Truex, Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn will join the organization’s No. 19 team in 2019.

“Anytime you have an opportunity to bring two people of this caliber into your organization, it’s certainly an exciting time,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “They obviously have developed a chemistry that has led to tremendous success, including a championship. We’ve gotten to know them well over the past few years through the alliance and having been part of the Toyota family. They both make us stronger as an organization.

“We really appreciate everything Daniel (Suárez) has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over these past several years. He has made the most of every opportunity from winning the championship in the Xfinity Series to making the jump into the Cup Series for us. We look forward to hearing about his plans going forward and know he continues to have a bright future in our sport.”

Truex and Pearn have been teamed together on the No. 78 team where they captured the 2017 NASCAR Championship. Truex has 19 career wins in MENCS, including a career-high eight victories in his championship season. He currently has four wins this season and remains in contention for the 2018 Championship. Pearn was elevated to his current role as crew chief for the No. 78 following the 2014 season after serving as the lead race engineer. The team has captured 17 wins in the nearly four seasons since that time.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to join Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Truex, Jr. “Obviously to be able to make this transition and still be able to work alongside Cole is something that was very important to me. There is also a real comfort level working with the JGR team and I wanted to stay in the Toyota family. We still have big goals for the remainder of this season, but it’s nice to know what we will be doing in 2019.”

“I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish over the past few years out of Denver and the move to JGR will make the transition for 2019 an easy one,” said Pearn. “It’s a great organization with a lot of great people and a leadership team that wants to win. We still have work to do this season of course, but it’s nice to finally make our plans official for 2019.”

Sponsorship for the No. 19 Toyota Camry in 2019 is still being formulated and will be announced at a later date.

FRR PR

NASCAR announced penalties that carried heavy fines on Wednesday following Texas Motor Speedway. The penalties announced by NASCAR stretched across the Camping World Truck and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and impacted numerous teams. There were no penalties issued over in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage.

 

Kevin Harvick led the field for 177 of the 337 laps on Sunday at Texas. The win would have locked Harvick into the Championship 4 at Homestead but will not count towards racing for a championship. Rodney Childers has been fined $75,000 and suspended for the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Car chief Robert Smith has also been suspended for the final two events of the season. The team will also lose 40 driver and owner points for violating sections 20.4.12.a & b (Spoiler Note: Vehicle spoiler must conform to the CAD file and drawing. Spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer). Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction.

 

Second-place finisher Ryan Blaney led 40 circuits after starting on the pole at Texas on Sunday. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins has been fined $50,000 and the team will lose 20 driver and owner points. Car chief Kirk Almquist has been suspended for the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events for violating sections 20.4.17.6.b (Door Front Crush Panels Note: All filler panels must remain permanently attached for the entire event). Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction.

 

Erik Jones started 12th and scored his ninth top five finish of the season at Texas on Sunday. Jones, driving the No. 20 Toyota, finished fourth in stage one and seventh in stage two. Crew chief Chris Gayle has been fined $50,000. Car chief Jason Overstreet has been suspended for the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events. The team will lose 20 driver and owner points for violating sections 20.4.h Body & 20.4.17.8.b (Package Tray Note: Air cannot pass from one area of the vehicle interior to another. Vehicle package tray must remain flat and straight, front to back, with one break). Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction.

 

The lone penalty found in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage was for the No. 35 Toyota driven by Brennan Poole. The infraction occurred during practice when the No. 35 Toyota lost a ballast while going out for a practice run. Crew chief Ryan Bell, truck chief Jerry Kennedy and mechanic Patrick Magee have been suspended for the next three Camping World Truck Series / Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship events through February 20, 2019.

 

Two members violated NASCAR’s Substance Abuse policy. Doug J. Campbell, spotter of the No. 95 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Vincent L. Shull, who served as a crew chief with driver Brad Foy in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.

“We work tirelessly across every inch of our racecars to create speed and, unfortunately, NASCAR determined we ventured into an area not accommodated by its rule book. We will not appeal the penalty. Instead, we will direct our immediate focus to this weekend’s event in Phoenix and control our destiny on the racetrack.” Greg Zipadelli, Vice President of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing

The interim crew chief is Tony Gibson and the interim car chief is Nick DeFazio.

SHR PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
11/4/2018 (post-race inspection) Texas No. 4 L1 Section 20.4.12.a & b Spoiler
Note: Vehicle spoiler must conform to the CAD file and drawing. Spoilers must be used exactly as supplied from the manufacturer. Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction.
Crew chief (Rodney Childers) has been fined $75,000 and suspended from the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship points events. Car chief (Robert Smith) has been suspended from the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship points events. Team has been assessed with the loss of 40 driver points and 40 owner points.
11/4/2018 (post-race inspection) Texas No. 12 L1 Section 20.4.17.6.b Door Front Crush Panels Note: All filler panels must remain permanently attached for the entire event. Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction. Crew chief (Jeremy Bullins) has been fined $50,000. Car chief (Kirk Almquist) has been suspended from the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship points events. Team has been assessed with the loss of 20 driver points and 20 owner points.
11/4/2018 (post-race inspection) Texas No. 20 L1 Sections 20.4.h Body &
20.4.17.8.b Package Tray
Note: Air cannot pass from one area of the vehicle interior to another. Vehicle package tray must remain flat and straight, front to back, with one break.
Rule 12.5.2.6.2(c) applied to race finish as a post-race L1 infraction.
Crew chief (Chris Gayle) has been fined $50,000. Car chief (Jason Overstreet) has been suspended from the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship points events. Team has been assessed with the loss of 20 driver points and 20 owner points.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
11/1/2018 (practice) Texas No. 35 Safety Section 20.3.4: Ballast Containers
Note: Loss or separation of added ballast from the vehicle.
Crew chief (Ryan Bell), truck chief (Jerry Kennedy) and mechanic (Patrick Magee) have been suspended for the next three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series Championship Points Events, through Feb. 20, 2019.
NASCAR Penalty
Issue Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Penalty
11/6/2018 N/A Vincent L. Shull Behavioral
(SAP)
Sections 12.1.a; 19 Indefinite suspension from NASCAR
11/6/2018 N/A Doug J. Campbell Behavioral
(SAP)
Sections 12.1.a; 19 Indefinite suspension from NASCAR

 

McDowell on Phoenix

"Nothing about Phoenix is a short track anymore. I’m just excited to go see what they’ve done there with all the renovations and all the effort that’s gone into revitalizing Phoenix. It’s such a great track, and it’s my hometown race. The fans there are incredible. We always have a huge turnout. We've got Luber-finer back with Love's for a second race, so we want to get them some attention at my home track.

"I’ve tried to wrap my head around the idea of not knowing where the start-finish line is. There’s so much muscle memory and rhythm and habits. The track’s probably still going to feel the same. I’ll probably still call it Turn 1. But the start-finish line being on the other side is going to change up restarts and finishes and overtime lines. But overall, you’re going to approach everything the same.

“It could make for a crazy finish coming out of that corner. And that’s why they did it, to create a little bit of drama. We’ve seen a lot of green-white-checkereds there in the past. You think about Ryan Newman and some other guys that have stolen some wins there by staying out. It’s a place where you can do that. You’ve just got to time everything just right."


McDowell Phoenix Stats
15 starts
Best finish: 22nd

FRM PR

Ragan on Phoenix

"We have Trident Seafoods back on our No. 38 in Phoenix. It's their second race with us this season, and this time they're highlighting Wild Alaska Pollock. It's a really cool paint scheme. I think it's going to be a fan favorite this weekend.

"I look at Phoenix like a short track. It’s not a short track like Martinsville and Bristol, but it’s a shorter track than others. It definitely has the feel of a short-track race. You use a lot of brakes, and forward drive is important. The field is a little tighter together. As that track has worn out over the last few years, it’s really matured into a great track. Goodyear has been able to bring a little softer tire. It lays down a lot of rubber. So, tires are important. You have a little bit of fall-off now. We definitely have our short-track mindset when we go to Phoenix.

"With the new renovations, we just have to go and figure it out. What Phoenix has done to reward their loyal fans over the years has been good to see. It’s great to see that kind of passion for our sport in the Southwest. I look forward to getting out there and checking out the changes."


Ragan Phoenix Stats
23 starts, 1 top-10, 1 top-15, 3 top-20s
Best finish: 10th

FRM PR