Monster Energy Cup Series News (12857)
As Kurt Busch embarks on his 17th full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and his fourth with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), he has a good reason to feel right at home as the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion, as the 2017 marks a homecoming for Busch to Ford Motor Company, the manufacturer with whom he won the 2004 Cup Series championship.
It was Busch’s first Cup Series title and Ford’s most recent. Now reunited, the goal is to once again hoist the trophy during the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch will attempt to surpass NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte’s record for time between championships –12 seasons separated Labonte’s two titles in 1984 and 1996 – and do it with the Dearborn, Michigan-based manufacturer with whom his NASCAR Cup Series career began.
The story of Busch’s start in NASCAR is well documented. While racing in the Southwest Tour Series, his skill attracted the attention of team owner Jack Roush, who decided to host driver auditions for a team he fielded in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The auditions were informally known as “The Gong Show” and Roush invited Busch to participate. In a pivotal moment in Busch’s life, he won the audition and started competing in Ford F-150s for Roush in 2000. Since then, both Busch and Ford have gone on to experience much success. But, there’s more to be had, and to be had together.
That all starts with the 59th Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Three times a runner-up in the season-opening event, Busch is still seeking his first Harley J. Earl trophy. In fact, while he’s found victory lane at Daytona before, in 2011’s Advance Auto Parts Clash and Can-Am Duel, he’s yet to score a win in a points-paying race at either Daytona or its sister racetrack, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. While he hasn’t found victory, he’s almost always found a way to be in contention at the end. And that, in a race that is known for unpredictable racing with the high likelihood of large, multicar accidents at any moment, is an impressive feat that cannot be overlooked.
Busch has been listed as running at the end of 30 of 31 career points-paying Cup Series starts at Daytona. While he’s seemingly mastered the art of finishing Daytona races, it’s the finishing first part he’s yet to figure out. In fact, a superspeedway win is the only kind that has eluded him during his 18-year Cup Series career. With a victory in the Daytona 500, Busch would join an elite list of drivers who have won at every type of track on the circuit: superspeedway, speedway, intermediate, short track and road course.
So, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Daytona to kick off the 2017 season, Busch hopes being reunited with Ford can help him not only to finally find his way to victory in the Daytona 500, but also to improve upon his successes of the last four seasons with SHR. While he’s made the playoffs each year with the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team, he’s fallen short of contending for the championship late in the playoffs.
With the 16-driver Cup Series championship format, all it takes is just one win to lock a driver and team into the playoffs. Busch would like nothing more than to score that win in the 59th Daytona 500, marking his first victory in the prestigious event and placing him well on his way to reaching his season-long goal of winning his second Cup Series title.
Wood Brothers Racing returned to full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series action in 2016 with young driver Ryan Blaney. Wood Brothers Racing, one of the longest running racing teams in the world today, returned to full-time competition for the first time since 2006 with veteran racer Ken Schrader.
Despite it being Blaney’s first full season in the premier series, he did not come into it cold turkey. The North Carolina native, son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racer Dave Blaney, made 16 starts in 2015 with Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney had one top five and two top 10 finishes when the season concluded.
Blaney started the year at Daytona International Speedway scoring a 19th-place finish. The young driver, carrying sponsor Motorcraft / Quick Lane on the side of the car, started the Daytona 500 in the seventh starting spot. The next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Blaney started in 23rd and finished the day in 25th at the 1.5-mile oval.
The next two races would end up being a turnaround for the single-car operation and Blaney. He would score a pair of top 10 finishes in race three and four at Las Vegas and Phoenix. Blaney would sit 12th in points as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headed into the fifth race of the season at Auto Club Speedway.
Blaney would start the Auto Club 400 in the 14th starting position as they went into the two-mile oval riding a wave of momentum. That momentum, however, wouldn’t continue as his day would be cut short on lap 195 due to a crash with 10 laps remaining. Blaney would capture a 35th at the California oval.
The stretch of bad luck continued over the next three of the four races as he would only score one top 15 finish. His best finish over the stretch of these races would be an 11th at Bristol Motor Speedway. Blaney would go on another top 10 streak over the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega, Kansas and Dover. The 23-year old’s best run during this stretch would be a fifth-place finish at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway after starting the night in seventh. After a 20th at Charlotte, Blaney would find himself back into the top 10 at Pocono Raceway.
The No. 21 Wood Brother’s Racing team finished out the first half of the season with a pair of top 20’s over the next three races. After the Coke Zero 400, as the series went into Kentucky Speedway to start the second-half, Blaney sat 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver standings.
The second-half of the season was a very shaky one for Blaney as they would finish out the regular season with one top five and one top 10 finish over the next eight races. After Richmond, which signifies the end of the regular season as the Chase begins, Blaney would sit 21st in points and would not be eligible for NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.
The team remained on a slippery slope in the final 10 events of the season all the way to Homestead-Miami Speedway. Blaney and the No. 21 team scored a fourth and an eighth-place finish at Chicago and Phoenix. He would finish out the year scoring four top 15’s and four finishes outside the top 19. He would sit 20th in the final driver standings at seasons end.
When the season completed, Blaney captured three top five and nine top 10 finishes. He ended the season with an average finish of 18.5 and completed 95.2 percent of the laps ran in 2016. The team also finished the year with only two DNF’s.
Blaney will be joining Wood Brothers Racing for a full-time slate once again in 2017. They will also be leasing a Charter that will guarantee them a starting spot in every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in the upcoming season. That Charter is from the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Team.
Wood Brothers Racing will have Motorcraft / Quick Lane on the car for about 12 races all throughout 2017, per Jayski. Other sponsors on the No. 21 Ford led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins will also include SKF and possible others that have yet to be announced.
FOX Sports welcomes back Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the rest of the gang from Springfield – and, this time, THE SIMPSONS are bringing along some of their NASCAR pals.
Four-time NASCAR champion and FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon joins NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., as part of an animated promo for DAYTONA DAY, the expanded, second-year marketing initiative in support of the 59th running of the DAYTONA 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 26 (2:00 PM ET).
“It was really cool … it’s such a popular show,” Gordon said. “Whether they are making fun of you or not, it’s just an honor to be a part of it.”
Viewers of Sunday’s Super Bowl LI on FOX got a sneak peek of the Daytona Day promo with Gordon and Earnhardt, now scheduled to air in episodes of THE SIMPSONS on Feb. 12 and Feb. 19.
THE SIMPSONS airs Sundays (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Now, in its second year, the DAYTONA DAY campaign, which now includes support from NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and multiple consumer marketing partners, continues to recognize and celebrates the parties and social gatherings happening around the country on the day of the DAYTONA 500.
“It’s an honor for all of us at FOX Sports to be able to tap into such a definitive and recognizable piece of pop culture to support our DAYTONA DAY efforts,” said Robert Gottlieb, FOX Sports EVP of Marketing. “Having the creative firepower of Gracie Films helping to build Daytona Day is a true thrill.”
“THE SIMPSONS promo was a successful cornerstone of last year’s DAYTONA DAY campaign, and NASCAR is honored to work with FOX on the initiative again this year,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “As a past DAYTONA 500 champion making his return to racing, it’s only fitting that Dale Earnhardt Jr. join THE SIMPSONS to build anticipation for the Great American Race.”
Homer Simpson added: "Which way is the barbecue pit?"
FOX Sports PR
Sport Clips Haircuts continues partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, adds Furniture Row Racing for 2017 season08 Feb 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Sport Clips Haircuts announced today its continued partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin for the 2017 season, and the addition of Furniture Row Racing and driver Erik Jones. Sport Clips will increase its sponsorship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to include two races with Hamlin and four races with Jones. In addition, Sport Clips will continue to have a presence in the XFINITY Series with one race with Hamlin.
Veteran Denny Hamlin will pilot the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races during the 2017 season beginning at Auto Club Speedway on March 26 and at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 3. In addition, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner will return to the XFINITY Series behind the wheel of the No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for the Sport Clips-sponsored Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 2.
No stranger to the Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Hamlin visited victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2012 in the Cup Series and twice in the XFINITY Series at Richmond International Raceway in 2011 and most recently at Darlington Raceway in 2015.
New to the Sport Clips program for the 2017 season will be Furniture Row Racing with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Erik Jones. Entering his first season with Furniture Row Racing, Jones will pilot the No. 77 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for four races beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 23 followed by Daytona International Speedway on July 1, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23 and ending with Sport Clips' home track, Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 5.
Jones has previously represented Sport Clips for two races in the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, earning one pole and a best finish of second, both coming in 2016 at Pocono Raceway.
"When Denny began driving for Sport Clips, we had a few more than 700 locations open at the time, and we now have more than 1,600 locations in the U.S. and Canada – a milestone we were proud to reach in 2016. We are pleased to have Denny, and now Erik, along for the ride in 2017!" said Gordon Logan, founder and CEO of Sport Clips. "Joe Gibbs Racing and its drivers have been excellent ambassadors for our brand over the years, and we're thrilled to add another partner in Furniture Row Racing. We look forward to an exciting and successful race season!"
The 2017 season will mark the ninth season that Sport Clips has been involved with the Joe Gibbs Racing family of partners and the first season as a partner of Furniture Row Racing.
2017 NASCAR SCHEDULE
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
March 26: Auto Club Speedway – Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Sport Clips Camry
April 23: Bristol Motor Speedway – Erik Jones – No. 77 Sport Clips Camry
July 1: Daytona International Speedway – Erik Jones – No. 77 Sport Clips Camry
July 23: Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Erik Jones – No. 77 Sport Clips Camry
Sept. 3: Darlington Raceway – Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Sport Clips Camry
Nov. 5: Texas Motor Speedway – Erik Jones – No. 77 Sport Clips Camry
Sept. 2: Darlington Raceway – Denny Hamlin – No. 18 Sport Clips Camry
Sports Clips PR
NASCAR announced today it is partnering with American Medical Response (AMR) to expand the capabilities of NASCAR’s medical support model and enhance on-track incident response. AMR, a recognized leader in the emergency medical services, will add a doctor and paramedic to the on-track safety team for each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend.
NASCAR’s industry-leading medical standards remain in place; Infield Care Centers will continue to be staffed with experienced local emergency room physicians, maintaining the valuable connection with local medical facilities at every track. Combining the experience of local emergency practitioners with the familiarity that the AMR team will develop with drivers will positively impact the process for years to come.
“This partnership further strengthens NASCAR’s medical response capability, making our well-established, medical response system even better,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “AMR is a leader in the emergency services sector, and its doctors and paramedics add another layer of expertise to the immediate response team.”
AMR will position state licensed doctors and paramedics in a chase vehicle along with two NASCAR Track Services team members and immediately respond to an on-track incident. The paramedic and doctor will provide an assessment at the scene.
“We’re excited about this partnership with NASCAR,” said Edward Van Horne, president and chief executive officer, AMR. “We’re going to work collaboratively with NASCAR and local teams to share best EMS practices and ensure the highest quality of care.”
AMR, which currently delivers EMS support at a number of NASCAR events, will provide a physician to serve as the national medical director of the AMR Safety Team to oversee all services provided by AMR and work with the NASCAR Medical Liaisons and NASCAR Consulting Physicians.
AMR, a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare, is the largest provider of emergency medical transportation services in the U.S. and a leader in pre-hospital care and treatment.
Furthermore, AMR becomes the Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR, and AMR will be the presenting partner of the annual NASCAR (Track Services) Summit.
The marriage between Danica Patrick and Nature’s Bakery, Patrick’s primary sponsor in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, has been terminated. Stewart-Haas Racing has filed suit against Nature’s Bakery. Patrick was a great fit due to her promoting healthier living and clean eating.
As first reported by the Associated Press, the $31.7 million breach of contract lawsuit accuses Nature’s Bakery of refusing to pay millions in missed payments to Stewart-Haas.
Nature’s Bakery was entering their second year of three of sponsorship with Patrick and Stewart-Haas. They were scheduled as primary sponsor for 20 races.
According to the suit, Stewart-Haas Racing raised concerns about the Nature’s Bakery sponsorship in 2016 with how they would pay the $15.2 million/year in sponsorship. Despite the concerns, Nature’s Bakery insisted that they would be able to make the payments, and Stewart-Haas accepted the deal. Shortly after the deal was announced, cash flow issues plagued Nature’s Bakery resulting if they could rework the payment schedule, but they continued to miss payments.
The suit also claims that Patrick’s use of social media in promoting “rival” products such as food and protein powders, that were liked by the Nature’s Bakery Instagram account. Nature’s Bakery claimed that Patrick was not promoting their own products enough. The issues were not apparent until Nature’s Bakery began to miss payments.
Stewart-Haas received a letter from Nature’s Bakery in December acknowledging their grievances with Patrick and stating a process of transitioning out of the sponsorship role. The letter “shocked” executives because the team was well underway with preparations for 2017. On January 19, the contract was terminated by Nature’s Bakery.
The first signs of issues with Patrick and Nature’s Bakery came at NASCAR Media Tour when she was wearing a TaxAct firesuit. TaxAct is the primary sponsor for only three races. At that time, executives from Stewart-Haas acknowledged that they were in discussions with Nature’s Bakery, but provided no further information.
Stewart-Haas released a statement acknowledging the situation:
“Nature’s Bakery is in material breach of its contract with Stewart-Haas Racing. It is an unfortunate situation, as the team has delivered on all aspects of its contract and was prepared to do so again in 2017. Ultimately, this is a situation that will be resolved in a court of law.
Stewart-Haas Racing remains focused on its preparation for the 2017 NASCAR season where it will again field four entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series while also introducing a full-time NASCAR XFNITY Series team. The litigation with Nature’s Bakery will not impact the organization’s on-track efforts.”
Patrick is not the only one with sponsorship woes. Clint Bowyer also is seeking a primary sponsor. Mobil 1 is the primary sponsor of Bowyer’s car for only a select few races in 2017, but other sponsorship for Bowyer is still unknown.
Statement by Ron Devine, Owner of BK Racing:
“I believe operating with one charter will allow this team to focus our resources in a way that will make us more competitive on the racetrack. I have the utmost confidence that we will give both Joey Gase in the No. 23 and Corey LaJoie in the No. 83 the equipment they need to give us a strong run in Daytona, and I’m eager to see Gray Gaulding do great in the No. 23 starting in Atlanta. As previously announced, Corey Lajoie will run multiple races in the No. 83 this season. Like last year, you will likely see the No. 93 on track from time to time as well. We have excellent, young talent this year, and I plan for this to be BK Racing’s most competitive year ever.”
BK Racing PR