Monster Energy Cup Series News (12857)
After making their NASCAR debut as a sponsor last year with BK Racing, JAS Expedited Trucking will be on board the No. 83 Toyota Camry of Corey LaJoie as the primary sponsor at both Michigan International Speedway races in 2017. JAS will kick-off the season as an associate sponsor on LaJoie’s No. 83 for the Daytona 500.
JAS Expedited Trucking LLC. is a small family-owned expedited trucking company, located in Imlay City, Michigan. After 13 years of driving for other small fleet owners, Tony Freeland, owner of JAS, decided to purchase his first truck. With experience as both a driver and as an owner/operator, he thought he could provide a better environment for other drivers, so he started JAS Expedited Trucking and their second truck was purchased one year later. The company has since continued to grow. JAS is currently looking for qualified I.C. professional drivers to join and expand their team. Interested applicants can visit JASNW.com for career opportunities.
“My experiences with BK Racing last year were phenomenal, so I’m very happy to be back with them this year,” said Tony Freeland, owner of JAS Expedited Trucking. “I was a fan of Randy LaJoie back when he raced, so I’m really looking forward to work with his son, Corey. He’s a very down-to-Earth guy, and he will represent my company well.”
“I’m looking forward to working with Tony and JAS Expedited Trucking,” said Corey LaJoie, driver of the No. 83 Toyota Camry. “Tony is a guy who loves everything about the sport, so it’s very cool to be working with a company that sees the value of NASCAR on and off the racetrack. I’m going to do everything I can to give those guys the runs they deserve.”
“Tony Freeland has become like a family member to this team,” said Doug Fritz, Chief Marketing Officer of BK Racing. “The fact that JAS has chosen not only to return to our team but to increase their support, really means a lot for BK Racing. I’m glad they will be a part of our season-opening race at Daytona, and we are looking forward to putting the blue JAS Toyota back out on track this summer.”
It’s the hours and hours a person spends preparing for the opportunity ahead that creates success.
Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 5-hour ENERGY team spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Phoenix International Raceway becoming familiar with the new Toyota Camry as well as each other as a new team for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Driver Erik Jones and crew chief Chris Gayle have a brief history together in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Joe Gibbs Racing though both are entering their rookie seasons in NASCAR’s premier class.
The two-day test was the first opportunity for the new Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team to work together as a unit at a race track since the program was announced last August. The 5-hour ENERGY team was one of more than a dozen other NASCAR Cup Series teams to take advantage of the opportunity to test with the new lower downforce package race cars.
“We learned a lot during the two days at Phoenix International Raceway,” said the 20-year-old Jones. “We made a lot of gains as a team and I made a lot of gains in getting familiar with the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry. This is the second time I’ve driven the low-downforce package so it’s quite a bit different, in general. It’s a little more challenging to drive than what the XFINITY cars are or what the previous package was on the Cup cars that I drove in 2015.
“Now it’s just a matter of fine-tuning everything at this point. A big thing the test did was give us a good baseline for when we come back here next month. But overall, it was nice to get the group together to get everybody in sync and everybody now has a better feel for exactly what they’re going to be doing at the track. So that’s out of the way and now we can focus on Daytona.”
The first day consisted primarily of short runs and a great deal of data assessment by the team as well as an engineering group from Toyota Racing Development. The short runs continued in the morning and were followed by mock qualifying runs right before the lunch break. Data evaluation continued throughout both days and the second day concluded with multiple 25-30 lap runs all the way up to the conclusion of the test at 5 p.m. MT.
“I thought the test, overall, went well,” said Gayle. “The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry was really good on long runs and had really good speed at the end of long runs. It was a good test to have the guys work together. That’s the thing about a first test with an entirely new team. You want to have good speed to start but it’s also all the other things you don’t think about like getting a group to work together well and actually be out of each other’s way in the garage. So it was nice to get a view of how all that worked and I think we’ll go back to the shop and we’ll talk about some things we can improve on as a team. The car’s speed was there. Now we can work on it and improve the overall setup."
The test was not the first time Jones had the opportunity to wheel a NASCAR Cup Series car around the PIR’s flat one-mile surface. The Byron, Mich., native made his third and final NASCAR Cup Series start there during the fall race in 2015 when he was the substitute driver in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry, starting seventh and finishing 19th. Jones had early success at Phoenix International Raceway in his still very young career, earning his first and then consecutive Camping World Truck Series victories there in 2013 and 2014. He finished second and 10th, respectively, in the raceway’s NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2016.
Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY team kick off the 2017 NASCAR campaign Feb. 26 with the 59th running of the Daytona 500.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, announced today plans for the first ever Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest, a local community event that will feature running, obstacle racing, mountain biking, music, food and more. Set in a festival atmosphere, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation (JJF) Fit Fest will take place Monday, May 29 at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Included in the day-long event:
- 5K, 8K and half marathon trail running races
- MTB Challenge, a 4-hour endurance mountain bike event, with individual and duo competitions
- Spartan Kids Race – an exciting obstacle race for children ages 5-12
This is JJF’s first collaboration with the Spartan Foundation and Spartan Kids Race. Inspired by the popular Kids version of Spartan Race, the world’s best obstacle race, the Spartan Kids stand-alone race features 10-plus obstacles. Designed for kids ages 5-12, each obstacle is crafted to instill child-like adventure, courage, camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment. There will also be a heat for the Special Spartans, children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and those with cognitive learning or vocational delays. The Spartan Foundation’s mission is to support better health and fitness for America’s kids.
“This is an exciting year for our Foundation and we are really looking forward to this new event,” said Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. “JJF Fit Fest is designed to be a great community event to raise much needed funds for K-12 public education. We are really grateful to continue our partnership with Blue Bunny and develop a new relationship with Spartan Kids Race to make this event a reality. There’s going to be something for everyone of all ages and abilities.”
“Blue Bunny is thrilled to support the first ever Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest,” said Mike Wells, president and CEO, Wells Enterprises Inc., makers of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. “We continue to be inspired by Jimmie and Chandra for their dedicated commitment and passion to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, and are looking forward to this fun, new initiative to strengthen communities and continue to raise funds for K-12 public education.”
“In our mission to support health and fitness for the next generation, the Spartan Foundation and the Spartan Kids Race is proud to partner with Jimmie Johnson and his exceptional Foundation in our shared goal to improve children’s health and well-being,” said Joe De Sena, Spartan Race Founder and Ceo. “We are excited to work together in getting these kids off the couch and into heathier pursuits. With the rise in childhood obesity and related illnesses, our alliance with JJF couldn’t be more timely.”
For details on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest, please visit www.JJFFitFest.org.
Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and racing legend Michael Waltrip today announced that the upcoming Daytona 500 will be Waltrip's last NASCAR race.
Waltrip, who will mark his 30th start at the Daytona 500 on February 26, will be at the wheel of the Aaron's #15 Thanks Mikey Toyota. Aaron's and the two-time Daytona 500 winner have been partners for more than 17 years and announced a renewed multi-year partnership last year with Waltrip as Aaron's spokesperson.
"We can't wait to watch Michael compete in his last race with the same flair and thrills he's been known for throughout his amazing career, and it will be a nostalgic moment to see him and the Aaron's logo flash across the finish line together," said John Robinson, Aaron's, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. "Michael has been a great sportsman and partner to Aaron's."
Waltrip retired from full-time racing after the 2009 NASCAR season but has continued to compete as a part-time driver. His relationship with Aaron's represents one of the longest-running corporate partnerships in the racing industry.
"I can reflect on my career with a lot of emotions and one company that has been there for me is Aaron's," said Waltrip. "I started working with Aaron's almost 20 years ago with some commercials and six Xfinity Series races when I had a team behind my house. We have been together ever since and it makes my heart smile thinking about all the great things we did together."
Next week Aaron's plans to debut a video showing the first of Waltrip's "Top Five Aaron's & Waltrip Racing Moments" selected from the past 17 years as partners. The videos will be shared across Aaron's social media channels leading up to Waltrip's last race on February 26.
Waltrip has been featured in several Aaron's commercials and will continue to serve as a spokesperson for the company following his last race. The Aaron's Michael Waltrip tribute commercial will debut the week prior to the Daytona 500 and will commemorate Aaron's 17-year partnership with Michael Waltrip.
Waltrip said, "The Daytona 500 in a lot of ways defines a racer's career and I am proud to have been able to win our sport's most prestigious race twice. I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows at the Great American Race. But when you are a NASCAR driver who has the privilege of racing here, you love Daytona no matter what happens. In my 30th and final Daytona 500, I am just going to enjoy every moment and be happy that Aaron's has given me one more opportunity to hoist the Harley J. Earle trophy."
"Although Michael is competing in his last race, Aaron's is extremely fortunate to continue working with Michael and we know racing fans will enjoy seeing him at future appearances and at Aaron's stores across the country," said Robinson.
Michael Waltrip announced via numerous social media platforms that the Daytona 500 will be his last. Waltrip will be driving the No. 15 for Premium Motorsports in the “Great American Race”.
Waltrip won the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003. Since retiring from full time driving in 2009, Waltrip has attempted to make the Daytona 500 every season since.
Any NASCAR fan would jump at the chance to go wheel to wheel with one of their favorite drivers; SunnyD and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are making that happen for a few lucky fans this season.
The SunnyD “Race with Ricky” Sweepstakes has kicked off and fans simply need to visit www.SunnyD.com to enter. One lucky winner has the chance to win a trip to Charlotte with four friends where they will race go-karts against the two-time NASCAR champion.
“I love any opportunity to race and I know our fans do too,” said Stenhouse. “SunnyD came up with this idea and I can’t wait to race the grand prize winner this fall. I know we’ll have a lot of fun at the track and they’ll get to see where our SunnyD racecars are built.”
In addition to the grand prize winner, weekly winners will receive a SunnyD Racing prize pack that includes a diecast collectable car, team hat, t-shirt, can koozie and mini helmet. Fans can also look for special SunnyD packaging featuring Stenhouse at their local retailers throughout the season.
Visit www.SunnyD.com for sweepstakes details. Follow @SunnyDelight, @SunnyDRacing, @RoushFenway & @Stenhouse17Team on Twitter and like SunnyD, SunnyD Racing and Roush Fenway on Facebook for sweepstakes updates throughout the season.
The 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway wrapped up on Wednesday with two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship contenders in Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
Logano – who won three races and finished second in points last year – believes NASCAR’s new points-for-winning-stages approach provides the nine-year veteran with a golden opportunity to capture his first series title.
“I know it’s going to be the right thing for the sport,” Logano said. “Every lap became more important. Every race became way more important and that’s good for everyone. … The way this whole format is structured is for a reason, for everyone to race hard and put on a great race for our fans. I don’t see anything but good things coming out of it so I’m really excited about everything coming up for this sport.
“It plays to the person’s advantage who takes the opportunity ahead of him. When there are changes like this, the first person who figures it out is going to have a huge advantage. If you can get some bonus points early in the year it sets you up well for when you get to Homestead.“
Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, won four races last year but wound up 12th in the standings after an up-and-down 10-race playoffs. An enhanced format, Keselowski said, “re-fosters the connection between the regular season and the postseason.
“It’s important from the teams’ and drivers’ sides because it keeps us honest,” he added. “It keeps us from, not necessarily taking races off but keeping us from saying, ‘Let’s not take our best car to this race.’ … Our fans deserve to know that whatever they see on the weekend is guaranteed to be important. As drivers, I think you’re going to see more of a desire and an anger factor when things don’t go your way in the regular season.”
The first Mexican-born driver to win a top-tier NASCAR national title, Daniel Suarez was certainly going to garner plenty of attention at the 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. But thanks to Carl Edwards’s stunning announcement two weeks ago, Suarez took the stage on Wednesday not as the defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, but as the full-time pilot of the No. 19 Arris Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“There’s been a lot going on, but I’ve been racing just about every day and getting to know my whole 19 team,” Suarez said about preparing for the upcoming season. “It’s quite a bit different from the XFINITY Series with the way we do things. But we still have some time before Daytona and hopefully we’ll get things started the right way.”
Suarez has quickly ascended the NASCAR ladder, starting in the sanctioning body’s Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs. He ran regional series (2011-2014) before running full-time and part-time schedules in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, respectively in 2015 and 2016. He will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 26.
The Drive for Diversity program “was very important to me for sure. It helped me a lot in the K&N Series, but at the same time I’ve had a lot of people helping me in Mexico throughout my career,” said Suarez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico. “They have helped me through the most important part of my racing career – all the transitions of racing here in the states.
“For me, it’s amazing to be able to be a role model for so many future (Latin American) drivers. It’s been a lot of fun going through this journey and it’s just going to get better and better and a driver that can represent that community.”
Suarez also represents a strong field of 2017 rookies that includes Erik Jones and Ty Dillon, who will be the top candidates to compete with Suarez for Rookie of Year.
“I think it’s going to be very cool to race (those guys); we’ve raced together for more than one year, so we know each other well and we get along very well,” said Suarez. “For me, something that’s very cool is how slowly all these group of drivers have been making our way up and now at the Cup level. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun … I’m looking forward to it.”