Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14175)

Auto-Owners Insurance, a sponsor of Furniture Row Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, announced a Win One + Give One sweepstakes.

One grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 shopping spree at Furniture Row/Denver Mattress. The community of the sweepstakes winner will also win big, as Auto-Owners Insurance and Furniture Row will both make $10,000 donations to a local chapter of the Salvation Army.

Fans can enter by visiting or, and completing the online entry form. The sweepstakes will begin on Aug. 30, 2017 and end Oct. 15, 2017.

“Win One + Give One is unique because the grand prize winner and their community will both receive an amazing gift,” said Drew Klasing, vice-president of marketing & sales at Auto-Owners Insurance. “We are pleased to partner with Furniture Row and the Salvation Army and can’t wait to see the positive impact that we make in a local area together.”

The Give One portion of the promotion will operate through a Salvation Army location near the grand prize winner.

“There’s no greater work or feeling than helping to elevate someone’s life to one of increased comfort, peace, confidence, security, and love,” said a spokesperson at Salvation Army. “Furniture Row and Auto-Owners are certainly ‘Doing the Most Good’ with the Win One + Give One campaign, and The Salvation Army is grateful to have them as partners in this great work.”

Along with the grand prize, the promotion will also award entrants the following:

First Place Prize:
50 winners will receive a Martin Truex Jr. autographed 1:24 Lionel Racing diecast car.

Second Place Prize:
150 winners will receive an Auto-Owners Insurance, No. 78 prize pack including a T-shirt and hat.

Third Place Prize:
250 winners will receive a Toyota Racing prize pack, including a NASCAR Delphi Cap, thermos, hydration bottle, and bottle opener.

A representative for Furniture Row expressed the company’s enthusiasm to be partnering with Auto-Owners Insurance and the Salvation Army for the Win One + Give One sweepstakes. “What makes this sweepstakes so special is its ability to touch the lives of many people living, working, and serving in a single community.”

Participating partners of the promotion include: Auto-Owners Insurance, Furniture Row, Salvation Army, Toyota Racing and Lionel Racing.

The next race that Auto-Owners Insurance will have primary sponsorship on Truex’s No. 78 Toyota Camry will be Sept. 9 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.


After a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) off-week, Cole Whitt and the No. 72 team return to competition this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Having four previous MENCS starts at the 1.366-mile, oval, Whitt has completed a total of 591 laps at the track famed as "Too Tough to Tame".
As part of the Darlington Throwback initiative, the No. 72 will feature a paint scheme of personal significance to Whitt. The "Lime Green Machine" is a Whitt family tradition that originated with Whitt's grandfather.
The lime green and black No. 60 race car was a family-owned and operated race team. Ted Whitt Plumbing, owned by Cole's grandfather Jim, housed a race shop and plumbing shop in the same facility. The race crew mostly consisted of family and friends that also worked for Ted Whitt Plumbing. Cole's grandfather, Jim Whitt, nicknamed "Gentleman Jim Whitt", won the Cajon Speedway Track Championship in the No. 60 known as the "Lime Green Machine". The car also proudly boasted a 454" big block Chevrolet which was represented on the hood.  
Cajon Speedway race track was known as the fastest 3/8- paved oval on the West Coast. Tobin Whitt, Cole's father won the Cajon Speedway Track Championship 20 years later, in 1989, driving the same infamous No. 60 Ted Whitt Plumbing sponsored Chevrolet.  
The throwback paint scheme is in honor of the 1972-73 Chevy Chevelle driven by Whitt's grandfather the year he won the championship and also the races he ran years later in the NASCAR Winston Cup West Series. Jim Whitt raced five Winston Cup races in 1972 and 1973. He secured his best NASCAR Winston Cup finish on Sunday, January 21, 1973 at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, CA where he qualified 27th and finished 18th.  
Whitt and the No. 72 Green Machine team head to Darlington with great optimism in tackling the Lady in Black and securing a solid finish in honor of Jim Whitt. 
Tristar PR

Ryan Blaney already has become the 21st driver to win a race for Wood Brothers Racing this season behind the wheel of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, now he wants to join an even more elite group: Drivers who have won at Darlington Raceway for NASCAR’s longest-running team.

Should Blaney win this weekend’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday night, in addition to scoring the team’s 100 victory, he will join Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Neil Bonnett as drivers who have piloted the iconic No. 21 to victory lane at Darlington.

This is Blaney’s third run at the famous South Carolina track and has made steady improvements since his first Cup start there in 2015. In his inaugural start, driving a car covered in photos from the team’s storied history, he started 9th and finished in 30th. Last year, driving Pearson’s 1976 paint scheme, he started 20th, found himself two laps down late in the race but battled back to a respectable 13th-place finish.

For the 2017 NASCAR Throwback weekend at Darlington. Blaney and the Wood Brothers are paying tribute to the No. 21 Citgo Ford Thunderbird that Kyle Petty drove to victory in the 1987 Coca-Cola 600.


On the Throwback Weekend:

“I think Darlington has done a great job of implementing the throwback cars and crew members get involved with it. It’s always pretty neat. The fans show up in all their vintage attire, which is always cool to see. It’s one of my favorite weekends especially since they started doing this.”

On the 1987 Kyle Petty Paint Scheme:

“We’ve got Kyle Petty’s old scheme from the ‘80s, which I’m pretty excited to run. The car looks great. I’m looking forward to that. It’s always a nice event. It’s always nice to see some paint schemes from the past to make it a lot more fun.”

On Darlington Raceway Itself:

“It’s probably one of if not the most difficult track we go to just as far as length of the race, the track itself in general and the day-to-night changes things up. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong there and we seem to have found them the last couple of years. Hopefully we can be mistake free and have a good run.”

Ford Performance PR

Team Penske and Menards announced today that the industry-leading home improvement store company will sponsor driver Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Ford Fusion for 14 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races in 2018. The partnership follows the recent announcement that Blaney will race a third Team Penske entry in the Cup Series beginning next season.  Menards will also be a sponsor on the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing entry, which will be driven by Paul Menard, starting next season.

“Having a company like Menards, and a businessman like John Menard, be a part of the growth with the No. 12 team is terrific for our organization,” said Roger Penske. “Menards has a winning tradition in motorsports and Team Penske looks forward to adding to that legacy. We have enjoyed a productive relationship with Menards through our INDYCAR program, and they were a key part of our championship effort last season. We are excited about the opportunity to grow with them in NASCAR beginning next season.”

The partnership between Team Penske and Menards began in 2016, with the company serving as a primary sponsor on the No. 22 Indy car for five races with driver Simon Pagenaud.  The company expanded its relationship in 2017, sponsoring the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion for 10 races. Next season will mark the company’s first foray into NASCAR with Team Penske. 

Menards plans to continue its sponsorship of Penske’s INDYCAR program into 2018 and beyond as well.

“Working with an organization like Team Penske means you are always going to be in contention for race wins and championships,” said John Menard.  “And winning races and championships puts your brand in front of a lot of people.  We’ve had a great run in motorsports over the years and with that has come a lot of success.  Now, we are excited to keep that going with both NASCAR and INDYCAR programs with Team Penske.”

A family-owned company started in 1958, Menards is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has 306 home improvement stores located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Today, Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it's famous slogan Save BIG Money!® is widely known and easy to remember.

Additional sponsorship for the No. 12 Ford Fusion and Blaney will be announced at a later date.

Team Penske PR

Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) revealed yesterday the throwback paint scheme on the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet SS, driven by Kyle Larson, for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The paint scheme will honor current CGR co-owner Felix Sabates. Credit One Bank will turn back the clock to 1995, and feature a scheme that was raced by Kyle Petty while driving at SABCO Racing for Sabates. The original design has been updated to include the Credit One Bank logo on the hood and quarter panel, but otherwise remains intact from when Petty was behind the wheel.


  • One of a Kind: Felix Sabates has been a fixture in NASCAR since he became a team owner in the late-1980’s after acquiring a research and development team from Hendrick Motorsports. The Cuban-born Sabates immigrated to the US at the age of 15, and held jobs at a furniture factory in Lexington, N.C. and City Chevrolet before working to import Nintendo and Teddy Ruxpin into American homes. Before partnering with Chip Ganassi in 2001, SABCO Racing fielded teams in NASCAR from 1989 – 2000. In addition to Petty, Sabates also raced with Kenny Wallace, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin and Kenny Irwin, to name a few. SABCO netted seven wins at the Cup level, with 33 top-five finishes and 15 pole awards.
  • Second Helping: In a first for CGR, short vignettes featuring Felix Sabates and Kyle Petty will be produced and posted to the team’s social media platforms during breaks in the action from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Darlington Raceway, giving fans a second-screen option during commercial breaks. The videos will give fans an unique look into the No. 42 team as it was during the days of SABCO Racing as Sabates and Petty sit down and share stories from the good ‘ole days.
  • Yikes, Stripes!: While the red and white stripes around the wall at Darlington exude a feeling of nostalgia, the stripes that usually have everyone talking are those often accidentally added on the right side of the car by drivers who misjudge the dissimilar turns at the egg-shaped track. While admittedly the recipient of several stripes in his first attempt at the “Lady in Black” in 2013 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Larson has a fairly solid body of work in the MENCS. In three starts, Larson has three top-10 finishes and led 45 laps en route to a third-place finish in last year’s Southern 500.
  • Petty Parody Part Two: If you’re keeping score at home, this will mark the second time that Larson drives a paint scheme originally piloted by Petty. In the first throwback weekend at Darlington in 2015, Larson drove Petty’s No. 42 Mello Yello paint scheme that was raced in the early 1990’s and made famous in the movie “Days of Thunder.” Larson’s throwback paint scheme in 2015 was picked by the fans as the best of the weekend.    


Ragan on Darlington

"The throwback weekend at Darlington has been one of the neatest things the last three or four seasons. It's given us an opportunity to honor some of the legends that made this Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series what it is today, as well as showcase some of the old-school looks of our partners. We celebrate some history but also have some fun.

"Camping World has been around for a long time, and they've been a big part of this sport for a long time. For over 10 years, they've been in the top three series of NASCAR. They're the title sponsor of the Camping World Truck Series, and they've been involved as a sponsor with some teams as well. So, we're going back to some of their old logos and graphics with our paint scheme. I'm sure it will be neat for people with a long tenure at Camping World. We hope it will get them excited.

"Darlington is a tough race track, and it's a tough race to go 500 miles there. But the Southern 500 has a lot of history and a lot of great stories over the years. It's a perfect combination to turn the clock back a bit for the weekend and do it at one of the coolest race tracks we go to."

Meet David
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2:30pm - Ford Performance display (Darlington Raceway Fan Zone)


Cassill on Darlington

"Throwback weekend was a really creative idea for Darlington to come up with. I think the sport and fans really embrace nostalgia, I think because of the rich history of the sport and that racetrack. For our Love's Travel Stops Ford, we're paying tribute to the color scheme of the old-style Love's canopies from the days of its first travel stop back in the 80s.

"The Southern 500 is a long race. It's excruciating. It's a tough race. But it's very rewarding if you come out on the good end of it. And that, of course, requires winning the battle with the wall. Our Love's Ford already has stripes on it, so we don't want to add any more."


When a new NASCAR season begins in February, rising star Chase Elliott will be reunited with the number synonymous with his legendary racing family and rookie William Byron will take the wheel of one of the most iconic cars in motor sports history.

In 2018, 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports will introduce the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro to its four-car team with Elliott in the driver’s seat. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native raced the No. 9 to the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series title, and his Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott memorably drove it to 38 Cup-level wins and the 1988 series championship.

“I wasn’t sure I’d ever drive the ‘9’ again,” said Chase Elliott, 21, who is currently in his second season driving the No. 24 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s a huge deal to my family and everyone back home (in Georgia), and I hope all of our fans will be pumped to see it back on the racetrack. There’s a legacy attached to that number, and I want to carry it on. I think it’s awesome that Hendrick Motorsports and NAPA wanted to do this. It’s impossible not to be excited.”

When Byron starts his first career Daytona 500 next year, it will be in the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet made famous by four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and his storied Rainbow Warriors team. Byron will begin his 2018 rookie season at the same age Gordon was (20) when he made his Cup debut in 1992.

“Jeff and Jimmie (Johnson) are the drivers I’ve always watched most closely and tried to learn from,” said Byron, 19, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and signed with Hendrick Motorsports in August 2016. “I didn’t think I could be more motivated, but when Mr. (Rick) Hendrick called to tell me (about driving the No. 24), it took things to another level. I have so much respect for all the people who have contributed to the success of the ‘24.’ I know it’s rare to have the chance to be part of something like this. I’m going to make the most of it.”

Next season, Elliott and Byron will team with the No. 48 of seven-time Cup champion Johnson, 41, and the No. 88 of 24-year-old newcomer Alex Bowman in the Hendrick Motorsports stable.

“I know what the ‘9’ means to Chase and his whole family,” said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “They’ve contributed so much to our sport, and I’m happy we can honor that history by bringing the number back. I think fans will really love seeing it out there. I told Chase we’d only do it if he promised to win a bunch of races, so I’m going to hold him to that.

“The ‘fit factor’ is something I’ve always believed in, and that’s what I see with William and our organization. He reminds me a lot of Jeff at that age with regard to being a special talent and having a great head on his shoulders. But William is also his own person with his own career ahead of him. It’s going to be fun to watch him jump in the ‘24’ and show what he’s capable of.”

The debut of the No. 9 will mark the first time in nearly a decade that Hendrick Motorsports will field a new car number for one of its full-time teams. The most recent addition was the No. 88, which was added in 2008 when driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined the organization.

“I’m excited about the future,” Hendrick said. “We’ve made some management decisions recently that I feel really good about. Looking at next year, Jimmie will continue to be a leader and help set the tone. Alex is chomping at the bit and ready to go. When you add the (new) Chevrolet Camaro race car into the mix, it’ll definitely be a new look for us. Everyone’s energized.”

Following the 2017 season, Hendrick Motorsports will withdraw its No. 5 car number from competition. It was the organization’s first car number and has run full-time since the team was founded in 1984. The No. 5 was raced to Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory at Martinsville Speedway during its inaugural season, and Terry Labonte drove it to a Cup Series championship in 1996.

“That was by far the hardest part (of the car number decisions),” Hendrick said. “The ‘5’ means so much to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and to a lot of our fans. The memories and the history will always be there, and I won’t rule out bringing it back some day. Never say never.”

Next season, Elliott and the No. 9 will be fielded by his current No. 24 team while Byron and the No. 24 will be fielded by the current No. 5 team.

·  Will make its Hendrick Motorsports debut with driver Chase Elliott in 2018

·  Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott raced it in the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time in 1976

·  1988 Cup Series championship with Bill Elliott; raced to 38 of his 44 career Cup wins

·  2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship with Chase Elliott

·  53 combined points-paying wins in Cup Series competition with five drivers

·  First fielded by Hendrick Motorsports with Jeff Gordon in 1992; driven by Gordon until 2015

·  Currently raced by Chase Elliott, who debuted in 2016 and won Cup Series rookie of the year

·  With Gordon, four Cup Series championships and all 93 of its points-paying Cup victories; race wins include three Daytona 500s and a record five Brickyard 400s

·  First fielded by Hendrick Motorsports with driver Jimmie Johnson in 2001

·  With Johnson, a record-tying seven Cup Series championships and 83 of its 86 points-paying Cup wins; Johnson’s wins include two Daytona 500s and four Brickyard 400s

·  From 2002-2016, 5.3 average wins per year and 3.4 average championship points finish

·  First fielded by Hendrick Motorsports with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008

·  With Earnhardt, nine points-paying race wins, including the 2014 Daytona 500

·  74 combined points-paying wins in Cup Series competition with five drivers: Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Buck Baker; 1999 Cup championship with Jarrett

Hendrick Motorsports PR

Though he’s raced at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway just once, 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota driver Erik Jones understands the honor and historical significance to his career in competing in his first Bojangles’ Southern 500.

Jones qualified 10th and finished sixth in last season’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. He enters the Southern 500 seeking his fifth consecutive top-10 finish and third straight top-five finish.

“Racing in my first Southern 500 is pretty special,” said Jones. “It’s definitely one of the marquee races in all of motorsports and it’s one every competitor looks forward to. My Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., obviously won there last year so we’ll have some good notes going in.”

The No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota will carry a unique paint scheme that will honor the great rookie classes of the celebrated throwback era.  The paint scheme is a photographic Who’s Who of the NASCAR Cup Series rookie drivers from 1984 to 1989.

“It’s really cool to be running my first Southern 500 and first throwback weekend in the Cup Series,” said Jones. “To be able to run a 5-hour ENERGY paint scheme that not only is a throwback in itself but also to showcase the many great drivers who were rookies during the era, and some of who went out to win NASCAR’s biggest races, championships and hall of fame careers, is pretty special. It’s great to honor all of them, many who I have looked up to over the years.

Jones is currently tied with Ryan Newman for 15th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 24 races, following his first pole and a series career-best finish of second in the Aug. 19 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. He sits 19th in the playoff standings so will need a victory in one of the final two regular season races (Darlington, Richmond) to make the 16-driver playoff field.

The 21-year-old rookie took advantage of the off week to spend some time at home with friends, family and his German Shepherd puppy Oscar. He also got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Las Vegas: the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor boxing match.

“Having the opportunity to go to the Mayweather/McGregor fight was pretty neat,” Jones said. ‘It was the first fight I’ve ever seen in person so to be able to be a part of something of that magnitude was pretty awesome. I really had a great experience, had a lot of fun and really enjoyed my time in Las Vegas.”

Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 229 points are four ahead of Daniel Suarez (221) and 54 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (175).

The 367-lap 501.3-mile Bojangles’ Southern 500 will consist of three stages of 100/100/167 laps (laps 100/200/367). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 4 p.m. MT (6 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Saturday at 11:45 a.m. MT (1:45 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.


He’s got the Daytona 500 and he’s got the 600-mile race at Charlotte.


Now he just needs Indianapolis and Darlington.


And Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion, is ready for another milestone win in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.


Only four drivers have won the four crown jewels and they are legends of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only guys to see the checkered flag first at the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500.


Busch has had some success at Darlington, nearly winning the spring race in 2003. In one of the most memorable finishes in NASCAR history, Busch came up .002 of a second shy of victory at the track “Too Tough to Tame” when he was nosed out by Ricky Craven in one of the closest finishes in Cup Series competition since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.


Busch also finished third in 2010 and he won the pole position in September 2001 and April 2013.


And if Busch is to be successful, he’ll have to battle the odd shape of Darlington’s racing oval.

Darlington is an egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles in length – the odd shape because the western portion of the oval needed a tighter radius on the turns as founder Harold Brasington promised Sherman Ramsey, who owned a farm next to the property, that he wouldn’t disturb his minnow pond when he built the track in 1949.


The odd shape also means that, to find the fast way around the track, drivers run against the outside walls in each turn, sometimes brushing up against the wall and thus earning what has affectionately become known as a “Darlington Stripe” on the right side of the car. And the black marks left on the walls by the tires rubbing up against them all race weekend have led to the track’s other nickname – “The Lady in Black.”


Busch is hoping he can get a little stripe on his car, on the road to victory, to get another of the four crown jewels of NASCAR. 



Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota Camry for Furniture Row Racing will pay tribute to Bass Pro Shops 40th anniversary of TRACKER Boats, America’s No. 1 selling fishing boat during this weekend’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris first introduced the Bass Tracker Fishing Boat in the Bass Pro Shops catalog in 1978. It was a marine industry first ready-to-fish boat with motor and trailer package. It was an American ingenuity that quickly became the most popular fishing boat in the country.

Truex has a special fondness for the paint scheme.

“As an avid fisherman and close friend of Johnny Morris this is a special paint scheme for me personally,” said Truex. “TRACKER Boats and Bass Pro Shops have set a high standard and our goal Sunday night in Darlington is to mirror those high standards by bringing our No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota to Victory Lane.”

Truex does know the feeling of visiting the Southern 500 Victory Lane. He is the defending champion of the event, a victory he calls one of the highlights of his career.

While TRACKER Boats is the No. 1 selling fishing boat in America, Truex’s Camry has been the No. 1 race car in the NASCAR Cup Series. He leads in a number of categories, including driver points (971), playoff points (35), stage wins (15) and race wins (4).

With two races remaining before the start of the playoffs, Truex is once again in position to clinch the regular season championship. He has a 101-point lead over second place Kyle Busch.

To clinch the regular season title, Truex needs to leave Darlington with a 61-point margin. There are multiple scenarios for clinching. One of the easiest is for Truex to accumulate a total 20 driver points in Sunday night’s race at the 1.366-mile track. Note: a driver finishing 17th overall without any stage points will be awarded 20 points for the race.

However, Truex is not counting points. He is well aware of the pitfalls of Darlington Raceway even though he has completed all but four laps (4044 of 4048) in 11 starts at the track that is known as Too Tough to Tame.

“Darlington might be one of the most fun racetracks we compete on, but it’s also one of the toughest,” said Truex. “As we all know there’s not much room between the track and the concrete wall.

“I seem to have run well there over the years. Getting that win there last year was incredible. A special moment in my career. When it comes to Darlington you have to race the racetrack and attack it without stepping over the line.”

Truex’s career Cup record at Darlington includes 11 starts, one win, two top fives and five top 10s. His average start is 18.4 and average finish is 11.6.