Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (13610)

Martin Truex Jr. will be heading to his home track this weekend – Dover International Speedway -- with the No. 1 driver ranking in the NASCAR Cup Series, and also as the most recent winner at Dover’s all-concrete 1-mile oval.

The Furniture Row Racing driver, who grew up 130 miles northeast of Dover in Mayetta, N.J., took over the points lead following his third-place finish in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the first time in Truex’s career of being the points leader during the NASCAR Cup Series’ regular season.

Truex, who has secured two wins in his No. 78 Toyota Camry this season (Las Vegas and Kansas), was the victor in his last appearance at Dover, winning the playoff race in October. He also scored his first career Cup victory at Dover in June 2007.

Along with being the points leader, the Furniture Row Racing driver will also be taking a number of other series-leading statistics with him. He is tied for most wins (2), and is the sole leader in the following categories – laps led (769) stage wins (6), stage points (157) and playoff bonus points (16).  He has a 8.8 starting average and 9.8 finishing average in the first 12 races of the season.

“Finishing third in Charlotte was bittersweet,” said Truex. “I felt we had a good shot at winning that race. But it’s nice to be the points leader, a tribute to everyone at Furniture Row Racing for their commitment to be the best.  We want to keep that ranking, and right now all focus is on this week at one of my favorite tracks. I feel very comfortable on the Dover track and we have run well there since I joined Furniture Row Racing.”

There is no question that Dover has been one of Truex’s best tracks since he joined Furniture Row Racing in 2014. He has posted five top-10 finishes and one 11th-place result in his last six Dover races for a finishing average of 6.66.

Truex will be looking for similar success in Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism. He feels confident that his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will be one of the contenders in the 400-mile race.

“All year the guys have been bringing fast cars to the track,” said Truex, who has four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. “I don't see why that should change this weekend with our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota. It’s been a lot of fun coming to the racetrack week in and week out knowing that you’re going to have a shot of being in contention for a win. “Just can’t say enough about Cole (Pearn, crew chief), his engineering staff, the guys on the road and back at the shop in Denver.  They keep on delivering competitive race cars.”

FRR PR

BK Racing’s team owner, Ron Devine, announced today that Ryan Sieg will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the No. 83 JAS Expedited Trucking / AntlerGrow Toyota Camry this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Sieg has been competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2013. Last season, Sieg was one of the 12 drivers to advance to the Xfinity Series play-offs, where he finished ninth in driver points.

"I'm so happy to be making my Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut for BK Racing this weekend in Dover,” said Sieg. “Ron Devine has given so many drivers an opportunity in the past and I'm thankful to have that same chance as so many others. I have never driven a Cup car in my life, so I just want to run as many laps as possible and learn as much as I can."

 “I have been watching Ryan race for a number of years and have been really impressed by his driving skills,” said Devine. “I believe that this is the right time to put Ryan in one of our cars to see what he can do. Corey will be back in the car beginning next week at Pocono, and he is a very important part of BK Racing’s bright future. If things work out with Ryan for the long run, we may see the No. 93 car return. A big part of BK Racing has always been seeking out young talent and giving them a chance in the premier racing series, so I’m proud to be able to give Ryan that chance as I did for Corey, Joey Gase, and Gray Gaulding already this season.”

BK Racing PR

Learning from the negatives and building on the positives just one-third of the way into Erik Jones’ rookie season in NASCAR’s premier series has created the momentum he carries into Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Jones and Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota Camry team are coming off season-best performances in both qualifying (fifth) and finishing (seventh) positions from last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jones finished 13th in the first 100-lap stage, then ran in the top 10 for the majority of the race. He earned 13 additional championship points for finishes of eighth, fifth, and seventh, respectively, in the race’s final three 100-lap stages.

“Qualifying fifth and finishing seventh at Charlotte was what the 5-hour ENERGY team needed after some tough races recently and it’s definitely something to build on,” said Jones. “We just needed a good, solid finish to remind ourselves that we have all the pieces; it’s just a matter of getting everything in sync and working together. We can now take that momentum to Dover and, hopefully, have another strong weekend.”

The Byron, Mich., native has four previous starts at the high-banked 1-mile Dover International Speedway. He qualified second, led 50 laps and finished third in his track debut May 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The next day he started sixth, led 70 laps and finished ninth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race. In two XFINITY Series races in 2016, Jones qualified third and led 76 laps en route to victory on May 14 and, on Oct. 1, qualified on the pole and led 54 laps before finishing 16th.

In all, Jones qualified no worse than sixth at The Monster Mile, has one victory, another top-five and a third top-10 finish, earned one pole position and led a total of 250 laps.

“Dover is a track I really enjoy and I’ve had it marked on the calendar since the beginning of the year,” said Jones. “We’ve always been fast there and it’s a track I’ve always felt pretty comfortable on. I had some success early in my career at high-banked tracks like Winchester (Ind.) Speedway so that’s helped me at Dover. But they call it The Monster Mile for a reason so it’s a place where you have to be at your best all day.”

Jones is now 18th in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 12 races, 10 points behind Ryan Newman for 17th and 32 behind Matt Kenseth for 15th. He is currently second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings, 10 behind leader Daniel Suarez and five ahead of Ty Dillon in third.

The Toyotas of Jones and Furniture Row Racing teammate, Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Camry and the current NASCAR Cup Series point leader, will carry Autism Delaware decals on their B-posts this weekend.  Autism Delaware is a leader in the First State on autism awareness since its founding in 1998. This is the 11th consecutive year Dover International Speedway’s spring NASCAR race has had a tie-in with the cause of autism awareness.

The 400-lap, 400-mile AAA 400 Drive for Autism will consist of three stages of 120/120/160 laps (laps 120/240/400). In each of the first two stages, drivers finishing in the top 10 will receive championship points (10 to 1) with the winner receiving one playoff point. The overall race winner will earn 40 championship points and five playoff points. Playoff points accumulated during the season will carry through the first three of the four playoff rounds.

Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, SiriusXM 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 3:50 p.m. ET on FS1.

FRR PR

Cassill on Dover

"Dover is very intense. You've got a lot of load on your body. It's really hard to feel the car because the track just feels so rough because of the concrete surface. So, it's quite a challenge, but I still always look forward to Dover. It's a fun track.

"How the track rubbers up is always something you have to be prepared to react to. It might build up in a way that it balls up and creates a gooey mess. We've also had it build up to where it's really dusty. And you never really know until probably Saturday after the XFINITY race, and you can get a good idea what it's going to do Sunday.

"We have Love's Travel Stops back on our car at Dover. This will be their first race at the 'Monster Mile,' so we want to have a good run for them. We had a top-20 finish in this race last year, so we think we can have another good day."

FRM PR

Ragan on Dover

"Dover is one of the crazier tracks that we go to. It's really, really fast, and you can feel the speed. You don't see the 190 or 200 miles an hour like we do at some of the other tracks, but it feels fast. You've got a lot of banking on the straightaways, and you can drive really hard into the corners. The corners have a lot of grip with the concrete surface.

"It's a tough, challenging race track. Four hundred laps at Dover is physically tough on the driver, but I think it's one of the best race tracks on our circuit. You can run two- and three-wide there. But you always have to get single-file down those straightaways because you've got an inside and outside wall, and it's tight. You don't have a lot of wiggle room. But it's always a fun race, and our Overton's team is looking forward to going there."

FRM PR

In an initiative to educate colleges and universities with the different spectacles available in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), Rick Ware Racing announced today that the Pirates of East Carolina University (ECU) will serve as the primary partner for Sunday’s AAA Drive for Autism 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

With the objective of working with colleges/universities to educate and experience NASCAR’s marketing abilities firsthand, the partnership with East Carolina University at Dover is the first of a three-race introduction at NASCAR’s pinnacle level.

In addition to Dover, ECU’s colors will fly on RWR’s No. 51 Chevrolet at the Crown Royal presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23rd, followed by the final race of the regular season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 9 for the Federated Auto Parts 400.

"We're excited to partner with Rick Ware Racing for three nationally televised races,” offered ECU Athletics Director Jeff Compher. “This is a unique opportunity to not only extend the East Carolina University brand but also to build on our relationship with NASCAR, a sport that has deep roots in our state. I know Pirate Nation will join me in cheering on the No. 51 car as they compete in the NASCAR Cup Series."

Team principal Rick Ware says the idea to partner with universities around the country not only brings an opportunity for the two worlds to interact in new and advantageous ways, but also draw upon a potentially expandable new fan base.

"We are extremely excited about this program and working with these great universities from all over the country,” said Ware. “We feel privileged to carry the colors and logos of East Carolina University next weekend at Dover. 

“NASCAR is a great resource for these college universities to use to promote their brand nationwide.  We are very excited to sport the pride of East Carolina’s purple and gold for these three upcoming races.”

RWR marketing director Bryan Clodfelter says the team has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the initiative.

"This is a marketing program that allows universities and their supporters the opportunity to experience the many hands-on sectors that a NASCAR team has to offer,” he said.  “We couldn't be happier having East Carolina University join us for three race and we are eager to unload this great looking race car at Dover. 

“We are also equally enthusiastic at the response we have had from many other great universities from all over the country and look forward to promoting their universities at other races on the NASCAR schedule."

Rick Ware Racing will compete in their 11th Cup Series race of the season and first at Dover’s Monster Mile on Sun., June 4.

RWR PR

Fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR races at Dover (Del.) International Speedway will be seeing double when it comes to the PEDIGREE® brand colors during races at the concrete mile oval.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will sport the familiar yellow colors for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism.

Fans will also see double throughout the Dover weekend as the PEDIGREE® Brand will also back talented up-and-coming driver Todd Gilliland in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). The 17-year old Gilliland, son of former PEDIGREE® driver David Gilliland, is scheduled to make his Truck Series debut in Friday afternoon’s race.

 

Gilliland has much in common with his team owner Busch, as not only have the two found victory lane on a regular basis, they are also dog enthusiasts, which makes the fit for the PEDIGREE® brand with KBM and Gilliland that much more special. While this will be his debut in NASCAR’s third-tier series, Gilliland has been impressive so far in K&N West Series action by bringing home 11 wins in just 21 starts. Thus, Gilliland and Busch will no doubt be contenders to win the Truck and Cup Series races this weekend at Dover.

 

While Gilliland has never raced at Dover, he won’t need to look far for advice from Busch, who has had a lot of success at Dover over the years in all three of NASCAR’s touring series.  Busch and his PEDIGREE® team have a strong resume at the track affectionately known as the “Monster Mile” – two Cup Series wins, five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four Truck Series wins. Busch has led 1,039 laps in his previous 24 Cup Series starts at Dover, an average of almost 46.3 per race. He will look to improve on his runner-up finish at Dover last fall, which is among his 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s there.

 

So, as Busch and his PEDIGREE® team prepare for battle, it’s with the confidence he knows how to get the job done at Dover. Even better, should the young Gilliland start off the weekend on the right foot Friday, the stage would be set for the PEDIGREE® driver duo to enjoy a fun “Double Weekend for the Dogs” on the Delmarva Peninsula.

 

TSC PR

BK Racing announced today that Addiction Campuses will sponsor Gray Gaulding in The No. 23 Toyota Camry for the upcoming AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway and the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. Addiction Campuses provides the most comprehensive addiction treatment programs in the country.

"Addiction Campuses is thrilled to be partnering with Gray Gaulding and BK Racing,” said Eric Mitchell, Chief Marketing Officer of Addiction Campuses. “Gray is an amazing athlete and a great example that you can achieve great things and accomplish any goal or dream that you have if you never give up hope!"

In addition to partnering with Gray Gaulding, BK Racing has joined forces to establish a dedicated hotline open 24/7 for those battling mental health issues, alcoholism or drug addiction in their family. By calling 1.844.888.HELP, those struggling or their loved one will be immediately connected with a Treatment Specialist standing by to help.

“I’m excited to partner with Addiction Campuses and spread the message of their treatment facilities and treating addiction right the first time.” said Gray Gaulding. “Addiction Campuses has a national network of treatment campuses and they’re continuing to grow so that they can continue to treat patients nationwide.”

“BK Racing is very proud to have Addiction Campuses on board with us for the next two weeks,” said Doug Fritz, Chief Marketing Officer of BK Racing. “The work that they do to help individuals and communities is truly inspiring, and we are glad we can help them share their mission.”

“200 people die every day due to addiction and another 22 million need services and can’t find the appropriate level of care,” says Addiction Campuses CEO Brent Clements. “Addiction Campuses was built to help those in need.”

BK Racing PR

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford driver Clint Bowyer will pay extra attention to FOX Sports 1’s coverage of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Dover (Del.) Speedway.

Bowyer would typically watch the Xfinity Series race to learn lessons he plans to apply Sunday when he races the No. 14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Dover’s concrete, mile oval. He’ll do that again Saturday in Delaware, but he’ll also be watching the broadcast knowing, the following week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the entire Xfinity race broadcast will fall on the shoulders of he and several Cup drivers.

Eight drivers will make up the entire on-air team during the Pocono Xfinity Series race, although the network’s regular broadcasters will be standing by for assistance. SHR teammate Kevin Harvick will be the play-by-play announcer, and he will be joined in the main broadcast booth by Joey Logano and Bowyer. Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be pit reporters, and Denny Hamlin and fellow SHR driver Danica Patrick will work in the network’s “Hollywood Hotel” mobile studio.

“I think it is going to be a heck of a lot of fun and, yes, I am excited,” said Bowyer, who estimates he, Harvick and Logano will have the easiest jobs. “But, we are going to mess this up.

“For us in the booth, it’s going to be pretty easy to talk about the race because that’s what we do whether we’re in the booth, in the garage or in our motorhomes. We’re always talking about racing. All of that will come pretty easy. We’re just going to have to do our homework.”

Bowyer, who served as the Xfinity Series analyst for FOX at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last weekend, said he already has an inkling of how his boothmates will perform during the broadcast.

“I think Harvick will be good because he’ll put in the research, time and energy,” Bowyer said. “I will probably be terrible and Joey (Logano) will be somewhere in-between.”

FOX said it will be the first time a national broadcast of a live sporting event will exclusively feature a broadcast crew made up of active athletes who compete in the same sport.

Bowyer predicts the most entertaining moments of the broadcast will come from Jones, Blaney and Stenhouse, who’ll man pit road and the garage in charge of reporting on race strategy and interviewing drivers who exit the race.

“I can’t imagine having to go interview a driver after he just crashed because I know how pissed you are – it really is a touchy situation,” said Bowyer, who couldn’t resist a zinger at his friend Stenhouse. “Usually, they (television networks) send a cute girl to try to get you to talk about the incident. So when you see a guy like Ricky show up with a microphone, I’m sure none of those guys are really going to want to talk to him.”

While Saturday will be fun, Sunday will be all business for Bowyer, who enters his 23rd race at Dover. He’s enjoyed success on the Monster Mile, posting two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. After 12 races, the No. 14 team is ninth in points in Bowyer’s first season replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart, who retired from NASCAR racing at the end of the 2016 season.

“I’m really looking forward to going back to some of these tracks a second time,” Bowyer said. “We’ll have notes on what worked and didn’t work and have a base of information. Right now we’re going to these tracks for the first time as a group. I think we’ve done OK, but all of us expect even better performances in the second half of the season.”

TSC PR

 

Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and Michael McDowell record their best back-to-back finish streak at Charlotte Motor Speedway after an exhausting, rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600.

The team began the weekend in Charlotte with a solid set-up after their 13th place finish at Kansas Speedway. McDowell was able to make it to the second round of qualifying and was 21st fastest in that round, where he would start the race on Sunday.

During the first stage of the Coca-Cola 600, McDowell began the race by quickly moving into the Top-20. He made his first green flag pit stop just after the halfway mark of the first stage, which would put him one lap down.

McDowell finished the first stage a lap down and raced there during the second stage until rain plagued the mile and a half track just as the halfway mark of the second stage arrived, red-flagging the field.

When the track officials finished drying the track, McDowell restarted the race as the first driver a lap down and made a pit stop before the green flag fell with 21 laps left in the second stage.

At the end of the stage, McDowell earned the Lucky Dog spot, which put him back on the lead lap for the start of the third stage, where he would race in the Top-25 and made it as far as 19th.

At the start of the final stage, McDowell broke into the Top-15 before having to make another green flag pit stop with just under 40 laps to go, as Crew Chief, Todd Parrott, let him know over the radio that he would be about four laps short on fuel.

McDowell made his best lap of the race with just under 30 laps remaining and went on to finish 19th, as the field raced into Memorial Day.

Sunday was a solid race for us,” said McDowell. “The strategy at the end just didn’t quite work out, but we were running in the Top-20 and finished in the Top-20, so it was a good day overall. 600 miles is a long race, but our LFR team did a great job all weekend.”

Next up for LFR and McDowell, is Dover International Raceway, where they look to extend their streak of Top-20 finishes.

“Dover is a hard race,” said McDowell. “I think it is the hardest race we go to. It’s like a big Bristol, and for us, it’s a track that we haven’t quite nailed down yet. So much has changed, though, since Todd Parrott came on at the end of last year, so it’s really hard to judge based off of past runs.

“I feel like every time we go to a racetrack we have a fresh start and a new opportunity with better cars and better people. Dover is a place where if you get the car right, you can have a good day. Staying on the lead lap there can mean a Top-15 finish, so that is a huge part of racing there.”

The AAA 400 Drive for Autism will take place on Sunday, June 4 at 1PM ET. Race fans can tune-in to FS1 for live coverage and follow @LFR95 on Twitter for updates.

LFR PR

Ty Dillon and the Germain Racing crew returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway looking to build upon their solid performance at the Monster Energy Open last weekend. After many starts in the Xfinity Series, the Coca-Cola 600 would be Dillon's first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile oval. He would have to use his instincts, training, as well as trust his crew chief, Bootie Barker, to help guide him through the longest race of the year.
 
Although the Coca-Cola 600 is one of the biggest races of the year, the weekend wasn't all about racing. It was also about honoring those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Dillon and Germain Racing were honored to feature Marine Corporal Nathaniel Hammond, who lost his life in Iraq, on the windshield of the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy. On hand for the race were members of Hammond's family, along with one of his fellow service members from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
Despite the hard work of the Germain Racing team, their 27th place qualifying effort was voided when a nail was found in the sidewall of one of their tires. The team would be forced to swap the bad tires for good ones and start the race from the rear of the field, per a NASCAR rule that requires drivers to begin the race on the same tires on which they qualify. With 600-miles of racing set before them, Dillon and the GEICO Military team were unfazed, given they would be permitted significant time to recover lost ground.
 
When the green flagged waved, Dillon immediately went to work. In just 15 laps, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate picked up 9 positions. Unfortunately, he then made contact with the No. 47 Chevrolet of A.J. Allmendinger, causing a left-rear tire rub and damage to the quarter panel. Dillon quickly delivered the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy to pit road for repairs, along with four fresh Goodyear tires. He found himself one lap down early in the race, so the balance of Stage 1 saw crew chief Bootie Barker use strategy in an attempt to return to the lead lap. Germain Racing had to make additional adjustments to help with looseness on entry at the stage break. This adjustment allowed Dillon additional speed, and he began to run lap times consistent with cars at the front of the field.
 
Dillon and his GEICO Military Chevy continued to log top-10 lap times through the beginning of Stage 2 until Mother Nature imposed her will on the 400-lap event. The race was red flagged on lap 143 due to nearby lighting, which was followed by heavy wind and rain.
 
The field was back to green flag racing after a two-hour rain delay. Once back on the track to finish Stage 2, Crew Chief Bootie Barker instructed Dillon that the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy was going to make long runs in an effort to ultimately rejoin the lead lap. After taking the wave-around during the caution before the start of Stage 3, Dillon had gained ground, but remained a lap down to the leaders.
 
Things were looking up for Germain racing at the beginning of Stage 3. They believed they could continue to make gains by employing a fuel strategy, as well as the goal of making it through the stage by pitting just once. Dillon continued to hustle around the mile and a half facility until heavy smoke began billowing from the rear of the car. On Lap 245, the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy was forced to go behind the wall. The rear-end gear broke and blew a hole in the housing, ending the comeback early. Dillon completed just 242 of the prescribed 400-laps and was credited with a 36th place finish.
 
"We felt we had a great GEICO Military Chevy coming into tonight, but unfortunately it didn't end as we expected," said Dillon after the race. "We made contact with the No. 47 and put the fender on our left rear tire, and we had to come in and do a green flag stop out of the gate, which put us two laps down. We were trying things to get some laps back to eventually get back on the lead lap. In spite of our great efforts as a team, it just wasn't our day. We've had a great year so far, and I'm proud we were able honor Corporal Nathaniel Hammond on the windshield, and to have his family and one of his fellow service member at the track with us."
 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Dover, Delaware to Dover International Speedway. Dillon and the GEICO No. 13 Chevrolet will hit the track Friday, June 2nd for opening practice at 10:30AM ET. Qualifying will follow at 3:50PM ET.
 
The AAA 400 Drive for Autism will take place on Sunday, June 4th, with FS1 covering the race live beginning at 1:00PM ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio channel 90 will also have the live radio broadcast.
 
PMI PR