Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14026)

tage 1:  Laps 1-50
  • Started 32nd , finished 29th
  • Caution Lap 1:  As the field took the green flag for the start of the Overton's 400, a multi-vehicle incident in Turn 3 collected eight competitors. Cole Whitt navigated his way through the chaos unscathed. He restarted 26th.
  • Lap 11, running 32nd, he reported the Unique Pretzels No. 72, was "really tight".
  • By lap 20, the handling was "freeing up with a long green flag run but still tight" and requesting the pending changes not make the handling too loose.
  • As others began to make green flag pit stops, Whitt was posted as high as 14th on the leaderboard. Running 15th on lap 26, Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him in for a green flag pit stop for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He returned to the field in the 33rd positon, one lap down from the leader.
  • Stage 1 Completion Caution:  Finished 29th. Whitt reported he needed more the lean on in the rear. Being a lap down, he stayed out on track to take the wave around.
 
Stage 2:  Concluded on Lap 100
  • As the field took the green flag restart for Stage 2, Whitt having just taken the wave around was back on the lead lap. He pitted under green for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustment. He rejoined the field just in time to remain on the lead lap as a caution flag came out for an incident. He came back to pit under caution for fuel only, taking the green flag restart 18th.
  • Caution Lap 71 for debris: Whitt relayed the Unique Pretzels No. 72 was "a little tight and losing the nose". He pitted for four tires, packer pulled from right front and fuel, going to back to green 24th.
  • Stage 2 Completion Caution:  Finished 21st. Whitt pitted for four tires, fuel and packer. He started Stage 3, 19th on the leaderboard.
 
Stage 3:  Concluded on Lap 160
  • The Unique Pretzels No. 72 remained "a little tight" as the long green flag run of Stage 3 progressed. Being caution free, on lap 133, running 17th, Whitt pitted under green for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustment.
  • The competition remained caution free for the entirety of Stage 3. Cole Whitt remained steady in the Unique Pretzels No. 72 and secured a 24th place finish at the Tricky Triangle.
 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Series will compete August 6, 2017 at Watkins Glen International.
 
"Let's end this day on a high note", Mark Smith...

Erik Jones and the No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota team overcame a loose-handling race car and equipment failure on pit road to finish eighth in the Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.

It was Jones’ sixth top-10 finish of the season and second straight top 10 at Pocono (he finished third in the June race there).

“It was okay, just up and down,” said Jones. “We just needed track position most of the day. We had a loose wheel and that put us way behind. We just had to work back from that. The SiriusXM Camry had good speed, but just the handling wasn’t great all day – rear grip really. We made some adjustments throughout the day and just have to keep working at it.”

The 21-year-old rookie moved up one position, to 16th, in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 21 races. He is 22 points behind Ryan Newman for 15th place.

Jones started on the inside of Row 5 for Sunday’s 160-lap race after qualifying ninth earlier in the day on the three-turn, 2.5-mile track. The handling of the No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota was loose from the green flag and adjustments made during a pit stop on Lap 26 didn’t seem to help matters. Jones was scored 13th after the first 50-lap stage.

Further adjustments made under caution before Stage 2 began made the difference and Jones made a slow but steady march forward. Crew chief Chris Gayle was playing the strategy came that earned the team its season-best third-place finish in June. He called Jones to pit road with just a couple laps remaining while running eighth. Unfortunately, the front-tire changer’s gun jammed during the stop, slowing the stop and forcing Jones back to pit road for a loose lug nut.

That put the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing team in 24th to start the final stage. Jones worked his way up to 12th with 40 laps to go. Gayle kept his driver out while many of the leaders began to pit under green. Jones ran second with 20 to go before making that final stop. He dropped to 11th but picked up three positions to take the checkered flag in eighth.

FRR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

Kurt Busch started 18th, finished 15th.

Navigated first-lap incident in turn three by going high to avoid a spinning Matt Kenseth.

Busch pitted his Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion on lap 20 for four tires, fuel and a minor tire pressure adjustment.

On lap 38, Busch reported that his car was loose in all three corners.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

Started 15th, finished fourth. Earned seven bonus points.

Busch pitted under caution on lap 52 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

The No. 41 remained loose through the track’s corners, so Busch pitted on lap 71 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

Leaders pitted late in the stage, but Busch stayed out to finish fourth.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

Started 13th, finished 13th.

Busch radioed to his team that his car was handling better. He pitted on lap 102 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

Busch pitted on lap 124 for four tires and fuel.

In the latter part of the race the car developed a slight vibration, but Busch persevered and brought it home to a 13th-place finish.

 

Notes:

This was Busch’s 33rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono and his 597th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

● Sixteen of the 38 drivers in the Overton’s 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 400 to score his 39th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Pocono. His margin of victory over runner-up Kevin Harvick was 6.178 seconds.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 823 points and holds an 85-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I thought we did a good job on strategy based off the pace of our car. We were just kind of welded to 15th place all day. We weren’t close enough to gamble and pit while it was under green conditions. We just kept chipping away at it. Restarts for us were 50-50; some were good, some were bad. Overall, we experimented with some suspension and we know not to do that again.”

 

TSC PR

Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team got off to a fast start on Sunday at the Pocono Raceway. Blaney qualified fifth for the 400-mile run, then finished the first 50-lap Stage in fifth place, earning six bonus points.

But 10 laps into Stage Two, Blaney was involved in a fender-bender just after a restart. The damage to the right front of the No. 21 Fusion wasn’t race-ending, but it did require two trips to pit road for repairs.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team lost two laps in the process and were unable to overcome the setback. He finished 30th, still two laps behind. Nonetheless, he remains 12th in the championship points standings.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said the varying pit strategies employed by lead-lap teams at Pocono effectively took away any chance of his team taking the wave-around and regaining a lost lap.
 
“It almost worked at the end of Stage Two, but some of the leaders pitted before the end of the stage and then didn’t pit when the caution flag flew, so we were trapped two laps down,” he said.
 
Wood pointed out that even after the repairs, the No. 21 Fusion was running good lap times.
 
“The car was fast even after the damage,” he said. “We just didn’t have the opportunity to get caught up.”
 
Sunday’s race was the first of three this season that will see qualifying and the race on the same day, the other two being at Watkins Glen and Martinsville Speedway. Wood said he was encouraged by the fan reaction to the new format.
 
“There was a good crowd here, especially in the infield and on pit road before the race,” he said. “It just didn’t work out for us like we had hoped it would, especially after winning here last month.”
 
Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team now head to Watkins Glen where the team will get the fifth pick of pit stalls based on their qualifying results from Pocono.
 
“That’s a little bonus that we wouldn’t have gotten without the new format,” Wood said.

WBR PR

It was another top-10 outing for Furniture Row Racing with Martin Truex Jr. bringing home a third-place finish and teammate Erik Jones posting an eighth-place result in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Truex, who battled winner Kyle Busch for the majority of the race, lost valuable track position when his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota got stuck in traffic after making a green flag pit stop on Lap 127 of 160. Before making the pit stop – which was his final one of the day -- he was the race leader.

“We obviously lost the lead there when it cycled back around,” said Truex. “Then we just kind of got hung up in lap traffic a couple times. Got hung up once with a guy pitting and lost second to the 4 car (Kevin Harvick).”

Truex, who qualified second earlier in the day, ran a strong race. He was basically positioned in the top three for the majority of the race and led twice for 31 laps.

“Nothing spectacular but definitely a solid weekend,” noted Truex. “Really a good job by everybody on the team, especially the two new tire changers (John Royer and Kip Wolfmeier) who had to fill in today. I thought they did an excellent job.

“We had two good practice sessions, qualified second and finished third. We kind of battled a little bit back and forth with the handling of the car. But everybody did a really good job of staying in it. I think Kyle had the best car today.”

Truex finished second in the first stage, picking up nine championship points. He was enjoying a comfortable lead in the second stage but with two laps remaining in the stage he was called to pit road for a four-tire stop. It was strategic move that other teams also employed to get track position for the final 60-lap segment.

“The thought was if we didn't pit there, we probably weren't going to have a shot at winning the race,” explained Truex. “That was the gamble and it was our mindset before the race. We figured if we felt like we were good enough to possibly win the race, we'd have to pit before the end of that second stage.”

Though he might have lost out on 10 points for not winning the second stage, Truex’s lead in the driver standings increased by 37 points.. He leads second place Kyle Larson by 85 points with five Cup races remaining in the regular season. The driver who leads the standings at the conclusion of the 26-race regular season will pocket an additional 15 playoff points.

Rookie Erik Jones finished eighth, his sixth top-10 of the season and second straight top 10 at Pocono (he finished 3rd in the June Pocono race).

Strategy and perseverance under pressure again paid off for Jones and the No. 77 Sirius/XM Toyota team despite a loose handling race car and an equipment failure on pit road.

Jones was loose throughout the first two-thirds of the race. He finished 13th in the first 50-lap stage. In the second stage, crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road with just a couple laps remaining while running 8th. He was also playing the strategy game but unfortunately the front-tire changer’s gun jammed, slowing the stop and forcing Jones back to pit road for a loose lug nut.

That put the No.77 team in 24th position to start the final stage. Jones worked his way up to 12th with 40 laps to go. Gayle kept his driver out while many of the leaders began to pit under green. Jones ran second with 20 to go before making that final stop. He dropped to 11th but picked up three positions to take the checkered flag in 8th.

“It was okay, just up and down,” said Jones. Just needed track position most of the day. We had a loose wheel and that put us way behind. Just had to work back from that. The SiriusXM Camry had good speed, but just the handling wasn’t great all day – rear grip really. We made some adjustments throughout the day and just have to keep working at it.”

FRR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

Danica Patrick started 22nd and finished 23rd.

● The No. 10 Code 3 Associates/One Cure Ford was collected in an accident on lap one, leaving the car with minimal front-end damage.

● Patrick battled to the fourth position on lap 27 before crew chief Billy Scott called her to the pits on lap 30. Patrick took four fresh tires, fuel and wedge adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

Started 20th and finished third. Earned eight stage points.

● Scott called Patrick to pit road during a lap-70 caution, where the team changed four tires, added fuel and made more wedge adjustments. Patrick restarted in the 13th position.

● Patrick battled her way to third after several cars took green-flag pit stops toward the end of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

Started 12th and finished 15th.

● Scott called Patrick back to the pits for a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 130. The No. 10 Code 3 Associates/One Cure Ford got four new tires and fuel.

● Once the field cycled through green-flag pit stops, Patrick ran in the 15th position for the remainder of the race.

 

Notes:

● This was Patrick’s 10th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono Raceway and her 175th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

● Sixteen of the 38 drivers in the Overton’s 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 400 from the pole to score his 39th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Pocono Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 6.178 seconds.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 823 points and has an 85-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Code 3 Associates/One Cure Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“The Code 3 Associates Ford team did a great job today getting us another top-15. We have really gained some consistency over the past few weekends. I think we’re going to put together more top-15s and top-10s this season as long as we can stay out of trouble and finish the race.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the I Love New York 355k at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 6 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The event starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.

 

TSC PR

After overcoming a pit-road speeding penalty at the end of stage two, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. persevered gaining 12 positions in the final stage to take the checkered flag in the 16th position in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Pocono Raceway.

“This is probably one of the best cars I’ve had at Pocono,” Stenhouse said. “We should’ve had a better finish today but the pit-road speeding penalty cost us. Overall we had a good weekend and will keep learning in these final races before the Playoffs.”

After starting in the 21st position, the Olive Branch, Miss. native took over the lead on lap 25 where he led 11 laps as differences of pit strategy played out in stage one. Once the pit stops cycled through, Stenhouse took the green checkered to end the stage in the 17th position.

With a flurry of cautions in stage two, differences in pit strategy came into play. In the closing laps of stage two, the leaders hit pit road allowing Stenhouse to score a seventh-place finish and gaining valuable playoff points.

When leaving pit-road after his stop during the stages, Stenhouse got a pit-road speeding penalty forcing him to start at the tail end of the field for the final stage. After restarting in the 28th position, Stenhouse was able to pick up 12 positions in the finale to take the checkered flag in the 16th position.

Next up for Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 team is the I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 6. Race coverage begins at 3 p.m. on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90. 

RFR PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, fought a tight-handling condition throughout Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) at Pocono Raceway, ultimately leading to a 20th-place finish.

“We were just really tight at the end,” said Bayne after the race. “As each run got longer the handling would shift more and more toward being tight on the exit of the corners. But I want thank all of my guys for their hard work this weekend. We’ll rebound from this next week in Watkins Glen. We got a top-10 there last year and I’m confident that we can unload another fast AdvoCare Ford when we get there next week.”

Bayne began the day from the 19th position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Sunday morning. The driver of the AdvoCare Ford maintained his top-20 track position throughout the opening stage, improving to as high as fourth as a variety of pit strategies dominated the early portion of the 160-Lap event. Staying out as long as possible, crew chief Matt Puccia called Bayne to pit road on Lap 23 for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Bayne cycled out to 21st following the stop but drove up to 19th before the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 50.

After returning to pit road between stages for four tires and another round of adjustments, the Knoxville, Tenn. native took the green for Stage 2 from 17th. Two quick cautions to begin the stage helped the driver of the AdvoCare Ford climb forward and into the top 15. Bayne continued to fight for position inside the top 15 until a tight-handling condition on the exit of Pocono’s three distinct corners shuffled the Roush Fenway Racing driver back to 18th following a Lap 74 restart.

Puccia made the call to leave Bayne on the track despite the tight-handling condition while several of the leaders came to pit road in the closing laps of the stage. As a result, Bayne took the green and checkered flag to end Stage 2 in the eighth position, earning valuable bonus points in the process.

Bayne hit pit road once again at the completion of the stage for another round of adjustments. However, a speeding penalty forced the 2011 Daytona 500 champion to fall to the rear of the field just prior to the beginning of Stage 3. Despite the loss of track position Bayne pressed forward, driving back up to 22nd before another round of green flag pit stops began and ultimately up to 13th before having to return to pit road on Lap 133.

When the final green flag pit stops concluded Bayne cycled out in the 21st position and reported that the AdvoCare Ford was the tightest it had been. Even though the tight-handling condition returned, Bayne continued to fight and took the checkered flag in the 20th position.

Next up for the MENCS is Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Aug. 6.

RFR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

Clint Bowyerstarted seventh, finished eighth to earn three race points.

Fell back to 13th in opening laps because his car was loose in the corners.

Told crew he needed to turn better, especially in first turn.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

Started ninth and finished first to earn 10 race points.

Led the final five laps for his first stage victory of the season.

Climbed into the top-five for the first time on lap 66.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

Started 11th and finished sixth.

Pitted under green with 35 laps remaining.

Said his car was growing looser as the race neared the final laps.

Climbed as high as fifth in the final stage before finishing sixth.

 

Notes:

● Bowyer scored his ninth top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Bowyer’s 10th top-10 finish in 24 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.

●  Bowyer led five laps in Stage 2.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

●  Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 400 to score his 39th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Pocono.

●  Bowyer remains 17th in the 16-driver playoff standings just 17 points behind Matt Kenseth.

●  Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 823 points, holding a 87-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Our Ford was good all weekend. We unloaded a fast car. This is the best car that we’ve unloaded in quite some time. A little bit different build. Hopefully this is what we’re looking for, what I’m looking for, and build on this.”

 

TSC PR

Contact with other cars on re-starts during the second segment of the Overton’s 400 kept Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team from repeating their June win at Pocono Raceway and cause a 30th-place finish.

The weekend started well for Wood Brothers Racing with a fifth-place starting position. It was Blaney’s 14th top-10 start in 21 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Then he went on to finish fifth in Stage 1 collecting five additional regular-season points in the process.

Early in Stage 2, however, Blaney made contact with Jimmie Johnson during one re-start then Erik Jones on another re-start. The second incident caused enough damage to require two extra visits to pit road taking the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion out of contention.

“Obviously that wasn’t the finish we thought we’d have today,” Blaney said. “Unfortunately we got some contact on re-starts and had to pit to fix damage and that put us behind. It’s too bad. We had a fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford this weekend, definitely a top-10 or a top-five car.”

Once the iconic Wood Brothers No. 21 was fixed, Blaney and company were in 34th place two laps behind the leader at lap 70 of 160. He continued to drive hard and improved four positions before the checkered flag flew over the Tricky Triangle.

“We’ll put this behind us and go to Watkins Glen and do what we did at Sonoma,” said Blaney referring to his top-10 finish at the California road course earlier this season.

Blaney is now eighth in the NASCAR Playoffs standings with his June Pocono win and eight playoff points. He is 12th in the regular season standings, 294 points behind leader Martin Truex, Jr.

The next stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit is the I Love New York 355 at The Glen road race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Aug. 6, at 3 p.m. It will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Ford Performance PR

 

Austin Dillon Races to a 21st-Place Finish Despite Getting Caught Up in Crash on Lap 1 at Pocono Raceway 
"We got off on the wrong foot today that's for sure. It's one of those situations where we were at the wrong place at the wrong time. We got hit from behind on Lap 1. I hate if for our American Ethanol team but they pulled together and worked hard to make the repairs so we didn't lose any laps. This weekend was a challenge from the get-go, but we are by no means giving up. We keep improving on our cars and it's just a matter of time before we start seeing better results."
- Austin Dillon

Damage From Lap 1 Incident Hinders Paul Menard's Day at Pocono Raceway
"We had our work cut out for us from the opening laps here at Pocono Raceway. When they wrecked ahead of us on the first lap, I got into the back of another car and it damaged the nose and hood on the Moen/Menards Chevrolet. The guys in the pits worked on it each stop and finally got it fixed up to where it wasn't an issue. Thanks to my team, we were able to earn a top-20 finish. They kept fighting and never gave up."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Collects Stage Points on Way to 14-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway
"Our Caterpillar Chevrolet was loose in Turn 1 and tight in Turn 3 for most of the race. We had some pit strategy scenarios and we chose to go for the stage points in Stage 2 which was good for our team. But I found with our overall handling, our speed was in line with the six to seven cars in front of us and when you are all running equal, it's tough to pass. We definitely have improved our race package from when we raced here in the spring. I'm happy to see our team starting to make the turn for a change to have a strong run during the Playoffs." 
 
- Ryan Newman

RCR PR