Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (12857)

Matt DiBenedetto certainly came into the Daytona 500 as one of the legit underdogs to walk away with the Harley J. Earl trophy. Daytona International Speedway, the site of the Daytona 500, is one of the tracks where practically any driver in the field can win. Given the new surroundings for DiBenedetto coming into the new year, it certainly gave him a fresh outlook coming into the seasons most prestigious race for NASCAR.

This last offseason, DiBenedetto joined Go Fas Racing to pilot the No. 32 Ford full-time in 2017 with numerous sponsors. It marks the first season that the single-car operation will stick with one driver all year round as numerous drivers piloted the ride over the last few years.

The California native qualified 29th last Sunday, which placed him 15th in the first Duel 150 race on Thursday. DiBenedetto ran a clean race and finished two spots higher to place him 25th on the Daytona 500 starting grid.

Since finishing 40th last year, it was no secret that DiBenedetto had a little chip on his shoulder coming into the 59th annual Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 would be a clean day for DiBenedetto for the most part. He would be involved in only one accident over the course of the race, which occurred on lap 129 involving 16 other drivers. The accident wouldn’t impact them much as they would continue on determined to leave with a solid finish.  

Since being involved in one of the cautions, there would be three more that would impact contenders other than DiBenedetto. It allowed the small team to work their way even more towards the front to have a shot at the grand prize.

Staying clean through the rest of the way, the California driver finished ninth to capture his best finish at the Florida track in four starts there. He’ll also leave the track sitting ninth in the driver standings as the series moves onto Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.

“That’s a heck of a way to start the year,” said DiBenedetto after the race. “We survived. We got in that one crash and we hit pretty hard. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be a long day,’ but the guys did a great job patching it up.  It still ran fine. I had good speed. The motor ran great all day, so it was cool. We have the E.J. Wade Foundation on the car for the first time here and it’s awesome to get them a top-10 in their first outing, so it’s a great cause for what they do. I’m excited to be back racing and thankful to have a ride.”

DiBenedetto did not leave the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway with his best career finish, but he did walk away with his second career top-10 finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. His best came last year when he took BK Racing’s No. 83 Cosmo Motors Toyota to a sixth-place finish last April at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It was definitely different,” said DiBenedetto when asked to compare the two finishes. “This one was a little bit more survival. That one was a little bit more racing up there, so I would say they’re different feelings, but being in the Daytona 500 in the first place is unbelievable, so I’m gonna say this one does feel really good just because it’s the Daytona 500 and it’s been my dream since I was five to even be in it, so to get a top-10 in it, I’m just checking off all these dreams come true.”

The team, according to DiBenedetto, only employs 15 people. The bigger teams, like Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart Haas Racing, employs 500-plus to run their day-to-day operations. Also, the small teams do not have the same resources as the bigger teams do. With all of this considered at the end of the day, it certainly makes the finish much more special for Go Fas Racing.

“We’ve taken the team and brought in some really good people,” DiBenedetto continued. “I’m so lucky to have my crew chief, Gene Nead, who came in and assembled some of the best guys we could possibly get, so we have some real quality people, some of the folks that were at BK with me.  It’s amazing to have that tight of a group, where they are so dedicated to follow me and Gene wherever we go.  That’s special.  You don’t find that often, so we have such a great relationship and I think that’s where we’re gonna turn a lot of heads this year and surprise everybody.  You’re only as good as the people around you and we have really good people.  I’m fortunate to have them.  We’re gonna turn some heads.  We have 15 employees total versus some people who have 400-500, but we have 15 good, quality people and our goal is to overacheive all year.”

The team owned by Archie St. Hilaire has fielded cars in NASCAR’s premier series since 2012. The finish in Sunday’s 59th annual Daytona 500 marks their best finish in the series as an organization through 99 starts. Series veteran Bobby Labonte captured the team’s previous best Daytona 500 finish in 2015 with a 24th. Terry Labonte took Go Fas Racing to their previous best overall finish of 11th back in July of 2014 at Daytona in the Coke-Zero 400.

The 59th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway saw eight cautions throughout the 500-mile event. Two of those cautions involved 10-plus drivers and ended the afternoon for several key names. When the 200-lap event concluded, 25 of the 40 drivers crossed the finish line in the ‘Great American Race’.

The most prestigious stock car race would have a very clean start unlike the NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series races over the weekend. The first caution wouldn’t fly until lap 32 for Corey LaJoie on the frontstretch as some teams elected to hit pit road under green.  Erik Jones, racing in his first ever Daytona 500 in the No. 77 5-hour Energy Toyota, got the free pass. The field would go back green four laps later on lap 35.

The field would stay green all the way until the end of the first stage. Kyle Busch would be the winner of this stage and Jeffrey Earnhardt in the No. 33 Chevrolet would be the free pass. The field went green for stage two just six laps later on lap 67.

The field would stay clean and green until 39 laps later. This would be the first major incident of the day as six cars were involved over in turn three and drew the red flag for 17-minutes while track crews cleaned up fluid. Heavy hitters Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Erik Jones and Ty Dillon were involved. Race leader Elliott Sadler also caught a piece of it. Only Sadler and Dillon could continue from this accident. The field would go back green on lap 112.

The end of stage two would be the cause of the fourth caution. Kevin Harvick, in the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford, would be the second stage winner. Martin Truex Jr., who finished second in last year’s Daytona 500, was the first car one lap down and got the free pass. The race would go back green four laps later on lap 125.

The next caution, the first of which that involved 10-plus drivers, would occur four laps later on lap 129. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, DJ Kennington, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson, Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Brendan Gaughan, Cole Whitt, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Gase and Joey Logano were all involved in this incident in turn three. Kennington, Buescher, Johnson, Patrick and Bowyer were not able to continue as a result. Rookie Daniel Suarez received the free pass. The green flag would come out five laps later on lap 133.

Four laps later the field would slow for another caution. This wreck would involve Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler and Jeffrey Earnhardt on the frontstretch four laps later on lap 137. Stenhouse would be the only driver who wouldn’t be able to continue in this one. Ty Dillon would be the free pass recipient as the field would go back green on lap 141.

The next crash would occur two laps later on the backstretch involving 11 drivers, some of them being heavy hitters. These were Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Landon Cassill, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Brendan Gaughan. Dillon, Suarez, McMurray, Keselowski and Earnhardt were all done after this one. There would be no free pass as the field would return green on lap 148.

The final caution of the day would come out three laps later when Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan and Chase Elliott tangled on the backstretch. Like the previous caution, there was no free pass eligible driver. All three continued on to finish the evnt.

The Daytona 500, the official season opener for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, had an average speed of 143.187 mph. and had 37 lead changes across 18 numerous drivers. It lasted for three hours, 29 minutes and 31 seconds and had a margin of victory of 0.228 seconds.

The 59th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway saw eight cautions throughout the 500-mile event. Two of those cautions involved 10-plus drivers and ended the afternoon for several key names. When the 200-lap event concluded, 25 of the 40 drivers crossed the finish line in the ‘Great American Race’.

The most prestigious stock car race would have a very clean start unlike the NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series races over the weekend. The first caution wouldn’t fly until lap 32 for Corey LaJoie on the frontstretch as some teams elected to hit pit road under green.  Erik Jones, racing in his first ever Daytona 500 in the No. 77 5-hour Energy Toyota, got the free pass. The field would go back green four laps later on lap 35.

The field would stay green all the way until the end of the first stage. Kyle Busch would be the winner of this stage and Jeffrey Earnhardt in the No. 33 Chevrolet would be the free pass. The field went green for stage two just six laps later on lap 67.

The field would stay clean and green until 39 laps later. This would be the first major incident of the day as six cars were involved over in turn three and drew the red flag for 17-minutes while track crews cleaned up fluid. Heavy hitters Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Erik Jones and Ty Dillon were involved. Race leader Elliott Sadler also caught a piece of it. Only Sadler and Dillon could continue from this accident. The field would go back green on lap 112.

The end of stage two would be the cause of the fourth caution. Kevin Harvick, in the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford, would be the second stage winner. Martin Truex Jr., who finished second in last year’s Daytona 500, was the first car one lap down and got the free pass. The race would go back green four laps later on lap 125.

The next caution, the first of which that involved 10-plus drivers, would occur four laps later on lap 129. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, DJ Kennington, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson, Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Brendan Gaughan, Cole Whitt, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Gase and Joey Logano were all involved in this incident in turn three. Kennington, Buescher, Johnson, Patrick and Bowyer were not able to continue as a result. Rookie Daniel Suarez received the free pass. The green flag would come out five laps later on lap 133.

Four laps later the field would slow for another caution. This wreck would involve Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler and Jeffrey Earnhardt on the frontstretch four laps later on lap 137. Stenhouse would be the only driver who wouldn’t be able to continue in this one. Ty Dillon would be the free pass recipient as the field would go back green on lap 141.

The next crash would occur two laps later on the backstretch involving 11 drivers, some of them being heavy hitters. These were Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Landon Cassill, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Brendan Gaughan. Dillon, Suarez, McMurray, Keselowski and Earnhardt were all done after this one. There would be no free pass as the field would return green on lap 148.

The final caution of the day would come out three laps later when Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan and Chase Elliott tangled on the backstretch. Like the previous caution, there was no free pass eligible driver. All three continued on to finish the evnt.

The Daytona 500, the official season opener for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, had an average speed of 143.187 mph. and had 37 lead changes across 18 numerous drivers. It lasted for three hours, 29 minutes and 31 seconds and had a margin of victory of 0.228 seconds.

Busch Rips Goodyear

26 Feb 2017 Written by

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch had some strong words for Goodyear following his accident on lap 129 that collected 17 cars.

Busch had a tire going down when he went towards the wall going into the third turn. There was no indication that the tire was going down:

“No. I wished I would’ve. If I would’ve, I would’ve tried to wave off as many guys behind me as I could, but it happened just as soon as we started picking up load into turn three. Just spun around and you know it actually felt like I hung onto it for a long ways and then finally it went. I don’t know if it was a left rear that went down or the right that went down but man, tore up three JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in one hit and also Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.),” said Busch.

As Goodyear enters into the final year of their current contract as NASCAR’s Tire Supplier, Busch talked about the frustration caused by the tires.

“You know obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air. It’s very frustrating when we have that down here every single year we’ve been here. Last year we had it as well too. It wrecked us in practice and tore up a car – a few cars actually were in that as well.”

In response, Goodyear was adamant that their tires do hold air. Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Racing Director, saw that there was evidence of impact on the right rear tire, which they will investigate.

"There's also damage on the left rear, which we feel could have contributed, but again, until you know exactly what it looks like inside [the tire], it's tough to say for sure," Stucker said. "But certainly, both tires were completely intact with regard to components or any obvious issues that we feel could have led to any sort of premature air loss. It was obviously an outside impact or source that created it; we just don't know exactly what yet and which tire."

Goodyear did not see any tire issues throughout Daytona Speedweeks, and believes that Busch reacted in the heat of the moment.

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— The Dawsonville Pool Room will not be sounding the siren after the 59th running of the Daytona 500. Chase Elliott was just three laps from scoring his first career victory before running out of fuel.

"It was a disappointing finish to a good day. Just one of those things you can't do anything about. I'm happy with how the NAPA team performed, and we are going to learn from it. I'm proud of how hard everyone worked all week. We're looking forward to getting back at it in Atlanta."

With 25 laps to go, Elliott was leading a single file line around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. As the run went on, crew chiefs were telling drivers to conserve fuel as they were a lap to a half lap short. Many drivers were telling spotters that as the laps wound down, Elliott was slowing down the pace. As the leader, Elliott was using a little bit more fuel than everyone.

Elliott is no stranger to being close to victory. Elliott’s frustration culminates from numerous races in 2016 of being close. Despite the loss, Elliott is excited to head to his home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Ryan Blaney opened the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season by driving the fuel-starved Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to second place in the 59th Daytona 500.

Running in 11th place with three laps to go, the Wood Brothers’ driver – in only his third start in the Great American Race – looked like he might have to settle for a top-10 result. Then things started to happen, as they often do at Daytona.

“I tried to make a move with about 10 to go and I didn’t go anywhere,” Blaney said. “We were kind of stuck. Luckily we had the 22 with us and I kind of helped him and he kind of helped me. At the white flag there we got a big run into (turn) one and they kind of all separated and we got a big pull off of that. And then we got to second behind 41 and that kept us going the whole way.

“I thought we had it,” he explained. “I thought we were in the cat bird’s seat with the 41 way out in front and the 47 right behind me and we started sputtering pretty bad there. I’m surprised we made it back (to pit road). With an ounce more of gas we might have won it. I was sputtering and running out of gas the whole straightaway.

“It was a solid day for us,” he said. “We had such a fast car. To go to a back-up car (due to an accident in the Thursday Can-Am Duel) and work so hard on it means a lot for Ford and Motorcraft and Quick Lane. It’s a good start to the season.”

Starting in the rear of the field with the back-up, Blaney quickly moved to the front. He was in the top 20 by lap six, the top 15 by lap 10 and in the top five by lap 26.

“We went up through the middle really well,” Blaney said. “We made up a lot of ground early and that spoke a lot about how fast our car was. That definitely gave us a lot of confidence.”

The ability to join the front runners early in the race allowed Blaney to take advantage of NASCAR’s new stage race format and he picked up eight points for finishing third after the race’s first 60 laps. He collected another point by being in 10th after stage two.

Blaney’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford picked up slight damage in a 10-car crash on lap 127. Coming in to get that repaired a few laps later, he was rear-ended and sustained even more damage.

“The team did a great job of fixing the race car and getting it to where we needed it to be to finish the race,” Blaney said.

Starting his second full season behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21, Blaney said he if he couldn’t get the win, he was pleased another Blue Oval (driven by Kurt Busch) took the checkered flag.

“I’m happy we got a Ford in Victory Lane,” he said. “In the first half of the race the Fords were all working together and we looked unbeatable then a wreck took out a bunch of them and we’re the underdogs with just a few of us left.

“It was one of the more-wild 500s I’ve been in,” he added. “A lot of wrecks that took out a bunch of good cars, which you hate to see. There were only a handful of cars out there that looked OK at the end.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team now heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway next week, March 5, for the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500.

Ford Performance PR

After blowing both front tires early on in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was caught up in a late race accident with 63 laps remaining forcing him to settle with a 31st-place finish.

“We were two laps down because we had a couple of issues throughout the beginning of the race,” Stenhouse said. “Our Fastenal Ford was still plenty fast.  We didn’t really have any damage and was finally in a position to where we could start getting some lucky dogs and get back on the lead lap.  I felt like if we could have done that, we would have been all right. 

“We were just running around the top and I just got hit in the left-rear.  I’m not really sure what happened below us, but it was a bummer of a day.  I thought we brought some really fast Fords down here and just hate that we didn’t really get a result to show for it.  We’ll go on to Atlanta next weekend and get ready to go racing.”

The Olive Branch, Mississippi native took the green flag in the 23rd position, and was patiently working his way forward until he sustained damage to his Fastenal Ford when the gap closed as he moved to the middle lane making contact with the No. 38 and No. 27 machines.

After taking the wave around to get one lap back, the two-time XFINITY champion was just about to hit pit-road for fuel when the caution flag was displayed costing him to lose a lap to the leaders.

As he was marching his way forward in the high line, contact in the low line caused a multi-car accident collecting the Fastenal Ford and ultimately ending his day with the new NASCAR crash policy.

RFR PR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—  Kurt Busch scored his first Daytona 500 victory due to the many of his fellow competitors losing fuel. This is Stewart-Haas Racings first win in a Ford. This is Busch’s first restrictor plate win since entering into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2001. Busch led the most important lap, the last lap.

 

"My mirror fell off with 30 laps to go and I couldn’t even see out the back. And I thought that was an omen. Throw caution to the wind. The more unpredictability that keeps unfolding at the Daytona 500, I predicted it. It just got crazy and wild and I am so proud of all the drivers at the end. We put on a show for a full fuel run and nobody took each other out and it was one of the smartest chess games I have seen out there. All the hard work that Ford and SHR put into this -- this Ford Fusion is in Daytona’s victory lane,” said Busch in victory lane.

 

Ryan Blaney finished second, AJ Allmendinger finished third, Aric Almirola finished fourth, and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five.

 

At Daytona 500 Media Day on Wednesday, Busch stated, “It owns me.  It doesn’t owe me anything, it’s just owned me over the years.” Now, he will go down in history as a Daytona 500 champion.

 

Busch started the race from the eighth position. Busch was a darkhorse throughout much of the first stage. Busch and his Stewart-Haas teammates attempted to stay together throughout much of the race. Busch and his teammates were hitting pit road during the first segment at lap 32 when Corey LaJoie wrecked coming onto pit road. However, that did not effect their performance when the race restarted. Busch went back down pit road shortly after, and was quiet until the second stage. Kyle Busch won the first stage with Kevin Harvick in second, Blaney in third, Brad Keselowski in fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at the end of the first stage.

 

The second stage was saw a six car pileup in turn three that brought out the red flag for 17 minutes. Busch was the silent sleeper in the second stage. When the field was going back to green, Busch joined his teammates to have the top-three positions while Ford had the top-seven. The end of the segment saw Joey Logano attempt to make a pass on Harvick in the tri-oval, but was unsuccessful. Harvick won the stage, Logano was second, Ku. Busch was third, Keselowski was fourth, and Danica Patrick rounded out the top-five.

 

The third stage was wild and crazy. The field began to get ansy. The caution flew four times during the stage. The day almost ended for Ku. Busch on lap 129. Jimmie Johnson spun going into the third turn with help from Jamie McMurray. The wreck left Busch as the lone survivor of the Stewart-Haas camp to contend for the win.  Despite the damage, Ku. Busch was able to contend with the leaders. As the race began to wind down, Ku. Busch and others were being told to conserve fuel. The field ran single file for numerous laps as drivers contended to save fuel. However, drivers began to drop out of the pack because they were running out of fuel. On the final lap, Ku. Busch was running second coming off of turn two chasing Kyle Larson. Larson ran out of fuel which allowed Ku. Busch to score the victory.

 

Despite not winning the Daytona 500 as a driver, Tony Stewart was ecstatic to win the race as an owner.

 

“It’s probably the most patient race I’ve watched Kurt Busch run. He definitely deserved that one for sure. I’m really proud of everybody . Great day for Ford Performance and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. I think this finally gets Gene Haas all the crown jewels. This is awesome, man.”

 

The race saw 37 lead changes among 18 different drivers. The race was slowed eight times for 40 laps by caution.

 

Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Coverage from Atlanta will be on FOX and Performance Racing Network on March. 5 beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—  With the sport’s marquee event set for tomorrow, NASCAR has stepped up its social media game for the 59th Daytona 500. NASCAR’s Digital Media team, lead by Scott Warfield, hopes to increase their footprint in 2017, beginning this weekend.

NASACR saw a huge increase in social media numbers in 2016 over 2015. NASCAR saw 4.3 billion social impressions in 2016; 287 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter, 209 million social video views. NASCAR saw a social audience of 11.4 million people, up 15 percent from 2016. On raceday, NASCAR saw 12 million people reached on Facebook and 2 million Twitter users reached. 53 percent of NASCAR Facebook followers range from 13 to 24 years old with 66 percent on Twitter of the same demographic.

NASCAR hopes to increase that social footprint even more in 2017.

NASCAR has already begun their work in partnership with FOX through the “Daytona 500 Hour Countdown” campaign. This campaign showcases original Daytona 500 content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

NASCAR will use Snapchat and its Live Story feature for the first time in 2017 for the Daytona 500. Darrell Wallace Jr. will take over the “NASCAR” Snapchat bringing to dans the sights and sounds of Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR purchased Snapchat Spectacles to be used throughout the season. NASCAR will incorporate stop motion technology to be used for the entire 2017 season.

Earlier in the week, NASCAR and Twitter launched an emoji using the colorful, waving flags in the Daytona 500 logo. The emoji will be featured when users use the hashtag, #Daytona500.

Throughout the weekend, fans will be able to go behind-the-scenes with unique content across Facebook and Instagram.

During Daytona 500 Media Day, Facebook created a presence with Riki Rachtman using Facebook Live all day. Facebook dedicated a footprint within the Daytona 500 Club.

NASCAR also launched the 2017 “Ready. Set. Race” marketing campaign using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This spot will be aired on the FOX broadcast during Sunday’s race.

NASCAR will begin a new relationship with GIPHY. Fans will be able to obtain and use NASCAR reaction-focused GIF’s to use on their personal social media accounts. Fans can access this at giphy.com/nascar.