Monster Energy Cup Series News (16167)
Las Vegas set to fete first-time Monster Energy Series champion Joey Logano among numerous NASCAR honorees27 Nov 2018 Written by Holly Cain - NASCAR Wire Service
NASCAR drivers, team members, the sport’s national media and loyal fans are descending upon Las Vegas this week for the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards and related end-of-year galas and activities.
Team Penske’s Joey Logano will formally receive the 2018 Monster Energy Series trophy he earned and enjoy days of proper feting. And the sport will celebrate a dramatic season and recognize some of its most impactful participants.
William Byron will receive the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and Logano’s fellow Championship 4 contenders Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will be recognized, as well as the entire 2018 16-driver Playoff field.
There will be a changing of the guard among the Most Popular Driver Award voted on by NASCAR fans with retired racer-turned-NBC broadcaster Dale Earnhardt Jr. ceremonially handing over the recognition after a 15-year run of trophies.
And the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award – named after the generous and charitable late founder and chairwoman of The NASCAR Foundation, who was also the wife of former NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr. – will be announced Thursday evening during the awards show. It is perhaps the most impactful recognition of the weekend, recognizing a NASCAR fan who has made a difference in his or her community.
This year’s honorees include: Carl Dakes, of Maryland, who is an 18-year volunteer representing the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation that helps provide housing for critically ill children and their families.
Ohio’s Sarah Kersey is not only a cancer survivor herself, but is a longtime volunteer at the Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead, Ohio. The camp provides “transformative” experiences for seriously ill children at no cost for their family.
Cliff Preston, of Gainesville, Florida, is nominated for his 25-years serving as a “cuddler” to comfort hospitalized newborns in the University of Florida Shands Hospital during the absence of the babies’ parents.
The final nominee is Rex Reynolds, of Alabama, a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama. Reynolds grew up attending the Boys & Girls Club and has been a long-time volunteer there, including 13 years on the board of directors.
The awards show will be televised on NBCSN at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 29, as well as on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) is proud to announce that Mike Wheeler is joining the organization as the crew chief for the No. 95 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team for the 2019 season.
2019 will mark several exciting changes for LFR as the team transitions to a new manufacturing partnership with Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD), as well as the addition of driver Matt DiBenedetto behind the wheel of the No. 95 machine.
Wheeler just finished his third season as a crew chief in the series and has notched a career total of five wins, 37 top-5 finishes, and 61 top-10 finishes with Denny Hamlin. Wheeler made a splash in the sport when he earned a Daytona 500 victory in his first points race of his crew chief career in the series. That rookie season in 2016 saw “Wheels” and his team earn two more wins, 12 top-5’s, and 22 top-10 finishes and they went on to finish sixth in the point standings.
“We’re thrilled to have Mike (Wheeler) joining our organization because he’s had a successful career so far in the crew chief role,” said LFR General Manager Jeremy Lange. “With our transition over to Toyota this coming season, Mike brings with him a wealth of knowledge in regard to how to build competitive Toyota Camrys, and we’re looking forward to his leadership within LFR.”
Wheeler is a native of Southold, New York and a graduate of Kettering (Mich.) University where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He began his racing career as a crew chief in the northeast NASCAR Modified Tour before he joined Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) as an engineer in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for the organization. Wheeler was then promoted to an engineering position in the Cup series when JGR formed the No. 11 team in 2005. In 2014, Wheeler served as the interim crew chief of the No. 11 MENCS entry for six races before being promoted to crew chief on the No. 20 XFINITY Series entry in 2015.
Wheeler will look to lead the team through a season filled with a new driver and new cars for the organization, but as his record shows, he’s found success in every chapter so far. Wheeler and DiBenedetto will make their debut together in the first points race of the 2019 season for the Daytona 500 on February 17, 2019 at historic Daytona International Speedway.
NBCSN Presents Exclusive Live Coverage Of The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards from Las Vegas This Thursday, November 29 At 9 P.M. ET27 Nov 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
NBC Sports Group celebrates the conclusion of a thrilling 2018 NASCAR season, with exclusive live coverage of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards, this Thursday, November 29 at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. A special edition of NASCAR America kicks off the evening at 8 p.m. ET, with red carpet coverage from the Wynn Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Nev.
NASCAR on NBC’s Rutledge Wood (@RutledgeWood) and Kelli Stavast (@kellistavast) host Thursday evening’s award ceremony honoring 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion, and driver of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford, Joey Logano. In addition, the show will feature the announcement of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver award, won by NASCAR icon and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the past 15 years.
Carolyn Manno (@carolynmanno) will anchor Thursday’s red-carpet edition of NASCAR America and will be joined on set by NASCAR on NBC analysts Kyle Petty (@KylePetty) and Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman), from NBC Sports Group’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Veteran NASCAR on NBC pit reporter Marty Snider (@HeyMartySnider) will contribute on-site red carpet coverage from the Wynn Las Vegas, alongside special red carpet reporter and 2018 Daytona 500 Champion Austin Dillon. Highlighted by exclusive interviews with NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers, Thursday’s special red-carpet edition of NASCAR America will also include interviews with NASCAR legends and the many celebrities in attendance.
NBC Sports PR
Bob Jenkins will expand his Front Row Motorsports team in 2019, signing Matt Tifft to drive a third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry, the No. 36 Ford Mustang. Veterans Michael McDowell and David Ragan will return to drive the Nos. 34 and 38 Ford Mustangs and mentor the 22-year-old Tifft in his Cup series rookie season.
Tifft finished sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship this season, earning six top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in his 2018 campaign with Richard Childress Racing, making it to the Round of 8 in the series playoffs. In four XFINITY series seasons, the young driver has nine top-five and 38 top-10 finishes, and two poles.
“Today is a huge moment in my career, announcing my move to the Cup series,” said Tifft. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I can’t believe it’s finally coming true.
“I’m so thankful to Front Row Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive the No. 36 next season. I’m looking forward to guidance from veterans Michael McDowell and David Ragan and am ready to take on the challenge of driving with 39 of the best drivers in the world.”
McDowell will return to the No. 34 in 2019 after completing his first full season with Front Row Motorsports. The 11-year Cup series veteran earned a top-10, 2-top-15 and 10 top-20 finishes in 2018 and averaged a starting position of 23rd – the best qualifying average in Front Row team history.
Next season will be Ragan’s sixth with Jenkins’ team. The 12-year Cup series veteran earned a top-10, four top-15 and 14 top-20 finishes in 2018. Ragan made Front Row Motorsports history in 2013 when he earned the team its first victory with a last-lap dash to the front at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 2018 season was the first for McDowell and Ragan as teammates.
“This season has been a big stepping-stone for me in my career,” McDowell said. “We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted every week, but we’ve made huge advances as a team. I’ve really benefited from having a teammate this year and feel like I’ve made valuable contributions in return. I’m looking forward to building on that next year and welcoming another teammate in Matt Tifft.”
“Bob Jenkins has always grown his race team strategically, and I’m proud to be a part of that growth,” said Ragan. “It’s exciting that we’re now ready to take the next step with a third car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. We’ve made a lot of gains this season with our enhanced program with Ford Performance and our alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, and I think we can make even greater strides next year.”
Front Row Motorsports has competed full-time in NASCAR’s premier series since 2009. In that time, countless other race teams have started up and folded. Jenkins is proud of the strategic, steady growth of his team over the past 10 seasons.
“We’ve made it clear in recent years that it was our intent to continue to invest in NASCAR and expand to a three-car team,” Jenkins said. “Not only are we here to stay, we’re here to grow.
“We already have two proven veterans in our line-up, and now we’ll get to add an impressive young talent and championship contender who will inject some new energy into the group. With the introduction of the Ford Mustang into the Cup Series, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for us.”
Sponsor partnerships and crew chief pairings will be announced at later dates.
For more information about Front Row Motorsports, visit TeamFRM.com.
As NASCAR prepares to honor its newly-crowned 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano in Las Vegas Thursday night (at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), it will also recognize the fantastic seasons of its two eight-race winners, Kevin Harvick and regular season champion Kyle Busch as well as the fourth member of the Championship 4, Martin Truex Jr., who finished runner-up to Logano in the season’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago.
As has developed into tradition, these four drivers settled the title among themselves – with the champion winning the season finale race. But for the first time ever, the four championship-eligible drivers finished 1-2-3-4 in the Homestead-Miami finale.
Logano beat Truex by 1.75-seconds for the win – the largest margin of victory since Denny Hamlin’s 2.632-second win over Jeff Burton in 2009. Harvick and Busch finished third and fourth behind Truex.
This marks the fifth consecutive time that the champion won the Homestead-Miami season finale race. In all five instances, however, there was plenty of late race drama.
Logano passed Truex with 12 laps to go for this year’s season trophy. In 2017, Truex took the lead from Busch with 51 laps remaining and had to hold Busch off in the waning laps for the win.
In 2016, Johnson took the race lead from Kyle Larson – who was not championship eligible – with only three laps remaining and motored on to his record-tying seventh Cup title.
Kyle Busch took the lead from Brad Keselowski with only seven laps remaining and held on to take the checkered and first ever championship in 2015. A year earlier, Harvick took the lead with only eight laps remaining and managed to hold off the field for his first title.
Four of the five drivers in the Playoff format earned their first Cup trophies. Johnson is the only repeat winner in that time.
BEST OF THE REST
As the newcomer and fourth driver at Stewart-Haas Racing this year, most people held conservative expectations for Aric Almirola – expectations the 34-year old Tampa native blew out of the water.
After earning only his second ever bid into the Playoffs, Almirola advanced all the way to the next to last round – and then claimed fifth place overall in the championship standings – besting multi-time winners such as Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer.
Almirola averaged an 8.6 finish in the 10-race Playoffs, picking up his first victory since 2014 and first with SHR in the Talladega Playoff race. He had seven top-10 finishes and three top-five finishes. His four top-fives and 17 top-10s on the season are career highs – the top-10 mark more than doubled his previous best effort in six earlier fulltime Cup seasons.
MONSTER ENERGY SERIES STATISTICAL LEADERS
Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford led the most laps on the season – 1,990 laps equal to 19.6 percent of all laps run this season. Fellow eight-time race winner, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch was next with 1,469 laps out front, equal to 14.5 percent of laps run. The only other driver in quadruple digits for time out front was championship runner-up Martin Truex Jr., who led 1,011 laps – equivalent to 10 percent of all competitive laps this season. This is the seventh consecutive season the series has had three or more drivers with more than 1,000 laps led.
When it comes to Driver Ratings, Harvick was again best of the best. In fact his driver rating of 115.9 was substantially tops in class. Busch was second at 109.3, followed by Truex at 101.8 and Kurt Busch at 98.4. The season champion Logano was sixth overall at 97.3, just behind his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski at 97.7.
So much has legitimately been made of NASCAR’s new generation of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. This was a breakout season for 22-year old Chase Elliott, who won at the Cup level for the first time then answered with two more victories and a strong run in the Playoffs. The Hendrick Motorsports driver tied last season’s career high 21 top-10s and scored a sixth-place finish in the final Cup points standings. He’s ranked in the top-10 in all three of his Cup seasons.
Erik Jones, 22, also hoisted his first ever Monster Energy Series trophy at Daytona in July and qualified for his first Playoff venture. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s top-fives (nine) and top-10s (18) are a career high. He finished 15th in the points standings.
Ryan Blaney, 24, answered his career first win last year at Pocono Raceway with a victory on the new Charlotte Road Course to punctuate his 2018 Playoff run. The Team Penske driver also had career best showings in top-five (eight) and top-10 (16) finishes and finished 10th in the final championship standings.
Kyle Larson, 25, didn’t win this season, but 12 top-fives and 19 top-10s helped the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to another top-10 finish in the standings (ninth place).
New Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, 25, more than tripled his career top-10 (11) production taking over the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 for the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. He qualified for the Playoffs for the first time and finished 16th.
NO QUIT IN THESE DRIVERS
Veteran Ryan Newman – the 2008 Daytona 500 winner and 2014 championship runner-up – kept the non-Playoff drivers honest in closing out the season. The Richard Childress Racing driver finished 17th in the standings – tops among those who did not advance to the Playoffs.
Newman’s nine top-10 finishes tied him with Daniel Suarez for most top-10s among non-Playoff drivers. This year marked the first time in his 17-year Cup career that he did not score a top-five. Newman moves from RCR to Roush-Fenway Racing in 2019.
There was a relatively similar learning curve for the Cup Series’ two rookies this season – Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, 20, and Richard Petty Motorsports’ Bubba Wallace, 24.
Byron won the Rookie of the Year honors for his work in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He finished 23rd in the points standings and scored four top-10 finishes. Wallace kept Byron honest the whole season, starting off the year with a dramatic runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 and adding three more top-10 showings. He finished 28th in points.
Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) will be returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019. TBR will field a single car team for select races throughout the year, starting with the season opener, Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Tommy Baldwin Racing announced the teams formation in January 2009, running a full-time season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Over the course of seven years, the team grew to a two full-time teams. In 2019, TBR will be looking to start fresh and build from a part-time schedule to full-time in the future.
"We are looking forward to get back going again with TBR in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series," team owner Tommy Baldwin said. "Our goal is to work methodically and build it one piece at a time. I'm excited about these five to seven races for the 2019 season, and where it takes us in the future."
Be sure to stay up to date on new driver and sponsor announcements coming soon by following TBR on social media (Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram). For more information on Tommy Baldwin Racing, visit www.tommybaldwinracing.com. For interest in sponsorship opportunities, email TBaldwin@TommyBaldwinRacing.
Logano Drives To First Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Powered By Pennzoil PurePlus Technology Under The Hood21 Nov 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion team capped off the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with a championship title following Sunday's victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was his first win at Homestead and third victory of 2018. This is the first MENCS title for Logano and second for Team Penske following Brad Keselowski's triumph in 2012.
"We did it! We won the championship! I can't believe it. I don't know what to say," said Logano after the win. "Man, I worked my whole life to get here. To win a championship. We have been so close. It has been 10 seasons of fighting for this. I wasn't sure we were going to get it but Todd (Gordon, crew chief) made a good adjustment at the end and we had that no quit attitude."
Logano, who was the MENCS "Rookie of the Year" in 2009, now has cemented himself into the NASCAR history books with his first driver championship. In Logano's third time making the "Championship Four" he beat the best of the best to gain that elusive crown after coming close in 2014 and 2016. Logano was able to fend off a trio of former champions who had dominated the 2018 season: defending MENCS champion Martin Truex, Jr., who had four wins in 2018; 2014 champion Kevin Harvick, who scored eight victories in 2018; and 2015 champion Kyle Busch, who also earned eight wins.
"We are thrilled for Joey, Roger Penske and the entire team," said Carlos Maurer, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. "We are extremely proud to continue to be a part of a winning tradition at Team Penske, where Shell and Pennzoil are on the hood of the race car, and Shell technology is under the hood and playing a critical role in the team's performance. Throughout the year, Shell scientists work hand-in-hand with Team Penske to optimize the Pennzoil racing oil that is critical to maximizing performance and engine reliability throughout the race. We are developing the next generation of high quality products for customers, and the knowledge gained through our work at the track is enabling us to do just that!"
The Pennzoil race oil in the No. 22 car is formulated using Pennzoil PurePlus® Technology, a revolutionary process which converts pure natural gas into high quality full synthetic base oil. In addition to blending a unique formulation for the Ford engine from week to week, Shell scientists also tailor high performance lubricants for the Team Penske gearbox.
"We really couldn't do what we do, including competing for wins and championships, without the relationship we have with the scientists and everyone at Shell," said Travis Geisler, Director of Competition at Team Penske. "When we ask to get something out of the motor oil that we put in our engines each and every week, they do whatever it takes to give us optimum performance, efficiency and reliability. It is that unique relationship that goes beyond having their name on the side of our car that makes what we do possible."
Logano's title brings Team Penske a total combined 503 wins, 577 pole positions and 33 national championships. Beginning as Roger Penske Racing in 1966, competing in sports car and endurance events, Team Penske has grown into one of the most successful racing teams – and sports teams - in the world with nearly 100 drivers turning a lap in competition for Team Penske.
For more information about the Shell-Pennzoil sponsorship, visit www.shell.us/racing. For more information about Pennzoil motor oil formulations, visit www.Pennzoil.com. For more information about Team Penske, visit www.teampenske.com.
Shell Pennzoil PR
LaJoie Conlcudes 2018 Season with a 34th Place Finish in the Schluter-Systems No. 72 at Homestead-Miami Speedway21 Nov 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
For the very first time, all NASCAR racetracks hosting Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2019 will have special holiday ticket and FanVision offers.
To get a jump start on the holiday shopping season and the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, on Black Friday through Cyber Monday, racetracks hosting 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races will offer a special ticket and FanVision package at a reduced price – up to 30% discounts.
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule can be accessed at NASCAR.com.
For more details and to purchase tickets please visit NASCAR.com/blackfriday.
*site will be live starting Friday
Friday, Nov 23 through Monday, Nov. 26
*site will be live starting Friday
Joey Logano newly crowned Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion!
Logano won the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead-Miami and his first Cup Championship of his 10-year career. In addition, Team Penske secured the Owner’s Championship and Ford Motor Company claimed the Manufacturers’ Championship title. The drivers’ championship is Ford’s ninth overall and sixth in the modern era (1972-present).
“It means a lot to me personally to have both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship,” said Edsel B. Ford II. “It has been since 1999 and I was there with Robert Yates and Dale Jarrett. Doing it again, 19 years later, it is absolutely indescribable to me.”
“This is incredible,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “It is so hard to win these championships. I am so proud of everyone at Team Penske, Joey Logano, Todd Gordon, Ford Performance, Edsel Ford and Joe Hinrichs are here. We put so much effort into this thing and to see it all come together is a super proud moment. That was an intense race and I am glad we got it done.”
The No. 22 Ford Fusion started the race from the fifth position and battled hard to take the lead for the first time on lap 91. But it all came down to a clean pit stop and restart after a late race caution.
The No. 22 pit crew put Logano in position to win, as the No. 22 lined up, side-by-side Martin Truex Jr. for what would be the final restart of the race. With a power move by Logano, he took the lead from Truex. He was able to pull away from the field and take the checkered flag 1.725 seconds in front of Truex.
"We did it,” shouted Logano in post-race interview. “We won the championship! I can’t believe it. I don't know what to say. This team, Roger Penske, Todd Gordon, the pit crew. Oh my God. They gave me the car I needed at the end to do my job. Put me in position to do my job. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Ford Fusions led a total of 138 laps out of the 267-lap race, with Logano leading 80 and Ford teammate and Playoff Final Four driver, Kevin Harvick leading 58 laps.
“This means so much for Ford Motor Company and all of our employees that work so hard,” commented Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance. “I just can’t believe this right now. We have worked so hard for the last three years to build up the program and to have this 2018 season and have 19 wins, the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers’ championship. It is incredible to have the company achieve this with the help of our partners, Team Penske and Roush Yates Engines. It is incredible.”
A total of seven Ford’s finished in the top-10. Following Logano was the No. 4, Harvick, Stage 1 winner and third place finisher of the night. Harvick won a driver high eight wins this season. Brad Keselowski finished fifth, Matt Kenseth from Roush Fenway Racing sixth, and SHR teammates Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch finished eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
The MENCS season concludes with 21 overall wins by seven different drivers, 15 poles and three Championships.
In addition, Cole Custer (Homestead-Miami pole winner) and Stewart-Haas Racing won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Owner’s Championship on Saturday night.
Roush Yates Engines PR