Monster Energy Cup Series News (15089)
Martin Truex Jr.’s 14th-place finish did not by any means correlate to his performance in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
Truex led a race high of 121 laps and was contending for the win with 10 laps remaining. But then things started to take a sudden turn in the wrong direction in his 450th career NASCAR Cup Series start.
While running second Truex’s No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota came down pit road for fresh tires following a caution on Lap 390. Unfortunately, there were issues on the pit stop and Truex dropped to 11th place.
He picked up three positions before another caution came on out on Lap 397. The team took a gamble to come down pit road for a new set of Goodyears, hoping that would give Truex a better chance of gaining more positions. The strategy didn’t work out since a number of teams ahead of Truex did not pit.
Truex came on strong during the second half of the race. He radioed his crew chief Cole Pearn to tell him, “I don’t know what adjustments you made but the car is a lot better.”
Truex appeared to be pulling away from the field before a caution came out with 30 laps to go. He came into the pits for service but dropped to third in track position when he exited pit road.
He was rightfully frustrated after the race.
“Tonight we beat ourselves, so that’s unfortunate,” said Truex, who started on the pole. “Pretty disappointed that we didn’t get at least a chance. I don’t know what we have to do to win at one of these short tracks and get everything to go the way we need it to.”
Truex added, “The guys did a really good job with the race car. We were awful at the start of the race and I thought we were really in trouble. Just fought all night long and tried to stick with it and make good adjustments, and put ourselves in position to try to win another one and just came up short. Frustrated, but proud of everyone for the effort and hopefully we’ll get them next week (at Talladega).”
Truex finished ninth in the first two stages and remains seventh in the driver point standings.
The race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez.
The race had six cautions for 46 laps and there were 16 lead changes among seven drivers. Truex led four different times for 121 laps.
The next race is Sunday, April 29 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Kyle Busch survived NASCAR Overtime on Saturday at Richmond Raceway to score his 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. Busch, driving the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, started 32nd on the leaderboard and quickly drove his way to the front of the field. The 32-year old credited the No. 18 pit crew for their fast pit stops all night long that put the M&Ms Toyota in position for the win.
“All these guys – everybody on this whole M&M Camry, they do a great job for me. I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys and the pit crew tonight,” said Busch after the race. “They won this race for us. They got us off pit road first those last two times that we came down for tires and got us where we needed to be. I can’t say enough about this Toyota Camry. It was just awesome today. Out front all day long. This is really cool for as good as the crowd was tonight. Really cool out here in Richmond, really chilly but otherwise it was a fantastic evening so hopefully everybody enjoyed that.”
The driver from Las Vegas now has 187 career victories across all three of NASCAR’s National Series following this win at Richmond. The series veteran has three wins, seven top five and eight top 10 finishes through nine completed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2018.
With the win on Saturday, Busch has won three NASCAR premier series races in a row and will look to score his fourth consecutive win at Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday. Talladega, a track where Busch won at back in 2008, is a track that is highly unpredictable and can produce a surprise race winner.
“It’s definitely cool we’ve won three in a row. We did it a couple years ago and now I don’t know if you can shoot for four in a row,” Busch continued after the race in victory lane. “It’s hard to go to Talladega with that much of a winning streak and think that you can go to victory lane, but we’re going to go there anyway and give it a shot. We’ll see what we can do. Our guys are amazing. They’re awesome every week and I love racing with these guys and Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Chase Elliott posted a runner-up finish in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet and will leave the 0.75-mile oval with his second top-five finish of the season. The Georgia native started second on the leaderboard and finished seventh in stage one. At the end of stage two, Elliott sat 15th.
“Yeah, I mean I think it’s been a steady work in progress,” said Elliott after the race. “We certainly have work to do and we know that. The results tonight, I don’t feel like… I think if we looked at the results we would feel okay about it, but I think in reality we shouldn’t feel okay about it. We need to go back and really focus on getting better.”
Still looking to score his first career win, Elliott goes into Talladega next weekend with an average finish of 16.3 this season.
Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-three finishers at Richmond and came into the night as one of the favorites. The driver from Virginia led six circuits of the race and scored his fifth top 10 finish of the year.
Drivers Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five finishers on Saturday. Both Logano and Harvick led a combined total of 100 laps in their Ford machines.
Other than the two stage breaks at lap 100 and 200, there were no yellow flags for an on-track incident until 47 laps remaining. The first yellow flag was displayed on lap 353 for a three car incident involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Whitt and Ryan Blaney. Each of these drivers involved were able to continue with their night.
Fluid brought out the yellow on lap 367 and an on-track incident involving David Ragan brought out the next one on lap 389. The final caution came out on lap 395 for an incident involving Ryan Newman dropping fluid on the track and sending the race into NASCAR Overtime. Newman went to the garage and finished 37th on the leaderboard.
The next race will be at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 29. The Geico 500 will air live on FOX and MRN at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Quaker State Ford will start 20thin Saturday night’s 400-lapper at Richmond Raceway.
Menard earned that spot by advancing through the first round of qualifying with a lap at 123.164 miles per hour. In the second round, he ran a lap at 122.510 mph, securing his spot on the outside of the 10throw.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood pointed out that the Menards team focused on a set up for racing conditions during Friday’s practice sessions, and didn’t make a mock qualifying run.
Menard was 14thfastest in the opening practice session with a best lap at 119.893 mph. He was 24thin Happy Hour with a best lap at 119.011 mph.
“We won’t be back on track until the race starts Saturday night, so the priority on a weekend like this is getting the car tuned for the race,” Wood said.”
Saturday’s 400-lap race is scheduled to start just after 6:30 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.
Martin Truex Jr. will start on the pole at Richmond Raceway on Saturday in the No. 78 5-hour Energy / Bass Pro Shops Toyota. Truex, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, will start on the pole for the third time of the season in the premier series after posting a 21.799, 123.859 mph. in the final round.
Truex led round one and sat fourth in round two. The series veteran enters the weekend with five top five and five top 10 finishes through eight races this year.
Chase Elliott will start second on the race leaderboard after a 21.841, 123.621 mph. in the final round of knockout qualifying. The driver of the No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet comes into Richmond Raceway looking to score his first career win in the premier series and sat 0.042 seconds behind pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. The young racer has one top five and three top 10 finishes this season.
Joey Logano will round out the top three starters on Saturday in the No. 22 Shell / Pennzoil Ford. Logano posted a 21.848, 123.581 mph. in the the final round to take the third starting spot. The driver from Connecticut sat sixth in round one and third in round two.
Round two leader Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson will round out the top five starters.
Several big name drivers failed to make the second round of qualifying and will start 25th on back. Some of these drivers included Aric Almirola (25th), Daniel Suarez (26th), Brad Keselowski (28th), Kasey Kahne (29th), Kyle Busch (32nd) and AJ Allmendinger (33rd).
Daniel Hemric will be making his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut and will start 22nd on Saturday. Hemric finished round one sitting 23rd in the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
There were no DNQ’s as 38 drivers appeared on the weekend entry list.
TDJF, whose mission is to give underprivileged individuals with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education, and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals, provided support for the project, which injects technology, color and innovation into the structure.
Students also participated in a Book Celebration and selected four books for their home libraries.
Dale Jr. Foundation PR
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Team Penske Ford to Carry Special Hall of Fame Hashtag at Richmond this Weekend20 Apr 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Team Penske Ford will carry a special hashtag at this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway. The hashtag, #VoteForTheCaptain, is an effort to encourage NASCAR fans to vote for legendary team owner Roger Penske.
Penske is one of 20 nominees for the 2019 induction class and has touched just about every aspect of motorsports in the United States, including a major impact on NASCAR racing. Also known as “The Captain”, Roger celebrated his race team’s (Team Penske) 50th anniversary in 2016 where he also captured his 100th win in NASCAR’s premier series. A winner of the Bill France Aware of Excellence, Penske also holds two Daytona 500 victories (2008/Ryan Newman & 2015/Joey Logano) and a MENCS title with Brad Keselowski in 2012.
NASCAR fans are invited to help pick the legends that will be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Voting began on March 27th and ends on May 21st. You can vote for your favorite here: http://www.nascarhall.com/inductees/fan-vote . Fans can vote up to 50 times a day and the five nominees with the most votes will count as one of the 54 votes cast by the Voting Panel.
After an up-and-down race at Bristol Motor Speedway that saw Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards team run as high as third place before finishing 13th, the Menards/Quaker State team heads to Richmond Raceway for the first night race of the Monster Energy Cup season.
Menard, who enters Saturday night’s 400-lapper in 16thplace in the Monster Energy Cup Series standings, said he’s had mixed results over the years on the three-quarter-mile oval at Richmond.
“I’ve run well there in the Xfinity Series but not as well in the Cup series,” Menard said. “We’ll go up there and give it our best shot and see what happens.”
The veteran driver has one top-five finish at Richmond in the Cup series but has two runner-up finishes in Xfinity, to Richmond stand-outs Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.
Menard is encouraged by the speed shown by Ford drivers in recent Richmond races. Ford drivers have won four of the past nine Cup races at Richmond.
“The Fords have run well at Richmond the last few years, so we’ll have some good notes to draw from,” he said, adding that now that he and crew chief Greg Erwin have run eight races together they’re becoming more willing to fine-tune their set-up more to their liking. “Greg and I keep learning more about each other, and we’re working well together.
“We’ve gotten more aggressive about doing our own thing instead of just relying on past notes.”
Qualifying at Richmond is set for Friday at 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start just after 6:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on FOX.