Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14598)

Coming off of a strong run at Phoenix, Ty Dillon and the GEICO team looked to finish the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in strong fashion at the year's final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  It was an emotional weekend with Dillon and his wife, Haley, expecting their first child at any moment and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Danica Patrick making their final Cup Series starts before retiring.  Baby Dillon would hold off on her arrival while daddy got to work for the final time during the 2017 season. 
When Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS took to the track for practice on Friday, speed eluded them and the pair would end up 32nd and 30th in the day's two sessions.  They did not fare well later in the evening when qualifying rolled around, and Dillon would be relegated to a 32nd place starting position on Sunday.
Crew chief Bootie Barker and company huddled up before Saturday's practice session and found the speed for which Dillon had been searching.  The rookie hustled the GEICO Chevy around the 1.5-mile oval in just 32.560-seconds, at a speed of 165.848-miles per hour, placing him 22nd on the board when the year's final practice session drew to a close.  Barker proclaimed that the youngster would race well on Sunday and his statement would prove prophetic when, a day later, Dillon charged to the front in the GEICO Chevy. 
For the fourth consecutive year, a sold-out crowd was on-hand for the season finale on Sunday.  When the green flag turned the field loose for the final time in 2017, Dillon began his journey from the 32nd position.  He began battling a handling condition, while also finding himself three and four wide with fellow racers as action heated up early.  Dillon steadily made progress, breaking into the top-20 and then mounting a charge that saw him surge up the leaderboard to third place by lap 43 before Barker ordered the GEICO Chevy to pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop.    
Dillon had speed and the Germain Racing crew made quick work of the GEICO Chevy during each pit stop, which allowed the rookie to stay at the front throughout the event.  As the race entered its final few laps, Dillon was in the 17th position and knocking on the door of the top-15. 
Unfortunately, with just three laps remaining in the 267-lap race, Dillon would fall victim to a flat right rear tire that left him scrambling to get to pit road.  The pit crew quickly outfitted the GEICO machine with fresh tires and returned Dillon to the race, where he would be forced to gather as many positions as possible before seeing the checkered flag.  He was able to quickly collect a couple of spots and salvage a 26th place finish, sandwiched between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 25th and Jimmie Johnson in 27th.    
"What a rookie year it's been.  I've learned so much about myself as a driver," Dillon said.  "Today wasn't the ending to the year that we wanted.  We had them there at the end and could've gotten ourselves a top-15 finish, but I just barely scrubbed the wall and cut the right-rear tire at the very end.  I wish we could have shown everyone what we're capable of one last time this season in the GEICO Chevrolet, but it was still a good run that we had going.  I appreciate the hard work of this team all season long. We've had a lot of bright spots and some not so bright ones, but that's our season and it's one that we will build on for next year.  We're going to grind through the off-season and be ready in Daytona."
Germain Racing will now turn their attention to next season as they begin prepping the new No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 2018 Daytona 500.  Chevrolet announced in August that they would be making the car design change from the Chevrolet SS beginning with the upcoming season. 
The 2018 Daytona 500 is on Sunday, February 18th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:30 PM (ET).  The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) finished 24th in their final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The team had a phenomenal start to the weekend, finishing first and second practice eighth and 13th, respectively. McDowell finished the first round of qualifying 11th fastest on Friday, but had a slight mishap in the second round, securing a 23rd place starting spot for Sunday’s season finale race.

At the start of the Ford EcoBoost 400, the field only made it to the sixth lap under green flag before the first caution came out for a blown engine. McDowell reported that the handling of his No. 95 Rohto® Jolt™ Chevrolet SS felt fine, but that he did not want to burn up his tires too quickly, as the fall-off at Homestead is significant. McDowell pitted for a new set during the first caution, while the majority of the leaders did not.

McDowell made his first green flag pit stop on lap 40 and controlled the Lucky Dog position for a time. He then reported his No. 95 Rohto® Jolt™ Chevy was extremely tight handling but was able to finish the stage in 21st.

Within the first 10 laps of the second stage, McDowell reported a very tight handling car and went down a second lap on lap 114. He made his second green flag pit stop on lap 132, before a caution came out just under 10 laps later, allowing McDowell to take the wave around and gain one lap back. He went on to finish the second stage in 22nd.

McDowell pitted for tires and adjustments during the caution and was able to gain a spot on pit road to start the final stage in 21st and in position to race for the Lucky Dog spot. On lap 186, McDowell reported that he felt like one of his tires was beginning to go down. He made it just seven laps before the right front tire went completely flat, forcing the team to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop, which put them down a third lap.

In an effort to not lose any more spots, Crew Chief, Jon Leonard told McDowell to save fuel, as they could make it until the end of the race without pitting. The rest of the field began their green flag pit stops, allowing McDowell to gain one lap back. As the fifth caution of the day came out on lap 229, the team was able to take the wave around to put McDowell down only one lap.

McDowell restarted in 22nd as the field went green with 34 laps remaining. While he made it back up to 20th, McDowell ultimately ran out of fuel on the last lap, crossing the start / finish line in 24th.

“Not the day we wanted,” said McDowell. “We went a few laps down there and got off sequence with strategy there. Cautions didn’t fall our way either. We struggled today just being tight, and we just lost the balance a little bit. We did all we could and got a Top-25 finish again. I’m looking forward to next year!”


This past weekend, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season concluded at the Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Martin Truex, Jr. was crowned the champion.

Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) finished the year with driver Aric Almirola and 2017 lead sponsor's Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP and Fresh From Florida. 

Sunday night, Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield team finished 18th. 
Almirola completed the season with three Top-Five finishes, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500.  Almirola also collected six Top-10 finishes in 29 races after suffering a back injury at the Kansas Speedway in early May.  Prior to the devastating accident, the team had two consecutive Top-10 finishes at Richmond and at Talladega- where he finished fifth.

Almirola returned to the car at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in mid-July and one week later finished 13th in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The team found success late in the 2017 season with another Top-Five at Talladega and Top-10 results at Kansas and Phoenix.

Regan Smith competed in two races (Charlotte in May and Dover in June) in the No. 43, filling in for Almirola.  Smith was running in the Top-10 late in the Dover race before cutting a tire. Road course driver, Billy Johnson, raced at Sonoma.

RPM made history when Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, Jr. competed in four races in the summer.  Wallace finished 11th at the Kentucky Speedway in his final start.

The introduction to Wallace led the organization to hire him.  The announcement was made on October 25.  Wallace, 24, will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and for the Sunoco Rookie of The Year beginning at the 2018 Daytona 500.

The organization welcomed new partner, Click n' Close, in early November to join the many partners of Petty. 

Moving into December, RPM continues to gain momentum as they prepare for the 2018 season opener in Daytona.


Stage 1
Cole Whitt qualified 33rd to start the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Caution Lap 6 (incident): Whitt relayed the Rinnai No. 72 was tight in the center of Turns 1 and 2 and a little free in and off the corners. Whitt pitted for four tires and fuel. He restarted 32nd
Lap 42: Whitt was experiencing loss of rear grip and had fallen a lap down from the leader. He pitted under a green flag for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to the Rinnai No. 72
Stage 1 Completion Caution Lap 80: Whitt completed the stage 30th, two laps down from the leader. He relayed the Rinnai No. 72 was really loose in, tight in the center and loose off. Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him to pit for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments
Stage 2
Whitt took the Stage 2 green flag restart 33rd, two laps down
Lap 122: Whitt continued to experience the same conditions reporting it had worsened. Under green flag, he came in for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. He returned to the field 33rd, three laps down
Caution Lap 143 (incident): Having just pitted about 20 laps prior, Whitt stayed out on track to take the wave around. He too the green flag restart scored 30th, two laps down
Stage 2 Completion Caution Lap 160: Whitt completed the stage 29th, two laps down. He came to pit for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment to the Rinnai No. 72
Stage 3
Whitt was scored 36th, two laps down for the start of Stage 3
As Stage 3 became a long green flag run, competitors were forced to make green flag pit stops. The Rinnai No. 72 continued to be loose in, tight in the center and loose off. Whitt came to pit on lap 207 for four tires and fuel. He rejoined the field 31st, four laps down
Caution Lap 229 (incident): Whitt was scored 30th, three laps down on the leaderboard. Crew Chief Frank Kerr requested he stay out on track to take the wave around and save fuel confident the Rinnai No. 72 had enough fuel to complete the race
Whitt took the green flag restart 27th, two laps down. He fell one position and ultimately closed out the season finale with a 28th place finish in the Rinnai No. 72 in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway 
Tristar PR

Martin Truex Jr. capped off a dream season with a tenacious late-race drive to capture the NASCAR Cup Series championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Truex, who led four times for 78 laps in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch while leading the final 51 laps. His margin of victory over Busch was 0.681 seconds. Truex needed to finish ahead of Busch and the two other Championship 4 drivers — Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski — to claim the season title.

The victory was the eighth of the season for Truex, who now owns 15 career Cup wins. Thirteen of those wins have been with the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team.

The 2017 season for Furniture Row Racing also saw the No. 78 team win the regular season championship and Erik Jones of the No. 77 team win Rookie of the Year.

Truex was no doubt deserving of the title. In the 10-playoff races he won four times and scored nine top fives. The only non top-five finish was 23rd at Talladega where he was involved in a multicar accident.  His overall playoff average finish was 4.3.  Take away the Talladega result, his average finish in the other nine races was 2.2.

When the white flag waved at Homestead Truex knew the championship was his, and when he crossed the finish line the emotion of the herculean moment left him speechless.

“I balled like a baby, I couldn’t talk,” said Truex. “I was a wreck thinking about all the tough days, the bad days, the times where I thought my career was over and times when I didn’t think anyone believed in me. But the people who mattered did — my fans, my family and then when I got with this team they resurrected my career and made me a champion.”

Truex added, “This means the world. (team owner) Barney Visser 11 years of working towards this goal. He couldn’t be here tonight and we’re all thinking of him. Definitely wish he could have been here. I know he’s probably as much in shock as I am. Jim Watson, Cole’s best friend (Jacob Damen) and Sherry. This one is for all of you!”

Truex, started the 267-lap race second. He had some handling issues early, but as the race wore on, his Toyota Camry found more grip in a lane he never ran in the past on the 1.5-mile oval.

 “It’s the dumbest lane I’ve ever run here, but it worked, so I have to put it in the memory bank for later,” explained Truex. “Just all came together – it was meant to be. This whole year has been a dream year.

“We’ve got the best fans in the world and Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and everybody that puts so much into this -- Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners, WIX, 5-hour ENERGY, Furniture Row, Denver Mattress, the road crew and the guys back at the shop in Denver. The list goes on and on of people who help us do this and make it all possible. And Barney Visser back home had heart surgery last week and we’re missing him today. Thanks to everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for the chassis and cooperation and running one-two tonight was pretty awesome.”

According to crew chief Cole Pearn, the planning for Homestead started long before the championship race.

“We just focused on this race for a long time,” said Pearn. “We knew if we were going to be champions, we were going to have to get a lot better here. I can’t thank the number of hours that everybody put into this car and into this race. You know coming here and testing there are a lot of wives on our team who will be happy that this car made it and did what it did and it took every hour of it.

“We had to race three other great guys and the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) was really good. I think they were honestly a little better than us and Martin was able to dig down and get it done. I don’t really know how to comprehend it at this point. Just so so thrilled and be able to truly call ourselves champions is unbelievable.”

Truex and Furniture Row Racing will take center stage during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, which will culminate with the NASCAR Awards Banquet at The Wynn on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Finishing positions 3-10 went to:  Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.


After cutting a left rear tire late in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400 while running in the 11th position, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recovered to earn a 15th-place finish in the season finale of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stenhouse finished a career high of 13th in the driver point standings.

“I’m disappointed because I thought we should’ve had a top-10 but unfortunately we hit something on the track that cut our tire,” Stenhouse said. “Our goal the past couple of weeks was to finish in the top 10, and we were close every weekend. This has been a great season for our No. 17 team and I’m definitely looking forward to carrying this momentum into the off-season and kicking off 2018 strong.”

The Fastenal Ford rolled off in the sixth position and lost a few positions on the start, but a quick caution was displayed a mere nine laps in to the 267-lap race. After choosing to stay out for track position, Stenhouse restarted in the sixth position but over time newer tires prevailed costing Stenhouse to fall to 20th before the green flag pit cycle began.  With only 13 cars on the lead lap, Stenhouse took the green checkered in the 15th position to end stage one and one lap down to the leaders.

The two-time MENCS winner restarted in the 15th position for the second 80-lap stage and steadily marched his way into the free pass position despite battling a machine that lacked rear grip. The much needed caution was displayed on lap 141 allowing Stenhouse to get back on the lead lap. The Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 15th position for the final 10-lap shootout gaining four positions to take the green checkered in the 11th position to end stage two.

After working his way inside the top-10 with less than 70 laps remaining, the Roush Fenway Racing driver suffered a flat left rear tire a few laps after a scheduled pit-stop forcing Stenhouse to bring his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for two left side tires.

After falling back to the 23rd position, Stenhouse worked his way back up to the 15th position and was scored once again in the lucky dog position. Unfortunately, the race stayed green forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 15th-place finish.


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80)

Kevin Harvick started ninth, finished fourth.

Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 38 for tires and fuel.

Harvick entered the top-five on lap 47 and the top-three on lap 58.

The No. 4 teampitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started fourth, finished third.

Harvick raced up to second at the start of Stage 2 and challenged Kyle Larson for the lead before falling back to third on lap 116.

The Jimmy John’s Ford came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 122 for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment.

The No. 4 team came to pit road under caution on lap 147 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct a tight-handling car.

The pit crew gained Harvick a position on pit road to restart in second on lap 150.

The No. 4 team came to pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and several adjustments.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started fourth and finished fourth.

The Jimmy John’s Ford suffered right-front fender damage from hitting debris on lap 180 while racing in fourth.

The team came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 199 for four tires, fuel and an attempt to repair the fender. The No. 18 stayed out to attempt a different strategy, causing the Jimmy John’s Ford to briefly fall a lap down.

Harvick raced his way back to the lead lap on lap 208, racing in the eighth position and advancing to second by lap 228.

The team came to pit road under caution on lap 228 for tires, fuel and repairs and restarted second on lap 234.

The Jimmy John’s Ford battled for the lead following the restart before falling back to fourth by the checkered flag.



● Harvick scored his 14th top-five and 23rd top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Harvick’s ninth top-five and 15th top-10 finish in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Martin Truex Jr. captured the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow 2017 Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.


Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just got really loose and then got a hole in the nose and it started to get tight in. We got that fixed. We were pretty good on the next-to-last run, and we were just really loose on the last run. I want to thank everybody on my Jimmy John’s, Busch Ford for everything they’ve done. It was great to have a chance. We were in the mix all day. Didn’t quite have what we needed at the end. I want to thank Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Morton Building, Textron, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. Thank you guys for everything you did all year. We’ll be back.”


Give us a sense of what an accomplishment this year was.

“Well, I think when you look at it from the inside out and all the work that everybody went through, the preparation that we went through to get to these playoffs was second to none. It was a championship effort. Just came up a little bit short. Congratulations to Martin (Truex Jr.). Those guys have been the dominant car all year. To go win the race and make it happen at the end, they were able to get their car better and win the championship.”


Take us through the last stint.

“I was just really loose the whole last run. When it started to get dark we started to get tight in the corner, and then we got a hole in the nose. We got that fixed and just couldn’t quite get it where we needed to be to make good times. Some runs we fell off. Some runs we were tight on entry. There at the end we were just too loose.”


Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.



Austin Dillon and the Dow WeatherTech Team Close Out 2017 Season with Strong, 11th-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway 
"The Dow WeatherTech Chevrolet was pretty good today, so I'm glad we could put a period on the 2017 season with a solid finish. I didn't have enough grip to run the high line during the race, which is normally the preferred line at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but I felt pretty good running lower on the track. During that last run, we were just too loose to make anything happen. Still, we were able to clinch 11th in the final driver's point standings, which is pretty cool. I'm proud of everyone on this program and appreciate all of the hard work this year. We're a bunch of racers and we'll be back even stronger next season."
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Ends 2017 Season with a 16th-Place Finish in No. 27 Richmond / Menards Chevrolet
"It was nice to finish the season and my time at Richard Childress Racing with a solid finish here at Homestead. The Richmond / Menards Chevrolet was a handful to start, but Matt Borland made a great adjustment and the car came to life. I have to thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR and ECR for all of the support over the years. We didn't have the best season, but this is a great group of guys and we have had some fun."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Drives the Caterpillar Chevrolet to a 10th-Place Finish in the Season Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway
"What a comeback for us. We battled tight through the corner and loose off. It cost us some valuable track position there in the first stage, but we raced our way back onto the lead lap and that's when our Caterpillar Chevrolet became pretty sporty. It really responded well during the long green-flag runs so we knew if we kept up with the track, we would stay in the game. To pick up two spots at the end to finish our season and finish 10th, gives us some momentum going into next season. I want to thank all the guys back at the shop at RCR as well as ECR for giving me a car capable of running for a championship."

- Ryan Newman


Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team weren’t able to close their time together with a strong finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as they had hoped, but that was only a hiccup in what has been a remarkable 88-race run for the young driver and the sport’s oldest continuously operating race team.

The Wood Brothers and Blaney have scored a win at Pocono Raceway, poles at Kansas Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, eight top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, 49 lead-lap finishes, 317 laps led, four Stage wins, a 9-race playoff run this season and a ninth-place finish in the final 2017 points standings.
The three Blaney Years in Wood Brothers history, which were made possible by an alliance with Team Penske and support from Ford Motor Company and its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands, have seen the team surge forward in on-track performance, gain fans off the track, raise money for charity and lay the groundwork for future success.
 “We’ve enjoyed our time with Ryan, and we can’t say enough about what he and the crew have done to elevate our race team,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “They will always be a big part of our Wood Brothers racing family.”
Wood also thanked the fans who have stood by the team through the tough times of the past and the good times of late.
“We have some of the most loyal fans in the sport, and while we’ll all miss Ryan, I think they’ll like what they see going forward,” he said.
Despite the successes of recent seasons in races on intermediate tracks like Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 was a disappointing outing for the No. 21 team.
After qualifying a solid 11th, Blaney faded early and was in 32nd place, two laps down after the first stage. Trapped that far behind the leaders, the team was never able to find the speed or employ a strategy to rejoin the lead lap and wound up in 29th place, three laps down.
“It wasn’t the day we wanted, and it wasn’t the day the Ford teams wanted, but congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. on the championship,” Wood said.
Now the focus for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team turns to the 2018 campaign and the season-opening Daytona 500.

“We’re looking forward to the start of a new era, and we’ll go home and start getting ready to go to Daytona for the 500,” Wood said.


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Clint Bowyer started 16th and finished 10th. He earned one race point.

Told crew on the pace lap that he appreciated its hard work in 2017 and that he was proud to be on the team.

Pitted during a lap-five caution and dropped to 20th.

Bowyer used new and much faster tires to climb into 10th despite reporting his car was sliding sideways off the corners.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started 12th and finished 15th.

Bowyer told his crew if it could tighten the car he would be able to go much faster.

The adjustments plus the changing track conditions made the car harder to turn, slowing his progress.

At lap 142,Bowyer put on used tires for the final 10-lap run, preferring to save new tires for later in the race. He dropped to 15th.


Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started 15th and finished 18th.

Bowyer told his crew on the opening lap of the final stage that the car took off the best it had all race.

● Bowyer pitted from 13th on lap 198 for fuel, tires and handling adjustments after telling the crew his car was “sideways off the corners.”

Bowyerclimbed as high as ninth with 45 laps remaining.

A caution with 39 to go saw Bowyer pit from 10th for minor, front-end repairs after he said he hit a brake rotor on the track.

Bowyer restarted the race in 10th with 34 laps to go, but handling issues kept him from climbing higher.



●  Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford Ecoboost 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

●  Martin Truex Jr., won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his series-best eighth win of the season, but his first at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.


Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, the track was a lot slicker than I expected when we started the race. We had a good car, but we were on knife edge all night. First we are too loose, and we made an adjustment and we’d be too tight. It’s hard to believe the year is over. I’m proud of all the people on the No. 14 team. They worked hard this season. We’ll enjoy the off-season and be ready to race again in Daytona.”


Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18 and will be broadcast live on FOX.



Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion, overcame an unscheduled green flag pit stop for a flat tire on Lap 65 to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

“We battled all day,” said Bayne after the race. ”We rallied back after having to make that unscheduled stop under green and never gave up. I want to thank all of my guys on this team for their hard work throughout this entire season. We fought hard and even though tonight’s result wasn’t what we were looking for I am proud of our effort and will be ready to come back stronger in 2018.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 267-lap event from the 12th position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Friday afternoon. The driver of the Roush Performance Products Ford battled a tight-handling condition for much of the opening stage that ultimately shuffled Bayne back to the 25th position before the first round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 37. Bayne returned to the track following the stop in 23rd but was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green on Lap 66 after slight contact with the outside retaining wall led to a flat right-rear tire. As a result of the pit stop, Bayne took the green and checkered flag to end Stage 1 in the 33rd position.

Stage 2 began with the Knoxville, Tenn. native continuing to fight a tight-handling condition rolling through the center of the corner. Despite the handling woes, Bayne patiently moved forward throughout the stage, improving six positions over two green flag runs to end the second stage in 27th.

When the final stage went green Bayne radioed to crew chief Matt Puccia that the Roush Performance Products Ford had shifted toward the loose side rolling through the corner. Although now on the loose side, the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion continued to move forward, driving up to 23rd before another round of green flag pit stops began on Lap 200. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment Bayne returned to the track in 24th and maintained his track position until a caution on Lap 227 provided Puccia another opportunity to bring the Roush Fenway Racing driver to pit road.

Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 25th position and climbed six positions in the closing laps to record a 19th-place finish in the 2017 MENCS season finale.