Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14361)

In a spirited partnership arrangement with Furniture Row Racing, Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY® have teamed to form a 30-race co-primary sponsorship on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota during the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The No. 78 paint scheme, uniform design and official name of race car for the 30 races will work in the following manner.

·      For 16 selective races the orange-hued paint scheme will feature Bass Pro Shops as the dominant brand on the hood and 5-hour Energy as the dominant brand on the side of the car.
·      For another 14 selective races the red-hued paint scheme will showcase 5-hour ENERGY as the dominant brand on the hood and Bass Pro Shops as the dominant brand on the sides.
·      The color and primary design of the team fire suits for the 30 races will be the company which holds the dominant position on the hood of the Furniture Row Racing-owned Camry.
·      The official name of the car that will be submitted to NASCAR will be determined by which company is dominant on the hood. It will either be called the No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota or the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota.

With Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY co-sponsoring 30 races, Auto-Owners Insurance as primary sponsor for six other races and a pending announcement regarding the final two Cup events on the 2018 schedule, Truex’s No. 78 team will be fully sponsored next season.

In the spirit of the co-primary sponsorship Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY have formed a business-to-business relationship, which includes in-store sales and marketing rights.


Rise’ Meguiar, President of Sales for Living Essentials,
parent company of 5-hour ENERGY
“Furniture Row Racing has felt like home since we joined them in the summer of 2016,” said Rise’ Meguiar, president of sales for Living Essentials. “They have been amazing on track and even more so off the track.  Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 team have been on a championship level for a number of years and we are proud to take a prominent co-primary position on that car.  We are equally as excited about the new business and marketing partnership with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops.  The ability to sell 5-hour ENERGY products within the Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores, as well as co-market to the millions of men and women who enjoy the outdoors, makes this a perfect sponsorship.  We could not be happier.”

Johnny Morris, noted conservationist, avid racing fan and Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO
“Martin is a true champion on and off the racetrack and we are proud to continue supporting him and the No. 78 race team in 2018,” said Bass Pro Shops founder, CEO and avid racing fan Johnny Morris. “NASCAR is an excellent platform for Bass Pro Shops and we share in our customers’ enthusiasm and passion for racing. We’re very excited to continue our longstanding relationship with Martin Truex Jr., Barney Visser and our friends at Toyota.”

Barney Visser, Furniture Row Racing Owner
“This type of a co-primary sponsorship has been made a reality only because of the incredible cooperation between Johnny Morris and his Bass Pro team, along with Rise’ Meguiar and her 5-hour ENERGY team,” said Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser. “It took a number of conversations and a spirit of partnership to make this happen and we thank Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY for being open-minded to this concept. Bass Pro and 5-hour ENERGY are winning companies and we will do everything we can on the racetrack to provide them not only with a winning team but represent them in the highest standard. We also want to give a special thank you to Auto-Owners Insurance for its cooperation in moving markets around to enable this overall partnership with Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY to work.”

Martin Truex Jr., Driver No. 78 Toyota Camry
“I am looking forward to continuing my association with Bass Pro Shops and my good friend Johnny Morris and building a bigger and stronger relationship with 5-hour ENERGY,” said Truex. “The sponsorship package is a neat concept and it will be our responsibility to make sure we deliver both on and off the track for these highly-visible and successful companies.”


With a strong ninth-place qualifying result on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center team set themselves up to earn some valuable stage points in Sunday’s Alabama 500.

Blaney, one of the drivers in the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs, knows that earning stage points will be important if he hopes to advance to the Round of Eight, which begins after next week’s race at Kansas Speedway.

By starting ninth on Sunday, Blaney will be in a better position to be among the top 10 at the end of the first of two 55-lap stages. Up to 10 points are available to winners of each of the first two stages, and the top 10 finishers in stages earn points based on their finishing positions at the end of each stage.

Blaney enters Sunday’s race 11th in the standings but just five points shy of being among the elite eight that will advance to the next playoff round.

After qualifying, Blaney gave the Quick Lane team the credit for his success in qualifying.
"I thought we had decent speed,” he said. “We're wide open. Drivers don't do much here. (Crew chief) Jeremy (Bullins) and everybody on the team set it up.

 “I thought we had a good car. We'll see what we do Sunday."  
Blaney and the Quick Lane team have had good speed all weekend at Talladega. He was third fastest in the opening practice on Friday with a best lap at 197.798 miles per hour. Satisfied with their speed, the team sat out the final practice session.
On Saturday, he was eighth fastest in the first qualifying round with a speed of 189.676 mph, then ninth in the second and final round with an almost identical lap at 189.669 mph.

 “It’s not bad,” Blaney said. “It’s a good place to start.”
The Alabama 500 is set to start just after 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. will lead the field to green on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt Jr. posted a 50.256, 190.544 mph. lap in the final round of qualifying to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

“We got a pole earlier this year at Daytona. We’ve been fighting our teammate, Chase (Elliott) and his group for poles at these tracks for a long time and it’s been a lot of fun to be honest with you, how these two teams have pushed and elevated each other,” said Earnhardt Jr. after earning the pole. “Really, all the credit for getting a pole at a place like this goes to the team and goes to the car and the guys that work on it, the engine, the body men; we’ve got an amazing staff back at Charlotte that builds some awesome stuff.  I just hold the wheel straight and try not to bounce into the apron, but get as close to it as you can and make sure you run a clean lap. But there ain’t much to it as a driver. This place has meant a lot to me. It’s awesome to hear those fans happy for us and hopefully we’re going to give them a lot more to cheer about before this weekend is over.”

Earnhardt Jr. comes into the Alabama 500 looking to score the first win since his last in 2015 at Phoenix International Raceway in November. If he accomplishes the feat on Sunday, Earnhardt Jr. will have amassed seven total victories across 35 starts at the 2.66-mile oval.

“Certainly. You think about that every time you suit-up and get in the car, you imagine if that’s going to be the day you get a win,” said Earnhardt Jr. when asked how much a win tomorrow would mean. “But, this would be a real important one if we could win for all the fans, all year long, we certainly owe them a win and it would be great to get them one on Sunday.”

Chase Elliott will be the highest starting NASCAR Playoff driver in second. Elliott, Earnhardt Jr’s teammate, posted a 50.291, 190.412 mph. in the final round. The Georgia native finished round one sitting third on the leaderboard behind Joey Logano.

“I don’t think so, but congrats to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and the No. 88 team,” said Elliott when asked what else he could’ve done during his lap. “They do a good job. Our team does great with this stuff. We definitely have a knack for it. We just hope that we can run good tomorrow and it lasts over the long haul. As hot as it is down here I think it’s going to be pretty important and we’ll try to finish this thing. We’ll see.”

Elliott enters the Alabama 500 coming off of two consecutive second-place finishes at Dover and Charlotte. Through 30 events this season, he holds nine top five and 17 top 10 finishes as he looks to capture his first career win in the series.

Joey Logano will round out the top three starters on Sunday afternoon. Logano posted a 50.301, 190.374 mph. in the final round. In round one of qualifying, Logano sat second on the leaderboard behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters Talladega Superspeedway with plenty of momentum on Sunday. Stenhouse will try and go three for four on plate tracks this season as he won at Talladega in May and at Daytona in July. The Mississippi native will start fifth.’

Stenhouse Jr’s teammate Trevor Bayne also had a solid qualifying effort for Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne, with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona in 2011, will start 10th on Sunday.

Kyle Larson, one of the championship contenders,  will round out the top 12 starters.

See where your favorite NASCAR Playoff driver will start:






Chase Elliott



Ricky Stenhouse Jr.



Brad Keselowski



Jimmie Johnson



Ryan Blaney



Kyle Larson



Denny Hamlin



Kyle Busch



Jamie McMurray



Matt Kenseth



Martin Truex Jr.



Kevin Harvick

There were no DNQs as 40 drivers appeared on the weekend entry list at Talladega.

Last week, driver of the no. 17 Sunny D Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, went to the local go-kart facility in Mooresville, North Carolina for a very special event. Sponsor Sunny D held a contest online that included the chance to fly out to Charlotte for the big playoff race, as well as the chance to physically race with Stenhouse in professional grade go-karts. The contest, titled "Race with Ricky" was a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the relationship between drivers and fans. Thousands entered, and one lucky woman got the chance to bring friends with her to the track to race against Stenhouse. The event was all about the fans, with racing scheduled for two to three hours at The Pit in Mooresville. I also had the opportunity to throw the helmet on and hit the track against the 2017 playoff contender. The experience was unmatched and was absolutely incredible. The fan winner was very excited for the opportunity to race against one of her favorite cup series drivers. After the event concluded, the fan winner and her guests were all presented with certificates and trophies, as well as a fresh bottle of Sunny D.

The relationship between the fans and drivers are so important in this day and age. Through the use of social media and physical conversations and interactions at the track, fans get unprecedented access into the lives of their favorite drivers. The smile that the fan winner had throughout the whole night, as well as everyone in attendance, shows how special these events are to the fans, as well as the drivers. It will continue to be absolutely crucial to the integrity of the sport for the drivers and teams to maintain a strong relationship with their fans. Keeping the fans involved like Stenhouse Jr and his team were able to do in this circumstance will keep the state of NASCAR strong.

Back in the day, when the Wood Brothers were en route to winning five races at Talladega Superspeedway from 1971 to 1980, horsepower, some slick sheet metal and a calculating driver were the most important factors in team’s performance.

But when the green flag drops Sunday to start the Alabama 500 at Talladega, Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Fusion will need all of the above, plus some Quick Lane-type service on pit road if they hope to score stage points, contend for victory and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said it’s fitting that the iconic No. 21 will carry the blue-and-white colors of Quick Lane this weekend at Talladega.

 “Pit stops are so important these days,” Wood said. “In the old days at Talladega you could have a slow stop and draft your way back to the front.

 “But with the way restrictor-plate races play out now and with so many cars running essentially the same speed, if you have a slow stop, you’re in danger of getting lapped or ending up with such poor track position that you can’t contend for stage points or a victory.”
Wood said the crew of the No. 21 Fusion has been among the fastest and most reliable on pit road all seasons, usually gaining spots on every pit stop and doing so with a minimum of mistakes.

 “That’s the same philosophy Ford dealers have with their Quick Lane service,” Wood said. “We hope the work of our pit crew will have the “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” effect for Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center dealers as they compete for customers looking for service for their automobiles.”
There’s another reason Quick Lane has taken the primary sponsorship position this weekend.
The team and Quick Lane are promoting the company’s “Trading One Uniform For Another” scholarship program for military veterans who want to pursue careers as automotive technicians.
Now in its second year, the program offers five $10,000 scholarships to veterans who want to enter private life as service technicians.

 Anyone can nominate a veteran for the scholarship program by visiting
The five winners will be announced on Dec. 26 at the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
Wood said the motoring public needs good mechanics just as much as a NASCAR race team.
 “It takes a high level of maintenance and preparation to get a race car to withstand the punishment of a 500-mile race,” Wood said. “And even the best-built passenger cars benefit from the services of a well-trained mechanic.
“I can’t think of any better candidate for a career as a mechanic than someone who has been serving their country in the Armed Forces.”

Qualifying for the Alabama 500 is set for Saturday at 3:15 p.m. Central Time (4:15 Eastern) and the race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.

Ford Performance PR

Justin Marks will pilot the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Golden Corral is the primary sponsor, along with Katerra, as an associate, for Sunday's Alabama 500.  

Golden Corral, the family-friendly buffet chain is known for their endless buffet with a variety of familiar favorites and new menu offerings. Golden Corral has been actively involved in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2011. As primary sponsor for the weekend, Golden Corral will again activate their Top 10 Kids Eat Free Promotion.  If Marks finishes in the Top 10, "Kids Eat Free" on Monday, October 16, with the purchase of an adult buffet at Golden Corral restaurants across the country.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of such an awesome race as the Alabama 500,” said Marks. “Monster Energy Cup Series racing is special and any opportunity to race is a big deal. Tommy and his team have a solid and proven track record this year on the superspeedways with the Golden Corral Chevy. I'm looking forward to working with this group and having a productive weekend and racing for a Top 10, so kids can eat free on Monday.”

“We’re excited to cheer on Justin on Sunday as he races for a Top 10 Kids Eat Free finish,” said Shelley Wolford, Vice President of National Marketing and Media at Golden Corral.

Be sure to tune into NBC on Sunday October 15th at 2:00p to catch all the action at Talladega Superspeedway. For more information on Golden Corral visit their website at


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is looking for his third consecutive restrictor-plate victory and a season sweep at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) returns to the famed 2.66-mile oval. Stenhouse, who earned his first career victory this past May at Talladega, also went to victory lane in July at Daytona International Speedway. A win this weekend would secure the Roush Fenway Racing driver a position in the 2017 MENCS Playoffs Round of 8.

“I’m definitely looking forward to Talladega this weekend,” Stenhouse said. “Last Talladega was really special for me. Talladega is considered my home track so it meant a lot to me to have my dad and friends there to help celebrate my first Cup win. Jimmy Fennig has done an amazing job with our superspeedway program and our success this year is a testament to all of his hard work.

“It would be nice to be able to get our SunnyD Ford back in victory lane and secure a spot in the next round, but, if not, I think it’s a race track that we could still gain a lot of points.  Nothing is guaranteed when you go there.  I’ve been crashed out of them just as easy as finishing well, but I definitely think our entire team is excited about getting back to Talladega.”

In May, the Olive Branch, Miss. native’s dramatic come-from-behind win from the pole at Talladega, marked Roush Fenway’s record-extending 324th win in NASCAR’s three premiere series.

The Alabama 500 will be televised on October 15, 2017 on NBC at 2 p.m. ET. Race coverage can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SIRIUS Channel 90.


NBC Sports Group surrounds the second race of the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, with more than 11 hours of trackside coverage this weekend from Talladega Superspeedway, in Lincoln, Ala. Live race coverage from NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track begins this Sunday, October. 15, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

During Sunday’s race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will don NASCAR on NBC’s helmet visor camera, and provide viewers live in-car coverage as he attempts to take home his seventh victory at Talladega Superspeedway.

Following a thrilling overtime win last Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota have advanced to the Round of 8 and lead the Cup Series playoff field with 3,106 points. Kyle Larson (3,072 points), Kevin Harvick (3,069), Chase Elliott (3,059) and Denny Hamlin (3,056) round out the Top 5, followed by Kyle Busch (3,055), Jimmie Johnson (3,051) and Jamie McMurray (3,044). Matt Kenseth (3,043), Brad Keselowski (3,042), Ryan Blaney (3,039) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3,034) currently stand below the cutline. Stenhouse Jr. earned his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega this past May.

In addition to live television coverage on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will provide comprehensive streaming coverage of this weekend’s NASCAR action.


NBC Sports Group kicks off its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage from Talladega Superspeedway this Friday at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN with first practice, followed by final practice at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. NASCAR America wraps up on-site coverage at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Saturday’s coverage includes qualifying at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Sunday’s race day coverage begins with NASCAR America at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and continues with Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Pre-race coverage includes a special feature with three-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart.

NASCAR Cup Series racing begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage wraps up at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with Victory Lap, NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR post-race show.

NBC Sports Group’s lead race announcer Rick Allen (@Rickallenracing) will call this weekend’s Monster Energy action, alongside Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte (@steveletarte), and “The Mayor” of NASCAR Jeff Burton (@Jeffburton).

Krista Voda (@KristaVoda) will host pre- and post-race coverage alongside auto racing icon Kyle Petty (@Kylepetty), and Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett (@DaleJarrett). Marty Snider (@HeyMartysnider), Kelli Stavast (@Kellistavast) and Dave Burns (@tvdaveburns) will report from pit road, alongside features reporter Rutledge Wood (@rutledgewood).


Tonight at 5 p.m. ET, Danica Patrick will join NASCAR America host Krista Voda, as well as analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte, live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in Charlotte, N.C.

Patrick will discuss her final season with Stewart-Haas Racing, her plans for 2018, and her numerous career aspirations and ventures outside of NASCAR. As part of NBCSN’s comprehensive coverage of the 2017 NASCAR season, NASCAR America will present a live show each week from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Each live episode will include an in-depth interview with an active driver, and highlight their journey to professional racing.


During Monday evening’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR on NBCSN analyst Steve Letarte shared the following comments about Jimmie Johnson not being penalized for being outside the pit box during his pit stop on Lap 280 of this past Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Letarte: “Words on paper are very different than a call in a race. By the rule, the No. 48 should not have been penalized. I questioned it during yesterday’s broadcast simply because it failed the eye test. My bigger issue is Chad Knaus was crystal clear, he understood what the rule was. His competitor Cole Pearn, who I consider to be a very smart crew chief, thought it was going to be a penalty.”

The full conversation is available here.


NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton joins Nate Ryan (@nateryan) on this week’s NASCAR on NBC podcast. Burton candidly discusses last weekend’s Cup Series playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and shares his thoughts on how NASCAR has been enforcing rules and penalties this season.

The NASCAR on NBC podcast is available on NASCAR Talk, Apple Podcasts, AudioBoom, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and podcasting apps. For more info click here.


Wednesday, October 11 NASCAR America 5:00 PM NBCSN
Thursday, October 12 NASCAR America 5:00 PM NBCSN
  NASCAR Whelen Series 6:00 PM NBCSN
Friday, October 13 NASCAR Cup Series First Practice – Talladega 1:00 PM NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice – Talladega 3:00 PM NBCSN
  NASCAR America 5:00 PM NBCSN
Saturday, October 14 NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Talladega 4:00 PM NBCSN
Sunday, October 15 NASCAR America 1:00 PM NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Countdown to Green 1:30 PM NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Racing – Talladega 2:00 PM NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Post-Race Show 6:00 PM NBCSN
  Victory Lap 6:30 PM NBCSN



In 2017, NBC Sports Group will present the final 20 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events.

NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials. NBC Sports Group concluded the 2016 NASCAR season presenting more hours of trackside coverage and programming than ever before.