Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15097)

The Dale Jr. Foundation, in conjunction with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the Heart of America Foundation, celebrated the grand opening of the brand-new LaSalle-Backus Educational Campus Library in Washington, D.C. today. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who co-founded TDJF in 2007 with his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, attended the celebratory event.
The trio of foundations combined to transform the former library into a new learning center, complete with updated paint schemes and décor, 350 new books, new technology and new furniture to aid in the education of students in the area. It’s a continuation of LBEC’s commitment to literacy. LBEC has worked long and hard to improve literacy through the 2017-18 Redskins Read Program, an incentive-based reading program that helps teachers expand on current curriculum for fourth- and fifth-grade students and increase reading scores.
“The only way to be productive is to be positive,” the 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver—and lifelong Washington Redskins fan- said prior to the event. “Reading is a great escape. Diving into a good book can transport you out of your circumstances and into a whole other world where anything is possible, and that is what this project is all about.” 

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.

Numerous volunteers were on hand, including Earnhardt Jr., and several Washington Redskins players, and assembled custom Redskins-themed furniture, stocked bookshelves and helped decorate the space prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Dale is a longtime Redskins fan and our Foundation is dedicated to providing hope to disadvantaged youth – so this was a perfect way for us to fulfill our mission while partnering with a team that is near and dear to Dale’s heart,” said Emily DiNunzio, development director for The Dale Jr. Foundation.

Students also participated in a Book Celebration and selected four books for their home libraries.

Dale Jr. Foundation PR

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: .    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.  

Shell-Pennzoil PR

The last time Timothy Peters partnered with Ricky Benton Racing (RBR), the pairing resulted in a seventh-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway. Emboldened by the result, the team and driver have decided to renew their partnership in a bigger way: RBR and Peters will be heading to Alabama to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The event will be Peters’ debut in MENCS and RBR’s second start. RBR finished 14th in the 60th running of the Daytona 500 in February.
“This is just a dream come true for me,” said Peters. “I am humbled and so appreciative for the opportunity that Ricky (Benton), Advance Auto Parts, the entire Black’s Tire family, BB&T and Highland Construction have given me to make my first Cup start.”
Despite not having made a Cup start to date, Peters is no stranger to NASCAR restrictor plate racing. The Danville, Va. native has two wins at Talladega and one at Daytona to go along with four other top-five finishes in 14 starts in the NCWTS. He also has a sixth-place finish in ARCA competition at Daytona.
“Timothy is an incredibly talented driver and proved to be a great fit with our guys at Martinsville,” said team owner Ricky Benton. “He and (crew chief) Mike (Hester) worked great together, communicated well and made some great adjustments as that race progressed.
“I have no doubt that it will carry over to Talladega in the Cup car.”
Benton said David Gilliland, who drove the RBR entry in the Daytona 500, is not behind the wheel this time around due to commitments to the race team he owns fielding cars in ARCA, the K&N Pro Series and NCWTS.
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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.


Leavine Family Racing announced today that it has hired Jessica Rohlik to serve as the Senior Director of Communications for the organization and the No. 95 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.

In her role, Rohlik will oversee external communications and social media efforts for the team, work with media and sponsor partners, as well as work with veteran driver Kasey Kahne.

“We’re extremely pleased to have someone of Jess’ caliber join us here,” Jeremy Lange, VP/General Manager of LFR stated. “Her success in this industry over the years, and her knowledge of the NASCAR garage, will help raise the level of media relations for Kasey (Kahne), the team and our partners.”

Rohlik brings more than 15 years of motorsports experience to the team, having most recently spent the past eight seasons working with 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth. The Cleveland, Ohio native has been involved in the sport for 16 years and has been a part of more than 25 wins across NASCAR’s top-three series, including the 2012 Daytona 500 Championship.  In addition to working alongside Kenseth, Rohlik has worked with drivers Ricky Rudd, David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil and Jamie McMurray during her time in NASCAR.

“From the moment I spoke with Bob (Leavine) and the rest of the group at LFR, I knew this was going to be a good fit,” Rohlik said. “It definitely is a family atmosphere here, but they also have the same drive, competitiveness, and desire to win as larger organizations.  I’m excited to get started and be a part of this incredible organization.”

The Miami University graduate was recently awarded the 2017 Ken Patterson Helping Hands Award by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), and honor which was voted on by members of the NMPA.

Rohlik will begin her position immediately with the team traveling to this weekend’s event at Richmond Raceway.


Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) heads to Richmond (Va.) Raceway this weekend for the first Saturday night race of the season. The Tampa native looks to build upon his season-best finish of sixth during Monday’s weather-delayed race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Under the guidance of first-year crew chief Johnny Klausmeier, Almirola was the top SHR Ford Fusion driver at Bristol – three of whom finished in the top-10. Not only was it a big weekend on the track for Klausmeier, it was just as busy off of the track for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County graduate with the birth of his second child, a daughter named Olivia.   

Almirola looks to replicate his solid finish from Bristol at the Richmond oval this weekend. Despite his sixth-place finish at Bristol, he was happy to be disappointed with the result. “I’m a little disappointed with sixth but, at the same time, I’m happy and pleased that we rebounded after a bad day in Texas,” the Smithfield driver said. With the exception of an accident at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth that left him with a 32nd-place result, Almirola hasn’t finished outside the top-14 this season. Even though Almirola had a solid result at Bristol, it didn’t come easily, evidenced by Almirola earning the Mobil 1 Performance Award after completing 81 passes throughout the 500-lap event. It was the second time Almirola has received the award this season. He was also the second-highest-finishing Ford Fusion in the 500-lap race at Bristol.

The Richmond facility, which is undergoing an infield renovation, typically puts on one of the best shows in the sport and is the second consecutive short track of the season. In 12 starts at the .75-mile oval, Almirola has captured one top-five finish and four top-10s. He has an average Richmond finish of 16.2 with 99.9 percent of laps completed, and he earned a ninth-place result in this race last year.

Almirola has six Richmond starts in the Xfinity Series and has scored one top-10 finish along with 10 laps led, and an average finish of 16.2. Richmond is the first track this season where Almirola hasn’t made a Camping World Truck Series start.  

Earlier this week, Ford announced it will transition from the Fusion to the Mustang for the 2019 Cup Series season. “When you think about muscle cars and going fast, especially when it comes to the blue oval, you think of the Ford Mustang,” Almirola said. “I think it’s going to be really cool to get the Mustang out on the track in the Cup Series. It already runs in the Xfinity Series and they’ve had a lot of success with it in that series, so I’m excited about getting the Mustang on the track in our series and I can’t wait to take it to victory lane.” Ford leads all manufacturers in the series with four wins so far this season, and has 32 all-time series wins at Richmond.

Richmond marks the eighth weekend that the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Fusion. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. The No. 10 team partner’s headquarters is located approximately 80 miles southeast of Richmond Raceway.  Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

Saturday, Almirola will join Smithfield at Richmond’s infield track takeover area prior to the race. The event begins at 3 p.m. EDT with Almirola helping Smithfield make a protein donation to FeedMore Food Bank of Richmond on behalf of Kroger as part of the company’s 2018 Helping Hungry Homes® hunger-relief tour. The event is open to the media and will conclude at approximately at 3:30 p.m. 



Kevin Harvick is headed to Richmond (Va.) Raceway for this Saturday night’s 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race with Mobil 1 on the hood of his No. 4 Ford Fusion for the first time in 2018.


The challenging .75-mile short track in eastern Virginia should be a perfect fit for Mobil 1’s “Tiny Kevin”.


Through the magic of television, Harvick appears as a three-inch tall version of himself as “Tiny Kevin”. For the second consecutive year, Harvick is prominently featured in the advertising for Mobil 1 Annual Protection – the breakthrough lubricant technology that allows drivers to go one full year or 20,000 miles between oil changes. The three-inch tall version of Harvick plays the comedic foil to an average guy getting ready to change his oil and explains the convenience of going one-full year or 20,000 miles between oil changes.    


Mobil 1 Annual Protection is made up of high-performance synthetic base oils and is reinforced with proprietary anti-aging technology. The advanced formulation resists breakdown, which means it can deliver longer-lasting engine protection while supporting optimal performance. The proof of performance team evaluated the capabilities of Mobil 1 Annual Protection motor oil by conducting tests to measure how oil can oxidize, break down and thicken over time. In the ExxonMobil Proprietary High-temperature Viscosity Control Test, the team noticed how Mobil 1 Annual Protection oil outlasted the other synthetic oils tested before thickening limits were reached.


Stewart-Haas Racing’s partnership with Mobil 1 provides the unique combination of experience and innovative thinking to deliver enhanced performance results on the track. The relationship represents an ambition – backed by science – to provide drivers with the best possible lubricant technology solutions.


The partnership with Mobil 1 continues to provide on-track testing that helps lead to new lubricant technology developments like Mobil 1 Annual Protection.


Harvick and the No. 4 team also benefit from Mobil 1 lubricant technology through improved efficiency of the car using lower friction engine and gear oils, which results in better driveline efficiency and improved reliability by reducing both friction and wear in the final driveline.


All the benefits that Harvick and the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford team receive from using Mobil 1 under the hood should give the team a better opportunity to reach victory lane for the fourth time in 2018.


Heading into this weekend, the No. 4 team ranks third in the championship standings with 290 points, 75 behind series leader Kyle Busch. That number is significant considering Harvick and Busch have finished 1-2 in three of the first eight races this year, with Harvick besting Busch in two of those three contests.  


Harvick leads the Cup Series with three wins and is tied with Busch in playoff points (12), and as Richmond beckons, Tiny Kevin looks to stand stall and protect his lead in the win column with Mobil 1 Annual Protection.



Many folks in the NASCAR garage know that Kurt Busch is a huge fan of the three-time World Series-champion Chicago Cubs.


Wrigley Field was built in 1914, when Woodrow Wilson was in his first term as President of the United States. The Cubs began playing there in 1916, replacing the Chi-Feds from the Federal League. There have been renovations and adjustments – the addition of an upper deck in 1928, bleachers in 1937, lights in 1988 and suites in 1989.


By the time the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs in 2009, it was time for a massive renovation to the old ballpark, and now, the completion of the historic 1060 project is near, which is intended to maintain the charm of Wrigley, but also upgrade it.


The same can be said for Richmond (Va.) Raceway as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes to the .75-mile track for Saturday night’s Richmond 400. Some drivers may even say, “Dude, what happened to Richmond?”


Racing began in Richmond in 1946 and, in 1988, officials redesigned the track from a half-mile to a .75-mile. But it has been 30 years, and the infield is due for an upgrade. As part of a $30 million dollar renovation, the infield will be completely rebuilt with new garages, media center, victory lane and other amenities.


In 34 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond, Busch owns a pair of victories. The first came in September 2005, when Busch started fifth and led 185 laps en route to the win. Busch scored his second Richmond victory in April 2015 driving a Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR)-prepared racecar. He turned in a dominating performance, leading six times for a race-high 291 laps and holding off his teammate Kevin Harvick to score his first win of the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series season.


In addition to his success in NASCAR’s top touring series, Busch also has a NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Richmond, scoring the victory in April 2012.


Busch is hoping to take the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for SHR to victory lane for a third time at Richmond in the Cup Series.


That would be a nice “upgrade” for Busch.



Salisbury, NC (4/17/2018)-StarCom Racing teams up with Joey Gase and Sparks Energy, Inc. to tackle Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 29 for the Geico 500.

"I'm very excited to be pulling double duty in Talladega again and can't thank everyone at StarCom Racing enough for the opportunity to represent Sparks Energy. The spring Talladega race weekend is a HUGE weekend for my great friends at Sparks Energy. They bring in hundreds of folks to the Sparks Energy 300 to say thank you to all of their employees, customers, families and friends," said Joey Gase. "Talladega has been very good to me in the past and I currently have my best finishes there, both in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series of 21st and in the NASCAR XFINITY Series of 5th. I can't wait for the race weekend to start."

Joey Gase will drive the #00 at Talladega in April with sponsorship from Sparks Energy. StarCom Racing Sparks Energy, a partner of Gase's since 2016 and title sponsor of the Sparks Energy 300 Xfinity Race at Talladega, was founded in 2007 to address a growing need by both Investor Owned Utilities and Electric Co-ops for a quality workforce to perform storm response and energy restoration services. Similar to StarCom Racings parent company, StarCom Fiber, Sparks Energy is a family owned and operated business with a love for the sport of NASCAR.

"I'm delighted to have Joey Gase in our car for Talladega. I've worked with him in the past, and he does a nice job," said Derrike Cope, StarCom Racing Team manager and former Daytona 500 Champion. "We're excited to showcase Sparks Energy on the 00 Chevy Camaro as well."

To learn more about Sparks Inc. and Joey Gase visit and follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyGaseRacing & on Facebook at @JoeyGaseRacing.


 StarCom Racing

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that XYO Network will sponsor Erik Jones for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and Brandon Jones for six races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season. 

XYO Network ( provides an efficient and foolproof way to deliver trustworthy location data through cryptolocation technology that protects privacy while providing greater accuracy. With a platform of over one million beacon devices already in circulation, the blockchain technology can jump from the online realm into the real world with precise physical coordinates.

“We are in a race to build the future and bring blockchain technology to the real world through practical applications that will become the foundation of smart cities across the world,” said XYO Network co-founder Markus Levin. “A partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing provides a tremendous platform for sharing the exciting technology we offer.”

XYO Network is the next generation of GPS functionality that will serve as an Internet of Things (IoT) backbone for smart cities of the future. It can power everything from automated parking payments to traffic flow optimization, self-driving cars, airline luggage tracking, e-commerce, and many additional applications. It can even extend beyond the Earth to vehicle location services on the Moon or even Mars.

XYO Network will be the primary sponsor for Erik Jones and the No. 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team for two races at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29 and Dover International Speedway on May 6. In addition, it will serve as the primary sponsor for Brandon Jones on the No. 19 Xfinity Series team for six races including Talladega on April 28, Dover on May 5, Pocono on June 2, Michigan on June 9, Iowa on June 17, and New Hampshire on July 21.

We’re excited to partner with XYO Network and join them in the race to bring blockchain technology to real world application through their advanced location services,” said Coy Gibbs, Chief Operating Officer of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Much like us in racing, their technology is about staying ahead of the competition with speed and precision.”


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Flavor Vote Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), knows plenty about winning. He’s the winner 45 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, which includes the last two stops on the circuit coming at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.


Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, is a place where Busch could bring home his third consecutive checkered flag while sporting a scheme that could help choose another type of winner.


Busch will debut a brand new scheme at Richmond this weekend as the M&M’S brand has recently launched three, brand-new, limited-edition flavors as part of its second Flavor Vote campaign: Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry and Crunchy Mint. The new flavors are on sale at select retailers nationwide, where fans can purchase and try each new flavor and cast a vote for their favorite once a day until May 25.


Each new M&M’S flavor is made with dark chocolate and is wrapped in the brand’s signature colorful crispy shell, offering fans a chocolatey crunch in every bite. The Crunchy Raspberry variety features a regular rice crisp center, and the Crunchy Espresso and Crunchy Mint varieties feature a cocoa rice crisp center.


M&M’S has made it easier than ever for its fans to try all the new flavors and vote for their favorite right from their cell phones. Fans can vote by uploading or taking a “selfie” at, or adding stickers to the image representing their favorite flavor. They can also share their reactions on social media with the hashtags #VoteCrunchyEspresso, #VoteCrunchyRaspberry or #VoteCrunchyMint. The brand’s camera-shy fans can simply select their favorite flavor on the website to submit a vote, or text the word “VOTE” to 84444. The flavor with the most votes will be announced in August and will continue to be sold at stores nationwide for an 18-month period.


Back to the task at hand this weekend, a quick look at the Richmond stat sheet for Busch can easily make the case he is most consistent at the .75-mile short track in Virginia’s capital city. Along with four series wins there, Busch has amassed 15 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s in 25 career starts there.


Additionally, the Las Vegas native is tops among active drivers with his average finishing position of 7.4 at Richmond. Next best is Kevin Harvick’s average finish of 8.4. Busch has completed all but one of the 10,026 laps available to him in his 25 Richmond starts. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 8,855 laps, or 88.3 percent, which is second-most among active drivers.

Saturday night, Busch and the M&M’S Flavor Vote team look to get back to victory lane, where Busch ended up after four consecutive spring-race wins from 2009 to 2012, besting Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring-race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973. With those impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia” is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour.


Busch will be shooting for his third consecutive win this weekend, a feat he accomplished during his 2015 Cup Series championship season with consecutive victories at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He narrowly missed a fourth consecutive win the following week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, when his gas tank ran dry while leading on the white-flag lap.


So, as the series heads to Richmond for the first time this season, Busch and the M&M’S Flavor Vote team look to bring home their fifth career win there. While M&M’S fans will be choosing a winner between Crunchy Espresso, Raspberry, and Mint off the track, Busch will look to continue his winnings ways on it.