Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (13236)

Furniture Row Racing drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones ran a strong race in Monday’s rain-delayed Food City 500 but late race issues prevented both drivers from posting better finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex came back to finish eighth after being called for a speeding penalty while Jones overcame a flat tire and contact with the wall to finish 17th in his No 77 Sport   Clips  Toyota Camry.

Truex was running a close second to Jimmie Johnson when he came down pit road for the final time on Lap 462 of 500. It appeared that his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota was going to take the lead when he exited pit road, but NASCAR called Truex for a speeding penalty that sent him back to 16th place with not many laps remaining at the half-mile oval.

“We were going for it, I wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won,” said Truex. “This Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota with everyone that helps us make it right – Toyota, TRD, 5-hour ENERGY, WIX Filters, Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners Insurance and just everybody.

“This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is and you try to get what you can get and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line. All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun.”

There were indeed plenty of positives that came out of the race for Truex, who ran inside the top-five until the speeding penalty. He won the second stage and was second in the first stage. He picked up an extra 19 standing points and one playoff bonus point. He leads the series with five stage wins and is tied with 10 playoff bonus points.

His eighth-place finish was his first top-10 in five years at Bristol and he also led 116 laps, two more than he led in his first 22 starts at the Tennessee short track.

Truex remains third in the driver points.

The 20-year-old Jones was turning heads all weekend at Bristol. Along with winning Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, he posted strong practice numbers in the NASCAR Cup Series.

His performance on Monday was equally impressive, running solidly in the top 10 and top five until he made contact with another car that sent his Toyota Camry into the wall with a cut right-front tire. He earned eight championship points for finishing third in the first stage and five more for finishing sixth in the second stage.

After eight Cup races Jones is 12th in the driver point standings.

“We were passing the 23 (Gray Gaulding) and I don’t know if he got loose, but he got into us about halfway down the backstretch and must have cut the right front,” said Jones. “It’s unfortunate because I thought we had a really good car. If we could have got some track position and maybe got up front, I think we could have led some laps and had a shot at the win. I thought we were just as good as the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) for the majority of the day. We’ll keep working on it and we now have a good package to come back with in the fall.”

The race winner was Johnson. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Truex, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

The race had nine cautions for 76 laps and there were 14 lead changes among seven drivers.

The next Cup race is Sunday April 30 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

FRR PR

The Food City 500 for Kyle Busch was one that he would like to soon forget. The five-time winner was set to compete for his sixth victory at the 0.533-mile track, but tire issues plagued the driver.

 

Busch was fastest all weekend in practice sessions, but was did not show speed on Monday.

 

Busch slapped the wall the first time on lap 211, but was able to bring the car down pit road for repairs. When repairs were complete, Busch was 23rd and the last car on the lead lap.

 

Busch had battled up into the top-10 before the tire exploded the second time on lap 385. This time the damage was worse than the first one sending Busch and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team behind the wall and out of the race.

 

Busch was baffled by what partook on the track.

 

“I didn’t need anything, I was the fastest one out there those last two runs picking cars off and driving from the back to the front after we lost our track position the first time. We had our issues and we were trying to march our way back up towards the front and get there and thought we were doing a good job of that and trying to be conservative with the tires because obviously they can’t make it through a full distance for us for some reason,” said Busch. “I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s fundamentally wrong what we’re doing, but it seems like all the rest of our five JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars are fine.”

 

Unlike previous tire issues, Busch was advised not to blame Goodyear for the problems.

 

Goodyear determined that the issues were bad bead related, not heat related. Goodyear made no further comment about the issues.

 

Busch was the only driver in the field to experience tire issues throughout the Food City 500. Because of the issues, Busch finished in the 35th position. He currently sits 11th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points just 146 points behind leader Kyle Larson.

Autotrader's recent head-to-head charity challenge #Speed4Need, in collaboration with Team Penske Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, raised a total of $23,500 benefiting the drivers' non-profit foundations, the Joey Logano Foundation and Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation. 

Launched at the beginning of the NASCAR season in early March, the #Speed4Need campaign featured Autotrader-sponsored drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski competing against each other in a series of head-to-head speed challenges on Facebook to raise both awareness and money for their respective foundations. The campaign concluded on April 16, and after tallying the final donations, Logano won the friendly competition with $12,500 for his foundation, while Keselowski raised a formidable $11,000 for his foundation.

"Our partnership with Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski offers plenty of thrills throughout the race season, but nothing compares to how good it feels to give back," said Jessica Stafford, vice president of marketing, Autotrader. "Autotrader takes great pride in serving the community, and the #Speed4Need campaign with our drivers lays a great foundation for how we can develop fun and engaging social media campaigns for NASCAR fans that also provide charitable benefits to help those in need."

Using Facebook as the sole platform for this supercharged program, the drivers utilized their personal pages, as well as Team Penske and each of the foundation's pages, to increase donations from fans and word-of-mouth about their respective causes. Logano and Keselowski added to their overall fundraising tally by winning a series of challenge rounds as part of the campaign, and Autotrader contributed $500 to the winner of each challenge round. 

Autotrader has sponsored drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski for several NASCAR seasons, announcing its multi-year extension with Team Penske in early 2016.  

The Joey Logano Foundation invests in organizations offering second chances to children and young adults during times of crisis, and works to inspire others to live a life of generosity. Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country while getting back on their feet. To learn more about the Joey Logano Foundation and Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation, please visit http://joeyloganofoundation.com/ and http://www.checkeredflagfoundation.org/.

You can learn more about Autotrader Team Penske drivers and view the full charity challenges at Speed4Need.com.

Autotrader PR

Stage 1 Recap (Ended on Lap 125):

Kevin Harvick started 10th, finished 12th.

● Enjoyed a good start, picking up three spots to rise to seventh.

Saying he needed more rear grip, Harvick dropped back to ninth prior to a caution on lap 54.

Harvick took four tires and fuel with a left-rear wedge adjustment on lap 60.

On a lap-72 restart, Harvick got stuck on inside lane behind slower cars and fell to 14th.

● Rallied to 12th before end of stage despite his Jimmy John’s Ford being tight off the corners.

Pitted at end of stage for another four-tire stop with another left-rear wedge adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Ended on Lap 250):

Started 12th, finished fourth, earning seven bonus points.

● Rose to sixth by lap 200.

● Caution on lap 210 allowed Harvick to pit on lap 211 for four tires and fuel with another left-rear wedge adjustment.

● Restarted in sixth on lap 217 and made most of restart to climb to third.

● At end of stage, Harvick said, “Front (of car) is ok, back just needs more rear grip all the way through (the corners).”

● Pitted for four tires and fuel at end of stage with only change being a slight tire pressure adjustment.

 

Final Stage Recap (Ended on Lap 500):

● Started sixth, finished third.

● Jumped to second place when race went green for final stage, battling with Kyle Larson for position.

● Dropped to sixth by lap 330 and was eighth with 100 laps to go.

● Caution period on lap 420 provided opportunity to get four new tires and fuel. Harvick came out of pits in fifth place for lap-428 restart.

● Harvick said his Jimmy John’s Ford was good and that he just needed track position.

● When final caution of race came out on lap 463, Harvick stayed out and inherited the lead.

● Harvick led the next 14 laps but was passed for the top spot by Jimmie Johnson on lap 480.

● Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer passed Harvick for second with 15 laps to go.

● Harvick held off Larson and then Matt Kenseth to finish third.

 

Notes:                                   

● Harvick’s third-place finish in the Food City 500 was his best result so far this season and his second-straight top-four finish. Harvick finished fourth in the last Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

● This is Harvick’s 12th top-five in 33 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol and his 156th top-five in 581 career Cup Series starts.

● This is Harvick’s fourth top-10 this season.

● Harvick led once for 14 laps to bring his laps-led total at Bristol to 876 and season laps-led total to 433.

●  There were nine caution periods for a total of 76 laps.

●  Fifteen drivers finished on the lead lap.

● Jimmie Johnson’s Food City 500 victory was his 82nd career NASCAR Cup Series win, his second of the season and his second at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was 1.199 seconds.   

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Ended on lap 125):

Danica Patrick started 29th and finished 27th.

● The No. 10 Mobil 1 Annual Protection Ford Fusion was “a little tight off throttle” in the initial run. Patrick went a lap down to the leader during the first stage.

● Patrick pitted for tires, fuel and adjustments during the stage to help improve the handling of her racecar.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Ended on lap 250):

Patrick started 29th and finished 26th.

● Patrick climbed five positions to reach 24th midway through the stage before damage to the right-rear tire slowed her progress.

● Crew chief Billy Scott called for a pair of pit stops late in the stage to fix damage to the right rear and a hole in the nose of the car.

 

Final Stage Recap (Ended on lap 500):

Patrick started 26th and finished 36th.

● Scott elected to keep Patrick out between stages so she could wave around and restart one lap down to the leader.

● At lap 325, contact from the No. 38 entry of David Ragan sent Patrick into the outside wall. That damage sustained by the No. 10 Mobil 1 Annual Protection Ford was too great to continue, thus ending the team’s day.

 

Notes:              

● Following the incident, Patrick was evaluated and released from the Bristol Motor Speedway infield care center.

● Patrick leaves Bristol with a total of 91 points for the season thus far. She is ranked 30th in the driver point standings heading into next weekend’s event.

 

TSC PR

"Our New Era Caps Chevrolet was probably better than where we ended up finishing. We couldn't do a whole lot on the track today, mainly because we struggled on the bottom. We lost some track position in the middle of the race, but once we got it back we ran smart and minimized any mistakes. Overall, it was a decent day for our team at Bristol. It wasn't the finish we wanted, but we needed a solid day and that's what we ended up with here." 
 
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard and the Libman/Menards Team End Strong Run at Bristol Motor Speedway with 16th-Place Finish
"Our No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevy was good all weekend. We really didn't need to adjust on it much during the race. The pit crew had good stops and kept us where we needed to be all day. We got screwed out of a top-10 finish there at the end. After we got into the back of the No. 5 car, we didn't have time to fix the nose damage and that kept me from moving forward. Bristol is always a fun race and it was interesting today with the different grooves." 
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman Battles Back From Speeding Penalty to Finish 14th in the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway
"The speeding penalty is on me. I pushed it to get all I could and unfortunately, it bit us and we went from sixth to 17th. We gambled on the final stop and took two left-side tires with 50 to go to restart sixth. It didn't work out as well as we had hoped. We had a top-10 Grainger Chevrolet and despite our race, I'm happy to see the speed and handling potential is there. We had no idea what to expect with the addition of VHT on the lower portion of the track and I think we fared well considering."

- Ryan Newman

RCR PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, earned an 11th-place finish in the rain-postponed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday afternoon. The result is Bayne’s sixth top-15 finish in the first eight races of the 2017 season.

“Today was a solid day,” said Bayne after the race. “We just got tight toward the end but today was another consistent day. I’m really proud of all my guys on this AdvoCare Ford for their work this weekend. We keep improving each week and knocking on that door to turn those top-15s into top-10s. We’ll keep making gains and get after it again next weekend in Richmond.” 

Bayne took the green flag for the rain-postponed 500-Lap event from the 12th position after rain on Friday cancelled qualifying, forcing NASCAR to set the field by owner points, per the rulebook. Bayne maintained his top-20 track position throughout much of Stage 1, despite battling a tight-handling condition for much of the second half of the stage. Although not handling to his liking, Bayne improved four positions in the closing laps of Stage 1 to take the green-checkered flag on Lap 125 in 15th.
When Stage 2 began Bayne continued to fight for position in the top 15, improving up to 12th before a caution on Lap 214 gave crew chief Matt Puccia an opportunity to improve the handling of the AdvoCare Ford. Returning to the track in 12th, Bayne wasted little time driving into the top 10 and held off a charge from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to finish Stage 2 in the ninth position.

The Knoxville, Tenn. native started the third and final stage from 10th and immediately reported to crew chief Puccia that the AdvoCare Ford was both loose entering the corner and tight rolling through the middle. This handling condition shuffled Bayne back outside the top 10 before a rash of late-race cautions provided more opportunities for adjustments to be made. After pitting for four tires and an air pressure adjustment during a Lap 461 caution period, Bayne returned to the track in 10th but was forced three-wide on the ensuing restart and fell back to 13th.

In the closing laps, Bayne utilized the outside-line to regain some of the lost track position, taking the checkered flag in the 11th-position. The result is Bayne’s sixth top-15 finish of 2017 and ranks the Roush Fenway driver tied for 12th in the championship standings.

Next up for the MENCS is Richmond International Raceway on Sunday, April 30.

RFR PR

After a late race charge from Clint Bowyer and pit road penalties for Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson was able to win the rain-delayed Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway, his second win of 2017.

 

“Yeah, it was kind of interesting because when the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) was there, it just created an environment to run the top and I wasn’t as good on the top. The No. 42, not being up there and that first couple of cars; the bottom was really where it was at for the short run. This Lowe’s Chevrolet was flying!”

 

"I’m so happy to give everybody at A.O. Smith a good ride on the quarter panel this weekend. We wouldn’t be here without a ton of support from Valvoline, Gatorade, the fans, Lowe’s, and Chevrolet. This track has been difficult over the years and we really hit on something Saturday afternoon in that last practice session around the bottom and honestly, it’s what I’ve been looking for here for 16 years and we finally figured it out. So, I’m very very happy.”

 

This is Johnson’s 82nd career win. He is only one win behind Cale Yarborough and two wins behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on the all time career wins list. This is Johnson’s second career victory at Bristol; He scored his first in 2010.

 

Bowyer was considered “Mr. Where Did He Come From?” in the closing laps of the race. A caution or a few more laps could have gave Bowyer the win. Despite being disappointed in a second place finish, this is Bowyer’s best finish of 2017. This is also Bowyer’s best Cup Series finish since driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in the spring race at Richmond in 2013.

 

“Yeah, you have to put it into perspective. We’ve come a long way with this team. These guys have worked so hard; it’s a fun group, everybody at Haas. My teammates are awesome. It’s so much fun to work with this group each and every week. Hell yeah you want to be up there and win it. But the day we had, I got caught speeding on pit road and had to bounce back,” said Bowyer. “The guys kept working on the car. I appreciate the opportunity that Gene Haas and Tony Stewart gave me. Mobil 1, Haas Automation and everyone that’s a part of it.”

 

Kevin Harvick sat quietly in the front of the field for the 500 lap event. Harvick led 14 of the 500 laps to finish in the third position.

 

“I thought our Jimmy Johns Ford was the fastest car, we just needed track position. I think we showed how fast it was there on no tires and kind of able to hold our own,” said Harvick. “You just never know where you’re going to come out on those restarts. I felt like we had a couple cautions and we were in control of the race with the 11 on two tires and we might have had a chance. A good weekend and we’ll just keep going.” 

 

Larson, who won the first stage, finished in the sixth position. Larson led 202 laps, but a late race pit road speeding penalty bit Larson and his chance for a second victory in 2017.

 

“I’m a little disappointed, but not bad.  I’m more disappointed in myself from getting that speeding penalty with 80 (laps) or so to go.  I was just pushing it down pit road and pushed it a little too far.  I had a shot there still at the end, but four tires were better than ours,” said Larson.

 

Truex Jr, who won the second stage, finished in the eighth position. Truex also received a late race speeding penalty sending him to the end of the field.

 

“We were going for it you know. Wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won. This Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota with everyone that helps us make it right – Toyota, TRD 5-hour, Wix, Bass Pro and just everybody. This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is and you try to get what you can get and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line,” said Truex Jr. about the penalty

 

The Food City 500 was slowed nine times for 76 laps. There were 14 lead changes amongst seven drivers. The race was stopped once for a red flag on lap 67 for five minutes and 10 seconds.

 

Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the Toyota Owner’s 400 from Richmond International Raceway. FOX and Motor Racing Network will have the broadcast beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST on Sunday April 30th.

Heavy, persistent rain postponed the start of Sunday’s MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race at Bristol Motor Speedway to Monday at 1:00 PM ET, live on FOX. Below are select quotes from former champion Kurt Busch and FOX NASCAR analysts Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond (from FOX NASCAR’s pre-race coverage at Bristol, which aired Sunday on NASCAR RACEDAY on FS1 and FOX NASCAR SUNDAY on FOX), as well as an updated programming schedule:

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES

·       Date/Time: Monday, April 24 (1:00 PM ET)

·       Network: FOX

·       Announcers: Mike Joy, Hall of Famer and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds

·       Pit reporters: Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum

·       NASCAR RACE HUB airs at 6:00 PM ET live on FS1 on Monday

FOX NASCAR QUOTES

FOX SPORTS: We have video of you going out on the track with a temperature gauge yesterday.  What were you doing and how have you seen the bottom groove change since the track worked on it with the VHT resin compound?

“It was a barometer to check the temperature of where the VHT was laid down and where our tires were running and where we weren’t running.  It’s an incredible difference between where we were with the tires and the VHT versus where we weren’t running on the track. It’s a drag-racing trick I learned. When you do a burnout, it activates the VHT so that it makes it hot. So, when it’s hot and sticky, it’s like glue for your tires.  If you’re not in it, literally four inches from where that black was to the white area, was a huge difference in temperature.”

--Kurt Busch on FS1’s NASCAR RACEDAY

FOX SPORTS: When we finally race on Monday, what will the track be like?

“It’s going to be a little bit unpredictable.  We got a little bit of an indication Saturday morning during practice when the track was pretty green.  Drivers went out and ran the bottom but some of them tried to work on the middle groove. It came in a lot quicker than a lot of people anticipated, so I look for Monday’s race to be a lot like that. Drivers will have to be on their toes a little bit when they start the race. I like what Kurt was doing – he was anticipating how the track was holding heat and how the grip level might be.  That’s going to give him a lot of good insight for his crew chief.”

--Jeff Hammond, FOX NASCAR analyst, on FS1’s NASCAR RACEDAY

FOX SPORTS: How will the VHT resin affect the race on Monday?

“It definitely has changed things a lot. When they concreted it the last time, it really created an outside groove and more two-and-three-wide racing. The fans and everybody would agree that what made Bristol so exciting was the bumping and banging, sparks flying, tempers flaring, and having that lane that has so much grip on the bottom has created a lot more of that bottom lane.”

--Jeff Gordon, FOX NASCAR analyst

FOX SPORTS: With the VHT compound down, is the track now similar to the “old Bristol” as far as conditions are concerned?

“Yeah, I was excited about it last summer when they put down half of a lane.  Now it’s a full lane.  Yesterday after practice, I wanted to check it out.  This VHT was derived from the drag-racing world of trying to launch out of the box. It’s heat-activated, so with cars continuing to run, I wanted to see what the temperature was in the VHT versus the other area of the track.  It was considerably different.  I was trying to gain more knowledge and understand a bit more of what I need to do to find that natural edge. It definitely felt more like the old Bristol yesterday with the VHT … you’re going to see guys moving around. I think it’s the right combo … I’m excited.  With the way the race went down yesterday, we saw the old bump-and-run for a victory.”

--Kurt Busch on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY

FOX SPORTS: What has caught your attention in the first seven races of 2017?

“I love what I’ve seen this year.  The stages certainly have been interesting to watch and have added a whole new element.  What I like are the new faces.  Kyle Larson’s dominance.  We saw Ryan Blaney dominate for the first half last week.  Chase Elliott has really come on at the end of last year and led a bunch of laps this year. I love seeing young, new faces and the excitement that comes with that.”

--Jeff Gordon, FOX NASCAR analyst

“I like the parity.  We’ve had seven races and six different organizations won those races. Brad Keselowski is the only driver with two wins.  I like the parity among the organizations and manufacturers.”

--Darrell Waltrip, FOX NASCAR analyst

FOX Sports PR

The rain created a nolo contendre, no contest, for NASCAR on Sunday. The Food City 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed to Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m EST. NASCAR valiantly tried to dry the track in efforts to race today, but persisting rains caused a challenge.

Rain also caused pole qualifying to be cancelled on Friday. Kyle Larson will start from the pole position with Chase Elliott starting in the second position

FOX will go on air at 1:00 pm EST while Performance Racing Network will go on air at 12:30 pm EST.

The weather on Monday is forecasted to be overcast, but with a small chance of rain before 10 am with a temperature of 62 degrees.