Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (12857)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Daytona 500 pole sitter, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin won their Can-Am Duel and now hold 10 championship points heading into Sunday’s Daytona 500.

 

This is Elliott’s first career win in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, albeit in a non-points race.  This is Hamlin’s third career win in the Can-Am Duel.

 

“Oh, man we had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight. I didn’t think anybody was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple good pushes to get us out front and our spotter did a great job on the roof making sure he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back in front,” said Elliott.

 

“Yeah, it was great. Great car. Got a great push there for Austin (Dillon). We worked really well together that entire race. I’ll keep that in mind in the 500. It looked like our cars were really good together. I can’t thank this team enough for a great job by Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief). FedEx announced their renewal today so that’s a great sign of a great year hopefully to come,” said Hamlin.

 

For Elliott, he started the race from the pole position. After leading the first lap, Elliott was shuffled back, but stayed towards the front of the field.

 

When the field went back to green after the competition caution, Elliott was towards the front and was able to gain the lead after Brad Keselowski got loose, stacking the field on lap 37. Elliott was able to hold off the pack blocking both lanes to go towards victory. Jamie McMurray finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five.

 

Corey LaJoie was able to race his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500. LaJoie made contact with Reed Sorenson, who was also racing for a spot in the 500 in the tri-oval. Sorenson went high and LaJoie filled the spot as Sorenson went back down sending Sorenson hard into the inside wall, collecting Paul Menard.

 

“Every kid in a race car dreams of racing in a Daytona 500 and I get to do that on Sunday. I really do feel bad about Reed (Sorenson). I just tried to fill a hole and it was getting down to it and I probably did have position on him but man when I’m trying to get into the Daytona 500 if my mom was in that spot I’d probably wreck her too. I’m racing on Sunday. Chase (Elliott) is in victory lane – good job to him and I’ll see you guys on Sunday in the Dustless Blasting Camry,” said LaJoie.

 

In the second duel, Hamlin started in the third position and battled Dale Earnhardt Jr. early on to gain the lead.

 

When Hamlin tried to block Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin went for the block, but Jr. went the opposite to regain the lead from Hamlin. Hamlin attempted to regain the lead, but had no drafting partner and was shuffled backwards and the field went single file. Hamlin tried to get the bottom lane to work, but drivers continued to ride single-file, but as the competition caution approached, the field broke from single file formation.

 

When Hamlin went down pit road, he was busted for driving through too many pit stalls and had to start at the rear of the field.

 

Despite the penalty, Hamlin crept his way towards the front. Hamlin was able to get up to the second position in the closing moments of the race. With the help of Austin Dillon on the second to last lap, Hamlin was able to pass Jr. in turn three to score the victory. Bowyer finished second, Kurt Busch finished third, AJ Allmendinger finished fourth, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five.

 

DJ Kennington was able to race his way in by finishing ahead of Sadler by .039 seconds to race in the Daytona 500.

 

“Man does that sound good. Castrol and Lordco, everybody that’s made this happen for me, Dwight Kennedy’s done a lot in my racing career. My dad, my whole family, my wife, my kids. It’s a huge moment for us. Marty Gaunt, Gaunt Brothers Racing, Toyota, everybody that has helped us get here today, I don’t even know how to explain it. I feel like I won the Daytona 500. The 7 (Elliott Sadler) car there, it was locked in on time. I thought he was going to be a little more cautious than that. But we had to race him right to the line and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That was awesome,” said Kennington.


Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson were unable to make the 500 based on qualifying times and performance in the Can-Am Duel. Brendan Gaughan and Sadler will also join Kennington and LaJoie on Sunday in the Daytona 500.

 

The Daytona 500 will consist of drives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Daytona 500 pole sitter, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin won their Can-Am Duel and now hold 10 championship points heading into Sunday’s Daytona 500.

 

This is Elliott’s first career win in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, albeit in a non-points race.  This is Hamlin’s third career win in the Can-Am Duel.

 

“Oh, man we had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight. I didn’t think anybody was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple good pushes to get us out front and our spotter did a great job on the roof making sure he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back in front,” said Elliott.

 

“Yeah, it was great. Great car. Got a great push there for Austin (Dillon). We worked really well together that entire race. I’ll keep that in mind in the 500. It looked like our cars were really good together. I can’t thank this team enough for a great job by Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief). FedEx announced their renewal today so that’s a great sign of a great year hopefully to come,” said Hamlin.

 

For Elliott, he started the race from the pole position. After leading the first lap, Elliott was shuffled back, but stayed towards the front of the field.

 

When the field went back to green after the competition caution, Elliott was towards the front and was able to gain the lead after Brad Keselowski got loose, stacking the field on lap 37. Elliott was able to hold off the pack blocking both lanes to go towards victory. Jamie McMurray finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five.

 

Corey LaJoie was able to race his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500. LaJoie made contact with Reed Sorenson, who was also racing for a spot in the 500 in the tri-oval. Sorenson went high and LaJoie filled the spot as Sorenson went back down sending Sorenson hard into the inside wall, collecting Paul Menard.

 

“Every kid in a race car dreams of racing in a Daytona 500 and I get to do that on Sunday. I really do feel bad about Reed (Sorenson). I just tried to fill a hole and it was getting down to it and I probably did have position on him but man when I’m trying to get into the Daytona 500 if my mom was in that spot I’d probably wreck her too. I’m racing on Sunday. Chase (Elliott) is in victory lane – good job to him and I’ll see you guys on Sunday in the Dustless Blasting Camry,” said LaJoie.

 

In the second duel, Hamlin started in the third position and battled Dale Earnhardt Jr. early on to gain the lead.

 

When Hamlin tried to block Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin went for the block, but Jr. went the opposite to regain the lead from Hamlin. Hamlin attempted to regain the lead, but had no drafting partner and was shuffled backwards and the field went single file. Hamlin tried to get the bottom lane to work, but drivers continued to ride single-file, but as the competition caution approached, the field broke from single file formation.

 

When Hamlin went down pit road, he was busted for driving through too many pit stalls and had to start at the rear of the field.

 

Despite the penalty, Hamlin crept his way towards the front. Hamlin was able to get up to the second position in the closing moments of the race. With the help of Austin Dillon on the second to last lap, Hamlin was able to pass Jr. in turn three to score the victory. Bowyer finished second, Kurt Busch finished third, AJ Allmendinger finished fourth, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five.

 

DJ Kennington was able to race his way in by finishing ahead of Sadler by .039 seconds to race in the Daytona 500.

 

“Man does that sound good. Castrol and Lordco, everybody that’s made this happen for me, Dwight Kennedy’s done a lot in my racing career. My dad, my whole family, my wife, my kids. It’s a huge moment for us. Marty Gaunt, Gaunt Brothers Racing, Toyota, everybody that has helped us get here today, I don’t even know how to explain it. I feel like I won the Daytona 500. The 7 (Elliott Sadler) car there, it was locked in on time. I thought he was going to be a little more cautious than that. But we had to race him right to the line and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That was awesome,” said Kennington.


Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson were unable to make the 500 based on qualifying times and performance in the Can-Am Duel. Brendan Gaughan and Sadler will also join Kennington and LaJoie on Sunday in the Daytona 500.

 

The Daytona 500 will consist of drives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.

This week, Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes® initiative, a program focused on alleviating hunger and raising awareness of food insecurity across the country, joined forces with Winn-Dixie and Aric Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to donate 60,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This donation, totaling more than 240,000 servings of protein, will help the nearly 500,000 people struggle with hunger every day in Central Florida.
 
"Protein is not always a readily available resource for our food bank or those we serve," said Greg Higgerson, vice president of development for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. "This generous donation from Smithfield, Richard Petty and Winn-Dixie makes that resource a guarantee in the coming weeks for families in need throughout our area."
 
Smithfield and Winn-Dixie delivered 30,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida's Orlando branch on Tuesday. Today, Aric Almirola with RPM joined Smithfield and Winn-Dixie to deliver an additional 30,000 pounds to the food bank's Daytona Beach location. At both events, each organization's representatives discussed the impact of food insecurity in Central Florida, where one in six people struggle with hunger.
 
"We have a long-standing relationship with Smithfield and share a true passion for helping those in need throughout the communities we serve," said Eddie Garcia, regional vice president for Winn-Dixie. "This donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is yet another way we deliver on this mission, and we are proud of the positive impact made on our Central Florida neighbors."
 
The donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was part of Helping Hungry Homes® 2017 donation tour where Smithfield will provide large-scale protein donations to nearly 50 food banks across the country. At today's event, Aric Almirola, a Florida-native who has partnered with Smithfield in recent years to donate thousands of pounds of protein, helped present the donation.
 
"We are honored to participate in Smithfield and Winn-Dixie's donation leading into the race weekend here in Daytona Beach," said Aric Almirola. "I'm humbled to partner with Smithfield and Winn-Dixie yet again to give back to this community-a state that I have called home most of my life and community that has become part of my family during my racing career."
 
To date, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks across America.
 
"As a global food company, we value our role to provide high-quality protein to our communities in need," said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. "We are proud to stand with Winn-Dixie and provide Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with a donation that will provide nutritional support to families across the 16 counties the food bank serves."
 
Following this week's events, Helping Hungry Homes® will make its way to Las Vegas, Nevada on March 9. The donation tour will then host donation events in Austin on March 21 and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas on March 23. For more information about Helping Hungry Homes® and a list of upcoming donation events, visit helpinghungryhomes.com.

RPM PR

FedEx announced today its extension with Joe Gibbs Racing to serve as the sponsor of the #11 Toyota with driver Denny Hamlin in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“FedEx has been synonymous with the #11 car and Denny Hamlin for many years, and together we have enjoyed great successes on and off the race track,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president, FedEx Integrated and Marketing Communications.  “The FedEx Racing program provides the unique opportunity for us to engage our team members and customers, as well as make a positive impact in the community. We are proud to extend this relationship with Coach Gibbs and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization.”

This year, the company is tying the performance of the #11 FedEx Toyota on the track to its efforts to improve road safety through a new program, Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares, by donating $111 for each lap Hamlin leads and $11,000 for each race victory to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit working to protect kids on the road, at home and at play.  Making roads safer for children is a key initiative under the company’s global giving platform FedEx Cares.  FedEx will also contribute $111,000 to Safe Kids if the #11 team wins the 2017 NASCAR championship.

Hamlin is a 29-time race winner at NASCAR’s highest level, including the 2016 Daytona 500, and has made the sport’s playoffs in 10 of his 11 full-time Cup Series seasons.  The Richmond, Va.-native has amassed 196 top-10 finishes in 398 career starts.

“FedEx has been with me for my entire career, and I’m honored to have them continue as the sponsor of the #11 team,” said Hamlin, who finished sixth in the 2016 NASCAR standings.  “As a racer, you only dream of an opportunity to compete for wins and championships at the highest level, and I have been fortunate to do that with FedEx and JGR for more than a decade.”

The sponsorship began when the #11 team was formed at the start of the 2005 season as Joe Gibbs Racing expanded to a third car.  Since then, the iconic FedEx brand has been a mainstay on the race track and in the NASCAR garage, and it is currently one of the longest-tenured sponsor, team and driver combinations in the sport.

“FedEx has been essential to the growth and stability of Joe Gibbs Racing through the years,” said team owner Joe Gibbs.  “They are the standard-bearer for how a company’s involvement in NASCAR can meet and exceed business objectives through commitment to success in all facets of the relationship.”

Hamlin and the #11 team look to defend their win in the Daytona 500 with this year’s running of the ‘Great American Race’ on Sunday, Feb. 26.  To learn more about FedEx Racing, visit FedExRacing.com or follow FedEx on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter via @FedEx.

Denny Hamlin/JGR/FedEx PR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Winning the pole position for the Daytona 500 is a special time for a driver and his team. Unlike any other week, the pole sitter for the “Great American Race” holds that position for one week.

2017 is not different, but the Can-Am Duel at Daytona is now worth 10 championship points for the driver who wins the race.

In recent history, the Daytona 500 pole winner would race in the duels “conservatively” in an effort to keep that prestigious starting position and not damage the car.

This year drivers can come out of Daytona with up to 70 championship points to start off their season in effort to hoist the championship trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For crew chief, Alan Gufstason, his philosophy with this new format hasn’t changed:

“I’ve always had the philosophy to race hard during the Duels.  I think it's the best way to go about it.  I think you have to continue, like I said, to develop your car and research your setup and work on improving your car.”

Gufstason mentions that he has already begun strategizing how to maximize the opportunity presented:

“Now that it pays points, you're going to have to look at it a little bit differently and focus on trying to win it.  That would be great, but if not, you want to come out of there with some points.”

The chance to save your car from potential damage in a crash diving out of the pack and running out is over because drivers and crew chiefs want to maximize those points.

When it comes to accomplishments in the NASCAR world, Glen Wood has run up quite an impressive list.

 

His race teams have run 1,474 races in the series now known the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and won 98 of them along with 116 poles. His drivers have led 24,580 laps, and back in the day he posted many of those numbers himself, when he was the team’s main driver.

He’s in numerous Halls of Fame and has been the recipient of many an honor over the years.

 

But Wood also holds another record, an unofficial but undisputed one that he manages to extend each year, even at 91 years old. When Wood arrived in Daytona Beach this week, it marked his 71st consecutive appearance at Speedweeks.

 

He made his first trip in 1947, riding in a 1940 Ford along with his future father-in-law, Leonard Moricle and his future brother-in-law Lane Moricle.

 

This year rode in a 2014 Ford Flex. “It’s a good vehicle to travel in,” Wood said. “It’s got plenty of room, plenty of power and it gets great gas mileage.”

 

Back in the day, the trip to Daytona Beach meant following two-lane highways such as U.S. 1 and U.S. 301 through small towns in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. That meandering route often took a day or more. Today, with interstate highways streamlining the way, it’s a 10-hour ride, give or take.

 

Over the years, the combined trips from the Woods’ home base in Stuart, Va., to Daytona have amounted to more than 85,000 miles. Glen Wood says he’s made every trip in a Ford vehicle and has yet to suffer a breakdown along the way.

 

“I guess I’ve been lucky about that,” Wood said.

 

 He did get one speeding ticket.

 

 “They had a trick traffic light in Ludowici, Georgia,” he said.

 

Wood isn’t the only one to have suffered that fate. Ludowici was a notorious speed trap. Officials there used a switch inside a local barber shop to turn the traffic light to red just as an unsuspecting motorist approached it.

 

The locals knew a shortcut by that intersection, so only unsuspecting outsiders fell victim to the trickery.

 

The practice finally ended when city officials in other towns complained that motorists were avoiding the entire area. Then-Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox intervened and put a stop to the speed trap, prompting an enterprising local songwriter to pen the ballad: “Lester Goes to Ludowici.”

Getting through Ludowici wasn’t the only part of the early trips that gave Wood reason to be up on the wheel.

 

“In south Georgia and north Florida, there were long stretches of wooden bridges, built like piers in the ocean, that went over miles of swamp,” he said. “I’d never seen anything like that.”

 

Those boards rattled as cars passed over them. Some occasionally cracked under the load.

 

There were good times too, like in 1951, when Glen and Bernece Wood spent their honeymoon traveling to Speedweeks. It was like a double date as Wood’s partner Chris Williams and his bride Carolyn, joined them on the honeymoon trip.

 

“We were about the same age,” Wood said. “Bernece and I got married in Stuart, but Carolyn was going to school in Richmond, so Chris picked her up and we met them in Danville, and they got married in South Carolina.”

 

“It took a while to find a preacher, and we spent that night in Augusta, Georgia.”


Wood said he and Bernece recently looked at the photos from that trip.

 

“We all looked kind of slim, and even today I'm not very big,” he said.

 

Wood says he’s never been one to spend a lot of time off the road in his travels. He prefers to grab a quick bite to eat and get back on the road. He says his brother Leonard Wood often complained that he was in too big a hurry.

 

“Leonard says I wait until I cross the Florida line before I stop to get anything to eat,” he said. “At least that’s what they tell on me. They call me ‘the camel’ for doing that.”

 

Wood has made several runs to Daytona in his 2004 Jaguar XJ, which is perfectly suited for a man who can go a ways between stops.

 

“That car will go all the way to Florida without filling up,” he said. “It’s the only car I’ve ever had that will go 600 miles on a tank of gas. It's probably the fanciest car we ever had, and we wouldn't have gotten it had it not been a Ford-owned company at the time.”

 

Besides the trip down and back, there have been some great memories from the races at Daytona.  Wood was one of the better drivers on the old Beach/Road Course that preceded Daytona International Speedway. He won the final three Sportsman races there, all from the pole.

 

 At the speedway, his drivers have won 15 points-paying races, including five Daytona 500s.

 

 “It would be nice to get another one,” Wood said. “But it ain’t easy these days.


 “It also would be nice to add to my streak of Speedweeks appearances, but that ain’t easy either,” he said.  “It’s hard to believe that for 71 years I haven’t been sick or injured or something,” he said. “It’s quite a feat to do that for so long. I’m not going to say this is the last time, but it’s getting harder every time.

 

“It’s a little bit of a chore to get around, but for the sake of keeping the streak going, I’ll manage.”

 

Ford Performance PR

Officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced today that BUBBA burger® has joined their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) team for the 2017 season.

In addition to serving as an associate sponsorship for the entire 36-race schedule, BUBBA burger® will serve as the primary sponsor aboard their No. 51 Chevrolet for several races this season starting at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway during the Auto Club 400 in March.

BUBBA burger® is also a proud partner and official burger of Auto Club Speedway.

“We’re proud to welcome back BUBBA burger® to the Rick Ware Racing family,” said team principal Rick Ware. “Their product is second to none and often a hot commodity at the race track being a delicious all-nature product and all.

“We’re also eager to enjoy the new BUBBA veggie burger too. Can’t wait to kick off the partnership this weekend at Daytona and carry it to the checkered flag at Homestead in November.”

Andy Stenson, vice president of marketing for BUBBA foods LLC. said, “The partnership between Rick Ware Racing and BUBBA burger reinforces our tremendous growth within the motorsports segment. Being a part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is great for the BUBBA burger brand and shows the expansion of the brand.” 

Stenson added, “With BUBBA, victory never tasted so good!”

Find more information on BUBBA burger® and all of the new products by visiting bubbafoods.com or find them on Facebook at The Official Bubba burger fan page.  Twitter: @bubbaburger

For more on Rick Ware Racing, please “like” them on Facebook (Facebook.com/rickwareracing) or visit WareRacing.com.

Rick Ware Racing is on Twitter. Follow them @RickWareRacing.

RWR PR

Trevor Bayne heads into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season ready to improve on gains made in 2016 and earn a way into NASCAR’s 10-race playoff format.

“I’m definitely ready to get back going,” said Bayne. “We made a lot of moves as an organization this offseason that has me really excited to get back behind the wheel. (Teammate) Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) and I have worked so well together as teammates in the past and I feel like our communication as teammates has gotten even better during this offseason. I’m ready to get out there and show our partners AdvoCare, Liberty National and Performance Plus Motor Oil what we can do and contend for strong finishes on a weekly basis.”

For Bayne, who saw career highs in top-fives, top-10s and laps led in 2016, getting off to a strong start in 2017 is key to gaining momentum toward the playoffs.

“Everyone on this No. 6 team knows how important it is to get off to a solid start,” added the 2011 Daytona 500 winner. “All of that begins this weekend in Daytona. We had a fast AdvoCare Ford in practice earlier this week but when it comes time for the race it really is all about being in the right place at the right time and racing smart throughout all 500 miles. If we can keep our nose clean all day long I’m confident we will be there in the end fighting for the win.”

The 2017 MENCS season kicks off with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2pm EST live on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

RFR PR

In celebration of his return to racing before the 59th Annual Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. switched out his fire suit for a Goodyear blimp pilot uniform and took a different kind of lap around the Daytona area on Wednesday, surprising a U.S. military veteran with the ride of a lifetime.

Following his flight behind the controls of the Goodyear blimp, Earnhardt Jr. will resume the familiar position behind the wheel of his car this Sunday after a brief hiatus from racing in 2016. The driver is seeking his third Daytona 500 victory on the confidence of Goodyear tires.

In addition to the day’s events, Goodyear teamed up with Earnhardt Jr. to provide the ultimate Daytona 500 experience to Paul Siverson, a Vietnam and Gulf War Veteran, who served in the military for 30 years. Goodyear also surprised Siverson with a donation to NCServes, a nonprofit organization where he volunteers that provides comprehensive services to veterans, service members and their families.

Goodyear Racing PR