Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14369)

Each January, the National Football League opens its playoffs with what is called “Wild Card Weekend” as four teams that did not win their division but still earned playoff berths get the chance to advance toward their ultimate goal – a Super Bowl championship.

 

As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend, NASCAR’s top series holds its annual “Wild Card Weekend” of a different sort. Heading into Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, there probably isn’t a track on the circuit upon which racing is as much of an unknown as the mammoth 2.66-mile oval.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has found fortune both good and bad during NASCAR’s version of wild card weekend. With lessons learned from his now 13-season career, the 2015 Cup Series champion knows anything can happen at Talladega. But, unlike years past, Talladega is now the second race of the Round of 12 of the NASCAR playoffs, a departure from the elimination race it’s been during the same round the past three seasons.

 

After a tough race during the first Round of 12 race last weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Busch will look to recover from a race where he made contact with the wall around the halfway point of the race and made a valiant effort to tough it out through the rest of the race to bring home a 29th-place finish.

 

While the finish was disappointing, every point matters in the NASCAR playoff format, and the 2015 Cup Series champion still sits above the cutline with a 12-point cushion back to ninth-place JGR teammate Matt Kenseth. But he and his M&M’S Caramel team aren’t fooled at all by the word cushion, which isn’t comforting at a place like Talladega. So far, only Martin Truex Jr., by virtue of his win at Charlotte last weekend, is guaranteed a spot in the Round of 8. Despite the tough day, Busch’s strength from the regular season, as well as the Round of 16, earned him a total of 41 playoff points and has been able to keep him thus far above the cutline.

 

But as Talladega looms, one lap, or even one corner, could change a driver’s fortunes quickly.

 

Busch has conquered Talladega just once in his career, his lone win coming in April 2008. In his 24 starts at the track, he has 11 other top-15 finishes, and four outings that ended in an accident. So, the Las Vegas native knows the winner of Sunday’s 500-mile race will need to have a strong car and some good fortune at NASCAR’s longest track. If Busch could at least match his strong third-place run in the spring, it could bolster his chances of making it to the next round of the playoffs following next weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

 

So, as NASCAR prepares for its version of “Wild Card Weekend” at Talladega, Busch hopes to stay in front of the chaos with his M&M’S Caramel Camry, then head to Kansas the following week with a shot of advancing in the tightly contested NASCAR playoffs.

 

TSC PR

With 12 drivers on hand for a two-day NASCAR organizational test that began Tuesday, “rhythm” was the word of the day at Martinsville Speedway ahead of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ visit to the track for the First Data 500 later this month.

The First Data 500 falls at a crucial point in the NASCAR Playoffs schedule. As the first race in the Round of 8 for the Cup Series drivers, Martinsville represents an opportunity to clinch a spot in the Championship Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

As a result, young guns Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney – all Playoff contenders – said that they were doing everything they could to maximize the two-day session.

Larson, whose Chip Ganassi Chevrolet will be sponsored by First Data for the First Data 500, noted that the goal for the trip to Martinsville was “just to get our car faster and get me a little bit better here…just figure out the rhythm that I’ve been missing.”

Elliott posted his first career top-five finish at Martinsville this spring. He said he is hoping to carry lessons learned then into the October 29 race.

“The spring was my best race here. Just trying to find that rhythm…and try to have ourselves as prepared as we can,” Elliott said. “Just trying to find some consistency in what I’m doing behind the wheel.”

With tests being more rare than in the past, Elliott pointed to these two days as important for him considering his past results at Martinsville.

“We don’t have many opportunities to test in general, so when you have the chance to come test at a track you struggle at, you typically don’t get to do that,” Elliott said. “I’ve never been able to come and just spend a couple of days at this track, which is good for me.”

Blaney will be driving for the Wood Brothers Racing team, which operated out of nearby Stuart, Virginia, for many years, and the youngster said it would be “a huge deal” to earn win No. 100 for the team on their home track.

“It’d be great, any win at any racetrack…would be special,” Blaney said. “But, to do it here, being the home track for both of us – the Wood Brothers and myself – would be very neat…a huge deal.”

Blaney echoed Larson and Elliott in focusing on learning as much as possible during the test.

“This isn’t my best track, but I feel like we’ve gotten better here,” Blaney said. “Knowledge is the biggest thing that any team is looking to gain here…At an open test, we can come and try things that you really wouldn’t typically try on a race weekend.”

Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas), Ty Dillon (Germain Racing), Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), Brad Keselowski (Penske Racing), Landon Cassill (Ford R&D), Alex Bowman (Chevrolet R&D) and Drew Herring (Toyota R&D) are in attendance at the test in addition to Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports) and Blaney (Wood Brothers).

The First Data 500 is the first race in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. If the winning driver is in the Playoffs, he would be the first to clinch a spot in the Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last fall, Jimmie Johnson won his ninth grandfather clock, on the way to winning his record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship. 

Tickets can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Martinsville Speedway PR

This weekend the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) competes in its second and final restrictor-plate race of the season at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. For Noah Gragson, it will feel like his first drafting race in the Truck Series since he was eliminated from contention on the second lap of the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway when he was hit from behind by Chase Briscoe. The old saying "to finish first, first you must finish" is never truer than at a restrictor-plate race where drafting in packs often results in multi-vehicle accidents.
 
Drivers use different strategies throughout the race to try to avoid "the big one." Gragson and his crew chief, Marcus Richmond, believe staying up front is the best way to accomplish that. Richmond knows a thing, or two, about winning at Talladega since he has two wins and three poles at the 2.66-mile track. He made it to Victory Lane in 2014 and 2015 with NCWTS veteran Timothy Peters. This time Richmond would like to get his third win, but with a rookie.
 
Gragson has one prior start at Talladega when he competed in the ARCA Racing Series event for Venturini Motorsports in May.  He started on the front row in second place and led one lap, but was scored in 30th place after getting caught up in an accident on lap 36 of 82. Although there are few similarities between an ARCA car and a truck, getting familiar with the track and the feel of the draft gave Gragson some practical experience before hitting the track for practice this Friday.
 
The 19-year-old has had a pretty good week so far after winning the prestigious Winchester 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway on Sunday. Gragson had never raced at the half-mile track before, but led 138 laps total, including the final seven, and took the checkered flag in his Switch Camry and celebrated by climbing the fence on the front stretch. It was his second start in a Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) late model this year.
 
The Las Vegas native will also pay tribute this weekend to those affected by the tragic shooting in his hometown on Oct.1. His Switch Tundra will carry the #VegasStrong hashtag on the television panel, while the DriversforVegas.com logo will be displayed on the rear quarterpanels. Gragson joined with other NASCAR drivers from Las Vegas to give fans a way to help the victims and families of the tragedy. Fans are encouraged to check out DriversForVegas.com to purchase one of the items available, or to simply make a donation.
 
KBM PR

Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500 in February of this year at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. And he has won at just about every other type of racetrack on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup schedule.

 

From the shortest racetrack – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – to a road-course victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, to Daytona, Busch has found victory. He’s won on racetracks ranging in length from .526 of a mile, .533 of a mile, .75 of a mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 1.99 miles and 2 miles. He’d celebrated in victory lane at the high-banked ovals and flat tracks. He even won the championship in 2004.

 

Busch has won at 15 of the 23 racetracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule and can now shift his focus to checking another box. He’ll head to Talladega this weekend looking to return to his winning ways by putting a check in the win column there.

 

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has finished third at Talladega four times – in April 2001, 2002 and 2007, and October 2006. But he’ll return this time with a new chassis provided by veteran crew chief Tony Gibson.

 

Talladega is one of only two racetracks on the NASCAR circuit where restrictor plates are used. By definition, a restrictor plate is a device installed at the air intake of an engine to limit its power. The use of a restrictor plate is intended to both limit speed and increase safety with an eye toward equaling the level of competition.

 

Races at Talladega and its sister track at Daytona are ones literally anyone can win. Horsepower-choked engines require drivers to draft together, side-by-side, at speeds approaching 200 mph.

 

This weekend, Busch would like nothing more than to add another win to his already impressive resume and win his second restrictor-plate race of the season. 

 

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The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced today that its annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament and Dinner raised more than $753,000 to fund grants to K-12 public schools.

 

“Chani (wife) and I are so proud that we could bring this awesome event to Charlotte,” Johnson said. “For the past 10 years, we have held the event on the west coast. It was really nice to see a lot of our Charlotte friends on the course and at dinner, supporting the Foundation and ultimately K-12 public schools. The Mitchell Family Foundation has been a generous supporter of the JJF for several years and we continue to be grateful for their friendship.”

 

The tournament, which in eleven years has raised more than $7 million, benefits the Champions Grant program. The grants range from $20,000-$75,000 and are distributed to K-12 public schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson’s hometowns in California and Oklahoma, and where they currently reside in North Carolina.

 

Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, hosted 120 golfers and 250 dinner guests at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina for Monday’s event. During the event, the Johnsons announced the schools that are recipients of the 2017 Champions Grant, which totals $508,339 this year. Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County schools receiving grants were surprised with the announcement at the dinner. 

 

North Carolina Recipients:

● Allenbrook Elementary School

Beverly Hills STEM Elementary School

● Jay M. Robinson High School

● Metro School

● Sedgefield Middle School

● W.R. Odell Primary School

● West Charlotte High School

● Westerly Hills Academy

 

In addition, the following schools in the Johnson’s hometowns will receive Champions Grants this year:

 

California Recipients:

● Albert Einstein Academy Charter School

● El Capitan High School

● Valhalla High School

● Wegeforth Elementary School

 

Oklahoma:

● Muskogee High School

 

For more information, visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.

 

Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR

Tickets to the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are now on sale to the public. Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ken Squier and Robert Yates will be honored during this year’s ceremony set for Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Induction ticket prices range from $45 for general seats to $350 for the Exclusive Driver Dinner Package (plus tax and applicable service fees).

Drivers, celebrities and legends of the sport will take the stage during this premier celebration that will honor the ninth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This historic class is filled with a mix of legends including championship-winning drivers, crew chiefs and engine builders to a legendary voice of NASCAR who brought the sport to the world through broadcasting.

  • Red Byron won NASCAR’s first race in 1948 on the Daytona Beach-Road Course. He went on in 1948 to win NASCAR’s first season championship—in the NASCAR Modified Division. The following year, he won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock Division title—the precursor to today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series—driving for NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Raymond Parks.
  • Ray Evernham guided Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team to three championships in four seasons (1995, 1997, 1998) and a series-leading 47 wins in the 1990s. Among their triumphs were two Daytona 500s (1997, 1999) and two Brickyard 400s (1994, 1998).
  • Ron Hornaday Jr. boasts a record four championships and 51 wins in what is today the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hornaday also holds the Truck Series all-time record for top fives (158) and top 10s (234).
  • Ken Squier co-founded the Motor Racing Network (MRN) in 1970. He called the 1979 Daytona 500 on CBS, a milestone moment for the entire sport, as his voice welcomed millions to the first live flag-to-flag coverage of "The Great American Race"—a moniker he coined. He is the inaugural winner/namesake of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
  • Robert Yates won NASCAR premier series championships as both an engine builder and an owner. He provided the power behind NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, later leading Allison to a series championship in 1983 with DiGard Racing. In the late 1980s, Yates tried his hand at ownership, and success quickly followed to the tune of three Daytona 500s and the 1999 NASCAR premier series championship.

Prior to the ceremony, a special Induction Dinner at the Charlotte Convention Center, which is connected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will include a jacket presentation for the living inductees and an award presentation honoring Norma "Dusty" Brandel, the recipient of the seventh Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Returning this year, fans also have the exclusive opportunity to purchase a seat for the dinner that puts them at a table with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver (a limited quantity is available). 

After dinner, the Induction Ceremony will take place in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center and will honor the five Class of 2018 inductees as well as Jim France, the fourth recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

A special NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will take place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. More details on driver appearances, activities and programming for this day will be announced at a later date.

See below for ticket and package options.

2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Exclusive Driver Dinner Package ($350 per person plus tax and applicable service fees; limited quantity available)

  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver at Table
  • (1) Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation
  • (1) Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Yearbook
  • (1) Admission to First Look at Class of 2018 Inductee Exhibits
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass

2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame VIP Induction Package ($299 per person plus tax and applicable service fees; limited quantity available)

  • (1) Induction Dinner Seat, including Jacket Presentation
  • (1) Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) Commemorative Dinner and Ceremony Ticket
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Yearbook
  • (1) Admission to First Look at Class of 2018 Inductee Exhibits
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Annual Pass

2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Premium Seat ($80 per person plus tax and applicable service fees)                               

  • (1) Premium Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Yearbook
  • (1) Admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 19

2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony General Seat ($45 plus tax and applicable service fees)           

  • (1) Induction Ceremony Seat
  • (1) NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Yearbook

Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. For accessible seating, please call 704-654-4400. There is a ticket limit of 6 for this event. The 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Exclusive Driver Dinner Package and 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame VIP Induction Package will only be available for pickup at Will Call the day of the event. All other tickets will be mailed by Ticketmaster. For more information about Induction weekend, visit nascarhall.com/inductees/induction-ceremony.

NASCAR PR

It’s been an impressive few opening chapters in what should be a long history book for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

 

The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team has won 38 times in 948 races since its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2009. The organization owned by Gene Haas and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has notched championships with Stewart in 2011 and Kevin Harvick in 2014.

 

In February, SHR celebrated its first Daytona 500 victory when Kurt Busch took the checkered flag. SHR drivers have won at every active track on the Cup Series tour except two:  Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where the Cup Series races Sunday in the Alabama 500.

 

First-year SHR driver Clint Bowyer would like to write his name in the team record book by bringing home a trophy from the 2.66-mile Alabama restrictor-plate track. Bowyer, the driver who replaced Stewart in the No. 14 in 2017, would join Stewart, Harvick, Busch and Ryan Newman as SHR winners.

 

“No doubt that’s our goal this weekend in Talladega,” said Bowyer, who is tied with Harvick for the most points in the last 10 Talladega races with 296. “Look at the list of those guys who’ve won at SHR. There are three champions on the list. These guys are the best of the best.”

 

Bowyer isn’t too shabby at restrictor-plate tracks. He’s won twice, posted six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in just 24 races at Talladega while also logging four top-five finishes in 24 points races at Talladega’s sister track Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. 

 

Bowyer nearly wrote his name in the record book in May at Talladega when he raced in the top-five in the closing laps before tire damage forced a pit stop that dropped him to 23rd at the start of overtime. He rallied in the two-lap shootout to finish 14th.

 

While it might not seem like it from the stands, Bowyer said there is a great deal of strategy behind restrictor-plate racing success. It begins as early as Friday during practice when drivers and teams balance the risk of damaging a car versus the knowledge gained by running in a pack.

 

“Attitude is a big part of this, but it goes toward being a student while you’re out there, learning as much as you can. That’s the tricky thing about these situations at these racetracks,” he said.

 

“We’re scared to practice because we don’t want to tear our cars up because that’s the best car we’ve got. Then you are out there in the race and you’re like, ‘I need to learn something.’ If you are single file in the race, you’re not learning, either, so you are now at the end of the race and nobody has really learned anything. Then all hell breaks loose as we’re trying to figure it out with two or three laps to go, trying to win the race for our teams.”

 

Bowyer owns the ninth-best average finish of all the full-time drivers in 2017. But the 2017 stat sheet could really use a victory. He and the crew chief Mike Bugarewicz-led team have posted three second-place and two third-place finishes this year.

 

“We are still trying to win our first race, so we have work to do,” said Bowyer, who owns top-10 finishes in two of the last three Cup Series races. “We have some races coming up that are good tracks for us, including Talladega. We want to finish this season out right and would love to win and build some momentum going into 2018.”

 

A trophy from Talladega would be an excellent start.

 

TSC PR

Each time the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes to the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Ty Dillon and the GEICO Racing team look to capitalize on their home turf, as the 1.5-mile oval is just a short drive from the Germain Racing headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. But, as remnants of Hurricane Nate moved northeast, both practice sessions on Saturday were washed out and NASCAR pushed the start time up an hour on Sunday afternoon in hopes of completing the full 500-miles.
 
After rolling from the 27th starting position under cloudy, humid skies, Dillon battled a tight condition in the front end of his GEICO Chevrolet during the opening 90-lap stage. Once wedge and air pressure adjustments helped the overall handling, the No. 13 machine came alive and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender secured a solid place inside the top-20. While continuing his steady march forward, Dillon took over 15th-place on lap 270 and sustained this position until misfortunate struck with only 13 laps remaining in the race. The right rear tire on the Germain Racing machine went down, forcing Dillon to pit under green for fresh right-side tires.
 
A late race caution on lap 325 sent the field into overtime to compete in a green-white-checkered finish. Over the final two laps, Dillon gained as many positions to cross the finish line in 21st place.
 
"My GEICO Chevrolet team worked hard this weekend in Charlotte," said Dillon, after the race. "We didn't unload how we needed to on Friday, and then we didn't get any practice laps in yesterday because of the rain. So, we had to make adjustments on the first few pit stops to get what I needed balance-wise. I felt pretty good late in the race, but I just needed track position. Charlotte is a tricky track and it can be hard to pick up spots. We were really making progress, though. I was 15th when I had to pit for a flat tire with 13 laps to go. It was an unfortunate end to the day. I wish we could have gotten the top-15 finish, but that was out of our control. We have good notes to take home and be ready for next year."
 
Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team will now take part in a test session at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway before traveling to Alabama for the final superspeedway race of the 2017 season.
 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take to Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, October 13th for opening practice at 1:00pm ET, with qualifying scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 14th at 4:15 pm ET.
 
The green flag will fly for the Alabama 500 at Talladega on Sunday, October 15th at 2:00 pm ET. NBC will carry the live television broadcast, with the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 carrying the live radio broadcast.
 
PMI PR
Joey Gase will join BK Racing for Talladega, along with associate sponsors Donate Life Alabama and Eternal Fan. Joey will drive the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry. Teammate Corey LaJoie will be in the No. 83 Dustless Blasting Camry for Talladega.
 
”Eternal Fan is honored to offer Talladega Fans a place where they can continue their relationship with this iconic speedway,” said Eternal Fan President Matt Linn. “There is no better way to continue the tradition of the sport than to be teammates of BK Racing and Joey Gase. THIS IS TALLADEGA!”
 
“The Alabama Organ Center is proud to sponsor Joey Gase in the Alabama 500,” states Chris Meeks, Executive Director of the Alabama Organ Center. “We think this a great way to honor our generous donors and their families, while raising awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. Nearly 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in Alabama and we encourage everyone to consider donation and register their decision through the DMV or on-line.”
 
“I am excited to be coming back to Talladega in the Cup Series and to team up with Dr Pepper, Eternal Fan, and AOC,” said Joey Gase. “I enjoy the superspeedways and have had good finishes there including when I finished 5th at Talladega in the XFINITY Series with Jimmy Means Racing in 2015. With the help of AOC we will also be able to honor Jerred Bowles, an organ donor who was able to save the lives of many, on the car.”
 
“I’m looking forward to being back in the Dustless Blasting Toyota for the 3rd time this season,” Corey LaJoie stated. “They’ve been such a great partner of ours and I’m ready to give them a good run at Talladega Superspeedway again.”
 
“Eternal Fan and Donate Life Alabama are great organizations,” said Doug Fritz, BK Racing CMO, “and we are excited to have these two new sponsors on our car for Talladega. Joey has been great to work with this season, and had strong runs in the Daytona 500 and Talladega early this year, we are happy to have him back in the car.”
 
BK Racing PR

Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and Michael McDowell fought adversity in the Bank of America 500 to finish 35th in their backyard.

The team had an extremely fast No. 95 Procore Chevrolet SS the entire weekend, and finished first practice 8th fastest. They topped that by finishing the first round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) qualifying 6th fastest on the leaderboard to move on to the second round. They went on to earn a 16th place starting position for the race on Sunday.

Saturday’s on-track activity was cancelled due to rain, but the team was confident in the set-up of their Procore Chevy. They continued with race setup until late Saturday evening.

The start of the 500-mile race on Sunday began with McDowell struggling with a loose-handling car, but he was able to stay in the Top-20 until the competition caution on lap 36 where he received an adjustment to help the handling of the Procore Chevy.

McDowell restarted 16th on lap 41 before a caution came out just three laps later. He gained one spot on the restart, but dropped back due to a “wrecking loose” car. McDowell went on to finish the first stage in 24th.

McDowell began the second stage in 27th, but quickly made his way back into the Top-25 until a part failure sent him spinning. Fortunately, he did not make contact with the wall and was able to drive the car into the garage to diagnose the issue.

The team was able to fix the broken gear cooler, as mechanical issues do not warrant a time limit per NASCAR’s rulebook. McDowell returned to the race, but was 45 laps down.

McDowell continued to race with an exceptionally fast Procore Chevy, and ran times similar to the race leaders. The third stage consisted of long, green-flag runs where the team pitted for tires and fuel, but no major adjustments.

During one of the final cautions of the race, McDowell took the wave around and was able to gain a lap back. Though he finished the race 44 laps down, the team has still completed the most laps of any team and has only had one DNF during the 2017 MENCS season.

“We had a really fast Procore Chevy,” said McDowell. “Unfortunately, we had a gear problem that put us behind the wall for quite a few laps, but we were still extremely fast. It was just one of those days.”

Next up for McDowell and LFR is the Alabama 500 at Talladega Speedway on Sunday, October 15.

LFR PR

Stage 1
  • Cole Whitt qualified 32nd to start the Bank of America 500
  • Lap 15: running 33rd, Whitt relayed to Crew Chief Frank Kerr the handling was tight through the center
  • Lap 31: Whitt running 33rd, fell a lap down from the leader
  • Lap 35: Competition Caution: 35th, one lap down, Whitt reported the handling of the No. 72 was tight and lacked grip. He pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure adjustment and tape on the grille
  • Caution Lap 45 (incident), running 35th, one lap down, Whitt sustained rear and left side damage from a fellow competitor. He pitted for bear bond on the left side ane rear and fuel. He was the Lucky Dog recipient and restarted 29th, posted back on the lead lap
  • Stage 1 Completion Caution: Whitt completes the stage 28th. He pitted for four tires and fuel 
 
Stage 2
  • Whitt took the green flag in the 27th position to start Stage 2
  • Caution Lap 117 (incident): Whitt was scored 27th. He pitted for four tires, fuel, a packer removed and air pressure adjustment to the No. 72. He took the restart in the 26th position on the leaderboard
  • Lap 124: Whitt has advanced to 24th
  • Caution Lap 137: Whitt was scored 27th and relayed lack of stability, no rear grip and the car was way out of the track. He pitted for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustment. He took the green flag restart 24th.
  • Lap 141: Whitt was making headway advancing through the field and was scored 20th on the leaderboard
  • Lap 158: Whitt relayed he was loose in, tight in the center and loose off
  • Lap 163: Whitt suspected a tire issue. Crew Chief Frank Kerr called him to pit. As he was entering pit road, Whitt relayed he did not have any brakes. Upon assessment, it was determined the No. 72 had a broken right hub which forced Whitt to the garage area for repairs.
  • Stage 2 Completion Caution: Whitt and the No. 72 was in the garage for repairs
 
 
Stage 3
  • Start of Stage 3: Repairs continued
  • Lap 203: Repairs to the No. 72 were complete and Whitt returned to the track. He was scored 36th, 41 laps down from the leader
  • Whitt pitted under green on lap 254, He pitted for four tires and fuel
  • Caution Lap 267 (incident): Whitt stayed out the take the wave around
  • Whitt pitted again under caution for four tires, fuel, packer pulled from right front and added to left front. He continued to run 36th but reported he was spinning out
  • Caution on Lap 333 set the stage for an overtime finish
  • After a challenging day, Whitt completed the Bank of America 500 in the 34th positon at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Tristar PR