Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14369)

Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team took a car that wasn’t handling very well early on in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and tuned it to the point that it finished eighth. The team now heads to Talladega Superspeedway just five points back of a spot among the top eight that will advance to the third round of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

Blaney started the 500 from 15th place but was running outside the top 20 when the planned competition caution flag flew at Lap 35.

From that point on, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team worked on the No. 21 Fusion on each pit stop, and by the end of Stage Two, Blaney was running in the ninth position, which earned him two valuable stage points.
 
From then on until the checkered flag, Blaney was able to maintain a spot in the top 10 as he finished eighth for his 11th top-10 finish of the season.
 
Among the issues the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had to overcome was a broken tether on the left-rear wheel. That meant the jack needed an extra pump or two to get the left side lifted on pit stops. Even so, the over-the-wall crew repeatedly returned Blaney to the track with a minimum of lost time.
  
“It’s solid,” Blaney said of his team’s performance on Sunday. “I thought we did a good job of getting better throughout the race. 
 
“We were a lot better at the end of the race than what we were at the beginning. That says a lot about the team and hopefully we can keep it up and run decent the next two weeks. 
 
“I’m proud of the effort to get better and the hard work, so that’s what we needed.”
 
Blaney’s now 11th in the championship standings, well within reach of the elite eight as the circuit heads to Talladega, where unexpected turns of events are the norm, as team co-owner Eddie Wood said.
 
“Our goal coming into Charlotte was to not do anything to take ourselves out of the playoff picture,” Wood said. “Ryan drove a smart race, stayed out of trouble and didn’t panic when the car wasn’t handling well at the start of the race.
 
“We raced around the people we’re competing against for the cut-off position, which is where we should be running, and the pit crew did a great job despite some challenges with the broken tether.
 
“Now we’ll all go to Talladega, which is going to tell the story for all of us in this round of the playoffs.”

 Blaney said he knows how he’d like that Talladega story to read.
 
“We’re going to try to run up front and win,” he said.

WBR PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Danica Patrick started 12th and finished 25th.

● The No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford Fusion team dropped to 18th on the initial start and continued to lose ground as Patrick battled handling issues during the stage.

● The team pitted at lap 37 for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments and the addition of tape to the grille. When the team pitted again between stages, they went back on the chassis changes and made air pressure adjustments in an effort to improve the car’s handling.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-180):

Started 21st and finished 23rd.

● The No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink team continued to make adjustments to the car in an effort to gain ground. Patrick noted improvement midway through the stage.

● The team pitted three times – at laps 117, 137 and 182. On each trip to pit road Patrick took four tires and fuel, and the team made wedge or air pressure adjustments to address handling issues.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 181-334):

Started 22nd and finished 38th.

● Patrick was scored in the 22nd position when the team made a scheduled, green-flag pit stop at lap 225. Three laps later, she was forced to serve a pass-through penalty for the pit crew being over the wall too soon on the stop. As a result of the penalty, Patrick went two laps down to the leader and dropped as far back as 28th.

● At lap 266 Patrick went low in turn two to avoid the No. 38 car, but it spun down the track and collected the No. 10 Ford Warriors in Pink Ford. Patrick’s car sustained significant right-front damage that ended the team’s day.

● Patrick was evaluated and released from the infield care center following the incident.

 

Notes:              

● This was Patrick’s 11th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and her 184th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 44 laps.

● Twenty-four of the 40 drivers in the Bank of America 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Bank of America 500 to score his 13th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his sixth of the season and his second at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .911 of a second.

● Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 3,106 points and has a 34-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The event starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Kevin Harvick started third, finished first, earned 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

The Jimmy John’s Ford challenged for the lead in the early going.

The No. 4 Ford came to pit road under the competition caution on lap 35 for four tires and fuel.

Harvick raced to the lead on lap 52 following a lap-43 caution, where he elected to stay out while running second.

The No. 4 team pitted at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-180):

Started third, finished first, earned 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

Harvick came to pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 118 and took the lead on the lap-120 restart.

The No. 4 team pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment and won the race off pit road.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 181-334):

Started first, finished third.

Harvick surrendered the lead on lap 225 to pit under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel.

The Jimmy John’s Ford was too loose on exit late in the run as the team worked to adjust to changing track conditions.

The No. 4 Ford came to pit road under caution on lap 267 for four tires, fuel and adjustments aimed to regain rear grip.

Harvick came to pit road under caution on lap 280 for four tires, fuel and small adjustments and came out in the second position.

He came to pit road under caution on lap 327 for tires but fell to the sixth position following the pit stop.

The team restarted sixth on lap 328 and raced to fourth before another quick caution on lap 331.

Harvick stayed out under caution, restarting fourth for the overtime attempt and gaining a position in the closing laps.

 

Notes:

● Harvick scored his 10th top-five and 18th top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Harvick’s eighth top-five and 16th top-10 in 34 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte.

● Harvick finished first in both stages to collect the maximum amount of bonus points (20) and two playoff points.

● Harvick led four times for a race-high 149 laps to bring his laps-led total at Charlotte to 528.

● With his laps-led tally from the Bank of America 500, Harvick surpassed 11,000 laps led in his NASCAR Cup Series career. He is the 17th Cup Series driver to lead 11,000 or more laps and one of only four active drivers to accomplish this feat, joining Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth.

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 44 laps.

● Only 24 of the 40 drivers in the Bank of America 500 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That’s about where we were going to run, second or third. We just kind of lost a little bit of the track there as the VHT started to wear off in the second half of the race. But they did a great job all day. For the most part, we had good stops all day – just the timing of the bad one came at the end, but, for the most part, they did a great job. Everybody in the field had a bad stop at some point today, so it was a good day for our Jimmy John’s/Busch Ford, and everybody is doing a good job with the speed of the cars.”

 

Playoff Standings (with two races to go before the Round of 8):

1.   Martin Truex Jr. (3,106 points) 1 win

2.   Kyle Larson (3,072 points, -34) +29 points

3.   Kevin Harvick (3,069 points, -37) +26 points

4.   Chase Elliott (3,059 points, -47) +16 points

5.   Denny Hamlin (3,056 points, -50) +13 points

6.   Kyle Busch (3,055 points, -51) +12 points

7.   Jimmie Johnson (3,051 points, -55) +8 points

8.   Jamie McMurray (3,044 points, -62) +1 point

9.   Matt Kenseth (3,043 points, -63) -1 point

10. Brad Keselowski (3,042 points, -64) -2 points

11. Ryan Blaney (3,039 points, -67) -5 points

12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3,034 points, -72) -10 points

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alabama 500 on Sunday, Oct. 15 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Clint Bowyer started fifth, finished 38th.

“The front end isn’t happy at all,” he told the crew at the lap-30 mark after fading to ninth.

On lap 43 Ryan Newman drifted into the No. 14, forcing Bowyer into the turn-two wall.

The No. 14 dropped to 31st as Bowyer pitted for major repairs, but he remained on the lead lap.

Tire issues forced Bowyer to pit under green on lap 89, dropping him two laps behind the leader in 38th.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-180):

Started 38th and finished 29th.

Crew continued to make repairs before the beginning of the stage.

Took the wave-around on lap 139 and regained one of the two laps lost to the leader.

Returned to two laps down when passed by the leader in the closing laps of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 181-334):

Started 29th, finished 27th.

Bowyer fell three laps down during the stage but regained a lap as the race wound down.

 

Notes:

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 44 laps.

● Twenty-four of the 40 drivers in the Bank of America 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Bank of America 500 to score his 13th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading sixth of the season and his second at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .911 of a second.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That was a pretty joyless day. We had a lot of damage early, so it seemed like we were making repairs on the car and playing catch-up pretty much from the start.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alabama 500 on Sunday, Oct. 15 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs, and it starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, overcame damage sustained from contact with the outside retaining wall and improved 11 positions during the final stage of Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to record a 14th-place finish.

“We fought hard today and overcame some adversity,” said Bayne after the race. “We had a really fast car on the long run and (crew chief) Matt (Puccia) made some great adjustments that really helped our short run speed. This was the kind of run we needed with our AdvoCare Ford and I am really proud of everyone on this team for their hard work this weekend. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going next weekend in Talladega.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 334-Lap event from 26th and maintained his track position throughout the opening run of the race before utilizing the Lap 35 competition caution to come to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment. After returning to the track in 20th, the driver of the AdvoCare Ford reported to crew chief Matt Puccia that he was loose entering the corner and very tight from the center to the exit. These handling conditions ultimately shuffled Bayne back to 23rd just prior to the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 90.

The Knoxville, Tenn. native came back to pit road again prior to the beginning of Stage 2 for four tires and another round of adjustments, sending Bayne out in the 22nd position for the Lap 97 restart. Bayne methodically climbed the leaderboard throughout the second stage, racing into the top-15 before contact with the outside retaining wall damaged the right rear of the AdvoCare Ford and shifted the handling over to the tight side. Despite the damage, Bayne soldiered through the final laps of Stage 2 to take the green and checkered flag in the 22nd position.

Prior to the beginning of the final stage, Puccia decided to bring Bayne back to pit road for another round of chassis adjustments and to check on the damage sustained from the contact with the wall. The 2011 Daytona 500 Champion returned to the track for the ensuing restart in 25th but wasted little time moving forward, improving nine positions to 16th before hitting pit road during the first round of green flag pit stops on Lap 226. Bayne cycled out in 15th following the pit stop but was unfortunately caught down a lap to the race leaders.

An opportune caution on Lap 278 gave the Roush Fenway Racing driver the free pass back onto the lead lap. Once back on the led lap Bayne charged forward, driving up to 13th before the loose-handling condition once again returned in the closing laps, shuffling Bayne to 15th before a Lap 331 caution period set up NASCAR’s version of overtime.

Taking the overtime restart in 15th, Bayne battled with Brad Keselowski and Roush Fenway teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. before taking the checkered flag in the 14th position.

Next up for the MENCS is Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 15.

RFR PR

If you need evidence of how competitive the NASCAR Playoffs are, consider this: Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team came to Charlotte Motor Speedway ninth in the standings, finished the Bank of America 500 a strong eighth in overtime and left the track 11th in the championship chase.

Although Blaney and the Wood Brothers team are in 11th place, they are only five points away from the Round 2 cutoff with two of the team’s best tracks, Talladega and Kansas, next on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team started the race 15th after a so-so qualifying result, and were handicapped when Saturday’s practice session was rained out and hadn’t practiced any race runs on Friday. As a result, Blaney started the race with a loose race car and finished Stage 1 where he started.

“It stinks we couldn’t get any (more) stage points, especially in that first one, but I thought we did a good job of getting better throughout the race,” Blaney said.

The Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 started Stage 2 in 14th place, got into the top 10 by lap 121 of 334 scheduled laps and finished Stage 2 in 9th, collecting two vital stage points.

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane pit crew helped Blaney with adjustments throughout the day despite a malfunctioning jack that hampered the team’s pit road efficiency.

“We were a lot better at the end of the race than what we were at the beginning,” Blaney said. “That says a lot about the team and hopefully we can keep it up and run decent the next two weeks. I’m proud of the effort to get better and the hard work, so that’s what we needed. We just need to start better.

“It’s solid,” he continued. “I was just really loose in all day over the bumps and things. That was something we tried to get better at and we got a little better, but we needed a little bit more.”

The eighth-place finish at Charlotte was the team’s 11th top-10 outcome of the 2017 season. It also was Blaney’s best finish at the North Carolina speedway.

Blaney sits in 11th in the standings with 3,039 points, 67 points behind the leader Martin Truex, Jr. and five points from the Round 2 cutoff.

The NASCAR Playoffs continue next Sunday, Oct. 15 with the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway when the No. 21 will be in its Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center livery. The green flag drops at 2 p.m. and will be televised on NBC.

Ford Performance PR

Martin Truex Jr. went to victory lane for the sixth time of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The win did not come easy for the veteran from New Jersey as the race went into NASCAR Overtime.

With 57 laps remaining, Truex passed Kevin Harvick on the restart and held onto the lead for the rest of the way to take the two-car Furniture Row Racing team from Denver to victory lane. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran will leave the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway with his 13th career victory in the series.

The race went into NASCAR Overtime because the No. 41 of Kurt Busch went around in turn one. That forced NASCAR to display the yellow flag for the 10th time of the afternoon and gave heavy hitters Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott another shot of going to victory lane.

Busch went on to finish 22nd following the on-track incident.

Chase Elliott will leave with the runner-up spot for the second straight week. Elliott led the field for 12 laps in his No. 24 Chevrolet and sat inside the top 10 for majority of the afternoon.

The Georgia native, who announced this week that he’ll pilot the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season, was 0.911 seconds away from scoring his first career premier series victory.

Elliott will go into Talladega Superspeedway next week with nine top five and 17 top 10 finishes through 30 races.

Kevin Harvick will round out the top three finishers on Sunday at Charlotte. Harvick led 149 of the 337 laps of the Bank of America 500 after starting in third. The California native went on to win both stages of the event.

Harvick will leave Charlotte with 10 top five and 18 top 10 finishes with one victory through 30 races. The series veteran and favorite to win the championship holds an average finish of 11.9 and an average start 8.7 as the series heads to Talladega.

Daniel Suarez will be the highest finishing non-playoff and rookie driver on Sunday at Charlotte. Suarez scored his fourth top 10 finish in the last five races with a sixth-place finish at the 1.5-mile oval. The young driver goes into Talladega next weekend looking to score his first career victory in the series.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. salvaged a 13th-place finish despite a pit road speeding penalty with 10 laps remaining. Stenhouse was one of the drivers that found themselves running just inside or outside the top 10 all afternoon long. The finish certainly gives the No. 17 crew momentum as they go to Talladega next weekend.

It was a rough day for NASCAR playoff driver Kyle Busch. Despite leading 22 circuits, Busch’s issues started on lap 135 in turn three. It’d go from bad to worse for the Las Vegas native as he brought out the caution on lap 278 in turn two and 325 in turn three.

Despite going through all that, and battling fumes inside the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran finished six laps down in 29th.

With the fumes inside the car, Busch had to lay down in the synthetic turf after the race as medical workers attended to him. He was able to get up on his own power and walk to the ambulance where he visited the infield care center to receive oxygen.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Alabama 500. Coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET. on NBC. The Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM Ch. 90 will carry the live radio broadcast.

Denny Hamlin will start on the pole at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Hamlin, driving the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, led the final session of qualifying by posting a 28.184, 191.598 mph. The driver from Virginia captured his 25th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

Hamlin comes into the 30th race of the season looking to score his third win of the year. He holds 12 top five and 16 top 10 finishes as the Round of 12 begins.

Hamlin’s teammate, Matt Kenseth, will start the Bank of America 500 in the runner-up position. Kenseth posted a 28.200, 191.489 mph. in the final round of knockout qualifying. The driver from Wisconsin sat 12th in round one and fourth in round two.

Kenseth goes into Charlotte Motor Speedway with eight top five and 14 top 10 finishes through 29 races this season.

Kevin Harvick will round out the top three starters on Sunday at Charlotte. Harvick posted a 28.214, 191.394 mph. in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford. Harvick led the first two rounds of knockout qualifying before earning the third-place starting spot.

The California native comes into Charlotte Motor Speedway looking for his second win of the season. Harvick holds nine top five and 17 top 10 finishes.


The top four drivers are all Playoff drivers. Clint Bowyer, the driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford, will be the highest non-Playoff driver in fifth.

Dangerous Playoff driver Martin Truex Jr. did not make the final round of qualifying and will start 17th on the leaderboard. The New Jersey native sat 23rd at the end of the opening round.

See where your favorite Playoff driver will start:

Playoff Drivers:

POS

CAR

DRIVER

1

11

Denny Hamlin

2

20

Matt Kenseth

3

4

Kevin Harvick

4

18

Kyle Busch

6

2

Brad Keselowski

7

24

Chase Elliott

10

42

Kyle Larson

15

21

Ryan Blaney

17

78

Martin Truex Jr.

18

1

Jamie McMurray

25

48

Jimmie Johnson


Three drivers did not post times in the first round of qualifying. Erik Jones, driver of the No. 77 Toyota, had issues getting through inspection and wasn’t able to make a lap. Brett Moffitt and and Corey LaJoie did not turn a lap in qualifying or practice on Friday.

There were no DNQs.

Martin Truex Jr. qualified 17th and Erik Jones will start 38th after missing qualifying for Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Truex drove the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota to a second-round lap of 28.496 seconds at 189.500 mph under the lights on the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Truex will line up on the inside of Row 9.

“Today was interesting with the way the track was with the VHT,” said Truex. “I felt pretty good at the end of practice and thought we would be in good shape for qualifying. But the car got way loose for whatever reason. We’ll be fine. We’ll work hard tomorrow in race trim and get this Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota ready to roll on Sunday.”

The No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota did not pass technical inspection in time to make a lap in the first round of qualifying. Jones will line up on the outside of Row 19.

Denny Hamlin won the pole. The balance of the top 12 qualifiers were: Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick.

The Bank of America 500 will air live Sunday beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and PRN.

FRR PR