Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16338)

Kevin Harvick won eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2018, plus the non-points-paying NASCAR All-Star Race.

 

And he’s hoping that success leads right into 2019.

 

His eight race wins were a career high after winning five races each in 2006 and 2014.

And for the kickoff to the new season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway over the next two weekends, his car will have a new look.

 

As the Official beer of NASCAR, Busch has a long and storied history within the NASCAR family. Not only has Busch been the beverage of choice by countless winners during their celebrations in victory lane, but Busch has been along for the ride for four decades dating back to the 1979 Daytona 500.

 

Since 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Busch’s presence at Daytona, the brand is celebrating racing roots and raising a cold one to 40 years of NASCAR support with something never before seen in motorsport – a crisp, cold can of Busch constructed from Harvick’s No. 4 racecar. The Car 2 Can collection from Busch is giving people the unique opportunity to drink the sport they eat, sleep, and breathe.

 

See the full making-of video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5hSJOtIBUM

 

On Daytona 500 race day Feb. 17, Busch is inviting nearly 10 million Daytona 500 viewers to play a live trivia contest for a chance to win one of the exclusive cans. The truer the fan, the higher the chance folks have of winning one of the most exhilarating cans ever created. To join the race for a can during Daytona, participants will need to look out for the trivia questions on screen and simply tweet their answers using the designated hashtags #Car2Can and #BuschContest.

 

How to Participate:

·         Follow @BuschBeer on Twitter

·         Watch Daytona 500 live

·         Answer trivia questions on Twitter using the hashtags #Car2Can and #BuschContest

·         Stay tuned for the winners

 

Trivia skills not up to par? Consumers can also score a can via Busch’s charity auction ahead of the contest at Daytona. The first can of the collection will be offered to the highest bidder Monday (Feb. 11) at rallyup.com/car2can. All proceeds will go directly to Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and be matched dollar-for-dollar by Busch. KAB’s mission is to improve and beautify community environments across the country every day. As a part of Busch’s ongoing commitment to giving back to and taking care of the great outdoors, Busch partnered with KAB to kick off the collection announcement with a special auction of can #1.

 

“We wanted to do something for the hardcore fans that had never been done before, and give them a chance to hold the sport they love,” said Daniel Blake, Senior Marketing Director, Anheuser-Busch. “This year marks the 40th anniversary of our first Daytona 500, so we created the 40 collector’s edition cans to give a piece of the sport back to the fans that have been there every step of the way.”

 

Follow @Buschbeer on Twitter to stay up to speed with how consumers can get their hands on a piece of NASCAR history with Busch Beer’s #Car2Can collection auction Monday (Feb. 11) and via live trivia during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.

 

For more information on Busch Car 2 Can collection, please visit https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialBuschBeer

 

Meanwhile, this is Harvick’s 19th year in the NASCAR Cup Series and his sixth with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since joining forces at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 22 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 19 poles, 91 top-five finishes and 127 top-10s while leading 8,655 laps.

 

They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017 and 2018. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway four times in the last five years.

 

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Car2Can Ford Mustang for SHR, has two wins at Daytona, including the 2007 Daytona 500. He also has nine top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 244 laps in his 35 career points-paying NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona. That said, he has not had a top-15 finish at Daytona in a points-paying race since he finished fourth in the 2016 Daytona 500.

 

He does have three victories in the non-points Clash exhibition race – in 2009, 2010, 2013 – tying him for second on the all-time list with his team owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett. Additionally, the Bakersfield, California native has seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in Clash competition.

 

In addition to his three Clash wins at Daytona, Harvick has four other victories at the famed 2.5-mile racetrack – two NASCAR Cup Series points-paying races in February 2007 and July 2010, the 2013 non-points-paying Gander RV Duel, and the February 2007 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

 

The key for Harvick and the rest of the SHR team is the transition to the new Ford Mustang for this season. It is the world’s best-selling sportscar and been in continuous production since its debut in 1964. But it has never been used in the Cup Series.

 

Harvick is hoping he can start 2019 the right way – with a second career Daytona 500 victory. He would be just the 12th driver to win the race multiple times.

 

TSC PR

It is the most celebrated Busch Pole Award in NASCAR racing.

The top qualifier for the Daytona 500 gets a full week to proudly navigate one of racing’s most celebrated accomplishments. And the pressure of depending on the outcome of the typically dramatic Gander RV Duel at Daytona qualifying races instantly turns instead to an opportunity to fine-tune and prepare for the sport’s grandest event a week later - The Great American Race.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams have arrived at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway ready for this first test of the 2019 season with pole qualifying scheduled for high noon on Sunday, Feb. 10 (on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The front row for the Daytona 500 will be set with the remainder of the field to be settled in Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races.

Motivation to lead the field to this first green flag of the season is easy to come by.

Chevrolet has won 10 of the last 11 Daytona 500 pole positions and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have earned the last four – Jeff Gordon (2015), Chase Elliott (2016-17) and Alex Bowman (2018). The lone outlier in that time was Carl Edwards who won the pole for Ford in 2012 driving for Roush Fenway Racing. A pole win for Chevrolet would be the make’s 700th pole position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

There are only five former Daytona 500 pole-winners entered this week – Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Elliott and Bowman – meaning there’s a good chance for someone new to earn that season-opening spotlight.

History indicates that it may be a tall task however, as Johnson, Elliott and Bowman make up three-fourths of the Hendrick Motorsports team that holds the all-time record for Daytona 500 pole positions (12) – twice that of any other team (Richard Childress Racing has six).

Five times Hendrick Motorsports has swept the front row. The last time, in 2015, Gordon won the pole, Johnson qualified on the outside pole and Dale Earnhardt Jr. started third.

“It was important for my Hendrick Motorsports team to start off strong in Daytona last season," said Bowman, who won the pole position last February in his first full season in the famed No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 long driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“Starting off a season strong helps set up your momentum so early in the year. This No. 88 team has done a lot of work in the offseason to make our plate-track program that much stronger. Hendrick Motorsports has a reputation for being pretty good on these tracks, so I am excited to see how we unload this weekend and how we qualify and race in The Clash."

It’s a familiar sentiment for NASCAR’s premier drivers this weekend. In Brad Keselowski’s case, winning the pole position isn’t just a personal goal, but something he knows would be extremely important to his Team Penske organization.

“Probably one of the things that stands out to me, it’s one of the few accomplishments in all of motorsports that Roger Penske doesn’t have, being on the front row for the Daytona 500, at least the pole," said Keselowski, who is looking for his first Daytona 500 victory as well. Teammate – and newly-crowned Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano won the 2015 Daytona 500.

“Boy, would we like to change it," Keselowski said. “I know it’s high up on his list as something he wants to cross off. We put a lot of thought into it. I’ve tried to put a lot of emphasis on it.”

The 2012 Cup champ even went so far as to offer his No. 2 crew a special incentive should he earn his first Daytona 500 pole position.

“I told all our guys that I would give them all the money [earned] if we won the pole," Keselowski said. “They’re pretty excited about that. That’s been kind of neat to see their faces light up.

“But hopefully, we can get it done.”

Toyota Racing will celebrate more than just American motorsports at the upcoming NASCAR race weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The Gaunt Brothers Racing No. 96 Toyota Camry will field a paint scheme featuring Toyota’s partnership with Team USA as the team attempts to qualify for the 2019 Daytona 500.

Parker Kligerman will return to the driver’s seat as he is set to pilot the No. 96 Camry. The Gaunt Brothers Racing entry hits the track on Sunday, Feb. 10 for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying followed by the season-opening Daytona 500 event on Sunday, Feb. 17.

“We’re excited to connect with sports fans in the United States and beyond,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, Toyota Olympic and Paralympic Marketing. “The Daytona 500 is one of the most prestigious races in America. It provides us with a global stage to remind people that while we’re all about cars, we’re also out there supporting the teams and athletes that hope to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.”

Toyota’s partnerships with 17 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) will also be highlighted on the decklid of the No. 96 Camry after Toyota recently announced the addition of six summer NGB partners and USA Curling to the Toyota family.

In March of 2015, Toyota became a TOP (The Olympic Partner) of the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee in the newly created mobility category for 2017 through 2024. In addition to its relationship with the IOC and IPC, Toyota is a partner of Team USA; the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association; US Speedskating; U.S. Figure Skating; USA Hockey and the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team; USA Curling; USA Skateboarding; USA Surfing; USA Swimming; USA Track & Field; USA Triathlon; the National Wheelchair Basketball Association; U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing; U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing; U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding, U.S. Paralympics Swimming, U.S. Paralympics Cycling and U.S. Paralympics Track & Field.

Beyond the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota strategically uses it relationships with sports properties and athletes as a way to connect with consumers in the United States. The brand has relationships with more than 40 major sports teams and nearly 30 major sports.

TRD PR

Due to a variety of circumstances, Obaika Racing will not be entering the No. 97 Toyota Camry in the 2019 Daytona 500.

It is no secret that this is a very small team with limited resources. This is also a very new team to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The No. 97 team has worked very hard through the winter to prepare cars and to secure funding for the 2019 season, and things did not come together as quickly as hoped or needed. The odds of making the Daytona 500 did not seem reasonable enough to stretch our resources, so the team feels that our assets can best be put towards a future race.

Adding Wave Sports as a year-long partner was a huge boost to our program, and they will be a very important part of our future efforts. We continued with the Wednesday, Feb. 6th, press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with great optimism about our program coming together in time to make it to Daytona International Speedway. Even though that did not work out, we are still very thankful to Wave Sports for continuing their support.

The team still has big plans for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. We will compete in as many events as possible, and we will announce our 2019 debut race as soon as possible.

Obaika Racing PR

Brad Keselowski likens his current state of mind to the times when he was younger anticipating that first day of school. Only now, it’s more of a graduate education, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series prepares to open its 2019 season at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.

“It’s certainly the race I would think of myself being the most prepared for just by the nature of it being the first race of the season," Keselowski, 34, said. “It reminds me a little bit like when I was in school, the first day of school.

“The night before I would kind of lay out all my clothes, have my backpack packed with pencils, notebooks whatever it might be.

“Of course you get a little bit later into the school year, you’re getting dressed the morning of, you’re barely finding your clothes, your backpack is a mess, all the kind of stuff.

“That’s probably the best way I know how to explain the Daytona 500, it has a lot of that first-day-of-school feel, everybody is super prepared, sometimes a little too anxious as well.

The 2012 Monster Energy Series champion and a consensual superstar on the sport’s big restrictor plate tracks like Daytona, Keselowski is still missing that one most sought-after trophy in the Great American Race. He shows up in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang this week as the defending winner of Sunday afternoon’s Advance Auto Parts Clash (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), non-points race with his sights set high – as always.

His sights are set on victory in the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 (at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“It’s something I thought a lot about," Keselowski told reporters Thursday. “Before last season I had never really won a major NASCAR race. I won the championship (2012), done a lot of those things, which is certainly great. I hadn’t won a major. Last year after winning Darlington and Indianapolis, gosh, the thrill from that, I’m still kind of on a high from that. That was almost six months ago.

“But Daytona is, the 500, one major I don’t have. I feel like it’s a race we’ve been competitive at. We had opportunities to win it. For a number of reasons, it hasn’t come together, which is sometimes unsettling. People ask me all the time, ‘what race is the one that got away?’ It’s the 500, so far. I want to change that.”

Keselowski’s work on restrictor plates makes him a favorite from the time he shows up in Daytona Beach. He won his first ever Cup race on the Talladega high banks in 2009 and has six of his 26 career wins at the Talladega and Daytona superspeedways.

The route to victory and the disappointment of defeat however, is always unpredictable. And at Daytona, especially in the Daytona 500, it’s exaggerated and an intense sense of desire and emotion. Sometimes the best car, the keenest strategy, the star performer doesn’t win. That has been the case for Keselowski more times than he’d like to think about. He’s won on restrictor plate tracks leading a lot and he’s won leading a little.

For example, Keselowski led a dominating 115 of the 161 laps in his lone Daytona win in July of 2016. Yet in four of his five Talladega triumphs, Keselowski led 12 laps or fewer. Last year Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 leading only the final lap to the checkered flag.

In all, Keselowski has led only 38 laps total in nine Daytona 500s and his best finish was a third-place in 2014. Since then he’s only finished three of the last four races and has finishes of 20th or worse in all four of those.

Last year Keselowski won the Advance Auto Parts Clash 75-lap exhibition race and has finished an impressive ninth or better in five of the six Clash races he’s run. Yet his only top-five in the Duel at DAYTONA qualifying race was a fourth place in 2017.

It’s the kind of hit and miss that characterizes restrictor plate tracks, but for a driver so skilled and accomplished on them, the mixed bag is hard to reconcile.

As he’s proven over his nine-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, however, that only motivates Keselowski more. He’s a champion and he’s always a favorite at Daytona.

“I feel like the Daytona 500 is one of those races, a lot of restrictor plate races are this way, in my mind, one of those races where one year it takes smarts and great execution and one year it takes a lot of luck," Keselowski explained. “It seems to rotate back and forth.

“I went back and watched a lot of film. Joey Logano (2015) won the race two or three years ago and the same thing with Denny Hamlin (2016), they made smart and courageous moves to win the race. They really really earned it.

“Then I’ve seen other races - not to pick on anybody - where I would say that’s not the case. Someone was lucky enough to be running at the end of the day. The 500 kind of fell into their laps. That can be really frustrating when you feel like you’ve done everything right, the luck side is not in your favor.

“You got to get back up on the horse and ride. I feel like a number of opportunities we’ve had to win fell through our hands and there’s nothing we could have done differently. We go back there, we keep our hope, we do all the right things and control all the things we can control, knowing that will give us our best chance of winning."

 

NASCAR’s Winningest Team, Roush Fenway Racing today announced a partnership with Acorns, the fastest way to invest. For the 2019 season, Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman will represent Acorns and race the No. 6 Ford Mustang.

This will be Newman’s first season behind the wheel of the iconic Roush Fenway No. 6 Ford. Acorns will be featured for multiple races in 2019, making its debut with Newman and the team during the second race of the season on Feb. 24 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Newman, who enters the 18th season of his celebrated career, makes his Roush Fenway debut a week prior in the season-opening Daytona 500. Newman boasts seven poles and nine top 10 finishes at Atlanta.

“Winning is everything to me, it’s what drives me to become a champion in our sport,” said Newman. “I came from humble beginnings; my father was an auto mechanic who wanted to race but never had the chance to do so. He taught me to invest in myself and never stop growing. I’m excited to represent a company like Acorns that is encouraging all Americans to invest in their future. With the support of like-minded individuals, I hope we can share our successes on and off the race track this season.”

Newman, a native of South Bend, Indiana, becomes the sixth driver to pilot the No. 6 for Roush Fenway. The No. 6 Ford has visited victory lane 36 times, captured 41 poles and led over 11,400 laps under the Roush Fenway umbrella.

Newman has led over 4,800 laps, and his 51 poles are the ninth most in NASCAR history. He was named the Cup Series rookie of the year in 2002 and won the 2008 Daytona 500 and the 2013 Brickyard 400. He has finished inside the top 10 of the final Cup standings on seven occasions, including a second-place finish in 2014, and he has qualified for the NASCAR Cup playoffs on eight different occasions since its inception in 2004. He was also named NASCAR Driver of the Year in 2003.

“NASCAR is the ultimate representation of the American dream,” said Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns. “With the help of Rocketman we hope to reach all Americans who want to race towards a better future.”

Acorns helps America’s up-and-coming by automatically investing spare change from everyday purchases into diversified ETF portfolios. It also helps these customers grow their knowledge, earn extra money and save for retirement with the launch of Acorns Later, the first automated retirement account, which has welcomed nearly 350,000 investors who have invested $40 million to date.

RFR PR

The season-opening Daytona 500 always brings an air of optimism to the NASCAR race teams who have spent a big portion of the off season preparing for the event that has come to be known as the “Great American Race.” 

Adding to the positive vibes for Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team is the upcoming competitive debut of the Ford Mustang, which will be making its first appearance in a points-paying Monster Energy Cup Series race.

 Menard, like his fellow Ford drivers, is confident that the folks from Ford Performance have come up with a car that can be even better than the Fusion that Ford teams have campaigned in recent seasons.

“The people at Ford Performance definitely did their homework on this Mustang,” he said. “It really resembles the cars in the showrooms, and it’s going to be a good race car.

“I’m anxious to see just how good it’s going to be. If it fires off with good speed, the sky’s the limit.”

 Last year, in his first season driving the No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers, Menard had his Fusion in the hunt for the win in the closing laps of the Daytona 500 and brought it home in sixth place.

He said he’s had a few “what if?” moments as he re-ran those last few laps in his mind in the months since.

“I watched the end of that race a couple of days ago,” he said. “I wish I’d moved to the middle instead of the bottom. When I went to the bottom it broke my momentum.”

But throughout his career, Menard has made plenty of good drafting moves too.

He has two top-five and six top-10 finishes at Daytona and three top-fives and seven top-10s at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway. 

“If you make good moves, you run good, and if you make bad moves you crash,” he said of racing in the draft created by the use of speed-slowing restrictor plates.

Menard said he and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team hope to get their Daytona 500 week off to a good start with a strong run in Sunday’ qualifying session, which will lock in the front-row starters for the 500 and set the line-up for Thursday’s Gander RV Duel qualifying races. 

“We’re putting more focus on qualifying this season,” Menard said. “And if we were to wind up on the front row for the 500 that would be huge.”

After that, it’s on to the Duels, which set the remainder of the line-up for the 500.

“The Duels are really important.”

And the sport’s biggest week concludes on Feb. 18 with the 61st running of the Daytona 500.

“It’s a huge race for our sport, and it’s the biggest one for the Wood Brothers,” Menard said of his team, which has five Daytona 500 triumphs.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 10, at 12:10 p.m. with TV coverage on FOX.

The Gander RV Duels are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1, and the green flag for the Daytona 500 is set to fly at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2:30 p.m., with TV coverage on FOX.

WBR PR

NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily motorsports show, returns for its sixth season this Monday, February 11 at 5 p.m. ET, and will feature an all-new look, theme, studio and weekly schedule.

Airing weeknights at 5 p.m. ET, NASCAR America will originate directly from NBC Sports Group’s updated studio in NASCAR’s heartland of Charlotte, N.C.. As part of the show’s rebranding, each weeknight will showcase a different theme focused on the sport of NASCAR, its drivers, teams, fans and the motorsports industry at large. In addition, select episodes will include opportunities for fans to call in live and speak with NASCAR America hosts, analysts, drivers and other guests.

Listed below is the season six linear and digital episode debut schedule for NASCAR America.

 

Monday, February 11

  • NASCAR America Monday: Hosted by NASCAR on NBC’s Race Team including the “Mayor” of NASCAR Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton), Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett (@DaleJarrett), and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte (@SteveLetarte), NASCAR America Monday will focus on the previous weekend’s races, and include highlights, “Turning Points”, driver interviews, expert analysis, and signature NASCAR America segment Scan All.

 

Tuesday, February 12

  • NASCAR America Presents The Dale Jr. Download: Every Tuesday, NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years (2003-17) and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@Dalejr) co-hosts NASCAR America with Mike Davis. Produced on-site at Dirty Mo Media Studios in Mooresville, N.C., episodes on Tuesday will expand to one hour, and feature the same unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and first-person insight of The Dale Jr. Download that fans have come to love.
  • NASCAR America Splash & Go: In addition to NBCSN’s linear telecast on Tuesday, NBC Sports Digital will feature multiple editions of  NASCAR America Splash & Go segments, featuring the news of the day, breaking news, race shop reports and interviews. NBCSports.com’s lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan (@nateryan) will host Splash & Go digital segments and will be joined by a collection of NASCAR on NBC analysts. NASCAR America Splash & Go will be available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

 

Wednesday, February 13

  • NASCAR America Presents Motormouths: Hosted by NASCAR on NBC’s Rutledge Wood (@rutledgewood) and Marty Snider (@HeyMartysnider), alongside auto racing icon Kyle Petty (@KylePetty), Motormouths Wednesdays will feature a light-hearted approach to the traditional show, and include regular opportunities for fans to call in to NASCAR America and speak with hosts, analysts, drivers and other guests live on TV.
  • NASCAR America Debrief: As a compliment to Wednesday’s telecast of NASCAR America on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Digital will present NASCAR America Debrief, a digital exclusive show available on the NBC Sports YouTube Channel beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Nate Ryan will host NASCAR America Debrief, and will be joined by select NASCAR on NBC analysts and guests from that day’s linear telecast. NASCAR America Debrief will follow the same light-hearted approach as Motormouths, with an emphasis on additional viewer and fan engagement.

 

Thursday, February 14

  • NASCAR America Presents The Motorsports Hour: Featuring NASCAR on NBC host Krista Voda (@kristavoda), with NASCAR drivers and analysts A.J. Allmendinger (@AJDinger) and  Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman), NASCAR America’s Motorsports Hour on Thursday will highlight the upcoming weekend’s NASCAR races, and also shine a light on the latest news surrounding IndyCar, IMSA, American Flat Track, Supercross, Motorcross, Mecum collector car auctions, and all of motorsports. Additional analysts will include former IndyCar driver Townsend Bell, former IMSA GT driver Calvin Fish, former IndyCar driver Paul Tracy, as well as Motocross and Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael.

NASCAR America’s Fan Fridays will return to NBCSN in July, live from the site of select NASCAR on NBC races, and will be broadcast from NBC Sports’ Peacock Pit box set located on pit road.

NASCAR America is also available on the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TV’s.

NASCAR ON NBC

NBC Sports Group returns for its fifth season of NASCAR on NBC coverage beginning Sunday, June 30 from Chicagoland Speedway.

The official home of the NASCAR Playoffs, NBC Sports Group will present the final 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, and select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events in 2019. NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR programming also includes NBCSN’s daily motorsports show NASCAR America, coverage of NASCAR’s Awards Ceremonies, the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as original programming specials.

NBC Sports PR

Paul Menard and the No. 21 New Ford Tech Mustang are back in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, thanks to the team’s pole-winning run at Chicagoland Speedway last summer.

Menard will be returning to the 75-lap non-points race for pole winners from the previous season and others for the first time since 2016.

For Menard, the Clash, which will be run in two segments just after pole qualifying for the Daytona 500, offers him a chance to collect a nice trophy and to brush up on his drafting skills before he gets down to the serious business of preparing for the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race.

“It’s nice to get a little racing under your belt before the Duels,” Menard said referring to the twin Gander RV Duel qualifying races on Thursday that will setstarting positions 3-40 for the Daytona 500. “The past couple of years I’ve had to practice by myself and qualify by myself then roll right into the Duels with no drafting experience.”

Menard also said he likes the format of the Clash, especially its length.

“I like shorter races for sure,” he said. “A lot of our races are too long.”

He said that no matter the length of a race at Daytona, or it sister track Talladega Superspeedway, the running order can change in an instant.

“You could take a snapshot at Lap Five, or 50 or 200, and you could either be running third or 30th,” he said. “There’s a lot of ebb and flow to restrictor-plate races. You can work your tail off getting to the front and the next thing you know you’re getting shuffled back.”

Sunday’s race and the paint scheme used will give Menard and the No. 21 team a chance to raise awareness of Ford’s commitment to training automotive technicians. 

Graduates of Ford’s Technical Career Entry programs are immediately eligible to join the workforce as technicians, the specialists employed by Ford andLincoln dealers, as well as Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers, to repair and maintain customers’ vehicles.

Successful graduates of the program have opportunities for employment at 3,000 Ford and Lincoln dealers.  

Those interested in applying for the program can visit www.NewFordTech.com. For scholarship opportunity inquiries, visit NewFordTech.com/YES

The Advance Auto Parts Clash is set to get the green flag at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, Feb.10, with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.

WBR PR

The highly-anticipated start to the 2019 edition of Speedweeks in Daytona begins for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday (at 12 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAAR Radio) with pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 followed by the Advance Auto Parts Clash (at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), which will feature 20 of the sport’s biggest names competing for the first race trophy of the year.

In so many ways this weekend will set the tone for the official season-opening race, the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and after nearly three months of downtime, teams and drivers are Ready to Race, with two capital Rs.

Team Penske started last year much as it ended it – in Daytona International Speedway Victory Lane. Brad Keselowski led teammate Joey Logano across the finish line to earn his first Clash victory at Daytona. Logano would go on to claim his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup championship in Homestead-Miami in November.

However, from his very first start in the Clash, Denny Hamlin has proven himself the perennial driver to beat. He became the first rookie to win the prestigious event in 2006 and has added two more Clash trophies to his case since. He and fellow three-time Clash winner Kevin Harvick are the only drivers in this weekend’s field with multiple victories.

Hamlin holds several marks of distinction in addition to his winning haul. His 48 laps led in 2017 is the most ever led in a single edition of the race. His 142 career laps led is second only to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (149) all-time. And Hamlin is one of only six drivers to win the Clash and the Daytona 500 in the same year (2016); the last time that happened was 2000 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

Interestingly, most of the drivers in Sunday’s Clash field have never won the event before. Only brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Logano join Keselowski, Harvick and Hamlin as past winners. As has always been the case, a good showing in this non-points sprint is considered a good sign of things to come as Speedweeks progresses with the Daytona 500 qualifying races next Thursday and the Great American Race the following Sunday.

“I think, anytime we ever go down to Daytona, whether it’s with a new car or whether it’s with a different rules package or what have you, we always look at the Clash as a race to watch to see exactly what’s going to happen and what characteristics you have in your racecar and things," said Kyle Busch, who picked up his Clash win in 2012.

“It’s a learning experience for everybody, whether you’re in the race or whether you’re out of the race and not in it. For us, we’re curious to see how the car is going to race and how it’s going to handle and what it’s going to react like. I’m just looking forward to getting back to Daytona to my day job with our M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota Camry.”

 

DAYTONA 500 POLE QUALIFYING

There is no more dramatic pole qualifying than for the season-opening Daytona 500, where the front row will be earned on Sunday and the remainder of the field set through the Gander RV Duel at Daytona qualifying races next Thursday evening.

When it comes to earning the top spot, Chevrolet has dominated as of late – taking the pole position in 10 of the last 11 years. Hendrick Motorsports has a streak of four consecutive poles – from Jeff Gordon in 2015, back-to-back poles by Chase Elliott in 2016-17 and the team’s newcomer Alex Bowman last year.

The lone non-Chevrolet to win in the last decade was Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards in 2012.

The last time a pole winner has won the Daytona 500 was Dale Jarrett in 2000.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Up: Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying

The Place: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

2018 Pole Winner: Alex Bowman (195.644 mph, Hendrick Motorsports)

The Date: Sunday, Feb. 10

The Time: Noon ET

TV: FOX

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What To Watch For: The front row will be set for the Feb. 17 Daytona 500. … Last year Alex Bowman edged out Denny Hamlin to earn his first Daytona 500 pole position. … Bowman finished 17th and Hamlin, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner, was third last season. …Bowman’s work extended the Hendrick Motorsports team’s pole-winning run to four consecutive years (Jeff Gordon, 2015, Chase Elliott, 2016 and 2017). Hendrick Motorsports has won eight Daytona 500 pole positions in the last 20 years – most in the series during that time. … Last season marked Hamlin’s first front row start. … The pole position is the winningest starting position in the field (nine winners). …. The last pole winner to win the race was Dale Jarrett in 2000. … Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott is the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 pole position (20 years, two months, 17 days in 2016). Chase Elliott is also the last driver to win consecutive Daytona 500 poles (2016-17). .... Ken Schrader was the previous driver to win consecutive pole positions – earning three in a row from 1988-90. Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott won three in a row from 1985-87. …. Cale Yarborough (1968, 70. 78, 84), Buddy Baker (1967, 73, 79, 80) and Bill Elliott (1985, 86, 87 and 2001) share the record for most Daytona 500 poles at four each. … Yarborough (1968, '84)  and Elliott (1985, '87) share the record for most Daytona 500 wins from the pole position with two each. …Chevrolet has won the Daytona 500 pole position in 10 of the last 11 years. Carl Edwards put Ford on the Daytona 500 pole in 2012 – the one Chevy exception in that span.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Advance Auto Parts Clash

The Place:  Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Defending Winner: Brad Keselowski (Team Penske)

The Date: Sunday, Feb. 10

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.5 miles (75 laps)

What To Watch For: Brad Keselowski won the Advance Auto Parts Clash last year for the first time in his career, leading teammate – and eventual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano – to the checkered flag. … Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are three-time winners of the race and the only two drivers in this year’s field to have won multiple times. … Hamlin has led the most laps (142) in this race among the drivers entered this year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the record for laps led in the Clash at 149. … Nine of the 20 drivers have led only 10 laps or less in previous entries. … Keselowski has the best average finish (7.8) among driver with at least five starts. … Half the field (10 drivers) have five starts or less. … Only six times in history has the winner of the Clash also gone on to win the Daytona 500. Hamlin is the last active driver to do so (2016). Dale Jarrett (2000) was the previous. … Jimmie Johnson will be making his 16th start in the Clash – the most starts among this year’s field. Mark Martin holds the record with 24. … Only four times has the Clash been won from the pole position – Hamlin’s 2014 win was the last. …Five times the Clash winner led only a single lap – the last time that happened was 2009 with Harvick’s last lap pass. … The late Dale Earnhardt won this race a record six times. No other driver has won more than three. … Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing boast the all-time record for wins (eight) for a team.

Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Wyndham Rewards has expanded its partnership with the team, serving as a partner in 10 races in 2019, while making its debut at the 2019 Clash All-Star Event which kicks off Daytona Speedweeks on February 10. The event will also mark Ryan Newman’s NASCAR debut in the famed No. 6 Ford Mustang. Newman, who has competed in the event 14 times, qualifies for the 2019 field via his 2008 Daytona 500 victory.

“We are thrilled to have Wyndham Rewards on board for the season and on the car for our kickoff event in 2019,” said Newman. “The Clash is a great event and always an exciting way to kick off the season. “It is a limited, all-star field, with a winner take all mentality and it usually leads to some thrilling racing. It would be a great opportunity to kick of the season with a win and take Wyndham for a ride to victory lane.”

Mark Martin drove the iconic No. 6 to victory lane in the 1999 version of the event, marking Jack Roush’s only Clash victory. Newman has run the Clash on 14 occasions, finishing runner-up in 2005. He’s finished top-five in the annual event three times, including fourth in 2003 and third in 2011.

Wyndham Rewards joined Roush Fenway as a primary partner last season with Matt Kenseth behind the wheel for a number of races. In 2019 they expand their partnership with Roush and Newman, and will serve as the primary partner for 10 races, kicking off with the Clash exhibition event on Feb. 10. In addition, Wyndham Rewards will also be featured as an associate partner on all races this season.

Newman, a native of South Bend, Indiana, becomes the sixth driver to pilot the No. 6 for Roush Fenway. The No. 6 Ford has visited victory lane 36 times, captured 41 poles and led over 11,400 laps under the Roush Fenway umbrella.

Newman has led over 4,800 laps and his 51 poles are the ninth most in NASCAR history. He was named the Cup Series rookie of the year in 2002 and won the 2008 Daytona 500 and the 2013 Brickyard 400. He has finished inside the top 10 of the final Cup standings on seven occasions, including a second-place finish in 2014, and has qualified for the NASCAR Cup playoffs on eight different occasions since its inception in 2004. He was also named NASCAR Driver of the Year in 2003. All time at the World Center of Racing, Newman has 10 top-10 and five top-five finishes.

RFR PR

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