Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15369)

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation (BKCFF) hosted a group of service members and their families at the track prior to and during the Coca-Cola 600. This exciting opportunity for families is part of a growing partnership between BKCFF and the National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit that strengthens military families.
BKCFF has sponsored three NMFA Operation Purple Healing Adventures®, which are three-day camp experiences for families of the wounded, ill or injured. The retreats are designed to strengthen and connect families coping with a new “normal,” by providing them the opportunity to reconnect, build new memories, enjoy outdoor activities, and heal together.
Two of those Operation Purple Healing Adventures have already taken place, including one in Parkton, NC in 2017, and one in Hendersonville, NC in April 2018. The third is scheduled for late August 2018 back in Parkton, NC.
“I’m honored that we can continue to support the NMFA and the work that they’re doing to help wounded service members and their families prepare for the challenges faced during recovery with these Operation Purple Healing Adventures,” said Keselowski. “I have Paige to thank for insisting last year that we work with organizations like the NMFA that support military families in addition to the soldier. It’s a great feeling knowing that our foundation is helping so many people who have sacrificed for our country.” 
NMFA has served tens of thousands of families through its Operation Purple™ program, which includes Healing Adventures,Family Retreats and Camps for kids. NMFA is a champion for military families in amplifying the reality that when a service member serves, their family serves with them.
“Our military families make sacrifices every day that often go unnoticed. And when a service member is injured or suffers invisible wounds, that sacrifice takes an even bigger toll” said NMFA Executive Director Joyce Raezer. “It’s an honor to partner with The Brad Keselowski Checkered Flag Foundation. Brad and Paige have always been huge supporters of our military, and their commitment to our heroes and their families is loud and clear, as we work together to help these families of the wounded reconnect and strengthen their bond.”

Erik Jones, driver of the NO. 20 Toyota was fastest in Coca-Cola 600 final practice with a speed of 187.045 mph.

NASCAR was forced to cancel the first of two practices today at Charlotte Motor Speedway after weather tormented chances of a 9:05 a.m. practice session.

Driver NO. 20 put 55 laps on the board and was fastest to Kyle Larson. Jones was the only driver to crack 187 mph as Larson ran a lap of 186.664 mph.

Rounding out the top five were Team Penske's Ryan Blaney with a lap of 186.104 mph and Joey Logano at 186.047 mph. Denny Hamlin would round out the top five with a lap of 185.938 mph.

Rounding out the top ten were Stewart-Haas drivers Clint Bowyer with a lap of 185.688 mph, Kurt Busch with a lap of 185.663 mph, Paul Menard ran a lap of 185.459 mph, Kasey Kahne ran a lap of 185.141 mph and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top ten with a lap of 185.071 mph.

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was 18th fastest in final practice with a lap of 184.691 mph.

Last year's Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillion was 20th fastest with a lap of 184.420 mph.

Kevin Harvick had to serve a  penalty of 30 minutes for failing inspection three times. Harvick was 17th on the speed charts.

Parker Kligerman, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola had to serve a 15 minute penalty for failing inspection twice.

Coverage of the 59th annual Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox and PRN.

Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average:

1. Erik Jones (184.579)

2. Kyle Larson (184.524)

3. Denny Hamlin (183.147)

4. Chase Elliott (183.134)

5. Joey Logano (183.105)

6. Ryan Newman (182.853)

7. Kevin Harvick (182.810)

8. Martin Truex Jr. (182.791)

9. Clint Bowyer (182.628)

10. Ryan Blaney (182.594)

11. Brad Keselowski (182.433)

12. Austin Dillion (182.236)

13. Jamie McMurray (182.230)

14. Aric Almirola (182.119)

15. Kyle Busch (182.103)

16. William Byron (182.050)

17. Kurt Busch (182.012)

18. Darrell Wallace Jr. (181.732)

19. Jimmie Johnson (181.566)

20. Daniel Suarez (181.535)

21. Alex Bowman (181.380)

22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (181.171)

23. Kasey Kahne (181.075)

24. Paul Menard (180.679)

25. Michael McDowell (180.022)

26. David Ragan (179.442)



Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menard/Knauf team made a significant jump in speed from practice to qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, going from 29th fastest in practice to qualifying 14th for Sunday’s race.

In between, they nearly made it to the third and final round of qualifying, but came a hundredth of a second shy of advancing to the final round after posting the seventh best time in the opening round with a lap at 189.347 miles per hour.

In Round Two, Menard toured Charlotte at a speed of 188.805 mph, which just missed putting him among the elite 12 that ran the final round.

 “It was close,” Menard said. “The last two rounds we just got a little tight in [Turns] Three and Four.” 

 He went on to say that he was pleased with the way the day progressed for the Menards/Knauf team.

 “Overall, we made a huge gain,” he said. “We tried something in practice trying to go down a little bit different path and it wasn’t any good, so we made a lot of changes before qualifying and picked up six tenths of a second [per lap].

 “I’m really proud of my guys for that.”
Menard said the team’s goal for Saturday’s practice sessions is to get the No. 21 Fusion tuned for the expected track conditions as the 600-mile race run into the night on Saturday.

 “They’ve put that VHT [traction compound] on the track, so we’ll have to run in that quite a bit and get a feel for whether that’s going to stick around or go away,” he said. “We’ll definitely have to run the bottom too, especially at night when the track cools off.
“We’ll play around with lines and see what the car does in different scenarios.”
Menard’s starting spot for the Coca-Cola 600 is his seventh of 14th or better in the 13 qualifying sessions so far this season.
The 600 is scheduled to start just after 6 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.


NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski today announced his Checkered Flag Foundation’s campaign to benefit Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Paving Access for Veterans Employment (PAVE) program. The campaign will kick off at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., on May 27 and will conclude July 7 at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race in Daytona Beach, Fla. 
Started in 2007, the PAVE program provides vocational counseling and job placement assistance to any veteran, active duty service member, spouse, or caregiver across the country. This free program helps applicants identify career opportunities that fit their skills, education and individual goals, and also puts them in touch with prospective employers. PAVE has offices in VA medical centers around the country, and places an average of 350 applicants in jobs every year.
During the campaign, Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation, which supports veterans and first responders during their road to recovery, will make a contribution to PAVE of $1,000 for every MENCS race stage Keselowski wins. There are six races during the campaign period, which amounts to 19 possible stage wins. Keselowski and Paralyzed Veterans of America past president Bill Lawson attended the press conference held today to discuss the campaign, and why supporting the veterans organization is crucial for our nation’s veterans.
“I’m really proud of this partnership between the Checkered Flag Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans of America,” said Keselowski. “This relationship will allow the foundation to serve more veterans by providing them, their families and caretakers with career support via Paralyzed Veterans of America and the PAVE program.” 
In addition to donations made by the Checkered Flag Foundation, Keselowski’s Team Penske partners Alliance Truck Parts, Snap-On and WURTH are also supporting the program. All three have pledged to match the donations made by the Checkered Flag Foundation during the campaign.
Paralyzed Veterans of America not only supports disabled veterans, but all veterans. The organization advocates for quality health careand governmental benefits on behalf of veterans who have rightfully earned them. In addition, the organization is also a champion in fighting for job opportunities for veterans.
“Paralyzed Veterans of America is thrilled that Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation is supporting our flagship veterans’ employment program,” said David Zurfluh, a disabled Air Force veteran and national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “There are many challenges that veterans, as well as active duty service members, spouses, and caregiversface when trying to enter the workforce. The lives of these individuals are greatly improved when they no longer deal with significant barriers to employment. We look forward to this campaign and the benefits it will bring to PAVE and its participants.”

Stock car's most elite will battle it out Sunday in the sports longest race; the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick will be searching for his third win in a row for the second time this season on Sunday. Also, Harvick will look to become the eighth winner to win both the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.

If driver NO. 4 was to win on Sunday, he would be the eighth to win the All-Star and Coca-Cola 600 after Darrell Waltrip, Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch.

Kyle Busch will look to give Kevin Harvick some competition on Sunday as Busch has won three races this season and remains a contender at the 1.5 mile tracks.

Daniel Suarez is coming off of a impressive run last Saturday night, finishing second to Harvick.

The 400 lapper at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be a test for the sports bests. Staying on top of the track changes will be a key to all as the sun sets the track will become much cooler, giving more grip to the drivers. But when the green flag drops under the sun, the track will be hot, slick and a test for many.

Weekend Schedule:


2:35 p.m. ET - 3:25 p.m. ET: Monster Energy Cup Series Practice, FS1

4:05 p.m. ET - 4:55 p.m. ET: NASCAR Xfinity Series Practice, FS1

6:00 p.m. ET - 6:50 p.m. ET: NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice, FS1

7:15 p.m. ET: Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1


9:05 a.m. ET - 9:55 a.m. ET: Monster Energy Cup Series Practice, FS1

10:10 a.m. ET: NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying, FS1

11:05 a.m. ET - 11:55 a.m. ET: Monster Energy Cup Series Final Practice, FS1.

1:00 p.m. ET: NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), FOX


6:00 p.m. ET: Monster Energy Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (400 laps, 600 miles) FOX

Kroger, Coca-Cola, Richard Petty Motorsports and Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. will kick-off summer this Memorial Day weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway with their red, white and barbeque campaign. Bubba Wallace will race a patriotic-schemed No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600- a crown jewel NASCAR event.

The sides and hood of the No. 43 will have the red, white and barbeque messaging to remind fans that summer is here and it's time to fire up the grill, while enjoying an ice cold Coca-Cola with family and friends. Of course, all your summer barbeque needs can be found at your local Kroger store, making this partnership the perfect way to celebrate the summer months ahead.

Wallace Jr. is a proud member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family and loves to barbeque with his family and friends. He's looking forward to his first Coca-Cola 600 and this new partnership.

"'I've been working with Coca-Cola for a long time and they have always been by my side," said Wallace Jr. "This is a cool partnership with Kroger to really start summer barbeques. I love hanging with my family and friends, firing up the grill and just relaxing and having a good time."

"I'm looking forward to my first Coca-Cola 600," added Wallace Jr. "I'm not really worried about the length of the race. I'm sure I'll be pretty fired up to go 600 miles. I think, for us, it's just a matter of having a good handle on our car and the track. We're working hard on our Camaro ZL1 package to get better. We're making gains and hopefully we can show that on Sunday."

"As families fire up the grill this Memorial Day weekend we brought together a great group of partners," said John Mount, Vice President, Marketing Assets and Activations, Coca-Cola. "Kroger, Coca-Cola, Richard Petty Motorsports and Bubba Wallace are a perfect combination to enable all to celebrate the joys of summer grilling and barbecue. Most importantly, this group has a deep appreciation for all the men and women that serve in our military. We are all looking forward to Honoring Our Heroes from our US Armed Forces this Memorial Day at the Coca-Cola 600"

Memorial Day is also a time to remember the brave men and women who fought for our freedom. And, this weekend, Richard Petty Motorsports, its partner United States Air Force, and NASCAR will remember Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Scott Duffman who gave his life in the line of duty while stationed in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Duffman served as a Special Tactics Team Member, Pararescueman, and Special Tactics Instructor with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, from January 2001 until he was killed in the crash of an MH-47 Chinook helicopter near Kabul, Afghanistan, on February 18, 2007. Scott Duffman was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

"It's so important that we don't forget and honor our heroes of our country," stated Wallace Jr. "Our relationship with the U.S. Air Force is special and the NASCAR Salutes program, supported by Coca-Cola, allows us to recognize our servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can race and live in freedom."

The Kroger Family of Stores is proud to honor the military this Memorial Day weekend with The Honoring Our Heroes campaign. Honoring Our Heroes is Kroger's way of saying thank you to our active duty service members and our nation's 23 million veterans. The Kroger Co. is committed to a nationwide initiative to help veterans and transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities, and has hired more than 43,000 veterans since 2009.

The Kroger Family of Stores also supports the military through their partnership with the USO. To-date Kroger and their customers have raised approximately $21M in support of the USO and will be donating another $1 million of corporate funds this year to the USO as part of our annual celebration of our country's service men and women. Through Kroger's partnership with the USO and with support from various Kroger vendors, Kroger will be hosting members of the USO and their families for a Kroger Red, White, and Barbecue themed cookout at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.

The Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled for this Sunday, May 27. The race will be televised live on FOX at 6:00 p.m. ET and broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SIRIUS/XM NASCAR Channel 90.