Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16338)

Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced today that Wauchula, Fla. native B.J. McLeod (@bjmcleod78) will pilot the No. 51 JACOB Companies Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in next Sunday’s Daytona 500 in a two-car charter effort for the Thomasville, N.C. team.

An owner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), McLeod will make his 24th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) start and 23rd for RWR. The “Great American Race” will also mark McLeod’s Cup debut at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

In 2017, McLeod earned a career-best Xfinity Series finish of 11th at Daytona driving for his own B.J. McLeod Motorsports (BJMM) team.

“I am very excited for this opportunity to drive in the Daytona 500 and represent Rick Ware Racing and JACOB Companies,” said McLeod. “I have a very good relationship with Rick and Don (Perry, CEO of JACOB Companies) and it is an honor to represent them in the biggest race of the year.

“I have a very good history with RWR, and I feel that we have a great shot to surprise a lot of people at Daytona. We made some great strides last season and I look forward to carrying that momentum into the 2019 season.”

JACOB Companies is a multifaceted nationwide construction firm with a focus on construction, development, management, design-build and technology services.

Jacob Companies provides clients with a wide range of services in general contracting, construction management, design build, architectural and structural precast erection and a broad spectrum of technology, installation and information transport systems including structured cabling, low voltage, network service delivery and wireless solutions.

JACOB Companies specializes in High Rise Structures, Universities, Hotels, Automotive Dealerships, Athletic Facilities both Professional and Collegiate and Parking Structures.

JACOB Companies is dedicated to serving and supporting its clients and the communities in which it operates by providing superior customer service, innovative solutions and a collaborative approach while generously supporting local and national organizations through sponsorships, donations and in-kind commitments.

Rick Ware Racing, team principal of Rick Ware Racing said the return of McLeod to the organization is instrumental in the overall landscape of the team.

“Rick Ware Racing is excited to welcome B.J. McLeod to drive our No. 51 JACOB Companies Chevrolet and represent our team during Speedweeks at Daytona.

“B.J. is a great representative of RWR and JACOB Companies. He brings so much experience and knowledge to this program and what we are trying to build. I can’t wait to see what the combination of him and crew chief Mike Hillman Sr. can accomplish at Daytona.

“I feel their combination and work ethics will take us to another level and get our year kicked off in the right direction. Our guys have worked really hard during the off season and we are looking forward to seeing it pay off.”

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 17 with coverage on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90. Event coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET).

For more on JACOB Companies, please visit Jacobcompanies.com, or follow them on Twitter @JACOB_Companies.

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

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

RWR PR

Just one year ago, Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang, made his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with an open mind and no expectations. A new crew chief, a new team and a blank canvas of opportunity. What he didn’t know was that he was about to embark on a record year – beginning with the 60th running of the Daytona 500.  

 

On the final restart during the closing laps of the 2018 season opener at Daytona, Almirola found himself at the front of the pack. When the green flag waved, the Tampa, Florida native took the lead and, when he looked in the rearview mirror, realized he was less than a lap away from becoming a Daytona 500 champion. 

 

“I felt so confident,” he said. “I knew that if I hit all of my gears perfectly, I would have a shot at it and I did. I looked in my mirror and saw everyone racing side by side and figured that I was in control of the race and, if I made the right move, I was going to be the winner of the Daytona 500. About halfway down the back straightaway, they were coming with a run and I pulled over to block it. In your head, you know it’s the Daytona 500 and you’re a mile and a half away from winning, so you’re going to do everything you know to try and win that race. I pulled over to block and put a pretty aggressive block on the No. 3. I knew that if I blocked high, he was going to go low. As soon as I blocked high I knew I was going to have to immediately block low. When I blocked low, he turned against my back bumper and into the outside wall. I wrecked a mile away from winning the Daytona 500. I don’t necessarily fault him for what he did but, given the same opportunity this year, you can bet your bottom dollar I would return the favor. You’re going to do whatever it takes.”

 

After nearly becoming Daytona 500 champions, Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford team led by rookie crew chief Johnny Klausmeier continued their success, knocking down 17 top-10 finishes, four top-fives, led 181 laps on the year and earned their first win Oct. 14 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to clinch a spot in the semifinal playoff round before finishing a career-best fifth in the championship. Almirola’s 181 laps led in the 2018 season were more than his previous six full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series seasons combined. 

 

Almirola is no stranger to victory lane at the 2.5-mile Daytona superspeedway. His first Cup Series win there came in July 2014. He led 14 laps and captured the win in the rain-shortened race. In the July 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona, he led the most important lap – the final one – at the high-banked superspeedway, then added to his restrictor-plate resume with an Xfinity Series win at Talladega May 6, 2017. 

 

“Restrictor-plate racing is about drafting and teamwork,” Almirola said. “Two cars go faster than one and four cars go faster than two. The pack as a whole goes faster than a couple of cars. The more teamwork, the faster that train will go. That win at Talladega last year was clutch and it taught us a lot about restrictor-plate racing as a team.”

 

Almirola will have the opportunity to knock the high-bank-racing rust off early this season during Sunday’s 75-lap, non-points Clash. He is one of 20 drivers who are eligible for the race, which invites recent Daytona 500 pole and race winners, Clash winners, and previous playoff participants. Almirola’s best finish in his three previous Clash outings is eighth place. 

 

“The Clash is a preseason all-star race,” he said. “It’s very much a who’s who of NASCAR in that race. It’s prestigious but, at the same time, I think it’s beneficial because you get an opportunity to get a race under our belts before our ‘Super Bowl.’ Unlike other sports, our Super Bowl comes first, so it’s great to have the opportunity to get some racing under your belt.”

 

The Mustang driver enters the 2019 season the same way he did last year, partnered for the eighth year with Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

 

With no expectations other than being stronger week in and week out, Almirola and the Smithfield Ford team look to finish that final mile on a high note to turn their “Daytona 499” of 2018 into the 2019 Daytona 500 championship.   

 

TSC PR

As the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is set to begin with Speedweeks activities this weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Kyle Busch has turned his attention to filling the final empty spot in his trophy case.

 

The trophy that Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is hoping to finally secure is the Harley J. Earl Trophy that goes annually to the Daytona 500 winner as he makes his 14th career start in the “Great American Race” slated to run Sunday, Feb. 17.

 

Busch is still searching for his first victory in NASCAR’s season-opening event, which would be one of the biggest accomplishments on his already impressive resume. The important race wins already checked off the list is housed in a large trophy case built at his Kyle Busch Motorsports race shop. The list starts with his 2015 NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy, along wins in crown jewel races starting with the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in 2008, back-to-back Brickyard 400s at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015 and 2016, and last year’s first Cup points-paying win at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend.

 

Along with his Coca-Cola 600 win at Charlotte that made him the first driver to win a Cup race at every track on the schedule, Busch added a few milestones to an already Hall of Fame-worthy career in 2018, including notching his 50th Cup Series win at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in September and bringing home career-high totals of 22 top-five finishes and 28-top-10s, along with tying his 2008 career high of eight victories in a season. Busch’s strong 2018 season netted a fourth-place finish in the final Cup Series standings after his 11th career appearance in NASCAR’s playoffs and fourth consecutive appearance in the Championship 4. Busch’s eight wins also continued his streak of at least one win in each of his first 14 seasons.

 

The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion will be sporting an M&M’S Chocolate Bar scheme on his No. 18 Toyota for NASCAR’s season-opening race, as the new permanent addition to the brand’s iconic candy lineup will be highlighted throughout Daytona Speedweeks. The M&M’S Chocolate Bar consists of smooth milk chocolate with whole M&M’S Minis visible in a large bar format and available nationwide in five flavors: Peanut, Milk Chocolate, Crispy, Almond and Crispy Mint. In addition to the M&M’S Chocolate Bar, the M&M’S brand returns for its 12th season in 2019 with Busch and other Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. products, which include SNICKERS, Skittles and PEDIGREE.

 

The M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota will be on track throughout 2019 Speedweeks in lead-up to next week’s edition of the “Great American Race.” It starts with Sunday’s Clash at Daytona, an exhibition race Busch won in 2012. It continues through next week’s Can-Am Duel qualifying races. Busch won his Duel qualifying race in 2009, 2013 and 2016. Then, the official NASCAR Cup Series season begins in earnest Feb. 17 with the Daytona 500. In addition to his three non-points race wins at Daytona, Busch captured his first and only Daytona points-paying Cup Series win in July 2008.

 

The winner of 51 career races in NASCAR’s Cup Series will look to continue to win races and vie for another championship, with a few other goals still left to accomplish. Along with a Daytona 500 victory and a return to the Championship 4, Busch’s goals for 2019 include securing his second Cup Series championship and earning his 200th overall win in NASCAR’s top three series – he starts the season with 194.

 

So, as Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar Camry head back to Daytona for another edition of Daytona Speedweeks, his sights will be set on adding the last important trophy to his collection by becoming the 40th driver to grace the Harley J. Earl Trophy as Daytona 500 champion.

 

TSC PR

Bob Germain, team owner of Germain Racing, has announced that he will field a second car in the 2019 Daytona 500 alongside his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1. Veteran NASCAR driver Casey Mears is set to drive the No. 27 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, built and staffed in collaboration with Jay Robinson, owner of Premium Motorsports. Pat Tryson will lead the team as crew chief.

This season will mark Germain Racing’s 11th year of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing.

“I have considered running a second car in the Daytona 500 for years,” said Germain. “My immediate focus is still on our No. 13 team and the full season that Ty Dillon will run. However, when the chance to field a second car with Casey Mears came together this year with Jay Robinson building the car and providing the at-track crew, I wanted to jump on it. The Daytona 500 is a race that our team, sponsors and fans are all passionate about, and I am too. In a race where anything can happen, having a second entry is an exciting opportunity. Casey has been a part of our Germain Racing family for years, and I’m grateful that he’s willing to get behind the wheel for me again in this one race.”

Germain Racing PR

 

This Sunday afternoon’s Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) features a group of 20 drivers with vastly different experience levels in the 75-lap exhibition event – but all highly-motivated to make this first race of Daytona Speedweeks a statement-maker leading into the Feb. 17 season-opening Daytona 500.

There are only two multi-time Clash winners in the field – three-time champs Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Only seven of the 20 have ever won the race before. Former Cup champion Brad Keselowski earned his first Clash win last year leading his Team Penske teammate – and the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano across the line in the thrilling traditional first taste of Cup racing action.

Hamlin is unique in that he took to this race quickly. And often. He remains the only driver to ever win the Clash (2006) as a rookie. He answered with victories in 2014 and 2016 and his 142 laps led total is most among anyone competing this week - proving Hamlin both a quick learner and a perennial favorite when it comes to this sprint race.

He’s certainly never been more motivated than this weekend.

Hamlin shows up in Daytona Beach paired with a new crew chief in Chris Gabehart and a new car chief in Eric Phillips – both moving up in-house from the Joe Gibbs Racing team’s Xfinity Series level.

As for Hamlin, he is eager to quickly regain his footing as a perennial Cup winner. He did not win in 2018 – the first season in his 13-year fulltime career without a victory.

A win in the Clash is a solid season start for any driver. For Hamlin and his team, it’s a specific goal that may well supply the championship boost this longtime title contender is seeking to reclaim.

“Certainly it’s not up to the expectations of what I believe we’re capable of, but sometimes in sports you just have those seasons where things don’t go right or you just don’t get the job done at the level you expect to and you’ve got to reset and refocus from that," Hamlin said of last year’s struggles.

The Clash provides a high-energy opportunity to do just that. And Hamlin – the 2016 Daytona 500 winner certainly will be considered a favorite in any event at the Daytona International Speedway during the next two weeks.

It’s field is comprised of drivers who won a Busch Pole Award in 2018, are former Clash winners who also competed fulltime last season, former Daytona 500 winners who competed fulltime last season and all the drivers who qualified for the 2018 Monster Energy Series Playoffs.

It has certainly created a diversely experienced field  – with 10 drivers in Sunday afternoon’s race having five or fewer starts in the event. Four drivers – Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez – will be making only their second appearance in the race.

It was a good debut for Blaney last year, running competitively with his 1-2 finishing Penske Racing teammates for much of the event and ultimately finishing fourth – best among the 2018 first-time “Clashers”. Jones was eighth. Bowman made his only start in 2017 finishing third and Suarez returns to the Clash field after an eighth-place finish in 2017.

Bowman’s third place effort in his only start technically gives him the best average finish in the field this weekend, but the defending winner Keselowski’s 7.8 average is best among those with at least five starts.

Joining Hamlin, Harvick, Blaney, Keselowski, Logano, Jones and Suarez this weekend will be Aric Almirola, who is coming off a career best fifth place in the 2018 championship standings. Clint Bowyer, a two-race winner in 2018, Kurt Busch and his younger brother, last year’s eight-time race winner Kyle Busch will also be on the grid. Defending Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon, the sport’s Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott, who picked up his first three career Cup wins last year, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, and 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. fill out the starting lineup.

Interestingly, the Clash winner has gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following week - only six times. Hamlin was the last to do it in 2016 and is the only active driver with that distinction.

The competition, however, lies in wait. Just returning to the track is a big deal for most of the field – many who did not have the chance to test during the recent offseason.

“For me, I haven’t been back in the car since Homestead," said Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, whose best showing in two previous Clash races is seventh (2017).

“It will be nice to get in a race and make sure everything looks right and feels right and those cars are really similar to one another usually from the Clash to the 500. So yeah, I’m sure there’s things to learn.

“Obviously the distance is much shorter in the Clash but car-wise it will be a good start, good look at things."

With so many different variables coming into the 2019 season, Hamlin is optimistic his enviable track record at Daytona can provide exactly the kind of positive launching point for the season as a whole.

“I think this year with there being so many different changes within the cars themselves, it’s going to be pretty much a reset for everyone," Hamlin said. “That allows us to get back to square one. I’m working with a new crew chief who’s coming from the Xfinity side, so he’s got more of a clean slate to kind of work from now.

“He doesn’t have to look at too many old notes because of the drastic change in the cars, so it allows us all to just come in here like a new race team, like a lot of our teams will be this year, to come in there refocused and get ready to hopefully win the first race of the season."

The No. 6 Performance Plus scheme has established itself as a fan favorite on the NASCAR circuit, and it’s back with Ryan Newman rocketing the ‘black and yellow’ Ford Mustang around the track in multiple events in 2019. In addition, Performance Plus Oil will continue to serve as Roush Fenway Racing’s official lubricant across all of its NASCAR teams.

“I’m excited to have Performance Plus on board this season, a company that fits so great for me as a driver and off the track as well,” said Newman. “They have heavily participated in NASCAR and with Roush Fenway and the results speak for themselves. We are looking forward to continuing the partnership and we’ll look to put the ‘black and yellow’ into victory lane.”

Performance Plus has served as Roush Fenway’s official oil since 2014, and played an instrumental role in Ricky Stenhouse’s superspeedway victories at Daytona and Talladega, as well as Chris Buescher’s recent Xfinity Series Championship. In addition, Performance Plus has teamed up as the primary partner on the Fords of NASCAR Champions Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

“We are eager to see Ryan behind the wheel of the No. 6 Performance Plus Ford Mustang,” said Leigh Harrington, Vice President of Marketing. “Our Performance Plus Oil has proven itself with all of Roush Fenway Racing’s NASCAR teams, and we’re confident it will perform for Ryan as he pursues winning every weekend.”

Performance Plus automotive and industrial lubricants are the result of more than 30 years of research, technology and investment. Performance Plus meets or exceeds the performance standards and requirements set by the American Petroleum Institute and is used by some of the largest car and truck fleets in North America.

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

With Speedweeks 2019 about to be in full swing for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Rick Ware Racing (RWR), officials from the Thomasville, N.C.-based team announced today the addition of Trick Shot as an associate marketing partner beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sun., Feb. 17.

Trick Shot is a high-performance penetrating lubricant that unlocks seized parts, prevents and breaks rust loose, fights corrosion, long-lasting lubrication, protects, cleans, and is a “green” product. It is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, food safe, non-flammable and safe for the environment.

The product’s primary focus is the industrial user who requires a high-performance eco-friendly product that is both safe for their employees, the environment, waterways, and meets corporate sustainability initiatives.

“Everyone at Rick Ware Racing is excited to have Trick Shot join us for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season,” said team principal Rick Ware. “Our discussions through this process have been very positive and everyone involved with this partnership is really excited to begin and build this relationship.

“NASCAR has the “Go Green” initiative and Trick Shot falls into this perfectly with what NASCAR and even Rick Ware Racing is striving for. Trick Shot is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, food safe, non-flammable and safe for the environment.

“Their excitement has been really contagious with our race team and has everyone even that much more pumped up to go to Daytona and get this season underway. We are very grateful for our new marketing partners and also with adding Trick Shot Penetrating Lubricant to our family."

Todd Gordon, CEO STAAR Companies, makers of Trick Shot is thrilled to add the Rick Ware Racing team to their Motorsports portfolio for the 2019 season.

“STAAR has been part of the racing community for 30 plus years and have participated in several racing series with brother and driver Benny Gordon, and we’re now proud to be apart of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series,” he said.

“We are excited to be working with RWR this year in Cup and Xfinity Series competition. We believe the Trick Shot brand, led by Perry Walrack, President of STAAR Lubricants, brings an eco-friendly high-performance “green” addition to the racing community. Trick Shot is the perfect safe product for racing, the industrial user, in food manufacturing and every day consumer applications.”

“Trick Shot out performs the other major brands, including those made with petroleum distillates and silicone.”

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, Feb. 17 with coverage on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90. Event coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET).

RWR PR

Front Row Motorsports (FRM) today announced a new season-long partnership with SelectBlinds.com, the leading online retailer of custom window coverings, that will begin on NASCAR’s biggest stage, the Daytona 500.
 
SelectBlinds.com will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan and the No. 38 Ford Mustang beginning this weekend in Daytona Beach and will be Ragan’s primary sponsor during the “TicketGuardian 500” at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, the prestigious “Coca-Cola 600” at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the “South Point 400” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway later this year. The company will be an associate sponsor all season.  
 
The partnership with SelectBlinds.com began after Rick Steele, co-founder and CMO, recently purchased a No. 38 Shriners Hospitals for Children Ford from Ragan and the team at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. to support the children’s hospital. Steele has since begun a relationship with Ragan, leading to the sponsorship that will introduce SeletBlinds.com to the millions of NASCAR fans.
 
SelectBlinds.com is the online home for all your window covering needs. The company offers child-safe cordless blinds to prevent injury along with a wide variety of blinds and shades for your home or business. Their online home makes it easy, affordable and secure for fans to purchase new window coverings. They are excited to enter the sport and introduce their products.
 
“You really can’t find more passionate and dedicated people than NASCAR race fans,” said Steele. “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Front Row Motorsports and David Ragan to introduce our products to them. Meeting David, his values align with ours. He puts family first and thinks of others, too. This is going to be a great partnership and we can’t wait to start at Daytona.”
 
Ragan is ready to return to Daytona where he has one win and three Top-Five finishes. He is thankful for SelectBlinds.com for coming on board and has enjoyed getting to know their team.
 
“Rick and the team at SelectBlinds.com have been great to work with,” said Ragan. “They have really stepped up in a big way to support our race team and they’ll make a big impact at the Daytona 500. It makes me excited to get to Daytona, kick off our season, and have a great run with them. I’m looking forward to it.”
 
The No. 38 SelectBlinds.com Ford Mustang will make its race debut at the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, February 17. The race will be televised live on FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET and broadcasted on the Motor Racing Network and SIRIUS/XM NASCAR radio.

FRM PR

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series paint schemes to be ran by drivers throughout the year.

 

 

Credit: NASCAR/Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Teams/Drivers/Sponsors press releases and social media accounts

Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) today announced that AfterShokz, the bone conduction headphone brand known for its unique open-ear listening experience, will be the primary partner of Bubba Wallace in his return to the Daytona 500. The company will support Wallace after he finished runner-up in a historical run during his rookie year. AfterShokz, who also has a personal agreement with Wallace Jr., now steps up to support the famed No. 43 on the sport's biggest stage.

AfterShokz was introduced to Wallace Jr. last year when they began a personal services agreement together. Wallace Jr. was attracted to the company after wearing their open-ear headphones and quickly became a spokesperson for the brand. AfterShokz watched Wallace Jr. make history last season in his rookie season and are thrilled for the opportunity to support RPM in the Daytona 500, as well as bring a fresh sponsorship to the sport.
 
"Bubba Wallace made a historical impact on the sport last year and specifically in his first Daytona 500," said Bill Kimball, Chief Operating Officer, AfterShokz. "This is an amazing opportunity for us to join Richard Petty Motorsports and continue our journey with Bubba. We are looking forward to our first Daytona 500 and we hope it's just as memorable as last year, with a finish one spot better."
 
The announcement comes the day prior to a scheduled appearance by Wallace, Jr. on the TODAY Show on NBC. Facebook documented Wallace Jr. and his Daytona 500 run and features on ESPN, FOX and others made Wallace Jr. the most-watched driver before and after the Daytona 500. The exposure made it easy for AfterShokz to commit with Wallace Jr. returning to Daytona.
 
"After last year, we know we can win the Daytona 500," said Wallace Jr. "Our team at Richard Petty Motorsports knows how to put together a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that is capable of giving me the handling and speed I need. We raced up front last year at Daytona, both in the 500 and in July, so I expect us to do it that again. That's going to make a great day for AfterShokz, too. I'm thrilled they are joining us in the journey this year. They have become friends of mine and we're going to Daytona together to win it."
 
Richard Petty Motorsports and the Petty brand have a long, winning history in the Daytona 500. Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 and Richard Petty has won the race a record seven times. Petty Enterprises holds the record for the most wins of the race with nine. "The King" Richard Petty is now ready to see Wallace Jr. compete again for the win.
 
"Last year, I was really proud of Bubba and what he did at Daytona," said Petty, co-owner, Richard Petty Motorsports. "He had the most pressure and people watching him, but he did a great job behind the wheel. We now have the support we need from AfterShokz and Bubba has the opportunity to focus on the race and do what we know he can."
 
The Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, February 17. The race will be televised live on FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET and broadcast on Motor Racing Network and SIRIUS/XM NASCAR radio.

RPM PR

In a move that is both dramatic and emphatic, NASCAR announced on Monday that, for the first time as an official policy, cars will be subject to disqualification for post-race inspection failures.

And NASCAR will declare the official winner of races in its top three national series before leaving the track on race day.

“We’re changing the culture,” NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said during a meeting with reporters at the NASCAR Research & Development Center. “Going forward, post-race inspection will take place at the track…

“If the first-place car has any penalties, that car will be disqualified. Second place will receive all the benefits of winning that race.”

That marks a sea change in NASCAR’s approach to the inspection and officiating process. The disqualified car and driver will receive last-place points and money and will lose all stage points and bonus points accrued during the race.

No longer will the penalized driver appear in the record books as the race winner in name only. NASCAR also will inspect the second-place car and a random car, but the inspections of the top two cars will conclude at the race track, with the winner announced soon thereafter.

O’Donnell said the at-track process would take approximately 90 minutes beyond the conclusion of the event.

The new policy is a move by NASCAR to discourage in no uncertain terms infractions designed to give one team an undeserved advantage over another.

“We’ve made it very clear to the teams over the last six months that this is where we’re headed,” O’Donnell said. “Let’s do stuff right. Let’s concentrate on the best drivers in the world going out there and beating each other on the track versus the wind tunnel. We think this is going to do that.”

Instead of roving inspectors who rotate between the top three series, NASCAR is creating dedicated teams for each of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In addition, the inspection process won’t be confined to specific times and stations but will be an ongoing process throughout the race weekend.

“Inspection is going to be open all the time,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition. “With the inspectors in the garage, we will be inspecting cars all the time. It won’t be just during the official inspections.

“When we find something wrong—and it’s been in the rule book, but we’re going to use it this year—if you bring illegal parts, and we make you take them off, you’re going to be issued an L1 penalty right there at the race track. We have to stop this. We tried to do it a little softer, but it didn’t work, so we’re going to try a new approach.

“You can’t unload your car with illegal stuff on it—period.”

Clearly, the greatest potential jeopardy lies in post-race inspection, given the possibility of disqualification. But that prospect doesn’t apply to one or two loose lug nuts, which are treated separately in the rule book. Three loose lugs, however, rise to the level of an L1 penalty and bring disqualification.

NASCAR is taking this approach as it begins to develop its next generation of race car—the Gen-7—which O’Donnell expects to have on the track in 2021. The expectation is that the new car will feature greater brand identity, something that both existing and potential new OEMs should find appealing.

O’Donnell said NASCAR’s goal is to get to five manufacturers in the sport.

The Gen-7 almost certainly will feature a composite body, O’Donnell said, given the success and positive feedback the sanctioning body has received from the introduction of composites in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

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