NASCAR Cup Series News

NASCAR Cup Series News (17900)

When Ty Dillon and Germain Racing departed Homestead-Miami Speedway after the 2019 season finale, the group was already eyeing the upcoming 2020 season, with talk of building new racecars and a demanding off-season schedule, while also reflecting on a just completed successful year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Their optimism is justified after a strong finish to a season that already served as a breakout year of sorts, as Dillon and the GEICO team recorded multiple stage wins, a top-five finish, three top-10's, nine top-15's and 16 top-20's.
 
Notably, the GEICO team did not post even a single DNF (did not finish), which, aside from Dillon's talent as a driver, is also indicative of the crew's attention to detail, leaving their driver without any mechanical failures. The team also experienced a 3.7 position improvement in qualifying, a 3.5 position improvement in finishing position and gained three positions in the point standings over a year ago. In all categories, Germain Racing either equaled or improved upon their 2017 and 2018 performances.
While 2019 served as Dillon's third year as the driver of the No. 13 entry, it was just crew chief Matt Borland's second. Widely known as one of the smartest and hardworking guys in the NASCAR garage, Borland spent his inaugural year with Germain Racing putting his handprint on a growing program. He spoke clearly about his goals and vision for the GEICO team and he also built a strong relationship with his young and talented driver. 2019 saw the result of Borland's time investment, with a visible culture shift that was evident throughout the organization.  
 
When Dillon and Borland arrived at Daytona International Speedway in February 2019, their communication was crystal clear and a symbiotic relationship was in place, which would deliver desired results as the season progressed. Dillon continued to develop as a Cup Series driver and Borland's confidence in him manifested itself in the form of strong finishes.
 
Not long after finishing sixth in the season-opening Daytona 500, the GEICO team scored a Stage win at Bristol Motor Speedway after Dillon battled Clint Bowyer door-to-door to the line to secure the top spot. Dillon also left the famed Gecko swelling with pride when he piloted the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 to yet another Stage victory at the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
 
While Germain Racing's 2019 on-track accomplishments have been well-documented, what largely goes unmentioned is that the organization completely uprooted their team from their Mooresville, NC, race shop following the 2018 season and relocated to the Richard Childress Racing campus in Welcome, NC. Most impressive is that they made this move in December with the holidays looming, leaving little time to unpack and begin preparing for the rapidly approaching 2019 season. The GEICO team could have easily provided the move as an excuse to regress, but rather they used it as a source of motivation and a springboard into the new year.
 
When asked about the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, Dillon couldn't help but smile before sharing his thoughts.
 
"2019 for our GEICO team was a strong year, a big year of improvement. We were able to knock off some great milestones for Germain Racing and GEICO, winning two stages in the year and going hand-in-hand in the points with our technical alliance partners," Dillon said. "I'm very proud of the effort that went into the offseason, with changing shops. All the men and women at the shop had so much to do, and did it with sustained success and actually growth within our race team. I can't wait until 2020 and I know this team is going to continue to grow." He continued, "Our performance at mile-and-a-halfs has gotten stronger and stronger as Matt Borland and I's communication continues to grow and the team continues to strengthen. I'm excited for what's to come in the future and look forward to getting even better, running higher in the points week in and week out."
 
Ty Dillon and Germain Racing will enjoy the holidays and a busy winter at the race shop before packing up the No. 13 GEICO Camaro and heading to Florida in February for the 62nd annual Daytona 500.
                                                     
The Daytona 500 is on Sunday, February 16, 2020, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
PMI PR

The following is a statement from Spire Motorsports Co-Owners T.J. Puchyr and Jeff Dickerson regarding the penalty assessed to the team following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway:
 
“Following the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway, NASCAR assessed a penalty against Spire Motorsports for the actions of an individual who made a judgment call on behalf of our team. While the ultimate outcome of that decision can be interpreted from different perspectives, we regret any appearance of operating outside the spirit of the rule book. We accept the penalty and will not appeal. We’re proud of all we accomplished with this team in our first season and look forward to getting back to the business of racing at Daytona in February.”

Spire Motorsports PR

Cory LaJoie, driver of the No. 32 GO FAS Racing Ford, has been named the Fourth Quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award recipient for his generosity in donating a month’s salary this past August to charity. LaJoie and his wife Kelly teamed up with Samaritan’s Feet, an organization founded in 2003, to provide shoes to children and individuals in need to inspire hope and encouragement. With help from GO FAS Racing, $100,000 was raised through names placed on his car to support Samaritan’s Feet during the Cup race at Watkins Glen International.

Also receiving votes were the Denny Hamlin Foundation and Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Motor Speedway.

Hamlin’s foundation raises awareness and funds for the specific needs of children with cystic fibrosis. Speedway Children’s Charities and Texas Motor Speedway held an online auction allowing fans to purchase special access passes during their November Cup series race weekend benefitting children in need across north Texas.  

The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. The NMPA membership selects quarterly recipients as well as an overall winner each year. The award is sponsored by Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and has been presented annually since 1992.

The overall winner of the NMPA Pocono Spirit Award will be presented Feb. 1, 2020 at the NMPA Awards Ceremony.

NMPA PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Remarks
11/17/2019 (Race) Homestead No. 15 Behavioral Sections 12.8.g Member Conduct; 12.8.1
Member Conduct Guidelines
Team owner (Jay Robinson) has been fined $50,000 and assessed with the loss of 50 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner Points. The competition director (Scott Eggleston) has been fined $25,000 and has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.
11/17/2019 (Race) Homestead No. 27 Behavioral Sections 12.8.g Member Conduct; 12.8.1
Member Conduct Guidelines
Team has been assessed with the loss of 50 Monster Energy
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner Points.
11/17/2019 (Race) Homestead No. 52 Behavioral Sections 12.8.g Member Conduct; 12.8.1
Member Conduct Guidelines
Team owner (Rick Ware) has been fined $50,000 and assessed with the loss of 50 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner Points. The competition director (Kenneth Evans) has been fined $25,000 and has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.
11/17/2019 (Race) Homestead No. 77 Behavioral Sections 12.8.g Member Conduct; 12.8.1
Member Conduct Guidelines
Team owner (TJ Puchyr) has been fined $50,000 and assessed with the loss of 50 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Team Owner Points. The competition director (Scott Eggleston) has been fined $25,000 and has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.

We are thankful for all that Landon Cassill has brought to StarCom Racing’s program in 2019. We have a commitment to Landon that we plan to honor in 2020. Details to come at a later date.

StarCom Racing PR

StarCom Racing signs up-and-coming talent, Quin Houff, as its full time 00 driver for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. In a short period of time, Houff has raced his way to the Cup Series with determination. SCR continues to build its program around young talent and has high expectations going into its third full time NASCAR season.

“I’m very excited to become a part of the StarCom Racing family,” said 00 Driver Quin Houff. “This is the chance of a lifetime to be able to become a full-time NASCAR cup driver and to turn my childhood dream into a reality. I can’t thank those that were involved throughout my career enough; especially my family and sponsors! I also would like to thank StarCom Racing for this opportunity. I am looking forward to building a reputation and experience alongside this young fast-growing team at the top level of motorsports.”

Houff has shown impressive results already in NASCAR’s top two series with a 12th place finish at Iowa, and a 28th finish at the Charlotte Coke 600, NASCAR’s longest and grueling race. He even banked a top 15 finish on the lead lap at NASCAR’S biggest wrecking yard, Bristol.

“In our efforts to continue the progression of StarCom Racing, we have many plans for building the team in 2020 and being prepared for the introduction of the Next Gen car,” Said Derrike Cope, SCR team manager. “I am pleased to have young and passionate driver, Quin Houff, to continue his progression in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is a delightful, quick-witted young man that is eager to finally showcase his talents and race in his first Daytona 500!”

For more information on StarCom Racing or to gear up with Quin Houff merchandise, visit. www.starcomracing.com or follow the team on social media @starcomracing.

StarCom Racing PR

Today, 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano partnered with Hot Wheels to successfully break the Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Hot Wheels track coming in at over 1,941 feet. Inspired by his ongoing success in race circuits during  career spanning over a decade, the Guinness World Record also celebrated the launch of Logano’s all-new 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang featuring custom Joey Logano Racing / Hot Wheels racing livery.

“Hot Wheels has been pushing the boundaries in car culture with it’s challenger spirit, outrageous design and unparalled performance for over 51 years,” said Ricardo Briceno, Senior Director of Brand Marketing for Hot Wheels. “Joey Logano embodies that same spirit in his racing, which is why we’re thrilled to partner with him on this record-breaking track and special edition die-cast. He’s truly brought the Hot Wheels challenger spirit to life today!”

Logano broke the world record at his personal race garage in Charlotte, NC. The track started in Joey’s expansive race shop, weaving through his fantastic car collection – including a Deloreon, custom Rat Rod International, International Scout and a 1933 custom Ford hot rod, 1972 Ford Econoline, 2017 Ford GT– and eventually ending inside the cockpit of his 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang.

During the nail-biting attempt, Logano was at the start and finish lines, pushing the car through the first of 122 boosters and then jumping into his 2018 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang to witness the die-cast dive into the cockpit upon completion. With over a year of planning and 7 days of setting up the track for the perfect run, Logano’s attempt was witnessed by friends, family and NASCAR royalty from the Petty family.

“Talk about a childhood dream come true! I have so many memories playing with my Hot Wheels cars as a kid, and it’s fun to jump back in that space with my son who shares the same passion for his Hot Wheels as I did,” said Joey Logano. “Hot Wheels basically founded my passion for racing – the first car I ever had was a Hot Wheels car – and now being here, setting this world record with my son and an amazing team of Hot Wheels fans is a great way to announce our new special edition Ford Mustang.”

The Hot Wheels Joey Logano 2018 Ford Mustang will be available on shelves for Hot Wheels fans to add to their collections by July 2020.

Check out @joeylogano and @hotwheelsofficial for a look behind the scenes.

Hot Wheels PR

Jimmie Johnson announced on Wednesday that he would no longer be racing full-time in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series following the 2020 season. On Thursday, Johnson addressed the media along with his team owner Rick Hendrick regarding the decision.

Johnson stated in Thursday’s press conference that his retirement wouldn’t be from racing all together.

“This is not a retirement from driving race cars,” Johnson said during Thursday’s press conference at Hendrick Motorsports. “This is slowing down from 38 weekends a year and you certainly know the stress and pressure. That grind that it takes and 19 years in Cup and 2 years in the Xfinity Series. Plus everything before that, like you know one of the more balances is really where that sits but it’s been a bit of a run and we’re gonna keep going.”

Rick Hendrick said during Thursday’s press conference that he was “shocked” to learn about Johnson’s retirement following next season.

“Shocked. Every time one of these drivers calls me and they want to come to my house, I know that’s not a good situation,” Rick Hendrick said.

The 7-time champion also stated that all options are open when it comes to racing except for IndyCar and fast ovals. Johnson also said that he would come back and drive Cup cars for Rick Hendrick if the opportunity came about.

Post 2020 and beyond, Johnson has not had any discussions yet for what that may entail.

“No, I haven’t talked to anybody. Haven’t even thought about it.”

At the end of Thursday’s press conference, Johnson would hold back tears when he was talking about Rick Hendrick and all of the people in the NASCAR industry.

“When I look back on the years I’ve had so far at NASCAR, I fall back to the experiences of the people. Those are the things that come to mind. Not holding the trophy in Victory Lane or on the stage at Las Vegas as we did so many times. It’s the people,” Johnson said.

As for the 2020 season, Johnson said that his ultimate goal is to make it to the Championship 4 next year in Phoenix.

“The outlook for next year is absolutely to win races and be in the final four. That is absolutely the goal for next year,” Johnson said.

Jimmie Johnson’s two young daughters Genevieve, 9, and Lydia, 7, introduced their father and his team owner Rick Hendrick to a sizable audience of Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Johnson’s family and friends and the motorsports media gathered outside Charlotte, N.C. Thursday afternoon. His children’s involvement in this important event was a fitting life-bridge for Johnson’s retirement press conference.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup champion announced Wednesday that the 2020 season will be his last fulltime competitive run in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. His time afterward will instead be focused on his young daughters, his family – with the opportunity he’s created to enjoy a well-lived, duly-celebrated life as a sports legend and genuinely good guy.

And if a racing opportunity comes up here or there that he can’t pass up, well Johnson conceded he would definitely be game.

Johnson, 43, took the stage Thursday dressed in a suit, sitting alongside the only Cup team owner he’s ever had, in Hendrick. The tone of the media opportunity was as much pride in what he’s accomplished both on and off the track as it was setting expectations for his final season.

That part is easy. It’s never wavered.

“Next year is not a ‘mail it in’ year," Johnson said. “We’re going to win races and contend for a championship."

After the 2020 finale in Phoenix, however, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet conceded, “I feel like I need to take a deep breath."

He can expect the exhale to be good and satisfactory. Johnson’s personality has always been easy-going and he appeared every bit content with this huge career decision. He has turned in a masterful career.

Johnson’s 83 Cup Series victories are most among active drivers and sixth all-time – only one trophy behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on the all-time wins list. His seven series championships tie an all-time best mark set by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt.

In fact, Johnson earned his titles in a time of ever-evolving championship formats that sometimes felt as if they were designed to slow his dominance. However, even that failed to affect his excellence. And those five consecutive Cup trophies he earned from 2006-10 is a mark of success unequalled by anyone in the sport.

And yet for all the trophy-hoists and championship celebrations, Johnson has always remained that humble, friendly ‘good guy' from El Cajon, Calif. – a popular kid in his small hometown outside San Diego whose talent and focus has now made him one of his sport’s absolute greatest competitors.

And he’s coupled that with a devotion to helping others – from building homes in his hometown to granting money to schools across the country.

His 'good guy' exterior – the genuine smile, fun personality and caring heart – has nicely belied the will and drive to succeed above all others. To be one of his sport’s historical markers. To win.

Johnson said he has been contemplating his decision to step away for months, but only told Hendrick three weeks ago. He conceded he did discuss retirement with a few other longtime NASCAR Hall of Famers such as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. And, of course, he spoke with his good friend, newly inducted NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who influenced Hendrick to hire Johnson back in 2002 and then raced his fellow Californian door-to-door for titles throughout the last two decades.

Johnson smiled as he recalled telling his young daughters his big news.

“Lydia was eating pancakes at the time and just asked me to pass the butter," Johnson laughed.

His older daughter, he said, has been “processing it - she just wants dad to be happy."

“It’s been interesting because I had worked through my head space and so I’m a little further down the road and so excited about where I am today," Johnson said. “I’m really excited and just ready to get 2020 started. We’re going to have a good time."

He continued, “When I look back on the years I’ve had so far in NASCAR, I fall back to the experiences and the people. Those are the memories that come to mind not holding a trophy in Victory Lane or being on stage in [past championship banquets] Las Vegas. It’s the people."

His longtime team owner Rick Hendrick had heartfelt difficulty trying to recall just one single special competitive moment with Johnson – a win or a championship.

“He’s represented this sport as a true champion," Hendrick said. “You never had to make any excuses for Jimmie Johnson. He was always on his mark. He never embarrassed anybody and he is just a role model for kids and a role model for drivers. And an athlete I don’t see in any kind of sport, that much committed to his job and to his family.

“Everybody knows he’s a special guy and on top of that he’s one of the very greatest that’s ever driven a [NASCAR] car. So I’m just very blessed that I could have a guy like that. Thank you Jeff [Gordon] for pushing him along to win all the races and all the championships for us."

Throughout his time taking questions Thursday, Johnson reiterated that he is not 'retiring'. He said he was excited about opportunities to try different series, mentioning his off-road background and smiling as he noted that even the World of Outlaws had reached out via social media yesterday with an open invitation.

As the expected questions arose asking Johnson to recall his greatest win or most sentimental championship, fans may be surprised to know that he considers his very first victory – in 2002 at Fontana, Calif. in his 13th start as a Hendrick full-timer – to be most special.

He didn’t even hesitate.

“For me I go to the first, my dream was to be a Cup driver and to win a race, that was the top for me, so to be able to do that in my home track in my 13th start, that was a very, very special moment," Johnson said.

Having just made his decision public this week, Johnson conceded it was still early to think about his life without the daily grind of a 38-week racing schedule, much less process his place in racing history.

But there was an unmistakable theme in Johnson’s heartfelt answers Thursday. And for as competitive as Johnson is, as successful as he is, it was striking that Johnson’s most fond memories are as much about the people he’s celebrated with as the thrilling accomplishments he’s celebrated.

“Legacy-wise, I feel that I’m a people person and I’ve built a lot of extremely meaningful relationships in this industry and this garage area," Johnson said. “Go back to my younger years and the teams I’ve raced with, there’s always been that feeling there, a friendship, a bond and respect. So ultimately, it’s that respect and being one of the good guys out there on the track.

“When I look back at my 18 years so far, my mind goes to those memories and the people I shared those memories with not standing and holding a trophy somewhere. It’s much more that headspace of being remembered, not stats. It’s more of that heartfelt thing than stats."

At the end of the 45-minute press conference Thursday, after all the questions, the praise and the perspective, Johnson took the time to speak last. He thanked everyone from longtime friends, teammates, Hall of Famers he looked up to, his family and his friends.

And as Johnson began reciting all the people and achievements he was so grateful for, he conceded he was getting emotional.

“I’m just very, very thankful and my mind’s running right now," Johnson said. “Thank you."

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today Denny Hamlin had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

The surgery was completed by Dr. Patrick Connor at Charlotte Surgery Center. He is expected to fully recover in time for the start of the 2020 NASCAR season.

JGR PR

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, and Team Penske today announced a new multi-year partnership beginning with the 2020 NASCAR season. Advance will be featured as the primary sponsor on the No. 12 Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Blaney for four races in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Blaney will compete in the No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford for Team Penske in 2020 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 15, Richmond Raceway on April 19, Watkins Glen International on August 16 and the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 19. Advance also will be an associate sponsor on the No. 12 Ford Mustang for the full NASCAR Cup Series season.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be sponsoring Ryan Blaney, one of NASCAR’s top drivers, and partnering with one of the most prestigious teams in racing,” said Jason McDonell, Advance’s Chief Marketing Officer. “For years Team Penske has been known for executing with excellence in everything they do on and off the track. We are proud to be joining this successful team and look forward to a winning and productive partnership with Ryan and Team Penske.” 

One of NASCAR’s brightest young stars at just 25-years-old, Blaney produced another solid season in 2019. The High Point, N.C. native and third-generation racer earned a spot in the Cup Series playoffs for the third-consecutive year and qualified for the Round of 8 by winning at Talladega Superspeedway in October – his third career Cup Series victory. Blaney ended the year seventh in the Cup Series point standings with career-bests in both top-five (11) and top-10 (18) finishes.

“We welcome one of the most established and innovative companies in the automotive aftermarket parts industry to Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Advance focuses on executing with excellence in their business and we bring those same goals and principles to the race track every weekend. We are excited to have Advance on board with Ryan and the No. 12 Ford team next season and look forward to growing our partnership for the future.”

Blaney will be kicking off the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season at The Clash at Daytona on Sunday, February 9 (3 p.m. ET on FS1).

“Everyone at Team Penske is excited to have Advance Auto Parts join the team as a new partner in 2020,” said Blaney. “We’re honored to carry their brand on the No. 12 Ford Mustang next season and hopefully this is the start of a great partnership both on and off the track.”

Team Penske PR

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