Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14919)

Ragan on Martinsville

"I love Martinsville. It's one of my favorite tracks. Just the whole weekend there has a good vibe to it. I like the short track scene, I love the racing, I love the strategy on Sunday. As a driver, I feel like I can have some good input on how to make the car better. You don't have to worry as much about aerodynamics. At Martinsville, it's more mechanical. It's more stuff that I grew up doing to my late model car that I raced on short tracks throughout the years. I really enjoy that, and I think it's a track where Front Row Motorsports can have a really good day and get a top-10 or top-15 if we have a good racecar.

"I think generally the Friday-Saturday-Sunday events work really well for the fans, and the TV networks and even for the teams. But this weekend just being on track Saturday and Sunday, it gives us an extra day after the West Coast trip in preparing the car. And I think the race is still going to be great on Sunday, whether we had all day to practice on Friday or just on Saturday."

Ragan Martinsville Stats
23 starts, 1 top-5, 3 top-10s, 6 top-15s
Best finish: 5th


McDowell on Martinsville

"Martinsville is a great track for Front Row Motorsports -- a lot because David Ragan is very good there. He's got the program tuned in at Martinsville. So, I'm looking forward to it for that reason, to be able to learn a little bit off of him and his data. I've always managed the race well as far as brakes and long runs, but I've never qualified super stellar. So, hopefully I can pick that up and make the day a little bit easier. Normally if you start in the teens or 20s, you can have a pretty uneventful first half. When you qualify near the back, you have to work a lot harder.

"It's very physical at Martinsville. And very easy to make mistakes. The one nice thing about Martinsville is you get away with a few mistakes a race. Unlike Talladega or Daytona, where you just get it wrong by a few inches and cause a 'big one,' at Martinsville you just run in to somebody and knock the bumper in a little bit. But it's a grueling race for sure."

McDowell Martinsville Stats
14 starts, 2 top-20s
Best finish: 18th 


NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Daniel Hemric is scheduled to make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut on April 21, 2018 at Richmond Raceway with partner Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff on the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Richard Childress Racing announced today on FS1's "NASCAR Race Hub."

This will be the first of two MENCS events in 2018 for the 27-year-old driver. He will also pilot the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway's road course on Sept. 30.
While competing in his rookie season in the Xfinity Series, Hemric served as a stand-in driver for RCR in 2017 during MENCS practices at Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway. He also qualified the No. 27 Chevrolet at Texas and served as a test driver for RCR's Cup teams during the Goodyear Tire test at the Charlotte road course in October 2017.
"You only get one chance to make your Cup Series debut, and it is pretty incredible to know that I am able to do it with Richard Childress Racing and with a partner such as Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff," said Hemric. "RCR and Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff have been so influential in so many drivers' careers - a lot of my heroes growing up. To know they will play a large role in the next step of my career and my initial Cup Series debut is very special."
"Since joining our organization, Daniel Hemric has shown his determination and dedication to this sport both on and off the track," said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. "He has proven his ability behind the wheel by making the Championship 4 in the Xfinity Series in 2017 and his continued success this season. Making his Cup Series debut is the next step in his career and we are proud to have him take that step with RCR."
"To make my debut at Richmond will make me feel at home, since I spent years coming up through the ranks at short-tracks across the country. To do it again in front of my hometown crowd in Charlotte later in the year is an overwhelming feeling," said Hemric. "Many people have laid everything on the line to get me to this point and I am extremely grateful to all of those people for putting me in position to get this shot in the Cup Series. These are going to be two very special weekends, to say the least."
Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff served as a primary partner on Hemric's No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro in the Xfinity Series in four events in 2017, including the dramatic playoff race at ISM Raceway in which Hemric raced his way into the Championship 4.
"Daniel Hemric was a great ambassador for our brand in 2017," said Dave Savoca, President of Smokey Mountain Chew. "His on-track success, coupled with his infectious personality and marketability, were a great fit for our company, and we look forward to building on that partnership in 2018 as Daniel makes his Cup Series debut."
In 2018, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff is also serving as a season-long associate partner on Hemric's No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series. This partnership also marks Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff's first venture into the MENCS.
"Our company has seen measurable growth in our brand through our various partnerships in NASCAR," said Savoca. "To be able to take our program to the highest level of competition, in one of NASCAR's premiere divisions - the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - with such a top-notch organization and driver is both an honor and a privilege for everyone on the Smokey Mountain Team. We look forward to cheering on Daniel and the No. 8 team in 2018."
Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff comes in eight flavors including, Wintergreen, Arctic Mint, Cherry, Citrus, Classic, Grape, Peach, and Straight. Wintergreen and Arctic Mint are also available in pouches. For more information or to order your favorite flavor of Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff visit,
For additional information on today's announcement, and all that's happening at RCR, please visit

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 Kroger ClickList Camaro ZL1, is coming to the Martinsville Kroger Friday, March 23, to help collect food for the hungry and meet fans.
In Martinsville to compete in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Allmendinger will participate in an event Friday afternoon to provide food for the Salvation Army of Martinsville to donate to hungry residents in the community.
He’ll visit with fans, sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans from 5:30-6:15 in Kroger at the Village of Martinsville on Commonwealth Blvd.
At 6:15pm, he’ll referee a five-minute shopping spree between two representatives of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, with Kroger donating all the food to the Salvation Army of Martinsville.
Allmendinger will emcee a contest between two Kroger associates to decide the faster bagger of the groceries.
“Martinsville is one of my favorite stops on the NASCAR circuit,” said Allmendinger.  “We’ve had some great runs at the track, but I love the opportunity to support Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste efforts and, of course, visit fans.”
The Salvation Army has several food and nutrition programs that serve the Martinsville area and is a partner agency of Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
Kroger has embarked on an effort aimed at ending hunger and eliminating waste.
“No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry, and that’s why we’re donating food in the Martinsville community,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division.
Live coverage of the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway begins at 2:00pm on Sunday, March 25 on FS1 and SiriusXM Radio NASCAR Channel 90.

JTG Racing PR

Mack Trucks and Richard Petty Motorsports today announced an expansion of their partnership, under which a Mack Anthem® will haul the legendary number 43 racecar currently driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., one of the brightest young stars in NASCAR today. The expansion also makes it possible for Mack to offer customers even more unforgettable experiences at tracks around the country every weekend.

“It just had to be a Mack Anthem, a new American icon, hauling the number 43 car made famous by “The King” Richard Petty,” said John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing. “Bubba Wallace has brought great new energy to the sport, and we’re looking forward to sharing that excitement with customers.”

Wallace came in second in the 2018 DAYTONA 500 in February, making NASCAR history with the best performance by an African-American driver. Wallace is the first full-time African-American NASCAR driver since the 1970s.

“Key to the success of any partnership like this is a genuine connection between the two brands,” Walsh said. “Both Mack and Richard Petty Motorsports are distinctly American, with strong pasts, ground-breaking presents and bright futures.”

Attendees of the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show March 22–24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, will have the opportunity to meet Richard Petty in the Mack Trucks booth 34105 the morning of Thursday, March 22.

Mack Trucks PR

Kurt Busch loves the West Coast. He loves the desert, the dry, hot weather and the motor racing facilities in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, California.


But, it’s time to look east, specifically toward Martinsville Speedway located in Southern Virginia, for Sunday’s Martinsville 500.


And what a history Martinsville has considering it opened for business in 1947, two years before NASCAR came to be. Every series champion including Busch has competed at the track, which has hosted Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events twice a year since 1950.


Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR schedule and, viewed from the air, its looks like a paperclip as its long straightaways lead into tight, flat turns. The racing there can be described as “give-and-take,” with drivers giving some bumps and taking some bumps as dozens of cars constantly fight for space in its tight confines.


So, no matter how good a driver’s car is, one does need a bit of luck to win at Martinsville. Several drivers have been leading late in the 500-lap race, only to be nudged out of the way in the closing laps. A good vehicle is needed, but also that stroke of luck. 


Should Busch win this weekend, he’ll once again score one of the most unique and coveted trophies in NASCAR – the Ridgeway Furniture Company’s grandfather clock that’s given to race winners at Martinsville Speedway.


The tradition of giving the famous grandfather clock to the winner of every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville got its start in 1964. Henry Clay Earles, who founded the short track, was inspired to use the grandfather clock as his trophy when Curtis Turner told him he had to start finding storage room for his trophies, and give some away, as well. It was then that NASCAR’s most iconic trophy was born.


Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), already has a pair of grandfather clocks for winning the fall Martinsville race in 2002 and the spring race in 2014 – the latter win for SHR. He also won the pole positon for the fall race in 2006.


Busch knows he will have a good Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion from crew chief Billy Scott this weekend. He’s also hoping for a stroke of luck, as well.



What: Leavine Family Racing is excited to host Camp 95 for the fourth year in a row. This camp is open to high school students who are interested in learning more about various careers in NASCAR, from engineering and building racecars to marketing and sponsorship roles.

Who: High school students (rising 9th-12th) will have a chance to explore and ask questions about different careers within the motorsports field.

Why: Camp 95 is designed to showcase the many different career areas not only in NASCAR, but all motorsports. Many kids dream of working in NASCAR but don’t know where to start or how to get involved. Camp 95 can help high school kids determine a potential career and education path.

When: Tuesday, July 10th – Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Tentative Tuesday Schedule: 12pm – 5pm

Tentative Wednesday Schedule: 9am – 2pm

The application for Camp 95 will be available on from April 2- May 12, 2018. Late applications will not be accepted.

Where: Leavine Family Racing will host Camp 95 in their shop in Concord, NC.


Winning the pole at Martinsville (Va) Speedway and getting the all-important first pit stall at the 0.526-mile short track, is the first goal for Martin Truex Jr., who has captured the No. 1 starting spot at the last two NASCAR Cup Series races.

“It’s all about that first pit stall at Martinsville,” Truex said. “Everybody wants that one – it’s a big advantage to qualify on the pole there. Hopefully we can do three (poles) in a row.”

It’s not out of the question for Truex and his No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota to win the pole on Saturday for Sunday’s STP 500. He has had five top-three qualifying efforts in the last six races at Martinsville, including the pole at the 2016 fall race, and second in last year’s fall race.

Though Truex feels that Martinsville is a head-spinning, befuddling track, he has had some recent success there with four top-10 results in the last six races, including a runner-up finish in October.

“Racing at Martinsville is like being in a cage match all day long, constantly fighting with the guys,” Truex stated. “You can never get away to settle down and relax. It’s a real battle to run 500 laps there. It’s taken me a long time to figure out the tiny tendencies on how to drive Martinsville.

“We’ve been working on the techniques for the unique track the past couple of years. We’re learning and have been close lately. We’ll continue to focus on the things we do well there and try to figure out the things we need to do better at.”

Truex, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is coming off of his first win of the season with a dominating performance Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. His margin of victory at the 2-mile track was 11.685 seconds.

The California win lifted the Mayetta, N.J. native into first place in the driver point standings. He also leads the series in the following categories: finishing average (6.6), average running position (5.84), top fives (4) stage points (60) and poles (2).

After getting wrecked late in the Daytona 500 and finishing 18th, Truex has bounced back with four consecutive top fives – fifth in Atlanta, fourth in Las Vegas, fifth in Phoenix and first in Fontana.

“For us, we come out each and every week to win,” Truex noted.  “If we can't do that, we try to get the best result we can.  So far it's going well, we’ve had a strong start.”

Truex’s career record at Martinsville includes, 24 starts, three top fives, eight top 10s, one pole and 240 laps led.  His average starting position is 14.7 and average finishing position is 19.6.


In April 2016, Kyle Busch headed to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to make his 22nd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.


Until that point, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) had previously posted nine top-five finishes in his previous 21 starts at Martinsville, but a win had eluded him. The previous day in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Busch has captured the first grandfather clock trophy of his career, then looked to bring home his first Sunday Cup Series win to complete his first weekend sweep at Martinsville.


That day, not only did the M&M’S Caramel driver capture the long sought-after grandfather clock trophy in Cup Series competition, but he did it in dominant fashion by leading a race-high 352 of 500 laps. Since that April 2016 race weekend, Busch has shown his strength at NASCAR’s shortest track. He’s led a total of 810 laps in his past four Martinsville starts and has finished fifth or better in his last five races there. That includes a pair of Cup Series victories in the last four races contested at the Southern Virginia short track, where NASCAR began racing back in 1948. Busch’s second career Martinsville Cup Series win was the most recent race there last October, when he led 184 laps en route to locking himself into the Championship Four playoff finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


Martinsville was a much bigger challenge for Busch earlier in his career, especially during his early years racing under the JGR banner. In fact, Busch finished outside the top-10 in three of his first four races there with JGR in 2008 and 2009. By contrast, Busch has scored seven top-five finishes in his last 10 Martinsville starts with his worst finish being 15th.


Since his disappointing start to the season with a 25th-place finish at the Daytona 500, Busch has been a model of consistency, posting four top-10 finishes, including three consecutive top-threes in which he has come so very close to victory. While he currently sits second in the standings, Busch hopes to keep the momentum rolling from not only his last four outings this season, but from his last four visits to Martinsville as he aims to turn those strong finishes into victories.


So as Busch heads back to Martinsville for Sunday’s Cup Series STP 500, he hopes to collect another grandfather clock at the Southern Virginia short track that is quickly becoming one of his best.



StarCom Racing is happy to announce it will head to Martinsville and Texas with a new sponsor and driver for the #00. Landon Cassill will field the USFRA Chevy Camaro.

The United States First Responders Association (USFRA) is a non-profit, professional and social network of fire, EMS, rescue, law enforcement and military personnel, as well as civilian support teams. USFRA brings together professionals from many diverse fields to strengthen safety initiatives, share knowledge and expertise, develop enhanced training programs, and combine efforts to maximize community outreach/ education programs. They are one of the few national nonprofits that embrace all aspects of first response. Like USFRA on Facebook and Twitter and check them out at and Landon Cassill will pilot the #00 for USFRA. Cassill has 230 starts in the Monster Energy Cup Series and garnered many solid finishes with a variety of teams. SCR and Team Manager, Derrike Cope, are excited for what’s in store for the team in the coming weeks.

“StarCom Racing was privileged to acquire a new partnership with USFRA and Landon Cassill behind the wheel. I’m optimistic that his knowledge and experience will only help our efforts as well as the growth of our team,” says Cope.

“I love working with new teams. I feel like that is one of my strengths. StarCom Racing looks like they are in it for the long haul, and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” comments Cassill.

StarCom Racing PR

Kasey Kahne and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) finished 24th at Auto Club Speedway after a frustrating beginning to the weekend in Fontana.

The team did not get much out of the first practice session on Friday, due to mechanical issues. Later that day, 13 cars did not pass qualifying inspection in time. The No. 95 Camaro ZL1 passed, but due to other cars failing and re-entering the inspection line, the clock expired, and the team was not able to make a lap, relegating Kahne to a 34th place starting spot for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 per NASCAR’s rulebook. Saturday brought optimism to the team, as Kahne was 14th fastest during the second practice session.

At the start of the Auto Club 400, Kahne was one of the biggest movers, settling quickly into the Top-25. Within the first 10 laps, Kahne told the team the car was free-handling. It was not until lap 27 that Kahne made his first green flag stop for an adjustment. The stop came with a slight miscommunication on the adjustment, but fortunately did not affect Kahne’s driving very much.

When the first caution came out on lap 38, Crew Chief, Travis Mack, decided to roll the dice and take the wave around, putting them back on the lead lap. Kahne reported he was able to handle the No. 95 WRL Camaro ZL1 much better.

As the field went back to green, Kahne raced until the end of the stage, finishing 23rd. He pitted once again for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment under caution.

Kahne started the second stage in 24th, making his second green flag stop on lap 89 for another wedge adjustment. The first caution of the second stage happened on lap 108. Mack made the call to take the wave around for the second time. With seven laps remaining in the stage, Kahne restarted 22nd, where he would go on to finish the second stage.

Kahne began the final stage in 21st and reported he was much better overall when a caution came out on lap 128. Mack made the call to stay out, and Kahne led the field to green on lap 131 before falling back on old tires.

The team made their final green flag pit stop on lap 157 for tires and fuel. The field remained green until the end, with Kahne crossing the line in 24th.

“We really just battled not having any speed the whole race,” said Kahne. “It never really got better, but it also never really got worse. We just dealt with the same thing the whole race. We will get ready to go to Martinsville.”

Next up for Kahne and LFR is Martinsville Speedway, where they look to focus their efforts on the first short track race of the 2018 season.