Monster Energy Cup Series News (15632)
NASCAR heads to the “Entertainment Capital of the World” to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in grand fashion. Las Vegas will be the scene for an action-packed three days as NASCAR’s 16 best drivers and teams of 2018 begin their championship aspirations quest.
To celebrate the start of the sport’s postseason and engage fans, the festivities center around three major events: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Media Day; NASCAR Burnout Blvd Fueled by Sunoco (formerly known as Victory Lap); and a two-day Playoffs Party at Fremont Street Experience culminating in a free concert by platinum-selling recording artist Cole Swindell on 3rd Street Stage. All the proceedings take place before the green flag drops at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 16, when it hosts its inaugural postseason race – the South Point 400 – and NASCAR’s playoff opener at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Race fans will have the unique opportunity to see their favorite cars up close, interact with the sport’s top drivers and take part in a variety of other activities that build momentum and enthusiasm for the historic race weekend. A brief overview of events is below, with more information available online by going to NASCAR.com/playoffs.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Media Day
Playoffs media day will be held Thursday, Sept. 13 at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, and will serve as the first event of the Playoffs celebration. For the first time, a portion of media day will be open to select fans.
NASCAR Burnout Blvd Fueled by Sunoco
Join all 16 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs drivers on Thursday, Sept. 13, as they drive their race cars down the magnificent Las Vegas Strip. NASCAR Burnout Blvd Fueled by Sunoco driver introductions and pre-event pageantry will take place on Las Vegas Boulevard outside Miracle Mile Shops. The procession of race cars will then travel north to Spring Mountain Road where all 16 drivers will take their turn emulating the victory burnouts they hope to replicate during the Playoffs.
Fans are welcome to view the procession along Las Vegas Boulevard, including the pre-event festivities outside the Miracle Mile Shops and the burnout location at Spring Mountain, between Fashion Show and Wynn Las Vegas. NBCSN will have coverage of the event as part of a special two-hour playoff edition of NASCAR America, beginning at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.
NASCAR Playoffs Party
Celebrate the eve of the Playoffs on Saturday, Sept. 15 with stars Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and other NASCAR drivers and personalities at the inaugural Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Party with musical artist and Platinum-selling Ten-time No. 1 rising superstar Cole Swindell. Free to all fans and held at the Fremont Street Experience, the event will feature conversations with drivers and NASCAR personalities. Sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, the Playoffs Party will culminate with a concert by Cole Swindell – the 2015 American Country Music New Artist of the Year award winner who will release his third album, All of It, on Aug. 17.
In addition to Saturday evening’s driver appearances and concert, fans can visit the Fremont Street Experience anytime on Friday and Saturday to enjoy NASCAR partner activations and see all 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs cars.
On-track activity kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where NASCAR's next generation of rising stars will be on display at The Dirt Track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West's much anticipated return to dirt – the Star Nursey 100. Prior to the race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer will be the featured guests at an autograph session at the track.
The event weekend also features two other national series races, including the NASCAR Xfinity Series DC Solar 300 regular season finale Sept. 15 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series World of Westgate 200 Playoffs race Sept. 14.
Every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver deals with pressure, but Clint Bowyer might be under a little more than usual Saturday night in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Since 2017, Bowyer has driven for owners Gene Haas and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as part of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). Driving for Stewart, a future Hall of Fame driver, is one thing, but this weekend Bowyer’s Ford Fusion will also carry the logos of Rush Truck Centers and Cummins Inc.
Cummins’ global headquarters is in Columbus, Indiana – Stewart’s hometown.
“That’s a lot of pressure,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “Not only do I have to continue filling Tony’s seat, now I’ve got his hometown company’s logo on the side of my Ford. He’s going to have high expectations, I’m sure, but it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m glad Cummins has joined us.”
Cummins makes its first appearance on the No. 14 Ford Fusion Saturday night, but it is a household name to most motorsports fans.
Its lineage dates back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 58,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations.
While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines. At Bristol, Cummins will share space on the No. 14 with Rush Truck Centers, the nation’s largest provider of premium products and services for the commercial vehicle market, with the largest truck inventory in North America.
Rush Truck Centers has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states. According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands. Rush Truck Centers wants to make NASCAR fans aware of these opportunities.
Rush Truck Centers and Cummins are accustomed to working with each other. When a Cummins customer is in need of maintenance at a Rush Truck Centers location, RushCare Service Connect automatically provides information to Cummins, expediting and facilitating Cummins support and engagement when necessary. All correspondence is captured and can be viewed on the Service Connect portal, allowing customers and service advisors to see the entire maintenance history associated with any vehicle in the system.
Rush Truck Centers has integrated its RushCare Telematics Solution and its Service Connect platform with Cummins Connected Diagnostics to improve its service program, making maintenance decisions and service tracking easier for shared customers.
Cummins and Rush Truck Centers also help SHR get its racecars to the track each weekend. SHR’s Peterbilt Model 389 haulers are equipped with Cummins engines and RushCare Telematics and supported by the RushCare team, which monitors and reports critical fault codes, vehicle performance and driver habits. This ensures the haulers remain in peak condition while traveling thousands of miles from race to race each season.
Bowyer hopes to put both Rush and Cummins in victory lane Saturday night. Although he hasn’t won at Bristol, he’s often near the front when the checkered flag falls there. He owns seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at Bristol and has led 137 laps in 25 starts. He finished second in this race in 2017, trailing winner Jimmie Johnson across the finish line by 1.199 seconds.
“The Bristol night race is such a party,” Bowyer said. “The fans are right on top of you. They’ve been there all day so, by the time we take the green flag Saturday night, the place is rocking.”
Bowyer arrives at Bristol after a 12th-place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The finish kept Bowyer fifth in the regular-season points race. Bowyer owns the fourth-most playoff points as the season winds down with just three races remaining before the 2018 playoffs.
Playoff time certainly turns up the pressure for the Cup Series drivers. The pressure of driving for one of the businesses in Stewart’s hometown this weekend in Bristol might make for a good tune-up for Bowyer.
Kevin Harvick, in the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) No.4 Ford Fusion reached Victory Lane for the seventh time this year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Harvick swept the Consumer Energy 400 on Sunday with the flawless execution of the No. 4 team, to mark Ford’s 38th win at Michigan and 668 all-time Cup win.
“Congratulations to Kevin, Tony, Gene and the Stewart-Haas organization on the seventh points win of the season,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Kevin and the team ran an unbelievable race. It’s been a great week here in Michigan with the reveal of the 2019 NASCAR Ford Mustang and now to win the 400 and retain the Heritage trophy for Ford Motor Co., it’s just a special deal. Our team, back at Roush Yates Engines, is very proud to be part of this partnership and continue to push toward the Playoffs.”
Harvick started the Consumer Energy 400 in the second row, but it didn’t take long for him to make his charge to the front. After a mid-stage restart, Harvick seized the opportunity to take the lead and set himself up to win the first Stage of the race.
The No. 4 SHR team executed the game plan perfectly to help put Harvick in position to take the Stage 2 win, on his way to leading 108 out of the 200-lap race and take the checkered flag 3.233-second over Ford teammate Brad Keselowski.
Harvick made it back-to-back wins at Michigan International Speedway for SHR, following teammate Clint Bowyer’s win in the Spring.
“Keelan is saving me some work,” said Harvick in Victory Lane. “Usually when I get home the next day we have to mock up a victory lane celebration. For him to be here and able to do that and be a part of NASCAR and bring your son to work and do all the things that we get to do with our kids, I have had him with me by myself the last three weeks and we have had a ball. I couldn’t be happier to be a dad and be a part of NASCAR where they let your family come to the race track and be a part of it.”
Harvick now leads the driver Playoff points standings with 40 points, five points over Kurt Busch in second.
In total six Ford’s finished in the Top-10; Harvick (P1), Keselowski (P2), Ryan Blaney (P5), Kurt Busch (P6), Aric Almirola (P7), and Joey Logano (P10).
On Saturday, at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course, Austin Cindric in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang won his second pole of the year and 10th for Roush Yates Engines this season.
Cindric led a total of 59 out of the 75-lap race and finished second with Ford teammates Cole Custer from SHR finishing seventh and Ryan Reed from Roush Fenway Racing tenth. This coming weekend, NASCAR heads back to Bristol, Tennessee for the second time this season, while the Ford Performance IMSA teams’ race for their fifth straight WeatherTech Sportscar Championship win at VIR and their WEC teammates get back to the track in the U.K for the Six Hours of Silverstone. Reference the full 2018 schedule on Roush Yates Engines.
Bojangles Throws it Back With Derrike Cope at Darlington Raceway & Cassill Pilots 00 StarCom Fiber Chevy13 Aug 2018 Written by Steven B. Wilson
In 1993, former Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope piloted the No. 98 Bojangles’ ride for NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough. Twenty-five years later, Cope and Bojangles’ are joining forces once again, with the respected NASCAR veteran and popular Southern restaurant brand reuniting for a one-race throwback special at the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 2 at 6PM ET. Cope will pilot the Bojangles’ 99 Chevrolet for StarCom Racing.
“Bojangles’ is fired up to partner with Derrike once again for this year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500,” said Randy Poindexter, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Bojangles’. “It is awesome to not only serve as title sponsor for this iconic race, but to also partner with a long-time friend of the brand and one of the respected veterans of the sport. Along with our thousands of team members, valued franchisees and Bojangles’ fans across the nation, we look forward to cheering on Derrike in the Bojangles’ car at the Bojangles’ Southern 500.”
Throwback to 1993, the Bojangles’ partnership started strong right out of the box, with Derrike leading 30 laps in the Daytona 500 before being caught up in a late-race incident. Now in 2018, while many drivers are racing throwback schemes honoring various NASCAR heroes, Cope is racing his own throwback, a tribute to his incredible longevity in the sport.
“I am truly pleased and thankful to be back with Bojangles’ 25 years later! My relationship with Bojangles’ and the people that were there in 1993 is incredible,” said Derrike Cope, StarCom Racing Team Manager and Driver. “There were a lot of promotions to activate Bojangles’ entry into NASCAR. Looking forward to sharing a lot of old memories with the Bojangles’ family."
You can keep up to date with Bojangles’ by following @Bojangles1977 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“We are honored to be partnering with Bojangles’ for Darlington and are looking forward to bringing the 1993 throwback to life on the track,” said William Woehlemann, StarCom Racing CFO. “It’s cool seeing Derrike switch gears from Team Manager to Driver on race weekends and we are definitely looking forward to hearing his back-in-the-day stories this upcoming throwback race!”
To learn more about StarCom Racing, you can follow the team on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat @StarComRacing.
Trevor Bayne had a solid run going in his AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford Fusion Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, before a mechanical issue in the closing laps ended his day early.
Bayne restarted the final stage in the top-20, but noticed an issue with less than 25 to go and ultimately was forced to the garage after making a stop on pit road.
After rolling off the grid 26th, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native advanced up to 20th less than 20 laps in. Following a pair of pit stops, Bayne would end the opening stage 21st, reporting he was loose and needed front turn.
He would restart the second stage in 19th, and following a pair of cautions, concluded the segment in 18th. After the No. 6 team continued to try and tune up the Ford Fusion, Bayne restarted the final stage in 17th. He would go on to pit at lap 140 for tires, knowing they’d need to come back down pit road for fuel before the conclusion of the race.
As pit stops cycled with less than 25 to go, Bayne reported he was losing power in his machine, ultimately bringing him down for service as he rode in the top-10. Following the stop, he was unable to get the car re-fired, forcing him behind the wall for a 34th-place finish.
The 2011 Daytona 500 Champion returns to his home track next weekend, Bristol Motor Speedway, for a Saturday night race under the lights. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and PRN.
In the backyard of Ford Motor Company and Roush Industries, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fifth Third Ford to an 18th-place finish in Sunday’s MONSTER Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Michigan International Speedway.
“We struggled on restarts because it seemed like we always were on the inside lane,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “The guys made a lot of adjustments after final practice yesterday. Overall, our Fifth Third Ford was better during the race. We just couldn’t ever get the track position we needed.”
In the Irish Hills, the two-time Xfinity champion started the 200-lap race in the 13th position but lost a few positions on the start due to getting pinned down in the inside lane. Stenhouse Jr. patiently maneuvered his Ford forward taking the green-checkered in the 15th position at the end of stage one.
With a handful of cautions in stage two and differing pit-strategies, Stenhouse battled with an ill-handling machine that lacked overall grip ending stage two in the 19th position.
When the final green flag waved on lap 143, Stenhouse Jr. was scored in the 13th position where he maintained until fresher tires prevailed costing him to lose a few positions. After the completion of green flag pit-stops, Stenhouse Jr. was able to work his way up to 18th when the checkered flag waved.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 18. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Earn While You Learn/NewFordTech.com Ford ran around 10th place for much of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
But a long, 57-lap stretch of green-flag racing at the end of Sunday’s race worked against the team’s pit strategy and Menard wound up 16th at the finish.
Menard started the race from the 14th position and quickly drove his way into the top 10, where he ran until the competition caution flag was displayed at Lap 25.
A decision to take four fresh tires on his next pit stop, while others had quicker stops by taking just two, put him back to 20th place for the restart. Menard barely avoided a collision on the restart and lost five spots on the track, then rallied to finish the first 60-lap Stage in 19th place despite being cautious due to a vibration late in the run.
“We thought we had a loose wheel but it wasn’t,” Eddie Wood said. “The pit crew did a great job all day.”
Throughout the second Stage, Menard again worked his way into the top 10 before ending that 60-lap segment in 11th place.
He continued to run inside the top 15 until a caution flag flew when Ty Dillon struck an object on the track, hit the wall and dumped oil on the track.
Menard and the Earn While You Learn/NewFordTech.com team elected to stay on the track at that point, while several behind them opted to pit. Then the race ran green until the checkered flag, giving those who did pit an advantage over Menard and the No. 21 team.
One final pit stop in the final segment occurred under the green flag and offered no chance to make a strategy play.
Menard finished 16th but was ahead of the two drivers he’s battling for the final Playoff spot.
Wood said that while his team’s pit strategy didn’t play out the way they hoped it would, there’s no shame in trying something different.
“You have to take chances sometimes,” he said. “It’s hard to make up points if you do the same things everybody else is doing.
“Overall it was decent day with no mistakes and a solid effort by the pit crew.”
Wood also said he was glad to see his team’s friends at Ford Motor Company retain bragging rights among manufacturers due to a Ford sweep of the Cup races at Michigan this year.
“It’s good to see Ford take the Michigan Heritage Trophy back to Dearborn,” he said of the hardware that goes to the winning manufacturer in each Cup series race at Michigan.
Menard remains 17th in the driver standings with three races remaining before the start of the 10-race, season-ending Playoffs.
The team will return to the track this Saturday night for the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.