Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (13625)

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, earned a seventh in the first stage of Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Sonoma Raceway before a persistent overheating condition ultimately led to a 27th-place finish.

“We showed we had speed with our AdvoCare Ford today,” said Bayne after the race. “Every time we could really get going the temps would unfortunately keep getting hotter and hotter which is why we had to come down pit road during that final stage. I hate that we didn’t get the result we deserved but we will rebound form this next week at Daytona where anything can happen and I hope to be out front when it’s all said and done.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 110-Lap event from the 25th position and maintained his track position until an overheating condition due to grass and dirt on the grill of the AdvoCare Ford forced an unscheduled pit stop halfway through Stage 1. An opportune caution just one lap after the stop on Lap 13 proved beneficial, as Bayne was able to stay out on the track while several of the leaders chose to come to pit road. As a result, Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 10th position and methodically worked his way forward in the final laps of the stage to end Stage 1 in seventh, earning valuable stage points in the process.

In between stages crew chief Matt Puccia decided to keep the driver of the AdvoCare Ford on pit road for an extended pit stop in order to further clean the grill of debris. Following the stop Bayne returned to the track for the beginning of Stage 2 in 38th and maintained his track position throughout much of the stage. This was done by design as Puccia devised a plan to have Bayne come to pit road just before the end of the stage so that they could stay out to begin the final stage.

The call paid off as Bayne improved 16 positions by virtue of staying out, moving up to the 19th position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native steadily moved forward during the final stage, driving up to the 16th position despite reporting that the AdvoCare Ford needed help with forward drive on the exits of the right and left-handed corners. Although not handling to his liking Bayne continued to battle for position in the top 20 until another round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 70.

Just eight laps after pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment the Roush Fenway Racing driver was forced to return to pit road as the AdvoCare Ford once again began to overheat. This unscheduled pit stop ultimately cost Bayne a lap to the race leaders.

Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Bayne improved six positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in 27th.


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):

Clint Bowyerstarted 13th, finished 10th to earn one race point.

Crew made air adjustments to all four tires during a pit stop to make the car turn better.

Climbed as high as seventh and overcame a quick spin after contact with Brad Keselowski.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):

Started 25th, finished 31st.

● Suffered significant left-front damage on lap 36 after contact with AJ Allmendinger, who spun in the middle of the hairpin.

● Suffered a speeding penalty on lap 47.

● Made several stops for repairs in the final laps of the stage.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-110):

Started 32nd, finished second.

Started at the back of the field but moved to 22nd in the first 10 laps of the stage.

Made his final stop of the race on lap 69.

Climbed to 10th on lap 82 by turning some of the fastest laps in the field.

Closed within a few seconds of winner Kevin Harvick but never threatened.



● This was the 38th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), its second of 2017 and its second at Sonoma.

●  This was SHR’s second straight win at Sonoma. Last year, SHR co-owner Tony Stewart won the Save Mart 350k to take his 49th and final NASCAR Cup Series victory.

●  This was Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series win with Ford. He became the 83rd different driver to win a Cup Series race in a Ford.

●  Bowyer finished second to secure the third 1-2 finish in SHR history. SHR’s last 1-2 finish came on April 26, 2015 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway when Kurt Busch beat Harvick by .754 of a second.

●  This was Bowyer’s third top-three, seventh top-five and ninth top-10 in 12 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma.

●  Bowyer earned his third top-five and sixth top-10 of 2017 with his second-place finish at Sonoma.

●  Bowyer finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point.

●  There were six caution periods for a total of 12 laps.

●  Twenty-three of the 38 drivers in the Save Mart 350k finished on the lead lap.

●  Kyle Larson leads the championship standings with 659 points and has a 13-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Martin Truex Jr.


Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Ford Fusion featuring Cars 3for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I wish we could do this day over again. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of times. The car was really fast, but she got beat up. The guys fixed it up and we were pretty sporty there at the end. To get second place considering where we came from is pretty cool. We were hoping Lightning McQueen would strike twice, but we still gave him a pretty good run.”



Ryan Blaney piloted the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to ninth place in the Save Mart 350 this afternoon on the undulating twists and turns of the Sonoma Raceway road course.

Blaney qualified the iconic Wood Brothers No. 21 seventh on Saturday and he raced with the leaders all day. Even when he was working from the middle of the pack after pit stops, he was able to navigate his way back into the top 10. He ran as high as second place early in Stage 2.

It was Blaney’s sixth top-10 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

“It was pretty physical out there,” Blaney said after the race. “We had a long green-flag run there at the end. There were some different strategies and we kind of played to the side of if there was a caution at the end we would be in a good spot. That is why we had some of the oldest tires out there.

“We were still able to make moves and pass some cars,” Blaney continued. “That is a good day for us. It is good to end up about where we should have. Where we deserved. A big improvement from last year so that is nice. It is a good run for us and hopefully bodes well for Watkins Glen as well.”

Blaney qualified 26th and finished 23rd a year ago at Sonoma.

A different year and a different story for the second-year Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team driver. He finished Stage 1 of this year’s race in fourth place and seventh in Stage 2, collecting a total of 11 additional stage points.

Blaney was one of five Fords in the top 10 – including the top three – today at Sonoma.

The next stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit is Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.

Ford Performance PR

Austin Dillon Collects Stage Points But Late-Race Spin Wipes Out Top-10 Finish
"The team gave me a great Dow Coatings Material Chevy all weekend and I feel bad for what happened there in the closing laps. We qualified 19th, which was my career-best start at Sonoma Raceway. We raced our way into the top 10 and collected stage points in the first two stages.  After the spin in Turn 11, I had no rear grip the rest of the way. I'm bummed that it happened but I can't say enough about this entire No. 3 team. It was a lot of fun out there." 
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Brings Home 11th-Place Finish at Sonoma Raceway in Tarkett/Menards Chevrolet 
"The guys on this Tarkett/Menards Chevrolet did a solid job working on our car all weekend. It handled well all day and we battled inside the top 10 for much of the race. We knew pit strategy would come into play today and Matt Borland called a great race from the drop of the green flag. We gambled by coming to pit road late and hoping on a caution, but never got one. If we had about three more laps with those fresh tires, we probably could have fought our way into the top 10."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman and the Chevrolet Accessories Team Gamble On a 50-Lap Green-Flag Run Before Finishing 15th at Sonoma Raceway
"It was good to see us run up in the top 10 and earn valuable stage points today in our Chevrolet Accessories car. We started off really loose in Turn 10 and lost some ground but once we had a chance to fine-tune it, we were pretty decent. We thought there might be a chance to gain spots at the end by just staying out because we were good on fuel, but it didn't work out in our favor. With about 20 to go, our tires were pretty much cooked so we just stayed the course and hoped for the best. I had a lot of fun road course racing. I just wish we could have had a better finish. This 31 team did a good job for me and I appreciate Chevrolet coming along for the ride."

- Ryan Newman


In a game of saving fuel and varying strategies on pit road, Kevin Harvick scored the victory in the Toyota Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway.


“I am so excited. I think as you look at it, getting our first win with Ford, this has been a great journey for us as an organization and team. Kurt winning the Daytona 500 and we have run well. Everybody from Bush, Jimmy John’s and Mobil 1, Outback, Hunt Brothers and everybody,” said Harvick. “It is a great day. It finally all came together and we were able to not have any cautions there at the end. Rodney had great strategy and I was able to take care of the car and get out front. I felt like the 78 was the car we had to race and then he had problems and from there we were in control.”


This is Harvick’s first victory of 2017 and his first victory at Sonoma Raceway. Harvick also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race from Sonoma the day before. This is Harvick’s 36th career victory. This is Ford’s 656th win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.


After a spin earlier in the race and a late race charge, Clint Bowyer finished in the second position.


“You get there back in traffic and you’re so much faster than them you have to check up to save a mistake. You run over them and you don’t mean to; you get frustrated and get a little bit farther behind and a little bit farther behind. I saw the 42 check up and I get into him and I was thinking, ‘Well, we’ll both survive this’. And then all of a sudden the 47 was coming through him and I smoked him and hurt the left front,” said Bowyer. “We were fast all weekend. With clean air and an long run, that’s always my strong suit. We got the long run, we just hard to start dead last to get it.”


After pitting from the lead for fresh tires and fuel with 22 laps remaining, Brad Keselowski was able to finish in the third position.


“The Freightliner Ford was really good today. We didn’t have the qualifying fun we wanted. We had amazing race pace. That’s a credit to everyone at Team Penske. It felt really good. I just wish I could run this race again I think I might have had better car than driver today and I learned a lot. Just an amazing fun day,” said Keselowski


Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-10.


There were 13 different lead changes among 10 different drivers. Martin Truex, Jr. led the most laps at 25. The caution flag flew six times for 12 laps.


Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a return trip to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. The race will be on Saturday, July 1st on Motor Racing Network and NBC beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

For the 11th time in 16 races this season, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have qualified seventh or better.

The latest came on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway where Blaney qualified seventh in just his third Cup start on a road course. Last year he qualified 26th at Sonoma and 19th at Watkins Glen, the other road course on the Cup circuit.

 “That is a lot better than where we were last year,” Blaney said. “We were kind of lost last year.”
The sophomore driver said the biggest change since last year is the experience he gained in his rookie season, both in qualifying and the races.

 “You need a lot of finesse, and last year everything was just so fast and I couldn’t slow anything down,” he said. “I think when you get to race at a tough place like this and can sit back after and realize what you need to do different it makes a difference.
“We still have a ways to go to run for poles and wins here, but it is nice to start where we can at least see the front. Last year we couldn’t even see the front.”
 Blaney showed consistent improvement through the practices and qualifying at Sonoma. He was 19th fastest in the opening practice with a best lap at 92.805 miles per hour. He moved up to 17th place in the final practice and increased his speed to 93.422 mph.

 Then in qualifying, he finished 10th in the first round with a lap at 94.704 mph on his second attempt. In the final round he improved to seventh place with a lap at 94.716 mph, his best lap of the weekend so far.
“It is a nice start for sure, and we have a whole race to move up,” Blaney said. “Hopefully we can stay up front the whole race and get this Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion a good finish here.”
Sunday’s 110-lap, 350-kilometer race is set to get the green flag just after 3 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on FS1.


Kyle Larson will start from the pole in Sunday afternoon’s Toyota Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway. This is the first time one team has swept the front row at Sonoma, and the third time in Chip Ganassi Racing in its history has swept the front row.


“I was surprised and I was happy about that. This is cool to get a pole on a road course at my home state. This is my closest track to Sacramento or Elk Grove where I grew up. I have lots of friends and family here. We’re going to celebrate with the team,” said Larson. “The Target Chevy was good. And then we’re going to head out to Calistoga and go watch some Sprint Car racing. So, I’m excited about that.”


As varying strategies played out during the opening round of qualifying, Chase Elliott was fastest at a speed of 95.371 mph. Martin Truex Jr. was second fastest at 95.265 mph. Kyle Busch was third fastest at 95.229 mph. Jamie McMurray was fourth fastest at 95.056 mph Chris Buescher rounded out the top-five with a speed of 95.051 mph. All drivers are able to participate on Sunday due to 38 cars being in the field. Because of an engine change, Matt Kenseth will start from the rear of the field as the team did not post a speed in qualifying. Notable drivers who did not advance to the final round include Clint Bowyer (P13), Denny Hamlin (P14), Kurt Busch (P17), Joey Logano (P18), Brad Keselowski (P23), and Jimmie Johnson (P24)


In the second round, Larson posted a speed of  95.295 mph to start from the pole. McMurray will start from the second position with his speed of 95.204 mph. Truex Jr. will start from the third position with his speed of 94.947 mph. Ky. Busch will start from the fourth position with his speed of 94.939 mph. AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top-five with his speed of 94.821 mph.


Patrick, Blaney, Elliott, Buescher, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-10.


The Toyota Save-Mart 350 will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

After a successful test Friday during a televised practice session at Sonoma Raceway, FOX Sports announces it will feature a driver helmet visor camera in a live MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race telecast for the first time in NASCAR’s modern history during Sunday’s race coverage from Sonoma (3:00 PM ET on FS1).

The “FOX Sports Visor Cam,” several years in development, was tested on Danica Patrick’s helmet Friday afternoon and will remain for its race debut as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver pilots the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion on Sunday. To view Patrick’s visor cam footage from Friday’s practice session, CLICK HERE. The camera offers the most realistic view from the driver’s seat ever available to NASCAR fans.

“FOX Sports owes a huge ‘thank you’ to Peter Larsson and BSI, Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR for working with us to bring about this monumental NASCAR television experience,” said Barry Landis, FOX NASCAR race producer.  “Our in-car cameras are a great platform and are very telling about the sport, but a visor camera moves with the head movement of the driver and is as close to being behind the wheel as we’ve ever seen before. Viewers will get an authentic perspective of what Danica is seeing throughout the race.”

“THE BYRNSIE AWARD” TO BE PRESENTED DURING NASCAR RACEDAY FROM SONOMA -- FOX Sports kicks off its Sunday lineup from Sonoma, its final MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race of the 2017 season, with NASCAR RACEDAY at 1:30 PM ET on FS1.    During pre-race coverage, FOX NASCAR will announce the recipient of the third-annual “The Byrnsie Award.”

In honor of late FOX NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, whose nickname was “Byrnsie,” the award was established in 2015 to celebrate an individual in the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES who embodies principles Byrnes demonstrated daily in his personal and professional life -- preparation, teamwork and family within the garage area.  The winner was selected by Byrnes’ colleagues on the FOX NASCAR broadcast team, of which he was a member since the network’s first race broadcast in February 2001.  Byrnes passed away in April 2015 following a courageous battle with cancer.

Bryson Byrnes, Steve’s son, will introduce the award on-camera from the NASCAR RACE HUB studios in Charlotte, N.C., before the award is presented to the winner at Sonoma Raceway.

SHANNON SPAKE SITS DOWN WITH TONY STEWART ON NASCAR RACEDAY & MORE – Also on Sunday’s NASCAR RACEDAY (1:30 PM ET on FS1), Shannon Spake sits down with three-time champion and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart at his home in Indiana; all five Ford team owners participate in a roundtable discussion with Chris Myers regarding the 2017 season; Jeff Gordon offers a road racing tutorial to Cup Series rookies; a feature on Joe Gibbs Racing’s talent scouting process; and a piece featuring “Junior Nation” fans as he prepares for the final race of his career to be broadcast by FOX Sports.

Sunday’s race telecast from Sonoma Raceway is FOX Sports’ final Cup Series race of the 2017 season.  FOX Sports continues through the remainder of the year with live, exclusive coverage of the entire NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES season.  In addition, NASCAR RACE HUB airs daily on FS1, and NASCAR RACEDAY and NASCAR VICTORY LANE air before and after, respectively, every Cup Series race through the end of the year.  FOX Sports is back in February with live coverage of the 2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES seasons from Daytona.

Fox Sports PR

Fresh off a spectacular NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win at Brands Hatch, Alon Day was impressive in his first ever practice day in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the wheel of the #23 EarthWater BK Racing Toyota Camry.
In his very first time at the wheel of a Cup car and his very first laps on the Sonoma Raceway road course among the best NASCAR drivers in the world, Day closed the final practice session of the Toyota / Save Mart 350 just 1.035 seconds off the best lap posted by Kyle Larson, right in the middle of the pack in 23rd position with an outstanding performance. 
“It was a fantastic first day at the office,” said Day, who quickly found his rhythm despite a fuel leak limiting his track time in the first practice session. “It is unbelievable to be so close to the top, especially knowing where we can gain some more time to possibly put the EarthWater Toyota even higher in the standings. The team has done an outstanding job and I am so excited to have this opportunity with EarthWater supporting me.”
The Israeli clocked his best lap time in 1:16.934 around the 10-turns, 3.2 km Californian road course, half a second from a place in the top-10.
“The NASCAR experience on road courses i gained in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is definitely paying off. I was able to adapt pretty quickly to the Cup car and I found it so funny to drive. I’m having a blast,” said Day. “We will have just a couple of laps to do our best in qualifying and I hope to complete a clean run.”
The Tel-Aviv resident is not setting any specific goal for qualifying, but he’s confident there’s the potential for a very good race on Sunday in the Toyota / Save Mart 350.  Competing at the highest level in NASCAR is a unique accomplishment for Day, who took the wheel of a Cup car just 2 ½ years after his first NWES test, but once the green flag drops there will be no reverential fear.
“Being here is a dream come true. I grew up playing NASCAR video games and just being here is incredible. It his historic for me, for Israel, for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, for everybody. It is an incredible experience and I can’t describe how exciting is to compete drive with so many great drivers. But in the end they are competitors and I can’t wait for the race to try to beat them!” concluded Day.
Saturday’s qualifying session for the 29th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 will go green at 20:45 CET.

NASCAR Euro Series PR