Monster Energy Cup Series News (16875)
David Ragan on Kansas
20 Starts | 1 Top-10
Best Finish: 8th
"Going back to a mile-and-a-half track at Kansas, I think we'll be able to take a lot of our 2019 notebook and apply it this weekend. I know we've been able to see speed there in the past, and I'm confident that Seth and everyone in the shop will be able to put together a great car for us. We've got Mystik Lubricants on the car this weekend, and we'll see them a few more times throughout the season, so I'm looking forward to welcoming them on and off track.”
Spire Motorsports is pleased to announce primary sponsorship from OilFire Rye Whiskey for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway where rookie Quin Houff will steer the team’s No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., OilFire Rye Whiskey is America’s First Seductive Handcrafted Spirit. Fueled by a vision and passion to bring inspiration and innovation to the flavored whiskey market, OilFire’s handcrafted secret sauce results in defining each consumer’s individual palate, ensuring that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.
Rooted in family legend, the proprietary OilFire blueprint is inspired by the famed Oklahoma oil boom of the early 1900s. After the original family recipe was lost over time, OilFire Founder, Chairman and CEO Ken Williams, a CPA and investment banker, championed the effort to recreate his family’s secret recipe to share with clients, friends and family. The result was a smooth, refined flavored rye whiskey that pleases the most discriminating preferences.
While not at all unfamiliar to motorsports, the Digital Ally 400 will mark OilFire’s first foray into MENCS competition.
“When we took a look at how we’re marketing OilFire Rye Whiskey, it was important to identify with our current footprint but still focus on growing the brand outside the state of Oklahoma,” said Williams. “We think the NASCAR fan and race fans in general, are individuals of legal drinking age who enjoy a premium rye whiskey. Those are consumers who we want to interface with. When Spire Motorsports presented the opportunity to showcase OilFire in prime time on Saturday night, we made our decision fairly quickly.”
Saturday night’s 400-mile classic will mark the fifth start of Houff’s MENCS rookie campaign. Spire Motorsports has competed in all 11 MENCS races in 2019. The Mooresville, N.C., team has fielded an entry for six different drivers including Houff, Jamie McMurray, Garrett Smithley, Reed Sorenson, DJ Kennington and Justin Haley.
“We’re thrilled to add OilFire Rye Whiskey to Spire Motorsports growing list of sponsors,” explained Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr. “We’re always pleased to bring new sponsors into the NASCAR space and introduce them to the most brand-loyal fan base in professional sports. Ken and Amber Williams have created a vibrant and dynamic brand. They’re committed to growth and marketing OilFire to a loyal, of-legal-drinking age demographic. Collectively, we all think this is a perfect fit. We’re eager to host them at Kansas Speedway and show them what the sport can do to support that growth. Quin is an exciting, energetic young driver who will do a great job for OilFire on the track.”
The Digital Ally 400 from Kansas Speedway will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, May 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 12th of 36 races on the 2019 MENCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Spire Motorsports PR
After a successful debut event last year, Leavine Family Racing (LFR) will hold the team’s second annual Fan Fest event on Friday, May 24th, from 1:00pm ET to 4:00pm ET at the team’s facility located in Concord, NC.
LFR’s new driver for the 2019 season, Matt DiBenedetto, as well as the team’s new crew chief, Michael Wheeler, will both be on hand during the event to sign autographs for fans from 2:30-3:30pm ET that afternoon. In order to receive an autograph, fans must have a wristband, and 100 wristbands will be distributed starting at 1:00pm ET on May 24th. (please note that overnight camping is NOT allowed at our facility). The team’s owner, Bob Leavine, will also be on-site to meet with the fans and take photos from 2:00-4:00pm ET.
The team’s shop is located at 6007 Victory Lane, Concord, NC 28027. Parking for the event will be on the grass lot directly across from the team’s shop, and gates will open for the event at 1:00pm ET.
This year’s Fan Fest will also feature:
· new Toyota vehicles including the all-new Supra
· a NASCAR Heat gaming set-up which will allow fans the chance to meet and compete with LFR’s two eNASCAR Heat Pro League drivers Josh Harbin and Nicholas Vroman
· A tire changing simulator competition where fans will have a chance to win a Bluetooth speaker from Procore based on their top times
· WSOC 103.7 FM live on-site remote broadcast with Tanner
· Speedway Harley-Davidson motorcycles and giveaways
· Gift bags and prizes from Procore (to the first 100 fans in attendance)
· Prizes from Dumont JETS
· Taco samples from Tijuana Flats
· Pizza from Cici’s Pizza
· A K2 Cooler giveaway
· Exclusive Matt DiBenedetto and LFR merchandise for sale on-site
The event is free to attend.
In the 1955 film “Oklahoma!,” there’s a song that starts out, “I went to Kansas City on a Friday, by Saturday I learned a thing or two.” The film got rave reviews from the New York Times and won two Academy Awards.
For Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), that line pretty much sums up his trips to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for the annual spring Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series night race. He practices and qualifies on Friday, learns a thing or two, then runs really well on Saturday.
Last year, Harvick started on the pole, led 79 laps and went on to win the 400-mile race. Let’s face it – he loves racing at Kansas.
Harvick has a series-high four poles, three wins, three second-place finishes, eight top-threes, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 751 laps in his 26 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.
His lap of 27.304 seconds at 197.773 mph on Oct. 3, 2014 during qualifying for the Hollywood Casino 400 set the Kansas track record that has yet to be broken. In fact, it was his own track record he broke at the 1.5-mile oval that day, bettering his previous mark of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 mph set on May 9, 2014.
One of the reasons Harvick likes Kansas is because he is one of only three drivers who have participated in every NASCAR Cup Series race there. The other drivers who have started all 26 Cup Series events at Kansas are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
One thing Harvick does not have in 2019 is a win. He is third in points and has five top-five finishes and eight top-10s in 11 races. But the whole point of racing at the top level in motorsports is to win races.
And, for Harvick, there is no place better to win than Kansas. For, as the band Kansas sings – “Carry On My Wayward Son.”
And lead us to victory lane.
No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer used his driving skill, daring, marketability, hard work and a lot of natural talent to become a 10-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, as well as the 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.
To hear Bowyer tell it, he also had a huge advantage growing up with parents Chris (Pops) and Jana Bowyer, who were as important to their son’s success as anything else in his career.
“We grew up in Emporia, Kansas, but sometimes we raced motorcycles in Oklahoma and Texas and all over the place,” Bowyer said. “My parents owned a tow-truck business together and raised three boys. We always raced. We always traveled up and down the road in a motorhome. That’s what we do for fun – that’s what we’ve always done for fun. We raced together as a family and that’s our vacation.”
One of his favorite childhood memories was in Oklahoma, when his mother took charge of making the racers look presentable.
“The dirt is red in Oklahoma and all three of us brothers were racing motorcycles and racing two or three classes, and we would be down there for a week,” he said. “It would rain and it was muddy and I remember my mom – she was like the coolest girl in the pits because my dad found her like this miniature washing machine and she was washing all the red dirt out of those clothes and trying to keep everything clean. I had white boots and she was trying to keep those clean.”
Bowyer said living with him, Pops, and brothers Casey and Andy wasn’t always easy for Jana.
“When you live with four guys, you’ve got to be tough,” Bowyer said. “She’s a tough ol’ farm gal and she’d lay you out in a heartbeat if you needed it. She was every bit that girl. You didn’t cross Mom (laughs). She’d bust you in the mouth.”
Bowyer has a new appreciation for Jana and Pop’s dedication since he and wife Lorra started a family that includes Cash, 4, and Presley, 2. Clint and Lorra are active in their kids’ lives. Cash is already wheeling a mini-go-kart around the family farm, and some afternoons the Bowyers are in the motorhome lot at NASCAR tracks pitching a tennis ball to Cash, who’s a first-year baseball player.
Being a parent gave him a new appreciation for his parents.
“I remember how hard my parents worked to get us to the races and, once you are there, ‘oh my gosh, it is a lot of work,’ Bowyer said. “Now that I am older and have kids, it is hell for a parent. I couldn’t imagine having three kids racing all these different classes and having to keep track of that and when to be up there. We slept in an old, 40-foot motorhome.”
The Bowyer family returns to Kansas this week for Saturday night’s 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, then celebrate Mother’s Day with Jana and Lorra on Sunday.
Other than winning the Daytona 500, a Kansas victory might be the highlight of Bowyer’s career. He owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 21 starts at Kansas.
“I love Kansas, it’s home,” said Bowyer, who finished ninth Monday at Dover (Del.) Speedway and moved to 10th in the standings. “But, there’s been something about that track I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe Saturday night we’ll put it all together.”
Sunday’s Mother’s Day plans could be in jeopardy if he does put it all together Saturday night.
“I’ve said before that if we ever win at Kansas, I probably wouldn’t be in very good shape for Mother’s Day,” he said with a laugh. “We would probably have to postpone that to Monday. It would be huge to win at home and finally seal the deal after all this time. It would be ultra-special. This is where all my family and friends and people who helped me get to where I am today all live, in the area, and it would be cool to celebrate that with them. I think probably everybody would have an open invite.”
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) is proud to feature a paint scheme aboard the No. 95 Toyota Camry this weekend at Kansas Speedway highlighting Digital Momentum and HubSpot. The paint scheme is a partnership between the organizations to announce a brand-new digital marketing event that will take place in Chicago, Illinois this June.
In partnership with Digital Momentum, LFR launched a digital marketing program in 2018 to augment their business development efforts. Sponsorship sales is a consistent challenge for all in racing, and the team discovered what many sales and marketing professionals in other industries are also experiencing. That is, traditional sales and marketing tactics have become less and less effective, and it is harder and harder to achieve positive sales and marketing outcomes while delivering a solid return on investment. Ultimately, this is why the team decided to take a not-so-traditional approach to tackling a traditional problem and partnered with Digital Momentum on an inbound marketing strategy.
The content-driven digital marketing approach is anchored by the LFR Partner Blog; a new section of the team’s website where the team regularly publishes content about NASCAR sponsorship. Here, prospective sponsors – or those just interested in learning more about the space – will find blog posts on topics such as: what a sponsorship costs, different points of entry into a NASCAR sponsorship, and the importance of activation.
“Digital Momentum has provided us with a unique method to generate leads through HubSpot and their inbound marketing approach,” stated Jeremy Davidson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Leavine Family Racing. “The tools we utilize from Digital Momentum and HubSpot allow Leavine Family Racing to stand apart from our competition, all while providing value and sharing helpful content around our industry.”
The idea for this partnership – and the centerpiece event adjacent to the Chicago NASCAR race in June – grew organically out of the groups’ work together over the last few months. The event, produced by Digital Momentum and co-sponsored by LFR and HubSpot, is an opportunity for businesses to learn how they can #growbetter in the digital age. In an era where buying behavior has changed dramatically, it is imperative that businesses modernize their marketing machine, or risk being left behind by the competition.
“As a certified HubSpot agency partner, one of Digital Momentum’s goals is to educate, enlighten and inform organizations about the benefits of a digital marketing strategy rooted in the inbound methodology”, said Chuck Tate, President of Digital Momentum. “This partnership with LFR provides a platform for us to spread that message to a wide audience, while at the same time, showcasing how inbound tactics can be coupled with traditional outbound activities to level up your sales and marketing game.”
The panel of industry-expert speakers assembled for this half-day event will be anchored by Dan Tyre, Sales Director at HubSpot, and an original member of the HubSpot team. Representatives from LFR will also be there to share their experience and what they’ve learned on their digital marketing journey. For more information and to register to attend this event, for free, visit: https://digmo.co/
The No. 95 Digital Momentum/HubSpot Toyota Camry will make its debut on the track this weekend at Kansas Speedway in the Digital Ally 400 on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The race will begin at 7:30pm EST on May 11th and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.
A quick look at the win column so far in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season shows at least one thing is clear – Kyle Busch has had a nose for victory with three wins in the first 11 races contested.
Furthermore, as Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Saturday night’s Cup Series Digital Ally 400, he’ll not only have an excellent shot at bringing home his fourth win of the season, but at the very least continuing a top-10 streak that dates back to November of last season –13 races in a row.
With his top-10 finish in Monday’s rain-delayed race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Busch tied Morgan Shepherd’s Cup Series modern-era record set in 1990 with 11 straight top-10 finishes to start the season. However, anyone who knows Busch also is aware he’s never content with just bringing home a top-10. His clear goal is to win every race he can. So as the series heads to Kansas, there was a time not long ago when Busch’s goal was to simply finish the race there.
The 1.5-mile oval was built in 2001 and originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns. But it underwent a massive renovation project leading into its October 2012 event. The changes included repaving of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.
To say that Busch didn’t take well to the new surface would be quite the understatement. From October 2012 to 2013, he had three consecutive DNFs (Did Not Finish) there, with accidents ending his day each time, for final results of 31st, 38th and 34th.
Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface, Busch and his M&M’S team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked Kansas with the hopes that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result and effort was much different than the three previous trips. Instead, they were competitive enough to turn the corner in terms of results.
In the October 2014 Cup Series race, Busch brought home his first-ever top-five finish at Kansas. Again, the 2015 Cup Series champion has never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum kickstarted by his first top-five at Kansas in October 2014 has remained to this day. Finally, with the surface starting to wear, Kansas has become a place much more agreeable to Busch’s driving style as he has six top-five finishes and eight top-10s in his last eight starts there, including his first Kansas win coming two years ago in this very race with the M&M’S Red Nose Day scheme adorning the No. 18 Toyota.
Busch’s special M&M’S Red Nose Day scheme marks the fifth year in a row M&M’S has partnered with Red Nose Day to help children in need, with the aforementioned Kansas win sporting the M&M’S Red Nose Day scheme back in 2016 adding to the celebrations over the years. M&M’S is donating more than $1 million to the Red Nose Day Fund to ensure children in need are safe, healthy and educated, both in the United States and around the world. Fans can join the Red Nose Day fun by picking up a Red Nose at local Walgreens stores and sharing a picture on social media channels using the hashtag #NosesOn.
As he and the Cup Series head to Kansas for Saturday’s race under the lights, Busch will bring his (red) nose for victory and, if he succeeds, he would leave with his second career Cup Series win in the Heartland of America and fourth of the season, which would greatly solidify his spot on top of the point standings and his early season playoff outlook.
Quaker State, the iconic motor oil with a more than 100 year history, is launching a national fan vote to determine which throwback paint scheme will be featured on NASCAR’s No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Mustang driven by Paul Menard. The paint scheme will be the primary paint out on Menard’s car at the ninth annual Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway.
Fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite paint scheme from three famous Quaker State cars including:
- No. 11 Quaker State race car, driven by Steve Kinser in 2005, 20th World of Outlaws Championship
- No. 27 Quaker State Lola, driven by Eddie Cheever in 1996 (Fastest Indy 500 lap Ever)
- No. 26 Quaker State Buick, driven by Ricky Rudd in 1988 (Quaker State’s first NASCAR win)
Quaker State has been involved in some of the most memorable moments in motorsports, with some of the most recognizable names in the sport. Quaker State developed a video to put a spotlight on the three paint schemes that fans can choose from. The video is hosted by former Quaker State crew chief, Larry McReynolds.
Fan voting is open now through June 1st.
Race fans can vote for their favorite paint scheme for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford Mustang to be driven by Paul Menard by visiting Quaker State’s Facebook or Twitter pages:
If there’s something Martin Truex Jr. knows about – it’s making the best of a good challenge.
Throughout his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career he’s been dealt wild cards and managed to play them to success. On Monday, he won the rain-delayed Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway after having to start from the rear after multiple inspection failures – his second rained-out Cup Series win at the track. And there is some important symbolism here – through the dark clouds Truex has emerged – again.
Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy Series title with a small independent team in Furniture Row Racing based in Denver, Co. - 2000 miles away from NASCAR’s Carolina hub. That team ceased operations following the 2018 season and Truex landed fortuitously at Joe Gibbs Racing. High expectations have followed the former champion to the multi-championship JGR team. And only 11 races into the new gig, Truex and his longtime crew chief Cole Pearn have apparently answered any questions about the transition – earning two victories in the last three races and hoisting a special golden trophy this Sunday at Dover.
If they can win a championship – and dominate a season – competing for a small, single-car team based two time zones away from the rest of the sport as they did in 2017, imagine the possibilities with the Gibbs team. And with two wins in the last month, those championship vibes turned up a notch.
“We’ve had some really strong race cars at a lot of race tracks but for a lot of reasons we haven’t been able to show it,’’ Truex said Monday. “We’ve been having issues that set us back. It’s been tough.
“The last couple weeks I just feel it’s execution. We’re doing all the little things right. The pit crew is doing an amazing job getting us track position, keeping it when we have it. Our cars are fast. Hopefully we can just continue to do this.
“It’s a lot of fun to come out here and win races.’’
Truex has seven top-10s in 11 races driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, including a pair of runner-up finishes at Atlanta and Phoenix in addition to his two wins.
And Truex’ work now gives the Gibbs team three drivers with multiple wins not even a third of the way through the season. In addition to Truex, Monster Energy Series points leader Kyle Busch has three wins and their teammate Denny Hamlin has a pair of victories – including the season-opening Daytona 500. Gibbs drivers account for seven of the season’s 11 wins.
“We’re thrilled for this kind of start,’’ team owner Joe Gibbs said. “It’s a big deal for us. As everybody knows in pro sports these things can go and come very quick. The hardest thing to do is to stay up there. That will be our goal for the rest of the year.
“We got off to a good start. New racing package, a lot of new things. Going to tracks, sometimes not really knowing going in what the package is going to be like. Our guys have done a great job adjusting to it.’’
Truex and the Monster Energy Series head west to Kansas Speedway this weekend where he has two wins in the last four races – sweeping both races en route to his 2017 title.
The 38-year-old Truex has been especially good on the 1.5-mile Kansas oval. In addition to his two wins – he won the 2017 fall race from the pole position - he has three runner-up finishes, including this spring race last year when he finished a blink-of-an-eye 0.390-seconds behind winner Kevin Harvick.
Certainly his past success gives Truex great confidence at Kansas, but he reminded everyone on Monday after his Dover race win that success coming through hardship and difficulty is a different, often more intense motivator. And he and his team are demonstrating the possibilities that exist.
“I think it’s real important,’’ Truex said. “I think it’s a credit to our leadership. It starts at the top. It’s all about people. Coach (Gibbs) is a great leader. (Crew chief) Cole (Pearn) is a great leader. I try to kind of play off of them.
“I think Cole and I both do a good job of setting the tone for our team. We have an awesome group of guys that are fired up and excited to be where they’re at, working together, working on this race car.
“They know what we’re all capable of together. That’s what it takes. Hopefully, we can continue to deliver.’’