Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (17692)

Denny Hamlin won a wild Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday by surviving two NASCAR Overtime attempts en route to his second Kansas victory. Hamlin, the 23rd-place starter, sat eighth in stage one and claimed stage two in his No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and led 51 circuits.

The win comes one week ahead of Martinsville Speedway – a track where Hamlin holds five career victories at.

“Yeah, I love where we are at, no doubt about it,” said Hamlin. “I cannot wait to get to Martinsville. This week was just supposed to be a fun week for us, kind of check things out and make sure that we are good once we get down the road as we get to other tracks and I’m pretty happy about where we are at.”

The win did not come easy for the Virginia driver as he survived two overtime attempts with pressure from Chase Elliott and teammate Kyle Busch right on his back bumper.

With two laps remaining, Bubba Wallace and Matt Tifft tangled in turn two, drawing the sixth caution flag of the day. Tifft continued and finished 25th while Wallace was done for the day in 35th.

Just before Hamlin took the white flag as the leader, a five-car incident involved Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Daniel Hemric on the frontstretch. Suarez and Hemric days were done while the other three continued.

“It’s step-by-step, week-by-week,” Hamlin continued. “We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We concentrate every week as if it’s the most important one, and this win here shows that.”

Hamlin, who led 153 of the 277 laps, will leave the 1.5-mile Kansas oval with five wins, 17 top five and 21 top 10 finishes in 32 completed events.

Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in second after starting the afternoon in 14th. The No. 9 Chevrolet led the field for four circuits and sat 0.128 seconds behind the race winner.

The Georgia native will leave the track with his 11th top five and 15th top 10 finish in 2019.

Kyle Busch, piloting the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, will leave with the third spot. Busch, a native of Las Vegas, finished fifth in stage one and 10th in stage two and entered the afternoon looking to score his fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Kurt Busch and William Byron rounded out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Alex Bowman and Clint Bowyer were eliminated from the Playoffs.

Moving on into the Round of Eight will be Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott.

The next race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be October 27th at Martinsville Speedway. The First Data 500 will air live on NBCSN at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Atlas Roofing Ford Mustang will line up 22nd for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Menard turned a lap at 176.410 miles per hour in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, his best lap of the weekend so far.
 
Menard’s qualifying position may not be the best indicator of the team’s performance on Sunday as he was seventh fastest in the opening practice with a best lap at 175.308 mph. In Happy Hour he was 11th fastest with a best lap of 176.367 mph, and his speed in his best 10 consecutive laps was seventh on the speed chart.

Menard and his Wood Brothers team have turned in some strong runs at Kansas in the past. The Woods have four top-five finishes in 19 starts with a best finish of second in 2004 with Ricky Rudd driving.

Menard has a best finish of third in 2012 and five other top-10s including a sixth-place finish last fall.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 is set to start just after 1:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on NBC.

WBR PR

After Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 took a sharp turn with 16 laps left, Brandon Jones sped away on two straight restarts to collect his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in a race that ended with Playoff drivers Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick brawling on pit road.

Jones stretched his advantage after a restart on Lap 196 of 200, with first Chase Briscoe and then Reddick giving chase. Jones held off both pursuers and crossed the finish line .272 seconds ahead of Reddick, with Briscoe .623 seconds behind the leader.

“My foot was literally shaking on the accelerator on that last lap,” Jones said in Victory Lane. “I’m not even sure if I was wide open at the time that I was doing it. There was a lot of nerves and a lot of emotion going through my mind, but I saw it coming, and I was pretty pumped.”

Contact from Reddick’s Chevrolet forced Custer into the outside wall after the final restart, and Custer dropped to 11th at the finish. After both drivers exited their cars on pit road, Custer approached Reddick to voice his displeasure, placing a hand on Reddick’s shoulder.

Reddick responded with both hands to the collar of Custer’s firesuit, and the drivers fell to the pavement while grappling, only to be separated by crew members.

“I put my hand on him, and he just went berserk,” said Custer, who led a race-high 85 laps and won the second stage. “I thought we had a good car. I thought we had a chance to win.”

“If he puts a hand on me, I’m going to put a hand on him back,” Reddick said. “That’s just how it’s going to be if we’re having a conversation that way… It was just the heat of the moment—we’re pissed off. I’m sure we’ll talk about it here soon, maybe today, tomorrow.

“I obviously didn’t want to get into his quarter panel, but if I lift, I get passed. I hate that it happened to him, but we’ll try to move forward.”

Briscoe was leading, with pole winner and series leader Christopher Bell right behind when the two drivers closed fast on the No. 0 of Garrett Smithley on Lap 184. Smithley steered toward the top of the track and pinched Briscoe’s Ford into the outside wall.

With no room to maneuver, Bell plowed into Briscoe’s car, sending Bell’s No. 20 Supra sliding across the infield grass with major damage to the right front. Briscoe recovered to run third, after his crew replaced the rear bumper cover on his No. 98 Mustang, but Bell had to settle for a 12th-place finish.

Bell, however, retained the series lead by 11 points over Custer and 12 over third-place Reddick, as the “Big Three” remained comfortably above the cut line for the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Justin Allgaier ran fifth and is fourth in the standings, two points ahead of Briscoe.

Austin Cindric’s championship hopes took a severe blow when the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford tangled with the No. 18 Toyota of Harrison Burton on Lap 70. After an intense exchange of positions moments before, Cindric tagged the right rear of Burton’s car, turning it sideways.

But Burton remained in Cindric’s path, and both cars sustained damage when they collided in the middle of the track. Burton retired with a broken right front suspension. Ultimately, with a succession of unscheduled pit stops, Cindric finished 25th, six laps down, and dropped to eighth in the Playoff standings, 30 points below the cutoff for the Championship 4.

Jeremy Clements, Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek, Ryan Sieg and Ross Chastain finished sixth through 10th, respectively.

Daniel Hemric may be out of the Playoffs and out of his ride at Richard Childress racing next year, but that didn’t stop the driver of the No. 8 RCR Chevrolet from winning the pole position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

In Saturday’s time trials for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 elimination race, Hemric covered the 1.5-mile distance in 30.329 seconds (178.047 mph) to earn the top starting spot, not to mention his first career Busch Pole Award, by .035 seconds over second-place David Ragan (177.842 mph).

“Yeah, it’s pretty special,” acknowledged Hemric, who recently learned he would not be retained by RCR next year. “I kind of just feel crazy. I got out of the car, and I thought I’d be maybe fifth to eighth but, man, these guys on this Caterpillar Camaro ZL1 have done a great job all year of no matter what’s thrown at us, kind of just rising to the occasion and showing back up at the race track every week ready to work.

“And with all that going on, there’s so much going on around us, that you can get lost in the distraction of things. But to know these guys have continued to have my back through all that stuff has meant the world to me. So congratulations to ECR (Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines) and RCR. They’ve been doing a great job for us all year. It’s cool to be the guy to steer it around the line there and get the quick time.”

Ryan Blaney, who qualified third at 177.754 mph was the top Playoff driver on the grid. Blaney is already locked into the Round of 8 in the Playoffs by virtue of last Monday’s victory at Talladega. Brad Keselowski (177.667 mph) will start fourth beside his Team Penske teammate.

Dover winner Kyle Larson earned the fifth starting spot in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Blaney, Keselowski and Larson are the only three Playoff drivers to earn top-10 spots on the grid. Two-time Kansas winner and Playoff contender Martin Truex Jr. will start 11th in the top-qualifying Toyota.

Other Playoff contenders qualified as follows: Chase Elliott 14th, Alex Bowman 16th, Kyle Busch 18th, Clint Bowyer 21st, Denny Hamlin 23rd, William Byron 25th, Joey Logano 29th and Kevin Harvick 40th. After three inspection failures, Harvick was not allowed to make a qualifying run, and car chief Robert Smith was ejected from the track.

“I have to pass a lot of cars,” Harvick said. “It is what it is at this point. You just go out and try to strategize and plan what you can and try to pass as many cars when you can at the beginning and go from there.”

Talladega wasn’t good to Chase Elliott.

As a matter of fact, it was so unkind that it left the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ reigning most popular driver in a probable must-win situation in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Last Saturday, Elliott won the pole for the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega. From that point on, however, the weekend went south in a hurry. Despite starting up front, Elliott failed to collect points in the first 55-lap stage of the race.

Three laps from the end of Stage 2, he was caught up in a 10-car wreck. Again, no stage points. Though Elliott recovered to finish eighth in the event, third best among the Playoff contenders, he left Talladega 22 points below the cut line for the Round of 8—the residue of a blown engine early in the opening Round of 12 race at Dover.

“I knew that, after we didn’t score any points in that first stage on Sunday, that we pretty much needed to win that second stage and probably finish in the top five to still be in the points situation to points our way through,” Elliott said.

“We knew then that we were going to be in trouble. After we crashed coming to the end of the second stage, we pretty much knew our fate was going to be to have to win the race or win at Kansas. It didn’t work out at Talladega, but we have an opportunity here, and we just have to embrace that. Hopefully it works out.”

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Alex Bowman and William Byron are in the same leaky boat. Bowman is 18 points out of the last Playoff-eligible spot, currently held by Joey Logano. Byron is last among the Playoff drivers in 12th place, 27 points behind Logano.

The odds are that the three Hendrick drivers at best are competing for one spot in the Round of 8.

“Obviously, one of us could make it through, and the rest of us couldn’t,” Elliott said. “So there’s definitely more at stake. I’m not really sure it changes how we do things, though. I feel like our weekly routine has been the same all year long. It’s going to stay the same.”

CLINT BOWYER HAS POSITIVE MOJO TO COUNTERACT RUN OF BAD LUCK

The good news? Clint Bowyer just signed a one-year extension to drive the No. 14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

And he’s racing at his home track, Kansas Speedway in the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

On the flip side, Bowyer enters Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in 11th place in the Playoff standings, 24 points below the current cut line for the Round of 8.

Accordingly, Bowyer likely must win on Sunday to stay eligible for the series championship. It was a bad turn of luck that put him in dire peril of elimination.

For two stages, last weekend’s race at Talladega was going well. In fact, Bowyer picked up his first stage victory of the season in the second 55-lap stage. But on Lap 153 of 188, Bowyer spun in Turn 3 with a flat tire, and his car came to rest on the apron, unable to move.

By the time Bowyer’s car was liberated by a push from a safety truck, he was two laps down, leading to a 23rd-place finish and as a result a large deficit in the points. At Kansas, however, there’s still hope.

“We have a lot of positive mojo going on,” Bowyer said. “That sucked last week. The thing that bummed me out the most was that I finally felt like we had some things going our way. All summer long, it’s been one crummy thing after another of just a letdown. A strong run only to be let down with something crazy happening. I thought we had that shook off, but I will be damned if I wasn’t stuck on the apron. I didn’t see that coming.

“Out of 1,000 things that I could have wrote down of possibilities of what could happen and keep us out of this thing at the Talladega wild card race, being struck in the apron—not in the grass but  on the apron—would not be one of them. Then going two laps down because nobody could push me was another thing that wouldn’t be on the list. Yes, I am a little bitter about last weekend, but there’s nothing but pulling into Kansas Speedway and worrying about what is in front of us.”

 

BRAD KESELOWSKI THINKS VERSATILITY IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS AT KANSAS

Playoff driver Brad Keselowski isn’t a consummate dirt-tracker, but he believes that sort of mentality may be necessary to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Kansas offers multiple racing lanes, and Keselowski expects the race winner will have to be able to negotiate all of them.

“To win the race on Sunday, you’re going to have to be able to be good in all the lanes,” said Keselowski, a two-time victor at the 1.5-mile track. “When you catch lapped traffic and get in dirty air, you’re going to lose so much speed that, if you can’t find another lane to run in, you’ll get passed by someone behind you.

“You need to be good in all the lanes, and we were able to do that here in the spring (when Keselowski picked up his second win). It’s hard to do, because the cars drive differently in all the lanes. The cars have really big splitters on them, and they’re very sensitive to how high off the ground they are. One of the biggest things that impacts them is the load off the corners. When you run different lanes, the aerodynamics change dramatically and the handling changes. You can have a car that is really loose on the bottom of the track and maybe be really tight on the top of the track.

 

KANSAS SPEEDWAY PAINTS PIT WALL TO RAISE AWARENESS OF OVARIAN CANCER

The teal-colored pit wall at Kansas Speedway was not lost on Sherry Pollex, Martin Truex Jr.'s longtime girlfriend. Pollex reacted to the paint job on Twitter.

"Can't get over how amazing this is!!!" Pollex posted. "Thank you @kansasspeedway for the teal walls to raise awareness for #OvarianCancer!!  Looking forward to seeing everyone Sunday!"

The teal walls had special meaning for Pollex, who has battled the disease since her diagnosis in 2014. Pollex and Truex also have raised substantial amounts of money for children with cancer through the activities of the Truex's foundation.

In any Playoff, says defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano, every driver will face a moment of truth.

Logano’s may have come on Monday at Talladega Superspeedway, where he recovered from early damage to finish 11th in a race that had devastating consequences for a handful of other title contenders.

Then again, the crucible for Logano may be Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Yes, Logano left Talladega holding the last Playoff-eligible position by 18 points over Alex Bowman, but, as others have learned, leads can be fleeting.

And if a driver in the bottom four happens to win on Sunday, Logano could be the odd man out. That’s why he’ll be trying to protect his advantage as well as trying to catch Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, whom he trails by two points, as insurance against a potential knockout blow.

“At some point, no matter what during these Playoffs, you will be in a do-or-die moment,” Logano said before Friday’s opening practice at Kansas. “Even if you have the most smooth nine races you can have, and you get to the Championship 4, when you go to Miami, it is do-or-die. You win or you are out. You will always be put in these situations, and I feel like as a team we’re pretty strong in these situations.

“I feel confident. I feel good about this week. I feel prepared and I feel like this is a good race track for us in the past. We’ve won a couple of times here. After Vegas… we had a really, really fast car there and a car capable of winning for sure. This is a similar race track to that now with this 550 (horsepower) package the way it is. I feel good about that. It’s still going to be a crazy race and going to be very intense on restarts.

“I think everyone, if you re-watch the race from the spring here, this is maybe one of the best races of the year now here in Kansas. The restarts are just insane, where everybody goes and tries to make passes on that curved front straightaway. It is going to be crazy for sure out there. You have to make sure you can control what you can control—the restarts and making sure you don't get any damage and things like that. Outside of that, you just do your job, and you’ll be just fine.”

 

ALEX BOWMAN NEEDS ANOTHER RALLY TO ADVANCE IN CUP PLAYOFFS

With a second-place finish on Sept. 29 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, Alex Bowman did just enough to advance to the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

But even if Bowman should match the runner-up result he posted in the spring in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it might not be enough to stay in contention for the championship.

After wrecking out of last Monday’s rain-delayed race at Talladega, Bowman comes to the elimination race at Kansas 18 points below the cut line for the Round of 8 in the Playoffs and likely needing a victory to advance.

“I think if you had to pick a track for us to run well at and it wasn’t Chicago, it would probably be here,” said Bowman, who collected his first win in NASCAR’s premier series earlier this season at Chicagoland Speedway. “I feel like we’re really confident coming into here.

“But, at the same time, it’s just tough. We’re in a bigger hole than we were going into the ROVAL by quite a bit. We’re there against last year’s champion (Joey Logano); he’s the next guy in front of us. It’s going to be tough. To make it without a win, would take a lot to happen, I feel like. So we’re just focused on going out and hopefully getting a win.”

That doesn’t mean Bowman will try to change his approach at Kansas.

“I feel like when you try to step your game up or change what you’re doing, you end up making mistakes and not executing well,” Bowman said. “We’re kind of business as usual. Obviously, our 1.5-mile program is our strongest program. We were really strong here in the spring. I feel like we’ve only gotten stronger since then.

“We have a great race car here, and we just have to go execute. Obviously, it’s not an optimal point situation. But all we can do is all we can do. We’re pretty much in a must-win situation. That’s tough, but if we don’t make it, the sun is still going to come up on Monday. If we have a good day and still don’t make it, we were a Talladega away from making it. That’s just part of the sport.”

 

HAULER ACCIDENT DOESN’T SLOW NEW HIRE ROSS CHASTAIN

Talk about an up-and-down week.

On Tuesday, Kaulig Racing announced the signing of Ross Chastain to a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series deal for the 2020 season.

Two days later, the Kaulig transporter carrying the No. 10 Chevrolet Chastain was to drive in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) wrecked in McDowell County in western North Carolina.

The primary race car was destroyed in the crash. Even though Chastain has run only four Xfinity races for Kaulig this season as he competes with Niece Motorsports for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series title, the team remained committed to getting him on the track at Kansas despite the setback.

Accordingly, Kaulig stepped up the work on the car intended for Texas Motor Speedway two weeks hence and brought it to Kansas for Chastain to drive.

“The terrible thing that happened two days ago doesn’t slow them down,” said Chastain, who will team with current Kaulig driver Justin Haley next year. “Our guys worked 30 some odd hours straight to get this car ready.”

The work was effective. Chastain was third fastest in opening Xfinity practice on Friday and seventh on the speed chart in the final session.

Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson visited with patients undergoing chemotherapy at AdventHealth Cancer Center Shawnee Mission in advance of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Busch, the former NASCAR Cup Series champion, will drive the AdventHealth No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Kansas Speedway. The car is accented in pink for breast cancer awareness and features Nicole Boxx as the honorary crew chief, with her name on the passenger side of the car. Boxx was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early forties, after a routine mammogram. She celebrated five years cancer free this month.

“I encourage every woman I meet to get her annual mammogram,” said Boxx. “My cancer was small and in an area where it would have been many months before it would be felt with a breast exam. Women are often distracted by taking care of everyone around them, but I hope seeing pink in October and seeing the pink on the No. 1 car will remind women to take care of themselves.”

Boxx joined Busch and Larson as they visited with cancer patients on Friday. The drivers then unveiled the car to Boxx and her family, friends and coworkers.

“It’s an honor to drive this special car recognizing Nicole and all breast cancer survivors,” said Busch. “The women in my family are the bond that keeps our lives together, and I’m happy the Chip Ganassi Racing team and AdventHealth have partnered on this initiative to remind women to take time for themselves and schedule their annual mammograms.”

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission is offering 3D mammograms for $30 throughout October 2019. This limited-time pricing will make it affordable for women who may not be covered by insurance to receive preventive screening. Annual mammograms are recommended for all women beginning at age 40, and earlier for women with higher than average risk of breast cancer.

“Every October we see a sea of pink to remind us that early detection for breast cancer saves lives,” said Bettina Lowe, MD, Medical Director of AdventHealth Shawnee Mission NAPBC Breast Program. “This year it was important to us at AdventHealth Cancer Center Shawnee Mission that we went beyond pink in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month to really make an impact on women’s health in Kansas City.”

For women whose mammograms are covered by insurance, they can also choose to donate $30 to the Women’s Services fund at AdventHealth Foundation Shawnee Mission to support vital health care services – including mammograms – for underserved women in the community.

CGR PR

NASCAR today announced that it has successfully closed its acquisition of International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”), merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The new company will remain based in Daytona Beach, Florida and will continue as NASCAR. As part of this process, ISC has been delisted from NASDAQ.

In leading the new, combined company, Jim France will serve as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with Lesa France Kennedy as Executive Vice Chair. Steve Phelps has been appointed President and will oversee all operations of the merged entity.

“The merger of NASCAR and ISC represents a historic moment for our sport,” France said. “There is much work ahead of us, but we’re pleased with the progress made to position our sport for success. Delivering for our race fans and partners is job number one and we look forward to doing that better than ever for years to come.”

The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans.

“This sport has meant so much to our family and we are committed to leading NASCAR through this next chapter of growth,” said France Kennedy. “Combining the two companies will allow us to capture the best aspects of both operations. Our stronger organization will allow us to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities to grow the sport over the next decade plus.”

As part of the new organization, the Board of Directors will consist of France, France Kennedy, Mike Helton and Gary Crotty, Chief Legal Officer. Phelps’ direct reports will represent executives with deep industry experience, including Ed Bennett, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer; Jill Gregory, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing and Content Officer; Craig Neeb, Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer; Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer; and Daryl Wolfe, Executive Vice President & Chief Operations and Sales Officer. In addition, Helton and John Saunders will serve as senior advisors under the new leadership structure.

“With great racing across all of our series, an exciting 2020 schedule on tap, and the Next Gen race car in development, we are better positioned than ever before to lead the sport into a new era of growth,” said Phelps. “We have a strong, experienced leadership team in place with incredibly dedicated employees at every level throughout our organization. Our best days are ahead of us and our new organization is going to allow us to better deliver great racing to our fans everywhere.”

Advising NASCAR on this transaction were Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC as exclusive financial advisor and Baker Botts L.L.P. as legal counsel. Dean Bradley Osborne Partners LLC served as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as legal counsel to the ISC special committee. Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP served as legal counsel to ISC and BDT & Company served as financial advisors to the France family.

NASCAR PR

Seven-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson will highlight the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend during the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Johnson will wear the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which honors five charities working to improve K-12 public education during the race.  In addition to the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, a number of Cup competitors and Xfinity drivers will help raise awareness for the Foundation by sporting a specially designed TeamJJF strip on the visors of their respective helmets. 

 

In support of the Foundation’s efforts, the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet will feature a special decal to recognize the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Ally Fueling Futures.  The “Ally Fueling Futures” program introduces teens to motorsports careers and money basics and debuted at Michigan International Speedway in August.

 

“It’s really exciting to be able to promote the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend,” said Johnson. “Chandra (wife) and I are so grateful to Ally for allowing us to highlight the foundation, to Blue Bunny for sponsoring the Helmet of Hope program for the 8th time, and all of the drivers participating in the TeamJJF visor campaign. Thanks to the generosity of our partners and the NASCAR community, we are able to provide much needed financial support to some outstanding non-profits and schools through Foundation programs.”

 

The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate and vote on not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education.  Each of the recipients was also awarded a $25,000 grant and a Blue Bunny Ice Cream party.

The 5 recipient charities are:

 

● Art With a Heart in Indianapolis

● High Mountain Youth Project in Ruidoso, New Mexico

● Immigrant Family Services Institute in Roslindale, Massachusetts

● Lakeshore Elementary School PTA in San Francisco

● Pilot Light in Chicago

 

At the conclusion of Sunday’s 400-mile race at Kansas, participating drivers will sign their TeamJJF branded visors. The signed visors will be available in an online auction to raise funds to support K-12 public education. Participating drivers include:

 

Cup Drivers:

Aric Almirola

Alex Bowman

Clint Bowyer

Chris Buescher

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

William Byron

Landon Cassill

Matt DiBenedetto

Chase Elliott

Erik Jones

Corey LaJoie

B.J. McLeod

Michael McDowell

Ryan Preece

David Ragan

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Daniel Suarez

Matt Tifft

Martin Truex Jr.

Bubba Wallace

 

Xfinity Drivers:

Christopher Bell
Chase Briscoe
Joey Gase
Gray Gaulding
B.J. McLeod
Vinnie Miller
Matt Mills
Garrett Smithley

 

Drivers Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman will donate visors for the auction.             

 

In addition to the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, the Foundation operates the Champions Grant program, which provides cash grants to schools in the Johnson’s hometowns and where they currently live; and Team Up For Technology, a $48,000 technology makeover open to schools nationwide.

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