Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16875)

Jack Roush has experienced more than his share of success in his 23 years of racing in NASCAR. Having won championships on every level, while accumulating over 280 wins, it stands to garner plenty of attention when Roush says that he feels better heading into the 2011 season, than he has any other year.


“I’ve felt the best about this season than any year that we have been racing in the 23 years preceding it,” said Roush.


“I think that we could very easily dethrone Jimmie (Johnson). Certainly we have the cars for it, we have the drivers for it and we have the crew chiefs for it. I don’t anticipate a problem with an engine deficiency this season, and I don’t think I’ve got an aerodynamic deficiency. I think I have great people and I’m sure we have great drivers.”


Roush Fenway struggled at times during the 2010 season, but stormed back diligently, winning three of the 10 Chase races, including the last two and placing three teams in the top six of the final standings.


“The things that happened to us last season that were good, we understand what those things were and we are prepared to accentuate and perpetuate those things. The things that were bad, we understand and have identified those things and we are not going to do them again.

“We’ve built all new cars for all of our Cup programs,” added Roush. “Every Cup program is going to have a new chassis with a new aero look and new suspension or re-thought suspension considerations. We have a stronger-than-ever commitment from Ford and after 110 years Ford is still hanging in there for technology and vehicle support.


“We’ve realigned our engineering staff, separating the simulation engineering from the bread-and-butter mechanical, electrical or aerodynamic system, and look to improve how it works or prove that the validity of the design that you have.

 

“We’ve got that going on in one group and then the simulation going on in another. Of course, Chip Bolin is the new manager for the simulation coordination, and Tommy Wheeler has taken the conventional engineering things going forward. I’m real excited about that. We think that’s a new look that’s going help us.


“Robbie Reiser and all the guys at the shop have worked very hard in the off season and we can’t wait to show up at the track and see the fruits of that work. We think we’re in good shape for 2011.”

Roush and his team will see its first action of the season this weekend in the all-star event Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 12). Roush will have three cars in the Shootout (No. 16, No. 17 and the No. 99). The regular season kicks off next week with the running of the famed Daytona 500 (Feb. 20).

 

RFR PR

 


Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines will pay tribute to the life and legacy of the legendary Dale Earnhardt throughout 2011 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.

Commemorative No. 3 decals will adorn all eight of RCR’s race cars, transporters and pit boxes. ECR employees will wear special ECR/No. 3 hats at the track throughout Speedweeks while RCR employees will wear special RCR/No. 3 hats February 18.

“All of us at RCR and ECR are honored to pay tribute to Dale on this 10th anniversary,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines. “His legacy is still felt every day at RCR, ECR and throughout the world. We hope all of Dale’s fans appreciate this salute to their hero and ours.”

The No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet has been adorned with a small No. 3 decal since Kevin Harvick assumed the driving duties of RCR’s former No. 3 Chevrolet in the second race of the 2001 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season after Earnhardt’s passing at Daytona on February 18, 2001.

 

RCR

The best piece of news that Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith received during the offseason was that he qualified to participate in NASCAR's traditional opener - the Budweiser Shootout, scheduled for Saturday night (FOX), 8 p.m. ET.
When NASCAR released the new qualification criteria in mid January for the non-points, 75-lap, 187.5-mile race at Daytona International Speedway, Smith was on the list of eligible drivers based on his status as a former NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year (2008). It will mark the first time in Smith's Cup career that he will compete in the Budweiser Shootout.
"I was both surprised and ecstatic when I heard the news," said the 27-year-old Smith. "The Budweiser Shootout is not only a prestigious event, but also an excellent opportunity to get our Furniture Row Chevrolet dialed in for the main show -- the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20). Actually, it's a morale boost for the entire team to be involved in the race instead of watching it on television or on top of our hauler."
The thought of starting a new season for Smith and the No. 78 Denver, Colo.-based team brings on optimism, optimism and more optimism.
"The slate is clean and I am sure all of the teams head into the new campaign with high hopes," stated Smith. "Our higher-than-normal excitement level is based on how we progressed throughout the 2010 season, especially during the final 10 races. We also understand that racing can be a cruel sport and knock you down just when you think you have all the pieces of the puzzle in place. Right now all of our attitudes are nothing but positive."
The 2010 season started off slow for Smith, which was expected since he only competed on a part-time basis for Furniture Row Racing the previous year. But with a new competition staff, led by crew chief Pete Rondeau and competition director Mark McArdle, the team steadily improved and turned heads during the stretch run, which saw Smith post three top-13 finishes in the final seven races. He also qualified in the top 10 in the last three races.
"We had a good offseason and are raring to go," said Rondeau, who took over the crew chief role in May of last year. "I have a good feeling -- the potential is there to be more successful than last year. I'm an even keel type of person, and what we need to do is to continue to stay focused and not get ahead of ourselves."
The Budweiser Shootout will be conducted in two segments of 25 and 50 laps with a 10-minute break between segments.
FRM PR

No long shots, no dark horses. All limbs remained unoccupied.

The NASCAR media corps played it safe in the annual NASCARMedia.com preseason poll, picking five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson to win his sixth title – and come one short of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time.

But here’s the thing: Past polls suggest that the press often goes for the long shot. Last year was the first time the media picked Johnson in any of his championship seasons.
Clearly, the voters – 125 in all – learned their lesson.

Said Johnson, “Finally! Although I guess they picked me last year. I just hope they are right again.”

Rounding out the top 10: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.

During its stop in January’s Charlotte Media Tour, NASCAR announced that the 11th and 12th positions in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup would go to the two drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they were in the top 20 in points.

The media’s picks for those two spots: Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth. McMurray would have earned a “wild card” nod last year if the new rule were in place.

NASCAR PR

Country music singer/songwriter Laura Bell Bundy will perform at the 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway.  Bundy will perform a pre- and post-race concert in addition to the National Anthem for the non-points star-studded NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

Bundy will perform three songs prior to the Budweiser Shootout on the Pre-Race Stage as well as the National Anthem, which will be carried live on FOX. After the checkered flag waves on the 75-lap race, Bundy will perform a 60-minute post-race concert from the Sprint FANZONE Entertainment Stage.

Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access holders will be able to view the pre-race concert from the tri-oval grass while all ticket holders will have access to the post-race concert, which will start in the Sprint FANZONE approximately 30-minutes after the end of the race.

After a successful run on Broadway, Bundy has been a rising star in the country music scene with the release of her debut album “Achin’ and Shakin’ ” in the spring of 2010 with hit singles such as “Giddy On Up” and “Drop On By.”

On Broadway, Bundy originated the lead role of Elle Wood in the Broadway music “Legally Blonde,” for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She also originated the role of Amber Von Tussle in the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical “Hairspray” and played Glinda in the smash hit “Wicked.”

Offstage, Bundy has appeared in films including “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” “Life with Mikey” and “Jumanji.” She appeared in the 2006 film adaptation of “Dreamgirls” as well as in television with a recurring guest stint on the hit CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother.” Last December, Bundy co-hosted the red carpet at the American Country Awards with Charissa Thompson and Michael Waltrip on the Speed Channel.

“The addition of Laura Bell Bundy to what already promises to be a great night of racing on the high banks is a tremendous win for our fans,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “NASCAR’s best drivers will compete for the first time on the newly paved surface, and Laura’s great performances will book-end an unforgettable night at the ‘World Center of Racing.’ ”

The Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR’s season-opening non-points event, is the climax to a racing doubleheader.  The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is set for 4:30 p.m. followed by the Budweiser Shootout at 8:10 p.m., which will feature former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, a host of former outstanding rookies and a collection of previous winners at Daytona International Speedway.

 

DIS PR

 


With a goal of adding more value to a Saturday race ticket, Dover International Speedway will move NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying to Saturdays for the 2011 season. The new qualifying session will split NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Saturday morning and a 200-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the afternoon during both May 13-15 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2011 race weekends.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying will be begin at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 and at 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011.
Fans at the track on Fridays will get to see nearly five hours of practice between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. A Friday ticket will also include admission to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying and the “Lucas Oil 200” race on May 13, or NASCAR K&N Pro Series East qualifying and the season finale race on Sept. 30.

“We hope by making the move to Saturday, more race fans will be able to see NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying,” said Denis McGlynn, president & CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “I think the change will be welcomed by fans who can’t always take off on weekdays. The new schedule will certainly allow for the drama to build throughout the weekend, with practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and the big race on Sunday.”

New for 2011, Dover has increased the age and reduced the price of junior tickets for those 14 years old and under to just $8 for Friday and Saturday events. The $8 ticket applies to both general admission and reserved seating sections for NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events. Special youth and family ticket packages are available for Sunday as well.
Dover Motorsports

Standing front and center during JTG Daugherty Racing's team meeting, Bobby Labonte shared his beliefs on what it takes to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Labonte based his dissertation on winning the 2000 championship and made sure his new team understood that it is not just about winning races and a championship, but the journey itself to get to that point. The 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner embarks upon a new journey with JTG Daugherty Racing when he straps into the No. 47 Kroger Toyota backed by Kleenex for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 20th.

“You have to remember to enjoy the journey,” Labonte told his team. “That's something that I wish I would have done a better job of when I won the championship in 2000 with Joe Gibbs Racing. I remember coming home after winning the championship and calling people to go celebrate, but everything was back to normal. Not long after, Mr. Gibbs told me that it's not just about winning a championship, but it's about the journey that gets you there. The same thing applies to winning our first race together. We have to have communication, focus and passion. The performance will come with that. We need to remember to enjoy it each step of the way.”

Labonte has won some significant races on the circuit like the Brickyard 400 and Coca-Cola 600 for instance, but a Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy is missing from his case. He came so close in 1998 battling the late Dale Earnhardt crossing the finish line second. 

“I've finished second there, finished in the top-five a few times, won the pole, won a Gatorade Twin 125 (1999) and I even ran my first go-kart race there when I was 16,” Labonte said with a smile. “For me, it would mean a lot to win. I have been fortunate enough to win some big races, but that's the one that is missing. It would be really cool to have that trophy.”

Before the Daytona 500, Labonte leads JTG Daugherty Racing into their first-ever Budweiser Shootout. It was recently announced that Reese Towpower® will sponsor the No. 47 Toyota for the 33rd annual event on Saturday, February 12.

“We have Reese Towpower® on our Toyota Camry for the Bud Shootout, which I enjoy running because it's a great race,” Labonte said. “It gets you warmed up and ready to go for the rest of Speedweeks.”

The 75-lap event will give Labonte a glimpse of what to expect of the newly paved 2.5-mile tri-oval. Labonte and his No. 47 team were one of the first teams to try out the new surface during a Goodyear tire test in December at the “World Center of Racing.”

“It's going to be more of hooking up with the right person, getting pushed at the right time, being in the right lane at the right time and be more of a chess match than a handling situation,” Labonte said. “The new asphalt will take the handling character out of the track that has been there ever since I have been going there. It's not going to come down to handling like in the past.”

This weekend FOX will air the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, February 12th at 8 p.m. ET. The next day, Daytona 500 qualifying presented by Kroger starts at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. Then the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday, February 17th to determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500 airs on SPEED Channel beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Live pre-race coverage of the Daytona 500 begins Sunday, February 20th at noon ET on FOX with the race following approximately one hour later. Check local listings for practice times as well as other NASCAR programming leading up to the Daytona 500.

 

JTG Racing PR

With a victory in the Daytona 500 on February 20, Jeff Gordon would join Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough as the only drivers to win “The Great American Race” at least four times. He would also join the pair as the only drivers to win NASCAR’s “Super Bowl” in three different decades.

Petty’s record of seven Daytona 500 wins and Yarborough’s total of four

occurred in the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s. Gordon won two Daytona 500’s in the ‘90’s (1997 and 1999) while another occurred in the ‘00’s (2005).  

But the 39-year old enters the new decade with a new crew chief, Alan Gustafson, and a new team, formerly the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team. Tests in December and January have given the new pairing a chance to gel.

“I’ve known Alan for a number of years – working with him through our debriefs,

and conversations about setups and just racing in general,” said Gordon, who has six wins, three poles 12 top-fives and 18 top-10’s in 36 starts at Daytona. “I love his intensity and I love the direction that he’s taking the team.

“Just the fact that the tests went well I think was important for us. With a new team and a new crew chief, getting off to a good start is fantastic.

“I can already sense the chemistry with this team that no matter what happens at Daytona, we’ve got some really good things happening for us this season.”

Along with the new team, Gordon’s No. 24 will also have a new look this year. While the familiar DuPont “fire and flames” paint scheme will still be visible at 14 events, Drive to End Hunger – a cause-related sponsorship – will be the primary sponsor of the No. 24 Chevrolet in 22 events starting with the 2011 edition of Speedweeks.

“I think it’s pretty well known through the work I do with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation that I enjoy working with organizations that do great things and want to give back,” said Gordon. “The AARP Foundation and The Drive to End Hunger campaign that they have, to me it just makes sense and I’m really excited about representing them.

“I’m also happy we’re able to continue our existing relationships with DuPont and Pepsi Max.”

But change in the offseason was not limited to the No. 24 team. Daytona was repaved and the 2.5-mile Florida track is now comparable to its “sister” track, Talladega Superspeedway, according to Gordon.

“We’ll most likely see the two-car breakaways at Daytona like we see at

Talladega,” said Gordon, who holds the record for most restrictor-plate victories with 12. “I don’t think we’ll have these breakaways during the entire race but, more than likely, it’s going to come down to these two-car breakaways at the very end.

“It’s about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about having the right guy to push or to push you. There’s a lot of chance that comes into whether you can win the race or not.

“I hope we have a fast race car. I feel confident that we will and I hope we can put ourselves into position to battle for the win.” And join Petty and Yarborough in the history books.

 

 

 

Martinsville Speedway has been hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races ever since the sport began in 1949 and to win a race on this half-mile paperclip requires a fast car, quick reflexes, and good pit strategy. A little good luck doesn’t hurt either.

On April 9, 2000, Mark Martin had all of those on his side as he became the eighth different winner in as many races and gave Ford its 500th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory by winning the Goody’s Body Pain 500.

“I feel like we stole it,” said Martin afterwards. “We were making some pretty good laps, according to my team, at the end. I didn’t want to lose, so I held on like a mean dog because I wanted it. I ran hard and nobody came. I thought they would all come and pass me, but I never saw anybody. I don’t know what happened, but we just won the race.”

Ford’s Rusty Wallace had the field covered most of the day. Even when he had a tire go down putting him two laps behind, he was able to make up the deficit and regain the lead. He was cruising and appeared headed to his second win of the season until a crucial decision with 65 laps remaining.

Jerry Nadeau spun bringing out the 15th caution of the day and Wallace decided to pit, along with most of the other frontrunners. Martin and Roush Racing teammate Jeff Burton, however, pitted 24 laps earlier and decided to stay out for track position. That move turned out to be the call of the day because two more cautions followed, allowing Martin and Burton to stay in front of the pack and finish first and second, respectively. Wallace, who led a race-high five times for 343 laps, ended up getting spun with 11 laps to go and finished 10th.

“I guess we were probably running about eighth and were chancing losing some spots because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pass those guys that stayed out,” said Martin. “You know, when you’re not running that great and you don’t really have a chance, it’s a lot easier to take chances and gamble than when you’re a contender. When you’re a contender, you’ve got to hedge your bet. You’ve got to really try to make sure you do the right thing.

“We had 16-17 cars on the lead lap and I was about halfway to the back of that line,” continued Martin. “I wasn’t going to go forward, so why not? I had to believe that they were going to stop before the end of the race because that was a long way to go, so we stopped and got our work done. It was just a matter of chance and brilliance on Jimmy Fennig’s part. I figured Rusty would be coming for sure. I never saw the lead, but I thought he was the man all day and I figured he’d just bounce right up through there and a bunch of others with fresh tires.”

While Martin was enjoying his good fortune, Wallace was obviously second-guessing himself.

“I really thought with 70 to go we needed to put tires on to get position and go,’ he said. “I didn’t think a bunch of them would just stay out like they did. I got behind and my car pushed and I just couldn’t get back around them. Track position is everything in the world nowadays and we should have just stayed out. I think we had the best car out there all day long. It was a real hot-rod and it’s just unfortunate. That’s all I can say.”

It was a banner day for Ford, which won for the fourth time in eight races and had six drivers finish in the top 10. And what made Martin even happier than winning was getting to take home one of the most coveted and unique trophies in the sport – a grandfather clock that the speedway has been awarding to Cup winners since 1964.

“I’m just glad I built a nice trophy case back at my office and I’ve got something to add to it besides a Busch trophy,” he said. “My wife has nagged me about one of those grandfather clocks for 10 years.”

 

Ford Racing

 


Reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley will perform the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show, the pre-race extravaganza leading up to the start of “The Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 20. The Daytona 500 will be broadcast live on FOX, with pre-race coverage beginning at Noon and the race starting at 1 p.m. EST.

Paisley, who has 18 No. 1 hits, three Grammy awards, 14 CMA Awards, 13 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, will perform three songs prior to the start of the 53rd annual Daytona 500 – the season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the biggest stock car race in the world.

All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the Daytona 500 will be able to view Paisley’s Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show as well as the driver introductions from the grass tri-oval area.

“It’s only fitting to have one of the biggest country music superstars perform prior to NASCAR’s most prestigious event,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Brad Paisley. Race fans are going to experience an exhilarating show that will only add to the excitement and pageantry that surrounds the Daytona 500.”

Paisley’s innovative and entertaining H20 World Tour played to over 879,000 fans in 2010 and placed #1 country tour for attendance by Pollstar.  Paisley’s next album, This Is Country Music will be in-stores this spring.

Paisley joins a long list of star-studded names that have performed in the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show such as Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey.

In addition to his Daytona 500 Pre-Race Concert, a special ticket package designed around Paisley has been created that includes a Daytona 500 ticket, Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access and VIP area access to Paisley’s performance. Packages start at $154.

For more information on tickets for the 53rd annual Daytona 500 and Sprint FANZONE /Pre-Race access, race fans can go online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

 

DIS PR

 


No major sporting event is complete without the opportunity to tailgate with friends and family prior to the start of the game, or in this case, NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race – the Daytona 500.

Today, Daytona International Speedway announced new opportunities for fans to enjoy one of sports’ greatest traditions – tailgating – in the infield of the “World Center of Racing” for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20.

For $50, Daytona 500 grandstand ticket holders can purchase an infield parking space for their car/light truck in one of two Infield Tailgate Zones located inside the legendary infield of Daytona International Speedway.

The Infield Tailgate Zone package provides six tailgate zone admissions and a parking spot for tailgating before and after the Daytona 500. In between tailgating, race fans can enjoy the first “Great American Race” on the newly paved racing surface from their frontstretch grandstand seat.

To purchase an Infield Tailgate Zone package, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

 

DIS PR

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