Sprint Cup Series News

Sprint Cup Series News (10816)

EnerSys® (NYSE:ENS), the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications and the manufacturer of ODYSSEY® batteries, recently announced its multi-year extension as official sponsor of Team Penske through 2018.

As official partner of Team Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) programs, EnerSys will equip Team Penske with its ODYSSEY® batteries. In addition, the ODYSSEY® battery logo will be on the b-post of the No. 22 NXS Ford Mustang beginning with the POWERSHARES QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida, on Saturday, February 20.

EnerSys joined forces with Team Penske in 2014, displaying its ODYSSEY® battery logo on the Team’s No. 22 Ford Mustang and outfitting Penske Racing’s state-of-the-art Mooresville, North Carolina headquarters with its ODYSSEY® batteries, chargers and accessories.

“We are excited to continue the momentum of our partnership with Team Penske,” said David M. Shaffer, president and chief operating officer at EnerSys, “and proud to power one of the most successful teams in professional sports today.”

Team Penske is celebrating its 50th anniversary in motorsports in 2016 and looking forward to another banner year. The team is coming off a successful 2015 season with seven wins in the Sprint Cup Series, eight wins in the XFINITY Series and its third consecutive NXS Owners’ Championship.

“We are very pleased to continue building our relationship with EnerSys,” said Roger S. Penske, founder and chairman of Penske Corporation. “Our success depends on a team effort, and we know we can count on EnerSys and its ODYSSEY® batteries to help us perform at our best.”

For more information on EnerSys and its full line of products, systems and support, visit www.enersys.com.

Connect with ODYSSEY® battery on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For more details including upcoming events and how to purchase ODYSSEY® batteries, visit www.odysseybattery.com.


Jimmy John’s already feels like a winner heading to the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.


For the first time in the company’s 32-year history, Jimmy John’s will be the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 21. It is also featured on the hood of 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), serving as primary partner for 20 races in 2016.


The right-rear quarter panel will feature a special message from Jimmy John’s, saying “Thank You America” to all its customers throughout the country. The message is a genuine thank you to the American public for helping make this the greatest country in the world, for allowing Jimmy John’s the chance to serve the country and for making the company a part of each day.


Jimmy John’s was founded in 1983 by then 19-year-old Jimmy John Liautaud, who pursued the “American Dream” as he served up ridiculously fresh sandwiches quicker than you can say “Turkey Tom” – a customer favorite that, ironically, is No. 4 on the menu. Jimmy John’s is all about the freshest ingredients, the fastest service and “Freaky Fast” delivery. While most people are more than impressed with the quality of Jimmy John’s sandwiches, it’s the speed with which they are prepared and delivered that really puts the now Champaign, Illinois-based chain ahead of the rest.


While Jimmy John’s is on the hood for the Daytona 500, Busch Beer will make its official return to racing when its iconic logo appears on Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet during the Sprint Unlimited – the 75-lap, non-points race that kicks off the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Feb. 13 at Daytona.


Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978 when the brand sponsored the award presented to the pole winners of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, known now as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of NASCAR’s stepping-stone division to Sprint Cup – currently known as the XFINITY Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last driver Busch sponsored was Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.


Both Jimmy John’s and Busch have reason to be optimistic as Harvick and the No. 4 team head to Daytona.

As Harvick enters his 16th Sprint Cup season and his third at SHR with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm, he is looking to score his second win in the Daytona 500.  He won the famed Harley J. Earl trophy in 2007 when he beat Mark Martin to the Daytona 500 finish line by 0.020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It was the closest Daytona 500 finish since the start of computer scoring in 2003.


Harvick also has three wins in the Sprint Unlimited – 2009, 2010 and 2013 – tying him for second-most with owner and teammate Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.


In the 2009 Unlimited, Harvick survived an incident-filled race that saw a record eight caution periods and less than half the starting field make it to the checkered flag.


The following year, he joined Neil Bonnett, Ken Schrader and Stewart as the fourth driver in event history to win consecutive races, and he did so driving a backup car he never got to practice, passing Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in a green-white-checkered finish. He was declared the winner when a multicar incident ended the race under caution.

In his 2013 win, Harvick led 40 of 75 laps, dominating the second and third segments en route to his third Sprint Unlimited victory in five years.


If Harvick can score his second Daytona 500 win in the season-opening event on Feb. 22 at “The World Center of Racing,” the No. 4 team would put itself in prime position to secure a 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup berth and put it on a path to race for its second title in three years.


Ford Performance NASCAR History: Sprint Unlimited

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 17:10
The Sprint Unlimited has been run in one form or another since 1979 and will continue on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.  All of the Ford drivers competing in the event – Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – are looking for their first win in the event.  Here’s a look back at some Ford highlights:

Bill Elliott became the first Ford driver to win a non-points event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Feb. 8, 1987 in what was then known as the Busch Clash.  The format that year was a single 20-lap run (50 miles) with no pit stop required.  Elliott, who started on the pole in his No. 9 Coors Thunderbird after a blind draw, fell back to sixth on the start after Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd were involved in an accident on the first lap.  On the ensuing restart, Elliott steadily reeled in leader Darrell Waltrip and passed him on lap eight.  Elliott led the final 13 laps and won with an average speed of 197.802 mph, a record that still stands for the event.  A week later, Elliott won his second Daytona 500.

Taurus made NASCAR history as the first four-door sedan and it wasted no time in opening eyes as Rusty Wallace drove it to victory in its debut race – the 1998 Bud Shootout.  The win was Wallace’s first at Daytona International Speedway and it came with a little help from his younger brother, Kenny, who pushed him across the finish line on the final lap.  Bill Elliott and Jimmy Spencer finished third and fourth, respectively, to give Ford a sweep of the top four positions.

Dale Jarrett won his third Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 7, 2004 in his No. 88 UPS Taurus, which represents the last time Ford has won the event.  The race was broken up into two segments – an initial 20-lap run followed by a 50-lapper to the finish – and marked the beginning of Nextel as series sponsor.  Jarrett and Kevin Harvick were side-by-side at the white flag, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Jarrett the push he needed to complete the pass on the outside going through turn one.  Even though Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray got into an accident on the backstretch, the race finished under green with Jarrett holding off Earnhardt Jr. for the win. 

Ford has won the Sprint Unlimited seven times by five different drivers.  The best stretch for Ford in the event undoubtedly came during a three-year winning streak in which Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett all reached victory lane from 1998-2000.  Jarrett owns three of Ford’s seven victories (1996, 2000, 2004) in the event and on two of those occasions (1996 and 2000) he went on to win the Daytona 500.  As noted above, Bill Elliott was Ford’s first winner in the event while Geoffrey Bodine was next in 1992.

1987 – Bill Elliott
1992 – Geoffrey Bodine
1996 – Dale Jarrett
1998 – Rusty Wallace
1999 – Mark Martin
2000 – Dale Jarrett
2004 – Dale Jarrett

Ford Performance PR

FOX Sports unleashes Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie on unsuspecting Daytona Beach, as America’s favorite family lends the mega-power of the THE SIMPSONS to the ongoing marketing support of the 58th running of the DAYTONA 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 21 (1:00 PM ET).

“Being able to tap into such a recognizable, iconic part of pop culture is an extremely strong asset to be able to draw on,” said Robert Gottlieb, FOX Sports EVP of Marketing. “The SIMPSONS have been a part of the American zeitgeist for decades, crossing nearly all desirable demographics … and, candidly, it’s simply a lot of fun to be able to include them in our ongoing efforts to amplify Daytona Day.”

“Collaborating with FOX and THE SIMPSONS team to have one of America’s most infamous families attend the DAYTONA 500 is the perfect way to mark the 58th running of this historical race,” said Jill Gregory, senior vice president, marketing and industry services at NASCAR. “Coupled with Jeff Gordon in the broadcast booth and the completion of Daytona Rising, this will certainly be a highly anticipated season opener for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on FOX.”

FOX Sports’ 100 hours of programming from Daytona Beach begins Friday, Feb 12, culminating in live coverage of the DAYTONA 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 21 (1:00 PM ET). To view a full list of Daytona Speedweeks programming, please visit: http://foxs.pt/1PUHC8o

To keep up with all the action on Twitter, please follow: @NASCARonFOX, @FS1, @NASCAR, @DISUpdates and the hashtags #DaytonaDay and #DAYTONA500.

FOX Sports PR

NASCAR is Back in Action This Weekend

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:22

It’s been three months since the last on-track activity for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the beginning of the NASCAR off-season. Fans, drivers, and teams have all been counting down to when cars will be back on the track. And now, the wait is over! Speedweeks at Daytona is in full swing, and cars are getting ready to hit the track!

With the start of every season, there are questions about what’s in store, and the 2016 season is no different. Fans wonder whether their favorite driver will make the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Drivers wonder if this is their year to hoist the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. Can Kyle Busch repeat as Sprint Cup Series Champion? Will 2016 be the year Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finally wins his first Sprint Cup championship? How will Chase Elliott adapt to the new series and the No. 24? There are a lot of questions that hopefully will be answered throughout the season.

Some questions will get their answers on Saturday night. The 2016 NASCAR season kicks off this weekend with the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway, where the completed Daytona Rising will debut for the first time. A non-points paying race, the Sprint Unlimited is unique in its own way. With a field comprised of last year’s pole award winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners, former Daytona 500 pole award winners, drivers from the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and 2015 driver’s points, it’s sure to be a wild race among NASCAR’s best. The field is not the only unique thing about the Sprint Unlimited; the format is different as well. Drivers will go all out for 75 laps with a caution at lap 25, breaking the race into two segments. Fans can expect drivers to push their cars and other drivers to the limit as they go for the first win of the year.

The Sprint Unlimited is a good preview of the action that will take place later in the week. This race also allows drivers to have extra time under race conditions in order to prepare for the Can-Am Duels and the biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500. Fans are sure to enjoy this race as NASCAR returns after a three month break.

So, who should you keep an eye out for during the Sprint Unlimited? We have your answer below!

  • Kyle Busch: With the best driver rating of all active drivers at Daytona, Kyle knows what it takes to stay up front. He won this event in 2012 after having a wild slide down the track at the beginning of the race. Rowdy knows how to wheel it, he’s definitely one to watch on Saturday night.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr: There’s a reason they call him the pied-piper at Daytona. He’s one of the best restrictor plate racers out there. With four points-paying wins at Daytona, four Can-Am Duels wins, and two Sprint Unlimited wins, Dale Jr. is always an odds-on favorite for the entire Speedweeks.
  • Joey Logano: Finding recent success on restrictor plate tracks, Logano is one to keep an eye on Saturday night. His one win at Daytona comes in the 2015 Daytona 500, but Logano has proven that he has what it takes to make moves in the draft.

Be on the lookout for these drivers and the rest of the field on Saturday, February 13 during the Sprint Unlimited. Tune into FOX at 8 p.m. to catch all the action!


Danica Patrick And So the Journey Begins

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:00

As the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season gets underway with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, a new journey begins for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Chevrolet SS team fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).


In August 2015, SHR announced the team had re-signed Patrick along with landing a new partner for her No. 10 Chevrolet SS team. The multiyear sponsorship agreement will see Nature’s Bakery and its signature tagline, “Energy for Life’s Great Journeys,” adorn Patrick’s car for 28 races this season.


New to the sport of NASCAR, Nature’s Bakery was founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson with a mission of making delicious, convenient, on-the-go snacks that complement health-conscious living and active, everyday lifestyles. Their lineage in the food industry can be traced back to the 1960s, when Dave’s father Richard Marson opened a family bakery. Growing up in the bakery business, Dave passed his passion and skills along to his son Sam, whereupon the two combined their knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to form Nature’s Bakery.


In addition to new colors and a new contract, Patrick enters the 2016 season with a new crew chief – Billy Scott. The Land O’ Lakes, Florida native joined the SHR organization after spending eight seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). Scott worked with a variety of drivers in his time at MWR and ended his tenure there as the crew chief for Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 team. While SHR is new to Scott, he is familiar with a number of members of the organization, including fellow SHR crew chief Rodney Childers, who he worked with directly for two seasons at MWR.


As Patrick and Scott are still getting to know one another, Saturday night’s exhibition race at Daytona – the Sprint Unlimited – will provide the pair with the perfect opportunity to develop their in-race communication before the start of the regular season.


Patrick returns to Daytona this year with seven Sprint Cup starts on the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 2013, she kicked off the Sprint Cup season with a history-making run in the 55th Daytona 500. She altered the record books as she became the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the Daytona 500. She also became the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race, as well as the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green-flag conditions. Patrick went on to finish the race in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”


As Patrick enters her fourth full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, she has her sights set on once again making history by winning her first Sprint Cup race. And making a run at the Harley J. Earl Trophy would be the perfect way to start her new journey with Scott and Nature’s Bakery. 


Kyle Busch Celebrating 75 Years with ‘M’

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 12:35

When it comes to NASCAR, there aren’t many traditions that run more deep than kicking off each new season with Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, which this year culminates Feb. 21 with the 58th running of the Daytona 500.


This year’s Speedweeks is also where another American icon, the M&M’S brand, primary sponsor of defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), first takes to the track in its season-long celebration of its 75th anniversary.


To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the M&M’S brand, Busch’s colorful M&M’s Toyota will bring back the familiar yellow scheme, with a few nods to its rich past, as the driver and the No. 18 team open their title defense in 2016.


During a memorable 2015 season filled with highs and lows, Busch’s year started with the challenge of recovering from a broken right leg and left foot in an accident in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race the day before the Daytona 500.


Remarkably, the Las Vegas native not only recovered from the injury much earlier than anticipated, he and his team wrote one of the greatest comeback stories in recent sports history. After missing 11 races due to his injuries, Busch made it back to the track in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, needing to win a race and rally to make it within the top-30 in driver points over the final 15 regular-season races in order to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.


A hot streak during the summer months helped vault Busch into Chase position with four wins in a five-race stretch from late-June through July, including a win in the prestigious Brickyard 400. As a result, Busch was able to lock up a Chase spot by early September. From there, Busch, crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire M&M’S team worked their way methodically through the 10-race Chase. They made it to the Championship Four in the winner-take-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Busch and M&M’S team muscled their way to the championship by winning the race in dramatic fashion.


Busch marked off two big accomplishments during his magical 2015 season – the Brickyard 400 victory and the Sprint Cup title. He now has his sights set on what every stock car driver dreams of – winning the Daytona 500. After his 10 Daytona 500 starts, Busch is still searching for his first victory in NASCAR’s season-opening event as he looks to add to the crown jewels already on his resume – which also includes a victory in the 2008 Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.


Before the 58th running of the Great American Race next week, the 2016 season will warm up with Saturday night’s non-points Sprint Unlimited, which Busch won in 2012. It continues through next week’s Can-Am Duels qualifying races. Busch won his Duel qualifying race in 2009 and 2013. And, the official Sprint Cup season begins in earnest Feb. 21 with the Daytona 500. In addition to his three non-points race wins at Daytona, Busch captured his first and only Daytona points-paying Sprint Cup win in July 2008.


So, as Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Camry look to start off the 75th anniversary of M&M’S in a positive way at Daytona, he hopes the return of the classic M&M’s yellow paint scheme sparks him to “Celebrate with M” by adding his name as the 37th driver to grace the Harley J. Earl Trophy as Daytona 500 champion. 


We can't express enough how proud and thankful we are for the overwhelming expression of support for our team. NASCAR has pressed the reset button on the ownership structure and we hope it takes the sport in a positive direction. We have endured challenges throughout our 66 years and will undoubtedly face more in the future, but that's what makes our team unique. We take great pride in our organization's reputation and our loyal fans are nothing short of amazing. The main focus right now is to be the best team we can possibly be. Motorcraft and Ford Performance have put tremendous faith in us and our objective is to make the most of this 2016 season and beyond. We plan to address this more in depth in the upcoming days.

Wood Brothers Racing PR

When driver Ryan Blaney sees the green flag at Daytona International Speedway Feb. 21, he’ll be beginning his first full season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and Wood Brothers Racing will be kicking off its first full season of competition since 2009.


Both driver and team are looking to improve on last year’s finish in the Daytona 500 when Blaney’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion suffered engine problems that ended his day early. The Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21, however, had been strong up to that point as evidenced by the young driver battling back into the top 15 after early race contact with Tony Stewart and the wall sent him back in the pack.


“We had fast cars at both Daytona races last year but had our fair share of troubles,” Blaney said. “That just gives us something to look forward to coming back. Our speedway cars have always been fast, and I think we've just gotten better.”


Second-year crew chief Jeremy Bullins also says the team is ready for the Daytona 500.


“I feel like we’ve done what we needed to do to improve on our performance last season,” Bullins said. “Hopefully, we have that type of speed again and can execute a good race and get a strong finish.


“The difference in the 500 is the qualifying races, which create the opportunity for things beyond your control to influence your position,” he continued. “At the end of the day, we will give the same effort no matter what, to put ourselves in the best position to control our own destiny.”


Blaney, too, noted the difference of having to race into the Daytona 500.


“Racing in the duels is a huge amount of pressure, more than actually racing the 500,” he said. “The unknowns in that race are pretty nerve-racking.”


Once in the race, the 22-year-old, third-generation driver will use the experience he gained in his first try in NASCAR’s biggest showcase. “The biggest thing I learned was to be patient,” he said. “It's a very long race and a lot of things play out.”


Bullins says he’s looking forward to the chance to see what the new Fusion body style, making its competitive debut at Daytona, has to offer.


“I think the key part of having a new body style is that we have the opportunity to find gains, and any time you have that it’s exciting,” Bullins said. “I’m sure we will be better than we were, and we have the opportunity to improve over the course of the season.”


Practice sessions for Daytona 500 qualifying begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Feb. 13 and can be seen live on FOX Sports 1. Qualifying will take place at 1:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 14 and will be broadcast live on FOX. Practice sessions for the Can-Am Duels will be shown on FOX Sports 1 at 5 and 6:10 ET on Feb. 17 and at noon on Feb. 18. The Can-Am Duels will air on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET on Feb. 18. Practice for the Daytona 500 airs on Feb. 19 at noon and 2 p.m. and on Feb. 20 at 12:15 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. The Daytona 500 begins on FOX at 1 p.m. ET.

Ford Performance PR

Kurt Busch Machines Matter

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 19:42

Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has long been a game of inches. Close finishes have been a part of the sport since the very beginning, including in the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. Initially, NASCAR declared Johnny Beauchamp the winner in what was a photo finish. But some three days later, with the help of photographs and newsreel footage, Lee Petty was deemed to have won the first race held at the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.


The NASCAR rulebook has goals of enriched competition, improved safety, reduced cost, enhanced product relevance, environmental improvements and more. More importantly, the book contains the tolerances to which each part and piece on a racecar must conform, which come into play throughout the build, assembly and race processes. After 500 miles of racing the winning car and driver can be determined by a fraction of a second. Thus, attention to detail within the guidelines set in the rulebook can provide the slightest advantage that can be the deciding factor between who crosses the finish line first or second.


Teams of engineers are constantly redesigning parts and pieces on their racecars in an effort to gain a competitive advantage. With a goal of making parts stronger and more reliable, they also look to keep their tolerances as close to the limits set forth in the rulebook. As such, machinists working in the computer numerically controlled (CNC) room work seemingly around the clock, interrupting their normal production schedule for last-minute modification jobs that are given to them in a “needed-it-yesterday” timeframe.


It was that kind of attention to detail that drew Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) co-owner Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western World, into the NASCAR arena. His machines play an integral role in the successes of the title-winning Sprint Cup team. In the SHR shop alone, there are 15 Haas CNC machines making parts and pieces for the four-car team’s fleet of Chevrolets.


Haas CNC machines not only produce constantly evolving team-specked pieces, they also modify parts that the team receives via OEM manufacturers. Advantages can be gained in the process of milling parts and pieces to NASCAR’s strict tolerances thanks to the overall combined weight saved throughout the racecar assembly process. And it’s those kinds of advantages that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS for SHR, will hope to take advantage of during Daytona Speedweeks.


As the season kicks off at Daytona, Busch hopes his collaborative effort with crew chief Tony Gibson can continue to improve upon their successes from last year. Coming off an eighth-place finish in the Sprint Cup championship standings, the duo has its sights set even higher – competing for the 2016 Sprint Cup championship.


With the 16-driver Sprint Cup championship format, all it takes is just one win to lock a driver and team into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Busch would like nothing more than to score that win in the 58th Daytona 500, marking his first victory in the prestigious event and placing him well on his way to reaching his season-long goal.


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