Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15939)

Kurt Busch is fourth in the point standings and 30 markers ahead of the next cutoff in this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.


If he performs well in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, he will advance to the Round of 8 for the first time since 2016.


And he has the most experience at Kansas.


He’s one of only four drivers who competed in the inaugural race at the track Sept. 30, 2001 and have competed in all 25 Kansas races. Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth are the others.


Busch drove the No. 97 Ford to a ninth-place finish in that first Kansas Speedway race in 2001.

It’s one track where Busch has never found victory lane, but he has had some success. He finished second there in October 2013 and again in October 2017. He won the pole in June 2011. Busch has three top-five finishes and nine top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval.


Additionally, the 40-year-old driver has led 263 laps, has an average starting position of 15.7, an average finish of 16.0 and has completed 94.7 percent – 6,275 of 6,625 – of the laps he’s contested there.


Busch’s car will have a bit of a different look this week it will be the No. 41 Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).


Mobil 1 plays an integral role in SHR’s success. Its lubricant technology helps to reduce frictional loss in the team’s Ford engines to maximize fuel mileage, increase horsepower and turn more rpm, providing an advantage over his competitors. Mobil 1 also helps reduce friction in suspension components to provide maximum tire grip, as well as helping to reduce steering compliance, to give its teams an edge behind the wheel. Not only does Mobil 1 help improve the on-track efficiency of SHR, but the on-track testing helps lead to new lubricant technology developments such as Mobil 1 Annual Protection, which allows drivers to travel up to 20,000 miles, or one full year, between oil changes.


In its 16th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.


Busch is hoping he can finish strong and find himself in the final eight as he exits Kansas City.



Transportation Impact (TI) announced today it will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Bubba Wallace at the Kansas Speedway this Sunday. The parcel spend management firm, headquartered on the Crystal Coast, will increase its associate sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to be the primary sponsor of Wallace Jr. and the No. 43 team during the Hollywood Casino 400. 

TI is one of the fastest-growing companies in North Carolina, having experienced robust growth since its 2008 founding, by helping high-volume parcel shippers reduce cost through innovative audit and negotiation services. These services, along with the company's industry-leading technology, enable businesses large and small to identify and obtain savings they can then use to fund new initiatives, retain employees, or hire new ones.
TI co-founders, Travis Burt and Keith Byrd, appreciate the partnership, both from a business perspective as well as a personal one.

"This is a huge opportunity for our company," said Byrd. "Richard Petty Motorsports is one of the most respected brands in racing, and we are very proud to support them this weekend. As a business owner, I want my company to be the best, but not at the cost of integrity, and the Petty team operate on the same principle. It's an honor to be associated with Richard Petty and the virtues of character, sincerity, and candor."

The association between Transportation Impact and RPM began in 2015, and has developed into a strong connection that goes beyond business. 

"We have an amazing relationship with the Petty family and love to be part of NASCAR with them," added Burt. "Bubba has been one of NASCAR's fastest-rising stars the sport and that aligns with our fast growth as a company. There is no better time than to be with Richard Petty Motorsports."

The Hollywood Casino race will air Sunday, October 21, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

Kevin Harvick heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race having earned a 63-point advantage over the ninth-place driver in the standings heading into the final race of the Round of 12. But, he still must earn at least a 26th-place finish to advance to the Round of 8.


The driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has earned it all season long. The team leads the series with seven wins, 20 top-five finishes, 25 top-10s and 1,606 laps led. It also ranks second with a 9.3 average finish and is tied for third with an average starting position of 9.2 and three Busch Pole Awards.


The No. 4 Busch Light team also has performed well at Kansas Speedway since the team formed in 2014. It has compiled a series-best two wins, six top-five finishes, seven top-10s, an average finish of 5.2, three Busch Pole Awards, and it ranks second with 454 laps led in nine starts at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval.


Harvick has four Busch Pole Awards, three wins, eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s with an average finish of 9.6 and 675 laps led in his 25 career Cup Series starts at Kansas. Two of his wins came from the pole position, including his most recent win in May 2018, when he won the Busch Pole with a lap of 28.600 seconds at 188.811 mph, led 79 laps and finished .390 of a second ahead of runner-up Martin Truex Jr.


The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion has won at Kansas Speedway twice during the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in the month of October. His first October win came in 2013, when he won the Busch Pole, led 138 laps and finished 1.140 seconds ahead of current SHR teammate Kurt Busch. His most recent playoff win at Kansas came in a must-win situation in 2016, when he started 11th, led 74 laps and finished 1.183 seconds ahead of Carl Edwards.


Since the start of 2018, Harvick and the No. 4 team have compiled an impressive resume on 1.5-mile tracks. They lead the series in laps led with 614, are tied for the series lead with three wins, rank second with six top-five finishes, and have six top-10 finishes. However, in their two finishes outside the top-10 during that span, they finished 40th at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 and 39th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the South Point Casino 400 – both the result of cut tires that ended their day early.


The No. 4 team enters Kansas ranked first in points with 3,128 – 63 ahead of the ninth-place driver and 45 points ahead of the eighth-place driver. If anyone but Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson or Alex Bowman wins, the No. 4 team is automatically locked in.


For Harvick and the No. 4 team, the focus this weekend is on starting up front, leading laps, winning stages and winning the race – but the big-picture goal remains advancing to the next round of the Cup Series playoffs and winning a second championship. The quickest way to reach that goal is to win this weekend at Kansas.



During his XFINITY Series off weekend Gase would team up with StarCom Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series piloting the #00 Chevy Camaro.  Last weekend was Gase's 6th Cup Series start of the 2018 season and 4th with StarCom Racing.

They kicked off the playoff weekend with one practice session Saturday afternoon. On his second run out in the PFK Foundation #00 Gase was coming through the tri-oval on the front stretch and heard a loud pop. The car started to wander back and forth as he made his way through turns one and two. Luckily Joey was able to hold on and slow the car down quick enough. It was later determined that the left rear tire had about a one inch cut right in the middle which caused the tire to go down. Crew Chief Rick Bourgeois relayed the information to Gase as he sat in the car while they were assessing the left rear. He applauded him saying "Good catch there Joey. That could've been really bad. That pop you heard was definitely the tire." They would throw a fresh set of Goodyear's on and work on the cars handling while drafting. Once practice was all said and done he would end with the 28th fastest lap.

Later in the evening they were all set for single car qualify for Sunday's 500. Gase would be the 14th car out on the track to make his lap. After all 41 cars had taken a lap; he ended up putting together the 37th fastest lap.

Sunday had finally come and the team was ready to build on their 27th place finish from the spring race. The green flag would wave and just 10 laps into the race they would see their first caution. Under the caution, Gase would report that his PFK Foundation #00 was free all the way around. With the information provided CC Bourgeois told the crew to drop the track bar one round. He would bring it to pit road for fuel only to get him to the end of the 55 lap stage.

After the field would get the green flag once again they would finish out the remainder of the stage. Gase picked up 6 spots and would end the first stage in 31st. Between stages he would tell CC Bourgeois that he still needed to be tightened up a bit. Therefore when he brought it to pit road and he would adjust the tire pressures on his fresh set and add some wedge to help tightened him up.

Shortly after the second stage would get under way, the races second caution would come out for the #48 of Jimmie Johnson. He would bring it back down to pit road for tires and fuel only. They would stay green for another 40 laps before the next caution would come out. Under the third caution of the day, Gase said that the car was pretty decent that run. So he would only take four tires and fuel to get him to the end of the stage. He would ultimately end the second stage in 22nd.

Since they had taken fresh tires their last stop before the end of the stage; they decided to only take fuel between the stage. In doing so, he picked up nine spots and would restart the final stage in 13th.

The final stage would begin on lap 115 making it a 73 lap dash to the checkered. They would stay under the green for about 21 laps before another caution was drawn for the #1 of Jamie McMurray spinning into the grass on the front stretch. CC Bourgeois would make the call to come down pit road under caution for tires and fuel to set up a "gas-n-go" later on in the race.
They would get the green on lap 141. A couple laps later Gase had climbed his way back into the top 15 sitting in 14th with 40 laps remaining. On lap 159 another caution would come out but this time it was for an uncontrolled tire on pit road that had rolled all the way out to the infield grass. This would set up Gase for his "gas-n-go" stop on pit road.

With about 20 laps remaining Gase had put his PFK Foundation Chevy in the 12th position. He would struggle to find drafting partners and would drop back to 21st. With only two laps remaining a big wreck would collect a couple of cars right in front of Gase, but he and his spotter did a great job avoiding any damage. This wreck would extend the race into overtime making it a green-white-checkered finish to determine the winner of the 500.

The last two laps were just as crazy as expected. The field was three and four-wide for a majority of the two lap shootout. On the very last lap another wreck would collect more cars right in front of Gase once again. He sustained a little nose damage but he fought through and ended up bringing it around to the checkered in 18th.

After the race Gase said over the radio, "Great job today guys! It feels so good to finally finish one of these damn things." Gase has showed lots of speed on all of the speedway races this year in both his XFINITY and Cup Series rides; but just hasn't had luck on his side. This weekend he had a sigh of relief as he finally had luck fall his way.

Sunday's result would be Gase's career best finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and would match StarCom's best team finish. Gase returns to his full time XFINITY ride next weekend as his Go Green Racing team heads to Kansas Speedway.

Joey Gase PR

Nobody in NASCAR is counting on the power of home cooking more than No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer this weekend when the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.


Bowyer is a native of Emporia Kansas, a town of 25,000 people about 110 miles from Kansas Speedway. He rightly calls the 1.5-mile oval his home track.


“Obviously, you want to win the Daytona 500, a championship, things like that, but winning at your home track is right up there,” said  Bowyer, who owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 20 starts at Kansas.


“It’s always fun to go home. It’s always busy to go home. Going back to Kansas Speedway, you have so many people who have made a difference and got you to where you are, you owe it to them, just like you did when they were helping you on that racecar, to go see them. To see how they’re doing, see their kids now. Things have changed a lot since I’ve moved away and moved to North Carolina and got into this Cup racing. But, to be able to go back and see family, friends, peers, people I used to race with, businesses that used to sponsor you, it’s important to me to go back and see all of those.”


Bowyer will debut a new primary sponsor at SHR when he drives the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion onto the Kansas track. DEKALB announced its partnership with Bowyer and SHR in August at the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa inside its “Fuel Your Yield” tent. DEKALB will serve as primary sponsor for Bowyer and the No. 14 team this weekend with the brand serving as an associate partner at all other races. DEKALB has been helping farmers ensure a future of performance with industry-leading corn seed products for more than 100 years. And while driving a purpose-built racecar that puts out more than 850 horsepower is his day job, Bowyer is also a farmer in North Carolina.


“I grew up in farm country and saw firsthand the hard work that goes into growing crops and taking care of livestock,” said Bowyer, who literally began his racing career on Kansas dirt by racing motocross and then Late Models at Lakeside and I-70 Speedways in Kansas City. “Farming takes time, energy and incredible attention to detail. DEKALB understands all of that, and they know what farmers need to take care of their crops. It really is an honor to represent DEKALB and spend time with their customers.”


Bowyer’s heart is still in Emporia, where he’s a big part of the community. In March 2013, he bought the Clint Bowyer Autoplex car dealership on U.S. Highway 50, where he once worked as a lot attendant, dent specialist and detailer. Across the street sits the Clint Bowyer Community Building, constructed in 2012 thanks to a $1.5 million donation from his foundation. Inside are 25 computers at the public library. There is a scoreboard at the aquatic center, a video camera at the auditorium, shoes for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, backpacks for kids, Christmas trees for needy families. And, in nearby towns, playground equipment and the reconstruction of a tornado-ravaged community center – all of it and more paid for by Bowyer’s foundation, or out of the driver’s own pocket.


Emporia appreciates its native son, having renamed the street on which the family towing business resides as “Hon. Clint Bowyer Boulevard.”


Bowyer needs a good run in Kansas much like he did at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last weekend when he finished second in the first two stages and the race. The performance put Bowyer 21 points ahead of the ninth and final cutoff position for those drivers advancing out of the Round of 12 that ends at Kansas. SHR teammate Aric Almirola’s victory at Talladega marked the 56th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s milestone 50th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its first victory at Talladega. All four SHR drivers – Bowyer, Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch – have won races in 2018.


“We had a great weekend as a team and company in Talladega,” Bowyer said. “Now, we’d like to do the same in Kansas.”



Given Ty Dillon's comfort level at Talladega Superspeedway, one would assume that his favorite song would be 'Sweet Home Alabama'. Prior to his arrival this weekend, the GEICO driver had completed every single lap in each of his three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the legendary speedway. Germain Racing is well-known for its restrictor-plate exploits and looked to live up to their reputation when crew members unloaded the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 for practice on Saturday.
True to form, Dillon settled in quickly when the weekend's only practice session started on Saturday afternoon. He pedaled the GEICO Camaro ZL1 straight up the charts as speeds eclipsed a blistering 200+ miles per hour and finished up sixth fastest when practice concluded. Qualifying got underway a few hours later and Dillon cruised the superspeedway at a speed of 189.699-miles per hour, placing him 29th on Sunday's starting grid.
A sold-out crowd, which included fans from all 50-states, 20 different countries and four continents, eyed the NASCAR Cup Series field as the drivers took the green flag below blue skies and bright sunshine. Dillon started 29th, but made quick progress early in the race, as he hurriedly made his way around the 2.66-mile facility. During the parade laps, Dillon was heard on the team's radio frequency saying, "I'm going to be patient here at the beginning and let it all settle out. Once it calms down, I'll make my way through." Despite his best intentions, a fast GEICO Camaro thought otherwise and Dillon quickly broke into the top-20 in the opening laps before later charging into the top-10, which is where he found himself when the race's opening stage came to a close. Dillon was awarded a bonus point for his 10th place finish in Stage 1.
Dillon would traverse the field with relative ease and he had the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 running in the top-five at various times. The lone setback came when the team needed a late-race extended pit stop to repair a loose right-side window. Despite being scored in the top-15, Dillon would be relegated to the rear of the field where he would need to, once again, make his way to the front.
The setback turned out to be insignificant, as Dillon made quick work of the field, and when the checkered flag closed out an exciting afternoon of racing, the GEICO Camaro ZL1 crossed the finish line in the 15th position. The effort accounted for Dillon's fourth consecutive race at Talladega Superspeedway where he completed every lap, a rarity in restrictor-plate racing where cars are often collected in big crashes.
"This was a solid day for our GEICO Camaro ZL1 team. We didn't make any mistakes on-track and my spotter did a great job and kept me clean all day," Dillon said after the race. "Talladega has always been a strong track for me because I'm comfortable with this style of racing. This was the kind of day our team needed after a couple of tough weeks. We ran up front, earned a bonus point at the end of Stage 1 and showed once again that Germain Racing builds fast superspeedway cars." He continued, "I wish we could've gotten a top-10, but those are the breaks sometimes at these tracks with how quickly drafts change and cars move around. I'm proud of my team's effort today, and I'm looking forward to Kansas next weekend."
With the year's final restrictor-plate race behind them, Germain Racing will pack up their No. 13 entry and journey to the Sunflower State for race number 32 of 36 of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.  
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Kansas Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, October 19th, at 2:05 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 7:10 PM (ET).
The Hollywood Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, October 21st, and it will be televised live on NBC beginning at 2:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Series: Monster Energy Cup Series
Venue: Talladega Superspeedway
Race: 500
Track Length/Configuration:  2.66-mile, superspeedway
Race Distance: 188 laps/500.8 miles*
Race Format: 3 Stages: Stages end on Laps 55/110/188
Cautions:  8 cautions for 32 yellow flag laps
Lead Changes: 15 among 11 drivers
Started: 40
Finished: 32
Laps Completed: 191/193*(overtime finish)
Points Gained: 5
Stage 1
Corey LaJoie started the 500 in the 40th position in the Winn-Dixie No. 72 at Talladega SuperSpeedway
Caution Lap 12 (spin): LaJoie was posted 38th on the leaderboard. He pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge adjustment and packers removed from left and right front. LaJoied rejoined the field 30th
Stage 1 Completion Caution: LaJoie completed the stage 33rd, one lap down from the leader but the recipient of the free pass. He relayed the No. 72 handling was tight. Crew Chief Wally Rogers made the call to be aggressive with changes calling for four tires, fuel and an aggressive chassis adjustment
Stage 2
LaJoie took the green flag in the 27th position, posted on the lead lap
Caution Lap 63 (incident): As LaJoie was entering his pit box, a competitor was exiting and the two made slight contact. The Winn-Dixie No. 72 sustained lower left rear quarter panel damage. The pit crew applied bear bond and fueled the car
Caution Lap 105 (incident): Running 36th, two laps down, LaJoie pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment to the Winn-Dixie No. 72. He restarted 35th, two laps down
Stage 2 Completion Caution: completing the stage 35th, two laps down. The crew serviced the Winn-Dixie No. 72 with fuel and a wedge adjustment
Stage 3
LaJoie started stage 3 in the 35th position, two laps down
Caution Lap 137 (incident): Crew Chief Wally Rogers kept LaJoie out on track to take the wave around
Lap 157: LaJoie pitted under green flag for right side tires and fuel. One of the tires removed from the Winn-Dixie No. 72 was uncontrolled causing a caution. During that caution, LaJoie came back to pit for left side tires and another splash of Sunoco fuel
Caution Lap 187 (incident): LaJoie was able to maneuver around a multi-car incident and avoid damage to the Winn-Dixie No. 72. The timing of the caution caused for the staging of a green-white-checker finish. When the field resumed under green LaJoie maintained his track position and finished 33nd in the Winn-Dixie No. 72 at Talladega Superspeedway
TriStar PR

Old World Industries, the makers of PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment, has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the championship-winning NASCAR team.


PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment will be the primary sponsor for driver Clint Bowyer and the No. 14 team for three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2019 with associate sponsorship on the No. 14 Ford Mustang at all other races.


“Old World Industries has successfully leveraged motorsports for decades to build strong brands and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of their history by representing PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment,” said Mike Verlander, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SHR. “They have a lineage with Clint that goes back to his dirt late model teams and we’re happy to transcend PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze’s and BlueDEF’s grassroots racing efforts with Clint to the NASCAR Cup Series.”


“PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF are synonymous with racing, from grassroots dirt late-model racing to NASCAR and NHRA and even Formula One,” added Bowyer, a winner of 10 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two this season that have earned him a spot in the exclusive NASCAR Playoffs. “They know that you have to have the best to compete and win, and it’s an attitude they promote on the racetrack because it’s the same attitude they use to make their products the best in the business. That’s the kind of mentality we have here at Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s a true partnership.”


This agreement expands an already aggressive and diverse motorsports portfolio for PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF, with the leading automotive brands enjoying relationships in NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA and the Late Model Dirt Series. It also augments Old World Industries’ existing partnership with Haas F1 Team, which will expand in 2019 as the PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF brands move from the nose of the racecars driven by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen to the much more visible rear-wing endplates.


“We get the best of both worlds with Haas F1 Team and Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer, Old World Industries. “The PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF brands get global exposure and continued recognition domestically. The technology of Formula One and NASCAR help sell our products, as do the personalities we’ve aligned ourselves with. Clint Bowyer, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are genuine people who engage well with our customers. Racing is a relationship business, and we’re extremely proud of the relationships we’ve fostered with Haas F1 Team and Stewart-Haas Racing.”


Old World Industries has been a leader in the development and distribution of high-quality automotive and heavy-duty products for more than four decades. For nearly the same amount of time, PEAK has been actively involved in motorsports as a way to highlight the excellence and competitive quality of its family of brands. From partnerships with such racing icons as Dale Earnhardt and John Force to title sponsorships of international series, specifically, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, PEAK has successfully utilized motorsports to showcase PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment.


PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze features patented, advanced technologies allowing for superior protection for all vehicles, both on pavement and off-road, and BlueDEF is the number one brand of Diesel Exhaust Fluid in the United States.



Team Penske has announced a new partnership with VF Workwear.  Under the multi-year agreement, VF Workwear’s Wrangler Riggs brand will be the primary sponsor of the No. 12 Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney in the NASCAR Cup Series, beginning with this weekend’s event at Kansas Speedway. The new partnership also includes VF brands serving as a primary sponsor on the No. 12 Ford for the Cup Series races at Michigan (June) and Kansas (October) in both 2019 and 2020.

The VF Workwear family of brands features names that are very familiar to NASCAR fans, including Wrangler®, Dickies®, Timberland Pro®, Red Kap®, Kodiak®, Bulwark® and Horace Small®.

“We are excited to welcome VF Workwear as a new partner to Team Penske and we believe the company and its brands will bring new energy and vision to our organization,” said Roger Penske. “All of the VF Workwear brands are well known to motorsports fans and this represents a great opportunity to connect the Wrangler brand and its heritage in racing to our team. The VF brands also align well with Ryan (Blaney), a terrific young driver on the track and a great representative off the track as well. To me, Wrangler and Ryan just represents a great combination.”

VF Workwear is part of the VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), which outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels.

“VF Workwear is proud to partner with Team Penske and Ryan Blaney and we think it’s a great fit across the board,” said Chris Holcombe, President of VF Workwear. “Consumers already know a lot about our brands, and NASCAR fans have an affinity with our Wrangler name and the history it has in the sport. So, to bring a brand onboard like Wrangler Riggs – and have it associated with someone like Ryan who is sort of a throwback in this younger generation of drivers – is a perfect fit for us. We are excited and look forward to having our other brands involved in the future.”

At just 24 years old, Blaney is a key pillar of NASCAR’s youth movement. Competing in his first full-season with Team Penske in the Cup Series in 2018, Blaney captured his second career victory at the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 30. Blaney has already eclipsed his career-best totals in top-five finishes and laps led this season as he’s advanced to the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12.

“I’ve always loved the history of our sport and there is definitely a lot of history with Wrangler in racing,” said Blaney. “Knowing that I will have that Wrangler name on my car this weekend – and hopefully have the chance to help introduce some of the other VF brands to the sport – will be awesome. It’s great that VF Workwear is coming back to our sport and I’m excited for the opportunity to represent them.”

The 2018 Cup Series season continues with the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 21 with race coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC. 

Team Penske PR

Aric Almirola won for the second time in his career and first time in the No.10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion to automatically advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Almirola’s win continued Ford’s winning streak at Talladega, recording their seventh in a row at the SuperSpeedway. It was also SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying MENCS win and its first victory at Talladega.

“I’m so happy for Aric, Tony and SHR,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “They executed their plan perfectly today. I’m just so proud of all the hard work at Ford Performance, all the things that Mark Rushbrook is doing leading our group, and everybody at Roush Yates Engines and the dedication they put into the plate racing here at Talladega and when we go to Daytona. It takes a total team effort and I’m just proud to be part of the team. It’s an incredible day here at Talladega. My dad loved racing here.

We raced here together a lot and it kind of started back when we had Davey Allison as our driver in the 28 car. It was interesting, I asked Aric yesterday I said, ‘Maybe we should put a 28 on the side of this car.’ I thought he was gonna win the race and I asked him if he’d mind to carry that 28 to Victory Lane today and to be here with him is amazing. I’m trying to carry on what my dad, Robert Yates started, and our family tradition of plate racing and just really proud to have my daughter Olivia here with me today and carrying on the family tradition. What a way to win our company’s 350th overall win.”

The power of the Ford Performance, Roush Yates Engines powered Ford Fusions made a statement in Talladega, after qualifying 1-2-3-4 and leading 184 total laps (489 miles) out of a 193-lap overtime race on Sunday.

“We came and brought four amazing racecars,” Almirola commented in Victory Lane. "As an organization, we were so committed to each other about running up front, staying up front, scoring as many points as we can, and staying committed to the bottom lane, to each other. I feel like that strategy, honestly, was what obviously won us the race. I think our cars were so fast that as long as we stayed single file, all four of us lined up, nobody could get that outside lane working to go up there and challenge us.”

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates hooked up and showed great disciple to lead the field for all but 2 laps during the first two stages of the race. Pole and Stage 1 winner, Kurt Busch lead the field for 108 laps while teammate Kevin Harvick led 46 laps on his way to winning Stage 2.

“I want to thank everybody from the engine department at Roush Yates for all the work and effort that they put into everything that goes on the race track,” said Harvick. “This is all about cars and people and engines and everything that goes and when you can have a group of guys that work together like we did today, you can control the situation in the race a lot more than just battling it out amongst each other. I’m really, really happy for Aric. He works his butt off. Those guys have done a great job all year and to see them get to Victory Lane is a lot of fun.”

A late race caution caused the race to go into overtime, the additional laps caused fuel challenges for Harvick, Blaney and Busch as they ran out of fuel during the last laps of the race, shuffling the field on the final two laps of the race.

It was a 1, 2, 3, & 5 finish for Ford; SHR teammates Almirola and Clint Bowyer finished 1-2 while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from Roush Fenway Racing drove up through the field to finish third. Team Penske’s Joey Logano finished fifth and Wood Brother’s Racing, Paul Menard finished ninth.

Kansas will be the next cutoff race for MENCS. The Ford drivers are currently in P1 Almirola, P3 Harvick, P5 Logano, P6 Kurt Busch, P7 Bowyer, P9 Brad Keselowski and P10 Ryan Blaney.


Race Winner:      Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner:  Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

● Aric Almirola started fourth and finished Stage 1 in fourth to earn seven bonus points.

● Almirola and the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent ran the entire stage in positions one through four.

● During the Stage 1 break, the Tampa native reported the No. 10 Smithfield Bacon for Life Ford was “handling pretty well.” He visited pit road for fuel and four tires during the break.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

● Almirola started Stage 2 in eighth and ended it in fourth to accumulate another seven bonus points.

● Almirola started the second stage eighth and remained in the top-10 until the second caution of the race came out on lap 63. During the caution the Smithfield driver pitted for fuel only.

● The pit strategy worked out well for the No. 10 team and SHR with all four Fords restarting in the first four positions on lap 66.

● The Smithfield driver stayed out on track through one more caution to end the stage in fourth.

● The Stage 2 break allowed Almirola to visit pit road for fuel and four tires, but varying pit strategies meant the 34-year-old had to restart in the 19th spot, the furthest back he had been all day.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-193):

● Almirola started the final stage 19th and ended it as the race winner.

● After the green flag dropped on the final stage, Almirola began to work his way forward and, by lap 124, he was up to the third.

● When the sixth caution came out on lap 136, Almirola was seventh and visited pit road for two right-side tires and fuel.

● He restarted sixth on lap 142 and was back up to third on lap 159, when the caution was displayed once again.

● The No. 10 team, along with its SHR teammates, stayed out for the seventh caution of the race, and Almirola restarted third.

● One lap after the green flag was displayed, Almirola was fourth on lap 165 behind his three SHR teammates, and the four stayed together and held their position well in front of the field until the final caution period for a multicar incident behind them on lap 187, just one lap before the scheduled race distance.

● With the race extended past its scheduled distance, fuel became a concern for Almirola, who last pitted on lap 138, and his SHR teammates. It was calculated the No. 10 would have enough to complete one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

● The race restarted on lap 192 with Almirola in fourth place. Shortly after, teammate Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel and had to pit while Almirola moved into second behind teammate Kurt Busch.

● Busch then ran out of fuel on the final lap, and Almirola was able to move into the lead and hold it for the win.



● This was Almirola’s first victory of 2018.

● Almirola earned his first victory in 18 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.

● Almirola’s one lap led on the final lap increased his laps-led total at Talladega to 16.

● Almirola’s victory in the 500 marked the 56th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s milestone 50th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its first victory at Talladega.

● Almirola’s win marked SHR’s series-leading 11th points-paying victory 31 races into the 2018 season. SHR also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.

● This was SHR’s 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.

● Almirola’s triumph delivered the 105th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 674th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.

● Ford now has 28 all-time series wins at Talladega, including 10 of the last 13. This was its seventh straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega.

● This was Almirola’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first since joining SHR this year.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 500 finished on the lead lap.


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Bacon for Life Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I felt like I kept giving it away, and I was so disappointed for all these guys behind me because they’re awesome. They’re the best. I’m with the best team in the garage, and I felt like I kept letting them down not winning a race. Today, the good Lord was shining on us and we went to victory lane. We did it, finally.

“I knew (we were going to have a good day) when we qualified, all four of us starting up there in the front. We kind of talked about it in our competition meeting, that we needed to be committed to each other, we needed to score as many stage points as we can, we needed to score more stage points than the 12, than the 42 and the 88. We knew all that. Going into the weekend, that was our focus, was to be committed as an organization to doing everything we can to help each other, making sure that we continue to get points, especially for Clint and myself being in the situation we were in going into this weekend. Then when we qualified top-four, all of us together, I knew that all four of us were going to be tough to beat. We were going to have really fast racecars. We’ve been chasing those Penske cars. We talked about it Saturday. We’ve been chasing Penske at the restrictor-plate races. They’ve been able to do somewhat of what we did today, where they get out front, Brad and Joey and Paul and Blaney get organized, basically dominate the race. Today, we were able to do that. We stayed so committed to each other. We worked every restart out to where we stayed committed to each other, got in line. It was us against the field.

“When we started to drive off from the field in the first stage, as the stage went on, I knew we had something special. I knew one of our four cars was going to win. Just by happenstance, we were the ones that qualified fourth, so I kept being the third or fourth guy in line. It was like, ‘Man, this is nice that we’re all four running together, but I’m scoring less stage points than Bowyer – I’m racing him in points. Eventually we’re going to have to try and win this race, we’re going to have to separate and start to fend for ourselves.’ That opportunity honestly never really presented itself. It seemed like, the way the race played out, such long green‑flag runs, we would get committed to each other. As we would drive away from the field, me being the fourth guy in line, I never really had anybody behind me to help me make a move on my teammates.

“It was an incredible day for us as an organization at Stewart‑Haas Racing, and I am so proud and so thankful for the opportunity to be driving these racecars.”


Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8):

1.       Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points

2.       Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points

3.       Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points

4.       Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points

5.       Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win

6.       Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points

7.       Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points

8.       Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win

9.       Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18

10.      Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points

11.      Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points

12.      Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.