Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15937)

An off weekend for the NASCAR XFINITY Series? Not for Gase. He announced earlier today that he will be pulling double duty at Talladega Superspeedway teaming up with StarCom Racing for 500 in the #00 and Copp Motorsports in the #83 truck for the Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola. It will be Gase's fourth race with StarCom Racing this season and second time with the team at Talladega. However, it will be Gase's first ever start in the Truck Series. Gase is bringing along his NXS primary sponsor and Alabama native company, Sparks Energy Inc., on his #00 Chevrolet Camaro and #83 Chevrolet Silverado.

A Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride and Camping World Truck Series at the famed Talladega for Gase is always something special; but what he and Sparks Energy Inc are doing makes these rides even more special than most. Sparks Energy will be donating their sponsorship to the Prayers For Kayleigh Foundation for pediatric cancer research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The PFK Foundation was founded by the McClendon Family to help raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research after their daughter, Kayleigh, lost her battle to terminal brain cancer, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) at the tender age of 7.

Sparks Energy is reaching out to the community to help find associate sponsors to come aboard the PFK Foundation #00 and the #83. However, 100% of the sponsorship proceeds will be donated to the PFK Foundation for DIPG research.

If you would like to come on board to support this great cause, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"We are thrilled to partner with Sparks Energy again at Talladega Superspeedway," said Bill Woehlemann, StarCom Racing CFO. "We are excited to have Joey behind the wheel once again and looking forward to what we can do in the Sparks #00 Chevy."

Joey Gase PR

The No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, driven by 20-year-old rookie of the year contender William Byron, returns to the track this Sunday, Sept. 30, for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 in Byron's hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. The 109-lap race on Charlotte Motor Speedway's new 2.28-mile "roval," which combines a portion of the traditional 1.5-mile oval with sections of the infield road course, begins at 2 p.m. EDT and will be nationally televised on NBC.

UniFirst Corporation, a leading provider of customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products to businesses throughout North America, continues its partnership for the 2018 NASCAR season with 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. This year marks the second of an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that names UniFirst as a primary sponsor of select races and a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 24 team through 2023.

UniFirst is the official workwear provider for Hendrick Motorsports and sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States.

"We're excited to see William Byron back in the driver's seat of the UniFirst No. 24 Chevy Camaro," said Adam Soreff, UniFirst's director of marketing and communications. "His thousands of NASCAR fans from around the country, and right here at UniFirst, will be cheering him on to victory in Charlotte and continuing to support him as he drives closer toward capturing the 2018 rookie of the year title."

With just eight races remaining in the 2018 season, Byron continues to hold the lead in the battle for NASCAR Cup Series rookie of the year honors after 28 races. He is coming off winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and rookie of the year honors in 2017 – a season that included wins at Iowa, ISM Raceway, and the historic venues of Daytona and Indianapolis, where he became the youngest winner of a major race in the track's 108-year history.

"I'm looking forward to running the UniFirst Camaro this weekend at the 'roval,'" Byron said. "It's nice to be at home and I'm happy to have the UniFirst colors on our car. Road courses have been solid for us this year, so hopefully we can lean on our notes some, but this is going to be a completely different beast. It will definitely be exciting for the fans."

UniFirst Corp. PR

2XU, the world’s most technical sportswear company, has joined 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as the team’s Official Performance Apparel Partner through the 2021 racing season.

2XU (pronounced “Two Times You”) will outfit Hendrick Motorsports’ track personnel, including its elite pit crew athletes, in custom 2XU apparel beginning in 2019. The partnership marks the first in auto racing for 2XU, which has alliances with many of the world’s top sports teams and institutions.

Ben Smith, 2XU’s general manager global custom, called it a proud milestone for the business.

“We’re excited to be named Official Performance Apparel Partner of Hendrick Motorsports and to see 2XU’s world leading garments power the team to future success,” he said. “2XU has a proud history of partnering with the best athletes, sports teams and sports governing bodies, and we’re thrilled to now enter the world of motor sport to share the performance benefits of 2XU garments with such a world class team.

“Just as 2XU propels elite and everyday athletes to achieve their peak, the new custom-designed Hendrick Motorsports range will give the team a sought-after edge over the competition in 2019 and beyond.”

Founded in Melbourne, Australia, 2XU is the world’s most advanced sports apparel company. 2XU compression is independently proven to deliver physiological benefits including 5 percent increased power, 18 percent increased blood flow and 47 percent reduced muscle soreness. Its technical apparel range, which will be worn by Hendrick Motorsports’ track personnel beginning next season, features the world’s leading performance fabrics and technology, with benefits including advanced breathability, moisture management and lifetime odor protection.

“With 2XU, we share a commitment to performance,” said Patrick Perkins, vice president of marketing for Hendrick Motorsports. “Our partnership will allow us to develop customized apparel lines for our athletes and other team members showcasing 2XU’s superior quality and styling. There is no brand in the world that produces more advanced sportswear. We look forward to sharing the 2XU ‘Human Performance Multiplied’ message and working with them to help us perform at our best.”

In addition to wearing 2XU team apparel, Hendrick Motorsports will collaborate with 2XU to develop social media and other digital content featuring pit crew athletes from the organization’s four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 teams competing in the premier NASCAR Cup Series.

2XU takes athletes beyond what they thought possible, enabling them to train harder, perform stronger and recover faster. The company rigorously tests its fabrics using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment to ensure its garments are engineered to sustain the demands of sport.

Based in Australia, 2XU has a North American headquarters in Santa Monica, California.

Hendrick Motorsports PR

AfterShokz, the award-winning headphone brand known for its patented bone conduction technology, announced today the signing of NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace as professional athlete brand ambassadors. Elliott and Wallace are two of the most popular and accomplished young drivers in the sport of NASCAR with fast-growing fan bases.

“Signing on Chase and Bubba to represent the AfterShokz brand signifies a step forward in our efforts to bring brand awareness to millions of sports enthusiasts and especially race fans,” said AfterShokz Chief Operating Officer Bill Kimball. “Both are young, talented athletes who will bring the same passion and dedication to AfterShokz as they do to competing on the track.”

Elliott, the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and 2016 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, recently won his first career NASCAR Cup Series race to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs for the third consecutive year.

“The open-ear design of AfterShokz headphones is so unique and different from the bulky headsets you typically see fans and drivers wearing at the track,” said Elliott. “Whether I’m walking through the racing garage or mountain biking on my day off, I’m able to safely listen to my music and still hear what’s going on around me.”

Wallace, a six-time NASCAR Truck Series winner, is competing in his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series as the first African-American driver to complete full-time in NASCAR’s top-level series in nearly five decades.

“AfterShokz makes the coolest product I’ve experienced in a while,” said Wallace. “The sound quality is as good as any other headphones I’ve used, and as a major bonus, I can stay connected to my surroundings while listening to my tunes. It is quickly becoming a new must-have whether I’m in the gym, at home, or at the race track.”

Elliott and Wallace will be featured in social media promotions and make personal appearances on behalf of the AfterShokz brand. Wallace is scheduled to appear at the AfterShokz booth during the 2019 International Consumer Electronics Show next January in Las Vegas.

AfterShokz PR

With the experience that comes from 427 career starts and 12 full seasons on NASCAR’s elite Monster Energy Cup Series, Paul Menard generally has a good idea what’s ahead of him when he heads to a race track.
But he’s never been to a track quite like the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the Cup series races this weekend. The all-new Roval circuit is 2.28 miles in length, with 17 turns. It uses part of Charlotte’s oval track and the rest is on the updated road course.
“I have no idea what to expect,” Menard said. Although he has tested his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion there on three different occasions, he’s still looking at the upcoming weekend as a big unknown.

 If anything, the test session showed that the course will be challenging.
“I crashed in two of the three tests,” he said. “The third one was OK.”

 He said the third test was done using a tire compound similar to the one that will be used in Sunday’s Bank of America 400, and the track and car configurations will be essentially the same as what he experienced in that final test.
But the test sessions mostly consisted of single-car runs, whereas Sunday’s 109-lap, 400-kilometer race will have a full field on the track at the same time.
Menard says that’s a recipe for mayhem.
“It probably will be similar to what restrictor-plate races are like,” he said. “You’ll need to dodge spinning cars and take care of your fenders and your tires.
“It is what it is, and we’ll have to just go in there and try to get the job done.”
Qualifying is set for Friday at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on NBCSN. The 248.520-mile race, the longest scheduled road-course race of the Cup season, is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on NBC.


Michael McDowell and K-LOVE Radio will appeal to race fans this weekend to support the efforts of Convoy of Hope, a non-profit organization providing disaster response services to Hurricane Florence victims in the Carolinas. The No. 34 K-LOVE Radio Ford will carry a Convoy of Hope decal, and McDowell and his team’s primary partner will encourage fans to text GIVEHOPE to 50555 to donate $25.

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that works through churches, businesses, government agencies and other nonprofits to provide help and hope to those who are impoverished, hungry and hurting. 

The Convoy of Hope Disaster Services Team has been in the Wilmington, N.C., area since Sept. 15, the day after Hurricane Florence made landfall. The group has distributed more than 1 million pounds of relief supplies — such as food, water, baby supplies, hygiene kits and more — to shelters, the National Guard, Emergency Operation Centers, neighborhoods in Wilmington and other areas.

“A lot of people might think the worst of this storm is over, but there is still severe flooding in some parts of the Carolinas,” McDowell said. “Convoy of Hope has mobilized more than 1,600 volunteers to the impacted areas and helped more than 55,000 people. But their work isn’t over, and K-LOVE and Front Row Motorsports want to make sure the NASCAR audience knows that and hope they can help.”

Convoy of Hope has set up a special donation page to be used throughout the Charlotte Roval race weekend: Fans can donate any amount online, or they can text GIVEHOPE to 50555 to donate $25.

For more information about Convoy of Hope, visit


The biggest wildcard in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season isn’t the restrictor plate race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where multicar wrecks and wild finishes are business as usual. Instead, the newest track on the circuit, the 2.28-mile, 17-turn “roval” road course at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, is where the Cup Series holds its third and final Round of 16 playoff race Sunday with the promise of salvation or elimination for four drivers with championship hopes.


“It’s downright scary,” said No. 14 Mobil 1/Advance Auto Parts Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer. “The roval has become the biggest wildcard of the season, without a doubt. It’s a way bigger unknown than Talladega, now. Nobody has any idea what to expect and, if they do expect anything, it probably isn’t good.”


Bowyer has more on the line Sunday than most. After finishing 23rd due to a late-race accident in the playoff opener Sept. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, followed by a hard-fought 10th-place finish at Richmond (Va.) Raceway Saturday night, Bowyer arrives at Charlotte 13th in the standings, four points behind the 12th-place transfer spot into the next playoff round. If he climbs into the top 12 by the time the checkered flag falls Sunday, he’ll advance to the Round of 12 that begins Oct. 7 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.


Bowyer spent a day testing the roval on July 17 and it did little to ease his concern as he saw several drivers wreck while running by themselves. Nobody has raced on the new layout side-by-side.


“From the time you pull out on the track to the time you get off, it’s just sketchy,” Bowyer said. “You are just tip-toeing. There’s no room for error at all. The grip level isn’t great like in turn three. If you get to sliding a little bit getting in there and you look over at them tires, you realize there’s no room. If that thing gets out from under you, you are going to be in the fence and you are going to be in it hard. It’s not something you are going to limp away from.”


Now, for an even bigger scare for the drivers whose title bids will be on the line Sunday, Goodyear will make wet-weather tires available in the event of rain, making it even more challenging to navigate the high-speed oval portion of the track and the low-speed, twisting, left-and-right turns in the course’s infield portion. Wet-weather tires were last used in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event Aug. 4 at Watkins (N.Y.) Glen International.


But let’s think positive.


Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford will carry the Mobil 1 paint scheme this weekend. Mobil 1 plays an integral role in SHR’s success. Mobil 1’s lubricant technology helps to reduce frictional loss in his Ford engines to maximize fuel mileage, increase horsepower and turn more rpm, providing an advantage over competitors. Mobil 1 also helps reduce friction in suspension components, providing 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.


Bowyer drove the Mobil 1 paint scheme Sept. 10 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he led a race-high 37 laps and finished fifth in the 400-mile regular-season finale. He’s confident he can repeat that performance and advance to the Round of 12 despite the unique challenge posed by Charlotte’s roval.


“You have to go into this weekend with a positive attitude,” Bowyer said. “You can’t beat yourself before you get there. We’ve had a lot of success on road courses at SHR and I have no doubt we can do that again this weekend.”


In fact, Bowyer has the Cup Series’ second-best average finish of 5.2 in the four road course races since he joined SHR in 2017 with three top-five finishes. Only Kyle Busch’s average finish of 5.0 is better on road courses over that time.


While Bowyer and the most of the 16 playoff drivers might be holding their breath Sunday, wondering whether the roval brings salvation or elimination, there’s one group of folks who are in for an exciting show – the race fans.



Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) make the short journey from the team’s headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina to Charlotte Motor Speedway in nearby Concord. The Smithfield team heads into the weekend with momentum from Saturday night’s race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, where it posted a fifth-place finish.

Instead of competing solely on the traditional four-turn, 1.5-mile Charlotte oval this weekend, the Cup Series competitors will for the first time navigate a 17-turn circuit that combines the oval and an infield road course. Affectionately dubbed the Charlotte “roval,” Almirola participated in a July test on the new circuit that was adventurous for all the drivers. The new configuration presented several challenges and caused multiple cars to venture off of the racing surface. The roval is the first track of its kind to be part of the 10-race NASCAR playoffs.

This weekend’s event is the third and final road-course event of the season. In Almirola’s other two road-course starts of 2018, he was eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, then 22nd at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International after suffering damage from an early on-track incident. Unlike his Sonoma and Watkins Glen weekends, Almirola won’t have the benefit of extra track time to learn the Charlotte roval as new series rules prohibit him from competing in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.


In Almirola’s previous nine starts at road courses, he has completed every lap and has an average start of 25.0 and an average finish of 19.6.


Charlotte signals the final race in the opening Round of 16 of the Cup Series playoffs. If Almirola advances on to the Round of 12, he will go farther than during his previous playoff appearance in 2014. The 34-year-old is second among his four SHR teammates in the standings with 2,079 points, 23 ahead of the top-12 cutoff.


This weekend marks Almirola’s 13th career start at Charlotte. The Tampa native captured the pole award in his first Cup Series start there in May 2012. In total, he has an average start of 15.9 and an average finish of 18.5, including four laps led there. This past May, he started ninth and brought the Smithfield Ford home 13th.   


Even though the season is winding down, fans can still enter for their chance to win Smithfield’s Smoke Machine Mustang designed by team co-owner Tony Stewart with the help of drifting champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. They helped create a one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3 that will be given away to one lucky fan. Fans can register for their chance to win the suped-up Mustang and a trip to November’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead by visiting, or by texting SMOKE to 82257.


Charlotte marks the 26th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Fusion. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

Earlier today, SHR announced a new partnership with Valley Technical Academy. The school will be the primary partner on Almirola’s No. 10 machine for two races next season. Additionally, Valley Technical Academy will be displayed on the decklid of the Almirola’s Smithfield Ford this weekend.


Through the first 28 races this season, Almirola has an average start of 17.3 and an average finish of 13.7 with two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He’s also led 116 laps this season, already a career best.



Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
9/22/2018 (post-race inspection) Richmond No. 18 Safety Sections Tires and Wheels
Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Crew chief (Adam Stevens) has been fined $10,000.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
9/21/2018 (post-race inspection) Richmond No. 20 Safety Sections Tires and Wheels
Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Crew chief (Jason Ratcliff) has been fined $5,000.
Infraction Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Penalty
9/19/2018 N/A Gregory Katzke, Jr. Behavioral Sections 12.1.a; 2.11.a Indefinite suspension from NASCAR


StarCom Racing and Dairi-O Restaurants, located in North Carolina, rekindle the flame and team up again, this time for the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday, September 30. The 00 Dairi-O Chevy will be piloted by Landon Cassill on Charlotte Motor Speedway's newest track, the Roval, which is half road course, and half oval hybrid track. Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Network at 2PM ET to watch this course unfold for the first time ever.

"We're proud to partner with Landon Cassill and StarCom Racing in Charlotte for the first ever Roval Race. Just like NASCAR, we are passionate about the speed and precision of our operations. It's exciting for our brand to be able to promote our fresh quality food through a thrilling sport like racing," said Jeff Speaks, President & CEO of Dairi-O Restaurants.

The 00 Driver, Landon Cassill, will be making an appearance at the Dairi-O Restaurant of Mooresville on Thursday, September 27 at 7PM ET. The restaurant is located at 920 River Hwy, Mooresville, NC. We encourage all fans to come out for a meet-and-greet with Landon and a signed hero card.

"I am super excited to have Dairi-O return to the team, they've got a great look and beautiful restaurants," said 00 Driver, Landon Cassill. "I'm really excited for my appearance at their brand new location in Mooresville. Make sure you come out this Thursday!"

"We are excited to continue our partnership with Dairi-O, said Matt Kohler, President of SCR. "Not only for the delicious items on their menu, but because the people at Dairi-O make up an amazing team and are fun to work with. We can't wait to see the Dairi-O paint scheme at the Roval this weekend!"

StarCom Racing PR

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest will be held this Friday, September 28, from 8 AM to 1 PM at its team headquarters in Huntersville, NC.

JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez, Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, and Ryan Preece, along with JGRMX riders and ARCA driver Riley Herbst are scheduled to sign autographs that morning. In order to receive an autograph, fans must have a wristband for autographs from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Wristbands will be distributed starting at 8 AM on Friday (please note overnight camping is NOT allowed).  Wristbands are not required for XFINITY Series drivers, JGRMX riders or ARCA drivers.

The complete driver autograph schedule for Friday, September 28, is as follows:

8:30 AM -10AM                       Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez

9AM - 10:30 AM                      Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, and Ryan Preece

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM               JGRMX Riders and Riley Herbst

Booths with prize giveaways and interactive displays will be on site, and food will be available for purchase from various vendors. A charity raffle with great prizes will be held at 11:30 AM.

In addition, the seventh annual JGR FanFest Car Show presented by Circle K will be from 8 AM until 1 PM (registration begins at 8 AM and judging concludes at Noon with awards presented at 12:30 PM). Classes for the show include street rod, muscle car, original, custom, truck, late model and best in show.  Participants can preregister at

For more information and directions for JGR Fall FanFest please go to our website at

Funds raised from JGR Fall FanFest will be donated to Hope for the Warriors.