Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15961)

Bubba Wallace continues to make national headlines in his rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driving the famed No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. Wallace Jr. was recently named to the EBONY Power 100 list published by EBONY Magazine. Wallace Jr. was listed as an "MVP" and joined other athletes such as Antonio Brown, Stephen Curry, Venus Williams as well as former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama on the prestigious list.

The list is to recognize and celebrate the most inspiring and influential leaders of color who are impacting and shaping our world today. This year's list includes people who have had made a significant impact in creating movements, changing culture and bettering society.

"This is quite an honor to be recognized with others in the African-American community," commented Wallace Jr. "It's humbling to join a list of the other star athletes, artists and community and national leaders. I'm just trying to be the best driver that I can be and focus on winning races for Richard Petty Motorsports and our partners. To be recognized for some of our accomplishments this season is an honor and I'd like to thank EBONY for the recognition."

Wallace Jr. burst onto the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series scene during this year's Daytona 500, finishing second. He later scored a Top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway and then raced the iconic No. 43 STP Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the front at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has also earned numerous Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards throughout the season and has led laps at Bristol, Pocono Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Off the track, Wallace Jr. has proven to be one of the fastest-rising stars not only in NASCAR, but in all of sports. Social media leader, Facebook, began the year following Wallace Jr. leading up to his first Daytona 500 start. The "Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace" Facebook Watch digital docuseries propelled Wallace Jr. into the mainstream media with over five million views. Wallace Jr. has also been named as one of the top 50 Most Influential People in Sports Culture by Bleacher Report and one of the World's Most Marketable athletes named by SportsPro.

"We are proud of what Bubba is doing both on and off the track for our race team and our partners," said Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer, Richard Petty Motorsports. "We know that we have something very special with him and he continues to break barriers outside our sport to be a first-class athlete, spokesperson and inspiration to many."

Wallace Jr. will compete this Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway.
 
RPM PR

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs heats up this week with more than 18 hours of trackside coverage from Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. Race coverage from “America’s Heartland” begins Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, with the first race in the Xfinity Series Round of 8, and is highlighted by Sunday’s pivotal Cup Series Round of 12 elimination race at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Entering Sunday’s Cup Series elimination race, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola have both secured spots in the Round of 8, by virtue of a win. Kevin Havick (3,128 points), Kyle Busch (3,111 points), Joey Logano (3,104 points), Kurt Busch (3,095 points), Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) and Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) occupy the final six transfer spots, but have yet to officially lock in a position. Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman currently stand below the cut line and face possible Playoff elimination this weekend.

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES RACING FROM KANSAS SPEEDWAY THIS SUNDAY AT 2:30 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBC Sports kicks off its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage from Kansas Speedway this Friday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with first practice, followed by the 1,000th episode of NASCAR America at 6 p.m. ET. Qualifying wraps up the evening at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Saturday’s coverage begins with second practice at 10:30 a.m. ET on CNBC. NBCSN presents a special 30-minute edition of NASCAR America at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by final practice at 1 p.m. ET. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage wraps up at 2 p.m. ET with a second on-site edition of NASCAR America.

Sunday’s race day coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 2 p.m. ET. NASCAR Cup Series racing begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, and is followed 90-minutes of post-race coverage including Victory Lap, NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR post-race show originating from Stamford, Conn.

NBC Sports’ lead race announcer Rick Allen (@Rickallenracing) will call the action alongside 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton (@Jeffburton). Motorsports icon and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) and Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte (@steveletarte) will provide additional insight from NBCSN’s second broadcast booth.

Krista Voda (@KristaVoda) will host pre- and post-race coverage alongside auto racing icon Kyle Petty (@Kylepetty), and Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett (@DaleJarrett). Marty Snider (@HeyMartysnider), Kelli Stavast (@Kellistavast), Dave Burns (@tvdaveburns) and Parker Kligerman (@Pkligerman) will report from pit road.

NBC SPORTS PRESENTS XFINITY SERIES RACING FROM KANSAS SPEEDWAY SATURDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBCSN’s Xfinity Series coverage from Kansas Speedway begins Friday at 3 p.m. ET with first practice, followed by final practice at 5 p.m. ET.  Saturday’s race day coverage kicks off with qualifying at 11:30 a.m. ET on CNBC, followed by pre-race Countdown to Green coverage at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Live race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

MICHELE TAFOYA JOINS NASCAR ON NBC FOR THE RIDE OF HER LIFE IN THE NBC SPORTS ON-TRACK CAR

Emmy award–winning Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya will join NASCAR on NBC’s Jeff Burton this Saturday, for a few laps around Kansas Speedway in the NBC Sports Toyota on-track car. Tafoya will suit up in an NBC Sports fire suit and helmet to ride shotgun as Burton gives her a tour at 100+ mph around the 1.5 mile track. The segment will appear as part of both NBC Sports’ NASCAR and NFL coverage this weekend.

NBC SPORTS LAUNCHES FIRST EVER SNAPCHAT CURATED STORY

As part of NBC Sports’ big Kansas weekend, NBC Sports Group’s social media team will utilize Snapchat’s new partner curation tool for the first time. Compiling curated on-site content, mixed with user generated content from Snapchat users, the NBC Sports Snapchat account will take fans behind the scenes of Kansas Speedway and Arrowhead Stadium for NBC’s first-ever “Our Story.”

NASCAR AMERICA CELEBRATES 1,000TH EPISODE THIS FRIDAY AT 6 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily motorsports show, will air its 1,000th episode this Friday, October 19 at 6 p.m. ET. The historic and celebratory episode will include special appearances by seven-time Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson as well as Cup Series Playoff contender and Kansas native Clint Bowyer, live from NBC Sports Group’s “Peacock Pit Box” located on pit road at Kansas Speedway.

For more information click here.

NBC SPORTS DIGITAL’S “ON THE ROAD” SERIES HIGHLIGHTS THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

NBC Sports Digital’s new series “On the Road” brings viewers trackside for last weekend’s race at iconic Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. NBC Sports producers Marisa Marcellino and Annie Koeblitz interview race fans in attendance from across the world to understand their passion for racing, pre-race traditions and what keeps them coming back to the world famous superspeedway.

The entire “On The Road” series can be found here.

NBCSN LAUNCHES NEW AUTOMOTIVE REALITY SERIES – PROVING GROUNDS – DEBUTING THIS SUNDAY AT 7:30 P.M. ET

Proving Grounds, a new reality series featuring a fast-paced immersion into auto racing and testing, debuts this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series coverage from Kansas Speedway.

The first season features five episodes that test a variety of cars from American muscle and European exotics, to everyday pickup trucks and minivans, on a custom built track in Southern California. Proving Grounds is hosted by NASCAR driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman and automotive journalist Sam Smith, and features Sports Car Champion driver Leh Keen.

A preview of Proving Grounds is available here.

For more information click here.

UPCOMING NBC SPORTS GROUP NASCAR PROGRAMMING

DATE COVERAGE TIME (ET) NETWORK
Wednesday, Oct. 17 NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, Oct. 18 NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
  Dale Jr. Download 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR K&N Series – All American 6 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Whelen Modified – Thompson 7 p.m. NBCSN
Friday, Oct. 19 NASCAR K&N Series – All American (Encore) 12 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Whelen Modified – Thompson (Encore) 1 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series First Practice – Kansas 2 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series First Practice – Kansas 3 p.m. NBCSN
  Dale Jr. Download(Encore) 4 p.m. NBCSN
  Racing Roots (Encore) 4:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice – Kansas 5 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR America – 1,000th Episode 6 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Kansas 7 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday, Oct. 20 NASCAR Cup Series Second Practice – Kansas 10:30 a.m. CNBC
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying – Kansas 11:30 a.m. CNBC
  NASCAR America 12:30 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice – Kansas 1 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR America 2 p.m. NBCSN
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Countdown to Green 2:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Kansas 3 p.m. NBC
Sunday, Oct. 21 NASCAR America 1:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Countdown to Green 2 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Race – Kansas 2:30 p.m. NBC
  NASCAR Cup Series Post-Race Show 6 p.m. NBCSN
  Victory Lap 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
  Proving Grounds 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
  /DRIVE 8 p.m. NBCSN

 NBC Sports PR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
10/14/2018 (post-race inspection) Talladega No. 42 L1 Section 10.9.9.d Damaged Vehicle
Policy/Mechanical Repair
Note: Damaged vehicle repair, regardless of how the damage occurred, is permitted to have original body parts removed or reattached in their original location with fasteners and/or tape only.
Crew chief (Chad Johnston) has been fined $25,000. Car chief (David Bryant) has been suspended from the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship points event. Team has been assessed with the loss of 10 driver points and 10 owner points.
10/14/2018 (post-race inspection) Talladega No. 10 Safety Sections 10.9.10.4: Tires and Wheels
Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Crew chief (John Klausmeier) has been fined $10,000.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
10/13/2018 (pre-race) Talladega No. 02 L1 Section 20.4: Body
Note: Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of  the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.
Crew chief (Chad Kendrick) has been fined $5,000.
10/13/2018 (pre-race) Talladega No. 52 L1 Section 20.4: Body
Note: Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of  the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.
Crew chief (Graham Bruce) has been fined $5,000.
10/13/2018 (pre-race) Talladega No. 21 L1 Section 20.4: Body
Note: Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of  the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.
Crew chief (Joel Shear Jr.) has been fined $5,000.
NASCAR
Issue Date Track Team/Member Level Infraction Penalty
10/17/2018 N/A Christopher Justin Chase Behavioral Sections 12.1.a; 2.11.a Indefinite suspension from NASCAR

 

Martin Truex Jr.’s last two finishes have been somewhat concerning for the Furniture Row Racing driver, who finds himself in the perilous eighth-place bubble position for advancing to the next playoff round.

After having solid performances in the first round of the playoffs with third-place results in Las Vegas and Richmond and a near win at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course, Truex has not had any satisfaction in the second round (Round of 12) with finishes of 15th at Dover and 23rd at Talladega.

With the NASCAR Cup Series heading to Kansas Speedway for the third and final race in the Round of 12, Truex, who is ranked eighth in the playoff standings, will take an 18-point cushion to the 1.5-mile track.

“There are a number of scenarios for the remaining six transfer spots,” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota in Kansas. “From our standpoint it’s very simple. We can’t worry about others, just need to focus on our program and go out and do it ourselves. Kansas has been a great track for us and we just need to continue what we’ve been doing there the past few years. But this is racing and anything can happen as we saw in Talladega.”

While the anxiety level will skew a little higher at Kansas, Truex couldn’t be going to a better venue to remain above the cutline for the playoff transfer spot. In his last three starts at Kansas, Truex swept both races in 2017 and was runner-up in this year's spring race.

“As far as why we’ve been good there (at Kansas) over the years, I’m not sure,” Truex said. “It’s a place where I really feel comfortable. Have had chances to win multiple races there over the years with different teams even. It was one of the places I was successful at before Furniture Row so for whatever reason it just points towards my driving style and my comfort level, what I like in my race car and it just seems to work out well there.”

Truex’s career record at Kansas includes 20 starts, two wins, seven top fives, eight top 10s, two poles and 726 laps led. His average starting position is 10.4 and average finish 14.4.

FRR PR

It’s October and, as usual this time of year, M&M’S has brought back its Halloween-themed No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for driver Kyle Busch during the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races – this weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and the following weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – during one of M&M’S busiest seasons.

 

In keeping with the Halloween theme, if one were to look at Busch’s three-race stretch at Kansas in NASCAR’s top series following the summer 2012 repave of the 1.5-mile oval, the result sheet was downright spooky for the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Starting with the October race in 2012, Busch finished 31st, 38th, and 34th, respectively, with all three races ending in an accident.

 

The 1.5-mile oval built in 2001, which originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns, underwent a massive renovation project leading into the aforementioned October 2012 Cup Series event. The changes included repaving of the track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.


Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface after those three consecutive accidents, Busch and his M&M’S Halloween team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race there by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked the track in the Heartland of America with hope that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result of 15th was still much different than the three previous trips. They began to turn the corner in terms of competitiveness and results.

 

Starting with the October 2014 Kansas Cup Series race, Busch brought home his first-ever top-five finish at the track. Anyone who has ever followed Busch’s career knows the 2015 Cup Series champion never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum carried over from the October 2014 top-five to his next Kansas race in October 2015, when he finished a solid third. It was a finish that helped vault him through to the next round of the Cup Series playoffs and eventually to the championship stage.

 

Busch has kept making strides each time he goes back to the Heartland, where he broke through for his first Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile oval in May 2016 as the surface finally started to wear and become more agreeable to Busch’s driving style as he now has seven consecutive top-10 finishes there, a streak that at one point included five consecutive top-five finishes.

 

Sunday afternoon in Kansas, Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team will look to tackle the final race of the Round of 12 of the 2018 playoffs. Busch has a 43-point advantage over the all-important cutoff spot for the Round of 8, a gap he hopes to keep in order to make it through to the next round. The Las Vegas native hopes for two strong finishes in the first two stages, along with a solid result in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 to make his advancement to the next round a formality.

 

So, as the Cup Series heads to the Heartland of America Sunday, an eighth top-10 finish in a row at Kansas could be just what Busch needs to move on to the next playoff round. And even though Halloween is fast approaching, Kansas has been solid – not scary – for Busch and his colorful M&M’S Halloween Toyota.

 

TSC PR

Ragan on Kansas

"Kansas has really matured into a great track. It’s got multiple grooves, and we have run really well there over the past season and a half at Front Row Motorsports. We’ve worked really hard on our mile-and-a-half program, and I feel like we’re still putting a lot of effort into it, even these last five races. There’s a rule change coming next year, so these cars aren’t going to be the same. We’ll try to make them faster and have more downforce and drive better. So, Kansas is an important race for us. We’ve been able to run in the top 15, top 20 the last few races there.

"Our 2018 notebook will basically be put into archives. The racing next year is going to continue to evolve with the downforce engine package, and Goodyear will probably change the tires around to accommodate. And then you always have other developments throughout the year. So, the old notes won’t be thrown away, but they’ll probably be put away to where we can reference them if we need to. But things are going to change a lot going forward."


Ragan Kansas Stats
19 starts, 1 top-10, 3 top-15s, 9 top-20s
Best finish: 8th


Meet David
Sunday, Oct. 21, 10:10am - Ford Performance display (Kansas Speedway Fan Zone)

FRM PR

McDowell on Kansas

"We've got a new partner coming with us to Kansas. Coburn Supply Company will be on our No. 34 Ford for the weekend. Coburn's is a distributor of commercial and residential plumbing, electrical, waterworks and HVAC products. They've been around for over 80 years and have grown to more than 50 locations across the South. This will be their first time with us, so we certainly want to have a good run with their colors on our car, and our mile-and-a-half record this year shows that we can definitely do that.

"Mile-and-a-halfs have really been our strong suit this year. Kansas was a good one for us in the spring. I’m looking forward to going back there and see what we got. The mile-and-a-halfs are either good or bad, depending on how you run that year. It’s that one thing that’s pretty consistent. You can unload with a similar package that you ran at Vegas or Chicago or somewhere like that. I think we’re homed in pretty good on our mile-and-a-half program, and I’m looking forward to Kansas.

"The line moves around. Usually by Lap 50 or 60, you’re all the way up against the fence. And then, by the end of the race, you’re back down at the bottom. So, you’ve got to have some versatility in your car. It’s nice when the track falls off and the tires fall off. The difference with Kansas is, even though the line and grooves move around, it’s still pretty fast the entire time. Unlike Darlington, where one lap is blistering fast, and then you’re a second and a half slower. At Kansas, you stay hauling the mail the whole time. You just start moving around. It’s a fun track and our best mile-and-a-half."


McDowell Kansas Stats
14 starts, 1 top-15, 3 top-20s
Best finish: 13th 

FRM PR

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.

 

TSC PR

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.
 
RPM PR

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.

 

TSC PR

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 1000Bulbs.com 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 1000Bulbs.com 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