Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14767)

David Ragan’s 400th start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series couldn’t come at a better place. The Unadilla, Ga., native will celebrate the career milestone on Feb. 25 at his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

Some special friends are joining in the celebration, including the Georgia General Assembly. Ragan and track president Ed Clark will attend a ceremony on Thursday morning at the Capitol in Atlanta, where the legislature will issue a proclamation honoring Ragan’s achievement.

Some long-time fans will also be in Atlanta to mark the milestone. Ragan recently reread some fan mail he’d saved from 2006, his rookie year. He decided to contact some of those fans and invite them to the Atlanta race to help him celebrate his 12-year career. The result of his efforts: Two fans from the Atlanta area and two fans from Missouri will be Ragan’s VIP guests at Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, where Ragan will drive the No. 38 Fr8Auctions Ford. The 32-year-old driver is picking up the fans’ travel tabs.

“Atlanta Motor Speedway is special to me because I grew up at that track,” Ragan said. “I raced my Legends car there as a kid in the 90s and early 2000s. My dad still works there and has an office there. It’s just always has been a second home to me.

“So, we couldn’t have scripted it better to have my 400th start be in Atlanta,” Ragan continued. “Ed Clark is taking us down to the Capitol for a special ceremony on Thursday, and we’ll have all kinds of family, friends and fans at the track all weekend. Pulling out those old fan letters and contacting those people to invite them to come was cool. They were pretty surprised but jumped at the opportunity.”

Local partner Fr8Auctions will also get into the celebration, marking Ragan’s milestone with a commemorative logo on the decklid of the No. 38 Ford. The Atlanta-based auction house that sells excess freight inventory is partnering with Front Row Motorsports for a fourth straight year.

“Atlanta Motor Speedway is our home track, too, so naturally we wanted to help mark David’s 400th career start,” said Fr8Auctions founder Marcus Barela. “We’ve been lucky to work with David for a few years now and couldn’t ask for a better driver to represent us on track and off.”

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 airs Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX.


Motorsports’ leading fan driving experience partners – Driving 101, which operates NASCAR Racing Experience, Richard Petty Driving Experience and Mario Andretti Racing Experience – announced today they will become the primary sponsor for the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., for Richard Petty Motorsports at the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For the first time, the NASCAR Racing Experience badge and racing graphics will be featured on the hood and body of a race car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, bringing to life the experience the NASCAR Racing Experience offers thousands of fans at tracks around the country.

“We’re proud to see the NASCAR Racing Experience featured on the car of Bubba Wallace as he makes his debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in Atlanta,” said Robert Lutz, CEO of Driving 101. “It’s an honor to race with NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s team. He’s been an incredible partner in our driving experience, and we look forward to seeing the No. 43 NASCAR Racing Experience Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Bubba Wallace on the track and hopefully in Victory Lane.”

“It’s great to see partners coming on board to support us,” said Wallace. “I’m all about getting fans involved in racing, and nobody does that better than the NASCAR Racing Experience. They allow fans to race the cars we drive. It’s the best way to get on the same track and in the same cars we race. That’s really cool and I’m pumped they are on our car this weekend.”

Driving 101 and its three trusted racing brands now runs at 18 nationwide speedways for NASCAR Racing Experience as well as 15 nationwide speedways for Mario Andretti Racing Experience

NASCAR Racing Experience PR

Kasey Kahne and Leavine Family Racing’s (LFR) stellar run at Daytona International Speedway ended early after a second-stage wreck provided no way out for Kahne and the No. 95 Procore Camaro ZL1.

Kahne started the “Great American Race” from the 26th position and quickly worked his way into the Top-15. The first caution fell on lap nine, allowing Kahne to pit for fuel only. Kahne made it as far as fifth place before getting bumped loose and was forced to dive down pit road. Kahne dropped back to 37th and was no longer in the draft.

Crew Chief, Travis Mack, told the team they would be half a lap short on fuel and that Kahne would need to race for the Lucky Dog position, should he get lapped. Fortunately, a caution came out before Kahne was lapped, and he was able to pit for fuel and tires. Kahne restarted 26th with five laps remaining in the first stage.

While driving up to 13th, Kahne avoided a wreck, as the field crossed the green / checkered flag for the end of the stage. Kahne finished 11th, barely missing out on obtaining LFR’s first stage points of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.

Kahne began the second stage in 11th, making it back up to as high as sixth place. Another caution on lap 93 allowed Kahne to pit once again for fuel only. He would restart 8th with 23 laps remaining in the second stage.

On lap 101 the front of the pack began to wreck, providing no way out for Kahne. He was unable to avoid the wreckage, ending LFR’s day early.

“I couldn’t see what happened,” said Kahne.  “I was just on the outside entering the corner and then Chase (Elliott) came across and hit the wall. By the sounds of it in the infield care center, him and Brad (Keselowski) got together, but I didn’t see any of it.  I’m disappointed. Our Procore Camaro ZL1 was good. We kept getting back towards the front and then falling, but we were fighting.  We had a great car all of Speedweeks, and we are going to get ready for Atlanta.”

Next up LFR and Kahne is Atlanta Motor Speedway, LFR’s first shot at a 1.5-mile track since their pre-season test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Armed with a new crew chief in veteran Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner, Matt Borland, Ty Dillon's optimism was overflowing when he arrived at the World Center of Racing. After a solid 11th place finish in Thursday night's Can-Am Duel race, Germain Racing had productive practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, leaving the GEICO team energized heading into the 60th running of the Daytona 500.
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 rolled off of the starting grid from the 23rd position when the green flag signaled the start of the season's premier event. The super soph immediately broke into the top-20 on the opening lap and was up to 16th place when the day's first caution flag waved on lap nine. Crew Chief Matt Borland ordered his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. Dillon would visit pit road one additional time before the green flag restarted the race in order to top off the fuel tank in a strategic move that could have potentially paid off later in stage one.
Dillon and his GEICO Camaro ZL1 took off from the 35th position when racing action got back underway on lap 13. Seemingly undaunted, Dillon promptly returned to the top-20 and was riding in the 16th position by the close of lap 20. As he continued what appeared to be an almost effortless charge to the front, Dillon gathered up another four positions and was scored in the 12th position on lap 29. The No. 13 GEICO machine was running 11th with just five laps remaining in the event's opening stage.
The hard-charging Dillon looked poised to enter the top-10 and earn a point in the standings as he hurriedly made his way around the 2.5-mile superspeedway on the final lap of the opening stage. Unfortunately, as the field made it's way to the finish of stage one, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. attempted to block Ryan Blaney, triggering a nine-car crash that collected Dillon, along with Jimmie Johnson and other top drivers. The damage to Dillon's GEICO Camaro ZL1 was significant and his day would be over. He was credited with a 39th place finish.
"Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 was running pretty good," Dillon said after exiting the Infield Care Center. "I was trying to get some stage points.  It's really important for us to come out with a good start and I was wanting to be aggressive in the first stage, get some points so we could do whatever we wanted to later on in the race. I saw them crossing lanes up there in the front and I was kind of pinned to the top, and once they started crashing I was just stuck in the oil and didn't really have anywhere to go.  I hate it for our guys because they really put in a lot of work to be out so early in the 500, but we have a long season ahead of us, so I can't wait to get to Atlanta and get past all this."
The Germain Racing team will now head to Atlanta, GA, for the second race of the 2018 Cup Series season.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, February 23rd, at 11:35 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:15 PM (ET).
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, February 25th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Paul Menard had a bird’s-eye view of most of the big wrecks in the 60th annual Daytona 500, but he steered through them all and came away with a sixth-place finish in his 400th career Cup start.

His finishing points, coupled with his Stage points earned, put him in third place in the championship standings, six markers behind leader Ryan Blaney and tied for second place with Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon.

Menard, in his first official drive in the No. 21 Omnicraft Ford, started 16th in the Great American Race but soon raced his way into the top 10, steering clear of the race’s first big wreck and finishing the first 60-lap Stage in ninth place, earning two bonus points.

He spent most of Stage Two in second place, but after a pit stop just before the race’s halfway point he restarted eighth, which put him just behind another multi-car crash, which he also avoided.

On the ensuing restart, he went from fourth place to second at the end of Stage Two, earning nine more points.

Due to a lack of drafting help at times, Menard dropped back to midpack, but soon worked his way back into the lead group.

On a restart with seven of the scheduled 200 laps remaining, Menard lined up 14th and was working his way forward only to see the leaders wreck in front of him again.

When the smoke cleared, he was in fifth place for the start of an overtime run to the checkered flag. After yet another wreck ahead of him, Menard crossed the finish line in sixth place.

“We had a really fast Omnicraft Ford,” Menard said. “These guys are awesome. Great race car. I ran upfront the first-half of the race. I got shuffled out. Denny (Hamlin) bumped me in Turn Three, and I got loose and lost all my track position. I just kept fighting from there to get my track position back.  
“Great run for us. We had shot to win the Daytona 500 at the end of the race. We just came up short. The Omnicraft Ford Fusion was a rocket ship. It was really fun. I’m so proud of this team. The car was fast all day. We survived and were able to bring it back home in one piece.”
And in the bigger picture, Menard was able to score 15 Stage points, including four for a seventh-place finish in his Can-Am Duel.
“It was huge,” he said. “To score points in all three stages is awesome. That’s good for the overall picture. I had a shot at a Stage win. It was a good points day for sure.”
Menard and his Wood Brothers team return to the track next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 


Trevor Bayne drove his No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion to a 13th-place finish in the Daytona 500.  Bayne was a contender in the top 10 a majority of the race until an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel put him a lap down to the field.

“That was a hard-fought race and kind of heartbreaking,” said Bayne.  “We had a few times we had to recover and were able to do that.  We’ve got to clean stuff up and not have mistakes.  The guys on the team did a great job and I am happy with how we performed today.  A lot of times you leave thinking you should have done 20 things differently, but today I felt like I did all I could do.  That is a great feeling.  We made a day out of it.  I look forward to getting to Talladega and then back here to Daytona in the summer when handling is a big deal.  We will go to work for Atlanta.”

Bayne started the Daytona 500 from the 18th position and drafted his way up to 11th by the time the first caution was display just nine laps into the 200-lap race.  Bayne pitted for fuel only, but received a penalty for a crew member over the wall too soon.  NASCAR issued a tail end of the longest line penalty and Bayne took the ensuing restart from the back of the pack.

Bayne made steady gains throughout the course of the race and by the midway point was up in the top five.  The field took the green for the final Stage on lap 126 with Bayne in the fifth position.  Just a few laps later Bayne reported back to his crew he felt a vibration.  The vibration resulted in an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel.  The green flag pit stop put Bayne one lap down to the field.

While in the “lucky dog” position a caution never fell the way the No. 6 AdvoCare team needed, but with some help from his spotter, Bayne was able to avoid multiple incidents on track and emerge unscathed.  Despite being trapped one lap down, Bayne was able earn a 13th-place finish to kick off the 2018 season.


After leading 11 laps and finishing fourth in stage one, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled back to 16th despite an unscheduled pit-stop before being collected in a multi-car accident resulting in a 29th- place finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

“It’s a bummer,” Stenhouse said. “I made a huge save there on the back straightaway and I felt like we were doing everything we needed to do. We missed some of the big wrecks and it was just unfortunate there at the end.

“It didn’t really matter because we were a lap down already, so we weren’t really going to make up any more positions, but, all in all, it was a fun Speedweeks. I felt like our cars were really good and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta.”

The Olive Branch, Miss. native took the green flag in the ninth position and quickly maneuvered his Fastenal Ford up into the third position within five laps where he remained until the first caution flag waved on lap eight. After a pit strategy call for fuel only, Stenhouse restarted on the outside of the front row.

After falling back a few positions due to typical superspeedway racing, the Fastenal Ford bullied its way to lead the pack by lap 33 where Stenhouse stayed on point for the next 11 laps. When the caution flag waved with 10 laps remaining in stage one, crew chief Brian Pattie told Stenhouse to stay out in hopes to gain valuable stage points. When the green checkered waved, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was scored in the fourth position and picked up seven valuable stage points.

Just before half way, a multi-car incident broke out at the front of the field but Stenhouse was able to maneuver his Ford through the melee suffering some nose damage as he was trying to avoid the wreck. Once the race went back green, the Fastenal Ford was overheating in the pack forcing Stenhouse to hit pit-road for an unscheduled pit-stop and causing him to lose a lap to the leaders.

With two laps remaining in the 200-lap race, another multi-car accident occured collecting Stenhouse and forcing him to settle with a 29th-place finish.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. The race will be Sunday, February 25 with coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on FOX.


Race Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime

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

Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Started 11th, finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

● Busch pitted on lap 10 under caution for fuel only. He entered the pits in fourth place and came out first.

● The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion led laps 12-14 and laps 52-62.

The team came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment at the conclusion of Stage 1, one lap after Busch had overshot his pit box.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started 17th, finished 12th.

● Busch pitted under caution on lap 94 for right-side tires and fuel as he ran in 10th. The crew discovered a small cut in the right-front tire.

The team came to pit road for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 2.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

Started 16th, finished 26th.

● Busch pitted on lap 172 for right-side tires and fuel. He was in ninth place.

● Busch was in third for much of the last part of the race and moved to the front to lead laps 195 and 196.

● He was running in the top-three on lap 199 but was involved in a multicar accident in turn two.



● Busch led three times for 16 laps to bring his laps-led total at Daytona to 307.

● Busch finished first in Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point. He finished 12th in Stage 2.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Ten of the 40 drivers in the Daytona 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over second-place Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. was .26 of a second.


Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I was feeling the magic. I thought we could do it again back-to-back and win the Daytona 500. We found the right drafting lanes, and I was making good moves. I just got caught in a Bermuda Triangle it seemed like when Hamlin blocked us. I hit him pretty hard, and that killed a lot of my momentum. Maybe I should have just flung the 11, but you have to treat guys with respect and you’ve also got to throw your elbows out and you have to hold the hits when you get hit. We were close to going back-to-back in the Daytona 500, but I don’t have anything to show for it. I have to thank (Aric) Almirola for the help he gave me on the bottom lane.”


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX TV, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.



Race Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime

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

Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Started sixth, finished seventh, and collected four bonus points.

● The Jimmy John’s team surrendered the seventh position to pit road under caution on lap 52 for four tires and fuel.

● The No. 4 Ford restarted 13th with five laps remaining in the stage.

● Harvick narrowly avoided an accident at the conclusion of the stage to jump from 15th up to seventh.

The team came to pit road for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 1.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started third and finished 31st.

● Harvick raced in the top-five the majority of the stage.

● The Jimmy John’s team came to pit road from the fourth position for two tires, air pressure adjustments and fuel on lap 94.

● Harvick restarted fourth on lap 98 but was collected in a multicar incident on lap 102.

● The No. 4 car suffered heavy damage during the lap-102 incident, causing the team to make extensive repairs on pit road.

The team was unable to complete repairs on pit road and was forced to retire from the event on lap 105.



● Harvick scored nine bonus points in Duel 2 and four points in Stage 1.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Daytona 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over runner-up Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. was .26 of a second.


Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Your thoughts on the incident and the team’s effort to get the car back out? “They did a good job fixing the car. The car was fine. Apparently, you have to have the door. I thought it was just the door foam, but you’ve got to have some metal on the outside of the door. All in all, they did a good job fixing our Jimmy John’s/Busch Beer Ford. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two guys, I couldn’t tell. It looked to me like there was one too many blocks, and the blocking car wound up spinning out and the 2 car hit the 24 and wound up coming up the racetrack into me. It was like a can opener on the way by.”


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 1:30 p.m.



Race Winner:       Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime

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

Stage 2 Winner:   Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Started 10th, finished 26th.

● Bowyer reported his car was loose, so the crew made major handling changes during pit stops.

● Bowyer told his crew he was biding his time and that “the name of the game today” would be survival.

● He dodged a multicar accident on lap 60 without damage.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started ninth, finished 27th.

● Raced in the top-10 for most of the stage.

● Told crew if he could stay patient until the end, he’d have a chance to win the race.

● Bowyer dodged a second multicar accident on lap 101, but seconds later he reported his engine had lost a cylinder.

● He lost two laps on pitlane as his crew attempted to make engine repairs.

● Bowyer returned to the track and made up one of the lost laps by using the wave-around during the next caution.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

Started 25th, finished 15th.

● Stayed in the pack turning respectable lap times.

● Despite late cautions could not regain the lost lap, but persevered for respectable finish.



● This was Bowyer’s seventh top-15 finish in the Daytona 500.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Daytona 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Dillon’s win in the Daytona 500 was his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over runner-up Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. was .26 of a second.


Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Our plan was working. A lot of cars we knew we had to beat were out of the race. We had hung back working on our handling and just waiting to the end of the race. I kept telling my guys to stay patient, there were going to be more wrecks. Sure enough that’s what happened, and we avoided any damage, but when I got on the brakes hard something happened, because we were now down a cylinder. We tried, but there was no way to fix it. We went back out there and were pretty decent, considering. Now we’ll focus on Atlanta.”


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 1:30 p.m.



Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) and D.J. Kennington recovered from an early accident to finish 24th in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Just after the first quarter of the race, Kennington was involved in a three-car accident in which his Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry sustained damage to its left front and left side. The GBR pit crew provided patchwork repair, though the quick fix didn't ameliorate the damage's effect on aerodynamic balance.

Fortunately, attrition was high during The Great American Race, as three more multi-car accidents throughout the day worked in the team's favor. Kennington completed 201 out of 207 laps -- the 500-mile event was extended due to a late-race accident -- to finish 24th among the 40-car field.

"We finished 24th in our second Daytona 500. It's a testament to all the guys on the Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry crew," said GBR owner Marty Gaunt. "We were caught in a wreck early in the race and were able to repair the car. A lot of cars that got wrecked were out for the duration and never got to complete all 500 miles. To finish 24th is a good day. Now we can go home, rebuild and get ready for our next speedway event."

Prior to the accident, Kennington, who became just the sixth Canadian to make multiple Daytona 500 starts, was happy with the handling condition of his Toyota Camry, a focus of the team following Thursday's qualifying race.

"We had a decent car. We could've raced with them, I think," said Kennington. "But we'll take it and run with it. We almost went the distance."

Gaunt Brothers Racing PR