Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (14571)

Joey Gase returns to BK Racing for the final race in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to pilot the No. 83 Toyota Camry. Eternal Fan will be the primary sponsor on board, alongside Premier Millwright, as an associate sponsor. 

Eternal Fan is a new alternative for fans to celebrate in the passion that they have for their positive shared memories. Homestead-Miami Speedway marks their fourth race as a primary sponsor with Gase in 2017. 

Premier Millwright, an Iowa based company, is one of the leaders in the Millwork industry, specializing in installation and/or the election of Building Equipment and Conveyors. For more information on Premier Millwright, visit their website at

“I'm very excited to be racing in the Cup series this weekend in Homestead during championship weekend and representing two different company's from my home town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” commented Joey Gase. “It is awesome how much support we receive from the people in Iowa!”

Tune into NBC, Sunday at 3pm ET to catch the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to see a Champion crowned. For more information on Eternal Fan visit their website

Joey Gase PR

Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) will return to Homestead-Miami Speedway where they earned one of their best-ever finishes together.

This year alone, McDowell and LFR have recorded 15 Top-20 finishes, and one Top-5 finish, as they are on the cusp of completing both of their best seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS).

With the finale of the team’s best MENCS season approaching, LFR and McDowell are looking to charge into Homestead and have a repeat of last year’s final race.

During the 2016 MENCS finale, McDowell and LFR qualified 26th but were able to match their best effort of the season. The team was able to quickly make up multiple spots and maintain position for the majority of the race to earn a 10th place finish at Homestead.

“This will be a bittersweet race weekend for a lot of reasons – probably more so this year than ever,” said McDowell. “Last year we finished Homestead so strong as a team with my first Top-10 there. It was a big weekend for us, and it was so cool to go into the off-season with our best result and that momentum. This is the last race, and we want to finish strong. It will be a special race for us.”

The 2017 MENCS season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway will take place on Sunday, November 19 at 3:00pm EST. Race coverage of the Ford Ecoboost 400 will be on NBC.


“It’s funny how life works and the things that happen that lead you to where you wind up. Growing up in Stokes County, less than 30 minutes away from the Wood Brothers’ shop, it was common for me to see cars in town with 21 stickers on the window, or license plates and such. I always thought how cool it would be to work there and racing was all I ever wanted to do anyhow.

“When I sat down with Eddie and Len Wood at the picnic table in the old “new” shop in Stuart, VA in 1999 I could only dream that one day I’d be the crew chief of the 21. Now there were a lot of stops along the way in between for me to arrive at that point, but it all started with me getting my foot in the door that night.

“So as 2017 draws to a close, it’s not the end of the season I’m thinking about, it’s the beginnings. When those guys offered me a job that night it was the beginning for me. It got me started on a path that led to my ultimate goal of being a crew chief and for that I’m forever grateful. It’s even more ironic that after Mr. Penske gave me the opportunity to be a crew chief at the XFINITY level, that my jump to the Cup series would again involve the Wood family. Again, a beginning for me. It was like I never left.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to make the next step in my career in an environment that felt like I’d been there forever.

“To Glen, Bernece, Leonard, Eddie & Carol, Len & Nancy, Kim & Terry, Jon, Jordan and Keven and the rest of the family, I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be such a small part of the legacy of Wood Brothers Racing, not once but twice.

“There is no more humbling feeling than for Leonard Wood to tell you he’s proud of your team after a good run. Eric, Sherm, and Carl – thank you for all the work that goes unnoticed too easily. You made all our lives easier for three years without knowing it.  Andretti, Roger and Hall – you guys epitomize a team that becomes family. Thanks for allowing us all in for a little while.  Speaking of Hall – thanks Phil for calling Terry for me way back when. To Tim Hussey – the world would be a better place with more people like you in it.

“To every individual who played a role in the 21 car over the last three years, thank you for helping make our time together a success. Ryan and I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to begin our Cup careers in the shadows of such history. Thanks to everyone from Motorcraft, Quick Lane, Ford, and Ford Performance for the faith and support they’ve given to this team for so long and in the future.  As we all head for new beginnings, I wish continued success to everyone at Wood Brothers Racing and will always be thankful for the beginnings you all provided for me.”

  -- JB

On Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Aric Almirola will strap into the famous No. 43 Ford for one last time before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 season. While quiet, Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports broke many droughts surrounding the iconic No. 43 during their time together.

While racing for the team in 2014, Almirola took the famous No. 43 to victory lane at Daytona in the Coke-Zero 400. The trip to victory lane was the first since 1999 for one of the most iconic numbers in all of NASCAR with driver John Andretti at Martinsville Speedway.

With the win in 2014, Richard Petty Motorsports punched their ticket into the NASCAR Playoffs for just their second time in team history. In the opening race of the playoffs at Chicagoland Speedway that year, Almirola had an engine let go and that ultimately ended their playoff hopes.

In addition to scoring his first career win with one of the most well-known teams in NASCAR, Almirola also scored his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole with them in 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The pole was the first for the No. 43 Ford since John Andretti at Phoenix Raceway in 1999.

"It's been a great time racing for Richard Petty Motorsports," said Almirola in a team release. "Richard and the Petty family gave me the opportunity to get into Cup racing full-time, and I appreciate that.  I wish them nothing but the best."

Almirola holds the most starts of any driver at Richard Petty Motorsports since their inception in 2009. Team owner Richard Petty described what it was like to work with Almirola since joining the small car operation in 2009.

"Aric always did everything we asked him to do," said team owner Richard Petty in a release. "He brought the '43' back to Victory Lane for us, and that was just as special for me as it was for him.  We really thank him for everything he has done."

While Almirola moves on to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018, Richard Petty Motorsports will welcome a new driver behind the wheel of the iconic No. 43. That new driver will be Darrell Wallace Jr.

Wallace filled-in for Almirola for four races after sustaining a heavy crash that resulted in a back injury at Kansas Speedway in May. The crash sidelined Almirola for eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races as he recovered.

The 33-year old racer from Florida holds one victory, 11 top five and 32 top 10 finishes in NASCAR’s premier series. Through 28 races in 2017, Almirola has taken the No. 43 Ford to three top five and six top 10 finishes through 28 starts and takes an average finish of 18.8 into the season finale.

David Ragan will close out the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with a familiar name on board his No. 38 Ford Fusion. The Weather Company, via The Weather Channel brand, in collaboration with Flagship Solutions Group, will be the primary partner of Ragan’s team for Sunday’s EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR recently named The Weather Company, an IBM Business, the official weather partner of the sport, providing officials with insights that allow them to make critical weather-related decisions that impact race operations. Flagship Solutions Group, an IBM business partner, is the technology provider working with The Weather Company to develop a weather insights dashboard that integrates into NASCAR’s racing operations and decision-support system.

“Through this partnership, The Weather Company and NASCAR are helping us better understand the needs and requirements for not only the operations team, but also the drivers,” said Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship Solutions Group. “Our relationship with David Ragan will further help to provide that insight so we can develop the correct analytical view of all weather data. It’s truly where the rubber meets the road.”

The 2017 race season finale will mark the first time The Weather Channel blue and white logo will adorn a Front Row Motorsports entry.

“When you have 38 race events outdoors, you’re going to be affected by the weather,” Ragan said. “So, this official partnership between The Weather Company and NASCAR will be a tremendous help to the officials who make weather-related decisions throughout the season.” 

“We are thrilled to be the official weather partner of NASCAR, working closely with them to improve the race experience not only for race operations, but also for fans,” said Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, head of marketing, global business solutions, for The Weather Company, an IBM Business. “Weather impacts every aspect of a race, and this collaboration will help drive more confidence into NASCAR decision-making, reducing uncertainty.”

The EcoBoost 400 airs live on NBC Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.


Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today Chris Gayle will assume the role of crew chief for the No. 20 Toyota Camry team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with driver Erik Jones starting with the 2018 season. 

“I’m very excited to work with Erik again in 2018 and continue to build on our rookie season of 2017,” said Gayle. “I think the lessons we learned together this year will be invaluable to us next season. I’m also very excited to be coming back to JGR and work with all the great people and familiar faces in that organization.”

Chris Gayle returns to JGR following a one-year tenure at Furniture Row Racing where he led Jones in his Rookie Season campaign. Heading in to this weekend’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the pair have accumulated five top-five finishes, 14 top-10 finishes and earned one pole. The duos best run this season came at the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway where Jones won the pole and led 260 laps before finishing second behind Kyle Busch. With a strong run this season, Jones enters the weekend leading the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 14 points over Toyota teammate, Daniel Suarez.

“While we still have one more shot this weekend to close out the year with a win for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Camry, I’m really excited about what’s to come next year moving back to JGR full time in the Cup Series and to have Chris Gayle with me as my crew chief,” said Jones. “Chris and I have come a long way in my rookie season and his rookie season as a crew chief in the Cup Series. We’ve learned a lot together and built a good relationship that I think will only continue to grow as we both move back to JGR and continue fighting for wins and championships.”

Prior to joining Furniture Row Racing for the 2017 season, Gayle served as a crew chief for JGR in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for four years working with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, Jones and others following a successful career as a race engineer for JGR. During his four years as a crew chief in the NXS, Gayle earned 20 wins, including one with Jones at Chicagoland Speedway in 2015, 52 top-five finishes, 91 top-10 finishes and 17 pole starting positions.


The Motor Sports Group will be honoring two Gold Star Families this weekend at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway by displaying the Honor and Remember flag personalized with their hero’s names.

The family of CWO Kyle Jackson on Saturday and the family of SSG Marc Scialdo on Sunday will experience a behind the scenes NASCAR adventure including a special flag presentation and personal meet and greet with Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the No. 33 car.

“We are truly humbled by Joe Falk’s willingness to help us to continue to embrace our nation’s fallen families,” states George Lutz, founder of Honor and Remember, whose son George Anthony Lutz II was killed by a sniper’s bullet while on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005.  “Joe's commitment to our mission of national remembrance will enable us to tangibly bring additional healing to many grieving families across our nation.”

The Ford EcoBoost Series will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway on both Sat/Sun, November 17/18.  Fans can keep up with the action on Twitter by following at @JoeFalk33, @CSMTG3330 via the organization’s the web at


On Aug. 25, 2011, Danica Patrick caused a stir when she announced she would be leaving the open-wheel world to make a full-time run in the NASCAR ranks. A little more than two months later, she joined Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team owner Tony Stewart to unveil the schedule for a 10-race effort she would run the following season with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.


Patrick made her first official NASCAR Cup Series start in February 2012 in the 54th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.


The Kannapolis-based SHR team would expand from a two-car operation to field a third full-time NASCAR Cup Series entry with Patrick and, in the years since she completed her first laps in a NASCAR Cup Series car, Patrick has made history with the No. 10 team.


Patrick became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500. 


She then became the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race when she held the point for laps 90 and 91, and laps 127 to 129. 


Patrick became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green in that 2013 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.


After earning the pole and leading laps, Patrick finished the 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”


In 2013, Patrick competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race and became the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series. 


Patrick has made the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition and, last weekend, she became the first female in NASCAR history to make 250 combined starts in the three NASCAR national series. 


With seven top-10 finishes to her credit, Patrick holds the record for the most top-10 finishes by a female in NASCAR Cup Series competition. 


Sunday, Patrick will make her 190th NASCAR Cup Series start in the No. 10 entry for SHR. The Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark her last race in the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion with SHR. After five seasons together and one pole award, 64 laps led, seven top-10s, 21 top-15s and 65 top-20 finishes, this chapter of history comes to a close for Patrick and SHR.



This weekend, Aric Almirola will make his final start for Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM).  Almirola has been the full-time driver of the No. 43 since 2012.  He made five starts for the team prior to 2012.

Almirola enters the Homestead-Miami Speedway with 243 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts.  Of those, 213 have been with RPM.  He has the most starts for the organization that started in 2009.  

The highlight of the tenure is Almirola's win in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway.  A storybook win, Almirola took the checkered 30 years after "The King" Richard Petty celebrated his 200th win at Daytona.

The win also brought the No. 43 back to victory lane for the first time since 1999.  The trophy and a letter from Almirola to Petty about the win sit in the Petty Museum today.

The 2014 season was the second time that RPM competed in NASCAR's playoffs.  An engine failure at Chicaogland derailed the breakout season for Almirola and the team.

Almirola won his first pole with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2012 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  His success also includes 11 Top-Five and 31 Top-10 finishes for the organization.

"It's been a great time racing for Richard Petty Motorsports," said Almirola. "Richard and the Petty family gave me the opportunity to get into Cup racing full-time, and I appreciate that.  I wish them nothing but the best."

"Aric always did everything we asked him to do," said Petty.  "He brought the '43' back to Victory Lane for us, and that was just as special for me as it was for him.  We really thank him for everything he has done."

Furniture Row Racing’s Erik Jones is focused on closing out his successful NASCAR Cup Series rookie season in the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota on a high note in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 21-year-old from Byron, Mich., has earned five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes after 35 races in his rookie campaign, including a fourth-place finish last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. Jones is 18th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 847 points after 35 races, trailing Joey Logano for 17th place by 47 points (894) and ahead of Clint Bowyer in 19th by two points (845) and Daniel Suarez in 20th place by 73 points (774).

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team has come a long way this season so I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said Jones. “We ran well and had top-10 finishes the past two weeks at Texas and Phoenix so our goal is to finish out the season with another strong run at Homestead.”

In three starts on Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval, Jones has earned one top-five (third in the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series) and two other top-10 finishes (sixth in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ninth in the 2016 XFINITY Series). He also has qualified third, fifth, and seventh in those three races. He was crowned the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion there in 2015 and came up just short in last year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.

“I have good memories from Homestead despite not being able to win the XFINITY Series championship last season,” said Jones. “Winning the Truck Series championship there in 2015 was a very special time. Getting our first Cup Series win and possibly winning rookie-of-the-year honors would be a great way to wrap this year up.”

Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 269 points, 14 ahead of Suarez (255) and 77 ahead of Ty Dillon (192).

The 267-lap, 400-mile Ford EcoBoost 400 will consist of three stages of 80/80/107 laps (80/160/267). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 12:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 4:15 a.m. MT (6:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.


he partnership between Team Penske and Fitzgerald Glider Kits will continue to grow in 2018, as the team announced today that Fitzgerald will become the primary sponsor on the championship-winning No. 22 Ford Mustang for the majority of next season’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races.

Fitzgerald Glider Kits, North America’s leading truck glider kit assembler, will be the primary sponsor of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford for 16 races beginning next season, including the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway, the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and both series races at Bristol Motor Speedway, the home track for the Tennessee-based company. Fitzgerald will also be an associate sponsor on the car for the balance of the 2018 NXS season.

As part of the enhanced agreement with Fitzgerald Glider Kits, a Team Penske partner since 2016, Fitzgerald will also serve as the primary sponsor for the team’s No. 12 Ford Fusion driven by Ryan Blaney in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol in August of 2018. Fitzgerald will also continue as an associate sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series (VICS) with a presence on the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by defending series champion Josef Newgarden throughout next season.

“Team Penske continues to grow its relationship with Fitzgerald Glider Kits and we welcome the company’s increased role as a sponsor with the No. 22 Ford Mustang team in 2018,” said Roger Penske. “We work closely with Fitzgerald in our trucking business and the company has certainly made the most of its partnership with our race teams across different platforms since it joined Team Penske in 2016. We look to continue to build the Fitzgerald Glider Kits brand as we move to the next level next season.”

Team Penske and Fitzgerald first teamed up when the company became a sponsor of the No. 22 NXS Ford Mustang in 2016. This season, the Tennessee-based company not only was a partner on the No. 22 team, but it also enhanced its relationship with Team Penske as it became a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Ford Fusion driven by Brad Keselowski for two Cup Series races and sponsored both Josef Newgarden and Juan Pablo Montoya in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In addition, Fitzgerald was a sponsor with Keselowski’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team at Brad Keselowski Racing this season.

Keselowski, Newgarden, and Blaney all won races driving Fitzgerald colored cars during 2017.

“Working with Roger and Team Penske has been a real privilege over the past few years,” said Fitzgerald founder Tommy Fitzgerald Sr.  “I truly appreciate the all the new friendships we’ve built and the time that the team took to get to know our company and to understand the goals of our brand. Becoming a primary sponsor with Team Penske was a natural fit for the Fitzgerald Companies. The opportunity to display our colors on the hauler and the race car will give us a great tie into the transportation side of racing, which means maximum exposure in our industry.  Seeing our company logo in the winner’s circle provides a feeling of pride unlike anything we have done as a family and as a company. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Team Penske by growing our commitment to the No. 22 NASCAR XFINITY Series program.”

Team Penske’s No. 22 NXS team has been one of the most successful in racing over the last several years. The No. 22 won the series Driver’s Championship with Keselowski in 2010 before capturing three-consecutive Owner’s titles from 2013-2015. The team is one of the final Championship 4 teams eligible for the Owners’ Championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford Mustang will make its 2018 debut in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 17.

Team Penske PR