Monster Energy Cup Series News (14767)
Roush Fenway Racing received the prestigious Team Award during the 11th Annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards on Thursday, Feb. 15. The award goes to a team that engaged driver, OEM and sponsor support to effectively reach fans on and off the track in support of NASCAR’s diversity and inclusion goals.
Roush Fenway has prioritized working with the Drive for Diversity program by hiring crew members, drivers, corporate staff and interns from NASCAR Diversity’s ranks.
The team has emphasized support for NASCAR’s diversity goals on its pit crews and counts a number of Drive for Diversity graduates among its ranks in recent years. Three D4D graduates – tire carrier Kevin Richardson, tire changer Rafael Diaz and Jackman Mike Russell -- pitted Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s No. 17 car to two wins and a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff appearance in 2017. Russell and Diaz were awarded the 2016 NASCAR Crew Member Diversity Award for inspiring awareness of NASCAR through competitive performance and outreach activities. Diaz and Russell became the first D4D crew members to win a national series championship when they pitted Chris Buescher’s No. 60 car to the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. Additionally, Diaz was named to NBC’s Pit Crew All-Star team in 2017.
Roush Fenway also promoted the NASCAR Diversity program in fielding graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. in the No. 6 Mustang during the 2015-2017 season. The team worked with Wallace and NASCAR Diversity to promote the program through traditional and digital media outreach.
In addition to competition, Roush Fenway has also emphasized the Diversity program in its corporate office. The organization annually participates in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program, taking on students from diverse backgrounds for a 10-week internship program that offers college students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within their fields of study.
Roush Fenway is the second recipient of the Drive For Diversity Team Award. Patriot Motorsports/Circle Track Racing received the first in 2017.
FOX Sports, marking its 15th Daytona 500, is raising its game yet again, adding aerial drone coverage and a record number of in-car cameras to its already standard-setting production lineup for the 60th running of the Great American Race on Sunday, Feb. 18 (2:30 PM ET) on the FOX broadcast network.
In an industry first, and working closely with NASCAR and ISC, FOX Sports is utilizing a drone to provide live coverage from behind the backstretch at iconic Daytona International Speedway. Tethered to allow it to fly for longer periods of time, it will be able to hover and move around outside of the racing area to cover the action from an entirely new angle for viewers.
“Each year, Daytona Speedweeks allows us to develop, test and deploy more and more technical enhancements than we are able to do at most other events,” said Michael Davies, FOX Sports SVP Field & Technical Operations. “The sheer mount of multi-day, multi-platform programming FOX Sports has over multiple races, qualifying sessions and practice sessions allows us the reps to do so.
Added Davies: “This year is no different, as we are using the popular Visor Cam for the first time in a Daytona 500, our first fiber NASCAR IP transmission, different stabilized camera mounts to access different areas of the pits and our digital mosaic offering.”
In addition, FOX Sports has a record number of in-car cameras, giving fans a driver’s-eye view of the action. FOX Sports, NASCAR and their partners are deploying 14 in-car cameras (including the Daytona 500 pace car) for the race, more than in any NASCAR race in the last 15 years.
Included in the mix is the popular Visor Cam, a small camera clipped to the helmet of a selected driver. Developed by Maryland’s BSI, the Visor Cam was first used by FOX Sports at the Eldora NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in 2017, and was transitioned to NASCAR Monster Energy Cup races later in the year. Defending Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez will don Visor Cams for Sunday’s race.
Stay tuned to FOX Sports GO for a unique and immersive compilation stream consisting of multiple in-car cameras, with live telemetry to dive deeper into the race. The FOX Sports streaming app also will display the linear broadcast alongside these exciting added elements.
“With such amazing resources and technology around our NASCAR coverage, we are excited to provide the fans with some great additional content,” said Zac Fields, FOX Sports SVP Graphic Tech/Integration. “We look forward to growing this throughout the season.”
The FOX Sports Daytona 500 production elements also include:
TOUCHSCREEN CUTAWAY CAR
FOX Sports has enhanced its 3D-cutaway car, putting these graphics in the hands of the broadcast team. In addition to a touchscreen in the Hollywood Hotel, FOX NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds will once again have his own dedicated touchscreen inside the booth, allowing for immediate access to enhance any technical story, giving the viewer clear illustrative explanations around the latest changes to the Cup cars.
Camera-tracking technologies from Croation Company, Stype, provide FOX Sports the ability to place 3D-graphics in the real environment by combining with VIZRT for the graphic rendering. For example, specialty graphics, including virtual leaderboards, sponsor enhancements and race summaries, are placed on Turn 3 as giant virtual billboards.
GOPHER CAM – A CAMERA IN THE TRACK
FOX’s Gopher Cam, provided by Inertia Unlimited is a tiny high-definition point-of-view camera buried underneath the asphalt track surface. This is the 10th year the camera has been used, and it is ever-improving. Advances in lens quality and materials enable FOX to provide a much wider and clearer field of view. For Daytona, there are three cameras placed in harm’s way, including one in Turn 4 and another on the backstretch, positioned so cars run the cameras over at more than 200 mph.
HAT CAM and PIT WALK
Viewers can go for a pre-race walk with two-time Daytona 500 winner and FOX NASCAR analyst Michael Waltrip down pit road – seeing what Michael sees with the RF hat camera.
CRANK IT UP!
As always, FOX Sports gives viewers a chance to truly test the ability of their home stereo system with its hugely popular “CRANK IT UP” segment, in which the FOX Sports Emmy-winning audio team allows viewers to listen to the action on the track in dynamic 5.1 surround sound as if they were there.
FOX Sports employs seven main mobile production units in the multi-network television compound at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, the network’s coverage from Speedweeks requires two satellite uplinks and a set of mobile generators that provide nearly two megawatts of power independent of the local power source. This command center directs the following arsenal of production equipment:
- Live tethered drone
- 300 FOX Sports personnel
- 12 production trucks including facilities for
- Live Television Production and Transmission
- Digital Production
- Editing Facility
- RF Cameras and Audio from BSI
- Telemetry and graphics from SMT
- Power Generation
- Studio Production
- 20 manned cameras
- 3 in-track Gopher Cam cameras
- 2 6-times super slow motion cameras (Sony 4300)
- 1 16-times super slow motion camera (Sony 4800)
- 1 1000-frame-per second Xmo cameras located the start/finish line
- 10 Robotic Cameras around the track
- 3 robotic Hollywood Hotel cameras
- Jib camera with Stype Augmented Reality Enhancement
- 14 in-car camera packages, each featuring three different camera angles
- 4 wireless roving pit/garage camera crews
- 2 in-car Gyro-Cams
- Massive network of digital replay devices and a rolling archive of past races
- 40 race team communication radios, one for each car on the track
- More than 150 microphones placed along the track and throughout Daytona International Speedway
- Racing Radios edit unit – deployed to get the most radio chatter on the air as possible
- The iconic Hollywood Hotel mobile studio
FOX Sports PR
Ron Devine, the owner of BK Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, stopped by The Pit Stop on Tuesday evening to discuss their situation surrounding the Daytona 500 and their future going forward. The small team, who ran full-time in 2017 with seven different drivers across four different car numbers, plan to continue their program all the way through 2018.
The team had a small presence in the opening weekend of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway during practice and qualifying. The No. 23 Toyota of Gray Gaulding, the only BK Racing entry in the Daytona 500 this year, posted only one lap on Saturday during the second practice session and was scheduled to go out first in qualifying on Sunday.
“It was a little bit frustrating, but, you know, things happen,” Gaulding told reporters at Daytona 500 Media Day. “BK Racing and myself, it’s not really that big of a deal because I’ve fought adversity my entire career. It’s just another bump in the road and you just gotta keep pushing no matter what is thrown your way. I’ve had many curve balls thrown my way in my career and I just gotta keep my head forward and be positive. All I’m focused on is tomorrow’s Duel.”
When Daytona 500 qualifying came on Sunday afternoon, the No. 23 Toyota ran into a hiccup while going through pre-qualifying inspection. The car passed all of the stations seamlessly with the exception of the engine portion. Devine explained the issue surrounding that situation on The Pit Stop.
“What it came down to, putting the car on the track to run a qualifying lap, I don’t think we would’ve set it on the pole,” said Devine on The Pit Stop. “We couldn’t get through the engine piece. So to say we were having some issues with our motor suppliers is such an understatement but, we managed to get through the Hawkeye, the car was ready to go, it was presented, and it’s been approved all through the other stations, and it came down to basically the motor.”
As a result, the No. 23 Toyota did not post a time in qualifying on Sunday and will start last in the second Can-Am Duel 150 on Thursday. Devine later stated that they hope to have the engine issue resolved ahead of their Duel 150.
“Hopefully we’ll have that worked out when we get there Thursday so that we can run it in the Duels,” Devine later said. “That’s what we’re focused on right now. NASCAR was great to work with and accommodating. It was a shame that we were the only car that didn’t get through it. And I’m tellin ya, it’s a tough system to get through. I just think it speaks volumes to the effort these teams had to put in this through winter to get through tech. It’s new to all of us and we’re learning it. I think we did a really good job with that. Just a shame we got hung up with this motor issue. But, employees, again, really rallied and came through and did a nice job with it.”
Despite having to start last in the second Duel 150, Devine and the No. 23 team isn’t worried. Daytona, like its sister track Talladega in Alabama, is a track where a driver can quickly gain or lose positions and serves as an equalizer for the small teams. They feel good coming into their Duel 150 because they feel like they can hang with the field.
“If there’s one race you can start last in and not worry about it, it’s the Duel’s for sure, and even the 500 with it being a plate race. Our cars are good in the wind tunnel and we feel like we can hang there with the pack and be in a position to have a great finish. And you never know with a plate race. We’re not concerned where we start. Yes. You do have to go through a certain amount of things to make the field and do all that. We gotta make sure we do that and that’s what we’re focused on.”
The No. 23 team with Gray Gaulding behind the wheel is a chartered team and is locked into the Daytona 500 and all races remaining in 2018. And even if they weren’t a chartered team, the Daytona 500 entry list, featuring 40 cars, means that nobody will fail to make the prestigious 500-mile stock car event.
In the past it wasn’t uncommon for smaller operations struggling for funding to start and park. The method, which is frowned upon by race fans and the sanctioning body, is where a team will run five to six laps before taking the car to the garage for the day. Some drivers have successfully used this method to get their name out there before landing a better funded ride. Devine declines to start and park because they’re at the track to race.
“I’ve never been a start and park car. You know, to see some of the stuff flying around about start and park -- it just amazes me,” said the owner. “We’ve never done that. In seven years of history, and you know, we’ve ran four cars in the Daytona 500 a couple of years ago. We’re a race team. We wanna race. We went there to race and we’re ready to race. And we’re gonna race.”
With Gaulding behind the wheel for the Daytona 500, it’s still unclear which drivers will be behind the wheel of that ride or other rides for the remainder of the year. Though Devine was very clear on where his relationship with young driver Gray Gaulding currently stands.
“Gray is now going into his second year. He’s another year older and he’s got a lot more experience. He was pretty good when he was out there, Devine said about the young driver. “He actually did a nice job with us with the car. He didn’t tear it up like everybody thought he was gonna and he was fast. He’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders and learns quickly in certain situations. I think from a sponsorship perspective, you’d love working with him. I like him. He’s a wonderful young man. The idea of getting all the economics together to keep him in the car is something that we’re hopeful as we’ve had a pretty good relationship in the past. We had some issues along the way, but in general, I think you could see that we’re back together.”
“I go into these races to let it all hang out. I’m really excited about, not just Daytona, but rest of the season with BK Racing,” Gaulding continued. “That is the plan for me to stay in the seat, which I’m excited about. As much as the driver wants to go run for the biggest team, the Hendrick’s, the Gibb’s, etc, you gotta start somewhere. I’m 20-years old, I’m young, I’m hungry, and when I do get that call one day, I will have to go back and thank people like Ron Devine and BK Racing. All those people who gave me opportunities before that big ride.”
Gaulding competed in 18 of the 36 races for BK Racing in the No. 23 & 83 Toyota throughout 2017. His best finish with the team came in October at Talladega Superspeedway with a ninth-place finish while driving the No. 83 Toyota Camry.
The No. 23 car did show up at Daytona International Speedway without a sponsor on Saturday. However, on Tuesday afternoon, two days before the Duel 150 races at Daytona, BK Racing announced a sponsorship with Earthwater and The Country Network for the ‘Great American Race’.
According to Bob Pockrass, leading up to the weekend before practice events started at Daytona, BK Racing is under a temporary restraining order and cannot sell its assets or charter while under the order. Pockrass also reported that there will be a court hearing on Thursday and could hand the charter over to the bank. Pockrass also said on Twitter that it is unclear on what the process by NASCAR will be if that sort of thing happens. Devine says that he and the team are working on getting these internal issues resolved while also improving their performance on the track and making themselves better as a whole.
“I’ve said a number of times. We’re just not good at getting through the winter,” Devine described. “We haven’t figured that out yet. I just don’t know how to do it. We’ve tried everything to get through it, and we always show up, but it’s usually ugly. And this year it was particularly ugly. I think we have to fight off the people who are attacking us. There’s a lot of that. It’s easy to pick on somebody when they’re going through change, or down luck, or whatever those words are. Misconception about our suppliers, vendors, and all this you hear so much about. And I’m just exhausted. So I just kinda started ignoring it. I know our relationship with our suppliers. It’s pretty good. I appreciate what they do and I think they appreciate what we do. I think that there’s a lot of just...noise that goes on around this team because we have just enough bad news to make everything sound like it makes sense. To me, it’s much to do about nothing. If something falls apart, we’ll fix it. Now we do have a few things going on that are very uncomfortable that we’re having to address in a big picture way. We have a couple of people that are trying to take advantage of our weakness. And we’re gonna fight them off while at the same time trying to improve.”
“No. Not at all. My job is the driver to be quite honest,” Gaulding said at Daytona 500 media day. “I don’t really know any background of what’s going on. I know something is going down tomorrow in court, which I hope it’s all things positive. I just gotta keep a positive attitude. This is the biggest thing of my life. The plan is to be racing in the Duels and get a good starting spot for the 500.”
Meanwhile, Gaulding spoke to the media about getting the call to drive the No. 23 Toyota in the ‘Great American Race’.
“I didn’t know I was running the race. We planned on it earlier in the year a couple months before. This business is tough and sometimes things work out and sometimes things don’t. I was just a lucky guy to get that call Thursday night at 12:30. To get that call, to get into the Daytona 500, is like the biggest call of my whole life. This is the biggest race I look forward to and watch.”
This Sunday marks the first ever start for Gaulding at Daytona International Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In two starts last season on plate tracks, at Talladega Superspeedway, Gaulding finished 20th in May and ninth there in October.
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will improve racing times with ANSYS (NASDAQ: ANSS) through a new, multi-year partnership. RCR will leverage ANSYS Pervasive Engineering SimulationTM software to more accurately predict machine performance and enhance vehicle speed on the race track by enabling a true digital twin of a race car.
A fraction of a second on the race track can determine which team takes the trophy, so NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series teams must constantly improve speeds to stay competitive. A digital twin of the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will arm RCR engineers with a more complete understanding of how the physical racecar will operate under race track circumstances that are nearly impossible to test. Sensors and actuators on the physical car are used to build a digital twin that enables data capture, real-time analytics monitoring and predictive maintenance testing - empowering engineers to optimize vehicle performance before race days.
RCR used ANSYS multiphysics simulation software to develop and enhance the physical 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which will debut this season. With ANSYS, RCR reduced drag and optimized structural components of the car and suspension to improve speed. Through the expanded partnership, RCR's engineering and aerodynamics teams will even further advance the car - refining aerodynamics and drastically reducing expensive wind tunnel testing time when compared to traditional testing methods.
"Our competitive advantage is absolutely dependent on our ability to use simulation in all areas of our racing efforts," said Dr. Eric Warren, chief technology officer, RCR. "Our partnership with ANSYS will empower us to implement a true digital twin and set a new benchmark of performance development and efficiency."
"RCR is a true pioneer in innovation on and off the track," said Shane Emswiler, vice president and general manager of mechanical, fluids and electronics, ANSYS. "Building a digital twin will deliver accurate, insightful and reliable results that impact performance every week during race season. Using ANSYS Pervasive Engineering Simulation throughout the entire racecar lifecycle, RCR will race faster, safer and more aerodynamic vehicles."
ANSYS joins RCR's family of more than 40 corporate partners and technical partners, including Dow, Zeiss Industrial Metrology and Microscopy, PTC, Okuma America, Roland DGA and Lucas Oil.
Building upon a successful 2017 season on and off the track, ExxonMobil, on behalf of the Mobil 1 brand, will again sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with full primaries at various Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races throughout the year. At the same time, ExxonMobil will further leverage the star power of SHR drivers by bringing back Kevin Harvick as the face of Mobil 1 Annual Protection motor oil marketing campaign.
Mobil 1, the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR”, will provide primary sponsorships across SHR’s four NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Harvick’s No. 4 Ford will carry Mobil 1 branding six times, Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford will wear Mobil 1 twice, and Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Ford and Aric Almirola’s No. 10 Ford get one race apiece. Mobil 1 will remain as an associate sponsor of SHR for the entire 2018 season.
ExxonMobil welcomes Amirola to SHR as he begins his first year with the team but his seventh full season in the NASCAR Cup Series. Amirola has one career Cup Series win, a pole and 11 career top-five and 31 top-10 finishes.
The partnership between ExxonMobil and SHR represents a continuation of on-track successes that has amassed two NASCAR Cup Series championships (2011 and 2014) and 32 point-paying victories since 2011. In 2017, the partnership kicked off with a victory by Busch in the season-opening Daytona 500 and culminated with Harvick contending for the championship in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two wins by Harvick and 52 top-10 finishes among SHR’s entire driver lineup punctuated the partnership with Mobil 1.
The 2018 season extends the long relationship between both companies and the goal to win races, engineer new lubricant technologies and test automotive improvements. Using NASCAR as an on-track laboratory, the partnership is backed by science and an ambition to provide drivers with the best possible lubricant technology solutions on and off the track.
“Our relationship with SHR is one of our most important sponsorships, helping advance our lubricant technologies for drivers,” said Kai Decker, global motorsports manager at ExxonMobil. “The Mobil 1 engineering team helps SHR win races while continuing to advance the performance of our lubricants with improved power, fuel mileage, engine efficiency and reliability. At the same time, the celebrity of Kevin Harvick gives a recognizable, trusted face to our Mobil 1 Annual Protection product.”
Later in the racing season, ExxonMobil will debut a new iteration of its national marketing campaign for Mobil 1 Annual Protection motor oil, which allows drivers to travel up to 20,000 miles – or one full year – between oil changes, guaranteed. This year’s campaign will once again feature a miniature Harvick alongside a new cast of characters and comical situations.
In addition to its association with SHR, Mobil 1 is entering its 16th season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR” and remains the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand.
Goodyear and Earnhardt. Two names that have been connected for decades across multiple generations. Goodyear brings that sentiment to life with a new piece of advertising celebrating the legacy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his drive to honor his name.
Goodyear's new commercial "Make a Name" highlights the relationship between Goodyear and Earnhardt Jr., and underscores the power of a name. With the commercial set to the late Jim Croce's iconic song "I Got a Name" – fittingly covered by his son, A.J. Croce – the ad features Goodyear's history with the Earnhardt family. Goodyear will first air the :30 version of the ad on television during the FOX broadcast of the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18.
"Goodyear has always been part of my family and I'm proud to partner with them on this 'Make a Name' spot, which is a reflection of one's legacy, values and drive," said Earnhardt Jr. "It tells a very personal story about me growing up, but it also hits home with where I am today, both personally and professionally."
In a nod to the new creative, Goodyear created a special design on its iconic blimp, temporarily replacing "Goodyear" with "#MakeAName" on Florida-based blimp Wingfoot One.
"We're excited to debut this commercial during one of the most legendary races, with one of the most legendary drivers," said Seth Klugherz, Goodyear's director of North America marketing. "Dale Jr.'s story underscores Goodyear's commitment to hard work, determination and drive, and we are proud to stand by his side."
Originally made famous by Jim Croce and used in the 1973 biopic about the life of legendary NASCAR driver, Junior Johnson, "I Got a Name" was an essential piece in telling an authentic story.
"It's been an honor to represent my family name and bring my father's song to life with Goodyear," said A.J. Croce.
Earnhardt Jr. has won all his NASCAR races with the support of Goodyear tires – including his first NASCAR Premier Series victory in 2000, and both his DAYTONA 500 victories in 2004 and 2014. He returns to the Speedway as the Grand Marshal of the 60th running of the DAYTONA 500, representing his first appearance at the Great American Race since retiring in 2017.
Tune-in to watch the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and Motor Racing Network.
GoodYear Racing PR
Across the world, Feb. 14th annually marks the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. For Jack Roush and the Roush Fenway Racing team, it holds another special significance.
The date marks the anniversary of Roush’s first foray into the world of NASCAR; his first race at the highest level of automobile racing and a day that would serve as the launch pad for one of the most successful organizations in professional sports history.
Competing with a backup car not even built for a superspeedway, Roush and his newly formed team covered only 19 laps before overheating and finishing 41st in its debut Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 1988. Humble beginnings for a team which 30 years later has accumulated a NASCAR record 325 wins and hoisted championships in all three of NASCAR’s highest levels of competition.
Ronald Reagan was President of the United States on that day. A gallon of gas cost 96 cents, the average price of a car was just over $14,000, a loaf of bread would run you 61 cents and Roush was in the early stages of building the winningest team in NASCAR history.
“We wrecked our car in the twin qualifying race and had to run a car that was built for a smaller track,” said Roush of the day. “We went with what we had and of course did not yield the results we would have liked for your intro to NASCAR that day.”
“We made the race on time,” said driver Mark Martin, who piloted the No. 6 Stroh’s Ford Thunderbird in Roush Fenway’s inaugural season and held the ride for the next 19 seasons. “Then we got wrecked in the Twin-125’s and we didn’t have a backup speedway car, so we used the Atlanta car for the race. We didn’t last 20 laps.”
The results would quickly improve however, with Roush and Martin winning a pole that season and earning 10 top-10 finishes. The next season Roush Fenway won six poles, earning 19 top-10 finishes and its first win in 1989, breaking through to the win column in the fall at Rockingham. Roush Fenway would go on to earn its first NASCAR championship in 2000 and its first Cup championship in 2003.
25 years later Roush would earn his historic 300th NASCAR victory in the 2012 Daytona 500; the same event his car had lasted only 19 laps a quarter of a century earlier.
Today, Roush’s teams have competed in 5,864 NASCAR events, holding the record for most NASCAR wins, most NASCAR wins in the Nationwide Series and most NASCAR wins in the Truck Series.
Roush Fenway will look for its third Daytona 500 win this Sunday when the Great American Race kicks at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. on FOX.