Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (15939)

Obaika Racing will be taking their first leap into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway in the 1000BULBS.COM 500 on Sunday, October 14th.  The driver and sponsors of the No. 97 Toyota Camry will be announced next week.

Space Grill will continue to be on board as an associate sponsor. Developed in Australia and distributed by Glen Dimplex Americas in Vancouver, Washington, the award-winning Space Grill was designed to maximize outdoor space without sacrificing grilling surface area or taste. Space Grills are mountable, so that they live on the wall and fold away when not in use.

As part of their partnership, Obaika Racing and Space Grill are offering fans the chance to join the team in Talladega for the 1000BULBS.COM 500 (or any other upcoming NASCAR race of their choice). Fans of the team can purchase a Space Grill at a race team discount, and their purchase also includes an exclusive race weekend experience. The race weekend experience will include 2 HOT passes that will give them access to the garage and pit road at Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of their choice in 2019 or to any races that the team enters during the 2018 season, as well as lunch with the Obaika race team at the team hauler and a meet-and-greet with the driver. Visit the team website to purchase.

“Next weekend Obaika Racing will be opening the door to many new possibilities,” said team owner, Victor Obaika. “Since starting this race team in 2015, our goal has been to race at the highest level of the sport in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. I am very excited to see what is on the other side of this door.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT (11:05 a.m. ET) followed by qualifying at 3:35 p.m. CT (4:35 p.m. ET) on Saturday. The 1000BULBS.COM 500 will get the green flag at 12:55 p.m. CT (1:55 p.m. ET) Sunday on NBC.

Obaika Racing PR

The Go Fas Racing team is proud to announce that DUDE Products will be the primary sponsor for Matt DiBenedetto and the No.32 team in the 500 at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.
DUDE is one of the fastest growing men's hygiene companies in the U.S., started by four lifelong friends out of Chicago in 2012. Their flagship product, DUDE Wipes, the first flushable wipe marketed to men, is in over 12,000 stores nationwide (Walmart, Kroger, Target, Alberstons, Safeway, & CVS). DUDE has expanded its product line and they also offer DUDE Shower Body Wipes, DUDE Face Wipes, and DUDE Body Powder. 

Along with seeing the No.32 DUDE Wipes Ford on track, fans will also be able to see the real racecar and meet Matt DiBenedetto at the Walmart Supercenter Store #432 at 214 Haynes St. Talladega, AL, Thursday, October 11th from 5-7pm. Both the No.32 DUDE Wipes Ford and DiBenedetto will be there for fans to take photos with and collect a signed hero card.
DUDE Products first joined the team earlier this season at the second Pocono race. With Talladega being a great chance for a small team to compete for a top-10 finish and the massive amount of infield camping being the perfect market for DUDE Wipes, adding this race was a perfect fit. Earlier this season, the No.32 team finished 19th at Talladega, but this race will have a higher sense of urgency to it with it being the second race of the second round of the playoffs, and DiBenedetto and the No.32 team hope to capitalize on the circumstances to solidify another top-15 finish as the 2018 season comes to a close.
DiBenedetto is excited to be working with DUDE Products again. On the DUDES adding another race, DiBenedetto said, "I'm really glad that the DUDES are back on board with us. It's such a fun partnership and we can really play around with it on social media. We met them in Pocono and had a blast and I'm sure they'll fit right in at Talladega. Between the crazy campers and wild racing, I know they're going to have a blast with us at this race," he said.
Ryan Meegan, Co-Founder of DUDE Wipes said, "When you think of NASCAR, immediately Talladega comes to mind. This track is a special place and we are honored to be on the No.32 with Matt DiBenedetto for the weekend. We are excited for a great week ahead with Matt DiBenedetto and the DUDE Wipes team!"
Fans will be able to see the No.32 DUDE Products Ford on track next weekend. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be on track October 13th and October 14th with the green flag dropping Sunday October 14th at 2pm ET with coverage on NBC, MRN Radio, and Sirius XM NASCAR.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Infraction Date Track Team Level Infraction Penalty
9/30/2018 (post-race inspection) Charlotte No. 1 Safety Sections Tires and Wheels
Note: Lug nut(s) not properly installed.
Crew chief (Matt McCall) has been fined $10,000.


For the better part of Thursday morning, Dover International Speedway was taken over by the No. 78 Toyota Camry modified by Falci Adaptive Motorsports, Furniture Row, and DireenTech Inc. A select group of spinal cord-injured guests had the opportunity to not only ride in the two-seat Toyota, but also drive the car using special technology. It was a morning filled with adrenaline, excitement, and tears. Regan Smith, NASCAR driver, gave rides to spinal cord-injured guests to start the day and pressed the pedal to the metal of the No. 78 Toyota Camry.

Janette Lawler, a woman with quadriplegia who hadn’t driven in 26 years, couldn’t wait to feel the speeds of the 850-horsepower NASCAR car. Driving with the modified car’s adaptive head and mouth controls, Janette made three full laps around the “Monster Mile.” It was a day that Lawler and Smith would always remember.

“When I looked over and saw a full faced grin, I knew I could go faster,” Smith said—remembering the experience driving with Lawler.

Former NHRA drag racer, Darrell Gwynn, also said driving the modified car was a life-changing moment, emphasizing the fact that it’s been a long time since he felt that much freedom.

“I haven’t driven for 28 years. I thought the ride with Regan Smith would be the best part, but I haven’t been in control of something since I got married and it was great,” Gwynn said.

Dr. Scott Falci of Falci Apdaptive Motorsports explained that his future plans are to hopefully expand to other states to give the spinal cord-injury community the ride of their lives. “We’ve come out here to the east coast, we want to eventually keep improving this car to make the head sensors and the mouth sensors more fine-tuned and to get out in the middle of the country, and then at a track on the west coast.”

Furniture Row, a proud sponsor of Falci Adaptive Motorsports and owner of Furniture Row Racing, doesn’t have any plans to stop working to help the paraplegic and quadriplegic community.

“We’ve continued our support of the Falci Motorsports program because of the sheer joy we’ve witnessed in the participants. Every smile and burst of laughter at driving an 800-horsepower machine is a step forward in the motorsports world. It is an honor to participate in such a fun yet life-changing program,” Barney Visser, owner of Furniture Row and Furniture Row Racing, said.


On Tuesday NASCAR reviled their rules package for the upcoming season with a variety of changes that has everyone speculating. We can continue to debate the cost-benefit of these alterations, but regardless of anyone’s opinion it’s happening. It can be frustrating to see the majority focused on the specific details that are better left to the engineers.

As Steve O'Donnell has stated “We have the greatest engineers in all of sports”, I’m not sure how you measure that, but I’ll believe it.

If the product provided on track is better does it matter that we’ve changed the tapered spacer, spoiler, and front end aero?

Improving the actual racing on track is a priority, but there is a lot more to this new package than just the 2019 season. NASCAR must continue to make decisions for the long term health of the sport. There are some ear raising statements that NASCAR has made in recent weeks that have not gotten the attention they ought to.

“The most collaborative effort we’ve had across all the industry stakeholders” – Executive VP and Chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell. This should make everyone optimistic that it won’t be the COT debacle all over again, which NASCAR admitted failed in part due to a lack of inclusion throughout the industry.

A big part of these new conversations included old and possibly new manufactures.

“We have been in talks with other manufacturers.” “We’re not looking for a manufacture to come in for 2-3 years as a marketing program… We’re courting them for a long-term” – Former NASCAR president Brent Dewar.

This is a huge aspect to the car design that is not simply about the 2019 season, this is about heading in a direction that NASCAR sees itself in the future. Look at the success teams can have when new manufacturers bring money into the sport, Evernham and Dodge, or Waltrip and Toyota all saw strides towards success before their own demise not of the manufacturers doing.

More recently we can look at the success of Joe Gibbs and the depth of Toyotas involvement with their TRD program that may be the model of OEM’s moving forward.

“So a lot of thought went into this that this isn’t just a 2019 rules package, it’s something that we believe really sets us up for the future — not only for our current partners, but growing the sport, which hopefully leads to more healthy ownership as well where we can bring some new OEMs in.” – Odonnell again explains that the current changes, and those for a Gen. 7 car, could allow for healthier ownership.

A process that will take a lot more discussion in regards to the financial structure of the sport, but this is a step in that direction.

Currently the top two teams from each manufacturer make up the best 18 cars on track almost every week. These are the only drivers that have a reasonable chance to compete for a win. Imagine if the cost of entry was lower, and Dodge or Nissan felt it was worth the investment to enter the sport.

Within a decade they could find success such as Toyota has, and field another six cars each. That’s at least 30 competitive cars.

If Childress or JTG improved their programs, and Toyota expands to a second manufacturer team we could see almost an entire field of 40 cars with a chance to win.

These rules are not a silver bullet, but they are a step in the right direction to solve the big “NASCAR problem”. Currently the jury seems to be out on what we will see next season, but it deserves a fair trial.

I would predict some improvement in the racing, but not significantly with the exception of newly repaved tracks such as Kentucky which should be a lot better. I wouldn’t expect to see “pack” racing at any 1.5 mile tracks, possibly a more “pack” style at California and Michigan, but still nothing like the superspeedways which I would predict will all return to restrictor plates for 2020.

I also think you will see the same overall outcome of the season with only a few first time or unexpected winners and the big money teams still dominating the sport.

As Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menard/Tarkett team head into the homestretch of their first season together, the veteran driver likes the direction his team is heading.

Menard and the No. 21 team scored back-to-back top-10 finishes at Indianapolis and Las Vegas, then had a fast car but bad luck at Richmond, a track that hasn’t been among the best in the past for Menard or the Wood Brothers.
On Sunday, they ran up front and led laps on the Roval at Charlotte before being swept up in a late-race, multi-car crash.
Along the way, Menard and the team have tested at Kansas Speedway and ISM Raceway in Phoenix in preparation for upcoming races at those tracks.
“The last month or so has been pretty decent for us,” Menard said. “Things have been clicking better.
“The races have been on different kinds of race tracks, and we’ve had good speed in a lot of places.
“And in our testing we’ve hit on a couple of things that have helped. We don’t get to test very often, but when we do it gives us a chance to try some things that we wouldn’t normally do on a race weekend.”

 Next up for Menard and the team is Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Menard and the No. 21 team showed good speed in practice at Dover in May, but a problem with a hub led to an extended stay in the garage for repairs and a poor finish.

 “We had a really good car the last time at Dover,” Menard said. “We lost a lot of laps, but I felt like we had a top-10 car, maybe even a top-five.”

 Qualifying for the Gander Outdoors 400 is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage for the race on NBCSN.


Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway this weekend for the first race in the Round of 12 in this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. The Smithfield team looks for a much calmer weekend after a dramatic but successful end to the Round of 16 Sunday on the “roval” at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

It was a nail-biting final three laps on the Charlotte roval Sunday with every position turning out to be crucial for the No. 10 team’s ability to advance on to the Round of 12. Almirola’s 19th-place finish put him in a three-way tie with Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson, and his solid finishes in the previous two Round of 16 races Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) Raceway were enough to break the tie and vault him into the next playoff round.

“It’s crazy, I think back to Las Vegas and Stage 1 with two laps to go and I passed Ryan Newman for 10th and got one point,” Almirola said. “I think about Richmond with a couple of laps to go, the No. 3 car had run me down and I was doing everything I could to keep him behind me to run fifth, and I was able to stay in front of him. That one point made a difference. Then you think about the race at the roval and all of those cars I had to pass in the race. For most of the race we were good. Johnny (Klausmeier) kept telling me we’re good, we’re plus 18 (points), to save fuel, we’re plus 15. He was, like, just stay on the track, don’t make mistakes, don’t wreck, we’re good. Then we had that pileup on that restart late in the race and I get stopped, and then get hit from behind and pushed into the accident. I was, like, ‘Really? Come on.’ So we had to come down pit road and fix the car, again, and had to restart at the tail of the field. Johnny told me coming to the green that we needed six or seven spots and I was, like, ‘Here we go, we’re either going to make it or we’re not.’”

Fortunately, the Monster Mile at Dover is one of Almirola’s favorite tracks on the Cup Series circuit. In this year’s May race there, the Tampa native scored an 11th-place finish after running in the top-10. In Almirola’s last 10 starts at tracks a mile or less in length, he has one top-five and four top-10s and he’s led three laps. Almirola has earned an average starting position of 14.9 and an average finish of 14.3. Overall at Dover’s concrete mile oval, the Smithfield driver has made 12 starts in the Cup Series and has completed 98.7 percent of all possible laps. Almirola has collected two top-five and three top-three results there.

Almirola opens the Round of 12 11th in the standings with 3,001 points, one ahead of 12th. It’s the furthest Almirola has ever advanced in the playoffs during his seven-year Cup Series career. All four SHR entries have advanced to the Round of 12 this season, making up 33.3 percent of the remaining playoff field.

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

Dover marks the 27th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Fusion. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

Through the first 29 races this season, Almirola has an average start of 17.4 and an average finish of 13.9 with two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He’s also led 116 laps this season, already a career best.



The saying, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees” may take on a special meaning for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Ford team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) this week as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 to kick off the Round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs.


Winning the first race in the Round of 12 at Dover is the immediate focus, but the big picture remains the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship.


This weekend at Dover, Harvick will drive the No. 4 Busch Outdoors Ford Fusion in support of the National Forest Foundation. The foundation promotes the health and well-being of 193 million acres of public lands that people use every day to hunt, fish, camp and enjoy nature.


For every lap Harvick leads at Dover, Busch Beer will donate $1,000 to the National Forest Foundation up to $25,000. Each dollar donated is approximately equivalent to one tree being planted in a national forest, so if Harvick were to lead 25 laps at Dover, Busch Beer would be donating approximately 25,000 trees to national forest lands.


The partnership is a natural move for Busch. The National Forest Foundation works tirelessly to protect healthy forests and watersheds across the country, which not only preserves their use for the public, but also contributes to high-quality beer by protecting sources of fresh, clean water – a crucial ingredient in the brewing process.


Harvick and the No. 4 Busch Outdoors team should hold up their end of the deal this weekend if recent history is any indication. Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick and the No. 4 team have led 1,011 laps in the past nine Cup Series races at Dover’s concrete mile oval. The team has also scored two wins, one pole, three top-five finishes and four top-10s there.


In addition to his outstanding performance history at Dover, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion is the series leader with seven points-paying wins, 20 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and 1,274 laps led.


Harvick is now second in the playoff standings with 3,050 points, 42 ahead of the final transfer position as he heads to the first race in the Round of 12. A win at Dover would mean he automatically qualifies for the Round of 8, but additional stage wins and race wins mean extra playoff points as he progresses through the playoffs.


For the No. 4 team, the focus this weekend is on the trees – starting up front, leading laps, winning stages and winning the race – but with the big-picture forest in mind of advancing to the next round of the NASCAR playoffs and winning a second championship. Whether focusing on the challenge directly ahead or the big-picture goal, Harvick and his team are going to be trying to build a forest one tree at a time starting this weekend in Dover.



Kasey Kahne will continue to sit out from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition this coming weekend when the series travels to Dover International Speedway.  Kahne participated in a private medical test session on Tuesday afternoon with his physicians as they continue to evaluate his health following a case of extreme heat exhaustion at Darlington Raceway.


Regan Smith will once again serve as the team’s substitute driver for the Dover race weekend behind the wheel of the No. 95 Camaro ZL1. 


Leavine Family Racing continues to work with Kahne and his medical team and will provide an update following the Dover race weekend.



NASCAR® fans can immerse themselves in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs™ in a new augmented reality (AR) experience available via the NASCAR Mobile app.

The NASCAR Playoffs AR Experience Refreshed by Coca-Cola invites fans to walk through virtual portals to experience the Playoffs’ most memorable moments in 360-degree AR.

For all 10 weeks of the NASCAR Playoffs, fans with an AR-enabled iOS or Android device can access new AR experiences via the NASCAR Mobile app.

“NASCAR is always looking for unique ways to engage fans and bring them closer to the sport, especially during the most exciting time in our season,” said Tim Clark, NASCAR Digital Media vice president. “Together with Coca-Cola, we’re inviting fans to step right into the NASCAR Playoffs and experience the action, pageantry and emotion like never before.”

Fans place a 3D Coca-Cola can within their environment to create a superimposed portal into NASCAR Playoffs action. After walking through the portal, fans can live within thrilling playoff moments such as team celebrations in Victory Lane, post-race driver burnouts and more.

New 360-degree content will be added weekly following each NASCAR Playoffs race, culminating with the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship™ at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

Fans can download the latest version of the NASCAR Mobile app today on the App Store and Google Play.