Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of North Carolina Extends With Hendrick Motorsports And NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson
CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2018) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), which has served the people of North Carolina with high-quality health insurance for nearly 85 years, has extended its sponsorship of 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports and star driver Jimmie Johnson through 2018.
Blue Cross NC will continue as the Official Health Insurance Provider of Hendrick Motorsports with logo placement on the uniforms of Johnson and his No. 48 team. In addition, Blue Cross NC will be featured on the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as an associate sponsor during the May and September Cup Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It will mark the first on-car branding for Blue Cross NC since joining Hendrick Motorsports as an official corporate partner in September 2013.
“North Carolina has a longstanding history with NASCAR, and we’re proud to support Jimmie Johnson throughout the season,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, vice president of integrated marketing and community engagement for Blue Cross NC. “As an athlete, Jimmie understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle and is an advocate and a friend of Blue Cross NC. We’re excited to continue this partnership and work together to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities.”
A winner of 83 career races and a record-tying seven championships in NASCAR’s top series, Johnson is known for being health conscious and a passionate advocate for healthy living. His physical training and nutrition regimens have been documented by media outlets such as Bicycling, LAVA Magazine, Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Triathlete, ESPN and USA Today. For nearly five years, he has served as a Live Fearless Ambassador for Blue Cross NC and has been featured in campaigns promoting its health coverage and the value of an active and healthy lifestyle.
“My passion for living a healthy and active lifestyle continues to be an integral part of my life and who I am as a person,” said Johnson, 42, who lives in Charlotte. “It’s awesome to have a partner like Blue Cross NC that is just as committed to encouraging others to live better and feel better. For me, it’s a natural fit and very rewarding to work together.”
Johnson has been a Blue Cross NC member since 2002 and trusts the company with his family’s health insurance coverage. Additionally, Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 48 team have relied on Blue Cross NC as their corporate healthcare provider since 2004.
“People are our number-one asset,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “For nearly 15 years, we’ve trusted Blue Cross NC to take care of our team members and their families. The partnership has been a wonderful fit for our company and for Jimmie, and it’s exciting to see it grow even more in 2018. We are proud to continue working with Blue Cross NC and look forward to a long relationship ahead.”
ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 249 points-paying race victories and a record 12 car owner championships in the premier NASCAR Cup Series. The organization fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Cup circuit with drivers Chase Elliott, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman. Headquartered in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports employs more than 600 people. For more information, please visit HendrickMotorsports.com or interact on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Saturday nights Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will showcase the sports best drivers in a 80 lap exibition race under the lights.
For the first time in the tracks history, NASCAR will run restrictor plates; the ones similar at Talladega and Daytona. The field will include all 2017 and 2018 race winners, plus former series champions and All-Star race winners that are still competing full-time in the series. The three stage winners from the Open will also qualify for the event.
No stage will end under yellow flag conditions and only green flag laps count in the fourth and final stage.
Defending All-Star race winner Kyle Busch will look to repeat his success from last year. Driver NO. 18 is on a hot streak at the moment, scoring three wins in his first 12 races of the 2018 season.
"For us, being an all-star and being in the All-Star Race is one of the most fun things we get to do each year,’’ Busch said. "I’d say the Clash is another one of those and, with the All-Star Race, they are certainly two fun races where we get a chance to go after just a win and bring home the checkers or end up on the wrecker.
"It’s an exciting night and there’s a lot of energy there. It gives you the opportunity to run that many qualifying laps in a row. That’s all you’re doing – you’re giving it all you’ve got every single lap." - Kyle Busch said
Jimmie Johnson, the all-time winningest driver at the Monster Energy All-Star Race with four victories will look to turn his 2018 season around with a million dollar check in hand.
In 16 All-Star Race starts, Johnson has four trophies and nine top-five finishes – including a runner-up finish in 2007 and a third-place showing last May in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. And in a race known for its hard-charging, win-at-all-costs style, Johnson has only one DNF in all those starts.
2017 Monster Energy Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. set a presiden at last years Coca-Cola 600 leading 392 of 400 laps to win the sports longest race. Driver NO. 78 is the most recent All-Star Race winner leading 91 laps to win the Bank of America 500 last October at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Truex will look for his first All-Star win on Saturday night. He has two wins in the open (2007 and 2010) with a race best runner-up in 2010.
The Open: The qualifying race for the All-Star Race; The Open will be a field made up of non-winners looking to race their way in to Saturday's main event. Notable drivers include: Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and this years Daytona 500 runner-up Darrell Wallace Jr., will be among the field looking to race their way in.
The 2018 Monster Energy All-Star Race is Saturday May 19, 2018 with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Kyle Larson was handed a stiff L1 penalty on Tuesday following Saturday's KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway.
NASCAR announced Tuesday afternoon that during teardown they found the N0. 42 rear window was not flush with the rear deck lid and the rear window support braces were not keeping the glass of the rear window rigid in all directions.
Larson was fined 20 points, crew chief Chad Johnston has also been fined $50,000 and car chief David Bryant has been suspended for two races.
Larson said following Saturday's race that the windshield looked the way that it did because of contact with Ryan Blaney on lap 248.
Ganassi has not yet announced a replacement car chief and will not appeal Tuesday's penalties.
“Although all parties agree that the infraction was unintentional and the result of contact, we will not appeal the penalty so that we can focus our energy on the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600," Chip Ganassi Racing said in a statement.
Tuesday's penalty that was handed down to team NO. 42 wasn't the first rear-window issue NASCAR has had to face with teams this season. In March, Kevin Harvick was handed the L1 penalty for two violations within the rear-window area.
Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer have also been handed down penalties from NASCAR this season for a lack of rigidity in the rear-window area.
No. 95 Tommy Williams Drywall Camaro ZL1 Notes:
Come One, Come All: Leavine Family Racing (LFR) will hold the team's inaugural Fan Fest on Friday, May 25th, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET at the team's facility in Concord, NC. Kasey Kahne and crew chief Travis Mack are both scheduled to sign autographs from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. that afternoon for 100 lucky fans in attendance. Wristbands for the session will be handed out starting at 1:00 p.m. that afternoon at the event. For more info, visit www.LFR95.com
Kahne By The Numbers: In 21 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career starts at Kansas, Kasey Kahne has an average start of 15.0 and an average finish of 13.5. He's completed 5,502 of 5,557 (99.0 percent) career laps and has led for a total of 102 laps. Kahne has earned five top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes, and three pole awards at the 1.5-mile track.
Race Info: The KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile) begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 12th. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.
Kahne's Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats at Kansas:
Races - 21
Wins - 0
Top 5s - 5
Top 10s - 9
Poles - 3
Kahne's 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Season Stats:
Starts - 11
Wins - 0
Top-5's - 0
Top-10's - 0
Poles - 0
Laps Led - 0
Avg. Start - 24.8
Avg. Finish - 23.6
Kahne's Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stats:
Starts - 515
Wins - 18
Top-5's - 92
Top-10's - 175
Poles - 27
Laps Led - 4,650
Avg. Start - 14.2
Avg. Finish - 17.6
From the Driver's Seat:
Kasey Kahne: "I think to be successful at Kansas you have to be good in both corners of the track. Turn 4 is really tight on the exit compared to Turn 2 where it opens up a little bit more. Having your car work well through both of those spots and turn really well, while also being able to run the top lane as well, is important for Kansas. A lot of times there on the long run you do a lot of laps up along the wall and can carry just a lot of momentum and speed. The exit to Turn 2 is a long exit, so if you can get your car turning really well, that can really help you with your day. It's very easy to be lose in that corner where you can't put the throttle down like you need to in order to go fast. Turn 2 is just such a different corner than Turns 3 and 4. Turn 4 is open getting into it, but then it just gets really tight off the corner. The varied corners make Kansas a fun and tough track to really get right. I've just always enjoyed racing at Kansas before the repave and after the repave because you've always been able to move around on that track and the bottom is usually the preferred spot. Kansas throws a lot at you between the two different corners and the way the backstretch is that I've always liked the challenge of it."
From the Pit Box:
Travis Mack: "I feel really good about going into Kansas this weekend. We ran this same car at Atlanta earlier this season and had a decent qualifying effort of starting from 14th. From the time it got back from Atlanta, we have completely gone through this car making sure we are taking our best piece to date. We also were actually were able to get this car into the wind tunnel last week which is a first for us this year being able to take a car to the tunnel and seeing how we stack up. Since the beginning of the year I feel like we have found something each week to help make our cars better for Kasey (Kahne) to drive. We will take everything we have learned so far up to this point of the season and come up with the best race set-up for Kasey. I'm looking forward to a good weekend in Kansas."
No. 95 Tommy Williams Drywall Camaro ZL1 Team:
Driver: Kasey Kahne
Crew Chief: Travis Mack
Car Chief: Ben Leslie
Spotter: Doug Campbell
Engineer: Jonathan Leonard
Engineer: Ben Lynch
Shock Specialist: Tim Lambert
Mechanic: Ryan Southall
Mechanic: Matt Kimball
Mechanic: Ryan Dextraze
Tire Specialist: Tony Ramierz
Jackman: Richie Williams
Fueler: Ryan Dextraze
Rear Changer: Cory Baldwin
Front Changer: Weston Lovejoy
Front Carrier: Justin Kirby
Hauler Driver: Damon Lopez
About Tommy Williams Drywall: F.T. "Tommy" Williams, Jr. entered the construction industry in 1954 – it was at that time that he founded a plaster company doing projects throughout the state of Texas. As the commercial building industry evolved more heavily from plaster to drywall, it was at that time that Tommy Williams Drywall Co., Inc. was formed. Since the early 1960's we have been providing a full line of commercial drywall services to clients across the state of Texas. In 1995 the business was sold to Tom Williams, who currently serves as President of the company. For more information about the company, visit www.tommywilliamsdrywall.com.
Leavine Family Racing Press Release
Kevin Harvick made an up-charge with under 80 laps remaining on Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway.
Harvick's time came with 63 laps remaining when he passed Clint Bowyer for the top spot. Harvick maintained his presence up front to pick up his fourth win of the 2018 season. The Bakersfield, California native has never won more than five races in a single season. Sunday was his fourth.
"Well, the first thing I need to do is thank everybody on my team, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Yates Engines, everybody from Ford - everyone who continues to put the effort that they do in these cars," Harvick said. "Three cars in the top-five says a lot about where we are as a company.
Sunday's victory for Harick was the first for Ford since Matt Kenseth's victory seven years ago.
Daniel Suarez ended up third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Rounding out the top-ten consisted of Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson.
On lap 270, Kyle Busch fell off of the pace and Busch had to nurse the NO. 18 Toyota Camry for several laps until a caution came on lap 272.
With 115 laps remaining, Clint Bowyer made the pass for the second position and chased down race leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Bowyer got around driver NO. 17 with 104 laps remaining and would maintain the lead until rain would delay Sunday's AAA 400 for 41 minutes.
Clint Bowyer was the first off pit road when Sunday's race resumed. Rounding out the top-five were Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Ryan Blaney. The race would go back to green with 75 laps remaining.
On lap 338, Kevin Harvick got around Clint Bowyer for the race lead. This would mark Harvick's sixth different time he's lead at a portion of the race.
With 50 laps remaining, Harvick had a three second lead over Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez.
With 10 laps to go, Harvick had a 5 plus second lead over Clint Bowyer and when the checkered flag waved, his margin of victory would come out to 7.450 seconds.
Sunday's victory was Kevin Harvick's 41st of his career and his second at Dover International Speedway.
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Next Race: KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on May 12 on Fox Sports 1.
No. 95 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Camaro ZL1 Notes:
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Kahne by the numbers:
In 28 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career starts at Dover, Kasey Kahne has an average start of 14.2 and an average finish of 18.5. He's completed 10,347 of 11,215 (92.3 percent) career laps, and has led for a total of 90 laps. Kahne has earned three top-five and eight top-10 finishes at the 1.0-mile track.
The AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway (1.0-mile) begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 6th. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.
From the Driver's Seat:
Kasey Kahne: "Bristol was by far our best race so far of the season, and we had a top-10 car there. If things would have gone right, I really felt that we could have run in the top-five before we ended up having our mechanical problem. We've just tried to learn from Bristol, and I think that some of those things will be able to be used at Dover, which would be great. Looking ahead to this weekend at Dover, I think the biggest key for me will be to do a better job in practice so that I can really understand our Camaro ZL1 when the green flag comes out on Sunday. You want to qualify well at Dover, but the biggest thing is just knowing where we're at in race trim when the race starts. Too often this year, we haven't been able to get the car where we need it to be until the second or third run of the race, and by then, we're just behind. Dover's one of my favorite race tracks because I've just always seemed to enjoy the one-mile tracks. With the unique load on the cars, and the rough surface of Dover, the cars get really difficult to have either front grip or rear grip. The two corners of Dover are really different from each other, so we work on both of those corners and drivers know that they can turn into the corners early at Dover which can help secure the car some. You can search for different grip throughout the track as well at Dover depending on what tire Goodyear brings with us."
From the Pit Box:
Travis Mack: "We're actually taking our Bristol car to Dover this weekend because we felt really good about our Bristol set-up and Kasey (Kahne) said it was one of the best cars he's had there. We head into Dover this weekend with a lot of things that we were able to learn in Bristol, and we'll plan on correlating that over to the set-ups needed at Dover. I feel really good about this weekend, and Kasey and the team does as well. We're going to put a lot of focus in on Friday so that we can unload off the truck better and hopefully qualify better so that we don't have to fight from behind as much. The challenge of Dover is the entire weekend honestly because the track changes so much from Friday to Sunday. When you unload, we're usually working on tightening the car up, but then as the weekend goes on, you need to free the car back up for the race. In the race then, you're usually working to free the car up during the entire race since it's getting tighter due to all the rubber on the track. The race at Dover also generally plays out to where there's a really long green-flag run, so as long as we eliminate mistakes, it usually gets down to about eight or ten guys on the lead lap. I feel like we have a really good package going into Dover based off our Bristol stuff, so I'm looking forward to this trip."
Leavine Family Racing Press Release
Joey Logano ended his 36-race winless streak in Sunday's Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
This marked Logano's first victory since his encumbered win in April 30, 2017 at Richmond Raceway. Also, Sunday's win was Team Penske's 100th NASCAR victory.
"Man, it feels so good to be back in victory lane. There's no feeling like this. It's been quite the weekend and a long time coming. I don't have to worry about the playoffs anymore - we're in! - Logano said in victory lane.
Logano had brief challenge from Kurt Busch on the last lap, who pulled out of line and tried to catch Logano but had no drafting help to get by the Team Penske driver.
Kurt Busch finished second, Chase Elliott third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounding out the top 5.
Sunday's race was filled of wrecks to say the least.
Lap 72: Trevor Bayne was involved in a six car pileup on Lap 72. Bayne, who has been in the news as of late because of the changes coming to Roush Fenway Racing in the coming weeks. Due to Matt Kenseth taking over the NO. 6, Bayne will run a limited schedule in 2018. Also involved on the Lap 72 wreck was Jamie McMurray, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson.
“It stinks,” Bayne said. “You try to manage your highs and lows, though. We will move on and go to Dover next weekend. It is frustrating because Talladega is one of the ones you know you can win at, and we wanted to do that today.” - Bayne said after Sunday's wreck.
The Big One: What we've come to expect a tracks such as Daytona and Talladega, "The Big One," would occur late Sunday on afternoon. Jimmie Johnson would loose control of his car between turns three and four, thus "The Big One" was formed. Fourteen drivers total was involved in the incident. Notables included, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin.
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski
Stage 2 Winner: Paul Menard
Next Race: AAA Drive for Autism 400 at Dover International Speedway at 2 p.m. Eastern on May 6 on Fox Sports 1.
Matt Kenseth, pushed out of the Monster Energy Cup Series last year by a lack of sponsorship, will return this season on a limited schedule.
The 2003 champion will make wave with his former team Roush Fenway Racing with his first race of the season scheduled for May 12 at Kansas Speedway, sources say. He will share the NO. 6 Ford with Trevor Bayne, the teams full-time driver since 2015. Jordan Bianchi, who first broke the news said Matt Kenseth would be the primary driver.
Roush Fenway has scheduled what they call as a "Major NASCAR Partner Announcement" involving the team at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Kenseth nor Roush Fenway Racing has yet to comment on the news.
Kenseth, began his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series career with Roush Fenway Racing driving full-time from 2000 through 2012. During his time with Roush, Kenseth scored 24 out of his 29 wins, including the 2009 and 2012 Daytona 500.
Moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013, Kenseth won seven races in his first year with the team and a total of 15 in five years.
Gibbs announced in 2017 that the rising phenom, Erik Jones would take over the NO. 20 Toyota from Kenseth.
Kenseth's most recent victory comes last November at Phoenix International Raceway, ending his second-longest winningest streak of his career.
Christopher Bell outlasted teammate Noah Gragson to pick up his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the year Friday night in Richmond. This was Bell's second NASCAR Xfinity Series win in his 16th career start.
Bell took the lead with 79 laps remaining, but not without a challange as Noah Gragson got to the back of Christopher Bell's bumper with ten laps remaining, but Gragson was unable to pass Bell for the top spot..
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had finished in the top five in four of the first seven races thus far this season.
"That was pretty special there buddy," Bell said. "Had to work for it. My teammate was really good. I knew from practice both of our cars were really strong."
Gragson placed in a stunning second place in just his first Xfinity Series start. The Las Vegas native bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty early in Friday nights race.
"It's definitely a team effort," said Gragson. "Not racing here before in the Xfinity Series, I didn't know what to expect.
Rounding out the top five was Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.
Elliott Sadler, who finished in the third position won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. ”To not win the race is bad, but to win the $100,000 is great,” said Sadler
Daniel Hemric, who won Stage 1, took a gamble and stayed out on track. However, the gamble didn't payoff as Hemric's tires would collapse and send him into the wall, finishing 29th.
Eligible drivers for next Saturday's Dash 4 Cash at Talladega include; Christopher Bell, Noah Gragson, Elliott Sadler and Matt Tifft.
Stage 1 Winner: Daniel Hemric
Stage 2 Winner: Elliott Sadler
Next Race: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. Eastern on April 28 on Fox.
Salisbury, NC (4/17/2018)-StarCom Racing teams up with Joey Gase and Sparks Energy, Inc. to tackle Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 29 for the Geico 500.
"I'm very excited to be pulling double duty in Talladega again and can't thank everyone at StarCom Racing enough for the opportunity to represent Sparks Energy. The spring Talladega race weekend is a HUGE weekend for my great friends at Sparks Energy. They bring in hundreds of folks to the Sparks Energy 300 to say thank you to all of their employees, customers, families and friends," said Joey Gase. "Talladega has been very good to me in the past and I currently have my best finishes there, both in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series of 21st and in the NASCAR XFINITY Series of 5th. I can't wait for the race weekend to start."
Joey Gase will drive the #00 at Talladega in April with sponsorship from Sparks Energy. StarCom Racing Sparks Energy, a partner of Gase's since 2016 and title sponsor of the Sparks Energy 300 Xfinity Race at Talladega, was founded in 2007 to address a growing need by both Investor Owned Utilities and Electric Co-ops for a quality workforce to perform storm response and energy restoration services. Similar to StarCom Racings parent company, StarCom Fiber, Sparks Energy is a family owned and operated business with a love for the sport of NASCAR.
"I'm delighted to have Joey Gase in our car for Talladega. I've worked with him in the past, and he does a nice job," said Derrike Cope, StarCom Racing Team manager and former Daytona 500 Champion. "We're excited to showcase Sparks Energy on the 00 Chevy Camaro as well."
To learn more about Sparks Inc. and Joey Gase visit www.sparksinc.com and follow Joey on Twitter @JoeyGaseRacing & on Facebook at @JoeyGaseRacing.