Kyle Busch Wins The UNOH 200 At Bristol

Kyle Busch

Not even a NASCAR overtime could stop Kyle Busch from rallying back from a speeding penalty at the end of Stage 2 to win Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch, forced to the back of the field under penalty to start the final stage, put on a clinic on a Lap 119 restart and utilized the high line to roar through the field and find himself back in the top-10 by Lap 136.

Nearly 30 laps later, Busch found himself on the tails of leaders Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton. Taking second from Sauter on Lap 163, Busch moved back into the lead four laps later slicing and dicing through lap traffic.

When Austin Wayne Self and Justin Haley tangled with five laps, the final restart left the field one more attempt to swipe the lead away from Busch.

The now five-time Bristol Truck Series winner, however, would have none of it pulling away from Crafton at the Lap 201 restart and cruised to his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the year and 49th of his career.

“I knew once I got that penalty that I had to go somewhere, other than where everyone else was,” said Busch. “I just started grooming the top and it took about 15 laps for it to come in and then it started going, it was pretty fast.”

“I can’t say enough about all these guys on this Banfield Pet Hospital Tundra, it was awesome. It was awesome when we unloaded. We made some fine-tune adjustments to it. She was really good all-day long.”

Looking like a superhero with his comeback, Busch, who isn’t expected to compete in anymore Camping World Truck Series races this season, said he learned enough from the penalty that could give him a potential advantage towards earning a second triple-weekend sweep at Bristol. The first came in August 2010.

“It was a lot of fun to come through the field like that, it kinda gave me some ideas about the rest of the week,” added Busch. “Probably showed a bunch of stuff too. That’s what it’s all about. This is the start of the triple, hopefully we can get it.”

While many welcomed the event’s final caution, Crafton didn’t want to see the yellow flag, as he was sure he was catching Busch as the final laps counted away.

“I searched the top, searched the bottom, and went back to the old faithful bottom,” said Crafton. “One thing I’ve done, I’ve finished second to Kyle way too many times here. All in all, it was a very good truck and we have nothing to hang our heads about.

“We were running him down there at the end. I didn’t want to see that yellow because we were running him down, we were so good on old tires. And then that restart, when you are starting on the outside you’re going ‘oh man this could be really really bad’ and he has that grip to take off on the bottom and I was sitting up there spinning the tires.”

Busch led the field to green after nearly a two-hour rain delay and dominated the first stage leading all 55 laps.

The Brad Keselowski Racing trucks of Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric pitted on Lap 27 and restarted 1-2 for the Lap 64 restart, but Matt Crafton used the bump and run on Cindric and took control a lap after the beginning of Stage 2 and led until Busch caught Crafton in lap traffic and re-inherited the lead at Lap 105 and sailed away to the Stage 2 win.

Busch led the field off pit road but was busted by NASCAR for speeding in section 4 handing the lead back to Crafton for the start of Stage 3 and the eventual comeback for Busch.

Check out the unofficial results of the UNOH 200 at Bristol.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Makes His Second NXS Start At Bristol

Cole Custer

Event: Food City 300 (Round 22 of 33)

Date: Aug. 18, 2017

Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

Layout: .533-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest
 

●  The Food City 300 will mark Custer’s 27th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start and his second XFINITY Series start at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

 

●  While the Food City 300 will be Custer’s second XFINITY Series start at Bristol, it will be his seventh overall start at the .533-mile oval in eastern Tennessee. Custer has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and two NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts at Bristol. Custer’s career-best Bristol finish is sixth in the 2016 Truck Series race.

 

●  Custer’s most impressive performance at Bristol was the 2015 Truck Series race, despite his 16th-place finish. He started fifth and led twice for a race-high 111 laps, holding off a handful of veterans including Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch. But when Custer was coming up on Spencer Gallagher to put him a lap down less than 40 laps from the finish, Gallagher spun right in front of Custer. With nowhere to go, Custer collided with him, all but ending his race.

 

●  In Custer’s first XFINITY Series start at Bristol in April of this year, he began the race from his career-best starting position of third and ran as high as third in the final stage before getting collected in an accident with less than 40 laps to go.

 

●  Since 2013, across nine Camping World Truck Series starts and two K&N Pro Series starts, Custer has one pole, one top-five finish, four top-10s and 226 laps led at half-mile tracks currently on the NASCAR circuit.

 

●  Custer’s best finish in the 21 XFINITY Series races run this season is fourth, earned June 3 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was his 11th career top-10 and fifth top-five and it equaled his best finish.

 

●  Custer has earned six Rookie of the Race awards this season. Rookie of the Race awards aregiven to the highest-finishing XFINITY Series rookie at each race.

 

●  Custer is third in the XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year standings, 59 points behind leader William Byron and seven points behind second-place Daniel Hemric.

 

●  Custer is sixth in the XFINITY Series driver standings, 258 points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

 

●  Custer has earned nine top-10s, four top-fives and has led 29 laps thus far in the 2017 season.

 

●  Bristol added a chemical compound to the inside portion of its track surface to enhance the lower racing groove. This will mark the second year Bristol has applied the chemical to improve grip on the bottom of the racetrack.

 

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang
 

You had a strong start in your first XFINITY Series race at Bristol but were caught up in an accident with less than 40 laps to go. What can we expect in the Food City 300?

 

“Bristol was definitely one of our strongest runs this year and it was a shame to get caught up in a wreck at the end. We have some great notes to look at and we think we can make our Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang even better this time around.”

 

Explain the difference between running in the day compared to night racing at Bristol.

 

“Honestly, I would just say it’s the atmosphere that’s different from day to night at Bristol. The track doesn’t change a ton, but Bristol is definitely one of the most intense night races of the year.”

 

Your first XFINITY Series race at Bristol was a Dash 4 Cash race, which limited the field to full-time time NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five years of experience or less. With seasoned veterans like Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. running with you this weekend, do you think the competition level will change?

 

“Earlier in the year, there were still some pretty good Cup guys in the race and we ran hard with them, so we’re looking for the same this weekend. I expect to run the Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang up front like we did last August. In my opinion, it helps us XFINITY drivers learn more when we have to battle with the Cup Series veterans.”

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief of the No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Team
 

What will be the key to earning a solid finish in the Food City 300 at Bristol?

 

“Cole’s been great at short tracks his whole career. I like the idea of enhancing the bottom groove, so the track has more options for passing. We’re coming back to Bristol with more notes than we had before. We found top-five speeds there in April but, unfortunately, got caught in an accident when we were at the front of the field. As long as we stay out of trouble, I think we’ll have a good shot at it.”

 

C​ole Custer Bristol Performance Profile
 

 

No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Team Roster
Primary Team Members:

 

Driver: Cole Custer

Hometown: Ladera Ranch, California

 

Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Eddie D’Hondt Jr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

 

Lead Engineer: Bruce Schlickler

Hometown: Clarksburg, West Virginia

 

Engine Specialist: Craig Herrmann

Hometown: Albany, New York

 

Spotter: Eddie D’Hondt Sr.

Hometown: East Islip, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhant, Texas

 

Gas Man: Andrew Migliozzi

Hometown: West Borough, Massachusetts

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Road Crew Members:

 

Truck Driver: Jason Gray

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Mechanic: Daren VanderLey

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Mechanic: Michael Brill

Hometown: Woodsville, New Hampshire

 

Tire Specialist: Bryan Honeycutt

Hometown: Asheboro, North Carolina

 

Shock Specialist: Dave Hansen

Hometown: York, Maine

 

Pit Support: Chris Justice

Hometown: Greensboro, South Carolina

Haas Automation Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panels at Bristol for:

 

●  Savannah Technical College – Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in aviation technology, business and technology, public service, industrial technology and health sciences, in addition to adult education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For more information, visithttp://www.savannahtech.edu/certified-manufacturing-specialist-training-offered-effingham-county/

 

●  Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp.an exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools. With its main office at 8500 Triad Drive Colfax, North Carolina, HFO Greensboro has Haas Factory Outlets in North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama – including locations at the Spartanburg (S.C.) Community College Haas Technical Education Center and the Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham, Alabama. Each location offers Haas sales, service, training, applications support and spare parts.

 

One Cure Notes of Interest
 

The No. 00 Haas Automation/One Cure Ford Mustang will sport a One Cure decal on both sides of the car.

 

●  One Cure – One Cure is a new initiative founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors who are working with both people and animals.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Blaney Looking To Score The Wood Brothers’ 100th Victory

Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head to Bristol Motor Speedway looking for a strong run to build momentum as Blaney prepares himself to battle for his first championship in NASCAR’s elite division while his Wood Brothers team is seeking its second car owner title.

Many fans know the Woods, NASCAR’s longest continuously operating team, have won 99 Cup races and 117 poles, but few realize the Woods also have an owner’s championship from the 1963 season.

The ’63 season saw Joe Weatherly win his second straight championship by cobbling together a string of nine different car owners through the course of the season. Weatherly, who had driven the Woods’ No. 21 himself in four races in prior seasons, ran a total of 53 races in 1963, winning three of them and scoring 20 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes. But since he ran for so many different owners none of them accumulated as many points as the Woods, who ran 23 races with the No. 21 scoring three wins, 16 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.

The Woods used five drivers – Fred Lorenzen, Tiny Lund, Dave MacDonald, Marvin Panch and team founder Glen Wood.

Lund won the Daytona 500 that year, while Panch won at North Wilkesboro and Wood at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The owner’s championship trophy from 1963 carries the name of Ray Lee Wood, one of the original Wood Brothers crew and a brother of other team members Glen, Leonard, Delano and the late Clay. Ray Lee was a tire changer before retiring from racing in 1965.

Glen Wood said he listed his brother’s name as the car owner in ‘63 to save money.

“You had to buy a different license for the driver and car owner, so instead of buying two in my name I put one in Ray Lee’s,” Wood recalled. “I saved ten dollars by doing it, but ten dollars was a good bit of money back then.

“It was my car, but it’s his name on the trophy.”

If Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were to win the championship this year, Wood will be expecting a much bigger check than he received back in 1963.

“I don’t even remember how much it was,” he said. “But it was nothing like what it pays today.”

The next step on the road to the championship is on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, where qualifying for the Night Race is set for 5:45 p.m. on Friday and the 500-lap race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on NBC.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

David Ragan Talks About The Night Race At Bristol

David Ragan

Ragan on Bristol

“Bristol is one of my favorite short tracks. It’s our team owner, Bob Jenkins’, home track, so it’s a significant race for us. And we’ve had success there over the years. I’ve run well there with the Front Row team, and it’s been one of the more consistent tracks where we can run in the top 15 or top 20. So, I look forward to going to Bristol with our Juice Battery team.

“The night race can get wild. The spring race just seems to be a little calmer, and I don’t know if that’s just an illusion because it’s a day race. But there’s something about racing at a short track under the lights with a lot of people in attendance — it’s exciting. And drivers know that we’re winding down the regular season, and it may be one of their last opportunities to get a win, or even to get a top-five or top-10. So, I think we’re all a little more aggressive and a little more hyped up about racing on Saturday night.”
Meet David
Thursday, Aug. 175-6pm – Food City Race Night (Downtown Bristol)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Landon Cassill Previews The Night Race At Bristol

Landon Cassill

Cassill on Bristol

“Bristol’s awesome. I just always enjoy that race track. I’ve had good fortune there, and Front Row Motorsports as a team has had some really good runs and good finishes there. It’s a track where pit strategy can always come into play, and that can work to our advantage. We used pit strategy to get the lead last year and led a bunch of laps, so we know that’s something that we can do again in our Love’s Travel Stops Ford this Saturday night.

“With the VHT that they’ve been putting down, it’s definitely made the place a little less predictable, a little tougher to figure out, but I think it’s good for racing. It has an interesting effect over the course of a race with the way the rubber builds up on it. It can be a wild show for sure.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK

Joey Gase And BK Racing Partners Up With Best Home Furnishings

Joey Gase
Joey Gase will return to the No. 23 Best Home Furnishings Toyota Camry this week for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a very special tribute on the back of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racecar.

Best Home Furnishings is dedicating the rear TV panel of the car to the nonprofit organization Donate Life, and honoring the late Rudy Gorman who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 21 in a traffic accident. Rudy is the son of Bob Gorman, a well-known fabric representative for the furniture industry, and also a close friend to the Best Home Furnishings family.  His organ and tissue donations benefited scores of other individuals.

“Since Gase’s mother passed away when he was 18, he has dedicated racing to honor his mother’s legacy through Donate Life,” said Brian Lange, president of Best Home Furnishings.  “To use the Best Home Furnishings race car as a platform for raising awareness of organ and tissue donations, and pay tribute to Rudy and his family, is a fulfilling purpose for our organization.”

“We wholeheartedly believe in the miracle of donation, and although it is extremely painful to lose a loved one, the opportunity to save others is without question the best possible caring and sharing act that can come from such a tragedy,” said Bob Gorman. “Rudy touched lives when he was alive, so he continued to do so even in his passing.”

“I’m very excited to be making my first start in the Bristol Night Race and I can’t thank Best Home Furnishing and the Lange family enough for making it possible,” said Gase. “The Bristol Night Race was by far my favorite race of the year to watch when I was growing up and to be actually racing in it now is a dream come true. I am proud to be honoring Rudy Gorman on the TV panel. From what I have gathered from his father, he was a remarkable person and him choosing to be an organ donor to help others is a true testament of that.”

“Best Home Furnishings is beyond excited to have Joey racing in the No. 23 Toyota Camry in the Bristol night race.  Not only will this be an electric atmosphere, but will be an ample opportunity to showcase Joey’s superb racing abilities,” said Lange.  “Joey continues to represent himself and Best Home Furnishings in an ideal manner.  He is truly a great ambassador for our company.”

“We are very proud of Joey for the work he does with Donate Life,” said Doug Fritz, BK Racing Chief Marketing Officer. “It is very touching to see Best Home Furnishings include this tribute to Rudy in their paint scheme for the Bristol night race.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Eyes Bristol For Possible First Cup Victory

Erik Jones
Erik Jones ran in the top five for the majority of his first NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway and has every reason to believe Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is his best shot for taking the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota to victory and making the playoffs.

Though the final results of the April race show a 17th-place finish, the Furniture Row Racing driver finished Stage 1 in third place and Stage 2 in sixth. He ran as high as third in the final stage and was eighth on Lap 420 of 500 when contact with a lapped car sent the No. 77 Toyota into the Turn 3 wall. Jones was able to continue but his chances for victory were dashed.

“I think we’ve all got Bristol circled as a team,” said Jones. “We ran really well there in the spring. We didn’t get the finish we wanted, but we had a really fast race car. We’ve kind of got that one circled.

“We’ve been able to string together top-10 finishes over the last three races and three completely different types of tracks (Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan). That gives our 5-hour ENERGY team a lot of confidence heading into Bristol. Everything happens so fast there and we know for sure that things can happen out of our control but it’s always great racing there.”

Jones is currently 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 23 races. He’s just 12 points behind Ryan Newman for 15th but knows it’s going to take a win in one of the last three regular season races to make the playoffs. Crew chief Chris Gayle returns to the pit box after a two-week absence.

“It will be great having Chris back at the track,” Jones continued. “He’s obviously the leader of the team so we’re glad to be back at full strength. But I definitely want to thank James Small for everything he did in Chris’s absence the past couple of weeks.

“Obviously it’s a huge goal to make the playoffs, and I know we’re capable of it,” Jones continued. “The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team just has to go out and make it happen, and it goes back to execution. I mean, we’ve had fast race cars at a number of races, we just haven’t put the whole day together, whether it be we didn’t qualify well or we qualified well and had a bad stop late or whatever else. It’s just going to take putting an entire weekend together.”

The 21-year old is second in the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 217 points are seven behind Daniel Suarez (224) and 43 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (174).

The 500-lap 266.5-mile Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will consist of three stages of 125/125/250 laps (laps 125/250/500). Saturday’s race will air live beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM 90 and PRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 3:45 p.m. MT (5:45 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM 90 and PRN.

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
TOTALS/AVG. 15.6 17.4 5333/6133 50 524

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Bristol Night Race

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY (0.533-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: BRISTOL, TENNESSEE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 24 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, AUG. 19 (NBC/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 37                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 23 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

  • 491 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 173 top-10 finishes
  • 4,638 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 512 laps led
RATED RED: This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS. The Rated Red paint scheme will also adorn the No. 5 Chevrolet SS during the upcoming Charlotte Motor Speedway race weekend. The Hendrick Motorsports docuseries “Road to Race Day” can be seen on Complex Networks’ Rated Red available on go90. Rated Red is the Heartland’s first digital video network, covering the best in news, outdoor life, food, sports, DIY and more. Whatever your passion, Rated Red has you covered. No. 5 team-related episodes will be released on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.

BRISTOL STATS: Bristol Motor Speedway marks the site of one of Kahne’s two NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2013. He led 109 laps in the March race and powered through 17 lead changes to take the checkered flag 1.7 seconds ahead of second place. The win was Kahne’s third while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has led a total of 512 laps throughout five races at Bristol, which places him ninth among active drivers. Kahne has also earned one of his 27 career pole awards at the short track. He captured the pole in the August 2007 race with a pole speed of 119.805 mph and came up one spot shy of earning the victory.

BRISTOL LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is second in green-flag passes with 1,376 and in quality passes with 801. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. He ranks fifth in the fastest laps run category with 506. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy is seventh in laps spent in the top 15 with 7,005.

PARADE OF POWER: On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Kahne will participate in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Parade of Power event in Concord, North Carolina. The parade signifies the kickoff of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s fall schedule of racing activities. The parade departs the Concord Mills mall at 12 p.m. ET and will end at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event is open to the public and media. For more information, contact Lauren Emling.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on Kahne titled “Racing Roots.” The videos take you from Kahne’s early beginnings in Enumclaw, Washington, to being part of Hendrick Motorsports today. The video series also looks at his passion away from the asphalt track – his dirt car team, Kasey Kahne Racing. The video series can be viewed here.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 23 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 182 laps led

Career

  • 64 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 30 top-10 finishes
  • 540 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 14 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Aug. 18, at 9:15 a.m. local time in the Bristol Motor Speedway media center.

NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will feature the familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 NASCAR Cup Series races this year. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to an eighth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway.

BRISTOL STATS: Elliott is set to make his fourth career start at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. In his previous three starts, the 21-year-old driver has led 14 laps and collected one top-five finish and two top-10s. He averages a starting position of 9.0 and finishing position of 8.7. In Elliott’s four NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at the track, he earned one top-five finish and finished in the top 10 in all four events.

MICHIGAN REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team started fifth in Sunday’s event at Michigan International Speedway. Elliott leveraged the strong starting position to finish third in Stage 1 and collect eight additional points. After finishing 11th in Stage 2, the No. 24 team opted not to pit during the stage break. The strategy allowed Elliott to restart ninth on Lap 128. With less than 50 laps remaining, Elliott jumped from sixth to third before making a scheduled green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel on Lap 160. After running a handful of laps under green, an incident on the backstretch halted the race with only five laps remaining to set up a two-lap overtime restart with Elliott scored in fifth. In overtime, Elliott’s position in the unfavorable inside line resulted in him dropping several spots to ultimately take the checkered flag eighth for his 13th top-10 finish in 23 races this season.

ELLIOTT IN BRISTOL: Elliott is scheduled to be at Courtesy Chevrolet in Kingsport, Tennessee, on Thursday, Aug. 17, beginning at 4 p.m. local time. He will also make appearances at the Team Chevy Stage on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 4:45 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session, followed by a stop at the Mountain Dew Tailgate at 5:05 p.m.

BRAVES COUNTRY: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native was recently a guest on Fox Sports South’s “Chopcast Live” with hosts Cory McCartney and Zach Dillard. Elliott covered a variety of topics including his thoughts on the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS throwback paint scheme for Darlington Raceway, the playoffs and of course, the Atlanta Braves.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 41                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 11th in standings
  • 23 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

  • 566 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 221 top-five finishes
  • 337 top-10 finishes
  • 18,634 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 18 top-10 finishes
  • 914 laps led
LAST TIME AT BRISTOL: Last time at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led 81 laps en route to his second win at the 0.533-mile track. It was Johnson’s 82nd career win and first win at Bristol since 2010.

DRIVER RATING AT BRISTOL: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the sixth-best driver rating at Bristol with an average score of 93.0 since 2005. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points and is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

LOWE’S UNVEILED DARLINGTON THROWBACK: Today, Lowe’s revealed the special Darlington Raceway throwback Chevy Johnson will be driving at the 500-mile event over Labor Day weekend. The paint scheme design was inspired by Lowe’s trucks from 1986 and can be seen here.

TESTING CHICAGO: Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 team are participating a two-day test at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 15 and 16 in preparation of the Sept. 17 playoff-opening event. Over the course of his 83 career wins, Johnson still has yet to earn a victory at Chicago.

ROAD TO RACE DAY: The fourth installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90and focuses on Johnson, Knaus and the No. 48 team. The episode was filmed during the May 2016 All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).

TICKET PACKAGE AT DOVER: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 11-time Dover winner Johnson will hold an exclusive question-and-answer session before the playoff race at Dover on Oct. 1. For $60, the “Jimmie Johnson Q&A Package” includes one adult ticket and one junior ticket (for children ages 12 and younger) in the lower section of the turns, as well as access to the Q&A session before the race. For more information, log on to www.DoverSpeedway.com.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 42                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 23 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 24 laps led

Career

  • 618 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,211 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 16 top-10 finishes
  • 790 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 2:15 p.m. local time in the Bristol Motor Speedway media center.

BRISTOL VICTOR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has earned one victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, which came in August 2004, when he led 295 laps en route to capturing the checkered flag. The 42-year-old came close to getting his second win in the 2016 spring race, finishing second in a dramatic comeback. In that race, Earnhardt had no power at the drop of the green flag, but he was able to get the No. 88 Chevrolet SS to pit road for service, although it forced him two laps down at the start of the race. Earnhardt and the crew chief Greg Ives-led No. 88 team worked diligently throughout the race to get back on the lead lap and in position to contend for the win.

BRISTOL STATS: The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has been running at the finish of 31 of the 34 races (91.2 percent) he has entered at Bristol. He’s also completed 16,267 of 17,027 laps (95.5 percent) in his 34 starts. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks third in green-flag passes with 1,279 and ranks fourth among active drivers in the “closers” category, gaining a total of 13 positions in the last 10 percent of races. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has the third-best average finish among all active drivers in the last 25 Cup races at Bristol. Earnhardt, who recorded 11 top-10s during that span, has an average finish of 12.6 since 2005.

SPECIAL SCHEME: Earnhardt will run a special True Timber camouflage Axalta scheme this weekend, featuring Axalta’s partners Ducks Unlimited, which is the largest wetlands conservationist in the world, and Service King, an auto service chain that strives to deliver safe, superior repairs with excellent customer service. Click here to see the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS camo scheme.

DOUBLE DUTY: For the first time this season, Earnhardt will be pulling double duty, driving the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday night in addition to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday night. Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports will have five cars entered in Friday night’s XFINITY race. He will also pull double duty again at Richmond Raceway in three weeks.

DEW PROMOTING THE OUTDOORS AND ‘RIDE WITH JR.’ PROGRAM: Just in time for fall, Mountain Dew is introducing a program to bring fans the best in outdoors, racing and more. The brand has partnered with True Timber for a unique line of limited-edition camo gear that fans can earn and win. In addition to the True Timber apparel, Mountain Dew will also celebrate the outdoors by introducing limited-edition Mtn Dew True Timber camo products, executing one of the brand’s biggest-ever outdoors activations at the Bristol night race on Aug. 19, and joining Earnhardt for his final race at Talladega, where he’ll take his final laps featuring the names of 100,000 fans on his No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet. Fans can enter to have their names placed on the paint scheme atRideWithJr.com. Fans will receive an email and can check the site this fall to see where their name will be placed on the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet. Earnhardt will stop by the Mountain Dew Tailgate at 4:10 p.m. local time on Saturday, Aug. 19, for a fan Q&A session.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT BRISTOL: At Bristol Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins, 11 pole positions, 55 top-five finishes and 99 top-10s. Johnson most recently won there for the organization earlier this year in the April event.

ROAD TO RACE DAY: Hendrick Motorsports has teamed with Complex Networks, Film 45 and Markay Media on an original eight-part documentary series that goes behind the scenes with the organization during the 2016 season. New “Road to Race Day” episodes premiere Wednesdays on the go90 streaming platform. Watch for free by downloading the go90 app on your Apple or Android device, or view the series at go90.com.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,022 top-five finishes and 1,722 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,797 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Over the years, Bristol has gotten faster throughout an entire run — the lap times don’t fall off like they used to. Track position means a lot, and on the longer runs you can make moves. It’s a small track and you can work the top and bottom, wherever your car is best. The excitement of the night race is so cool and it would be neat to get a night win. I’ve won during the day and that was cool.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Bristol

“Just the atmosphere — such a cool atmosphere and one that we don’t see but one time a year and that is why we love it. We love what we can’t have and something that only happens once a year makes it that much more special.”

Chase Elliott on the difference between Bristol’s day and night races

“To say I’m excited to get to Bristol is an understatement. I can’t say enough about the hard work my guys have been putting in lately. It’s been a frustrating summer to say the least. I’ve got confidence we can turn this around.”

Jimmie Johnson on heading to Bristol

“When I was a kid, the night race at Bristol was the one I got really excited about. They parked the vans over the corner and literally it felt like we were 20 feet from the cars sitting on top of the vans there. You just could see the drivers working in the cars and you could see the action. There was no better experience in my book than getting that close to stock car racing in those days at Bristol. Me and the other kids would run around and beg everybody to let us wax their cars or whatever we could do. It was such a small place. It was fun to get involved in anything and everything in the infield. During the race, we’d probably watch from 50 different vantage points. We’d be climbing all over trucks and going down pit road and getting on this truck and that truck. We’d just be everywhere. So, I loved going there.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his childhood memories at Bristol

“The track itself is real unique. There’s not another one like it. It has always been a surprise to me that nobody has ever tried to emulate it somewhere else because it’s such an incredible place. Particularly when it was asphalt, it was quite the racetrack. And it’s surprising to me that nobody has tried to rebuild that sort of racetrack somewhere else to see how it would do. But maybe it’s best there’s only one. It’s still a lot of fun to race on even though it’s changed quite a bit. And, I always thought that was one of the coolest trophies. It was taller than me for quite a large part of my life. Until I graduated from high school, I don’t think I was any taller than that trophy, and daddy had a bunch of them in the house. He had a lot of clocks. He had a lot of Bristol trophies. And I wanted one of each. So, I feel lucky to have those now.”

Earnhardt on racing at Bristol

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Danica Patrick, SHR And One Cure Partner Up At Bristol

Danica Patrick

As Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) return to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, they will be racing to bring awareness to a special program: One Cure.

One Cure is a project led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center at CSU. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.

The center sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 400 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope to the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.

The One Cure initiative was first featured on Patrick’s No. 10 Ford earlier this year at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. As the proud “mom” of a 3-year-old miniature Siberian Husky named Dallas and a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Ella, the One Cure program is a cause near and dear to Patrick.

“It’s great to have One Cure on the car this weekend,” Patrick said. “I love dogs and I’m glad we can bring more awareness to all of the work the team at the Flint Animal Cancer Center is doing. Our pets are members of our families and, when they aren’t well, we want to do everything we can to help.

“Cancer has touched so many of us. Knowing we can use what we learn from keeping our animals healthy to potentially help save human lives is a cause I’m honored to support.”

When Patrick straps into the No. 10 One Cure Ford Saturday night, she will make her 11th NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol. Her best NASCAR Cup Series finish to date at the .533-mile oval is a ninth-place effort Patrick earned in April 2015. In last year’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol, Patrick started 29th and finished 22nd. In April, an accident relegated the team to a 36th-place finish.

In addition to Patrick’s NASCAR Cup Series experience at Bristol, she’s also competed in three NASCAR Xfinity Series races at the track. In that time, her best result was a ninth-place finish earned in August 2012.

As they return to Bristol looking to improve upon their results at the track, Patrick and the No. 10 One Cure Ford team will be ready to bring attention to the One Cure program.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 One Cure Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What are your overall thoughts heading into Bristol?

“I’ve liked Bristol since I went there the first time. I remember when I set foot onto that track, it was the day before, it was load-in day and I looked out there and you’re standing on the straightaway, but it sure seems like a corner. It’s a very cool track and a spectacle for the fans. I feel like that is always the one that everyone says, ‘I want to come see a Bristol race.’ It’s always entertaining there for the fans and, hopefully, we can put on another good show for them this week.”

How aggressive do you have to be?

“Every single one of us is going to go as absolutely hard as possible. There’s never a plan to back off or go easy or anything like that, other than if you are saving fuel out there on a strategy at the end of the race. You always go as fast as you can, all the time.”

How grueling is 500 laps at Bristol?

“It’s fine. I think it is a little daunting to say 500 laps, but there are a lot of times that we do 500 laps, or 500 miles, and this is just one of them. I feel like no matter what happens – whether it’s a 400-mile race or a 500-lap race – you find your rhythm. Time goes by fast sometimes, and then sometimes it’s slow. All I hope is that the car has a good balance because, when it doesn’t, that’s when the laps seem wrong. If we can just get into a rhythm, find ourselves in a good spot and have a consistent car throughout the race, then the time does go pretty quickly, usually.”

Fans come to Bristol and typically expect a lot of beating and banging. Do you like that kind of racing?

“Yes, I enjoy it. I mean, I don’t mind some beating and banging out there. I don’t mind pushing your way around a little bit. It just happens. It’s just the nature of short tracks when you’re running really close to one another. You put 40 cars out on a track the size of Bristol and you’re filling up a lot of the track. The short tracks are conducive to close racing since aerodynamics don’t come into play quite as much.”

One Cure Racing Team Report

Round 24 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol

Car No.: 10 – One Cure Ford Fusion

 

At-Track PR Contact: Annette Randall, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 805, Annette.Randall@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Danica Patrick

Hometown: Roscoe, Illinois

 

Crew Chief: Billy Scott

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida

 

Car Chief: Tony Cardamone

Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

 

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines

Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples

Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

 

Spotter: Brandon Benesch

Hometown: Cumberland, Wisconsin

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Justin Wilson

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

 

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Second Gas Man: Nate Spoor

Hometown: Penn Yan, New York

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)

Hometown: Jewell, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman

Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana

 

Jackman: Nate House

Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhart, Texas

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Wayne Anderson and Larry Lush

Hometown: West Covina, California and Waynesville, North Carolina, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire

Hometown: Palmyra, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

 

Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee

Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively

 

Underneath Mechanic: Nick McIntosh

Hometown: Havre, Montana

 

Front End Mechanic: Joe Zanolini

Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Notes of Interest: 
  • The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway will mark Danica Patrick’s 178th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 10 previous starts at the .533-mile oval, Patrick’s best NASCAR Cup Series finish is a ninth-place effort she earned in April 2015. In three Xfinity Series starts at the track, her top result was a ninth-place finish scored in August 2012.
  • One Cure: Cancer is cancer. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.
  • Homecoming: Bristol Motor Speedway is the home track for Tony Cardamone, the car chief on the No. 10 One Cure Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). Cardamone hails from Bristol, Virginia, which lies just across the state line from Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Dallas Dogs Available: A plush version of Dallas Stenhouse, the 3-year-old miniature Siberian Husky that belongs to Patrick and her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is now available for sale. Race fans can purchase their own Dallas plush dog at the SHR team store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the SHR online store and at Shop.DanicaPatrick.com. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit animal charities.
  • For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
    • Became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
    • Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
    • Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
    • Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
    • Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
    • Competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
    • Became the first female to compete in the non-points NASCAR All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
    • Have the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
    • With seven top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
  • History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
  • Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kurt Busch Enters His 600th Cup Race At Bristol

Kurt Busch pit stop

It all started on September 24, 2000 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Kurt Busch, who was just 22 years old, drove the No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus for Roush Fenway Racing in the MBNA.com 400. It was his first career start in NASCAR’s top series.

At Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor (Tenn.) Speedway, Busch will make his 600th NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start. And for the driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), there is no better place for it to happen than at Bristol.

Busch has five wins, nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the .533-mile concrete oval and has led 1,062 laps in 33 career starts there.

He scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol in March 2002. He started 27th and led 89 laps en route to that maiden victory. It was only his third visit to the .533-mile, high-banked oval, making him the only driver to record his first win at Bristol in fewer than four attempts.

His five Bristol wins – March 2002 and 2003, August 2003, March 2004 and 2006 – tie him with his younger brother Kyle Busch as the winningest active NASCAR Cup Series drivers at Bristol.

Busch even completed the Bristol sweep in 2003, winning both the spring and fall NASCAR Cup Series events. He started ninth and led 116 laps in March while starting fifth and leading 121 laps in August. In March 2004, Busch went on to record his third consecutive win at Bristol when he started 13th and led 119 laps on his way to victory lane.

He is one of four drivers to win three or more consecutive Cup Series races at Bristol. Fred Lorenzen won three in a row starting with the fall race in 1963, followed by a sweep of both 1964 events. Cale Yarborough won four in a row with sweeps in 1976 and 1977. Darrell Waltrip won seven in a row, including sweeps in 1981, 1982 and 1983, then a win at the March 1984 race.

Busch has led laps in 15 of his 33 career Cup Series starts at Bristol and he has led more than 100 laps four times, including three consecutive races – 116 in March 2003, 121 in August 2003, and 119 in March 2004.

But on that day at Dover 17 years ago, the young Busch started 10th and finished a solid 18th with Jeff Hammond as his crew chief.

His current team owner Tony Stewart won the race, while Johnny Benson and Ricky Rudd were second and third. Of the 43 drivers in the field, only Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Busch are full-time in the series this season.

Busch’s current crew chief Tony Gibson refers to everyone as “Old Man.” But Busch doesn’t feel like an “Old Man,” and this week at Bristol, he’s hoping he can add to his Bristol – and NASCAR – legacy.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
You’re making your 600th NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series start at this week’s race at Bristol. Can you talk about that?

“It’s a fun number. You don’t think about it when you’re racing. You don’t have it as a goal when you start out racing. I love that fact that it’s at Bristol. The 600th start happens to be at a milestone track for me because I won my first race there and I’ve won my most races there. It’s been a special place for me over the years. It’ll be nice to celebrate it there. I never thought I’d see 600, you don’t really think about it. It almost feels like 400 to me. I still feel like there is plenty more to do, more races to win. I haven’t won at Darlington or Indianapolis and those are ones I want to check off the list. But it’s a proud moment for myself. And a time to say thanks to my dad and all the different car owners I’ve raced for and raced with. And all the sponsors. It’s been a great ride. But it also feels like there is more left.”

What do you remember about your first career start at Dover?

“I was in way over my head (laughter). It was at Dover for my first-ever start and I think I qualified 10th. And they dropped the green flag and guys like Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Dale (Earnhardt) Sr., just went blowing by me. And I’m flat out. And I was like, ‘What’s the rush? I thought this was 400 miles?’ I literally fell back to last place and I remember radioing in and said, ‘Am I last yet?’ and they said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Good.’ And I took a deep breath and just started passing them one at a time and I ended up 18th and two laps down in my first race.”

And who was your crew chief during that first race?

“It was Jeff Hammond, who works for FOX now. And I also had Matt Chambers, who was my Truck Series crew chief. He was coming up to take over the duties. And that was a unique situation, too, coming straight from Trucks straight into Cup. And only 12 months earlier I was running Late Models in Las Vegas.”

How tough was the challenge to go from Late Models to Trucks to Cup in that little time?

“I had the luxury of testing a lot. They don’t have the same testing rules now for rookies. The car side of it seemed OK, until about lap 200, and then I was falling out of the seat (laughter). The Cup races were just really long.”

What does it take to be successful at Bristol?

“I like how you can attack the track in certain situations. And then you have to cruise in other situations. You always have to know your surroundings at Bristol. When someone is on your rear bumper or if you are really trying to pressure somebody hard, is there a reason to be doing such? You have to be one with the track and then just digest where the other cars are around you.”

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 24 of 36 –  Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol

 

Car No.: 41 – Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion

 

PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704) 875-3388 ext. 808 or Joe.Crowley@TrueSpeedCommunication.com

Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Tony Gibson
Hometown: Daytona Beach, Florida
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Todd Hamm
Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

 

Spotter: Tony Raines
Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Second Gas Man: Matt Schlytter

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida

Front Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Windshield: Jay Guarneri (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Rear Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Todd Cable and Rocky Boggs
Hometowns: Shelby, North Carolina, and Burlington, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Jeff Zarrella
Hometown: Southington, Connecticut
Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Engineers: Johnny Klausmeier and Mike Cook
Hometowns: Perry Hall, Maryland, and Annapolis, Maryland

Mechanic: J.D. Frey
Hometown: Ferndale, California

 

Mechanic: Andy Spenner
Hometown: Hoyleton, Illinois
Chassis No. 933:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 933 in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Built new for 2015, Chassis No. 933 debuted at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, when Busch finished 10th. It was next raced at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where Busch again finished 10th. Chassis No. 933 was utilized again at Charlotte in October, when Busch recorded a fifth-place finish. Chassis No. 933 made its first start of the 2016 season at Bristol in April, when Busch scored a third-place finish. It next raced at Dover in May, where Busch finished fifth after a tough day of obstacles. It saw its last laps of the 2016 season at Bristol in August, when Busch had overtaken Joey Logano for the lead before getting loose and setting off an 11-car incident that would see Busch’s historic streak of lead-lap finishes end at 22 races. Since then, the car has received chassis updates and the body was updated for 2017. It was last used in April at Bristol, where Busch started 15th and finished 25th after an accident in the first stage. He was able to continue but was six laps down.
Michigan Notes of Interest:
 

·   The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will mark Busch’s 600th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 34th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol.

 

·   Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 127 top-fives, 253 top-10s and 8,867 laps led in 599 starts.

 

·   His most recent Cup Series win came 23 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).

 

·   His last Cup Series pole came 55 races ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway(March 4, 2016).

 

·   Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will mark Busch’s 34th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol. Busch has five wins, nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the .533-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 1,062 laps, has an average starting position of 17.4, an average finish of 15.2, and has completed 94.9 percent (15,683 of 16,527) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

·   Busch scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol in March 2002. He started 27th and led 89 laps en route to his first victory. It was only his third visit to the .533-mile, high-banked oval, making him the only driver to record his first win at Bristol in fewer than four attempts.

 

·   Busch’s five Bristol wins (March 2002 and 2003, August 2003, March 2004 and 2006) tie him with his younger brother Kyle Busch as the winningest active NASCAR Cup Series drivers at Bristol.

 

·   Busch completed the Bristol sweep in 2003, winning both the spring and fall NASCAR Cup Series events. He started ninth and led 116 laps in March while starting fifth and leading 121 laps in August. In March 2004, Busch went on to record his third consecutive win at Bristol when he started 13th and led 119 laps on his way to victory lane.

 

·   Busch is one of four drivers to win three or more consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol. Fred Lorenzen won three in a row starting with the fall race in 1963, followed by a sweep of both 1964 events. Cale Yarborough won four in a row with sweeps in 1976 and 1977. Darrell Waltrip won seven in a row, including sweeps in 1981, 1982 and 1983, then a win at the March 1984 race.

 

·   Busch has led laps in 15 of his 33 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol for a combined total of 1,062 lap. Busch led 278 laps in March 2010 and finished third. He has led more than 100 laps four times, including three consecutive races – March 2003 (116), August 2003 (121) and March 2004 (119).

 

·   The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (August 2006) at Bristol. Busch has 21 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles.

 

·   Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, two top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 23 starts.

 

·   Get to the Points – With his 11th-place finish last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Busch enters Bristol 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 554 points and is 379 points behind series leader Martin Truex Jr.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!