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!

Chase Elliott Has His Eyes On The Pure Michigan 400 Trophy

Chase Elliott
When Chase Elliott travels to Michigan International Speedway, he must feel like Sisyphus – the king in Greek mythology forced to roll a boulder up a hill, and when he reaches the pinnacle, the boulder rolls off, forcing him to repeat the process for all of eternity!

The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver has made three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts in the Wolverine State and has finished second all three times.

“It’s great,” Elliott said about the two-mile track, which hosts Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. “It’s also frustrating to have run second every time we have been there. It’s good I guess that we are inside the top five the past few times we have been there, but at the same time that is frustrating to have been pretty close to having a shot to win there, which would have been very big if we could have pulled that out.

Elliott enters Sunday’s contest coming off a series of solid, yet unspectacular performances. He placed 13th last week at Watkins Glen, 10th at Pocono, 39th at Indianapolis due to engine trouble and 11th at New Hampshire. Still he ranks 14th on the playoff grid, 39 points ahead of Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line. Elliott has little margin of error when it comes to making the postseason, but can guarantee himself a playoff berth by grabbing a win at Michigan.

“I like Michigan, I’ve always liked going up there,” Elliott said. “I really love that area. It’s just a cool part of the United States to go to. I like it up there – it’s a nice area and that is kind of why I like going.”

Could this be the weekend that Chase parks the No. 24 squarely in Victory Lane?

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Pure Michigan 400

MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (TWO-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 23 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, AUG. 13 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 LiftMaster Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 19th in standings
  • 22 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 1 win
  • 3 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 67 laps led
LIFTMASTER: This weekend, Kasey Kahne looks to lift his position in the point standings at Michigan International Speedway in the No. 5 LiftMaster Chevrolet SS. Michigan marks the third and final time Kahne will pilot the LiftMaster paint scheme this season. He also drove it Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

KAHNE AT MICHIGAN: Three of Kahne’s 27 NASCAR Cup Series pole awards have been earned at Michigan – in 2006, 2010 and 2015. The three pole awards ties Kahne with Joey Logano for the most poles earned by an active driver at the track. In June 2006, the 37-year-old swept the weekend at the Irish Hills track by winning the 129-lap race. He led 19 laps en route to his fifth Cup Series victory, bringing his total laps led at the track to 67.

MICHIGAN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks second in green-flag passes with 1,974. He’s fourth in quality passes with 878. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. The Enumclaw, Washington, native is sixth in fastest laps run with 187 and eighth in laps spent in the top 15 with 2,741.

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
  • 22 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 182 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 66 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will don 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 a 10th-place finish at Pocono Raceway.

MICHIGAN STATS: The 21-year-old driver is set to make his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan this weekend. In each of Elliott’s three previous starts at the two-mile speedway, he collected second-place finishes. In addition to his average finishing position of 2.0, he averages a starting position of 8.3 at the track. In Elliott’s two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Michigan, he collected one top-five finish and two top-10s.

MICHIGAN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Elliott has the top driver rating at Michigan with an average score of 119.0. 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. Elliott also ranks first for average running position at Michigan with a 5.135 average place.

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage on Sunday, August 13, at 12:10 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

WATKINS GLEN REWIND: Elliott posted his best career qualifying effort and raced inside the top 10 for much of last Sunday’s Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International before ultimately finishing 13th after having to pit for fuel in the closing laps. He remains seventh in the driver point standings as the series heads to Michigan.

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 687 laps led
HELMET OF HOPE: This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will wear the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which features five charities working to improve K-12 public education. As a show of support to Johnson’s efforts to raise funds for such programs, a number of his NASCAR Cup Series competitors will display Jimmie Johnson Foundation-branded decals on the visors of their helmets. Featured on the helmet are the following winning charitable initiatives: Art Feeds in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Edu-Futuro in Arlington, Virginia; Mary J. Treglia Community House in Sioux City, Iowa; School on Wheels of Massachusetts in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts; and The Kids’ Reading Room in Houston.

JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION PAINT OUT: In addition to the Helmet of Hope, Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will feature the special star logos of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. Johnson has seen plenty of success running the paint scheme, earning three wins, two top-five finishes and three top-10s. Along with the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, the foundation operates the Champions Grant program – providing cash grants to schools in the Johnsons’ hometowns and where they currently live – Team Up For Technology, a $48,000 technology makeover open to schools nationwide, and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest – a family friendly, event in Charlotte, North Carolina, which features running, mountain biking, obstacle racing, music, food and more.

DRIVER RATING AT MICHIGAN: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Michigan with an average score of 99.1 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.

CALLING ALL KIDS TO CHICAGO: Johnson is hosting a special ticket package for families at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17. Johnson, Chicagoland and NASA have teamed up for the third consecutive year for a special ticket package that features a youth question-and-answer session. The pricing is $23 for kids 12 and under and $48 for adults. Log on to www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com for more info.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 35 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 353 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Aug. 11, at 4:15 p.m. local time in the Michigan International Speedway media center.

SOLID STATS IN THE IRISH HILLS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored two wins at Michigan International Speedway. His most recent victory came on June 17, 2012, when he started 17th and led 95 laps before crossing the stripe with a 5.393-second lead to earn the victory. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has also earned two pole-position starts at the two-mile track, tying his career bests. He also has two poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Earnhardt ranks sixth in the driver rating category among active drivers at Michigan with an average of 95.5 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. He ranks in the top five in many other loop data categories, such as fastest laps run (fourth – 205 laps), green-flag speed (fifth – 180.173 mph), laps in the top 15 (third – 3,134 laps), laps led (fifth – 289), and quality passes (second – 973 passes).

CONGRATS, AXALTA: Congratulations to Hendrick Motorsports partner Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, on being named a GM Supplier of the Year by General Motors during its 25th annual Supplier of the Year awards ceremony held on March 31 in Orlando, Florida. GM recognized 118 of its best suppliers from 15 countries that have consistently exceeded GM’s expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company. The announcement represented the most suppliers GM has recognized since debuting the Supplier of the Year event in 1992. This is the third consecutive year Axalta has received the award.

IVES AND OTHER MICHIGANDERS: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives hails from Bark River, Michigan, and grew up working with his father and older brother at the local racetracks. He spent eight years behind the wheel before finding his true calling under the hood. After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech, Ives joined the No. 24 team as a shop mechanic before getting the opportunity to be the race engineer on the No. 48 team. After recording five championships with Johnson and the No. 48 group, Ives went to JR Motorsports to crew chief before returning to Hendrick Motorsports to lead the No. 88 team in 2015. You can read more about Ives’ background here. Two additional members of the No. 88 Axalta team call Michigan their home state. Andy “Squigz” Quillan, hauler driver for the No. 88 team, was born and raised in Orleans, Michigan, which is approximately two hours from the racetrack. Scott Brzozowski, the front tire changer for the No. 88 team, grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which is outside of Detroit. He was a member of the No. 24 over-the-wall crew before he switched to the No. 88 team last fall.

RIR VICTORY TOUR: On Tuesday, the driver of the No. 88 Chevy visits Richmond for his Victory Tour, where in addition to spending time at the racetrack, Earnhardt is scheduled to visit training camp for his favorite NFL team – the Washington Redskins. Follow Richmond International Raceway’s social media channels for highlights from the tour.

ICYMI, HOMESTEAD CAR UNVEILED: In case you missed it, on Wednesday, Aug. 2, the 14-time most popular driver appeared live on QVC to reveal the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS that he will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 as part of his JR Nation #Appreci88ion Tour. The red-and-black Axalta scheme is based on the paint scheme Earnhardt debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career NASCAR Cup Series race. For photos from the unveil, click here.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MICHIGAN: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have led 2,478 laps en route to eight wins, 52 top-five finishes and 96 top-10s in addition to 11 pole positions at Michigan. The organization swept both races at the two-mile oval in 2014, and in each of the past three events at Michigan, Chase Elliott has earned runner-up finishes.

MASTERING MICHIGAN: Hendrick Motorsports’ eight NASCAR Cup Series victories at Michigan have come via five different drivers: Jeff Gordon (3), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2), Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd.

TEAM JJF VISOR: All four Hendrick Motorsports teammates will sport a Jimmie Johnson Foundation decal strip on their visors for Sunday’s race at Michigan. After the race, the signed visors will be auctioned off to raise funds for programs in need through the foundation.

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 1,721 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,797 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Michigan is unique because it’s a very fast track and the restarts can be pretty tricky. We’ve had fast cars the past few weeks and have been able to carry some momentum over from the Brickyard win, so I’m looking forward to getting on the track at Michigan. It’s a big weekend for Chevrolet because it’s their home track and they are such great supporters of the racing program.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Michigan

“It’s great. It’s also frustrating to have run second every time we have been there. It’s good I guess that we are inside the top five the past few times we have been there, but at the same time that is frustrating to have been pretty close to having a shot to win there, which would have been very big if we could have pulled that out. I like Michigan. I’ve always liked going up there. I really love that area. It’s just a cool part of the United States to go to. I like it up there – it’s a nice area and that is kind of why I like going.”

Chase Elliott on heading to Michigan

“First, I would like to thank Lowe’s for allowing us to run the Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme. Also, an honor to highlight these five charities making a huge impact on K-12 public education across the country on my Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope. I’m thankful to my competitors who chose to wear the Team JJF visor strips and bring more visibility to our cause. We have had great success with the JJF Chevy in the past and hope to turn things around this weekend in Michigan.”

Jimmie Johnson on his Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy at Michigan

Could William Byron Be Kasey Kahne’s Replacement?

William Byron

It is widely believed that Hendrick Motorsports will promote William Byron to the Monster Energy Cup Series next season to replace the departing Kasey Kahne. That announcement from the team is expected to made later this week, if reliable sources and rumors are correct.

The 19-year-old Byron is currently a rookie in the second-tier Xfinity Series, where he has three wins and ranks second in points driving for JR Motorsports, co-owned by Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller.

Byron will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet with primary sponsorship from Liberty University, which has backed him in both Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series. Axalta will also sponsor Byron in select races.

Having only raced actual cars for five years, Byron is regarded as a prodigy by industry insiders and heralded as one of NASCAR’s top prospects. His seven Truck Series wins as a rookie last year set a NASCAR national touring record for a first-year driver, a performance that compelled team owner Hendrick to recruit him away from Toyota-backed Kyle Busch Motorsports and place him in a JRM Xfinity car this season.

Byron takes over for Kahne, who Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday is being let go at the end of this season. Kahne, 37, had one year remaining on his contract, however, a combination of underwhelming results and a lack of sponsorship prompted Hendrick to make the change.

Since Byron joined the organization under a multi-year contract at the beginning of the 2017 season, Hendrick executives have viewed him has an option to replace Kahne, whose status with the team has been tenuous.

Initially, there was a lot of apprehension within the organization that it may be too soon to elevate Byron after just a single season in the Xfinity Series.  But the teenager’s recent results, he’s won three of the past seven Xfinity races and emerged as a championship favorite, along with his long-term potential and good rapport with sponsors were factors that just could not be ignored.

Byron’s presumed advancement comes with Hendrick amid a transition period. Kahne’s departure after six years with the team follows Earnhardt Jr. announcing in April he would retire from full-time competition at the end of the current season and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon retiring after the 2015 season.

In 2018, the Hendrick lineup could span the gamut of experience. Along with seven-time Cup champion and team mainstay Jimmie Johnson, 41, it also consists of Byron, Alex Bowman, 24, and Chase Elliott, 21, none of whom have competed in more than two full Cup seasons.

Johnson and Elliott, who replaced Gordon, each recently signed multiyear extensions. Bowman is under contract through 2019 and was named in July to replace the retiring Earnhardt Jr. as driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet.

If, in fact, this presumed announcement happens, and both “Bowman The Showman” and young William Byron pan out, it could put HMS in a very strong competitive place that could keep the company extremely viable for many years to come!

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The I Love New York 355

WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL (2.45-MILE ROAD COURSE)

LOCATION: WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 22 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, AUG. 6 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 19th in standings
  • 21 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 13 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 3 laps led
RATED RED: This weekend at Watkins Glen, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS. The Rated Red paint scheme will also adorn the No. 5 Chevrolet SS at Bristol Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. 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.

WATKINS GLEN STATS: Watkins Glen proves to be one of the more challenging tracks for Kahne on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. In his 13 starts at the 2.45-mile road course, he has an average starting position of 19.2 and an average finishing position of 21.1. The Enumclaw, Washington, native started on the outside pole position at The Glen in 2006. Kahne has also completed 98.3 percent of the 1,174 laps he’s run at the New York track.

WATKINS GLEN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks first in the green-flag passes category with 619. He is second fastest on restarts with a speed of 117.006 mph, and ninth in quality passes with 172. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

ROAD COURSE STATS: Kahne has 27 starts on road courses, including one win at Sonoma Raceway in 2009. He’s also earned two pole positions at road courses in his Cup Series career. Since 2013, he has amassed four top-10s on road courses.

RECAPPING POCONO: Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Kahne qualified the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevy in the 12th position. He earned a stage bonus point and overcame a pit road speeding penalty before the start of the final stage to take the checkered flag in the 11th position.

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 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 21 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 62 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 29 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET: This weekend, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. It marks the third of four races that SunEnergy1 will serve as the primary sponsor for Chase Elliott. In the most recent appearance, Elliott piloted the SunEnergy1 Chevy at Pocono Raceway in the June event, when he collected an eighth-place finish.

POCONO REWIND: Elliott rallied from 29th to 10th in the final stage of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway to record his 12th top-10 finish of the 2017 season. The result puts him seventh in the Cup Series driver point standings with only five races remaining in the regular season.

WATKINS GLEN STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his second Cup Series start at Watkins Glen. During his debut at the 2.45-mile road course in 2016, Elliott started 16th en route to a top-15 finish of 13th. Elliott has also competed in six road course races in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series, earning four top-five finishes. He has also competed in one Camping World Truck Series road course event, scoring a victory, and three ARCA Racing road course races, earning top-five finishes in each.

BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR ALAN: No. 24 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Watkins Glen. Gustafson, who grew up just down the road from historic Daytona International Speedway, got his start in racing turning wrenches on the go-karts of childhood friend Casey Yunick, the grandson of legendary car builder and mechanic Smokey Yunick.

GOING RETRO: Last week, Elliott’s Darlington Raceway Southern 500 ride was revealed with a 360-degree video via Hendrick Motorsports’ Facebook page. The driver’s No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS will have a retro look based on his father Bill Elliott’s light blue paint scheme that debuted at Rockingham Speedway in 1976.

A LOOK BACK AT NASHVILLE: Last week, Elliott visited Nashville to promote the upcoming Aug. 19 night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He appeared on “Nash Nights Live” with Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith, tried his hand at archery and was the guest co-host at the Grand Ole Opry for the second segment of the evening. Click here to take a look back at Elliott’s day.

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
  • 21 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 15 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 17 laps led
WATKINS GLEN FAN FEST: Jimmie Johnson will appear Friday, Aug. 4, at the Watkins Glen International Fan Fest taking place inside the track. Johnson will be on stage for a question-and-answer session at 6:45 p.m. local time. See www.theglen.com for more details.

JOHNSON RIDES RAGBRAI: Prior to heading to Pocono, Johnson and friends made a trip to Iowa to participate in an annual bike ride across the state called RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI, an acronym for “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,” is a non-competitive, recreational bicycle ride that travels from west to east across the state of Iowa. It is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world. Johnson and longtime pal Lance Armstrong rode more than 100 miles over the two days they attended. Click herefor the story.

JOHNSON IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL EDITION: In the July 24 edition of Sports Illustrated, Johnson is featured among some elite athletes including MMA fighter Daniel Cormier, soccer star Didier Drogba, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran and former WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones in a story focused on athletes either nearing or just past their 40th birthdays. Centered around New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s ability to stay on top of his game as he nears the age of 40, writer Greg Bishop looks into what it takes to succeed past that magic age. Click here for the full story.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHAD: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus will celebrate his 46th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 5, while at The Glen. Knaus, who hails from Rockford, Illinois, became a crew chief at age 14, helping his father John compete at Rockford Speedway and other tracks across the Midwest.

48 CREW WINS MECHANIX WEAR SECOND QUARTER: The No. 48 pit crew was voted the Second Quarter Most Valuable Pit Crew by Mechanix Wear. The “Most Valuable Pit Crew” award is voted on by the crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series garage. The team was awarded a check for $5,000 and an opportunity to be recognized as the Most Valuable Pit Crew at the end of the playoffs. The team won the award along with the No. 48 team’s seventh Cup championship in 2016. Members include: tire changers Kevin Novak and Calvin Teague; tire carriers R.J. Barnette and Ryan Patton; gasman Brandon Harder and jackman Kyle Tudor. Pit coaches are Chris Kreig and Jon Carvin.

MORE MALEC: No. 48 team car chief Ron Malec, this year’s recipient of the Brian Lunniss Mechanix Wear Lifetime Achievement award, will be featured in an article written by longtime motor sports journalist Al Pearce in the Aug. 7 edition of AutoWeek magazine. Malec was also featured this past weekend on NASCAR on FOX’s “RaceDay” show where Malec, Johnson and Knaus sat down with host Kaitlyn Vincie to talk about Malec’s career. Click hereto see the interview.

WINLESS AT WATKINS: Watkins Glen remains one of the three tracks on the current NASCAR Cup Series circuit that is not represented in the No. 48 team’s trophy collection. Although Johnson has four top-five finishes in 15 starts, the team hasn’t finished better than third at the New York road course. In addition to Watkins Glen, Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are the only other tracks where Johnson has yet to win.

DRIVER RATING AT THE GLEN: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Watkins Glen with an average score of 95.2 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.

CALLING ALL KIDS TO CHICAGO: Johnson is hosting a special ticket package for families at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17. Johnson, Chicagoland and NASA have teamed up for the third consecutive year for a special ticket package that features a youth question-and-answer session. The pricing is $23 for kids 12 and under and $48 for adults. Log on to www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com for more info.

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
  • 21 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 24 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 46 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 11:30 a.m. local time in the Watkins Glen International media center.

AXALTA RETURNS: After a five-race stretch with Nationwide as the primary partner on the No. 88 Chevrolet SS, the bright red, orange and yellow Axalta colors will return this weekend at The Glen. Axalta will be the primary partner on the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 13 total races in 2017, including the next three race weekends – Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol.

AT THE GLEN: In his last two visits (2014 and 2015) to Watkins Glen International, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a pair of 11th-place finishes. In 16 total starts, the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes at the road course. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks sixth in the “closers” category, gaining an average of 1.2 positions during the last 10 percent of the race. He ranks among the top 10 in several other categories, including laps led (sixth – 34 laps), average speed early in a run (sixth – 104.157 mph), average speed late in a run (seventh – 103.215 mph), quality passes (eighth – 175 passes) and laps spent in the top 15 (ninth – 530 laps).

NO. 88 HOMESTEAD CAR UNVEIL ON QVC: On Wednesday, Aug. 2, Earnhardt will appear on QVC to unveil his Axalta car for Homestead as part of his #Appreci88ion tour. The celebration show will air at 7 p.m. ET and will also be live-streamed on Earnhardt’s Facebook page. The show will also provide an exclusive opportunity to purchase die-casts of the ride in addition to special apparel. For more information, click here.

RIR VICTORY TOUR: Next week, the driver of the No. 88 Chevy will visit Richmond for his Victory Tour, where in addition to spending time at the racetrack, Earnhardt is scheduled to visit training camp for his favorite NFL team – the Washington Redskins.

ROAD TO RACE DAY: The third installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90and focuses on Earnhardt and the No. 88 team. The episode was filmed during the April 2016 Bristol race weekend, where Peyton Manning visits with the No. 88 team before they wage a nail-biting, unforgettable battle. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).

TIES TO HOME: No. 88 spotter and podcast host TJ Majors, who is known for his calls of “Door. Bumper. Clear.” over the in-car radio, lists Watkins Glen International as his home track. He was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, but grew up in East Bethany, New York, before moving to Mooresville, North Carolina, where he lives with wife Tamela and daughter Madelynn. Majors, who was introduced to Earnhardt via iRacing in 1997, began spotting for the driver at the end of the 2007 season and has continued with the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 team since Earnhardt joined in 2008, in addition to spotting for a variety of teams in other series, including Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports.

 

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT WATKINS GLEN: In 31 races at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, six pole positions, 18 top-five finishes and 35 top-10s. Jeff Gordon ranks second on the all-time wins list at WGI with four victories. He earned Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent victory at the road course when he won the 2001 event. With 262 laps led, Gordon is the all-time leader in that category at the serpentine track.

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 1,721 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,788 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“For whatever reason it took me a little while to figure out the braking and turning at Watkins Glen. It didn’t come to me as quickly as Sonoma did. Over the last couple of years I’ve improved at Watkins Glen, but I still have a little bit of work to do to get us to run up front.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Watkins Glen

“When it comes to road courses, I feel like we’ve run better at Watkins Glen – it just seems like we have had a little bit more success there. I haven’t really ever had the results to show, but I feel like at times we have had speed at Watkins Glen, which is nice, and we’ve shown pace.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Watkins Glen

“Watkins Glen hasn’t been too kind to the No. 48 team or me in particular in years past, but I look at this track every year as a personal challenge. The past two weeks haven’t been kind to us either, but our qualifying has improved and we are finding speed.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Watkins Glen

“We aren’t going to find top-two or top-three speed on Friday or Saturday. That kind of speed is built into the car and is made on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so we’ve got a ways to go to figure out how to get that kind of quickness. We’re not satisfied with 12th (at Pocono), but with the way our luck’s been going, it’s nice to get a race finished and get one in the bank. I think we’ve actually got an opportunity to run better than 12th at Watkins Glen – a road course. We’ll go there and dig and work hard.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on finding speed and heading to Watkins Glen

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Overton’s 400

POCONO RACEWAY (2.5-MILE TRIANGLE)

LOCATION: LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 21 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JULY 30 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 219 laps led
SHARK WEEK: This weekend at Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS. For the fifth year in a row, Kahne will drive the special paint scheme that coincides with Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. Stayed tuned to Hendrick Motorsports’ social channels this week for fun, shark-related content.

WINNER AT INDY: Last Sunday, Kahne captured his 18th NASCAR Cup Series win at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s his first Brickyard 400 win after finishing runner-up to Tony Stewart in 2005 in just his second start at the 2.5-mile speedway. Kahne crossed the yard of bricks in the first position after surviving multiple late-race restarts in the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. Click here for photos from the day, and look for more Kahne and Brickyard victory content later this week on Hendrick Motorsports’ social channels.

KAHNE AT POCONO: In Kahne’s 2004 rookie year, he earned the pole award in his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono. Just four years later in 2008, Kahne captured his second pole position at the “Tricky Triangle” and went on to take the checkered flag after leading 69 laps in the 200-lap race. His most recent win at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track was in August 2013, when he started from the 18th position and led 66 laps. Kahne has led 219 laps in eight races, ranking him fifth among active drivers for most laps led.

POCONO LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks third in fastest laps run with 311. He’s fourth in quality passes with 952 and fifth in green-flag speed at 163.721 mph. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy is seventh in green-flag passes with 1,969 and eighth in laps spent in the top 15 with 2,662.

FAN Q&A: Kahne will be participating in a fan question-and-answer session on Sunday at 9:45 a.m. local time in the Tricky Triangle Club at Pocono. For more details on how to see the driver of the No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS and the exclusive ticket package add-on, please visit the Tricky Triangle Club’s website.

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

  • 8th in standings
  • 20 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 61 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 28 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 51 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Pocono Raceway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will don 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.

POCONO STATS: Elliott is set to make his fourth start at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series. In his first three starts, the second-year driver has collected one top-five finish and two top-10s. Elliott averages a starting position of 15.3 and a finishing position of 15.0, and he also has the fifth-best driver rating among active drivers at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track with an average score of 101.9.

BRICKYARD REWIND: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started 16th in Sunday afternoon’s 24th running of the Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott wasted little time advancing forward as he climbed to 11th before a red flag was displayed for inclement weather on Lap 12. Once the event resumed, Elliott reported to his NAPA AUTO PARTS team that he felt like his car was experiencing engine issues. During the competition caution on Lap 30, the No. 24 team made an extended pit stop to evaluate the issue and sent Elliott back on the track. The engine issues proved to be terminal as Elliott’s race ended just before the end of Stage 1. The misfortune left the NAPA AUTO PARTS team with a 39th-place finish.

ELLIOTT’S ‘ROAD TO RACE DAY’: The second installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90 and focuses on Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team. In the episode, Elliott and his veteran crew seek to temper emotions and remain focused heading into the Daytona 500. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).

GET BACK AND GIVE BACK CAMPAIGN: NAPA AUTO PARTS has a long history of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. In March, the company announced that it had raised more than $2.5 million in 2016 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF) through its annual “Get Back and Give Back” campaign. The campaign kicked off in 2012 and gives NAPA AUTO PARTS patrons the opportunity to contribute to the IFHF by purchasing T-shirts at NAPAonline.com. In addition, customers can purchase an IFHF bucket for $3.99 and receive 20 percent off three or more items that fit inside with NAPA donating $1 to the IFHF for every bucket sold. The company will also donate $1 for each redeemed mail-in rebate for batteries, alternators and starters purchased in July. Customers also have the ability to donate all or a portion of their mail-in rebates directly to the IFHF. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the IFHF’s mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers around the country that will provide the most advanced care possible to military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.

NASHVILLE NIGHTS: On Wednesday, Elliott will head to Nashville to promote the upcoming night race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 19. Elliott will make his way around town doing media, stopping by Bass Pro Shops to hide some tickets and he’s scheduled to close out his evening as co-host at the Grand Ole Opry at 7:30 p.m. local time.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 738 laps led
UNIQUE LOOK AT INDY: Throughout the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, director and photographer Danny Clinch took over Jimmie Johnson’s Instagram and Twitter accounts​. Clinch’s photos gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson’s life as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. Click here to see a recap.

DRIVER RATING AT POCONO: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Pocono with an average score of 103.9 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.

POCONO STATS: Johnson’s last win at the “Tricky Triangle” was on June 9, 2013, when he dominated the event, starting first and leading 128 of 200 laps en route to his third win at the 2.5-mile track. In recent outings, Johnson has a pair of sixth-place finishes and three finishes outside the top-35. In June at the track, Johnson had a strong showing in the first stage but an incident on Lap 95 ended his day.

HOMETOWN CONNECTION: Shock specialist Mike Ellershaw hails from Levittown, Pennsylvania, roughly two hours south of Pocono Raceway.

WATKINS GLEN FAN FEST: Johnson will appear Friday, Aug. 4, at the Watkins Glen International Fan Fest taking place inside the track. Johnson will be on stage for a question-and-answer session at 6:45 p.m. local time. See www.theglen.com for more details.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 182 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, July 29, at 10:45 a.m. local time in the Pocono Raceway media center.

FRONT-RUNNER AT POCONO: Dale Earnhardt Jr. swept both NASCAR Cup Series events in 2014 to earn his two career victories at Pocono Raceway. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has also finished in the top five in almost a third (32.4 percent) of the races in which he’s competed at the “Tricky Triangle.” The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS also has one pole at the Pennsylvania track, which he earned in August 2007.

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks sixth in green-flag speed (163.474 mph) and ninth in laps in the top 15 (2,652), fastest laps run (114 laps), laps led (93 laps) and quality passes (831).

APPEARANCE SCHEDULE: Earnhardt’s weekend will kick off with Friday’s Fan Fest at Pocono Raceway. Check the Pocono Fan Fest website for updates on driver appearance times. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy will also participate in a youth autograph session on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. local time and a sold-out Tricky Triangle Club Q&A session on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time.

DOVER TEST: The No. 88 team is participating in a single-day Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway on Tuesday, July 25.

NBC SPORTS BROADCASTER: In case you missed it, NBC announced Monday that Earnhardt will join NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage in 2018. Earnhardt’s agreement with NBCUniversal also provides him with opportunities in the company’s media business, including movies, television and podcasts. In addition, NBC is teaming up with the 14-time most popular driver on some of his other business ventures including Dirty Mo Radio and Hammerhead Entertainment. Earnhardt joined a teleconference on Monday afternoon todiscuss the opportunity.

BOWMAN TO NO. 88 IN 2018: One year after his impressive debut with Hendrick Motorsports, the team has named Alex Bowman full-time driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series with a 19-race majority sponsorship from Nationwide beginning in 2018. Bowman will appear on FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR Race Hub Tuesday, July 25, at 6 p.m. ET.

HOMETOWN CONNECTION: The shock specialist for the No. 88 Nationwide team, Jason Seitzinger, hails from Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, which is just over an hour southwest of Pocono Raceway. Seitzinger has been with Hendrick Motorsports for more than 15 years. He initially started at Hendrick Motorsports as a shock specialist on the No. 24 team and was part of Jeff Gordon’s 2004 Brickyard 400 victory.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT POCONO: Hendrick Motorsports has accumulated 17 wins at Pocono Raceway, with the four most recent coming as season sweeps in 2013 (Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne) and 2014 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.). In addition, the organization has 12 pole positions, 67 top-five finishes and 117 top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile triangle.

POCONO PROWESS: Hendrick Motorsports’ 17 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Pocono have come via seven different drivers: Jeff Gordon (six), Johnson (three), Tim Richmond (three), Earnhardt (two), Geoff Bodine, Terry Labonte and Kahne.

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 1,720 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,788 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I think Pocono’s a really good track for me. I thought we were pretty quick there the first race this year. We weren’t the fastest car there, but we were a top-10 car for sure and we had our brake issues, so we’re looking at making sure that doesn’t happen again. I feel like coming off a win, the confidence, momentum, some of those things can propel you, and I’m hoping it does that for our team.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Pocono

“I thought it was pretty similar. Braking seemed to be a little bit more emphasized this past race. You just don’t have as much spoiler to help slow you down getting in the corners and you are going really fast. That part was a little different, but overall the general tendencies of the cars are very similar to what they were last year.”

Chase Elliott on racing a new aero package at Pocono in June

“I think just the race and hopefully get lucky with how the cautions fall. We had a car that drove really nice there this past time. I’m happy about that and maybe we can take back what we finished practice with and started the race with and I think we will be just fine.”

Elliott on what he can take from Pocono in June

“After our brake issue at Pocono in June, we obviously don’t want that to happen again. We are stepping up our brake package – I wore out the pads last time, which caused the wreck we had. I like going there, I love the area, and I’m looking forward to the new schedule to see how it shakes out. We have a good pit selection thanks to our fourth-place qualifying effort at Indy, so it should be a good show.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Pocono

“I feel bad for all the fans because they’ve been really supporting us and this has been a difficult season for them to see us not compete like we should or like we have in the past. I’m hoping that I can turn that around for all our sakes really soon. We’ll go to the next race – Pocono – and keep digging. This is not the worst season by any stretch of the imagination – at least the cars have speed in them, we’ve just had some really bad luck. We’ve got a busy week coming up, but I’m so ready for Pocono. We’ve got Fan Fest Friday, then it’s back behind the wheel Saturday.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his season and heading to Pocono

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (2.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: SPEEDWAY, INDIANA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 20 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JULY 23 (NBC/IMS/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 19 laps led

Career

  • 487 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 91 top-five finishes
  • 172 top-10 finishes
  • 4,626 laps led

Track Career 

  • 13 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 158 laps led
KAHNE AT INDIANAPOLIS: Kasey Kahne, who spent time living in Indianapolis early in his career, is looking to secure his first pole award and victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has started on the outside pole once in 2011 and has five top-five starts at the famed speedway, bringing his average starting position to 11.4. In 2005 – Kahne’s second start at the Speedway, Indiana, track – he was just under one second shy of visiting Victory Lane, finishing runner-up to Indiana native Tony Stewart. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has an average finishing position of 14.6 at the track and has led 158 laps throughout four races, ranking him fourth among active drivers.

INDY LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is third in fastest laps run with 104 and in quality passes with 331. 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’s fifth in green-flag speed at 169.965 mph and in laps spent in the top 15 with 1,316. The 37-year-old ranks sixth in the green-flag passes category with 699. The Chevrolet driver has an average driver rating of 95.0, which ranks him sixth among his competitors. 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.

SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: For the second year in a row, Great Clips is teaming up with Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer program to have a child design one of the No. 5 team’s paint schemes. Kahne narrowed the entries down to his three favorites and the fan votes have been tallied, with 9-year-old Wyatt receiving the most. His design was inspired by fire and water. Click here to see a rendering of the car that Kahne will pilot at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17.

SEE KAHNE: Kahne will appear in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield at the Team Chevy stage for a question-and-answer session on Sunday, July 23, at 12 p.m. local time.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on Kasey 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 four-part video series can be viewed here.

GOING HOME: No. 5 team mechanic Ty Sipes hails from Bloomfield, Indiana, which is located approximately one hour and 45 minutes southwest of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before joining Hendrick Motorsports, Sipes gained experience working on dirt cars.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 60 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 28 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will don 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. Elliott most recently piloted the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend.

INDY FAN FEST: On Friday at 5:15 p.m. local time, Elliott is scheduled to participate in a few interactive fan activities as part of Fan Fest on Main Street in Speedway, Indiana. Fan Fest will take place during the annual Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hauler Parade, which is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. local time. All activities – including a pit stop competition, relays and Minute to Win It games – are free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

BRICKYARD STATS: Elliott is set to make his third career Cup start at Indianapolis this weekend in the 24th running of the Brickyard 400. In the Dawsonville, Georgia, native’s previous two starts he averaged a starting position of 21.5 and finishing position of 16.5. Elliott also has two starts at the 2.5-mile speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, collecting one top-10 finish and averaging a starting position of 9.0 and finishing position of 11.0.

ELLIOTT’S ‘ROAD TO RACE DAY’: The first installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90 and focuses on Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team. The episode was filmed during the lead-up to the Daytona 500 as the driver embarked on his 2016 Rookie of the Year campaign. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: Elliott will appear on the Team Chevy Stage on Saturday, July 22, at 1 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

NEW HAMPSHIRE REWIND: Elliott began last Sunday’s race in 11th, picking up a position to finish Stage 1 in 10th. He continued knocking on the door of the top 10 in Stage 2, finishing the segment 12th. When the final segment began, Elliott lined up 12th and began working his way forward. With 100 laps remaining, he was running ninth. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, quick work by the No. 24 team allowed Elliott to advance up to sixth with 50 laps to go. Following a trip to pit road during a caution, he was running 13th with 28 laps remaining, looking to push forward once again. He did just that, picking up two more positions to finish just outside of the top 10 in 11th.

GET BACK AND GIVE BACK CAMPAIGN: NAPA AUTO PARTS has a long history of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. In March, the company announced that it had raised more than $2.5 million in 2016 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF) through its annual “Get Back and Give Back” campaign. The campaign kicked off in 2012 and gives NAPA AUTO PARTS patrons the opportunity to contribute to the IFHF by purchasing T-shirts at NAPAonline.com. In addition, customers can purchase an IFHF bucket for $3.99 and receive 20 percent off three or more items that fit inside with NAPA donating $1 to the IFHF for every bucket sold. The company will also donate $1 for each redeemed mail-in rebate for batteries, alternators and starters purchased in July. Customers also have the ability to donate all or a portion of their mail-in rebates directly to the IFHF. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the IFHF’s mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers around the country that will provide the most advanced care possible to military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.

HOME SWEET HOME: No. 24 team engineer Tom Gray hails from Indianapolis, Indiana. Gray attended Purdue University and majored in mechanical engineering technology.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 15 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 302 laps led
DANNY CLINCH PHOTO TAKEOVER: As part of his ongoing photography project designed to showcase life at the track with a unique perspective, Jimmie Johnson has invited noteworthy photographer and film director Danny Clinch to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Clinch began his career as an intern for Annie Leibovitz and went on to photograph the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, The Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melon, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam and Phish. Clinch’s photographs have appeared in many publications including Vanity Fair, Spin, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone. Clinch has presented his work in numerous galleries and has also published four books titled “Discovery Inn,” “When the Iron Bird Flies,” “Still Moving” and “Motor Drive.” Clinch has also been featured on “60 Minutes” and has received three Grammy Awards for his role as a director. With a social media takeover on Johnson’s handles (@JimmieJohnson on Instagram & Twitter, Jimmie Johnson on Facebook), Clinch’s work will be highlighted for all NASCAR fans to enjoy. For more info about Clinch and his work, click here.

SERIES-HIGH DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Indianapolis with a score of 105.7. 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. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator. Since 2005, Johnson’s average finish at Indianapolis is 13.0.

SEVEN TIME IS A FOUR-TIME BRICK-KISSER: Johnson has won the prestigious Brickyard 400 four times in his career. His first win came in the 2006 season followed by back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009. He is the only driver to have ever recorded consecutive wins in the race. Johnson’s latest win at the Brickyard came in 2012 and his four wins are one less than Jeff Gordon’s five for most wins at the track.

WINNING FROM THE POLE: In 2008, Johnson won the pole position on the famed Brickyard with a speed of 181.763 mph. He led 71 laps that race and won the event for the second time, becoming the second driver to do so from the pole. There have been four winners of the race from the pole since the NASCAR Cup Series began racing at the Brickyard in 1994 – Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch.

INDY TESTER: Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 team spent two days at the Speedway, Indiana, track in April for a Goodyear tire test. Johnson felt as though the test was challenging, yet productive.

JOHNSON AT TEAM CHEVY STAGE: Johnson will be at the Team Chevy stage for a question-and-answer session in the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 23, at 12 p.m. local time. The appearance is open to the public.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 19 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 24 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 61 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, July 22, at 12 p.m. local time in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.

AT THE BRICKYARD: In five of his 16 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has lined up sixth or better at the historic track. He scored his best finish – fourth place – at the 2.5-mile oval in 2012. Earnhardt has finished inside the top 10 in three of the past four races at the Brickyard.

LEADING LAPS: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Earnhardt ranks eighth among all drivers in the laps led category at Indianapolis races. The 42-year-old driver has led 48 laps since 2005. He is second in green-flag passes during that span with 747. He’s sixth in the fastest laps run category, turning 46 fastest laps at the Brickyard, and ranks third-fastest on restarts with an average of 165.677 mph.

SPEEDWAY SUCCESS: Earnhardt has scored 14 of his 26 career Cup wins on tracks that are two miles or longer. He has earned six at Talladega Superspeedway, four at Daytona International Speedway, two at Michigan International Speedway and two at Pocono Raceway.

APPEARANCES: Earnhardt will participate in a NASCAR youth autograph session at 1 p.m. local time on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Sunday, he will make a visit to the Team Chevy stage at 12 p.m. local time.

THROWBACK SCHEME: In case you missed it, the retro No. 88 Nationwide Throwback Chevrolet SS that Earnhardt will drive in the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway was unveiled on Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The paint scheme is based on Earnhardt’s 1998-1999 ACDelco car in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The scheme had a lot of success and was one many fans remember at the start of his NASCAR racing career.  Click here to check out the throwback scheme.

HOMETOWN: Travis Stock, underneath mechanic on the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy, grew up in Frankfort, Indiana, approximately 45 miles from the Brickyard. He watched his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he was 10 years old. In 2004, Stock began his career in NASCAR working as a tire carrier for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in the Truck Series. Stock stayed on as DWM became Michael Waltrip Racing and he transitioned to a mechanic in the Cup Series. Stock joined Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 88 Nationwide team to start the 2016 season.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT INDIANAPOLIS: Hendrick Motorsports has won nine of the 23 NASCAR Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon’s five wins are the most all-time, and Jimmie Johnson’s four rank second among all drivers. The organization has also earned five pole positions, 25 top-five finishes and 39 top-10 finishes in addition to 1,010 laps led.

DOUBLE DIGITS: A Hendrick Motorsports win this weekend would mark its 10th at Indianapolis. Currently, the organization has double-digit victory totals at 12 active NASCAR Cup Series tracks: Martinsville (24), Charlotte (19), Dover (19), Pocono (17), Darlington (14), Daytona (14), Atlanta (14), Talladega (12), Bristol (11), Fontana (10), Phoenix (10) and Richmond (10). Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins at three different tracks: Indianapolis, New Hampshire and Texas.

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. “Road to Race Day” premieres Wednesday 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, 248 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,021 top-five finishes and 1,719 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,776 laps since 1984.

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“It’s such a tough race to win. Track position has gotten to the point where it’s everything at Indianapolis. Indy just isn’t what it used to be in 2004 and 2005, even in 2006. I came from the back in 2004 and during the last half of the race you could actually pass pretty easy when you had a good car. You could run the outside lane or the inside. Now you have about two inches and if you miss those two inches in the center of the corner, you really have to be watching behind yourself because you’re probably going to get passed. It’s still a race I really want to win because it has so much history and it’s how I got all of my racing going. I watched all of the races there for Formula 1, IndyCar and NASCAR and I also raced all around the Indy area for three straight years.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Indianapolis

“I haven’t had a whole lot of success there at all really in anything from XFINITY races that I ran to the last two Cup races. Just haven’t been very sporty. It’s a tough place. We had a good test there last year and went back and didn’t really see any of that same success. Jimmie (Johnson) tested there this year, so hopefully he learned some good things that we can take back.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Indianapolis

“Indy no doubt is a special track. It would be so special to get a fifth win there. That track has shown me the high of highs and the low of lows in my career. We tested there in April and it was a challenging test session. The cars will be very loose into the corner. I feel like we were the best car at the test session so I hope when we unload on Saturday it’s an advantage for this Lowe’s team.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Indianapolis

“We have to win, so we have to gamble when we can. That (last weekend’s race at New Hampshire) is not the last time you’re going to see that kind of gamble from us before the playoffs. We’re going to Indy this weekend and that’s what we’re working on in the simulator this week. This is not a long-run sport anymore, so you have to have that early speed to be able to get anything done and get up through the field. You’re not going to get those long green-flag runs to take advantage of a long-run car.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on No. 88 team strategy heading into Indianapolis

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Overton’s 301 At Louden

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.058-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 19 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JULY 16 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 19 laps led

Career

  • 486 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 91 top-five finishes
  • 172 top-10 finishes
  • 4,626 laps led

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 305 laps led
FARMERS INSURANCE: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne will once again pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. Kahne most recently drove the Farmers Insurance Chevy at Michigan International Speedway, where late-race difficulties resulted in a 21st-place finish for the team.

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATS: This weekend, Kahne returns to New Hampshire, where he won his 14th career NASCAR Cup Series race. He took the checkered flag in the July 2012 event with a 2.738-second margin of victory over Denny Hamlin, leading 66 of his 305 total laps led at the Loudon track. Kahne’s average starting position at the 1.058-mile oval is 11.9 and his average finishing position is 16.7. In last year’s fall race at New Hampshire, Kahne finished ninth.

NEW HAMPSHIRE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Kahne is second in green-flag passes with 1,291. The Enumclaw, Washington, native is fourth in quality passes with 671. 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’s fifth in fastest laps with 367 and seventh in laps in the top 15 with 4,672. Kahne has an average driver rating of 90.4, which ranks him 10th among his peers. 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.

SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: For the second year in a row, Great Clips is teaming up with Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer program to have a child design one of the No. 5 team’s paint schemes. Kahne has narrowed the entries down to his three favorites and voting is now open on the Kasey Kahne Foundation website for fans to choose their favorite. The design with the most votes will be driven by Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on Kasey 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 four-part video series can be viewed here.

GOING HOME: No. 5 team engineer Taylor Moyer is a native of Shoreham, Vermont, which is located almost three hours northwest of the Loudon, New Hampshire, track. After moving to North Carolina to attend college, Moyer originally started at Hendrick Motorsports on the developmental pit crew. After holding various positions throughout the company, he joined the No. 5 team in 2015.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 59 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 28 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 1 lap led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will don 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. Elliott most recently piloted the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet to a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway last weekend.

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATS: The 21-year-old driver is set to make his third career Cup start at New Hampshire this weekend. In two previous starts, his best finish of 13th came in September of last season. Elliott also has two starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the 1.058-mile speedway. In those XFINITY starts, he collected a pair of top-10 finishes and averaged a starting position of 7.5 and finishing position of 8.5.

KENTUCKY REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team turned in a third-place run in last Saturday night’s Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway. The finish marked Elliott’s sixth top-five finish of the season and advanced him to fifth in the point standings through 18 races.

GET BACK AND GIVE BACK CAMPAIGN: NAPA AUTO PARTS has a long history of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. In March, the company announced that it had raised more than $2.5 million in 2016 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF) through its annual “Get Back and Give Back” campaign. The campaign kicked off in 2012 and gives NAPA AUTO PARTS patrons the opportunity to contribute to the IFHF by purchasing T-shirts at NAPAonline.com. In addition, customers can purchase an IFHF bucket for $3.99 and receive 20 percent off three more items that fit inside with NAPA donating $1 to the IFHF for every bucket sold. The company will also donate $1 for each redeemed mail-in rebate for batteries, alternators and starters purchased in July. Customers also have the ability to donate all or a portion of their mail-in rebates directly to the IFHF. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the IFHF’s mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers around the country that will provide the most advanced care possible to military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.

HOME SWEET HOME: No. 24 team engine tuner Tony Bove hails from Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is approximately 167 miles northwest of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

INDY VICTORY TOUR RECAP: Prior to racing at Kentucky, Elliott traveled to Indianapolis to promote the upcoming Brickyard 400. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native’s day consisted of a helicopter tour of the historic speedway and city, axe throwingmeeting some USAC quarter midget racers and go-kart racing with track president Doug Boles. For a photo recap of Elliott’s day, click here.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 30 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 323 laps led
KENTUCKY WRAP UP: Despite Jimmie Johnson’s best qualifying effort of the season – eighth at Kentucky – the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS had a short night on the 1.5-mile track. Johnson was collected in an incident on Lap 87 of the 267-lap event and was scored 40th at the end of the night.

LAST TIME AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: One year ago this weekend, Johnson scored his first pole position at the “Magic Mile,” clocking in at a speed of 133.971 mph. Johnson led one lap during the race and finished 12th.

JJ’S LOBSTER COLLECTION: Throughout his 30 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team have earned three trophies and the traditional live lobsters given to the winners in Victory Lane. They swept both events in 2003 and earned another victory in 2010.

NEW HAMPSHIRE DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the second-best driver rating at New Hampshire with a score of 101.0. 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. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator. In addition, Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in laps in the top 15, spending 78.6 percent of his laps at New Hampshire inside the top 15.

IMPENDING MILESTONES: Johnson needs only one more victory to tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time wins list. He currently has 83 and continues to wear the “84 Wins” helmet designed by painter Jason Beam, featuring illustrated photos of Allison and Waltrip.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 18 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 14 laps led

Career

  • 613 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,201 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 368 laps led
AT NHMS: While Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he has racked up some solid stats at the 1.058-mile oval. In 33 starts, he has eight top-five finishes, four of which have come since his transition to Hendrick Motorsports. He missed both races at New Hampshire last year while recovering from a concussion, but he’s scored top-10 results in five of his last eight starts at the Loudon, New Hampshire, facility. While his career average finish at the track is 15.3, in his most recent eight races dating back to 2012, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has improved that number to a 10.75 average finish.

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt has the sixth-best driver rating among active drivers at New Hampshire with an average of 97.4. 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. Additionally, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native tops the chart in green-flag speed (125.183 mph) and ranks third in green-flag passes (1,242), sixth in average running position (11.396) and eighth in fastest laps run (273).

Q&A: The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS is scheduled to participate in a track question-and-answer session on Sunday, July 16, at 12:30 p.m. local time in the infield. For more information, click here.

PINK GLOVES: Earnhardt will continue to wear gloves accented in pink during the month of July to represent Therapeutic Recreation Week on behalf of 10-year-old Patient Champion Maddie Delaney as part of The Dale Jr. Foundation’s ongoing Driven to Give Gloves program. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS reunited with his friend Maddie during his visit to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital last week and she also came to Kentucky Speedway last Saturday to support the No. 88 team, along with the three other Patient Champions – Tristen Cooper, Ailee Gilliland and John Roger Curry. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for NCH’s clinical and research programs.

RECAPPING THE VISIT TO NCH: Last Thursday, July 6, Earnhardt and five other members of the No. 88 team – crew chief Greg Ives, Adam Jordan, Cale Johnson, Jason Seitzinger and Doug Wojcik – made a special visit to NCH. While there, the group toured the NICU and rehabilitation floors, met with patients and their families, visited with the Patient Champions and participated in a kids press conference. As America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center, NCH is dedicated to making sure that all patients are given the care they need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Families travel from around the nation – and some even come from other countries – to gain access to the Columbus, Ohio-based hospital’s life-saving treatments. In many cases, NCH is the only hospital able to provide that care and is their last hope for treatment. More information is available at www.NationwideChildrens.org.

NATIONWIDE PET PROMOTION: Pet owners can visit www.pawsandracing.com to learn more about Nationwide’s pet insurance and submit a photo of their pet(s) to enter to win a VIP race experience including travel to the Sept. 24 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a meet-and-greet with Gus and Earnhardt and their pet’s image will be featured on the TV panel of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS during the Sept. 24 race weekend. Additional first prize winners will receive a Nationwide Pet Accessory Kit plus a No. 88 Nationwide diecast car signed by Earnhardt.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, seven pole positions, 42 top-five finishes and 74 top-10s. Kahne most recently visited Victory Lane for the organization at the track in 2012.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 248 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,021 top-five finishes and 1,718 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,766 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“The track is very challenging. It’s one of the smaller tracks that we go to and that always presents its own challenges. You really have to be careful on how you navigate the traffic because it’s tough to pass there. It’s been a tough few weeks for our team. We’ve had good cars, but just don’t have the results to show for it.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at New Hampshire

“I don’t really know that Loudon really compares to any other place we go, to be honest with you. It’s a pretty unique mile track that is very flat and hard to pass – that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. It’s a tough place.”

Chase Elliott on racing at New Hampshire

“I’m disappointed in our Kentucky finish. We had a really good car and I think we could have ended up in the top five. New Hampshire is a scrappy track – it’s tough. We’ve had some speed there lately but just haven’t challenged for wins. If it’s anything like last race, tires will be really important. I love visiting the area – there are great places to ride bikes and get outdoors.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at New Hampshire

“I’m looking forward to New Hampshire. It’s a fun little racetrack. Obviously, it’s flat and it’s kind of tricky to get around, but it’s fun. We haven’t been as good as I want to be there. I’ve seen some guys on the last couple of trips there do some things that I want to be doing and we’ve got to figure out how to get our car to work that way. It should be a pretty fun race for us. I heard they’ve been working on the track surface, so it will be interesting to go there and see exactly how the track is.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at New Hampshire

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

The NASCAR Driver Demographics Are A Changing, My Friend!

Chase Elliott
The demographic in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage is clearly getting younger!

Forty-somethings Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have retired from full-time driving. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will follow suit after this season. But as current superstars step away, younger counterparts already are making a significant mark in the sport.

Kyle Larson, 24, has won twice and leads the series standings. Austin Dillon, 27, Ryan Blaney, 23, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 29, are first-time winners this season, with Stenhouse doubling up at Talladega and Daytona.

Erik Jones, 21, and Daniel Suarez, 25, are leading contenders for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in NASCAR’s top division, and Chase Elliott, 21, already has 15 career top fives halfway through his second full season in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

“It’s neat to be a part of that younger group,” Blaney said. “That’s just nice to be part of the club. There are a lot of great young race car drivers that are coming up, from Chase and Larson and Erik Jones and Suarez. They’re doing a great job, and it’s just nice to be in that group.

“In the past few years a lot of drivers have retired who have been big for this sport – from Tony and Jeff – and with Dale Jr. retiring this year, there’s definitely going to be some change for sure. I would hope those fans still enjoy the sport and want to pick new drivers, but I don’t really feel like there’s any pressure to take the responsibility.”

On the contrary, Blaney feels he will be better served to remain true to himself, rather than try to emulate those who have preceded him in the sport.

“We’re never going to be a Tony or a Jeff or a Dale Jr.,” Blaney said. “We can be our own people, and hopefully the fans enjoy that, but we don’t really talk about it. I just feel like we go try to do our job, and hopefully the fans enjoy what we do, whether it’s on the track or off the track, and become interested.

“Like I said, I think it’s a pretty neat time for this sport right now. There are a lot of young drivers coming in with a lot of great drivers who have been around the sport for a long time who are still winning races and competing highly, and it’s a pretty neat combination. I think that’s exciting for the fans and exciting for the sport in general.

Every few years the torch gets passed to a new set of up and coming NASCAR super stars.  We are right smack dab in the middle of that changing of the guard that happens periodically in any sport.

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Quaker State 400 At Kentucky

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE SPEEDWAY)

LOCATION: SPARTA, KENTUCKY
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 18 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, JULY 8 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 17 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 19 laps led

Career

  • 485 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 91 top-five finishes
  • 172 top-10 finishes
  • 4,626 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 1 lap led
MOUNTAIN DEW: This weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS. The event marks the first points race of the season that Kahne has been behind the wheel of the white-and-green Chevrolet. The driver previously piloted the Mountain Dew machine in the All-Star exhibition race this past May. In conjunction with this weekend’s paint scheme, fans can participate in Hendrick Motorsports’ “Five Days of Dew” social campaign via @TeamHendrick on Twitter.

KENTUCKY KAHNE: In Kahne’s six starts at Kentucky, he has a best finish of second, which came in only his second NASCAR Cup Series race at the Sparta, Kentucky, track. In last year’s Kentucky race, Kahne ended the evening with a 14th-place result, bringing his average finish at the mile-and-a-half track to 12.5.

KENTUCKY LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne leads the closers category with 20 positions gained and green-flag passes with 514. The 37-year-old ranks second in quality passes with 218. 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’s sixth in fastest laps run with 64 and eighth in the driver rating category with an average rating of 91. 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.

RECAPPING DAYTONA: In his second appearance of the year at Daytona International Speedway, the Enumclaw, Washington, native qualified the UniFirst Corporation Chevrolet SS in the fourth position at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. He led the field in the UniFirst Chevy for 12 laps late in the Saturday night race before being shuffled back in the closing laps, resulting in an 18th-place finish.

SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: For the second year in a row, Great Clips is teaming up with Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer program to have a child design one of the No. 5 team’s paint schemes. Kahne has narrowed the entries down to his three favorites and voting will open next week on the Kasey Kahne Foundation website for fans to choose their favorite. The design with the most votes will be driven by Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on September 17.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on Kasey 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 four-part 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

  • 6th in standings
  • 17 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 58 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 27 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS: Chase Elliott will pilot the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 NASCAR Cup Series races this year. The 21-year-old driver most recently raced the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway, finishing 22nd after a rollercoaster night.

KENTUCKY STATS: Elliott is set to make his second Cup Series start this weekend in Kentucky Speedway. Last season, Elliott qualified eighth and early contact with a competitor forced the No. 24 team to the garage for repairs, resulting in a 31st-place finish. Elliott also has four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the mile-and-a-half track, averaging a starting position of 9.2 and finishing position of 8.2. He has led 20 laps and collected two top-five finishes and two top-10s.

DAYTONA RECAP: The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic team finished 22nd at Daytona International Speedway on a night that saw Elliott lead early, spin out mid-race and rally back into the top 10 before spinning again in overtime. The team remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings through 17 races.

USED CAR CHAMPIONS:  With NAPA AUTO PARTS, Elliott is trying his hand at reporting in two new commercials. Elliott chats with some “Used Car Champions” in the funny videos, including a soccer mom and a confident teen known as “The James.” Check out the ads here.

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER RECAP: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native gave up control of his Instagram account in Daytona to commercial photographer Chris Stanford. Throughout the Daytona race weekend, Stanford provided a unique perspective with behind-the-scenes images of Elliott on Instagram. For a recap, click here.

BID ON ELLIOTT’S KICKS: Last weekend in Daytona, Elliott sported a pair of “Support Our Troops” camouflage racing shoes. Those shoes are now up for auction through the NASCAR Foundation’s online auction site. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. To bid on Elliott’s shoes, click here.

AROUND TOWN: On Thursday, Elliott will make his way around Indianapolis to promote the upcoming 24th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is scheduled to take a helicopter tour of the city, try his hand at axe throwing and meet with a few hundred kids competing in the USAC .25 midget Battle at the Brickyard event. Elliott will wrap up his day meeting with media in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 203 laps led
ASPEN PARADE: Jimmie Johnson celebrated the Fourth of July in his most natural environment – behind the wheel of his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. Johnson, an avid outdoors enthusiast, frequents Aspen, Colorado, during the off-season and he and his family spent the recent holiday in the mountain town. Johnson brought his No. 48 Lowe’s showcar to the main streets of Aspen for the town’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration parade and gave Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo a ride as close to 20,000 residents and visitors looked on. Johnson also did a burnout in the streets. Click here to see Johnson’s tweet about the event.

SEEKING A WIN IN KENTUCKY: Of the 83 career wins Johnson has accumulated over his career, none of them have come at Kentucky. Kentucky is one of the three tracks where Johnson has yet to score a win – the other two are Chicago and Watkins Glen.

KENTUCKY DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating at Kentucky with a score of 102.1.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. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

KENTUCKY STATS: In six starts at Kentucky, Johnson has an average start of 8.2 and an average finish of 11.5. His best finish at the mile-and-a-half track was a third-place result in the inaugural race in 2011. He has since added four additional top-10 finishes to his Kentucky resume.

LAPS LED: Johnson has the third highest amount of laps led at Kentucky of any current driver. He has paced the field for 203 total laps, 182 of which came at the race in 2013.

No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 612 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,198 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 10 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS, will visit the Kentucky Speedway media center at 12:20 p.m. local time on Friday, July 7.

NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The special paint scheme features the Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) logo as well as more than 315 names on the hood of people who donated to the hospital through a special fundraising platform. The white, orange and blue car will be adorned with butterflies, as they are recognized as the hospital’s ambassadors of hope and optimism. As America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center, NCH is dedicated to making sure that all patients are given the care they need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Families travel from around the nation – and some even come from other countries – to gain access to the Columbus, Ohio-based hospital’s life-saving treatments. In many cases, NCH is the only hospital able to provide that care and is their last hope for treatment. More information is available at www.NationwideChildrens.org.

PATIENT CHAMPIONS: The NCH Patient Champion Program honors and celebrates the hospital’s young, courageous patients. On race day, Earnhardt and Nationwide will host the 2017 Patient Champions and their families at the track to show appreciation for the bravery these kids show as they battle their illnesses. As previously announced, The Dale Jr. Foundation has partnered with Nationwide and NCH on the Driven to Give Gloves program and has dedicated four pairs of Earnhardt’s gloves to four different patient champions at NCH. The money raised from those four pairs of gloves will go to NCH to support their mission of helping kids everywhere. More information about the Patient Champions can be found here.

AT KENTUCKY: In six starts at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt has two top-five finishes – his best finish is fourth – and an average finish of 14.2. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native qualified on the pole at the mile-and-a-half tri-oval for the June 2013 race. Last year, he finished 13th in his No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevy after having to slow to conserve fuel at the end of the 400-mile race. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics among active drivers since 2005, Earnhardt ranks third in the green-flag passes category with 412, seventh for average speed late in a run (154.352 mph), and 10th in laps led with 10 laps.

VISITING NCH: Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital earlier this year – in April – and got the chance to check back in on the patients and get a look at the new innovations the hospital has implemented to ensure that its patients continue to receive the best care. Earnhardt is scheduled to make a return visit this week, along with several members of the No. 88 team. The event will be closed to the public, however, Earnhardt and the members of the No. 88 team in attendance will be available to media at the hospital. If you would like more information, please contact Tiffany Daniels. Stay tuned to the Nationwide88 social channels for updates from the visit.

ICYMI – AXALTA UNVEIL: In case you missed it, the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS featuring Ducks Unlimited and Service King Collision Repair Centers was unveiled Wednesday morning on Earnhardt’s Facebook page. The black-and-camo car will run under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Aug. 19 race weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KENTUCKY: In six races at Kentucky, Hendrick Motorsports has posted two poles, five top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and 213 laps led. Kentucky Speedway, which began hosting NASCAR’s premier series in 2011, is the only active track where Hendrick Motorsports has not produced a win in the Cup Series.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 248 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,020 top-five finishes and 1,717 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,763 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“As the track ages from the repave last year, the racing grooves will continue to widen out. Last year with the way the tire was, it turned into a fuel mileage race, but we’ll have a little bit different tire for this race so we’ll see how that turns out.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Kentucky

“I think one of our teammates tested in Kentucky last year. I imagine it will probably be something similar to how we approached it last season – not really sure until we get on track. Between last year’s race and having the notes from the test, it gives us something to lean on a bit.”

Chase Elliott on approach to newer Kentucky pavement

“Kentucky is a tough one for me. I have some early fond memories. That’s the first place I drove a Cup car when Hendrick Motorsports put me under contract. I was a test driver for quite a few reps just getting my laps started there. So, that is probably the only fond memory I have of that track (laughs). When I look at my Busch Series days there, I wrecked a lot of race cars. We’ve had some competitive runs there and I don’t think the finishes show where our competitive level has been. It is just a very unique track. It always has been. The Turn 3 entry, regardless of the surface put down, it’s always been very challenging. I just haven’t mastered it yet.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Kentucky

“The track will take some time to get better, even with what they did with the pavement to try to make it age quicker last year. The track was very slick and just had one groove, which made passing a challenge, but that should improve with time. We also had a super conservative tire and I think we need the tires to wear out before the fuel runs out. I’m looking forward to getting back there and to going to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I’m excited for some of my guys to be able to see the hospital for the first time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Kentucky

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