Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Ford EcoBoost 400 At Homestead

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 36 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, NOV. 19 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 14th in standings
  • 35 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 41 laps led

Career

  • 503 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 175 top-10 finishes
  • 4,648 laps led

Track Career 

  • 13 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 107 laps led
GREAT CLIPS: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the season. The Enumclaw, Washington, native last drove the scheme in September at Chicagoland Speedway. Homestead marks the eighth time this season that the Great Clips scheme has graced Kahne’s Chevy.

KAHNE AT HOMESTEAD: Kahne returns to the Florida track with two poles, one top-five finish and four top-10s on his Homestead resume. The 37-year-old driver has led three different times at the 1.5-mile track for a total of 107 laps, ranking him seventh among active drivers. Kahne has an average starting position of 11.8 and an average finishing position of 16.9 at Homestead.

SALUTING KASEY: Homestead will mark the final race with Hendrick Motorsports for Kahne, who has won six Cup races since joining the organization in 2012. His first Hendrick Motorsports win came in the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte in May 2012, followed by checkered flags at New Hampshire, Bristol, Pocono, Atlanta and, most recently, historic Indianapolis. He has scored eight runner-up finishes with the No. 5 team, along with five pole positions, 35 top-five finishes, 73 top-10s and 1,284 laps led. Kahne earned Cup Series playoff berths in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017. He finished a career-high fourth in the championship standings in 2012.

5’S FINAL RIDE: This weekend at Homestead marks the end of an era, as Hendrick Motorsports will no longer field its No. 5 Chevrolet following the season. It was the organization’s first car number and has run full-time since the team was founded in 1984. The No. 5 was raced to Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory by Geoff Bodine at Martinsville Speedway during its inaugural season, and Terry Labonte drove it to a Cup Series championship in 1996. Seven drivers have piloted the car full-time since 1984 — Bodine, Ricky Rudd, Labonte, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Mark Martin, and now Kahne, who took over the ride in 2012. The car number has amassed 38 wins for Hendrick Motorsports. Next season, the organization will field Nos. 9, 24, 48 and 88

HOMESTEAD LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is third in the green-flag passes category with 1,024. He also ranks fourth in average speed late in a run at 145.546 mph, eighth in fastest laps run with 108 and ninth in quality passes with 474.

GOING HOME: Two No. 5 team members will return to their home state this weekend. Engine tuner Billy Fraser, a University of Florida graduate, was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Rear-tire changer Johnny Roberts hails from Titusville, Florida.

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
  • 35 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 560 laps led

Career

  • 76 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 21 top-five finishes
  • 37 top-10 finishes
  • 918 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 CHEVROLET: As the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season comes to a close this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NAPA AUTO PARTS will once again grace the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS with its familiar blue-and-yellow colors. The Atlanta-based company has served as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 season and will return as a primary sponsor to Elliott and the No. 9 team in 2018. Elliott’s fresh paint scheme was revealed in October. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy at Martinsville Speedway, where he led four separate times for a total of 123 laps. The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS driver ultimately finished 27th after being spun out by a competitor while leading in the final five laps.

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI STATS: The second-year driver is set to make his second NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile oval. In last year’s race, Elliott qualified fifth and finished 11th. The driver of the No. 24 has also competed in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the Homestead, Florida, track, garnering one top-10 finish. In 2014, Elliott was crowned the XFINITY Series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

2017 SEASON: Up to the final race of the season, Elliott and the No. 24 team have collected 11 top-five finishes, 20 top-10s and 560 laps led. Elliott has captured five runner-up finishes, four of which came in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. The 21-year old has averaged a starting position of 10.5 and finishing position of 12.2 throughout 2017.

PHOENIX REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 Hooters team put up a valiant effort on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native led three times for 34 laps on his way to the seventh runner-up finish of his career. Despite scoring his fourth runner-up finish in nine playoff races, Elliott will be on the outside looking in as the Championship 4 race for the NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday. Elliott ranks fifth in the series points standings entering the season finale.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 10th in standings
  • 35 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 217 laps led

Career

  • 578 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 102 laps led
#CHASING8: Last weekend in Phoenix, Jimmie Johnson suffered a blown right-front tire on Lap 149 while running 11th. The damage was too severe to fix and the No. 48 Lowe’s team did not advance into the final Championship 4 round for this weekend’s event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson is currently 10th in the point standings entering the final race of the season.

PERFORMANCE IN MIAMI: Among Johnson’s five top-five finishes at Homestead are two runner-up finishes, the most recent of which came in 2010. It marked his best finish at the track until last year, when Johnson led only three laps during the season finale event, but they were the final three, clinching both his first career win at the track and his seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship.

CMA RED CARPET RECAP: Last week before heading to Phoenix, Johnson and his wife Chandra attended the 51st Annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Johnson, along with actress Michelle Monaghan, presented the award for Female Vocalist of the Year to country music standout Miranda Lambert. Among the many entertainment media outlets that covered the event, E! News referred to the Johnson’s as one of the “cutest” couples on the red carpet. Click here to see the red carpet photos.

DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a score of 97.8. 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.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 35 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 47 laps led

Career

  • 630 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 260 top-10 finishes
  • 8,234 laps led

Track Career 

  • 16 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 121 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 16, at 10:20 a.m. local time in the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center.

APPRECI88ION TOUR SUCCESS: In June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a five-month campaign called the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour, which started at the July Daytona event and has carried through to the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign gave Earnhardt’s fans, his partners and the NASCAR industry a way to celebrate his historic career while offering the driver an opportunity to make gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. Throughout, the fans have joined the celebration by using the #Appreci88ion hashtag on social media. Earnhardt himself used it to share weekly videos recounting memories and milestones from each of the tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The gestures of appreciation from the entire industry were overwhelming, and many will create a lasting impact on local communities across the country, celebrating the legacy Earnhardt has created.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: The 2017 season marked Earnhardt’s 18th full-time year in the Cup Series. The native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, has earned 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His 26 victories tie him for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list. He also has 15 pole positions and eight non-points wins (five in the Daytona 500 qualifying Duel, two in the Clash and one All-Star Race victory). Overall, Earnhardt has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). He is the only third-generation NASCAR champion, achieved when he won the 1998 and 1999 NASCAR XFINITY Series titles. He follows his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr., a seven-time Cup champion and winner of 76 races, and his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion. The three Earnhardts combine for 10 NASCAR championships.

AT HOMESTEAD: Earnhardt, who has yet to earn his first win at Homestead, has been on the upswing in his most recent visits to the 1.5-mile oval. While Earnhardt has a total of one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his 16 starts at the facility, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has finished inside of the top 15 in four of his last five trips to Homestead-Miami Speedway, including a career-best third-place finish in the 2013 event. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks near the top of the fastest laps run category. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS is fourth among active drivers at Homestead since 2005 with 150 fastest laps run, some of which have been during the 121 laps he’s led in his 16 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

ROOKIE SCHEME: Earnhardt’s No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, originally unveiled live on QVC on Aug. 2 from Axalta’s Customer Experience Center, will be red with black and white stripes, paying homage to the driver’s very first paint scheme, which debuted in 1999 when he competed in his first career Cup Series race. Click here to see how the scheme came to life.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: On Tuesday, Nov. 28, NASCAR and Nationwide will bring together fans, family, friends, key influencers in his racing life and a few surprise guests to join Earnhardt to tell stories at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at 9 p.m. PST. Hosted by Earnhardt himself, this once-in-a-lifetime fan experience will tell the tales of NASCAR’s reigning most popular driver. The best part is all the proceeds from the event will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital including the great work being done in the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Activity Room. For tickets and more information, click here.

IT’S NOT GOODBYE, IT’S SEE YOU LATER: While Earnhardt is retiring from full-time Cup racing, he will still be a very visible presence in the sport. He will drive in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races for his JR Motorsports team in 2018, be active in his role as an owner of that team, and, in the second half of the season, he will join the NBC Sports group in the Cup broadcast booth. In short, the man who has been voted by fans as NASCAR’s most popular driver for 14 consecutive years isn’t really going anywhere.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT HOMESTEAD: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have earned two wins, three pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and 29 top-10s at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The first win came courtesy of Jeff Gordon in 2012, when he led the final 13 laps of the race en route to Victory Lane. The organization’s most recent win at the Florida track came just last season as Jimmie Johnson clinched his record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series title after leading the final three laps of the race.

LASST RIDE FOR THE SS: Homestead will be the last race for the successful Chevrolet SS model NASCAR Cup Series race car before the manufacturer transitions to the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2018. The Chevy SS made its debut in the 2013 Daytona 500, which was won by Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports earned the car’s first three race wins and has amassed 40 total points-paying victories and two Cup Series championships with the SS.

SEASON IN REVIEW: With one NASCAR Cup Series race remaining in 2017, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed four wins, three pole positions, 19 top-five finishes and 45 top-10s. The four wins came at four different tracks — Texas, Bristol, Dover and Indianapolis. Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Johnson qualified for the series’ playoffs, with Kahne being eliminated following the Round of 16 and Elliott and Johnson following the Round of 8 cutoff event last weekend at Phoenix.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 213 pole positions, 1,028 top-five finishes and 1,739 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,239 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“You have to be able to run the wall, it seems like, for a lot of that race, because the speed is up against the fence. So, just being confident with that, confident with the grip of your car and then you also have to move around late in the race. It seems like the wall kind of goes away a lot of times. I’ve always liked Homestead. I’ve won one race there in XFINITY and ran well in Cup races, led a lot of laps. But it’s a track that’s really tough to win at. To me, the pace falls off a ton and it’s rough in spots. I think it’s one of our tougher tracks throughout the season.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Homestead

“I felt like I gave it my all at Phoenix. We’re going to go to Homestead and try to finish the season as strong as we can and then get ready to come at them next year as hard as possible.”

Chase Elliott on not advancing to the Championship 4

“Yeah, you know, we have other tracks that have progressive banking and they don’t quite work like Homestead. I think one thing people overlook is the straightaways are actually straight we don’t have a dogleg there. I think that makes a big difference in how the track is shaped and what allows you to run some different lanes. I think that plays a bigger factor than people think.”

Elliott on Homestead’s progressive banking

“I hate it for this team that we won’t be competing for an eighth championship this year. They’ve worked so hard all year long and I’m very proud of their efforts. It’s obviously not the result that we want, but we’re Hendrick strong and I’m proud of Team 48 and very thankful for the support and all the opportunities Lowe’s, Kobalt and Chevrolet give us. We will make some changes in the offseason, get those new Camaros built and come back next year strong.”

Jimmie Johnson on being eliminated from the 2017 playoffs

“I’ve known Dale a long time, well before he joined Hendrick Motorsports and even before I was a stock car driver. To have him as a teammate, I’ve been able to get to know him behind the scenes and behind the steering wheel – our friendship has gone to deeper levels. I really have enjoyed my friendship with him. It will be sad to see the No. 88 go away, but I’m so proud of him for everything he has accomplished. I can’t wait to see him as a dad, to compare notes (laughs) and am just so happy for him and Amy. I’m excited to see what this next chapter has in store for him.”

Johnson on Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“I am not sure that I’m ready to be going through all of the emotion that I will have in Homestead, but it’s coming. I hope that I can handle it well, but it’s definitely going to be interesting to see how that feels. All these videos and all these things that our partners are creating, this content has just been incredible. It makes you feel so good in your heart. The comments from fans … it is more than you can process and I’m sure that Homestead is just going to be like the cork coming out of the bottle. I’m lucky that Amy (Earnhardt) is going to be there, I’m lucky my family will be there, and my team. I will have so much support and I want to support them. It’s going to be emotional for them and our fans.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his emotions leading into Homestead

“I’m trying to run hard, trying to do well, trying to figure out our cars and get as good a finish as we can. We’re going to have a lot of things going on this week. Going in there and trying to do as well as we can is at the top of the list, but there are a ton of other things happening. We will just take it one day at a time. It’s going to be a busy weekend.”

Earnhardt on racing at Homestead

“Throughout the years, my relationship to Dale has gone through many phases. In his early years I was a fan, watching him win races and championships in the iconic AC Delco paint scheme. It was so cool that we had the privilege to run a throwback to that scheme at Darlington this year. In 2004 when I started at Hendrick Motorsports, he was a competitor that we had to go out there and race each weekend, especially at the superspeedway races where he was so strong.

“When he made the move to Hendrick in 2008, we began a pretty neat relationship. Dale and I are pretty calm and quiet in our personal environment, but when it comes to competition we are extremely focused and competitive. The fantasy football league was where we had our first encounter of determination. The unique battle we had formed a bond that we can still talk about today.

“Moving to JR Motorsports in 2013, Dale became my boss as I tried to help lead his company back to winning races and eventually a championship. Every time Dale came to my office, he asked what he could do for me to help the teams get better – never to tell me how to do my job. There are plenty of Monday morning crew chiefs, but he was never one of them.

“Then in 2015, I got the call to be his crew chief. It was an honor to accept the challenge because I knew we could have quick success with the relationships we had already established. That held true for the 2015 season and 2016 was going to be even better. Putting more focus on winning and being perfect, we were so close in 2015, so why not? When Dale got hurt in 2016, I took a lot of the responsibility on myself. We had to work through the tough times together, had to confide in each other, and ultimately developed our best relationship – our friendship.”

No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives on his relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“Kasey is one of the best people you’ll ever meet, and he’s contributed so much to our organization. He’s won big races like the World 600 and Indianapolis, competed for championships, and added a lot to the legacy of the ‘5’ team. Kasey’s a true racer, and I haven’t seen many drivers with his level of pure talent. I’m looking forward to continuing our friendship for a long time. He’s a great dad. He’s someone who does so much good through his charitable work and has such a passion for racing. I admire his character and truly appreciate everything he’s done for us. It’s going to be hard not seeing the ‘5’ car on the track next year, but I’m proud that he’ll be the driver to give it one last ride.”

Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick on Kasey Kahne

“Dale said he was going to make me popular. (laughs) His star power and his talent immediately created a lot of enthusiasm both inside and outside the organization. His fans of course pull for him, but some of them have also supported our other drivers because they’re his teammates. So it’s been neat to see the Earnhardt fans come on board and embrace what we’ve done together. He’s been a great teammate and a great ambassador. He really jumped in from day one and put his heart and soul into the team.”

Hendrick on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s impact on the organization

“A lot of pressure. (laughs) You know what the expectations are. You want to give him the best possible stuff. You want him to run well. That’s what folks expected when he came over and joined us. You don’t want to let his fans down, and you don’t want to let Dale down.”

Hendrick on whether he felt pressure being Earnhardt’s car owner

“To win the very first race he ran (the 2008 Budweiser Shootout) was unbelievable. There was a lot of hype going into that season, so to win right out of the gate was exciting and took some pressure off. The Daytona 500 (in 2014) was so special. Any time you can be with Dale in victory lane at Daytona, it carries a lot of meaning. I think all the way back to his very first test with us at Atlanta (2007) when he drove our car with City Chevrolet on the hood and All-Star Racing on the side. That’s when we were like, ‘OK, this is really happening.’ I kept the car (from the test). That’s how much it meant to me.”

Hendrick on his favorite moments with Earnhardt at Hendrick Motorsports

“It’s really, really special. He always told me that Dale would drive for us. I didn’t think it would ever be possible. For that to actually come together, it was like we were fulfilling something that he (Ricky) always believed in and wanted to see happen.”

Hendrick on Earnhardt driving for Hendrick Motorsports as his son Ricky predicted

“After knowing Dale and Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) for so long, it’s kind of felt like a family affair. I want to be someone Dale can talk to and confide in. In a way, I think we’ve filled a void for each other. No one will ever replace my son and no one will ever replace his dad, but we share a special bond. I’ve just loved watching him grow up and mature, from hanging out with his posse (friends) to getting married and now starting a family with Amy.”

Hendrick on his relationship with Earnhardt

“We’ve talked about it a lot. We’ve made a commitment to each other that we’re not going to let this end. We’re going to do even more things together. We’re partners in JR Motorsports. We’re partners in car dealerships. We both love to go down to Florida and fish. I want to see him as a dad and watch his family grow. Our relationship is so much more than him just driving the car. He’s a special person and friend.”

Hendrick on how his relationship with Earnhardt will change after the driver’s retirement

“He’s still going to be very visible – maybe even more visible after going to TV. I think he will keep it loose (on TV) and the fans will really respond. Dale loves the sport. He’s a car owner (at JR Motorsports). He’s committed. He’s going to stay involved. The one thing I know for sure is that Dale is always going to be Dale.”

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Can-Am 500

PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY (ONE-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: AVONDALE, ARIZONA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 35 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, NOV. 12 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 34 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 41 laps led

Career

  • 502 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 175 top-10 finishes
  • 4,648 laps led

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 55 laps led
FARMERS AT PHOENIX: Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS at Phoenix International Raceway for the final time this season. The Enumclaw, Washington, native last drove the black-and-blue scheme last month at Talladega Superspeedway, where he raced it to an eighth-place result and secured his sixth top-10 finish of the season.

KAHNE AT PHOENIX: Kahne returns to Phoenix this weekend for his 11th start at the track with Hendrick Motorsports. The 37-year-old driver’s win at Phoenix in November 2011 was his 12th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, and he finished with a 0.802-second margin of victory over Carl Edwards. Overall, Kahne has an average starting position of 12.0 and an average finishing position of 17.8 at Phoenix.

PHOENIX LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is eighth in quality passes at Phoenix with 483. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. He also ranks ninth in fastest laps run with 198, 10th in green-flag passes with 929, ninth in laps run in the top 15 with 4,154 and eighth in the closers category with 10 positions moved up over the last 10 percent of the race.

RECAPPING TEXAS: After qualifying 19th and ending two of three practice sessions inside the top 15, Kahne and the No. 5 team overcame an early on-track incident in Sunday’s 500-mile event at Texas Motor Speedway and utilized pit strategy to secure an 11th-place effort at the Fort Worth, Texas, track.

No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 34 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 526 laps led

Career

  • 75 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 20 top-five finishes
  • 36 top-10 finishes
  • 884 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 106 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 10, at 1:05 p.m. local time in the Phoenix International Raceway media center.

HOOTERS CHEVROLET: For the second consecutive week and third time this season, the orange-and-white Hooters paint scheme will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, the Atlanta-based company was a three-race primary sponsor of the No. 24 team this season with Phoenix being their final race of 2017. Chase Elliott most recently piloted the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place finish last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

PHOENIX STATS: The second-year driver is set to make his fourth start at the one-mile oval this weekend. Elliott has collected two top-10 finishes in his three previous starts, led 106 laps and averaged a starting position of 9.0 and finishing position of 9.7. Elliott has also competed in five NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the Avondale, Arizona, track, garnering two top-five finishes and five top-10s.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: Elliott is currently seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings — 49 points behind fourth — as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Round of 8 cutoff race.

TEXAS REWIND: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native and the No. 24 Hooters team finished eighth in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway after battling through the field from the rear due to not completing inspection in time for qualifying.

HOOTERS 25TH ANNIVERSARY: November marks the 25th anniversary of Hooters’ NASCAR Cup Series 1992 championship with driver Alan Kulwicki. To honor that great achievement, Elliott will sport a special pair of racing shoes this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

COMING HOME: No. 24 team jackman John Gianninoto, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, will compete in front of his hometown crowd at Phoenix International Raceway. Gianninoto graduated with honors from Catalina Foothills High School and went on to sign as an offensive lineman for UNLV in 2006, earning his first letter in 2007 and becoming a team captain in 2010. Gianninoto participated in the Carolina Panthers’ 2012 training camp before signing with Hendrick Motorsports in September 2012.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 34 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 217 laps led

Career

  • 577 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led

Track Career 

  • 28 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 990 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 10, at 9:45 a.m. local time in the Phoenix International Raceway media center.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Jimmie Johnson had a tough Texas race, facing multiple issues on pit road and fighting the handling of his Lowe’s Chevrolet before ultimately finishing 27th. He is now eighth in the playoff points standings and in a potential must-win situation heading into Phoenix.

CMA PRESENTER: Before heading to Phoenix, Johnson will stop over in Nashville, Tennessee, to represent NASCAR at the 51st Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. Johnson, along with actress Michelle Monaghan, will present the 2017 Female Vocalist of the Year award. The CMAs are live on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

SUPPORT FROM HIS FRIENDS: Ryan Dungey, a seven-time motocross and supercross champion, made a surprise visit to Texas Motor Speedway to lend some support in Johnson’s quest for an eighth championship. Dungey, who recently retired from racing, attended his first NASCAR race in August at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season. He and Johnson have been supportive friends throughout each other’s careers.

PHOENIX STATS: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Phoenix with a score of 111.0. 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.

RECORD SPEED: The four-time winner at Phoenix also holds the track record for fastest qualifying speed. On Nov. 13, 2015, Johnson clocked a time of 25.147 seconds or 146.308 mph around the one-mile track. He is credited with 35 career pole positions, three of which have come at Phoenix. Johnson won one Phoenix event from the pole position, which was in November 2009.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 34 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 47 laps led

Career

  • 629 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 259 top-10 finishes
  • 8,234 laps led

Track Career 

  • 29 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 569 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. local time in the Phoenix International Raceway media center.

MOST RECENT WIN: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2015 after a rain-shortened event. The wet weather didn’t put a damper on Earnhardt, who led 22 laps en route to his 26th career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his third at the track. The 43-year-old driver earned his first two Phoenix wins back-to-back, going to Victory Lane in November 2003 and November 2004 when the one-mile tri-oval hosted one Cup event per season. By virtue of his three wins, Earnhardt ranks third on the all-time wins list at Phoenix behind Kevin Harvick (eight) and teammate Jimmie Johnson (four).

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Earnhardt, a three-time winner at Phoenix, has experienced a resurgence lately at the short track. In his last eight races at the facility, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has earned one win, five top-five finishes and six top-10s. The only one of those eight events in which he finished outside of the top 15 was when the series visited the short track in March 2015 and a blown right-rear tire ended his day on Lap 180. Earnhardt is ranked 11th among all active competitors with a driver rating of 88.6 from 2005-2017. 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 fourth among his competitors for completing the most green-flag passes since 2005 with 977, fifth in fastest laps run with 278 and seventh in laps led with 259.

VISITING KIMMEL: Before he makes his way to Phoenix, Earnhardt will stop in Los Angeles to appear on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Thursday, Nov. 9. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET, but check your local listings for details. Actor Josh Hutcherson and musical guest Dan Auerbach are also scheduled to join Earnhardt on Thursday’s show. It won’t be Earnhardt’s first visit – the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS has made multiple appearances on Kimmel’s late-night talk show.

NATIONWIDE IS ON HIS SIDE: The weekend’s event at Phoenix marks Nationwide’s final primary paint scheme with Earnhardt on the No. 88 Chevy, highlighting a very successful partnership. In September 2014, Nationwide announced an agreement with Hendrick Motorsports to become the majority primary sponsor for Earnhardt and the No. 88 Chevrolet for 21 races in each of the 2015-2017 seasons, although the partnership began well before that. Nationwide and Earnhardt officially teamed up in 2009, but it was a connection a long time in the making. The partnership was an extension of his family’s longtime relationship with Nationwide off the track – the Earnhardts have trusted Nationwide for their insurance needs for more than 35 years. Earnhardt continued that with his own 25-year relationship, trusting Nationwide to protect everything from his cars to his house to his business and even his dog, Gus. To honor and celebrate Earnhardt’s Cup career, Nationwide released a touching commercial spot last week that can be seen here.

GRAY GLOVES: Earnhardt will wear his gray-accented gloves again for the Phoenix and Homestead races to close out the month of November, raising awareness for diabetes. Through the Dale Jr. Foundation’s Driven to Give Gloves program, his race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s clinical and research programs. Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

PATIENT CHAMPION J.R. CURRY: Additionally, through The Dale Jr. Foundation’s Driven to Give Gloves program, 10-year-old John Roger (J.R.) Curry will have his name featured above the passenger door of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS at Phoenix. J.R. was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 2 and has received care through the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. J.R. started out with four shots and at least 10 finger pokes a day – that’s 1,460 shots and 3,650 finger pokes in a year – and had a tough time adjusting to his condition in the beginning, but he eventually got used to the process and became accustomed to the needles. He recently switched to a pump, which gives him a lot more freedom and his parents are able to monitor the readings. J.R. doesn’t let his diabetes stop him from doing what he loves – he plays soccer, baseball, basketball and is even a race car driver.

HOME TRACK: Phoenix International Raceway is the home track for No. 88 jackman Nick Covey, who grew up in Glendale, Arizona. He joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2009 and has been a member of the No. 88 team for six years. Covey played football for the University of Nebraska, where he was a linebacker from 2005 to 2009. Away from the racetrack, he says his focus is on his wife and his children, who play baseball.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT PHOENIX: Hendrick Motorsports has earned 10 wins, 11 pole positions, 45 top-five finishes and 79 top-10s at Phoenix International Raceway. Those 10 wins are spread among six drivers, with Jimmie Johnson accounting for four. Dale Earnhardt Jr. recorded the organization’s most recent Phoenix victory in November 2015.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 213 pole positions, 1,027 top-five finishes and 1,737 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,205 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Just the different ends of the track. (Turns) 1 and 2 kind of being like it is and (Turns) 3 and 4 being so flat we have to be set up a lot like at Darlington – you have to pick a little bit of the best on both and try to marry the two together the best you can to be good there.”

Chase Elliott on what makes Phoenix unique

“You want to try to win the race. The guy who wins that race is probably going to go on, we saw that last year. We weren’t really in the hunt there last year to win the race. We weren’t in the playoffs anymore at that point, so all those guys, you try to respect them as much as you can when you are not involved in it, but at the same time you want to win. Fine line you have to walk there, but just try to get the victory if you can to punch your ticket.”

Elliott on competing at Phoenix for a spot in the Final 4 at Homestead

“I know we’re building a better race car and taking a few new ideas to Phoenix. We’ll go there and fight as hard as we can. One thing this team will never do is give up.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Phoenix

“Phoenix is a good track for us. We have certainly had a great car there the last several times. Knowing we have won there helps you just go in there with a good attitude. I don’t think that we’ve lost hope on winning a race by any means. So, we’ll go in there with a solid attitude and see how it works out for us.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Phoenix

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

Hendrick Motortsports Previews The First Data 500 At Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY (0.526-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: RIDGEWAY, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 33 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 29 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 12th in standings
  • 32 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 38 laps led

Career

  • 500 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 175 top-10 finishes
  • 4,645 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 60 laps led
UNIFIRST: The green-and-white colors of UniFirst return to Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS for the second consecutive weekend at Martinsville Speedway. UniFirst signed an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 to be the organization’s official workwear provider. Martinsville marks the workwear and textile service company’s final primary race of this season.

KAHNE AT MARTINSVILLE: Kahne has one pole award at Martinsville in his first start at the 0.526-mile track for Hendrick Motorsports. In 2012, he edged Kevin Harvick to earn the top starting position after posting a 19.496-second lap. In April 2016, the 37-year-old started on the outside pole with a lap time of 19.515 seconds, just 0.002 shy of the pole-winning time. In Kahne’s 11 starts with Hendrick Motorsports at the paperclip-shaped track, he has earned three top-10s and a pair of 11th-place finishes. Throughout his Cup Series career, Kahne has led 60 laps at the Ridgeway, Virginia, track, which ranks him 14th among active drivers.

SHORT-TRACK STATS: In Kahne’s 83 starts at tracks less than one mile in length, he has 13 top-five finishes and 25 top-10s, earning an average starting position of 15.0 and an average finishing position of 18.2. The Chevy driver has also led 853 laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career at short tracks.

MARTINSVILLE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is fourth in the closers category with 22 positions gained over the last 10 percent of the race. The Enumclaw, Washington, native is ninth in fastest laps run with 283 and green-flag passes with 1,167.

GOING HOME: No. 5 team crew chief Darian Grubb returns to his home state of Virginia this weekend. Grubb is a native of Floyd, Virginia, which is located approximately one hour northwest of Martinsville Speedway. The 42-year-old is a graduate of Virginia Tech with an engineering degree. Grubb has been Kahne’s crew chief since September’s New Hampshire race and has accumulated 23 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, which ties for third-most among active crew chiefs.

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
  • 32 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 18 top-10 finishes
  • 402 laps led

Career

  • 73 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 20 top-five finishes
  • 35 top-10 finishes
  • 760 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 20 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the familiar blue-and-yellow colors will once again grace the hood of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a fourth-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

MARTINSVILLE STATS: Elliott is set to make his fifth start at the 0.526-mile speedway on Sunday. In his four previous starts at the Virginia track, Elliott averages a starting position of 11.0 and finishing position of 18.2. At Martinsville in March, the second-year driver collected a stage win and led 20 laps en route to a third-place result — his best career finish at the track. The same weekend, Elliott also earned his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory after starting from the pole and leading 92 laps.

KANSAS RECAP: Elliott started 14th in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 cut-off race at Kansas Speedway and picked up crucial points by finishing seventh in Stage 1 and ninth in Stage 2. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native took the checkered flag in fourth for his 10th top-five finish of the season, advancing the No. 24 team to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the fourth-place finish at Kansas Speedway propelling the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team forward in the playoffs, Elliott enters the Round of 8 just 11 points behind fourth place, which will be the final position that advances to Homestead-Miami Speedway.

TESTING: Before Talladega race weekend, Elliott and the No. 24 team represented Hendrick Motorsports at a Martinsville tire test on Oct. 10-11. Elliott, who clocked laps on both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, said the test was very beneficial to the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 32 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 193 laps led

Career

  • 575 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,639 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 9 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 24 top-10 finishes
  • 2,838 laps led
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Last weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway came down to the wire from a points perspective and despite spinning out twice during the race, Jimmie Johnson was able to advance to the Round of 8. Johnson has a combined 20 wins at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, the three race venues in the Round of 8. He was also a winner one year ago at Martinsville — where he clinched his position in the 2016 Championship 4 — and won the Texas event earlier this season.

MARTINSVILLE STATS: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Martinsville Speedway with a score of 116.9. 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.

LAP LEADER: Johnson’s 2,838 laps led at Martinsville Speedway are the most among active drivers. The number ranks him fifth all-time at the paperclip-shaped oval.

ONE YEAR AGO: Johnson punched his ticket into the championship round of the 2016 NASCAR playoffs on Oct. 30 when he won for the ninth time at Martinsville. Johnson led 92 laps that day and went on to win his seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship three weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

MASTERING ‘THE PAPERCLIP’: Richard Petty leads all drivers with 15 career victories at the paperclip-shaped track. Johnson has the most wins among active drivers with nine victories. Former teammate Jeff Gordon also has nine wins. Additionally, Johnson is the most recent driver to win consecutive races (fall 2012 and spring 2013) at Martinsville. He has won the fall race at the track in four of his seven championship seasons.

HOMESTEAD TESTING: Johnson and the No. 48 team are representing the Hendrick Motorsports organization at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the test session on Oct. 25-26 in preparation for next month’s season finale.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson has helped bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. He will don it for the final time in 2017 this weekend at Martinsville. The hat can be purchased here.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 32 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 7 top-10 finishes
  • 44 laps led

Career

  • 627 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 259 top-10 finishes
  • 8,231 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 18 top-10 finishes
  • 972 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 10:30 a.m. local time in the Martinsville Speedway media center.

ANOTHER CLOCK: Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his first victory at the historic 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26, 2014. He held off former teammate and nine-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon to score the win, taking home the iconic grandfather clock that the speedway gives as its trophy. In the last 12 races at the paperclip-shaped oval, Earnhardt has earned five top-five finishes and seven top-10 results, which bodes well for the 43-year-old veteran’s chances to capture his second grandfather clock this weekend.

MAKING PASSES: Earnhardt is one of the best drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, and NASCAR’s loop data since 2005 backs up that claim. He ranks first among active drivers in green-flag passes (1,450) and second to teammate Jimmie Johnson – by just six passes – in quality passes (864 to Johnson’s 870). Earnhardt ranks fourth among all active competitors with an average driver rating of 97.8 at the track. 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 of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS ranks fourth in several categories, including average running position (12.050), fastest laps run (586), laps in the top 15 (8,769) and green-flag speed (91.210 mph).

GREY GHOST RETURNS: Fitting with the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour theme, Nationwide gave fans the chance to pick Earnhardt’s paint scheme for this weekend’s race at Martinsville. When the votes were tallied, fans selected the “Grey Ghost” as the No. 88’s scheme – fitting for Halloween weekend considering the orange and black colors. In 2016, Earnhardt was scheduled to run the sleek, silver scheme on his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for the throwback race at Darlington Raceway, but Jeff Gordon ended up filling in as Earnhardt missed the final half of the season due to a concussion. It’s only fitting that Earnhardt will get to race one of his all-time favorite schemes before he retires from full-time Cup Series racing.

AMY PACING THE FIELD: Earnhardt will be making his final Cup start at Martinsville while his wife, Amy, will lead the field to the green. She will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, which will be her first time behind the wheel of the pace car.

DEW AD SPOTS: After releasing a poignant ad spot last week, Mountain Dew’s newest promo takes a humorous approach to Earnhardt’s pending retirement as the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports. Follow @DaleJron Twitter to see the release of the spot this Thursday, which is also scheduled to run on television during Sunday’s race at Martinsville as well as during Game 5 of the MLB World Series.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MARTINSVILLE: At Martinsville, Hendrick Motorsports has team records for wins (24), top-five finishes (78), top-10s (122) and laps led (9,094) at a track and has earned at least one win there in each of the past five years.The combined 17 poles at the Virginia track are tied with Charlotte, Daytona and Richmond for the organization’s most at a track.

FIVE MAKE 24: The organization’s 24 wins at Martinsville have come courtesy of five different drivers: Jimmie Johnson (nine), Jeff Gordon (nine), Darrell Waltrip (four), Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 213 pole positions, 1,027 top-five finishes and 1,736 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,051 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“To win at Martinsville would be such a challenge. To be able to put 500 laps together and win the race there – to me, it’s one of our most difficult races of the year because so much can go on between restarts, pitting and just having a car that handles the proper way to get to the finish and to be fast enough to win. There are guys who have been so strong at that track and others who aren’t and I’m somewhere in the middle. It would be really, really neat to win the race there and get the clock and figure out where to put it because it’s so big.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Martinsville

“I hope this past time wasn’t just a lucky weekend. Martinsville has been a disaster for me, so this past time was really good. Needed a little bit to run with the No. 18 and No. 2, but way improved from where I have been there in the past. I feel like I learned a couple of things. The tire did change, so I hope it wasn’t just the tire changing that made me kind of luck into running well. So, we will see.”

Chase Elliott on improving at Martinsville

“It’s not back to zero with all those stage points. For us to advance moving forward, we’ve got to win. Martinsville is not a bad track for us. So, hopefully we can repeat last year’s performance there. It’s pretty simple from here on out, we’ve got to get some speed in our cars and we’ve got to win a race.”

Jimmie Johnson on progressing in the Round of 8

“Martinsville this weekend should be a lot of fun. We’ve got the Grey Ghost – I appreciate everybody voting for that paint scheme so I can run it. I didn’t get to drive that car last year and I love that car, so I may have swayed the vote because I went on social media and said, ‘That’s the one I’d love to run.’ I’m excited to get the opportunity to drive that car this weekend. Martinsville is a great track for us. I love the short tracks and short-track racing.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing the Grey Ghost scheme at Martinsville

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

Leavine Family Racing Announces A New Crew Chief For 2018

Michael McDowell
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) has announced that Travis Mack will assume Crew Chief duties for the No. 95 with driver Kasey Kahne in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.

Mack, who is the car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, has worked as a car chief since 2013 and served as interim Crew Chief for the No. 88 team for one race at Richmond Raceway in 2017.

A Louisville, Kentucky, native, Mack was no stranger to motor sports growing up, as he raced at local tracks at a young age and built his first street stock race car at the age of 15. While going to school to become a surgeon, Mack began working on an ARCA team and quickly moved to the role of car chief. He went on to win three championships before deciding to pack up and move to Charlotte to work for Hendrick Motorsports in 2004.

Before becoming a car chief, Mack worked with the likes of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson as a shock specialist and front end mechanic. In 2013, he moved to Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, where he served as car chief for drivers Regan Smith and Chase Elliott in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Mack earned an Xfinity Series championship in 2014 as a member of Elliott’s team. He joined Earnhardt’s No. 88 team as car chief in 2015.

LFR is excited to bring Mack on board and believes he will fit in well with the team’s never-quit mentality and bring value to them in 2018 and years to come.

“As crew chief, Travis brings leadership and a solid experience to Leavine Family Racing,” said Jeremy Lange, VP and General Manager of LFR. “His passion for racing and desire to win will fit well in our organization and, collectively, we all are looking forward to 2018 and beyond.”

Mack, 34, will remain as the car chief for the No. 88 for the remainder of the 2017 MENCS season, and will join LFR prior to the start of next season.

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The 2017 Kansas Race

KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 32 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 22 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 38 laps led

Career

  • 499 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 175 top-10 finishes
  • 4,645 laps led

Track Career 

  • 20 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 102 laps led
UNIFIRST: The green-and-white colors of UniFirst return to Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kansas Speedway. UniFirst signed an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 to be the organization’s official workwear provider. The workwear and textile service company will also adorn Kahne’s Chevy at next week’s Martinsville Speedway event.

500 STARTS: This weekend at Kansas Speedway marks Kahne’s 500th start in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kahne’s rookie year in the Cup Series was in 2004, when he won four pole awards and took home Rookie of the Year honors. At the time, the 24-year-old was the youngest rookie of the year since Jeff Gordon won the honor at the age of 22 in 1993.

KAHNE AT KANSAS: In Kahne’s 20 Kansas starts, he has led 102 total laps in six races, which ranks him 11th among current drivers and 19th all-time. In the 11 starts the 37-year-old has made at the track while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, he has earned four top-five finishes and six top-10s, including a second-place finish in April 2013, in addition to one pole position in October 2012. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has an average starting position of 14.7, an average finishing position of 13.4 and has completed 99 percent of the laps possible.

POLE AWARDS: Kahne has earned three of his 27 career Cup Series pole awards at Kansas – in October 2006, October 2010 and October 2012. The three Kansas pole positions tie him for the most among active drivers alongside Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. The three poles are tied for Kahne’s second-most at a track alongside Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. The only track where the Enumclaw, Washington, native has more pole awards is Darlington Raceway, where he has amassed four.

KANSAS LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is sixth among his peers in the driver rating category with an average of 91.1. 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. He’s second in green-flag passes with 1,438 – teammate Johnson owns the tie breaker because of a higher average finish, and he’s also second in quality passes with 713. 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 Chevrolet driver is fourth in laps spent in the top 15 with 3,364, and he’s sixth in the fastest laps run category with 173.

TALLADEGA RECAP: Last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Kahne completed final practice in the first position on Friday afternoon, with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top two. Saturday, he qualified the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS in the 11th position. Sunday, Kahne survived a pit road miscue, a left-front flat tire and damage to the No. 5 machine to bring it home in the eighth position, earning his third top-10 finish in four superspeedway starts this season.

CREW CHIEF WINS: Darian Grubb — Kahne’s crew chief since September’s New Hampshire weekend – is a two-time winner at Kansas. He visited Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile track in October 2009 with Tony Stewart and again in April 2012 with Denny Hamlin. Grubb’s 23 wins tie him with Paul Wolfe for the third-most among active crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series.

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
  • 31 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 402 laps led

Career

  • 72 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 34 top-10 finishes
  • 760 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 4 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Kansas Speedway, NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a 16th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

KANSAS STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fourth Cup start at Kansas this weekend. In his previous three starts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Elliott has collected one top-10 finish and averaged a starting position of 12.0 and a finishing position of 23.0. He also has two starts at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, earning two top-10 finishes and averaging a starting position of 12.0 and finishing position of 8.5.

‘DEGA REWIND: Elliott led three different times for a total of 26 laps in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS driver’s race ultimately ended with a 16th-place finish after he was collected in a multiple-car incident while trying to take the lead in the final 10 laps of the race.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the 16th-place result at Talladega, Elliott ranks sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings heading into the Round of 12 cutoff race Sunday at Kansas Speedway. The second-year driver holds a 20-point advantage over the ninth-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 11:30 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 193 laps led

Career

  • 574 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,639 laps led

Track Career 

  • 22 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 20, at 11:15 a.m. local time in the Kansas Speedway media center.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: This weekend in Kansas is the final race of the Round of 12 and Jimmie Johnson will have to stay within the top eight to continue to the Round of 8. With five playoff races complete and an unfortunate 24th-place result at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, Johnson finds himself in eighth place, just seven points ahead of ninth place — the first driver that would be eliminated.

KANSAS DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Kansas with a score of 108.7. 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.

LAST WIN AT KANSAS: Johnson’s last win at the 1.5-mile track came on May 9, 2015, when he passed Kevin Harvick with 10 laps to go and took the checkered flag for his third win at Kansas.

MORE STATS: Johnson has spent 82.1 percent of all laps run at Kansas inside the top 15. He has made 1,438 green-flag passes and has an average finish of 8.5.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 44 laps led

Career

  • 626 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 258 top-10 finishes
  • 8,231 laps led

Track Career 

  • 21 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 148 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11:45 p.m. local time in the Kansas Speedway media center.

KANSAS STATS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win a race at Kansas Speedway, but he’s earned solid stats at the 1.5-mile track. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has one pole (2002) at the speedway. He’s earned top-five finishes in two of the last six races at Kansas and in the other four he encountered a variety of issues unrelated to the speed of the car. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks first among active drivers in the closers category, which represents the number of positions that a driver improves over the last 10 percent of the race. He has improved 31 positions, gaining an average of 1.8 spots since 2005. He also ranks seventh in fastest laps run with 151 and green-flag passes with 1,280, and has the ninth-best driver rating at 88.6.

BABY ON THE WAY: Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, made a big announcement on Instagram on Monday, Oct. 16 – they are expecting their first child, a baby girl. Click here for more.

NASCAR AMERICA: On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS will appear on a live one-hour broadcast of “NASCAR America,” NBCSN’s daily NASCAR news program. The show will be broadcast from the NASCAR Hall of Fame starting at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

THE PLAYER’S TRIBUNE: Check out the behind-the-scenes photo essay from Earnhardt’s final Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, featuring photos from The Player’s Tribune senior staff photographer, Jed Jacobsohn. Jacobsohn also took over Earnhardt’s Instagram account during the Talladega race weekend.

TODAY SHOW: “TODAY Show” host Willie Geist came to Talladega for an in-depth interview with Earnhardt, which will air on NBC on Sunday, Oct. 22. The pair also took a few laps around Talladega Superspeedway in a Corvette provided by Hendrick Chevrolet of Hoover, Alabama.

CLOSEST TO HOME: Jacob Conley, fueler for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, considers Kansas Speedway to be his home track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Conley grew up about three hours away in Omaha, Nebraska, and said he was always a NASCAR fan, but had never attended a race until he started working for Hendrick Motorsports. He played football at Doane University before joining the organization in 2013 as a member of the developmental pit crew. In 2015, he was a backup pit crew member for the Nos. 5 and 24 teams. Conley then became a starter for the No. 88 team in 2016 as one of the six primary over-the-wall crew members.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed six wins, five pole positions, 29 top-five finishes and 51 top-10 finishes in addition to 1,077 laps led. Johnson, who leads active drivers in wins, top-five finishes and top-10 finishes at the track, most recently won for the organization at Kansas in 2015.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 213 pole positions, 1,026 top-five finishes and 1,734 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,051 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I’ve always enjoyed Kansas, before the repave and now the new pavement the last few years has been really good for us, too. I think Kansas is one of our best tracks in the playoffs.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Kansas

“I don’t know. We have had some really good cars there. We had one of the best cars I think I have ever had in the Cup Series last fall in the playoff race there. Very frustrating to have our tire go down there leading. I feel like we had another good car there this past spring, which was encouraging.”

Chase Elliott on his struggles at Kansas

“You know, it just depends on where you are at in the picture. You have to run well at all of them to get in and now with the way the playoff points are you can pad your way all the way to Homestead if you’ve done a good job throughout the entire season.”

Elliott on heading into a playoff cutoff race

“Obviously we are in a tight spot in the playoffs after last weekend at Talladega. We know what we need to do in Kansas.”

Jimmie Johnson on the playoff picturing heading into Kansas

“Kansas is a great racetrack for me. That place has widened out pretty good and you can run against the fence there, which is a line that I like to run. It’s a very fast racetrack and very smooth – a lot of fun, so we should have a good time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Kansas

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews Talladega

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY (2.66-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: TALLADEGA, ALABAMA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 31 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 15 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 14th in standings
  • 30 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 33 laps led

Career

  • 498 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 174 top-10 finishes
  • 4,640 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 83 laps led
FARMERS INSURANCE: Farmers Insurance returns to the No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Kasey Kahne most recently drove the Farmers Insurance livery at Dover International Speedway, where he finished 14th. The longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner will also adorn Kahne’s Chevy at the upcoming Phoenix race weekend.

KAHNE AT TALLADEGA: Kahne has earned one of his 27 pole awards at Talladega. He captured the prime starting position with a speed of 191.455 mph in October 2012. The Enumclaw, Washington, native also has two starts on the outside pole position – both in 2015. Kahne has finished second in the Talladega race twice – October 2006 and November 2009. Earlier this year at Talladega, Kahne finished in the fifth position.

TALLADEGA LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks first in the closer category with 57 positions moved up over the last 10 percent of the race. The 37-year-old is ninth in green-flag passes with 8,073. He’s 11th in laps spent in the top 15 with 1,979 and in quality passes with 4,578. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

RESTRICTOR PLATES: At restrictor-plate tracks this season, Kahne has led 19 laps for 47.5 miles and earned 88 points. Kahne has one top-five finish and two top-10s at superspeedways in 2017.

CREW CHIEF WINS: Darian Grubb — Kahne’s crew chief since September’s New Hampshire weekend — has earned one win at Talladega. Grubb visited Victory Lane at the 2.66-mile oval in May 2014 with driver Denny Hamlin. The crew chief’s 23 wins are the third-most among active crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 4th in standings
  • 30 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 376 laps led

Career

  • 71 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 34 top-10 finishes
  • 734 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 36 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 13, at 11:20 a.m. local time in the Talladega Superspeedway media center.

NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, the familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme will return to the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a second-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.

TALLADEGA STATS: Elliott will make his fourth start at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The 21-year-old driver earned the pole award in his first start at the track in May 2016 and garnered a top-five finish. Elliott has led 36 laps and averages a starting position of 4.3 and finishing position of 15.7 at the track. He has three starts at Talladega in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, collecting one top-10 finish.

TALLADEGA DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Elliott has the highest driver rating at Talladega with a score of 91.4. 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. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points.

CHARLOTTE REWIND: Elliott started Sunday afternoon’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in seventh, but it didn’t take long for him to find the front of the field – taking the lead on Lap 41 and leading 11 laps before eventually finishing Stage 1 in second. The second-year driver maintained the second position through the end of Stage 2. Elliott and the No. 24 SunEnergy1 team continued their strong run, collecting their third runner-up effort in four playoff races.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the runner-up finish at Charlotte, Elliott now ranks fourth in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as the series heads to Talladega this weekend. The driver of the No. 24 holds a 16-point advantage over the ninth-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.

ELLIOTT AT TALLADEGA: Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 10:10 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

TESTING AT MARTINSVILLE: Elliott and the No. 24 team will represent Hendrick Motorsports at the Martinsville test on Tuesday and Wednesday. The NASCAR Cup Series will return to Martinsville for the first race of the Round of 8 in the playoffs on Oct. 29.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 573 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,639 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 470 laps led
PLAYOFF PICTURE: With four races in the books and a seventh-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are currently seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs standings heading into Talladega.

ALABAMA GANG: Front-tire carrier R.J. Barnette hails from nearby Pinson, Alabama. Barnette played football at Samford University as a defensive end and tried out for the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew in 2009. He has been on the No. 48 team ever since.

JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATIONOn Monday, Johnson hosted his 11th annual golf tournament benefiting the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. The private event, usually held on the West Coast in California where Johnson is from, was held in Charlotte, North Carolina, at Quail Hollow. The event raised over $753,000 and Johnson has now donated over $11 million to children in need. For more information, click here.

TALLADEGA DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating at Talladega with a score of 88.1. 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.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 30 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 37 laps led

Career

  • 625 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 257 top-10 finishes
  • 8,224 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 6 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 12 top-five finishes
  • 16 top-10 finishes
  • 960 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 13, at 3:20 p.m. local time in the Talladega Superspeedway media center.

WINNING WAYS: Winning may not be all Dale Earnhardt Jr. does at Talladega Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS does have six wins on the 2.66-mile tri-oval, more than he has at any other track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. In 2015, he won the spring race and entered Talladega’s fall race in a win-to-continue playoffs scenario, where he finished second, just missing his opportunity to make it into the penultimate round of the postseason. The 2016 spring race looked promising as Earnhardt qualified third, but after two separate incidents, he wasn’t able to finish the race. In this year’s spring race, Earnhardt qualified second and was running third with 15 laps to go before having to pit for a loose wheel. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt is at the top of the chart among active drivers in the laps led category at the track, leading a total of 471 laps since 2005, 15 more laps than his next closest competitor.

TALLADEGA LOOP DATA: In addition to leading the most laps, Earnhardt has the second-best driver rating among active drivers at the track with an average of 91.0 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. Earnhardt also ranks near the top in several other loop data categories, including average running position (third – 14.422), laps in the top 15 (fourth – 2,808) and green-flag speed (third – 193.759 mph). The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native ranks in the top 10 in many of the additional categories, including fastest laps run (eighth – 87), green-flag passes (seventh – 8,189), and quality passes (fourth – 5,228).

THANK YOU, FANS: The No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS will sport a special paint scheme this weekend. Through the “Ride with Jr.” program, Mountain Dew allowed fans to sign up to get their name on the No. 88 Chevy and say thank you to the driver in the process, which fits right in with Earnhardt’s JR Nation #Appreci88ion Tour. Click here for more.

TODAY SHOW: While he’s in Talladega, Earnhardt will spend time with “TODAY Show” host Willie Geist for an interview that will air later this fall.

DALE JR. DAY: Governor Kay Ivey has declared Sunday, Oct. 15, as “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day” in the state of Alabama. Ivey, who will also serve as Grand Marshal for the Alabama 500, made the announcement in celebration of six-time Talladega winner Earnhardt and his legacy at the world’s greatest “Super” Superspeedway. Click here for more.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DALE!: Please join us in wishing Earnhardt a very happy birthday as he celebrates his 43rd today.

HOMETOWN HERO: William “Rowdy” Harrell, rear-tire carrier for the No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet team, can certainly be called a hometown hero when he returns to Alabama, and particularly to Moundville, the small town where he grew up. After playing football in high school, Harrell was a walk-on linebacker for Nick Saban’s well-known University of Alabama football team, winning three national championships in his four years with the team. The tire carrier can also add race winner to his list of accolades, as he joined the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 team in 2014 and became one of the six primary over-the-wall crew members in 2015. During those two seasons, the No. 88 team racked up seven wins, including the 2014 Daytona 500. Alabama’s football team is undefeated to this point of the 2017 college football season, which the outgoing former linebacker still follows very closely. Harrell was also selected to be on Steve Letarte’s All-Star Pit Crew segment for NBC this weekend.

ICYMI 2018 UNVEIL: Alex Bowman and Earnhardt unveiled the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 last Thursday that Bowman will race in 2018. Click here for a recap from the event.

Hendrick Motorsports

2018 CHEVROLET CAMARO REVEAL: On Thursday, Oct. 5, Hendrick Motorsports revealed all four of its 2018 Daytona 500 primary paint schemes featuring drivers Chase Elliott, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman. The 2018 driver lineup was joined at the event by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, 14-time most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott. Click here to watch the 2018 car reveal and here for up-close photos of the four Camaros.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 12 wins, 11 pole positions, 55 top-five finishes and 80 top-10s. Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent Talladega win came in 2015, when Earnhardt made his way to Victory Lane in the May race after qualifying fourth.

SIX MAKE 12: Hendrick Motorsports’ 12 wins at Talladega have come thanks to six different drivers. Ken Schrader earned the organization’s first win at the track in 1988. Jeff Gordon contributed six wins, Johnson has earned two, and Brian Vickers, Terry Labonte and Earnhardt have claimed one apiece.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,026 top-five finishes and 1,732 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,013 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I think we can do well at Talladega. Unfortunately, you can’t control everything at Talladega, though. Sometimes you are unlucky and that’s just part of what happens there. We had a strong finish there earlier this year and all we can do is focus on everything we can control.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Talladega

“I think there is something you can do. There are guys that have been consistently winning at those races over the past number of years. Anytime you see something consistently happen, there is obviously not just luck involved in it.”

Chase Elliott on luck versus control at Talladega

“We have to go there. It counts as much as the rest of them so I kind of look at it as an opportunity. The guys who have embraced it and have been willing to want to figure it out seem to excel and we would like to be among that group.”

Elliott on restrictor plate racing

“Talladega is indeed a wildcard race. I’m happy it’s not a cut-off for the Round of 8, but we really need to make it through the race and have a good finish. We don’t want to go to Kansas fighting to stay alive in the hunt for an eighth championship.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Talladega

“I’d like to fly under the radar a little bit. I don’t want to put too much pressure on us – it messes up the way you think, the way you use strategy in the race, everything. But Talladega is a great track and a great opportunity to win. I think we’ll also have a chance to win at Martinsville and Texas, and some of these other tracks we go to.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Talladega

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

Hendrick Motorsprts Previews The Bank of America 500

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 30 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 8 (NBC/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 go90 Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 15th in standings
  • 29 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 1,106 laps led
GO90: This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 go90 Chevrolet SS. Charlotte marks the fourth time this season that go90 has adorned the No. 5 Chevrolet SS. The Hendrick Motorsports docuseries“Road to Race Day” can be seen on Complex Networks’ Rated Red available on go90. All eight episodes are now available to watch.

KAHNE AT CHARLOTTE: Kahne’s four wins (two in 2006, one in both 2008 and 2012) at Charlotte Motor Speedway place him second among current NASCAR Cup Series drivers in victories at the 1.5-mile track just behind teammate Jimmie Johnson, who has eight. The 37-year-old is tied for fourth in the all-time wins category at the track with Buddy Baker, Fred Lorenzen, Mark Martin and David Pearson. Kahne has led 1,106 laps over 12 races at the Concord, North Carolina, venue, which is second-most among active drivers and 10th all-time. Kahne has excelled at conquering the longest race of the season, with three of his four wins coming in the strenuous 600-mile race. He also has three runner-up finishes at the track and scored a third-place finish in last year’s fall race.

CHARLOTTE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Kahne has an average driver rating of 93.6, which ranks him sixth 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 laps, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. He’s second to Johnson in fastest laps run with 710 and is second in green-flag passes with 1,970. He is also fifth in quality passes with 987. 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 Enumclaw, Washington, native is eighth in laps run in the top 15 with 5,255.

CREW CHIEF WINS: Kahne’s newly appointed crew chief, Darian Grubb, has earned two of his 23 wins at the Concord, North Carolina, track. Grubb visited Victory Lane with former Hendrick Motorsports driver Casey Mears in May 2007. The Floyd, Virginia, native returned to Victory Lane in May 2015 with Carl Edwards. Grubb currently has the third-most wins among active crew chiefs in the Cup Series.

COMING HOME: Several of the No. 5 team members originate from North Carolina – engineer Matt Piercy (Conover, North Carolina); engineer and front-tire carrier Michael Oxendine (Lumberton, North Carolina); rear-tire carrier Allen Stallings (Manteo, North Carolina); jackman Joseph So (Salisbury, North Carolina); and fueler Landon Walker (North Wilkesboro, North Carolina).

No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 10th in standings
  • 29 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 16 top-10 finishes
  • 364 laps led

Career

  • 70 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 18 top-five finishes
  • 33 top-10 finishes
  • 722 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 103 laps led
SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET: This weekend, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will once again adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. It marks the fourth race of the season that SunEnergy1 has served as the primary sponsor for Chase Elliott. In the most recent appearance, Elliott piloted the SunEnergy1 Chevy at Watkins Glen International in August, when he collected a 13th-place finish.

CHARLOTTE STATS: The second-year driver is set to make his fifth start at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. In Elliott’s four previous starts he has garnered one top-10 finish and led 103 laps. He averages a starting position of 11.5 and finishing position of 24.2. Elliott has also made four starts at Charlotte in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where he garnered three top-10s, led 66 laps and earned a pole award in October 2014.

DOVER REWIND: Elliott led a career-high 138 laps on his way to a second-place finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway. With the finish, Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team advanced to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

MEET ELLIOTT: Elliott will appear at the Under Armour Factory House store at the Charlotte Premium Outlets (5524 New Fashion Way, Charlotte, NC 28278) on Friday, Oct. 6, from 10-11 a.m. local time. Photos are guaranteed for the first 125 guests (one per person) on a first-come, first-served basis.

HOME SWEET HOME: While all team members currently live in North Carolina, there are three members of the No. 24 team that hail from the Tar Heel State: gas man and engineer Travis Gordon (Richfield, North Carolina), tire carrier Jared Seate (Charlotte, North Carolina) and mechanic Ben Bowden (Julian, North Carolina).

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 5th in standings
  • 29 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 193 laps led

Career

  • 572 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 340 top-10 finishes
  • 18,639 laps led

Track Career 

  • 32 starts
  • 8 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 1,930 laps led
PLAYOFF PICTURE: With three races in the rear-view mirror in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are in the Round of 12 and fifth in the standings heading into Charlotte. Johnson posted a third-place finish last weekend at Dover, which was his first top-five result since Dover in June.

CHARLOTTE PERFORMANCE IMPRESSIVE: In addition to his eight wins at Charlotte, Johnson has led a total of 1,930 laps around the 1.5-mile track. He has spent over 86.7 percent of all laps run inside the top 15 and has an average finish of 14th. Johnson also holds the record for the driver who won from the worst starting spot in the field, taking the green flag in 37th and driving home with the checkered flag in the May 2003 race.

RECENT PERFORMANCES AT CHARLOTTE: In May, Johnson finished 17th at Charlotte. One year ago, Johnson put on a dominating performance, leading 155 laps en route to his eighth win at the track and securing himself into the Round of 8 in the 2016 Cup Series playoffs.

RECORD WINS: Johnson is the all-time winningest driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Runners up include NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison, both of whom have six wins, followed by former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon with five.

PAINTING THE WALL PINK: Johnson and partner Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina participated in a “Paint the Wall Pink” event on Sept. 27. Johnson and hundreds of cancer survivors gathered at Charlotte Motor Speedway to help raise awareness for breast cancer, as well as paint the pit wall pink for this weekend’s race. Click here for more.

CHARLOTTE DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the best driver rating at Charlotte with a score of 110.4. 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. 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.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG EARL: Longtime team spotter Earl Barban will celebrate a birthday on Oct. 5. Barban is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and has been with the team for more than 10 years.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

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
  • 29 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 37 laps led

Career

  • 624 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 257 top-10 finishes
  • 8,224 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 360 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 6, at 3:10 p.m. local time in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center.

CHARLOTTE STATS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win a points race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but if you throw out the DNF for engine trouble in the spring of 2013, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has an average finish of 14.4 in the last six years (2012-2017) and a career total of six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The 1.5-mile oval is also the site of his first NASCAR Cup Series start (May 1999) and first Cup pole (May 2000).

ALL-STAR: While Earnhardt hasn’t yet won a points-paying race at Charlotte, the driver earned a victory as a rookie in his first start in the All-Star Race on May 20, 2000. It was a 70-lap event and he took the lead from Dale Jarrett with two laps to go to win the race. Earnhardt has made every All-Star Race since 2000, although he has had to run the open qualifier twice. Both times, Earnhardt transferred to the All-Star Race – once by winning the fan vote (2011) and once by winning the Showdown (2012).

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks seventh among drivers for green-flag passes at Charlotte since 2005, completing 1,868 of them. In that span, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS ranks ninth among drivers in fastest laps run (216), 10th in laps inside the top 15 (4,379) and 12th in laps led at the 1.5-mile oval (162).

BRAD PAISLEY HEADLINES JR NATION APPRECI88ION CONCERT: On Saturday night, Oct. 7, Earnhardt is treating fans to a concert featuring three-time Grammy award-winning country music artist Brad Paisley. Saturday night’s concert, presented by Wrangler and Nationwide, is part of the JR Nation Appreci88ion Tour, Earnhardt’s campaign to salute fans in his final season as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. Earnhardt will introduce Paisley on stage and will participate in a special presentation of “Trackside Live,” a pre-race show at zMAX Dragway broadcast live on NASCAR.com beginning at 8:30 p.m. Prior to Earnhardt’s “Trackside Live” appearance, country music sensation Tim Dugger will rev up Saturday’s show by opening for Paisley. The spectacular concert is FREE for every adult ticketholder to Sunday’s Bank of America 500. For tickets and information, fans can call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

2018 DAYTONA 500 PAINT SCHEME UNVEIL: Both Earnhardt and Alex Bowman will be in attendance for the unveil of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy’s 2018 Daytona 500 paint scheme on Thursday, Oct. 5. On July 20, Bowman was named the full-time driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet beginning in 2018. Bowman, 24, piloted the No. 88 Chevrolet in 10 of the final 18 Cup races last season in place of the injured Earnhardt. The Tucson, Arizona, native debuted July 17, 2016, at New Hampshire and went on to earn three top-10 finishes with the team including a sixth-place result at Phoenix, where he won the pole position and led a race-high 194 laps. Scroll down to the Hendrick Motorsports section for more information on the 2018 unveil.

BOWMAN IN NXS: Through Hendrick Motorsports’ technical partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing, Bowman will drive the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 7. He will also race the No. 42 Camaro at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 11. Hendrick Automotive Group’s HendrickCars.com, which features more than 43,000 new and pre-owned cars for sale, will serve as Bowman’s primary sponsor in the Charlotte race with additional support from Vannoy Construction. For more, click here.

Hendrick Motorsports

2018 CHEVROLET CAMARO REVEAL: On Thursday, Oct. 5, Hendrick Motorsports will reveal all four of its 2018 Daytona 500 primary paint schemes featuring drivers Chase Elliott, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman. The 2018 driver lineup will be joined at the event by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon, 14-time most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott. The 2018 car reveal will be covered live Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NASCAR.comand the Hendrick Motorsports Facebook page. The reveal will be followed by a post-event show featuring interviews with the Hendrick Motorsports team.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT CHARLOTTE: Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which ranks first all-time among teams at the 1.5-mile oval. Jimmie Johnson most recently won the Bank of America 500 there last October and has an all-time record eight career victories at Charlotte. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne ranks second among drivers competing in the 500-mile event this weekend with four wins at Charlotte. The organization has 60 top-five finishes and 95 top-10s and has led 5,023 laps at Charlotte since 1984.

FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Charlotte are tied with Dover International Speedway for second for the organization’s most at a track, behind only Martinsville Speedway with 24 wins. The Charlotte victories have come via seven different drivers — Johnson (eight), Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Casey Mears and Kahne.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,023 top-five finishes and 1,726 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,856 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Charlotte is nice because it’s so close to home. Obviously, I have a few wins there, but for whatever reason over the past couple of years it’s been one of the harder tracks for me. It’s been tough to figure out the bumps and figure out how to keep the car turning.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Charlotte

“Charlotte provides many challenges, but when the sun is out, I feel like you can really move around and have some options with your race car, which is nice.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Charlotte

“We were so fast off the truck last weekend in Dover and with a third-place finish, have some good momentum heading into Charlotte. We’re still looking for that sweet spot and need to start leading some laps but I have a ton of faith in my Lowe’s team. They never quit.”

Jimmie Johnson on moving forward in the playoffs

“The challenge at Charlotte is not landing too tight in Turns 1 and 2 and being too tight in the center there. Something that I think we all fight and we all have to work on there is trying to get your car to roll the middle of the corner, have that front grip and keep the car turning in the middle. You get into the corner so fast in Turn 1 and transitioning into that banking, the car really lands hard and gets tight, so trying to make that transition is a real challenge. Charlotte is our home track and I haven’t won a points race there yet, so that’s certainly something I would like to do. We have been seeing some improvements in our performance and our speed, so I’m looking forward to Charlotte.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Charlotte

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

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Apache

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (ONE-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: DOVER, DELAWARE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 29 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 1 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 16th in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 90 laps led
FARMERS AT DOVER: This weekend at Dover International Speedway, Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. The Enumclaw, Washington, native most recently piloted the Farmers Insurance livery at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he went on to capture his 18th career NASCAR Cup Series win. Kahne will also be behind the wheel of the Farmers Insurance Chevy for the upcoming races at Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

KAHNE AT DOVER: Kahne has started in the second position three times at Dover and looks to earn his first pole award at the concrete track this weekend to add to his 27 career Cup poles. In Kahne’s last five races at the “Monster Mile,” he’s accumulated two top-five finishes and one top-10, as well as two additional finishes inside the top 20. He has an average starting position of 14.0 and a finishing position of 18.6. In this year’s May race, Kahne had a strong run going until he was caught up in a late-race incident in the closing laps and ultimately finished 17th.

DOVER LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks third in green-flag passes at Dover with 1,022. He’s sixth in fastest laps run with 371 laps. The 37-year-old is eighth in quality passes with 508 and ninth in laps spent in the top 15 with 5,802. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

RECAPPING NEW HAMPSHIRE: Kahne and the No. 5 team entered last weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a newly appointed crew chief, Darian Grubb. After a strong opening practice session on Friday, Kahne qualified the No. 5 machine in the ninth position. During the opening of Sunday’s race, Kahne battled a loose-handling race car. As the race continued, the handling improved and Kahne was on the verge of reaching the top 10 with under 50 laps remaining before he was forced to the garage to repair a mechanical issue. Unfortunately, he was relegated to a 35th-place finish in the second race of Round 1 in the playoffs.

GOLD AND TEAL WHEEL: Earlier this month at Richmond Raceway, Kahne used a special teal and gold steering wheel for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s second annual “Drive for Teal and Gold” campaign. The goal is to bring awareness and raise funds for ovarian (teal) and childhood cancers (gold). Kahne’s steering wheel is up for auction via the NASCAR Foundation through the Fanatics website. Bidding for Kahne’s No. 5 steering wheel closes on Oct. 1.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 9th in standings
  • 28 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 226 laps led

Career

  • 69 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 17 top-five finishes
  • 32 top-10 finishes
  • 584 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Dover International Speedway, the familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme will return to the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a second-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.

MONSTER MILE STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fourth start at Dover this weekend. In Elliott’s first three appearances at the one-mile oval, he has collected three top-five finishes. He averages a starting position of 12.7 and finishing position of 3.7. Elliott also has four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the Dover, Delaware, track. In those four starts, the 21-year-old driver garnered two top-five finishes, four top-10s and 19 laps led, averaging a starting position of 6.0 and finishing position of 5.2.

DOVER DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Elliott has the fourth-highest driver rating at Dover with a score of 100.2. 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.

LOUDON REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 team started 14th in a backup car due to a single-car incident in first practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The second-year driver ended the opening 75-lap stage in 17th after reporting that his car was too tight. After a pit stop for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to improve the handling conditions on the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet, Elliott restarted 14th to begin Stage 2. The 21-year-old driver gained one position during the stage for a 13th-place finish at Lap 150. Elliott restarted ninth for the final stage after a quick pit stop by the No. 24 team. He was scored 11th on Lap 221 when the caution flag waved. He continued to maintain the 11th position when the yellow flag was displayed once again at Lap 274. The No. 24 driver restarted 10th with 23 laps to go and fought to hold his position, but ultimately finished just outside the top 10 in 11th.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the 11th-place result in Loudon, Elliott ranks ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings heading into the Round of 16 cutoff race Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The second-year driver holds a 26-point advantage over the 13th-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.

DRIVE FOR TEAL & GOLD: Since Richmond, Elliott has been running a special steering wheel for the second annual Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s “Drive for Teal & Gold” steering wheel campaign to bring awareness for ovarian and childhood cancers. The bidding is open until Sunday, Oct. 1, for Elliott’s signed, race-driven wheel via the NASCAR Foundation though Fanatics.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 11 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 22 top-10 finishes
  • 3,100 laps led
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Two races into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are seventh in the standings heading into Dover, the closing race of the Round of 16. Johnson finished 14th last weekend at New Hampshire after a miscue on a pit stop resulted in the team not finishing in the top 10.

ELITE COMPANY: With his 11 wins at Dover, Johnson is just the fifth driver to win 10 or more races at a single track, joining Dale Earnhardt Sr., David Pearson, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip.

DOVER STATS IMPRESSIVE: In addition to his 11 wins at Dover, Johnson has led a total of 3,100 laps at the one-mile concrete speedway. He has spent over 85 percent of all laps run in the top 15 and has an average finish of 7.9. Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team swept both races at Dover in the 2002 and 2009 seasons.

LAST TIME AT DOVER: Dover was the site of Johnson’s latest win in June. He started 14th and led only seven laps – but they were the final laps, as Johnson battled Kyle Larson down to the wire. It was Johnson’s 83rd win in the NASCAR Cup Series and his record-breaking 11th victory at Dover.

DOVER DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the best driver rating at Dover with a score of 118.3. 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.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

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

Career

  • 623 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,224 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 451 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:55 p.m. local time in the Dover International Speedway media center.

TAMING THE ‘MONSTER’: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one win at the “Monster Mile,” which came in the 2001 fall race after leading the final 39 laps en route to victory. He’s earned five top-five finishes and nine top-10s at the concrete oval since his trip to Victory Lane in 2001 and had a notably good weekend in the fall of 2013, starting from the pole and finishing second. He finished 11th in this year’s spring race at Dover, just missing the top 10.

MONSTER MILE STATS: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks fourth among active drivers since 2005 for green-flag passes at Dover International Speedway, completing 1,018 green-flag passes. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS ranks eighth in fastest laps run during that span at the one-mile oval with 257.

STANDINGS UPDATE: After Earnhardt did not qualify for the 16-driver NASCAR playoffs following the Sept. 9 race at Richmond, he mentioned that the goal for the No. 88 team would be to finish in the top 20 in points. It’s a challenging goal — especially after Earnhardt was caught up in a multi-car incident last weekend in Loudon, relegating him to a 34th-place finish — but one that is certainly mathematically possible with eight races remaining. Currently, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy is ranked 22nd in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings. Earnhardt is 30 points behind the driver ranked 21st, Trevor Bayne, and 142 points out of 20th, the spot currently held by Daniel Suarez.

CLOSE TO HOME: The rear-tire changer for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy team, Devin DelRicco, hails from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which is approximately two hours west of Dover. The high school baseball player used one of the pit crew schools in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area to work his way into NASCAR. The 27-year-old tire changer has been with the No. 88 team for three years.

TIRE TEST: Earnhardt and the No. 88 team participated in a Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway on July 25. The one-day test had drivers testing a new tire package for this weekend’s race at the one-mile concrete oval.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT DOVER: At Dover International Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 19 wins, nine pole positions, 62 top-five finishes and 100 top-10s. Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane for the organization at the track earlier this year in June.

FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Dover are tied with Charlotte Motor Speedway for the organization’s second-most at a track. The Dover victories have come via five different drivers — Johnson (11), Gordon (5), Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,023 top-five finishes and 1,726 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,856 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Dover is probably one of my favorite tracks and always has been. It’s definitely one of the more difficult tracks. The hardest thing about Dover is on a long run your tires build up with so much air that your car starts bouncing a lot more and your head starts moving around a lot more. Every time the car bounces it tries to take grip out of the front or rear tires, whichever one is close to sliding. Trying to control that as a driver and with the balance of your car to me is key to really running well there.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Dover

“I’ve been trying to talk to him every time I’ve ever been. I still haven’t figured it out, but yes, I would say he is the best there, no doubt. I would love to know what makes him so good at that track. I feel like I have learned some things and have gotten better there over the past few races. We had a solid race there last time. I had a solid race in the fall of last year, too. I think we are gaining on it. We are not to his level by any means, but I think we are gaining on it.”

Chase Elliott on learning from teammate Jimmie Johnson at Dover

“Yeah, there is a different feel. A lot of times the concrete tracks have patches and you can tell where the cracks and the lines in the concrete are. As you get some laps on tires and the air pressure builds up it really wants to bounce across those grooves and patches in the track. You can notice it, for sure. One thing about the concrete tracks is they don’t really age, they stay about the same. I know Dover does some cool things, too, like watering the track when it’s hot and things to try to keep that from happening. But, they seem very consistent to me.”

Elliott on the difference between concrete and asphalt tracks

“Dover, hands down, is one of my favorite tracks. It suits my driving style as well as the team in how they build and set up the cars. We have had so much success over the years at Dover, I wish we raced there every weekend. I can’t wait to get in that race car.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Dover

“I’m looking forward to Dover. Well, I’m especially looking forward to some of the tracks that we have coming up after that – Martinsville, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix, etc. I don’t know how we’re going to do at Dover, it hasn’t been a great track for us the past several years. I appreciate everybody’s support though and it does help. We’re going to keep grinding and keep working hard and try to get a good run for everybody this weekend.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Dover

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

Hendrick Motorsports Prepares For New Hampshire Motor Speedway

NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.058-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 28 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, SEPT. 24 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 go90 Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 15th in standings
  • 27 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 305 laps led
GO90: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 go90 Chevrolet SS. The go90 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. All eight episodes are now available to watch.

CREW CHIEF CHANGE: Hendrick Motorsports announced on Monday that Darian Grubb will assume the crew chief role for the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team and driver Kasey Kahne. The 41-year-old Grubb will be atop the pit box for this weekend’s event at New Hampshire and for the remaining NASCAR Cup Series races of the 2017 season. The Floyd, Virginia, native has earned 23 Cup victories, which ranks him third among active full-time crew chiefs. Grubb replaces Keith Rodden, who has been assigned other duties within Hendrick Motorsports.

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATS: This weekend, Kahne returns to New Hampshire, the site of his 14th career NASCAR Cup Series victory. He took the checkered flag in the July 2012 event with a 2.738-second margin of victory over Denny Hamlin, leading 66 laps at the Loudon, New Hampshire, track. Kahne’s average starting position at the 1.058-mile oval is 11.7 and his average finishing position is 17.1. With five second-place starts, the 37-year-old is still looking for his first pole award at the New England track.

LOOP DATA AT NHMS: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks second in green-flag passes at New Hampshire with 1,335 and fifth in quality passes with 677. 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 also ranks ninth in laps led with 274.

GOING HOME: No. 5 team engineer Taylor Moyer is a native of Shoreham, Vermont, which is located almost three hours northwest of the Loudon track. Following a move 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 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 27 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 226 laps led

Career

  • 68 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 17 top-five finishes
  • 32 top-10 finishes
  • 584 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 1 lap led
KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott will pilot the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS for the second time this season. Kelley Blue Book is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week, the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week. Elliott most recently piloted the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway in June, when he finished eighth.

LOUDON STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fourth NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.058-mile speedway. In his previous three starts, Elliott averaged a starting position of 9.3 and finishing position of 19.3. The driver of the No. 24 also has two starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in Loudon, New Hampshire. In those XFINITY starts, Elliott collected a pair of top-10 finishes, averaging a starting position of 7.5 and finishing position of 8.5.

FRANCIS NAMED INTERIM CREW CHIEF: Kenny Francis, 47, has been named interim crew chief of the No. 24 NASCAR Cup Series team with driver Elliott for this weekend’s event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Jacksonville, Florida, native, who was Elliott’s crew chief for five points races in 2015, currently serves as Hendrick Motorsports’ vehicle technical director and has 17 wins, 75 top-five finishes and 149 top-10s as a Cup Series crew chief. Kevin Hulstein will serve as the team’s car chief.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: Entering this weekend’s race at New Hampshire, Elliott is eighth — 58 points behind the leader — in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs standings with two races remaining in the Round of 16. After next weekend’s race at Dover, 12 drivers will advance to the next round.

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

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 27 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 188 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 21 top-10 finishes
  • 323 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m. local time in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center.

HURRICANE RELIEF: On Monday, Jimmie Johnson visited Naples, Florida, to provide some comfort and a morale boost to employees of two Lowe’s stores affected by Hurricane Irma. Johnson also helped install an air conditioning unit and a generator and participated in tree removal for a 97-year-old homeowner in the area.

WHERE THE 48 STANDS: One race into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Johnson and the No. 48 team are eighth in the standings. Johnson finished eighth at Chicago after starting 14th.

WORLDWIDE LEADER: To help promote the NASCAR playoffs, Johnson visited ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, last Thursday before heading to Chicago.

LAST TIME AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: In the most recent race at New Hampshire, Johnson and the No. 48 team started second and finished 10th. Johnson leads the series with 78 percent of laps run in the top 15 at the track. He has an average finish of 11.1.

THREE LOBSTERS: Throughout 31 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team have earned three trophies and the traditional 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 100.8. 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.

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

Career

  • 622 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,224 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 378 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 22, at 4:30 p.m. local time in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center.

LOOKING FOR A LOBSTER: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win and claim the prize rock lobster traditionally given away at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has racked up some solid stats at the 1.058-mile oval. In 34 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 nine starts at the Loudon, New Hampshire, facility. While his career average finish at the track is 15.4, in his most recent nine races dating back to 2012, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has improved that number to an average finish of 11.6.

DRIVER RATING: 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 96.4. 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. 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.

LOOP DATA: Additionally, NASCAR’s loop data stats have Earnhardt ranked second among active competitors in quality passes (743) and third among active competitors in green-flag speed (125.116 mph) and green-flag passes (1,321). The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native ranks sixth in average running position (11.483) and ninth in fastest laps run (274). Earnhardt is fifth on the chart for laps run in the top 15 at New Hampshire with 5,180 laps. Since 2005 at the 1.058-mile oval, the 42-year-old has spent 75.3 percent of his laps running in the top 15.

NATIONWIDE PET PROMOTION: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Earnhardt will have a four-legged friend riding with him on the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS for the first time. Marshall, a 1-year-old German shorthaired pointer from Stone Mountain, Georgia, was the winner of Nationwide’s Paws and Racing Sweepstakes. His image will be featured on the TV panel of the No. 88 Chevy. When Nationwide launched the sweepstakes earlier this summer, tens of thousands of pet owners from across the country posted photos of their pets on the Paws and Racing website. Marshall was selected at random as the winner. Marshall’s owners will be treated to a VIP race experience this weekend, including travel to the New Hampshire race and a meet-and-greet with Earnhardt. Additional first prize winners will receive a Nationwide pet accessory kit plus a No. 88 Nationwide die-cast car signed by Earnhardt.

‘TRACKSIDE LIVE!’ APPEARANCE: Earnhardt will be stopping by the “Trackside Live!” stage at New Hampshire for a portion of Saturday night’s show, which runs from 6 to 7 p.m. local time, for a Q&A session. “Trackside Live!” will also be broadcast on NASCAR.com. The stage is located across from the Fan Zone near the entrance to the infield tunnel.

Hendrick Motorsports

DISASTER RELIEF FUND: Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have launched a disaster relief fund with the goal of raising $500,000 in two weeks to support hurricane victims. The drivers, Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group committed a combined $300,000 and are encouraging the public to join the effort. Visit HendrickRelief.org for more information and to donate.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, seven pole positions, 42 top-five finishes and 75 top-10s. Kasey 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, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,023 top-five finishes and 1,726 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,856 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“New Hampshire is a tough track and it’s unique because it’s a flat track. You need a car that handles well, obviously. Qualifying well is helpful and strategy is a big deal because track position is so important there. I remember when I won there — (then-No. 5 team crew chief) Kenny Francis made the right call to get us a restart position on the front row towards the end of the race and I was able to take the lead. We had a strong car that day and the perfect strategy and won the race.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at New Hampshire

“It is just a very one-lane track and very difficult to make ground. You really have to be superior to the guy ahead of you to get to him and be able to do anything with him without rooting him up out of the way or something. And sometimes that is just how people pass and how you have to make ground there. That is the biggest thing, it is just tough to make up ground in a hurry and make anything happen.”

Chase Elliott on racing at New Hampshire

“I felt like we started off the playoffs in the right direction. My Lowe’s teammates worked their guts out last weekend and we made some big changes to the car throughout the weekend. It was so much better on Sunday. I’m looking forward to this weekend at New Hampshire. We have found some speed there as of late and then Dover is next, which I can’t wait for.”

Jimmie Johnson on the playoffs so far

“We spent several hours in the simulator on Monday trying to figure something out for this week. We aren’t riding this year out or giving up. We’re going to keep working hard the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to New Hampshire – it’s a fun track. It’s flat and it’s kind of tricky to get around, but it’s fun.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at New Hampshire

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

Leavine Family Racing Announces Kasey Kahne As Their Driver In 2018

Kasey Kahne
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) has announced that Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 95 Chevrolet Camaro for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.

Kahne, who has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since 2012, has signed on to be LFR’s primary driver for the 2018 season.

LFR has recorded impressive finishes as a single-car team during the 2017 MENCS season and feels that Kahne, winner of the Brickyard 400 in 2017, would not only be a top driver for the team in the MENCS series in 2018, but also be instrumental in assisting the team to attract new sponsorship in the future.

“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” said Kahne. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. Bob and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

“We look at this as an opportunity to go to the next level,” said LFR team owner, Bob Leavine. “This deals partially with performance, because obviously, Kasey is a playoff-caliber driver. He has a wealth of information being with a larger organization like Hendrick Motorsports, and we think that will help us. We also look at this as an opportunity for marketing to be able to sell sponsorship.

Overall, we think Kasey is a good fit and felt we needed a change. There is absolutely nothing that Michael (McDowell) did, it was just a matter of us having to make some changes to help us move up the ladder and be a factor in the playoffs. I know Kasey will bring things that will help us, and I believe our environment will be conducive to his confidence level, which will in turn raise our confidence level. It just seemed like the right time and the right fit for our team.”

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