Hendrick Motorsports Previews Texas Motor

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: FORT WORTH, TEXAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE SEVEN OF 36)
TUNE IN: 1:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, APRIL 9 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 36                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 474 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 90 top-five finishes
  • 171 top-10 finishes
  • 4,614 laps led

Track Career 

  • 25 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 224 laps led
FARMERS INSURANCE: This weekend, Kasey Kahne will pilot the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS at Texas Motor Speedway, marking the fourth of 12 races this season that Kahne will wheel the No. 5 machine with Farmers Insurance as the primary partner. This season, Kahne has two top-10s — including a top-five finish — in the Farmers Insurance Chevy.

KAHNE AT TEXAS: In just his fourth start at Texas, Kahne swept the April 2006 weekend. He started the weekend off strong by earning the pole with a speed of 190.315 mph. After leading 63 laps in the race, he took the checkered flag with a 5.299-second margin of victory over Matt Kenseth. In his NASCAR Cup Series career at Texas, the 36-year-old has led 224 laps over five races, which ranks him ninth among active drivers.

TEXAS LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is sixth in the following categories: fastest laps run with 276, green-flag passes with 1,745 and quality passes with 862. He’s seventh in laps spent in the top 15 with 5,096. The driver of the Farmers Insurance Chevy is eighth in average speed early in a run at 177.214 mph and green-flag speed at 173.365 mph, and he’s ninth in average speed late in a run at 171.165 mph.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: On Monday, April 10, Kahne will celebrate his 37th birthday. This year marks the Enumclaw, Washington, native’s 14th full-time season in the Cup Series, and his sixth driving the No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports.

1.5-MILE STATS: In Kahne’s last 10 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he has two top-five finishes and five top-10s, including an eighth-place finish in last year’s fall race at Texas. Kahne currently has a Cup Series career total of 35 top-five finishes and 59 top-10s at 1.5-mile venues. He has also captured eight of his 17 Cup wins at 1.5-mile ovals.

OFF WEEKEND PLANS: Kahne plans to spend his first off weekend since the start of the 2017 season at a racetrack. He aims to head to Texas to race his Kasey Kahne Racing sprint car in the World of Outlaw Series.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 2nd in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 169 laps led

Career

  • 47 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 21 top-10 finishes
  • 527 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 4 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS: NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 Cup Series races this year.

MARTINSVILLE REWIND: At Martinsville Speedway, Elliott collected his second stage win of the season, earning him a playoff point, and led 20 laps en route to his best career finish at Martinsville, third place. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native also earned his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory on Saturday in the GMS Racing No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado after starting from the pole and leading 92 laps.

LONE STAR STATE STATS: In Elliott’s two previous NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas, he collected top-five finishes in both races. The 21-year-old driver averages a starting position of 7.5 and finishing position of 4.5 at the track. Elliott collected his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at the 1.5-mile speedway in April, 2014. In his five XFINITY Series starts there, he has accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s, led 38 laps and completed 100 percent of the 1,000 possible laps while averaging a starting position of 10.4 and finishing position of 5.0.

IF CHASE WINS: Little Caesars has announced the return of the If Chase Wins promotion. If Elliott claims a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 23, Little Caesars is offering America a free lunch. If Elliott wins the April 23 race, Little Caesars will give away one free $5 HOT-N-READY®  Lunch Combo, featuring a 20 oz. Pepsi product to every customer who comes into a participating store and mentions the offer at the check-out counter between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (local time) on April 26, in accordance with the offer terms.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

  • 14th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 28 laps led

Career

  • 549 starts
  • 80 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 218 top-five finishes
  • 331 top-10 finishes
  • 18,474 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 6 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 14 top-five finishes
  • 20 top-10 finishes
  • 1,023 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will visit the Texas Motor Speedway media center at 10:15 a.m. local time on Friday, April 7.

CLOCKED OUT: The 15th-place finish last weekend at Martinsville Speedway didn’t show the true potential of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet as Jimmie Johnson spent 413 of the 500 laps inside the top 15 and made 66 green-flag passes. His average running position for the day was 8.48. Johnson’s Chevy suffered a broken exhaust as a result of on-track contact with competitors during Stage 2 on Sunday.

TEXAS SHOWMAN: Johnson has won five of the last nine races at Texas Motor Speedway. In total, Johnson has won six times at the track and led 1,023 laps in the process, both of which are the most all-time at Texas. His most recent win at the track came on November 8, 2015, when he started eighth and led only six laps en route to his sixth win at the 1.5-mile speedway.

TEXAS CREDENTIALS: Johnson has many series-best accolades at Texas Motor Speedway, according to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005. Among active drivers, Johnson has the series-best driver rating of 107.1. 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. In the same span, Johnson has spent 78 percent of all laps run in the top 15.

JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION FIT FEST: Registration continues for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest, a local community event on May 29, which will feature running, obstacle racing, mountain biking, music, food and more. Set in a festival atmosphere, the Fit Fest will take place at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Included in the day-long event will be 5K, 8K and half marathon trail running races, a four-hour endurance mountain bike event and a Spartan Kids Race. To register, go toJimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.

HELMET OF HOPE: Time is running out to nominate an organization for the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign. The campaign will award $125,000 to five non-profit organizations in May. The program, which began in 2008, allows fans, media members and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including parent-teacher associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org through April 14.

THE JOHNSON’S FEATURED IN GARDEN AND GUN: Johnson and his wife Chandra are featured in the April/May 10th anniversary issue of popular Southern lifestyle magazine “Garden and Gun.” The article — titled, “The Slow Lane” –showcases the Johnsons in their Charlotte, North Carolina, home. To read the article, click here.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 25th in standings
  • 6 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 8 laps led

Career

  • 601 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 148 top-five finishes
  • 252 top-10 finishes
  • 8,195 laps led

Track Career 

  • 28 starts
  • 1 win
  • 2 pole positions
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 448 laps led
STRONG AT TEXAS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t finished outside of the top six in the last four races he has run at Texas Motor Speedway. While the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS hasn’t been to Victory Lane since winning his first NASCAR Cup Series race in his first start at the Fort Worth, Texas, track on April 2, 2000, at age 25, he earned a runner-up finish in his most recent trip to the speedway in last year’s spring race. The 42-year-old driver has two poles at the Lone Star State track, earning the top starting spot in April 2001 and in April 2008, his first pole with Hendrick Motorsports.

QUALITY PASSES AND STATS: Earnhardt leads all active drivers since 2005 in the quality passes category, per NASCAR’s loop data statistics. 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 driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has recorded 979 quality passes at Texas, 61 more than the next closest driver. Over the same span, Earnhardt has the fifth-best driver rating at Texas with a 93.2 average. 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 ranks third in the number of laps spent in the top 15 with 5,784 and he holds a solid ranking in many of the speed categories: average speed early in a run (fifth – 177.491 mph), average speed late in a run (third – 171.504 mph), fastest laps run (fourth – 307) and green-flag speed (fifth – 173.617 mph).

TEXAS VICTORY TOUR: On Thursday, March 30, Earnhardt visited Gilley’s in Dallas along with JR Motorsports’ William Byron and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal for the Texas Motor Speedway No Limits Luncheon to help the speedway kick off the season. The trio of drivers helped raised more than $7,000 for Speedway Children’s Charities Texas through a VIP ticket, which included a Milano cowboy hat signed by all three drivers and a photo with them, as well as silent auction tickets for various autographed items. For a photo gallery from the event, click here.

SC GOVERNOR’S MANSION: Today (Tuesday, April 4), Earnhardt will visit the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, joining Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster to talk about Darlington Raceway’s economic impact on the state of South Carolina. Earnhardt, Tharp and Gov. McMaster will participate in a brief press conference at 4 p.m. ET before joining community business leaders and politicians inside the mansion to discuss Darlington’s throwback weekend. Please contact Dennis Worden for more information.

BLUE GLOVES: Earnhardt will continue to wear his blue-accented gloves for the remainder of April to raise awareness for autism. 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.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TEXAS: Hendrick Motorsports has earned eight wins, 35 top-five finishes, 62 top-10s, six pole positions and 2,255 laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane at the track for the organization in 2015, when he swept both races.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 245 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,013 top-five finishes and 1,701 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,584 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I wasn’t surprised about the repave. I don’t think there has been a series that has been able to race at that track in the last couple of years and not had some type of delays. They needed to do it to fix the drainage there. The surface is great, but the drainage is terrible, so I’m glad they’re fixing it. Hopefully the new surface will put on a great show for the fans.”

Kasey Kahne on the Texas repave

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Texas – what a fun place. I think Texas will always be special to me after getting my first XFINITY Series win there. It’s a place I enjoy going to and after the good runs we had there last season, I’m definitely looking forward to returning.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Texas

“I know best efforts are put in place to create an asphalt and tire combination that will really work well together and have some age in the surface. I’m very optimistic that we are going to show up and sure it’s going to be fast and maybe a little more single-file than we want to get started, but Texas has a lot of banking. It’s a very fast track. The entrance to the corners is a little sharp, but what is really sneaky about it is one corner exit you run out of room quick. The angle off the turn can really get your attention. With the faster speeds we will run there, I wouldn’t be surprised if guys are caught out on corner exit hitting the wall.”

Jimmie Johnson on the Texas repave

“They reconfigured Turns 1 and 2, so it will be fun to have something a little bit new to try out. I haven’t seen the track yet, but the repaves are a bit of a challenge for everyone because there’s not a preferred groove. I know they worked hard to try to speed up the aging process to give us the ability to widen the groove. As a driver, you’re always excited by what might be better, so I’m looking forward to getting on the track and getting some laps.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Texas repave

“Texas has always been one of my preferred stops because of the success we had in the XFINITY Series and Cup Series – you never forget where you won your first race, and neither do your fans. So I always look forward to coming here. This is a track that really puts on a good show. Before the repave, it was a very wide racetrack where you could use a lot of different lines and it was so much fun. I think the track will still be that way. This place is going to maintain its character and personality. The asphalt is new but it’ll age with the weather out here and the environment, it’ll speed up that process.”

Earnhardt on why Texas is a special

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

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