Hendrick Motosports Talks About The Upcoming Talladega Race

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY (2.66-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: TALLADEGA, ALABAMA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 10 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MAY 7 (FOX/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 9 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 7 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 83 laps led
UNIFIRST: This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway marks the first of two races this season that Kasey Kahne will pilot the white-and-green No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS. Kahne will also drive the UniFirst Chevy at the upcoming July Daytona race on July 1. The workwear and textile company became a Hendrick Motorsports partner in 2016 and signed an eight-year agreement that runs through 2023. For more information, visit www.unifirst.com.

TALLADEGA STATS: Kahne has captured one of his 27 career NASCAR Cup Series pole awards at Talladega Superspeedway – October 2012 – with a speed of 191.455 mph to edge out Ryan Newman. He also has two starts on the outside pole at the 2.66-mile track, both in 2015. The 37-year-old has two runner-up finishes at Talladega – October 2006 and November 2009.

TALLADEGA LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005,Kahne ranks first in the closers category at Talladega with 52 positions moved up over the last 10 percent of the race. He’s ninth in green-flag passes with 7,447. The Enumclaw, Washington, native is 11th in laps in the top 15 with 1,858, and in quality passes with 4,189. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

RICHMOND RECAP: Kahne had two solid practice sessions at Richmond International Raceway and qualified the No. 5 AARP Foundation/Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS 19th for the 400-lap race. Crew chief Keith Rodden and the No. 5 team continually adjusted Kahne’s machine throughout the race and he eventually reached the top 12. Unfortunately, late-race contact caused him to slip back from 14th after the final restart and finish 22nd.

DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his full-time duty piloting the No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS in the Cup Series, Kahne will also make his second start this season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports. His first race in the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports was on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Daytona, when he finished second. Kahne scored his most recent win in the XFINITY Series at Daytona while driving for JR Motorsports in 2014.

THE DOCTORS: Kahne will be featured on the Emmy Award-winning show “The Doctors,” along with his teammates and other NASCAR drivers, on Thursday, May 4. Kahne and the other drivers taped messages of encouragement and well-wishes for Jonah, a child from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has a skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa and a love for NASCAR. For information on the air time for your city, input your zip code into “The Doctors” homepage at http://www.thedoctorstv.com/.

No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 36 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS, will visit the Talladega Superspeedway media center at 12:50 p.m. local time on Friday, May 5.

HOOTERS: For the first time this season, the orange-and-white Hooters paint scheme will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. A casual dining establishment with a deep history in NASCAR, the Atlanta-based company will be a three-race primary sponsor of the No. 24 team in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Chase Elliott will also pilot the No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway in November.

WHEN CHASE WINS, YOU WIN: Hooters returns to NASCAR this week and to celebrate the event, Hooters invites fans to cheer Elliott and his No. 24 team to victory and register at Hooters24.com for chances to win when Elliott wins or places in the top five all season long. To receive exclusive “Chase Wins, You Win” offers, join the Hooters24 Crew at Hooters24.com. If Elliott wins a Cup Series race during the remaining 2017 season, registered fans nationwide win a select Hooters appetizer of fried pickles, tater tots or cheese sticks with purchase. If Elliott places in the top five of a NASCAR Cup Series race this season, Hooters fans win a free Mountain Dew with purchase.

FAST FEET: Thirty years ago at Talladega, Elliott’s father Bill Elliott set an all-time NASCAR qualifying record, winning the pole for the Winston 500 with a speed of 212.809 mph. It took him 44.998 seconds to drive around Talladega’s 2.66-mile track. To honor his father’s accomplishment in setting a qualifying speed record, Elliott will wear special Alpinestars racing shoes during the race weekend. The red, white and gold shoes feature iconic marks and graphics from the day the record was set in 1987.

TALLADEGA STATS: This weekend at Talladega, the 21-year-old driver is set to make his third Cup Series start at the Alabama superspeedway. In Elliott’s prior two starts, he earned one top-five and one top-10 finish, led 36 laps and collected the pole award in May 2016. He averages a starting position of 2.5 and finishing position of 8.5 at the track. Elliott also has three starts at Talladega in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, collecting one top-10 finish.

RICHMOND REWIND: Elliott and the No. 24 team rolled off the grid 14th Sunday at Richmond International Raceway. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native dropped back in the field during Stage 2 due to a tight-handling condition and went on to finish the second stage in 17th. On the final pit stop of the race, the No. 24 team received a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, forcing Elliott to restart at the rear of the field in 26th. He managed to recover a pair of positions after the race’s final restart and ultimately finished the day 24th.

YOUTH MOVEMENT TAKES NYC: On Thursday, May 4, Elliott and three of his competitors, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, take on New York City. Scheduled stops for Elliott include “FOX & Friends,” Barstool Sports, The New York Times and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” (7 p.m. ET). For behind-the-scenes content and tune-in information, follow @Hendrick24Team on Twitter.

CHASE U: Talladega Superspeedway recently partnered with Elliott to bring a unique race-day experience to college students called Chase University, better known as Chase U. For $24, current college students can enjoy a ticket to the Cup Series race on Sunday, May 7, with an exclusive college pre-race party and an appearance by the driver of the No. 24 himself. Chase U was launched by Elliott in October 2016 and was an immediate success bringing college students out to the racetrack. The college program combines all the elements of a perfect race day experience with live music, great food and beverages and tailgate games. The Chase U ticket package is available to all college students with a valid student ID and includes a grandstand ticket and access to the exclusive Chase U pre-race party. Click here for more information.

THE DOCTORS: Elliott will be featured on the Emmy Award-winning show “The Doctors,” along with his teammates and other NASCAR drivers, on Thursday, May 4. Elliott and the other drivers taped messages of encouragement and well-wishes for Jonah, a child from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has a skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa and a love for NASCAR. For information on the air time for your city, input your zip code into “The Doctors” homepage athttp://www.thedoctorstv.com/.

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
  • 9 starts
  • 2 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 127 laps led

Career

  • 552 starts
  • 82 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 220 top-five finishes
  • 333 top-10 finishes
  • 18,573 laps led

Track Career 

  • 30 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 467 laps led
LATELY AT DEGA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Jimmie Johnson has an average running position at Talladega of 14.938 and average finish of 16.0. Johnson’s last win at the superspeedway was on April 17, 2011, when teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushed Johnson to the finish line, tying the closest finish in NASCAR history (since the implementation of electronic scoring) as he edged Clint Bowyer by 0.002 seconds at the stripe.

APPROACHING NEXT MILESTONE: Johnson is currently seventh on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, just one win away from tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the list. Yarborough, a three-time Cup Series champion, won 83 times in his storied career.

TALLADEGA DRIVER RATING: Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating at Talladega with a score of 87.9, according to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points.

DUDE’S GOT STYLE: Johnson was recently featured in The New York Times’ Men’s Style section, showcasing his five go-to fashion must haves. Johnson’s photo shoot for the feature took place at the Woody Creek Tavern in Aspen, Colorado, and can be seen here.

PICTURE PERFECT: As part of an ongoing photography project designed to showcase Johnson’s life at the racetrack with a unique perspective, New York-based photographer Andrew Moore will be in attendance this weekend in Talladega. Moore, an American photographer and filmmaker, is known for large format color photographs of architecture and landscapes. He will take over Johnson’s social media handles (@JimmieJohnson on Instagram & Twitter, www.facebook.com/JimmieJohnson on Facebook) throughout the weekend to showcase his viewpoint as he attends his first NASCAR event.

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 to JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.

LOCAL TIES: Longtime No. 48 front-tire carrier R.J. Barnette hails from nearby Pinson, Alabama, and played football at Samford University. This is Barnette’s eighth season on the Lowe’s team and he has earned three championships with Johnson behind the wheel.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 24th in standings
  • 9 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 8 laps led

Career

  • 604 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 253 top-10 finishes
  • 8,195 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 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 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will visit the Talladega Superspeedway media center at 2:50 p.m. local time on Friday, May 5.

WINNER, WINNER: Winning may not be all Dale Earnhardt Jr. does at Talladega Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide 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 playoff 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. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt is at the top of the chart among active drivers in the laps led category, leading a total of 471 laps since 2005, 19 more 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 92.0 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 – 14.407), laps in the top 15 (third – 2,698) and green-flag speed (second – 193.785 mph). The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native ranks in the top 10 in almost every additional category, including average speed late in a run (fourth – 193.745 mph), fastest laps run (seventh – 85), green-flag passes (seventh – 7,578), and quality passes (fourth – 4,893).

THE DOCTORS: Earnhardt will be featured on the Emmy Award-winning show “The Doctors,” along with his teammates and other NASCAR drivers, on Thursday, May 4. Earnhardt and the other drivers taped messages of encouragement and well-wishes for Jonah, a child from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has a skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa and a love for NASCAR. For information on the air time for your city, input your zip code into “The Doctors” homepage at http://www.thedoctorstv.com/.

HOMETOWN HERO: William “Rowdy” Harrell, rear-tire carrier for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS 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 head coach 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.

NCH VISIT: In case you missed it, Earnhardt, along with his wife Amy, his team owner Rick Hendrick, and his sister Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio last Thursday. The visit kicked off with the unveiling of the newly-dedicated Dale and Amy Earnhardt Activity Room. The dedication was a wedding gift from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Nationwide. Following the ceremony, the Earnhardts enjoyed spending time with patients and their families at the hospital. For a photo gallery from the visit, click here.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TALLADEGA: At Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 12 wins, 11 pole positions, 54 top-five finishes and 78 top-10s. Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent Talladega win came in 2015, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. 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, Jimmie 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, 247 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,016 top-five finishes and 1,706 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,683 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Talladega is such a tough place to win. You have control of a lot of the stuff going on, but then there’s so much that you can’t control, especially the draft. Our car was really good at Daytona this year and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports works so hard on the superspeedway cars, so we should have a great race.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Talladega

“I think they are very similar. I think some of the same guys win at Talladega as they do at Daytona. Your good plate racers are good plate racers and they are going to have success at both. Hopefully, we can carry the same speed we had in our car at Daytona to Talladega, and if we can do that, that is all we can ask for.”

Chase Elliott on comparing Talladega to Daytona

“Talladega is crazy. It’s about survival. I hope we have a better showing at this restrictor plate track than we did in Daytona, where we crashed. Either way, it should be great entertainment for the fans. I’m looking forward to Andrew Moore’s perspective as a photographer for us this weekend as well.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Talladega

“We’ll go out there and draft a couple of times on Friday and qualify on Saturday and try to just enjoy it – it’s a real relaxing weekend schedule compared to most of these, and you don’t have to worry about the balance of the car too much. We’ll see how it races, but I haven’t put too much thought into that, to be honest. We haven’t done anything to make our fans too happy here lately, so we’ll try to change that at Talladega. (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) told me last week that we aren’t going to look at points anymore, we’re just going to try to go win a race. We had a great car in Daytona, just had some bad luck when we were leading, so we’re looking forward to Talladega.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Talladega

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

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