Hendrick Motorsports Concentrates On Kansas This Week

 

KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 11 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, MAY 13 (FS1/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 478 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 91 top-five finishes
  • 172 top-10 finishes
  • 4,614 laps led

Track Career 

  • 19 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 102 laps led
KANSAS KAHNE: In Kasey Kahne’s 19 Kansas starts, he has led 102 total laps in six races, which ranks him 11th among current drivers and 19th all-time. In the 10 starts the 37-year-old has made while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, he has amassed four top-five finishes and six top-10s, including a second-place finish in April 2013. In Kahne’s last 10 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, he has accrued two top-five finishes and five top-10s.

POLE AWARDS: Kahne has earned three of his 27 career NASCAR Cup Series pole awards at Kansas – October 2006, October 2010 and October 2012. The three first-place starting positions ties for his second-most at a track with Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Raceway. The only other track the Enumclaw, Washington, native has more pole awards is Darlington Raceway, where he has amassed four.

KANSAS LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks first in green-flag passes with 1,341. He’s third in quality passes with 656 and fourth in laps in the top 15 with 3,172. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS is fifth in the driver rating category with an average rating 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. He’s sixth in both average speed early in a run at 171.213 mph and fastest laps run with 173.

MOUNTAIN DEW UNVEIL: Kahne’s Mountain Dew paint scheme for next weekend’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway has been unveiled. He will pilot the white-and-green No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS on Saturday, May 20. Since Kahne is the 2008 All-Star race winner, his spot is secured in the exhibition race.

TALLADEGA RECAP: Kahne qualified the UniFirst Chevrolet SS in the 19th position for last weekend’s race at Talladega. The starting spot didn’t stop Kahne from having a solid race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. He earned three extra points for finishing eighth in Stage 2 of the 500-mile race. In the final stage, Kahne was racing teammate Jimmie Johnson in the top three in the closing laps of the race before ultimately finishing fifth.

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

Career

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

Track Career 

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

KANSAS STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his third Cup start at Kansas this weekend. In his previous two starts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Elliott has collected one top-10 finish and averaged a starting position of 13.0 and a finishing position of 20.0. 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.

TALLADEGA RECAP: Elliott started Sunday’s 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway from the eighth position and battled inside the top 10 for much of the day. While running second with 20 laps to go, Elliott was involved in a multi-car accident that collected 17 cars in total. The incident ultimately ended Elliott’s day and he was scored with a 30th-place finish.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Last week, Elliott and three of his competitors, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, traveled to New York City for a youth movement media tour. One of the stops on the tour included The New York Times. All four drivers sat down to discuss the past and present with writer Dave Caldwell. To read to article in its entirety, click here.

#VOTECHASE: The All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is less than two weeks away and Elliott is among 21 drivers who are not yet locked into the event. Last year, Elliott was voted into the All-Star field by the fans. This year, fans have the same opportunity to get their favorite driver into the ranks by voting once a day at www.nascar.com/fanvote. Votes shared via Facebook or Twitter will count double toward a driver’s total. Fans can #VoteChase to make sure all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers compete for a chance to win the $1 million All-Star Race purse. When you share your vote, make sure to use the hashtag #VoteChase to join the conversation. Voting is now open and will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, May 19.

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
  • 10 starts
  • 2 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 130 laps led

Career

  • 553 starts
  • 82 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 220 top-five finishes
  • 334 top-10 finishes
  • 18,576 laps led

Track Career 

  • 21 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
KANSAS STATS: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Jimmie Johnson has the series-best driver rating at the 1.5-mile track with a score of 110.6. 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. Johnson’s average running position, also a series-best at Kansas, is 9.346 and he boasts an average finish of 7.7.

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.

TIED FOR MOST WINS: Johnson has three wins at Kansas Speedway, tied for the most all-time wins at the track with former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon.

27 VICTORY LANE VISITS: Johnson currently holds the record for all-time wins on 1.5-mile tracks. He has earned 27 victories, which include eight at Charlotte Motor Speedway, seven at Texas Motor Speedway, five at Atlanta Motor Speedway, four at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and three at Kansas Speedway.

THROUGH THE LENS: Photographer Andrew Moore attended Talladega Superspeedway last weekend and took over Johnson’s social media platforms. To see the photos, visit Johnson’s social media handles (@JimmieJohnson on Instagram and Twitter, www.facebook.com/JimmieJohnson on Facebook).

ASSAULT ON MOUNT MITCHELL: For the second straight year, Johnson will compete with 850 other cyclists in the Assault on Mount Mitchell, which will take place on Monday, May 15. The event features a 102-mile ride from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the summit of Mount Mitchell. The climb is through the Pisgah National Forest and Mount Mitchell’s elevation is 6,684 above sea level. It’s the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

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.

No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 20 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 146 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS, will visit the Kansas Speedway media center at 12 p.m. local time on Friday, May 12.

‘DEGA RECAP: With a strong effort in qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. started last Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway from the outside pole, and after battling inside the top five for large portions of the first two stages, he got shuffled to mid-pack before final stage began. In the final segment, he began pushing back toward the front. When a multiple-car incident occurred with 20 laps to go, Earnhardt avoided contact and moved all the way up to third. With 15 laps to go in the scheduled distance, he found himself in third but had to head to pit road for a loose wheel, falling a lap down. A caution flag with 10 laps remaining gave him a free pass back to the lead lap. By the time the checkered flag waved after an overtime restart, Earnhardt crossed the finish line in 22nd.

KANSAS STATS: While Earnhardt has yet to win a race at Kansas Speedway, he’s earned solid stats at the mile-and-a-half track. The driver of the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A Chevrolet SS has one pole (2002) at the speedway. He’s earned top-five finishes in two of the last five races at Kansas, and in the other three he encountered issues unrelated to the speed of the car. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks second 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 26 positions, gaining an average of 1.6 spots. He also ranks fifth on average speed late in a run at 168.609 mph and has the sixth-best driver rating at 90.0.

SPEED ON INTERMEDIATES: The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has showed solid speed in every race on intermediate tracks this season. Earnhardt recorded a top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway and has had a fast Chevrolet SS at the other intermediate ovals, but misfortune has plagued the No. 88 team, so the speed unfortunately doesn’t show in the finishes. In 2016, during the first stretch of intermediate tracks, Earnhardt earned two second-place finishes (Atlanta and Texas) and was eighth in Las Vegas and 11th in Fontana, California (a two-mile oval), giving him an average finish of 5.75 through those four races. His stats for the same four races in 2015 were also impressive, as he had an average finish of 4.0.

DEW-S-A: As a nod to DEW Nation, who loves mixing DEW flavors to create one-of-a-kind drink concoctions, Mountain Dew teamed up with decade-long partner Earnhardt to introduce Mtn Dew DEW-S-A – a new soda created from a combination of three fan favorites: Mtn Dew Code Red, Mtn Dew White Out and Mtn Dew Voltage. The result of the bold new Mountain Dew DEW-S-A is a united blast of flavor, guaranteed to give DEW Nation a red, white and blue way to enjoy summer. The star-spangled DEW-S-A launch features a late-night TV infomercial starring “pitchman” Earnhardt – and a fully functioning call-in number – 1-877-DEWSA-88 – for fans to hear from NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver and to purchase the product, while supplies last. Fans can check out the infomercial when it’s released on Wednesday and continue to follow@MountainDew on Twitter for more content. Earnhardt will run the red, white and blue DEW-S-A scheme this weekend at Kansas.

LETTER TO MOM: Earnhardt wrote a letter to his mother, Brenda Jackson, as part of a Mother’s Day feature for ESPN. The touching letter and interview with Jackson and Earnhardt will air multiple times Wednesday on ESPN, starting with the first showing during the 9 a.m. ET hour of “SportsCenter.”

CLOSEST TO HOME: Jacob Conley, fueler for the No. 88 Mountain Dew DEW-S-A 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 Hendrick Motorsports in 2013 as a member of the developmental pit crew. In 2015, he was backup pit crew member for the Nos. 5 and 24 teams. Conley then became a starter for the No. 88 Mountain Dew 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 1,075 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, 247 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,017 top-five finishes and 1,708 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,686 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“We’ve run well in the past at the tracks like Kansas coming up. It’s a matter of putting everything together throughout the whole weekend. I’m confident that we’ll run well at Kansas and the upcoming mile-and-a-half tracks.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Kansas

“I feel like we fired off really well with the way we ran at Daytona and Atlanta. I thought our West Coast swing was pretty strong. I feel like over the past few weeks we really haven’t performed up to our potential. As a group, I think anybody in our group would feel the same way. We’ve had some fast cars at times. But, we definitely need to execute races; even on the days that your car is not driving like you want it to. That execution and doing everything correctly on pit road, restarts, giving the right information, can turn a bad day into a pretty good day. So, that’s what we need to do. And we’ll try to make that happen.”

Chase Elliott on the season so far

“Kansas is a pretty intense track. Last fall we were all over that racetrack, driving with some crazy intensity. I don’t think it’s going to change any going back this weekend. I know we have a different downforce package this time but we will use that entire racetrack and hopefully the Lowe’s team will put on a good show for the fans.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at 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!

 

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