Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Coca Cola 600 At Charlotte

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 12 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 6 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MAY 28 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 LiftMaster Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 16th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 7 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 1,106 laps led
LIFTMASTER AT CHARLOTTE: LiftMaster returns to the No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It marks the second time this season Kasey Kahne has piloted the silver-and-burgundy machine. He drove the LiftMaster Chevrolet to a 12th-place finish earlier this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Enumclaw, Washington, native will once again pilot the paint scheme at Michigan International Speedway in August.

KAHNE AT CHARLOTTE: The 37-year-old’s four wins (two in 2006, one in 2008 and 2012) at Charlotte Motor Speedway place him second among active drivers in victories at the 1.5-mile track just behind teammate Jimmie Johnson, who has eight. He is tied for fourth all-time with Buddy Baker, Fred Lorenzen, Mark Martin and David Pearson. Kahne has led 1,106 laps over 12 races at the Concord, North Carolina, track, 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 two runner-up finishes at the track and most recently scored a third-place finish in last year’s fall race.

600 MILES OF REMEMBRANCE: Staff Sergeant Joshua R. Hager from Denver, Colorado, will be honored on the windshield of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Charlotte. Hager was born on June 20, 1977, and enlisted in the Army in 1998. He received numerous awards including Audie Murphy, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. While serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hager was killed by an IED on Feb. 23, 2007. Hager’s father, Kris, will be in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.

CHARLOTTE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne has an average driver rating of 95.1, which ranks him fifth among active drivers during that span. 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 in fastest laps run with 710, just behind teammate Johnson, and he’s also second in green-flag passes with 1,901. He is third in average speed early in a run at 178.975 mph. He ranks fourth in average speed late in a run at 174.785 mph, in green-flag speed at 176.629 mph and in quality passes with 971. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

COMING HOME: Several of the No. 5 team members originate from North Carolina – crew chief Keith Rodden (Denver, 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 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 103 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, will visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center on Thursday, May 25, at 1 p.m. local time.

NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS: NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Charlotte 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.

CHARLOTTE STATS: This weekend, Elliott is set to make his fourth start at the 1.5-mile quad oval. In his previous three starts, the 21-year-old driver collected one top-10 finish and led 103 laps. Elliott averages a starting position of 14.3 and finishing position of 19.7 at the track. 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.

600 MILES OF REMEMBRANCE: This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Elliott’s windshield will bear the name of U.S. Army Captain Todd Tyler Christmas as part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative. Christmas was born March 8, 1978, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute and Texas A&M University, where he was the distinguished military graduate in August 2001. After attending the United States Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was awarded the parachutists badge, he joined the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. While in the battalion, Christmas served as an avenger platoon leader, linebacker platoon leader and battery executive officer while deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom. In June 2004, he was selected to serve as the aide de camp for Brigadier General Charles Allen, the assistant division commander (Support). Christmas passed away on Nov. 29, 2004 — he was traveling in a Blackhawk helicopter when it collided with a guy wire near Waco, Texas, killing all aboard. Christmas’ parents, Becky and Brad, will both be in attendance this weekend at Charlotte.

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).

THIS SEASON: So far this season, Elliott has averaged a starting position of 10.3 and finishing position of 13.3. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet has had 192 fastest laps, spent 2,962 laps in the top 15 and led 169 laps.

CHASE RACELOTT: In February, it was announced that Elliott would voice the character “Chase Racelott” in the upcoming Disney Pixar movie “Cars 3” and he would be among a few other familiar voices. Monday evening, the first image of Elliott’s “Cars 3” character was unveiled via NASCAR’s social media. Like Elliott, in “Cars 3,” Racelott is a second-generation Piston Cup racer. “Cars 3” is set to premiere in theaters on June 16.

No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 11 starts
  • 2 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 130 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 8 wins
  • 4 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 1,895 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, will be in the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 25, at 1:15 p.m. local time.

RED, WHITE AND LOWE’S BLUE: For the first time this season, Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS will feature a patriotic theme. Longtime sponsor Lowe’s has a lengthy history of supporting the military. Currently, Lowe’s has more than 14,000 veterans, active military and Guard/Reserve employees.

IN HONOR OF: At Charlotte, the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will carry the name of fallen Army Paratrooper SPC Michael Rodriguez. Last week, Johnson made the trek to Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina, to unveil the special paint scheme as well as meet the family of SPC Rodriguez. A native of Sanford, North Carolina, and assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, SPC Rodriguez was 20 when he was killed on April 23, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq. For his bravery and sacrifice, SPC Rodriguez earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge and Good Conduct Medals. For a recap of Johnson’s day at Fort Bragg, click here.

SERIES BEST AT CHARLOTTE: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Charlotte Motor Speedway 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 also holds the series-best average running position with a score of 8.105.

NASCAR HALL OF FAME VOTE: As the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, Johnson will join an elite group of voters on Wednesday afternoon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Johnson will be among the panel responsible for nominating the 2018 class of inductees. It is the second time Johnson has been able to participate as a reigning champion, as he was part of the voting panel responsible for nominating the 2014 class as a result of winning the 2013 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

SEVEN-TIME IS ALL-TIME: Johnson has a total of eight Cup Series wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with four coming in the 600-mile event. He also leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Charlotte with 1,895 laps led in 31 starts. In 2016, Johnson won the October 500-mile event, which propelled him into the third round of the NASCAR playoffs.

JJ FIT FEST: Once Johnson completes 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he will host his first Foundation Fit Fest on Monday, May 29, at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, South Carolina, beginning at 8 a.m. Events include a 5K, 8K, endurance mountain bike race and a kids Spartan event. There will be food trucks, live music and activities until 2 p.m. For more information or to register, go to www.JJFFitFest.org.

No. 88 Nationwide Patriotic Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 606 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 253 top-10 finishes
  • 8,197 laps led

Track Career 

  • 33 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 360 laps led
CHARLOTTE STATS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win a points race at the 1.5-mile oval, but if you throw out a DNF for engine trouble in the spring of 2013, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has an average finish of 15.0 in the last five years (2012-2016) to go with a career total of six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. Charlotte Motor Speedway is also the site of his first Cup start (May 1999) and first Cup pole (May 2000).

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks eighth among drivers for green-flag passes at Charlotte since 2005, completing 1,768 of them. In that span, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Patriotic Chevrolet SS ranks ninth among drivers in fastest laps run (215) and average speed late in a run (174.6 mph), 10th in laps in the top 15 (4,069) and 12th in laps led at the 1.5-mile oval (162).

PATRIOTIC SCHEME: Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevy will have a special patriotic paint scheme this weekend. The No. 88 Nationwide Patriotic Chevrolet SS features a red, white and blue design and supports the launch of NASCAR’s annual NASCAR Salutes initiative. The program is the industry’s collective expression of respect and gratitude for those who have served and continue to defend our nation today. Watch the patriotic No. 88 Nationwide Chevy come to life by clicking here.

PFC JAMES MCCLAMROCK: Perhaps the most notable feature of the Nationwide Patriotic paint scheme will be seen on the No. 88 Chevy’s windshield, as the space that typically features the series sponsor will be replaced with the name of Private First Class James McClamrock. As part of NASCAR’s 600 Miles of Remembrance program, all 40 drivers will honor United States Armed Forces members who have fallen in service for their country. PFC McClamrock, who hailed from Huntersville, North Carolina, was killed by an insurgent at Balad Air Base in Iraq on Sept. 7, 2010, while preparing to leave for a mission. Earnhardt and Nationwide have invited PFC McClamrock’s family, including his mother Susan, to attend the race as their guests. The McClamrock family are friends of a few of Nationwide’s Military Associate Resource Group (MARG) members in Raleigh, North Carolina. When Nationwide heard PFC’s James McClamrock’s story, the Nationwide MARG thought the 600 Miles of Remembrance program would be a perfect way to remember his sacrifice.

NATIONWIDE AND VETERANS: Nationwide has a long and rich history of supporting our military. In 2016, Nationwide announced the hiring of its 1,000th veteran in four years. Nationwide appreciates the values, leadership and unique skills service members bring to the workforce and encourage opportunities to hire Guardsmen, Reservists and veterans.

WEEKEND WITH THE 88S: Last week, Earnhardt and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen announced the continuation of the popular “Weekend with the 88s” charity raffle presented by Nationwide, which benefits The Heartest Yard and Levine Children’s Hospital. The “Weekend” will take place Oct. 12-15, 2017, and include two tickets to the Panthers vs. Eagles game on Thursday night and the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. The package also includes meet-and-greets with Olsen and Earnhardt, a behind-the-scenes tour of Bank of America Stadium, a tour of JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick’s exclusive Heritage Center, pre-game sideline passes for the Panthers game, garage passes for race weekend at Talladega, travel accommodations and more. Tickets are $18.88 individually or a pack of eight can be purchased for $88.88, and are available on www.WeekendWithThe88s.com. The raffle started May 19 and runs until Sept. 17, with the drawing on Sept. 20.

Hendrick Motorsports

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 600-mile event this weekend with four wins at Charlotte. The organization has 60 top-five finishes and 94 top-10s and has led 4,988 laps at Charlotte since 1984.

FINDING VICTORY LANE: Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at Charlotte rank 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, 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 66,688 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“The 600 is a difficult race. So many things happen and change during a four- or five-hour race depending on cautions. It’s tough mentally and physically. It gets really hot in the car and with each pit stop you need to be able to get better. Being able to keep your momentum up is really one of the keys to the race.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Charlotte

“The extra 100 miles is real. I think it’s really more stress on the components, driveline, engine, rear-ends, hubs – an extra 100 miles on all the things and parts and pieces we have moving around is a lot.  I think it really puts the stress on that stuff more than it does the drivers. It is 100 miles more, but it doesn’t seem much different or hasn’t my first two tries.”

Chase Elliott on racing at Charlotte

“This weekend is special to me for so many reasons. To have SPC Rodriguez’s name on the car, having spent time with his family last week,  they will be at the race with us so I want to make them proud. Being at Fort Bragg for the car unveil was a reminder that life is so precious and the men and women who fight for our freedom are true heroes. We were pretty fast at the All-Star Race – it should be a great weekend all-around.”

Jimmie Johnson on why the 600 is special to him

“NASCAR has always had a close relationship with the military of our country, and always has service men and women out to the track as guests. That’s always been an important addition to the weekend. I like that we ramp it up for this particular weekend. It’ll be great to meet PFC McClamrock’s family. That’s usually a pretty emotional experience and I’m looking forward to it.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Charlotte

“Winning the 600 would be awesome. Charlotte is our home track and I haven’t won a points race there. So, I would like to win there, but there is a long list – any track that we haven’t won at would be great. Any win this year would be good. But if I had to pick, winning the 600 would mean a lot. I always went to that race as a little kid, so I like to win at the places where I spent tons of time growing up and that was one of them.”

Earnhardt on what winning his final 600 would mean

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

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