Hendrick Motorsports Preps For Michigan

 

MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (TWO-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 15 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JUNE 18 (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

  • 21st in standings
  • 14 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 7 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 1 win
  • 3 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 67 laps led
FARMERS INSURANCE: This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS for the second consecutive race. After running in the top 10 last weekend at Pocono Raceway in the Farmers Insurance Chevy, Kahne’s day ended prematurely after he suffered a blown tire and made contact with the wall.

KAHNE AT MICHIGAN: Kahne has found success at the Brooklyn, Michigan, track and has earned three pole awards – in 2006, 2010 and 2015 – which ties him with Joey Logano for the most pole awards among active drivers at the two-mile oval. The 37-year-old swept the weekend in June 2006 by winning the pole award and powering through 17 lead changes to win the race. He has led 67 laps throughout nine races at Michigan with 19 of those coming during his race-winning run.

MICHIGAN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is second in the green-flag passes category with 1,908 and he’s fourth in quality passes with 846. 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 is fifth in fastest laps run with 187 and eighth in laps spent in the top 15 with 2,613. Kahne is 11th in driver rating with an average of 88.2. 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.

SPEEDWAY STATISTICS: At tracks two miles or longer, Kahne has made 141 starts in his NASCAR Cup Series career and earned four of his 17 wins, amassing 26 top-five finishes and 50 top-10s. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has also notched seven of his 27 pole awards at tracks of that length.

SONOMA PAINT SCHEME: Last week, Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet paint scheme for the upcoming Sonoma Raceway weekend was unveiled via Hendrick Motorsports’ Instagram story. He will wheel the No. 5 Windows 10 Chevrolet SS around the wine country road course. Click here to view the car.

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
  • 14 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 169 laps led

Career

  • 55 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 14 top-five finishes
  • 25 top-10 finishes
  • 527 laps led

Track Career 

  • 2 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 66 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS: NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Michigan International 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. Elliott most recently piloted the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS to a fifth-place finish at Dover International Speedway.

MICHIGAN STATS: The 21-year-old driver is set to make his third career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan this weekend. In Elliott’s two previous starts at the two-mile speedway, he collected second-place finishes. In addition to his average finishing position of 2.0, he averages a starting position of 7.5 at the track. In Elliott’s two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Michigan, he collected one top-five finish and two top-10s.

MICHIGAN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Elliott has the top driver rating at Michigan with an average score of 125.1. 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.

‘TRICKY TRIANGLE’ REWIND: Elliott raced his No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place finish at Pocono Raceway last weekend and also collected 11 bonus points by virtue of strong showings in the first two stages. The top-10 finish was Elliott’s eighth of the season and the Dawsonville, Georgia, native is now sixth in the driver point standings.

CARS 3: In February, it was announced that Elliott would voice the character of “Chase Racelott” in the upcoming Disney Pixar movie “Cars 3” and would be among a few other familiar voices. To see the first image of Elliott’s “Cars 3” character, click here. Like Elliott, Racelott is a second-generation Piston Cup racer. “Cars 3” is set to premiere in theaters on June 16.

CHASE ELLIOTT FOUNDATION & CARS 3: For every advance ticket purchased online for opening weekend showings of “Cars 3” at Studio Movie Grill theaters nationwide, Studio Movie Grill will donate $1 to the Chase Elliott Foundation with proceeds benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Purchase your advance tickets at studiomoviegrill.com and apply promo code SMGCHASE to your order. Promo code is good only for opening weekend showings from June 15-18. Click here to purchase your tickets.

No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 557 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 221 top-five finishes
  • 335 top-10 finishes
  • 18,618 laps led

Track Career 

  • 30 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 687 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, will visit the Michigan International Speedway media center at 10:15 a.m. local time on Friday, June 16.

A LOOK BACK AT POCONO: Jimmie Johnson walked away from a scary incident on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Johnson was running in the top 10 when he had a brake issue, causing his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to make hard contact with the SAFER barrier at the triangle-shaped track. Due to the damage sustained during the incident, the car was unable to be repaired, marking the first race since the season-opener at Daytona that Johnson was not running at the end of the event.

BACK IN BLACK: For the second time this season, the black-and-white colors of Kobalt Tools will adorn Johnson’s Chevrolet SS this weekend at Michigan. Kobalt Tools are intelligently designed and engineered for serious, high-stakes projects and built to take on-the-job punishment while delivering dependable, impressive results. They are easy to use, made with precision craftsmanship and are exclusively sold at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores.

HELMET TRIBUTE: Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Johnson revealed yet another helmet that has been painted to honor the legends he is chasing for NASCAR’s historic records. At Dover, Johnson revealed a helmet with photos of NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough as he approached Yarborough’s 83-win milestone. As he is tracking down career win No. 84, Johnson will wear a helmet showcasing photos of Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who are tied for fourth on the all-time win list. Images of the Allison and Waltrip tribute helmet can be seen here.

HOMETOWN CONNECTIONS: Michigan International Speedway is a “hometown” track of sorts for two members of the No. 48 team. Longtime gasman Brandon Harder went to Bowling Green State University and grew up in Oak Harbor, Ohio, roughly 90 miles from the track. Harder has been a member of the No. 48 team since 2009. Rear-tire carrier Ryan Patton is from Delphos, Ohio, which is 105 miles south of the track. Patton, who played football at Ohio State University, has been on the No. 48 team since 2012.

SHOPPING FOR DAD: Members of the No. 48 team recently went shopping at Lowe’s Home Improvement and purchased Kobalt Tools and merchandise for their Father’s Day needs. The video can be seen here.

MICHIGAN DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the third-best driver rating at Michigan with an average score of 100. 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 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 23rd in standings
  • 14 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 10 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 8 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 353 laps led
VICTORY IN THE IRISH HILLS: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s most recent victory at Michigan International Speedway came on June 17, 2012, when he started 17th and led 95 laps before crossing the stripe with a 5.393-second lead to earn the victory. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has also earned two pole-position starts at the two-mile track, tying his career bests. He also has two poles at Texas Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

DRIVER RATING AND LOOP DATA: Earnhardt ranks fifth in the driver rating category among active drivers at Michigan with an average of 96.0 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. 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. He also ranks in the top five in many other loop data categories, such as fastest laps run (fourth – 205 laps), green-flag speed (fifth – 179.850 mph), laps in the top 15 (third – 2,977 laps), laps led (fifth – 289), and quality passes (second – 933 passes) during that span.

MOUNTAIN DEW: The No. 88 Chevrolet SS will sport the green colors of Mountain Dew this weekend. Michigan marks the second of three races where Mountain Dew will be the primary sponsor on Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevy. Check out this article for a closer look at the Dew scheme.

IVES RETURNS TO HOME STATE: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives hails from Bark River, Michigan, and grew up working with his father and older brother at the local racetracks. He spent eight years behind the wheel before finding his true calling under the hood. After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech, Ives résumé ended up in the hands of Hendrick Motorsports team manager Brian Whitesell, who invited the aspiring engineer to meet at Daytona International Speedway during the 2004 Daytona 500 race weekend. To make the appointment, the self-described “grease monkey” drove from Michigan to Florida, sleeping in his car in the process, and subsequently landed a formal interview a few weeks later. He then joined the No. 24 team as a shop mechanic before getting the opportunity to be the race engineer on the No. 48 team. After recording five championships with Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 group, Ives went to JR Motorsports to crew chief, first with Regan Smith’s No. 7 NASCAR XFINITY Series entry in 2013, then guiding Chase Elliott to an XFINITY championship in 2014 before returning to Hendrick Motorsports to lead the No. 88 team in 2015. You can read more about Ives’ background here.

MORE MICHIGANDERS: In addition to Ives, several members of the No. 88 Mountain Dew team also have ties to Michigan. Doug Wojcik, a Wisconsinite and a race engineer for the No. 88 team, attended Michigan Tech to get his engineering degree. In the summer of 2014, following his junior year, Wojcik interned at Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports for the summer, where he got to know Ives. Wojcik interned at Hendrick Motorsports on the setup plate while finishing his classes at UNC Charlotte and had his credits transferred back to Michigan Tech so that he could graduate in May 2015. He began traveling with the No. 88 team as a race engineer in the fall of 2015. Andy “Squigz” Quillan, hauler driver for the No. 88 team, was born and raised in Orleans, Michigan, which is approximately two hours from the racetrack. He has had a passion for motor sports since he watched a NASCAR race at his home track as a kid. Quillan started his racing career as a car chief in the ARCA series 10 years ago before joining Hendrick Motorsports. Scott Brzozowski, the front-tire changer for the No. 88 team, grew up in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which is outside of Detroit. He was a member of the No. 24 team’s over-the-wall crew before he switched to the No. 88 team last fall. Brzozowski lists Jeff Gordon’s victory in the 2014 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as his favorite moment in racing to date.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MICHIGAN: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have led 2,478 laps en route to eight wins, 51 top-five finishes and 93 top-10s in addition to 11 pole positions at Michigan. The organization swept both races at the two-mile oval in 2014, and in the June 2015 race at Michigan, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a runner-up finish.

MASTERING MICHIGAN: Hendrick Motorsports’ eight NASCAR Cup Series victories at Michigan have come via five different drivers: Jeff Gordon (3), Earnhardt (2), Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 248 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,019 top-five finishes and 1,712 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,730 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Michigan is cool because it’s a very fast track, but restarts can be tough and it can pretty hard to pass there. It’s obviously a big weekend because it’s in Chevy’s backyard and they are such huge supporters of our program. We’ve had a tough last couple of weeks, but Michigan would be a great place to turn it around.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Michigan

“I think a lot of it is (No. 24 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson)’s success there in the past. He has won races there. He has a good feel for the racetrack. We ran well there the first race and I really think because we ran well, we went back and worked harder to try to run better. I think a lot of times when you have a good run at a racetrack, especially with the way the Michigan dates are – they are so close together – you could think you could just go back with the same thing and run well.  Where in reality, I think that is a good way to get behind and I think he did a good job of staying up on things and making sure we improved and didn’t just stay the same.”

Chase Elliott on his success at Michigan

“I’m in total amazement I didn’t even have a bruise from last weekend’s crash at Pocono. I’m looking forward to Michigan. It’s a fast track, speeds are crazy high, and all but once we have figured out how to lose that race in every way. Father’s Day weekend is always special – especially now since I am a dad. My father Gary is usually at the racetracks every weekend and it is always the intention to try and get a win for the dads. I’m thankful for all he sacrificed to allow me to follow my dream.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Michigan

“We had a really fast car at Pocono, running top-five lap times. I was happy with the speed of the car, so hopefully we can carry that to Michigan. It’s typically a really good track for us. We’re back in the simulator this week preparing for it – we’ve just got to stay on it and keep working toward success.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Michigan

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

 

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