Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Coke Zero 400

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY (2.5-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 17 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, JULY 1 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 42 laps led
UNIFIRST RETURNS: This weekend at Daytona International Speedway, UniFirst Corporation returns to the No. 5 Chevrolet SS driven by Kasey Kahne. It marks the second time Kahne has piloted the green-and-white Chevy this season. The 37-year-old most recently drove the UniFirst Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway in May, when he finished fifth.

KAHNE AT DAYTONA: Kahne heads into this weekend’s race at Daytona after a seventh-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500. He was running in the top five on the final lap when he ran out of fuel and slipped back. Three of Kahne’s top-10 finishes at the superspeedway have come while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, and he has led 42 laps in eight races at Daytona. In Kahne’s 54 restrictor plate starts, he has captured six top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and one pole award – Talladega in October 2012. Kahne also competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona earlier this season and earned a second-place result for JR Motorsports.

DAYTONA LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks second in green-flag passes at Daytona with 5,605. He’s fourth in the quality passes category with 3,514. 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 veteran driver is seventh in laps spent in the top 15 with 2,414. He’s 10th in driver rating with an average rating of 81.9. 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.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on Kasey Kahne titled “Racing Roots.” The videos take you from Kahne’s early beginnings in Enumclaw, Washington, to being part of Hendrick Motorsports today. The video series also looks at his passion away from the asphalt track – his dirt car team, Kasey Kahne Racing. The four-part video series can be viewed here.

FLORIDA NATIVES: Two members of the No. 5 team, Billy Fraser and Johnny Roberts, call Florida home. Fraser, a University of Florida graduate, hails from Callahan, Florida, and is currently in his second season as the engine tuner on the No. 5 team. Roberts, who is a Titusville, Florida, native, is the rear-tire changer on the UniFirst Chevrolet SS.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 57 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 15 top-five finishes
  • 27 top-10 finishes
  • 527 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 42 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic Chevrolet SS, will visit the Daytona International Speedway media center at 2:15 p.m. local time on Thursday, June 29.

NAPA PATRIOTIC: NAPA AUTO PARTS returns to the hood of Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet, this time with a new look. The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic Chevrolet SS dons a red, white and blue scheme that also features stars and stripes. The scheme will help to kick off NAPA’s “Get Back and Give Back” effort while boosting awareness for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF).

INTREPID FALLEN HEROES FUND: NAPA AUTO PARTS has a long history of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. In March, the company announced that it had raised more than $2.5 million in 2016 for the IFHF through its annual “Get Back and Give Back” campaign. The campaign kicked off in 2012 and gives NAPA AUTO PARTS patrons the opportunity to contribute to the IFHF by purchasing T-shirts at NAPAonline.com. In addition, customers may purchase an IFHF bucket for $3.99 and get 20 percent off three more items that fit inside, with NAPA donating $1 to the IFHF for every bucket sold. The company also donates $1 for each redeemed mail-in rebate for batteries, alternators and starters purchased in July. Customers also have the ability to donate all or a portion of their mail-in rebates directly to the IFHF. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the IFHF’s mission of building nine Intrepid Spirit centers around the country that will provide the most advanced care possible to military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.

DAYTONA STATS: Elliott is set to make his fourth NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona this weekend. In his first three appearances at the 2.5-mile speedway, Elliott has led 42 laps and averages a starting position of 8.7 and finishing position of 27.7. Elliott has also earned back-to-back Daytona 500 pole awards, becoming the youngest driver (20 years, 2 months and 17 days) to land the top spot in NASCAR’s biggest race in 2016 with a speed of 196.314 mph.

FAST FEET: In celebration of Independence Day, Elliott will be wearing a pair of “Support Our Troops” camouflage racing shoes that complement the special stars and stripes scheme featured on the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic Chevrolet SS. Following the race, the Chase Elliott Foundation is putting the racing shoes up for auction through the NASCAR Foundation’s online auctions site. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the IFHF.

ELLIOTT INKS EXTENSION: Today, it was announced that Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports agreed to a contract extension through 2022. The four-year contract extension will keep the 2016 Cup Series rookie of the year with the No. 24 Chevrolet SS team through the end of the 2022 racing season. Elliott, who signed with Hendrick Motorsports in February 2011 as a 15-year-old high school freshman, has emerged as one of NASCAR’s rising stars. In 2016, he earned a Cup playoff berth and was the series’ top rookie after posting 10 top-five finishes, 17 top-10s and two pole positions, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Through 16 points races of his sophomore season, he is sixth in the Cup standings.

HOME SWEET HOME: No. 24 team crew chief Alan Gustafson grew up just down the road from Daytona International Speedway in Ormond Beach, Florida, the “Birthplace of Speed.” After graduating from Seabreeze High School, he enrolled at nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical engineering. Gustafson now leads the No. 24 team piloted by the 21-year-old driver.

SONOMA REWIND: Elliott started the 110-lap event at Sonoma Raceway last weekend in eighth despite having to use a backup car after an accident in Friday’s final practice session. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native and the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book team registered the second-year driver’s first career top-10 finish on a road course with an eighth-place run.

SEE CHASE IN DAYTONA: Elliott will appear at the Sunoco Injector on Saturday, July 1, at 4:55 p.m. local time as well as the Team Chevy Stage at 5:20 p.m. local time for question-and-answer sessions.

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

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

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 16 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 184 laps led

Career

  • 559 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 221 top-five finishes
  • 336 top-10 finishes
  • 18,630 laps led

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 285 laps led
FIRST STAGE WIN IN SONOMA: Although Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Racing team have three wins this season, they accomplished a feat at Sonoma Raceway that has eluded them so far this year – a stage win. In the 110-lap race, Johnson led laps 40 through 51 and earned the coveted 10 extra stage points and playoff bonus point for the first time this season.

RED, WHITE AND LOWE’S BLUE: For the second time this season, Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS will feature a patriotic theme. Longtime partner 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.

DAYTONA DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the sixth-best driver rating at Daytona with an average score of 87.6 at the track 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 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.

RECENT DAYTONA FINISHES: Johnson and No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus have had some spectacular statistics at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 2013, Johnson swept the season with victories in both the Daytona 500 and the July 400-mile event. In the 2014 Daytona 500, Johnson finished fifth after leading 15 laps. In 2015, he finished fifth in the Daytona 500, leading 39 laps, and finished second in July of that year behind teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. after leading 35 laps. In this race one year ago, Johnson was involved in an incident and finished 35th. He had the same misfortune in the season-opening Daytona 500 this season, when he finished 34th.

ICYMI GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER: As part of Johnson’s ongoing photography project designed to showcase life at the track with a unique perspective, photographer Victor Cobian took over Johnson’s social channels at Sonoma. Cobian is a San Francisco-based photographer who was recommended for the program by Lyle Owerko, who photographed Johnson’s 2017 Daytona 500 weekend. Click here for one of the true “insider” shots Cobian was able to capture on Johnson’s Instagram account.

TEAM CHEVY STAGE: Johnson will appear at the Team Chevy Stage on Saturday, July 1, at 4:40 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 16 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 10 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 35 starts
  • 4 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 13 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will visit the Daytona International Speedway media center at 1 p.m. local time on Friday, June 30.

DAYTONA LEGACY: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had his share of success at Daytona International Speedway, adding to the Earnhardt family legacy at the historic track. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has four wins – the most of any active driver – including two Daytona 500 victories (2004 and 2014). He also has earned seven non-points victories at the speedway. He is tied for the most top-five finishes (13) among active drivers and leads active drivers in top-10 finishes (19), laps led (601) and best average starting position (10.2) at the track. Earnhardt is in a five-way tie for seventh on the Daytona all-time wins list. His most recent victory at Daytona came in the summer race two years ago on July 5, 2015.

LOOP DATA: Along with his all-time statistics, Earnhardt ranks high in NASCAR’s loop data stats among active drivers since 2005 at the 2.5-mile, D-shaped oval. He leads in laps run in the top 15 (2,917) and speed on restarts (177.290 mph); he ranks second in average running position (13.634) and driver rating (94.2); third in green-flag passes (5,214) and quality passes (3,522); and fourth in fastest laps run (100).

#APPRECI88ION TOUR: On Tuesday, Earnhardt announced a five-month campaign called JR Nation Appreci88ion, which will start this weekend at Daytona and carry through the end of the 2017 season, his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver. The Appreci88ion campaign will celebrate Earnhardt’s historic career while offering gestures of gratitude to everyone who made the ride possible. Throughout, fans can join the celebration by using the #Appreci88ion hashtag on social media. Earnhardt himself will be using it to share weekly videos recounting memories and milestones from each of the upcoming tracks the remainder of the season. JR Nation Appreci88ion merchandise will be available at the Dale Earnhardt Jr. souvenir trailers at the track and at ShopJRNation.com. More information on the Appreci88ion campaign can be found at DaleJr.com.

PINK GLOVES: During the month of July, Earnhardt will be wearing gloves accented in pink to represent Therapeutic Recreation Week as part of The Dale Jr. Foundation’s ongoing Driven to Give Gloves program. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for 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.

PATIENT CHAMPION AND FRIEND: Maddie Delaney will have her name above the passenger door of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS this weekend at Daytona through Nationwide’s Patient Champion program, which is paired with The Dale Jr. Foundation’s Driven to Give Gloves. Maddie, 10, has cerebral palsy. When Maddie was just 2, she underwent a six-hour spinal surgery to release the built-up tension in her legs. She spent almost an entire month on the PT floor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But, through it all, Maddie never gave up and maintained a positive, upbeat attitude. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious and she inevitably brightens the day of everyone she meets – including the Earnhardts. On one of his first trips to Nationwide Children’s, Earnhardt met Maddie – she subsequently beat him in a Wii game – and in every visit since, both Earnhardt and his wife Amy make sure to stop by and play a video game or hang out with Maddie. Maddie is currently pursuing her black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys swimming, singing and acting.

NATIONWIDE PET PROMOTION: Pet owners can visit www.pawsandracing.com to learn more about Nationwide’s pet insurance and submit a photo of their pet(s) to enter to win a VIP race experience including travel to the Sept. 24 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a meet-and-greet with Gus and Earnhardt and their pet’s image will be featured on the TV panel of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS during the Sept. 24 race weekend. Additional first prize winners will receive a Nationwide Pet Accessory Kit plus a No. 88 Nationwide die-cast car signed by Earnhardt.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT DAYTONA: Hendrick Motorsports has achieved 14 wins, 16 pole positions, 54 top-five results, 94 top-10s and 1,986 laps led at Daytona. The organization has eight Daytona 500 victories, with Earnhardt most recently collecting a win at the superspeedway in the July race in 2015.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 248 race victories, 211 pole positions, 1,020 top-five finishes and 1,717 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,742 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“We had a good result at Daytona earlier this year. The car handled really well and we were able to run up front. All you can really ask for at a restrictor-plate track is to be there at the end to give yourself a shot at winning it, and we did that in February. We also had a good car at Talladega this year, so it’s been a pretty good year so far for my team on superspeedways.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Daytona

“Racing during the day versus racing at night. I think the July race is probably more similar to what we see in the Duels in February. I look to some of the same stuff we did during the Duel races this past February, which were good for us. So, we will see how that goes.”

Chase Elliott on the difference between the Daytona 500 and the July race

“This race under the lights is always exciting for the fans. I’m excited Lowe’s opted for the patriotic scheme to highlight our nation’s military for the July 4th holiday weekend. We’ve had no luck the past two times out at Daytona, so our goal is to go out there and finish. Our speedway program is incredible, so I’m sure the guys and gals back at the shop will give me a great Chevy.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Daytona

“I have great memories at all of these tracks, Daytona included. I am going to be coming back to these tracks whether I’m driving or not, and I want to continue to be part of the sport. It’s hard for me to put into words what it being my last Cup race at Daytona might feel like because I don’t know what that is going to feel like, and you never say never. Our whole idea on finishing up the season is to try to show our appreciation and express that to our fans and everyone in the industry on making this an incredibly enjoyable ride.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on heading to Daytona, #Appreci88ion

“I think the wins are great. I enjoyed celebrating those, but long after your career, guys come along and win races and some of your accomplishments on the track sort of get forgotten. But, who you are as a person never gets forgotten. People never forget who you were. I hope people just thought I was good and honest and represented the sport well. I hope people that work with me enjoyed working with me, whether it was in the Late Model ranks or whatever; and I hope the guys I raced against enjoyed racing with me. That’s really all that will matter. Hopefully I left a good impression. I’ve had a lot of fun.”

Earnhardt on his legacy

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

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