Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Quaker State 400 At Kentucky

KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE SPEEDWAY)

LOCATION: SPARTA, KENTUCKY
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 18 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, JULY 8 (NBCSN/PRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 17 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 19 laps led

Career

  • 485 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 91 top-five finishes
  • 172 top-10 finishes
  • 4,626 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 1 lap led
MOUNTAIN DEW: This weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS. The event marks the first points race of the season that Kahne has been behind the wheel of the white-and-green Chevrolet. The driver previously piloted the Mountain Dew machine in the All-Star exhibition race this past May. In conjunction with this weekend’s paint scheme, fans can participate in Hendrick Motorsports’ “Five Days of Dew” social campaign via @TeamHendrick on Twitter.

KENTUCKY KAHNE: In Kahne’s six starts at Kentucky, he has a best finish of second, which came in only his second NASCAR Cup Series race at the Sparta, Kentucky, track. In last year’s Kentucky race, Kahne ended the evening with a 14th-place result, bringing his average finish at the mile-and-a-half track to 12.5.

KENTUCKY LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne leads the closers category with 20 positions gained and green-flag passes with 514. The 37-year-old ranks second in quality passes with 218. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. He’s sixth in fastest laps run with 64 and eighth in the driver rating category with an average rating of 91. 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.

RECAPPING DAYTONA: In his second appearance of the year at Daytona International Speedway, the Enumclaw, Washington, native qualified the UniFirst Corporation Chevrolet SS in the fourth position at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. He led the field in the UniFirst Chevy for 12 laps late in the Saturday night race before being shuffled back in the closing laps, resulting in an 18th-place finish.

SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: For the second year in a row, Great Clips is teaming up with Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer program to have a child design one of the No. 5 team’s paint schemes. Kahne has narrowed the entries down to his three favorites and voting will open next week on the Kasey Kahne Foundation website for fans to choose their favorite. The design with the most votes will be driven by Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on September 17.

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.

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
  • 17 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 1 start
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS: Chase Elliott will pilot the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 NASCAR Cup Series races this year. The 21-year-old driver most recently raced the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway, finishing 22nd after a rollercoaster night.

KENTUCKY STATS: Elliott is set to make his second Cup Series start this weekend in Kentucky Speedway. Last season, Elliott qualified eighth and early contact with a competitor forced the No. 24 team to the garage for repairs, resulting in a 31st-place finish. Elliott also has four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the mile-and-a-half track, averaging a starting position of 9.2 and finishing position of 8.2. He has led 20 laps and collected two top-five finishes and two top-10s.

DAYTONA RECAP: The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Patriotic team finished 22nd at Daytona International Speedway on a night that saw Elliott lead early, spin out mid-race and rally back into the top 10 before spinning again in overtime. The team remains sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings through 17 races.

USED CAR CHAMPIONS:  With NAPA AUTO PARTS, Elliott is trying his hand at reporting in two new commercials. Elliott chats with some “Used Car Champions” in the funny videos, including a soccer mom and a confident teen known as “The James.” Check out the ads here.

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER RECAP: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native gave up control of his Instagram account in Daytona to commercial photographer Chris Stanford. Throughout the Daytona race weekend, Stanford provided a unique perspective with behind-the-scenes images of Elliott on Instagram. For a recap, click here.

BID ON ELLIOTT’S KICKS: Last weekend in Daytona, Elliott sported a pair of “Support Our Troops” camouflage racing shoes. Those shoes are now up for auction through the NASCAR Foundation’s online auction site. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. To bid on Elliott’s shoes, click here.

AROUND TOWN: On Thursday, Elliott will make his way around Indianapolis to promote the upcoming 24th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is scheduled to take a helicopter tour of the city, try his hand at axe throwing and meet with a few hundred kids competing in the USAC .25 midget Battle at the Brickyard event. Elliott will wrap up his day meeting with media in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 560 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 221 top-five finishes
  • 336 top-10 finishes
  • 18,634 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 5 top-10 finishes
  • 203 laps led
ASPEN PARADE: Jimmie Johnson celebrated the Fourth of July in his most natural environment – behind the wheel of his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. Johnson, an avid outdoors enthusiast, frequents Aspen, Colorado, during the off-season and he and his family spent the recent holiday in the mountain town. Johnson brought his No. 48 Lowe’s showcar to the main streets of Aspen for the town’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration parade and gave Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo a ride as close to 20,000 residents and visitors looked on. Johnson also did a burnout in the streets. Click here to see Johnson’s tweet about the event.

SEEKING A WIN IN KENTUCKY: Of the 83 career wins Johnson has accumulated over his career, none of them have come at Kentucky. Kentucky is one of the three tracks where Johnson has yet to score a win – the other two are Chicago and Watkins Glen.

KENTUCKY DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating at Kentucky with a score of 102.1.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. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

KENTUCKY STATS: In six starts at Kentucky, Johnson has an average start of 8.2 and an average finish of 11.5. His best finish at the mile-and-a-half track was a third-place result in the inaugural race in 2011. He has since added four additional top-10 finishes to his Kentucky resume.

LAPS LED: Johnson has the third highest amount of laps led at Kentucky of any current driver. He has paced the field for 203 total laps, 182 of which came at the race in 2013.

No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

  • 612 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,198 laps led

Track Career 

  • 6 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 10 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS, will visit the Kentucky Speedway media center at 12:20 p.m. local time on Friday, July 7.

NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The special paint scheme features the Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) logo as well as more than 315 names on the hood of people who donated to the hospital through a special fundraising platform. The white, orange and blue car will be adorned with butterflies, as they are recognized as the hospital’s ambassadors of hope and optimism. As America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center, NCH is dedicated to making sure that all patients are given the care they need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Families travel from around the nation – and some even come from other countries – to gain access to the Columbus, Ohio-based hospital’s life-saving treatments. In many cases, NCH is the only hospital able to provide that care and is their last hope for treatment. More information is available at www.NationwideChildrens.org.

PATIENT CHAMPIONS: The NCH Patient Champion Program honors and celebrates the hospital’s young, courageous patients. On race day, Earnhardt and Nationwide will host the 2017 Patient Champions and their families at the track to show appreciation for the bravery these kids show as they battle their illnesses. As previously announced, The Dale Jr. Foundation has partnered with Nationwide and NCH on the Driven to Give Gloves program and has dedicated four pairs of Earnhardt’s gloves to four different patient champions at NCH. The money raised from those four pairs of gloves will go to NCH to support their mission of helping kids everywhere. More information about the Patient Champions can be found here.

AT KENTUCKY: In six starts at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt has two top-five finishes – his best finish is fourth – and an average finish of 14.2. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native qualified on the pole at the mile-and-a-half tri-oval for the June 2013 race. Last year, he finished 13th in his No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevy after having to slow to conserve fuel at the end of the 400-mile race. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics among active drivers since 2005, Earnhardt ranks third in the green-flag passes category with 412, seventh for average speed late in a run (154.352 mph), and 10th in laps led with 10 laps.

VISITING NCH: Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital earlier this year – in April – and got the chance to check back in on the patients and get a look at the new innovations the hospital has implemented to ensure that its patients continue to receive the best care. Earnhardt is scheduled to make a return visit this week, along with several members of the No. 88 team. The event will be closed to the public, however, Earnhardt and the members of the No. 88 team in attendance will be available to media at the hospital. If you would like more information, please contact Tiffany Daniels. Stay tuned to the Nationwide88 social channels for updates from the visit.

ICYMI – AXALTA UNVEIL: In case you missed it, the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS featuring Ducks Unlimited and Service King Collision Repair Centers was unveiled Wednesday morning on Earnhardt’s Facebook page. The black-and-camo car will run under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Aug. 19 race weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KENTUCKY: In six races at Kentucky, Hendrick Motorsports has posted two poles, five top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and 213 laps led. Kentucky Speedway, which began hosting NASCAR’s premier series in 2011, is the only active track where Hendrick Motorsports has not produced a win in the Cup Series.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 248 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,020 top-five finishes and 1,717 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,763 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“As the track ages from the repave last year, the racing grooves will continue to widen out. Last year with the way the tire was, it turned into a fuel mileage race, but we’ll have a little bit different tire for this race so we’ll see how that turns out.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Kentucky

“I think one of our teammates tested in Kentucky last year. I imagine it will probably be something similar to how we approached it last season – not really sure until we get on track. Between last year’s race and having the notes from the test, it gives us something to lean on a bit.”

Chase Elliott on approach to newer Kentucky pavement

“Kentucky is a tough one for me. I have some early fond memories. That’s the first place I drove a Cup car when Hendrick Motorsports put me under contract. I was a test driver for quite a few reps just getting my laps started there. So, that is probably the only fond memory I have of that track (laughs). When I look at my Busch Series days there, I wrecked a lot of race cars. We’ve had some competitive runs there and I don’t think the finishes show where our competitive level has been. It is just a very unique track. It always has been. The Turn 3 entry, regardless of the surface put down, it’s always been very challenging. I just haven’t mastered it yet.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Kentucky

“The track will take some time to get better, even with what they did with the pavement to try to make it age quicker last year. The track was very slick and just had one groove, which made passing a challenge, but that should improve with time. We also had a super conservative tire and I think we need the tires to wear out before the fuel runs out. I’m looking forward to getting back there and to going to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I’m excited for some of my guys to be able to see the hospital for the first time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Kentucky

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

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