Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Overton’s 400

POCONO RACEWAY (2.5-MILE TRIANGLE)

LOCATION: LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 21 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, JULY 30 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 20th in standings
  • 20 starts
  • 1 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

  • 488 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 173 top-10 finishes
  • 4,638 laps led

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 219 laps led
SHARK WEEK: This weekend at Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS. For the fifth year in a row, Kahne will drive the special paint scheme that coincides with Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. Stayed tuned to Hendrick Motorsports’ social channels this week for fun, shark-related content.

WINNER AT INDY: Last Sunday, Kahne captured his 18th NASCAR Cup Series win at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s his first Brickyard 400 win after finishing runner-up to Tony Stewart in 2005 in just his second start at the 2.5-mile speedway. Kahne crossed the yard of bricks in the first position after surviving multiple late-race restarts in the Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. Click here for photos from the day, and look for more Kahne and Brickyard victory content later this week on Hendrick Motorsports’ social channels.

KAHNE AT POCONO: In Kahne’s 2004 rookie year, he earned the pole award in his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono. Just four years later in 2008, Kahne captured his second pole position at the “Tricky Triangle” and went on to take the checkered flag after leading 69 laps in the 200-lap race. His most recent win at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track was in August 2013, when he started from the 18th position and led 66 laps. Kahne has led 219 laps in eight races, ranking him fifth among active drivers for most laps led.

POCONO LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks third in fastest laps run with 311. He’s fourth in quality passes with 952 and fifth in green-flag speed at 163.721 mph. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy is seventh in green-flag passes with 1,969 and eighth in laps spent in the top 15 with 2,662.

FAN Q&A: Kahne will be participating in a fan question-and-answer session on Sunday at 9:45 a.m. local time in the Tricky Triangle Club at Pocono. For more details on how to see the driver of the No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet SS and the exclusive ticket package add-on, please visit the Tricky Triangle Club’s website.

RACING ROOTS: HendrickMotorsports.com has released a four-part video series on 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 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

  • 8th in standings
  • 20 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 173 laps led

Career

  • 61 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 28 top-10 finishes
  • 531 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 51 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Pocono Raceway, Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS will don the familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme. The Atlanta-based company will serve as majority sponsor for Elliott and the No. 24 team for 24 NASCAR Cup Series races this year.

POCONO STATS: Elliott is set to make his fourth start at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series. In his first three starts, the second-year driver has collected one top-five finish and two top-10s. Elliott averages a starting position of 15.3 and a finishing position of 15.0, and he also has the fifth-best driver rating among active drivers at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track with an average score of 101.9.

BRICKYARD REWIND: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native started 16th in Sunday afternoon’s 24th running of the Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott wasted little time advancing forward as he climbed to 11th before a red flag was displayed for inclement weather on Lap 12. Once the event resumed, Elliott reported to his NAPA AUTO PARTS team that he felt like his car was experiencing engine issues. During the competition caution on Lap 30, the No. 24 team made an extended pit stop to evaluate the issue and sent Elliott back on the track. The engine issues proved to be terminal as Elliott’s race ended just before the end of Stage 1. The misfortune left the NAPA AUTO PARTS team with a 39th-place finish.

ELLIOTT’S ‘ROAD TO RACE DAY’: The second installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90 and focuses on Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team. In the episode, Elliott and his veteran crew seek to temper emotions and remain focused heading into the Daytona 500. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).

GET BACK AND GIVE BACK CAMPAIGN: 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 Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (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 can purchase an IFHF bucket for $3.99 and receive 20 percent off three or more items that fit inside with NAPA donating $1 to the IFHF for every bucket sold. The company will also donate $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.

NASHVILLE NIGHTS: On Wednesday, Elliott will head to Nashville to promote the upcoming night race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 19. Elliott will make his way around town doing media, stopping by Bass Pro Shops to hide some tickets and he’s scheduled to close out his evening as co-host at the Grand Ole Opry at 7:30 p.m. local time.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 19 top-10 finishes
  • 738 laps led
UNIQUE LOOK AT INDY: Throughout the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, director and photographer Danny Clinch took over Jimmie Johnson’s Instagram and Twitter accounts​. Clinch’s photos gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson’s life as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. Click here to see a recap.

DRIVER RATING AT POCONO: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Pocono with an average score of 103.9 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 and is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

POCONO STATS: Johnson’s last win at the “Tricky Triangle” was on June 9, 2013, when he dominated the event, starting first and leading 128 of 200 laps en route to his third win at the 2.5-mile track. In recent outings, Johnson has a pair of sixth-place finishes and three finishes outside the top-35. In June at the track, Johnson had a strong showing in the first stage but an incident on Lap 95 ended his day.

HOMETOWN CONNECTION: Shock specialist Mike Ellershaw hails from Levittown, Pennsylvania, roughly two hours south of Pocono Raceway.

WATKINS GLEN FAN FEST: Johnson will appear Friday, Aug. 4, at the Watkins Glen International Fan Fest taking place inside the track. Johnson will be on stage for a question-and-answer session at 6:45 p.m. local time. See www.theglen.com for more details.

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
  • 20 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 24 laps led

Career

  • 615 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 14 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 256 top-10 finishes
  • 8,211 laps led

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 2 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 182 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, July 29, at 10:45 a.m. local time in the Pocono Raceway media center.

FRONT-RUNNER AT POCONO: Dale Earnhardt Jr. swept both NASCAR Cup Series events in 2014 to earn his two career victories at Pocono Raceway. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has also finished in the top five in almost a third (32.4 percent) of the races in which he’s competed at the “Tricky Triangle.” The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS also has one pole at the Pennsylvania track, which he earned in August 2007.

LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks sixth in green-flag speed (163.474 mph) and ninth in laps in the top 15 (2,652), fastest laps run (114 laps), laps led (93 laps) and quality passes (831).

APPEARANCE SCHEDULE: Earnhardt’s weekend will kick off with Friday’s Fan Fest at Pocono Raceway. Check the Pocono Fan Fest website for updates on driver appearance times. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy will also participate in a youth autograph session on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. local time and a sold-out Tricky Triangle Club Q&A session on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time.

DOVER TEST: The No. 88 team is participating in a single-day Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway on Tuesday, July 25.

NBC SPORTS BROADCASTER: In case you missed it, NBC announced Monday that Earnhardt will join NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage in 2018. Earnhardt’s agreement with NBCUniversal also provides him with opportunities in the company’s media business, including movies, television and podcasts. In addition, NBC is teaming up with the 14-time most popular driver on some of his other business ventures including Dirty Mo Radio and Hammerhead Entertainment. Earnhardt joined a teleconference on Monday afternoon todiscuss the opportunity.

BOWMAN TO NO. 88 IN 2018: One year after his impressive debut with Hendrick Motorsports, the team has named Alex Bowman full-time driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series with a 19-race majority sponsorship from Nationwide beginning in 2018. Bowman will appear on FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR Race Hub Tuesday, July 25, at 6 p.m. ET.

HOMETOWN CONNECTION: The shock specialist for the No. 88 Nationwide team, Jason Seitzinger, hails from Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, which is just over an hour southwest of Pocono Raceway. Seitzinger has been with Hendrick Motorsports for more than 15 years. He initially started at Hendrick Motorsports as a shock specialist on the No. 24 team and was part of Jeff Gordon’s 2004 Brickyard 400 victory.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT POCONO: Hendrick Motorsports has accumulated 17 wins at Pocono Raceway, with the four most recent coming as season sweeps in 2013 (Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne) and 2014 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.). In addition, the organization has 12 pole positions, 67 top-five finishes and 117 top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile triangle.

POCONO PROWESS: Hendrick Motorsports’ 17 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Pocono have come via seven different drivers: Jeff Gordon (six), Johnson (three), Tim Richmond (three), Earnhardt (two), Geoff Bodine, Terry Labonte and Kahne.

ROAD TO RACE DAY: Hendrick Motorsports has teamed with Complex Networks, Film 45 and Markay Media on an original eight-part documentary series that goes behind the scenes with the organization during the 2016 season. New “Road to Race Day” episodes premiere Wednesdays on the go90 streaming platform. Watch for free by downloading the go90 app on your Apple or Android device, or view the series at go90.com.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,022 top-five finishes and 1,720 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,788 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I think Pocono’s a really good track for me. I thought we were pretty quick there the first race this year. We weren’t the fastest car there, but we were a top-10 car for sure and we had our brake issues, so we’re looking at making sure that doesn’t happen again. I feel like coming off a win, the confidence, momentum, some of those things can propel you, and I’m hoping it does that for our team.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Pocono

“I thought it was pretty similar. Braking seemed to be a little bit more emphasized this past race. You just don’t have as much spoiler to help slow you down getting in the corners and you are going really fast. That part was a little different, but overall the general tendencies of the cars are very similar to what they were last year.”

Chase Elliott on racing a new aero package at Pocono in June

“I think just the race and hopefully get lucky with how the cautions fall. We had a car that drove really nice there this past time. I’m happy about that and maybe we can take back what we finished practice with and started the race with and I think we will be just fine.”

Elliott on what he can take from Pocono in June

“After our brake issue at Pocono in June, we obviously don’t want that to happen again. We are stepping up our brake package – I wore out the pads last time, which caused the wreck we had. I like going there, I love the area, and I’m looking forward to the new schedule to see how it shakes out. We have a good pit selection thanks to our fourth-place qualifying effort at Indy, so it should be a good show.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Pocono

“I feel bad for all the fans because they’ve been really supporting us and this has been a difficult season for them to see us not compete like we should or like we have in the past. I’m hoping that I can turn that around for all our sakes really soon. We’ll go to the next race – Pocono – and keep digging. This is not the worst season by any stretch of the imagination – at least the cars have speed in them, we’ve just had some really bad luck. We’ve got a busy week coming up, but I’m so ready for Pocono. We’ve got Fan Fest Friday, then it’s back behind the wheel Saturday.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his season and heading to Pocono

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

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