Hendrick Motorsports Previews The Federated Auto Parts 400

RICHMOND RACEWAY (0.75-MILE OVAL)

LOCATION: RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 26 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, SEPT. 9 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

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

2017 Season

  • 21st in standings
  • 25 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 27 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 10 top-10 finishes
  • 281 laps led
GREAT CLIPS: This weekend, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS at Richmond Raceway. Kahne will also drive the Great Clips livery during next weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway as well as the upcoming races at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

SEE YOU IN THE PLAYOFFS: While some of his competitors are vying for a spot in this season’s playoffs, Kahne’s NASCAR Cup Series win in July at Indianapolis Motor Speedway launched him into the playoffs for the NASCAR Cup Series championship. The win marked the 18th of his career in the Cup Series.

RICHMOND STATS: In Kahne’s last five starts at Richmond, he has finished in the top 10 three times. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has an average starting position of 14.0 and an average finishing position of 16.5 at the Virginia short track. He’s led a total of 281 laps in five separate races at the track and has completed 95.8 percent of possible laps.

FIRST WIN: Kahne’s first Cup win came in just his 47th start in the series and only his third start at Richmond. He completed the May 2005 weekend sweep by also earning the pole award and went to Victory Lane after leading a race-high 242 of 400 laps. Kahne is one of five active drivers to start from the pole position and win in the same weekend at the 0.75-mile track – Jimmie Johnson (2007), Kyle Busch (2010), Brad Keselowski (2014) and Denny Hamlin (2016) are the other four.

RICHMOND LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks second in green-flag passes at Richmond with 1,327. He is fifth in fastest laps run with 408 and seventh in quality passes with 585. Quality passes are determined by the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

BEHIND THE SCENES: This week, the No. 5 team will be featured in the Hendrick Motorsports docuseries “Road to Race Day.” The docuseries gives a behind-the-scenes look at the No. 5 team at last year’s Sonoma Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway race weekends. In addition to racetrack content, viewers will get a look at off-track events, including the annual Hendrick Motorsports pit crew combine. The episodes can be streamed on go90.

RETURNING HOME: Keith Eads, the tire specialist for the No. 5 team, heads to his home track this weekend. Richmond is the closest the NASCAR Cup Series stop on the circuit to Eads’ hometown of Arlington, Virginia, which is located just under two hours north of Richmond.

No. 24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

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

2017 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 25 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 2 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 6 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 184 laps led

Career

  • 66 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 16 top-five finishes
  • 30 top-10 finishes
  • 542 laps led

Track Career 

  • 4 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 0 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET: This weekend, Chase Elliott will pilot the No. 24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS for the second time this season. The black-and-green Mountain Dew scheme was on track earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR’s All-Star Race. Elliott finished seventh after fans voted the second-year driver into the main event, which featured 20 of NASCAR’s top stars.

RICHMOND STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fifth start at the 0.75-mile oval on Saturday night. In Elliott’s four previous NASCAR Cup Series starts, he averages a starting position of 21.8 and a finishing position of 17.8. He also has made four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Richmond – collecting a win in 2015 and never finishing outside of the top five. In the XFINITY Series, Elliott has an average starting position of 5.0 and finishing position of 2.5 at Richmond.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: Elliott is currently seventh in driver point standings and 14th in playoff standings. This weekend in Richmond he can secure his spot in the playoffs with a win. Additionally, if there is a repeat winner this weekend in Richmond, Elliott will clinch on points, regardless of finish. If there is a new winner this weekend, Elliott would clinch on points by earning 53 points.

DARLINGTON REWIND: At Darlington, Elliott moved one step closer to qualifying for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by finishing 11th in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. During the 367-lap event, the 21-year-old driver consistently raced inside the top 20. A scheduled green-flag stop with less than 25 laps remaining put the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS team in position to climb to 11th when the checkered flag waved.

CHASE U RETURNS TO RICHMOND: For the second time this season, Richmond Raceway has partnered with Elliott to bring a unique race-day experience to college students called Chase University, better known as Chase U. For $24, current college students can enjoy a ticket to the Cup Series race on Saturday, September 9 with an exclusive college pre-race party and an appearance by the driver of the No. 24 himself. Chase U was launched by Elliott in October 2016 and was an immediate success bringing college students out to the racetrack. The college program combines all the elements of a perfect race day experience with live music, great food and beverages and tailgate games. The Chase U ticket package is available to all college students with a valid student ID and includes a grandstand ticket and access to the exclusive Chase U pre-race party.

DRIVE FOR TEAL & GOLD: This weekend in Richmond, Elliott will be running a special steering wheel for the 2nd Annual Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s “Drive for Teal & Gold” Steering Wheel campaign. At the end of the month, Elliott will autograph his steering wheel and donate it to the NASCAR Foundation, which will auction it off to support the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 31 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 461 laps led
RECENT FINISHES AT RICHMOND: In the past two outings at Richmond Raceway, Jimmie Johnson has a pair of 11th-place finishes. His best recent finish was third place on April 24, 2016.

RICHMOND DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the eighth-best driver rating at Richmond with a score of 90.3 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.

JOHNSON’S SUCCESS AT RICHMOND: Johnson swept the 2007 season at Richmond, winning one of those races from the pole position on Sept. 8, 2007. Johnson’s last win at the 0.75-mile track was on Sept. 7, 2008. The No. 48 team has scored four straight top-10 finishes at Richmond.

PLAYOFF-BOUND: With Johnson’s three wins this season, he is currently seeded third in the NASCAR playoffs grid with 16 playoff points. He is the only current driver who has made the postseason playoff system every year while competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

KNAUS AT RICHMOND: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus will appear at the Fanatics Fan Stage at Richmond on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session with fans.

GRIDSIDE LIVE! AT RICHMOND: Johnson will appear for a question-and-answer session at the at Richmond Raceway amphitheater at 2:45 p.m. local time on Saturday, Sept. 9.

DANIELS CLOSE TO HOME: The race this weekend at Richmond hits close to home for team engineer Cliff Daniels, who hails from nearby Smithfield, Virginia. Prior to becoming an engineer in NASCAR, Daniels raced Late Model stock cars at Langley, Southside and South Boston Speedways in Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has been an integral part of the No. 48 team since December 2014.

STEERING WHEEL FOR A CAUSE: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Childhood Cancer Awareness month and Johnson will honor friend and fellow competitor Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex — who is an ovarian cancer survivor — with a teal-and-gold-colored steering wheel this weekend at Richmond. The second annual “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign is designed to raise awareness of and funds for ovarian (teal ribbon) and childhood (gold ribbon) cancers. At the end of September, the autographed wheel will be available via online auction by the NASCAR Foundation to benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.

No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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

2017 Season

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

Career

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

Track Career 

  • 35 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 10 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 501 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 8, at 1:50 p.m. local time in the Richmond Raceway media center.

RICHMOND STATS: Among active drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of four competitors tied for second with three NASCAR Cup Series victories at Richmond Raceway. Earnhardt most recently went to Victory Lane at Richmond on May 6, 2006, after leading 47 laps. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has one pole at the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, which he earned in September 2012. Richmond is another track where the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has shown his ability to pass, as he ranks fourth among active drivers in green-flag passes with 1,290 since 2005, according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics.

DOUBLE DUTY: For the second – and final – time this season, Earnhardt will be pulling double duty, driving the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday night in addition to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday night. Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports will have five cars entered in Friday night’s XFINITY race. The last time he raced for his JR Motorsports team at Richmond (April 2016), he led 128 of 149 laps to bring home the victory, which also helped create another spike in his viral, banana-mayo sandwich Twitter campaign to raise over $158,000 for Blessings in a Backpack, a national, non-profit organization which packs food for school children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekends.

TEAL WHEEL AND SHOES: Earnhardt will be using a teal-and-gold steering wheel and wearing teal shoes this weekend at Richmond to promote ovarian and childhood cancer awareness. The teal-and-gold steering wheel, which will be autographed by Earnhardt after he races with it, will be auctioned off via The NASCAR Foundation to support the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation at Nas.cr/auctions. Earnhardt will continue to wear the teal shoes for the remainder of September before auctioning them off in support of ovarian cancer research online at http://www.ebay.com/usr/dalejrfoundation. For more, visit The Dale Jr. Foundation’s website.

HOMETOWN SUCCESS: Adam Jordan, interior mechanic for the No. 88 Axalta team, grew up in Timberville, Virginia, about two-and-a-half hours northwest of the racetrack. He was working as a painter at a body shop right out of high school and happened to meet someone who was helping a race team in the Pro Cup Series, a traveling short-track racing series a step above late models. Jordan, who had no previous racing experience, started helping the team on weekends. When the crew chief of that car moved to North Carolina to start working for a NASCAR Cup Series team, he called Jordan to come down for an interview as a painter for his team. Jordan got the job, moved to Hendrick Motorsports a few years later, and the rest is history. In 2014, Jordan and the No. 88 team won the Daytona 500, which he names as his most memorable moment in NASCAR.

VICTORY TOUR AND THE REDSKINS: ICYMI, Earnhardt stopped at Richmond Raceway for a Victory Tour appearance on Aug. 8 in advance of the track’s fall race weekend. The day started with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney presenting a proclamation to the 14-time most popular driver declaring Aug. 8 (8/8) “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Appreciation Day” in the City of Richmond. Earnhardt, a lifelong Washington Redskins fan, then gave five players – quarterback Kirk Cousins, cornerback Josh Norman, linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Will Compton, and right tackle and Richmond native Morgan Moses – a unique view of Richmond by driving them a few laps around the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval in a two-seater No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet show car. After visiting with RICHMOND NATION members at the track, Earnhardt made his way to the Redskins training camp where he observed practice, chatted with the players and ran some plays as a wide receiver with Cousins and Norman. In other Redskins news, last Wednesday, Earnhardt announced at the Redskins’ 56th annual Welcome Home Luncheon that The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Foundation would be teaming up with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to celebrate student achievement. Together the two foundations will re-design and create a state of the art library at a Washington, D.C., metro area elementary school. The school will be selected from the more than 140 schools actively participating in the Redskins Read Program and will be based on the students’ accomplishments in the program.

Hendrick Motorsports

DISASTER RELIEF FUND: Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have launched a disaster relief fund with the goal of raising $500,000 in two weeks to support hurricane victims. The drivers and Hendrick Motorsports have committed a combined $200,000 and are encouraging the public to join the effort. Visit HendrickRelief.org for more information and to donate.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT RICHMOND: At Richmond Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 17 pole positions, 57 top-five finishes and 103 top-10s. Johnson earned the three most recent wins for the organization at the track — a sweep in 2007 and another trip to Victory Lane in 2008.

FIVE MAKE 10: Hendrick Motorsports’ 10 wins at Richmond have come thanks to five different drivers. Tim Richmond earned the organization’s first win at the track in 1986, and his was followed by three wins by Terry Labonte, three by Johnson, two by Gordon and one by Joe Nemechek.

TRIPLE DIGITS: The organization has accumulated 103 top-10 finishes at Richmond Raceway — one of only four tracks where Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished that feat. The organization’s 122 top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway lead the way, followed by 118 top-10s at Pocono Raceway, 103 at Richmond and 100 at Dover International Speedway.

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 1,722 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,801 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“Richmond is cool for me because it’s where I got my first Cup win. The past few races we’ve been really good there and I hope we can continue to build on that. It will be an intense night because it’s the last chance for a lot of drivers to lock themselves into the playoffs. Fortunately, we are locked in and we’ll focus on getting the best result we can.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Richmond

“It would be great. We need to continue to run like we have ran these past couple of weeks and have solid weekends altogether. I feel like our qualifying efforts have really improved here lately, which is what we need and I think what is going to be even more important as time goes on, so we need to continue to do that. Getting in is one thing, but doing something when you get in, if you get in, is another thing and you want to be able to do something if you can get in. We need to continue to run like we have been running these past couple of weeks to have a chance to continue forward if we are lucky enough to make it.”

Chase Elliott on potentially making the playoffs for the second consecutive season

“Richmond is always exciting for the fans. It will be interesting to see who makes it into the playoffs. There are a few scenarios that have to play out. A lot of guys are racing for their seasons this weekend so there is a lot on the line for some. I’m ready to get these next 10 weeks going and chase our eighth championship. The summer hasn’t been to kind to the No. 48 team.”

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Richmond

“Richmond is a track that I’ve had a lot of success at, though not so much recently. It’s really hard to get a hold of and hard to figure out exactly what line we’re running and where you need to put your car to get it to work. It’s been a bit of a challenge for us over the last couple of trips, but it should still be a fun race.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Richmond

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

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