Thursday, April 18, 2019

NASCAR, Charlotte Motor Speedway announce 2019 All-Star Race format & technical specs

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 17, 2019) – Race fans looking for a glimpse into the future need look no further than this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.  As demonstrated throughout its illustrious history, NASCAR’s annual all-star spectacular will again provide the platform for the world’s greatest stock car drivers to compete for $1 million dollars, while race teams will get a real-world experience with technical components that could be implemented in the next generation car.

The next step in the all-star evolution was unveiled today.

NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the format and technical specifications for the 2019 edition, a race that will feature some tried and true measures, as well as a potential glimpse into the Gen-7 future.

“Throughout its history, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has provided a platform to try new and innovative ideas, some of which we have incorporated on a full-time basis,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Last year’s all-star rules package resulted in one of the most exciting all-star races in history. With a similar package, and added elements that we could see in the next generation race car, we expect another must-watch event.”

“This will be the 35th running of the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, and while it’s known for memorable moments, this race has established a place in history for testing what’s best for the future,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc. “THIS is the proving ground.  Fans can always look back and see that night racing, stage racing and double-file restarts started in the All-Star Race.  And last year’s rules package produced the most three- and four-wide racing I’ve ever seen at Charlotte. This year may provide a peek into the crystal ball for the Gen-7 car, so once again, fans can expect the unexpected.”

The race will again have four stages, with a five lap increase in the final stage compared to last year’s race. The stages will last 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 15 laps. Both green flag and yellow flag laps will count in Stages 1-3; with only green flag laps counting in the Final Stage. NASCAR Overtime rules will be in effect for Stages 1-3. In the final stage, if the race is restarted with two or less laps remaining, there will be unlimited attempts at a green, white, checkered finish under green flag conditions. 

For the 2019 edition, the race cars will feature two keys technical elements that NASCAR may incorporate into the Gen-7 car slated to debut in 2021.

The first is single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that should offer dramatic improvements in ride height sensitivity for the drivers. This technical component will provide a more stable aero platform and create more consistent performance in traffic. Also, the car will be configured with a radiator duct which exits through the hood as opposed to the current design which exits into the engine compartment. This feature will create improved aerodynamic parity and, at the same time, reduce engine temperatures.

The Monster Energy Open will occur Saturday evening prior to the Monster Energy All-Star Race and will include three segments (20 laps / 20 Laps / 10 laps). The winner of each segment will earn a spot in the All-Star Race.

Those eligible for the Monster Energy All-Star Race include: drivers who won a points event in either 2018 or 2019; drivers who won a Monster Energy All-Star Race and compete full-time; and drivers who won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship and compete fulltime. Those who have not already earned a spot via the above criteria can still lock-in by winning a stage in the Monster Energy Open or by winning the Fan Vote. Polls for the fan vote are open now on NASCAR.com.

Drivers who have already clinch an All-Star Race spot: Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

Coverage of the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will begin on May 18 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1. The Monster Energy Open will air at 6 p.m. and the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race begins at 8 p.m. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Weekend passes for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race start at just $79 per person and also include admission to the May 17 N.C. Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, May 17 Monster Energy All-Star Race qualifying, May 18 AJR pre-race concert, May 18 Monster Energy Open and the May 18 Hairball post-race concert presented by Monster Energy. Kids ages 13 and under get in free to all activities on May 17 and for just $10 with adult purchase on May 18.  Tickets, camping and race-day upgrades are available by calling 1-800-455-FANS or visiting CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Odds to win 2019 Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

The Big One last spring at Talladega. 
WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK
ODDS TO WIN 2019 GEICO 500
TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2019 - 2:15 PM ET

Joey LOGANO 8/1
Brad KESELOWSKI 8/1
Kevin HARVICK 10/1
Clint BOWYER 10/1
Denny HAMLIN 10/1
Kyle BUSCH 10/1
Aric ALMIROLA 14/1
Ryan BLANEY 14/1
Chase ELLIOTT 14/1
Ricky STENHOUSE Jr. 18/1
Kurt BUSCH 18/1
Martin TRUEX Jr. 18/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 18/1
Paul MENARD 18/1
Daniel SUAREZ 18/1
Alex BOWMAN 30/1
Erik JONES 30/1
Matt DIBENEDETTO 30/1
Austin DILLON 40/1
Kyle LARSON 40/1
William BYRON 40/1
Ryan NEWMAN 40/1
Daniel HEMRIC 80/1
Ryan PREECE 80/1
Darrell WALLACE Jr. 80/1
Chris BUESCHER 80/1
Ty DILLON 80/1
David RAGAN 100/1
Michael McDOWELL 100/1
FIELD (all others) 40/1

Westgate Las Vegas Superbook odds to win 2019 Indianapolis 500

Will Power is the 7/1 co-favorite to win 2019 Indy 500.
WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK
ODDS TO WIN 2019 INDY 500
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2019 - 12:20 PM ET

Will POWER 7/1
Josef NEWGARDEN 7/1
Alexander ROSSI 8/1
Scott DIXON 8/1
Ryan HUNTER-REAY 10/1
Simon PAGENAUD 10/1
Helio CASTRONEVES 12/1
James HINCHCLIFFE 14/1
Marco ANDRETTI 16/1
Ed CARPENTER 16/1
Tony KANAAN 20/1
Felix ROSENQVIST 20/1
Sebastien BOURDAIS 30/1
Graham RAHAL 30/1
Fernando ALONSO 30/1
Takuma SATO 30/1
Marcus ERICSSON 40/1
Sage KARAM 40/1
Conor DALY 40/1
Ed JONES 40/1
Zach VEACH 40/1
JR HILDEBRAND 40/1
Matteus LEIST 60/1
Colton HERTA 60/1
Jordan KING 60/1
Oriel SERVIA 60/1
Spencer PIGOT 60/1
Max CHILTON 60/1
James DAVISON 100/1
Santino FERRUCCI 100/1
Charlie KIMBALL 100/1
Patricio O'WARD 100/1
Jay HOWARD 100/1
Jack HARVEY 300/1
Ben HANLEY 300/1
Kyle KAISER 500/1
Pippa MANN 500/1

NASCAR Cup Series off week, let's review updated championship odds

Martin Truex Jr. won his first short track race at Richmond.

Wait, what? No NASCAR racing this week?. Come on guys, it's only been 10 straight weeks of traveling coast to coast. At least there's the allure of racing the following week at Talladega Superspeedway's monstrous 2.66-mile layout. Double the anticipation and it'll be mounting daily.

So let's review what we have seen so far!

There have been nine points-paying races so far this season and all nine wins have come from two organizations: Joe Gibbs Racing with six wins and Team Penske with three wins.

Despite the appearance of the new race packages introduced at Atlanta (engines with 550 horsepower) and Phoenix (750 horsepower) being elitist, I'm seeing several other teams compete well because of the package that in the past hadn't come close to being able to compete with the top teams.

For instance, Ryan Newman from Roush Fenway Racing has had top-10 finishes the past two weeks. Last week Chris Buescher in the No. 37 was running in the top-6 for most of the race at Richmond. Paul Menard in the No. 21 finished 10th at Richmond. Hendrick Motorsports is still adjusting along the way, as is Stewart-Haas Racing, but they'll catch up. Seeing Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 driven by Austin Dillon finish sixth last week was great news for parity.

I like the new packages, but I still have some gripes about it and it relates to what a few of the drivers complained about last season when hearing what was about to happen in 2019. They said the driver's skill was going to be taken away due to the package featuring a huge spoiler creating loads of downforce. Some drivers said that anyone can jump in the car and do well.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Richmond NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2019 Toyota Owners 400

Martin Truex Jr led lots of laps last spring at Richmond.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota Owners 400
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 13
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (400 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Busch looking for three in a row
They say Virginia is for lovers and one thing Kyle Busch would love to do is win his third straight race at Richmond Raceway this Saturday (April 12, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader and winner of three races already this season (including last weekend’s battle at Bristol) is looking to do what was last accomplished in the early 1980s by Bobby Allison – win three consecutive races at the 3/4-mile track.

Only three drivers have won three or more in a row at Richmond – all NASCAR Hall of Famers – David Pearson (three, 1965-66), Richard Petty (seven, 1970-1973) and Allison (three, 1982-83).

And in the last 20 years, only one other driver has even won back-to-back races – Jimmie Johnson in a sweep of the 2007 season races.

It will be hard to bet against Busch achieving that mark of three straight this weekend. The Las Vegas native remains the lone Monster Energy Series driver to finish in the top 10 in each race this season. And last year the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry also won Bristol the weekend before the Toyota Owners 400.

Overall, Busch has six Richmond Cup wins in 27 starts – along with 17 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. And even if he doesn’t visit Victory Lane on Saturday, he still stands a good shot at extending his top-10 streak to 11 races as he has an average finish of 6.9 at Richmond.

Harvick still hungry for a win
After posting eight wins in 2018, Kevin Harvick is winless thus far in 2019 and has to be missing the sweet sound of confetti cannons in Victory Lane.

Despite failing to post a win through the opening eight races, the 2014 Monster Energy Series champ has six top 10s (Daytona and Bristol being the lone exceptions) and three top fives. And a fun fact there – all of those top fives were fourth-place finishes for the driver of the No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Ford Mustang.

But could Richmond be the place that puts Harvick back on top? He has three wins at the track and finished in the top five in both races last season. Overall in 36 starts at Richmond, Harvick has 14 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes.

He’s completed over 99% of the laps in those races, led 1,109 laps (fourth on his career tally list: Phoenix – 1,595, Dover – 1,442, Atlanta – 1,197) and has yet to post a DNF at the 0.75-mile track.

However, it’s been five years since his last win at Richmond Raceway – which came in the spring race in 2013 while he was still with Richard Childress Racing. But in the 10 races at Richmond since joining Stewart-Haas, Harvick has been amazingly consistent – posting seven top fives and recording a worst finish of 15th.

So, could this be the track that puts Harvick back on top? Survey says…possibly!

Seven-time getting back on track
The last time a winner of a Richmond Raceway Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series contest went on to win the year-end title was 2008. And in fact, that same driver achieved the same feat in 2007.

The driver? Jimmie Johnson.

After posting his second top-10 finish in a row, and fourth of the season, last weekend at Bristol, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is hoping this positive trend continues as he hopes to end a nearly two-year winless streak…and potentially march towards a record-setting eighth championship.

The last time Johnson visited Victory Lane was in June of 2017 at Dover. Through eight races last year, he had two top 10s and an average finish of 19.12. This year, he has an average finish of 14.5 to accompany his four top 10s.

There’s reason to have optimism that Johnson can post a solid finish or even reach Victory Lane at Richmond this weekend. He has three wins, seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes and has finished all but one race in 34 starts. And he has top-10 finishes in seven of the past nine races at the track – including a sixth-place result in this race last season.

The terrific two at the top
Nobody has dominated the Monster Energy Series this season like the Fords of Team Penske and the Toyotas of Joe Gibbs Racing.

The organizations have shut all other teams out of Victory Lane in 2019. Penske’s Joey Logano (Las Vegas) and Brad Keselowski (Atlanta, Martinsville) have captured three races while JGR’s Denny Hamlin (Daytona, Texas) and Kyle Busch (ISM Raceway, Auto Club, Texas) have combined for the other five wins.

And there’s no reason to think that trend couldn’t continue this weekend. The dynamic duo has combined to win eight of the last 10 races at Richmond Raceway. The lone standouts were current Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kyle Larson in the 2017 fall race and Kurt Busch in the spring of 2015:

Spring 2014 – Joey Logano (Team Penske)
Fall 2014 – Brad Keselowski (Team Penske)
Spring 2015 – Kurt Busch (Stewart Haas Racing)
Fall 2015 – Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing)
Spring 2016 – Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing)
Fall 2016 – Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing)
Spring 2017 – Joey Logano (Team Penske)
Fall 2017 – Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Spring 2018 – Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing)
Fall 2018 – Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing)

Here’s a breakdown of the current driver lineups for the two teams and their historic performance at Richmond:

Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch – The leader among active drivers with six wins at the track (double that of the next closest competitors), he also has 17 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes in 27 starts.

Denny Hamlin – The Virginia native has three wins at his home track along with 11 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 25 starts.

Martin Truex Jr. – The first-year Joe Gibbs Racing driver has yet to win in 26 starts at Richmond, and has three top fives and nine top 10s.

Erik Jones – The JGR driver with the least experience at the track has one top-10 finish in four starts.

Team Penske
Joey Logano – The reigning Monster Energy Series champion leads the team with two wins at Richmond, along with eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.

Brad Keselowski – The 2012 series champion has recorded a win in 19 starts and has tallied four top fives and nine top 10s. Richmond will be Keselowski’s 350th career Monster Energy Series start.

Ryan Blaney – The most junior member of the team has yet to post a top 10 in six starts at Richmond.

Chip Ganassi Racing looking to break up the band at the top
If there’s a team who might feel optimistic about their chances of breaking up the pair of dominating forces on the winners’ list this year it could be Chip Ganassi Racing.

Kyle Larson is one of two non-JGR or Penske drivers to record a win at Richmond in the last 10 races – winning the fall race in 2017. And the only other driver outside of those teams to win at Richmond in that 10-race stretch was Kurt Busch (then with Stewart Haas Racing but now teamed up with Larson at CGR) in the spring of 2015.

Busch’s 2019 has started off strong. Through the opening eight races, he has three top-five and six top-10 finishes – including a runner-up to his little brother Kyle last weekend at Bristol. And he currently sits eighth in points.

Overall, he has a pair of wins at Richmond, along with seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 36 starts.

Larson has only recorded two top-10s this season and sits an uncharacteristic 14th in points.

In 10 starts at Richmond, he has the win from 2017, two top fives (including a runner-up finish in the fall of 2016) and four top 10s.

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts
Six drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Richmond Raceway leading into this Saturday’s Toyota Owner’s 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Ryan Blaney – The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang has yet to post a top 10 in six career series starts at Richmond Raceway – and is the only member of his team to not have a win, yet, in 2019. Currently sixth in points, he has four top fives and four top 10s so far this season along with a Busch Pole and a season-best finish of third at Phoenix.

Chris Buescher – Racing with a full-time teammate (Ryan Preece) for the first time at JTG Daugherty Racing is the driver of the No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Buescher is currently 23rd in points and recorded a ninth-place finish at Atlanta earlier this season. He, like Blaney, has six starts at Richmond without a top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. – The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry is still chasing his first win of the season – and his first win at Richmond Raceway. He does have three top fives and nine top 10s in 26 starts at the 0.75-mile venue. Overall this season he is seventh in points with two top fives and five top 10s.

Aric Almirola – Almirola’s streak of six top-10 finishes came to an abrupt end last weekend in Bristol after getting caught up in an early-race incident. Besides last week, the driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang is having a fantastic start to the year. In 14 starts at Richmond, he has two top fives and five top 10s, including placing fifth here last fall.

William Byron – The second-year Hendrick Motorsports driver who pilots the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has just two starts at Richmond and is still looking for his first top 10 there. Byron is currently 20th in the points standings and has a season-best finish of sixth at Texas for his lone top 10 of the year.

Paul Menard – Legendary Virginia-based Wood Brothers Racing is hoping the driver of the No. 21 Ford Mustang can net the team their 100th Monster Energy Series win in their home state. His best finish of the season came last weekend at Bristol (sixth). In 24 starts at Richmond, he has one top 10 – a fifth-place result in the fall of 2013.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Richmond Betting Preview: 2019 Toyota Owners 400

Kyle Busch won both races at Richmond Raceway in 2018.
NASCAR has been racing at Richmond Raceway since 1953 and after several configuration and surface changes, the current flat 3/4-mile-layout has provided some of the best racing on the schedule and the Cup Series has been doing it twice a season there since 1959. Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 will just be another exciting chapter to its legacy.

“Richmond is such an important part of our sport,” said two-time Richmond winner Clint Bowyer. “It’s a new modern facility but it's still good old Saturday night short track racing at Richmond. You feel like those guys in the 50s, 60s, and 70s did when you race here. She’s been good to me over the years and I hope she'll be good to me again this weekend.”

Bowyer will be one of several quality candidates to win attempting to halt Kyle Busch from winning his fourth race of the season. Only eight races have been run so far and Busch has top-10 finishes in all of them. The No. 18 team has obviously found an edge with the new race packages, but whatever package NASCAR has been using through the years at Richmond, Busch has dominated.

“I love Richmond," said Kyle Busch. "It’s one of my favorite racetracks and one of my best racetracks. I love being able to go there and, of course, we put on some pretty good races there. We won four spring races in a row and both races last year, so that was cool. It’s a neat racetrack and it’s certainly an excitement track and there is a lot of action that happens there.”

He's the active leader with six wins and a 6.9 average finish in 27 starts at Richmond. His 17 top-five finishes are also most among active drivers. He's also got six wins in the Xfinity Series there. It's a stacked resume which is part of the reason the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened him as a massive 2/1 betting favorite to win Saturday.

The other part has to do with Busch's excellence in the package NASCAR is using this week, the one featuring engines with 750 horsepower, no aero-ducts, and the tall spoiler. All Busch has done with this package is win at Phoenix, finish third at Martinsville, and win last week at Bristol. Of those three, the balance and set-up for the car that holds the most weight at Richmond is Phoenix. 

For all my years of creating NASCAR odds and betting into other people's odds, my first strategy for Richmond has always been to reference what happened in the preceding race at Phoenix. And I'll do the same thing when the series goes to New Hampshire's flat 1-mile layout. No matter what package or era, those three tracks always seem to correlate with each other because of similar distances and banking.

So let's take a look at Phoenix where Busch won and led a race-high 177 of 312 laps. There were a few other standouts in that race that you should bookmark in a search for the best odds beginning with Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. Why wouldn't they all be good? They sponge off what that No. 18 team is doing within their stables.

Martin Truex Jr. finished second at Phoenix and was very good on the long runs and on the last run he was reeling in Busch but ran out of time and lost by a margin of 1.2 seconds. Truex has never won at Richmond, but he's probably had the best car in three of four of the past five races there. Last season he won the first two stages and led 163 laps before finishing third. He led 121 laps from the pole in the spring. In the fall of 2017, he led 198 laps and in the spring of 2016, he led 193 laps and finished third.

Truex wasn't able to duplicate his Phoenix success at Martinsville or Bristol using the same package, but teammate Denny Hamlin was able to run almost exactly the same with fifth-place on all three tracks using the 750 horsepower engine. He'll be getting some home-cooking this week with Richmond being 24 minutes from his hometown of Chesterfield, VA.

“It’s always a thrill getting to race in front of my hometown fans," Denny Hamlin said. "I’ve been fortunate to have had success at Richmond, and I know my team and I are excited for the challenge ahead this weekend.”

Jimmie Johnson is 30/1 to win 2019 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

Jimmie Johnson to run Boston Marathon on Monday after the race. 
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Richmond before the Boston Marathon:
“I'm looking forward to racing this weekend in Richmond and am ready for Boston. This weekend I will be focusing on nutrition and final preparations for the event Monday. We have had some small victories over the last few weeks on track, and I’m really proud of the effort (No. 48 team crew chief) Kevin (Meendering) and the team have put in. There are a lot of people putting in a lot of hours back at the shop, and it's starting to pay off. Once we complete the 300 miles Saturday night, we will be flying to Boston. On Sunday, I plan to drive the course and make some mental notes along the way. I will be resting and recovering as much as possible so I’m at my best on Monday morning. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve heard it’s the best day in Boston, and I’m focused on accomplishing my goals. It's been a long road, and I am stoked it's finally here.”


BRISTOL REWIND: Jimmie Johnson scored his fourth top-10 finish of the season this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson, who was the fastest Chevrolet in final practice on Saturday, overcame significant right-rear damage and a pit road speeding penalty to finish 10th. After eight races this season, Johnson’s average start is 10.6 and average finish is 14.5.

SHORT-TRACK WINS: Johnson has a total of 11 wins at half-mile tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway (two) and Martinsville Speedway (nine) – and three wins at the 0.75-mile track of Richmond. His last win at Richmond came in September 2008. Johnson has 14 total wins on short tracks throughout his career, second only to Kyle Busch, who has 16.

RICHMOND PERCENTAGE: In the 10 races run since 2014 at the 0.75-mile track in Richmond, Johnson has accumulated seven top-10 finishes, finishing in the top-10 70 percent of the times he has raced. Last season, Johnson finished sixth and eighth, respectively, and has not finished outside the top 11 at the track since September 2014.

BOSTON READY: So far in 2019, according to his Strava app, Johnson has logged close to 800 miles of training in preparation for Monday’s 26.2-mile Boston Marathon. Johnson’s longest single run was 22 miles and he was averaging 80 miles a week at the peak of his training before he'll take on the 26.2 miles in Boston.

ALLY AT MILE 17: Ally, the digital financial services company, is pulling together a “pit crew” of approximately 100 fans to support Johnson as he runs the Boston Marathon. The Ally pit crew/cheering squad will be stationed at mile 17 at the iconic Newton fire station to help runners and encourage Johnson to power through the “Seven Hills of Newton” and Heartbreak Hill to finish his first-ever 26.2-mile marathon.

APP TRACKER: To follow along with Johnson on the day of the marathon, the Boston Athletic Association has an app where you can track his progress. The app is available on iTunes or Google Play Johnson will wear bib No. 4848 during the race.

BOSTON COVERAGE: Johnson will be featured in the Boston Marathon pre-event show, which airs Sunday, April 14, at 4 p.m. ET on the Olympic channel. The 123rd running of the Boston Marathon will broadcast on NBC Sports Network from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on Monday, April 15.

#CHASING8 TV SPOTS: Johnson’s partnership with Ally has now gone to a new level. A TV spot appropriately titled “Chasing 8” premiered during the Bristol race broadcast on Fox Sports 1. The 30-second clip was created to energize fans and Johnson, as he relentlessly works toward a record eighth NASCAR Cup series championship. The spot can be seen here.
 

2019 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 64 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 623 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 36 pole positions
  • 225 top-five finishes
  • 356 top-10 finishes
  • 18,767 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 34 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 15 top-10 finishes
  • 461 laps led
 

Chase Elliott is 12/1 to win 2019 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

Chase Elliott won at Richmond in 2015 Xfinity Series race.
Chase Elliott on racing at Richmond:
“Richmond has a lot of character and is just a different place, and I think that is what makes it so tough. You really have to be superior to show your strength because it seems like everyone knows how to drive that racetrack, so it’s hard to be different. That may be what makes the racing pretty good.”

Elliott on Bristol pole award:

“I definitely think when you run good or have good Fridays or good Sundays, I think that’s a product of hard work, regardless of how you get to that point. It doesn’t happen by slacking off and being lazy, that’s for sure. So, I think there’s a lot of hard work and effort going on at our shop at Hendrick Motorsports. This is a place where if you get your car driving good, you can have a chance. It’s a great racetrack and a fun racetrack.


SHORT-TRACK PROWESS: In Chase Elliott’s last six short-track (Martinsville, Richmond, Bristol) finishes, he collected top-10 finishes five times, four of which were top-five finishes including two runner-up results. He currently holds the fourth-best average finish on short tracks this season (6.5) and has led the fourth-highest number of laps (87) on those tracks less than one mile in length. Elliott has led a total of 233 laps in the last six short-track races. Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, he earned his first career short-track pole award.
GREAT PERFORMANCE: Throughout last season and so far in 2019, Elliott has had strong performances on non-aero tracks (ISM, Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond, Sonoma, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen). The 23-year-old driver has finished inside the top five in eight of the last 13 non-aero track races – five were top-three finishes.

LAST THREE: The No. 9 team’s performance has been trending upward over the last three races (Martinsville, Texas, Bristol). In the last three races, Elliott has led 122 laps and started in the top 10 in all three – two being top-three starts (one pole award). His average starting position over the last three weeks is 3.7 and average finishing position is 8.7.

THIS RACE LAST SEASON: Last spring, Elliott started on the outside pole at Richmond Raceway and ran inside the top five for much of Stage 1. In Stage 2, he slipped back inside the top 10 as a result of tire fall-off. He began the final segment in ninth and continued to push inside the top 10 for the remainder of the race. With the help of a few great restarts by Elliott and quick stops by the NAPA pit crew, the No. 9 team collected a runner-up finish when the checkered flag waved.

BRISTOL REWIND: After earning the pole position for last weekend’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliott and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team crossed the finish line in 11th despite being involved in multiple on-track incidents and losing power steering for the majority of the race.

 

2019 Season

  • 10th in standings
  • 8 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 122 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 121 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 5 pole positions
  • 34 top-five finishes
  • 61 top-10 finishes
  • 1,365 laps led
 
 

Track Career 

  • 7 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 34 laps led
 

Kevin Harvick is 7/1 to win 2019 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

Looking to Get Rich in Richmond

Kevin Harvick has three Richmond wins.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (April 10, 2019) – Kevin Harvick has not won a race in the first eight events of the 2019 season. It’s happened only once since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2014.

In 2017, when SHR switched to the Ford Fusion, it took Harvick a bit of time to adjust and won his first race in the 16th race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. For 2019, SHR switched the Ford Mustang and NASCAR introduced a new rules package for the season.

Harvick has six consecutive top-10 finishes between Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. And he had the fastest car at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last week, but had to start from the rear of the field and had a loose wheel early in the race, which forced him to pit. He was four laps down and in 31st place and no one though he had any chance of rebounded.

His car was so quick that he actually finished on the lead lap and finished 13th. An amazing comeback from what could have been a horrible day.

Harvick will win and he hopes its this week at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. And has always he’ll have the support of Mobil 1 technology.

Mobil 1 isn’t just the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, it also provides the entire SHR organization with leading lubricant technology, ensuring that all SHR Mustangs have a competitive edge over the competition on the track. In its 17th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for SHR, has had much success at Richmond. Harvick has three wins, three poles, 14 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and has led a total of 1,109 laps in his 36 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond. His average start is 13.7, his average finish is 10.1 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.2 percent, completing 14,304 of the 14,422 laps available.

But he’s hoping that he score victory number four at Richmond this week.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Why has Richmond caused so many run-ins over the years, or conflicts between drivers?
“I don’t really know. For us, it’s really the same as any other race. You want to go there and prepare the best you can. Being a short track, it’s just one of those places where sometimes you have to move somebody out of the way and sometimes that doesn’t go over well. Any time you have short-track racing, there are going to be things that happen.”  

Do you have a favorite win at Richmond?
“I remember the ones I lost more than the ones I won. The first one, where Ricky Rudd and I were racing in 2001, was pretty cool. But, as you look back at the last one we won in 2013 as part of a green-white-checkered finish, I think we came from seventh to win, so I didn’t really expect to win that one. The other two were probably fairly strong nights for us.”

Do you consider yourself a short-track specialist?
“I think we’ve had success on short tracks in the past. It’s really just a matter putting a weekend together. It’s really no different than any other racetrack. This business is hard to be successful at and sometimes you go through years where short tracks are good and some years not so good. Some years, longer tracks are good and some are not so good. It’s really just about putting together a whole weekend. It all starts with practice on Friday and trying to qualify well. I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like.”

Is it better to race with your emotions in check?
“I think, emotionally, you can get yourself in trouble. Especially for me, to have those emotions under control opens the door for less noise. I can deal with the noise, but I don’t like the noise and disruption that comes with that noise for my team because they have to start answering questions and looking at things on the Internet to take their focus off of what is most important. It’s most important for them to focus on the details of the car.”
RODNEY CHILDERS, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Why are synthetic engine oils superior to conventional engine oils?
“Synthetic oil can run hotter than conventional oil which helps all of our parts, especially in the engine. Mobil 1 gives us the best fluids and oils and that is a huge advantage. Every car in the NASCAR field is looking for any advantage they can get and certainly Mobil 1 gives us a huge advantage throughout the year. It’s great to have them as a partner.”