Saturday, May 24, 2014

Charlotte Driver Chassis Selections: 2014 Coca-Cola 600

Brad Keselowski using a new paint scheme and chassis this week

#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Charlotte is PRS-912, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-840 which was last used as a backup at Kansas.

#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot chassis No. 465 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is the same Cheerios Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced to a 21st-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Although Sunday's 600-mile event will mark Dillon's first Coca-Cola 600 start, the Welcome, N.C. driver grew up watching the Memorial Day-weekend race from his grandfather's condo, which overlooks the racetrack. Dillon participated in the Sprint Showdown last Friday. After earning the pole, he led three laps but, following a pit stop for two tires, ultimately earned an eighth-place finish after developing a tight-handling condition.

#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 858 in Sunday's race at Charlotte. Harvick last raced this car at Texas in April. In that event Harvick started third and took the lead at lap 25, just before the engine in his #4 Chevrolet SS expired, leaving the team with a 42nd-place finish. Harvick has 26 prior NSCS starts at CMS. He's visited Victory Circle twice in the Coca-Cola 600, first in 2011 and again last May. Harvick also has three top fives and nine top-10 finishes to his credit. He has an average start of 18.1 and an average finish of 16.9 at CMS.

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-863 for Sunday's race at Charlotte. Kahne drove this chassis to an 11th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Nearly every statistical category at Charlotte ranks as a personal best for Kahne, who has competed in 20 Cup events at the 1.5-mile oval. Kahne's four wins and 12 top-10s are personal bests as well as his nine top-five finishes. Kahne has completed 97.2 percent of the laps he has attempted at Charlotte and has led a personal best 1,106 laps at the track. His 11.4 average finish at Charlotte ranks as his second-best among active tracks.

#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-839, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis No. 10-794 was tested in the wind tunnel May 1, 2013, before being used by Patrick in the Coca-Cola 600 later that month at Charlotte. Patrick started 24th and finished 29th after being involved in a multicar accident on lap 320 of 400. After repairs, she managed to finish the race but completed only 385 laps. The next time Patrick drove this car was in June at Kentucky, where she started 29th and finished 23rd. The last time she drove it was in 2013 at Atlanta where she started 21st and finished 21st. It was used as a backup car in fall 2013 at Kansas, Charlotte and Texas. It was then used in 2014 at Bristol, but she wrecked the car early in the first practice and went to a backup. Since then, it has been a backup at Texas and Darlington.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-710 debuted in April 2012 at Richmond. It qualified 22nd and led four times for 118 laps before a late-race caution canceled Stewart's two-and-a-half second lead and forced him to settle for a third-place finish. It was then tested June 6-7 at Pocono and again during a Goodyear Tire Test June 12-13 at Bristol. New Hampshire marked Chassis No. 14-710's second career start. There, a new tire compound from Goodyear confounded the #14 team, and they labored to a 12th-place finish. The car returned to Richmond in September for its third career start via the Federated Auto Parts 400, where it rallied from its 28th-place starting spot to lead 15 laps before finishing fourth. Its last start of 2012 came in October at Martinsville where in its fourth career start, it qualified seventh and finished a disappointing 27th. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-710 returned to Martinsville in April. After rallying from its 26th starting spot to 10th by lap 200 and then hovering in or near the top-10 for the remainder of the race, Stewart found himself hung in the outside lane following a restart on lap 473. The final 27 laps of the 500-lap race around paperclip-shaped .526-mile oval proved arduous, as Stewart was stuck in the outside lane as the seemingly express lane to his left boxed him out of the preferred line. When the checkered flag dropped, Stewart was 17th. Chassis No. 14-710 sat idle until being tested at Richmond Aug. 26-27 with interim driver Mark Martin at the wheel in preparation for the track's Sept. 7 Sprint Cup race. The testing paid off as Martin scored a top-10 after starting 16th. Chassis No. 14-710 returned to Martinsville for its third start of 2013, its second with Martin and seventh overall in October, qualifying 21st and finishing 36th after an accident on lap 204 sent it to the garage for repairs. The car underwent a massive overhaul under the direction of crew chief Chad Johnston for the 2014 season. It made its first start of the year at Auto Club Speedway, where with Stewart back in the driver's seat, it qualified 10th and recovered from a midrace spin that dropped it to last in the 43-car field to finish fifth. The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte will mark Chassis No. 14-710's ninth career start.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 813 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Charlotte. It's a new chassis for the 2014 season and finished 13th at Phoenix earlier this year. Chassis No. 800 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis has never seen action on the race track but has served as the back-up for several races this season, most recently Kansas.

#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 Fastenal team will run chassis RK-908 which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis will be RK-879 which last ran at Las Vegas finishing 22nd. Biffle has 22 starts in the Cup series at Charlotte, but a win has eluded him. He has finished in the top-five five times and has eight top-10 finishes.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion team will be using primary chassis RK-899 which is the same chassis that the #17 team ran in Texas finishing 26th after his Ford was too tight on the final run. The backup chassis is RK-888 which last raced in Bristol and finished second.

#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-911 for Charlotte, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-844 which was last used as a backup at Kansas.

#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-861 for this Sunday night's race. This chassis has been raced twice previously with finishes of seventh and 13th earlier this year at Darlington and Auto Club Speedway, respectively. Gordon has five wins, nine pole positions, 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s in 42 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 454 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS was previously raced at Texas Motor Speedway where Menard finished in the ninth position. Menard has 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte. His best start of fifth and best finish of eighth both came in 2010. The Wisconsin native has completed 4,775 of 4,970 laps attempted (96.1 percent) at the 1.5-mile track. In addition to his 14 Sprint Cup Series starts, Menard has nine NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at CMS. He won the pole award in 2011 and his best finish of third came in 2005. Menard has also led 31 laps in his nine Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte.

#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 467 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 467 is brand new to the RCR fleet and will compete for the first time during Thursday's practice and qualifying sessions. In 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Charlotte's 1.5-mile oval, Newman has recorded runner-up finishes two times (fall 2003 and Coke 600 2009) The "Rocket Man" also owns nine pole awards. In total, he owns four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and has led 276 laps of competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of seventh and average finish of 19th. When calculating points earned last season at CMS, Newman ranks fourth in most points earned.

#33-Brian Scott will pilot chassis No. 460 in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This Shore Lodge Chevrolet SS was raced in March at Auto Club Speedway where Scott qualified 37th and finished 35th after an early-race accident. Scott will be making his second Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He made his Cup debut at the 1.5-mile speedway last fall where he started 19th and finished 27th.

#41-Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 761 in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. In one previous start, as the #39 for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), driver Ryan Newman started fifth and finished 36th at Dover in June 2014. Chassis No. 761 served as the backup at Las Vegas, California, Texas and Darlington in 2014. Parker Kligerman, most recently of Swan Racing, will serve as a practice and standby driver for Kurt Busch this week. Busch will be traveling back and forth to Indianapolis as he attempts to run the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte. Kligerman practiced the Haas Automation Chevrolet SS Friday in preparation for Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-797 for this weekend's 600-mile event. Johnson last raced this car in April at Texas. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-728, which Johnson most recently raced at Bristol in March. In 25 Cup starts at Charlotte, Johnson has six wins, 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s. He has completed 97.1 percent of laps run (8,594 of 8,852 laps) and has led 1,569 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. A three-time pole winner, Johnson has an average start of 7.4 and an average finish of 11.6.

#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 797 finished 7th at Auto Club Speedway. The backup chassis is 801, which has not raced.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 National Guard / Superman team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-882. This is a new chassis that has not been raced. In 28 Cup starts at Charlotte, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 94.1 percent of all laps he's attempted (9,454 laps of 10,052 total) at the 1.5-mile oval. The 39-year-old driver has led a total of 343 laps there.

#95-Michael McDowell: will drive Chassis No. PRS-847 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McDowell last drove this Wally Rogers-prepared Ford Fusion to a 30th-place finish, qualifying 28th, at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7. The chassis also has history at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway finishing 43rd.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Ford Fastenal team will unload primary chassis RK-880 which was last run this season at Las Vegas, finishing fifth. The backup chassis RK-880 was last run in 2014 at Darlington, finishing 13th. This Memorial Day weekend will mark Edwards' 19th start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Edwards has an average start of 17.8 and an average finish of 11.8 at the one-and-a-half mile track. The Roush Fenway Racing driver is still looking for his first win, with a career-high finish of third that came in the fall of 2011. Edwards has finished in the top-five five times and in the top-ten 11 times.

- compiled by

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