NASCAR Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Richmond

Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Richmond

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RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY (0.75-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 26 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 7:30 P.M. ET, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)
No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne
Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 36                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
2016 Season
16th in standings
25 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
7 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
Career
457 starts
17 wins
27 pole positions
88 top-five finishes
163 top-10 finishes
4,607 laps led
Track Career
25 starts
1 win
1 pole position
5 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
281 laps led
RETURNING TO RICHMOND: Kasey Kahne returns to Richmond International Raceway and will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS for Saturday night’s 400-lap race. Kahne’s fourth-place result in this year’s April race at Richmond is tied with his finish at Dover as his highest of the season.
RACING TO THE CHASE: Kahne is on the outside looking in for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. However, a win this weekend at Richmond would punch his ticket to NASCAR’s 10-race postseason. Kahne has been in this situation before – 2014 – when he needed to win in order to earn his spot in the Chase. Kahne led 25 laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the penultimate event of the regular season and went on to win the 335-lap race to advance to the Chase.
RICHMOND LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data at Richmond from the past 10 years at the track, Kahne ranks sixth in two categories – fastest laps run with 400 and green-flag passes with 1,140. The Enumclaw, Washington, native ranks seventh in quality passes with 534, and 10th in both average speed early in a run at 118.651 mph and green-flag speed at 115.878 mph. He is 12th in laps led with 281.
FIRST WIN AT RICHMOND: Kahne’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup win came in his 47th start in the series, and in only his third start at Richmond. Kahne swept the May 2005 weekend by also earning the pole award. He took the victory after leading a race-high 242 of 400 laps. Kahne is one of four 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) and Brad Keselowski (2014) are the other three.
HEADED HOME: No. 5 team tire specialist Keith Eads will visit his home track this weekend. Richmond is the closest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops on the circuit to Eads’ hometown of Arlington, Virginia, which is located approximately two hours north of Richmond.
FIVE KAHNE 5K: For the seventh consecutive year, Kahne will hold his 5K charity run. The event will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Interested participants can pre-register online by visiting https://fivekahne5k.racesonline.com/home. Over 8,000 children in the states surrounding North Carolina have benefited from the funds raised by the annual charity run.
No. 24 American Red Cross Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott
Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 20                      Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
2016 Season
10th in standings
25 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
13 top-10 finishes
163 laps led
Career
30 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
13 top-10 finishes
163 laps led
Track Career
2 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
RICHMOND PAINT SCHEME PREVIEW: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott will pilot an American Red Cross-themed paint scheme for this weekend’s event at Richmond International Raceway in an effort to encourage race fans to roll up their sleeves and give blood. The American Red Cross and 3M are entering their ninth year of the “Red Cross Racing” partnership. The goal is to increase visibility and promote the ongoing need for blood and platelet donations coming off of the critical summer months — a historically difficult time for donations. The design features vintage elements of the Red Cross brand to remind fans and donors of the long history of the Red Cross Blood Services program. Just one blood donation could help save up to three lives. To donate, visit redcrossblood.org or download the Red Cross Blood Donor app.
MEET MOLLY: At the upcoming race in Richmond, Elliott will be joined by Molly Baer and her family. Baer is a 6-year-old girl with a blood disorder called Beta Thalassemia Major in addition to a congenital heart defect. The first-grade student receives two units of blood every three weeks and takes daily chelation medications along with medication infusions at her home. Due to the generosity of blood donors that make each of those treatments possible, Baer – an avid NASCAR fan – is living life to the fullest. This weekend, 3M and the American Red Cross are joining together to bring Baer to her first NASCAR race, where she will meet Elliott and cheer on the American Red Cross team.
GRIDSIDE LIVE: Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup hopeful Elliott will be making an appearance at Richmond International Raceway’s “Gridside Live” event on Saturday at 2:50 p.m. for a question-and-answer session hosted by Daryl Motte. He will be joined on stage by Sprint Cup champions Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart.
SEASON STANDINGS: Elliott currently sits 10th in the standings with 659 points. The rookie trails leader Harvick by 181 markers. The 20-year-old is younger than any other driver currently inside the top 16 – the amount of drivers NASCAR takes into its playoffs – while also being the highest ranked rookie.
TOP-RANKED ROOKIE: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Richmond International Raceway by 53 points over second-place Ryan Blaney and 79 points over third-place Chris Buescher. Elliott has accumulated a total of 262 rookie points this year through the first 25 points-paying races.
CLINCHING A CHASE SPOT: This weekend, the simplest way for Chase to clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is to win. Beyond that, there are a number of other finishes that would also lock in Elliott’s spot in the Chase: He’ll clinch on points with 24 points if there is a new winner – he would have to be 17th and not lead any laps, 18th with at least one lap led, or 19th and have led the most laps. If there is a repeat winner at Richmond – or a new winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30 in points  – and Elliott earns 17 points finishing in 24th with zero laps led, 25th leading at least one lap or 26th and have led the most laps. Finally, if there is a repeat winner and Buescher falls out of the top 30, then Elliott clinches on points – regardless of finish.
CHASE UNIVERSITY: Elliott is asking collegiate students to enroll in “Chase University” at Charlotte Motor Speedway later this year – a ticket-package program for collegiate fans looking to join in a unique NASCAR experience. “Chase University” will feature concerts, food, beverages and tailgating games before, during and after the Bank of America 500. The 20-year-old driver will make an appearance on race day taking part in a cornhole challenge with select ticket holders. Students with a valid college ID can enroll in “Chase University” with a special $24 party pass available online at CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
PIT MASTERS: Two members of the Nos. 5 and 24 shop are highlighted in Lake Norman Magazine’s cover feature – Taylor Moyer and Chad Avrit, respectively. Avrit, the No. 24 rear tire changer, graced the cover. The story is in the magazine’s September issue and is on newsstands now. To read more about Avrit and Moyer, click here.
No. 48 Lowe’s ProServices Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson
Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 40                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
2016 Season
11th in standings
25 starts
2 wins
1 pole position
7 top-five finishes
10 top-10 finishes
266 laps led
Career
532 starts
77 wins
35 pole positions
214 top-five finishes
324 top-10 finishes
17,975 laps led
Track Career
29 starts
3 wins
2 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
461 laps led
LOWE’S PROSERVICES PAINT SCHEME: Johnson will race the No. 48 Lowe’s ProServices Chevrolet SS for the third time this season in this weekend’s race at Richmond. Lowe’s Commercial Services is designed to help customers save time and money and make their businesses run more smoothly. Stores across the country have a dedicated ProServices team ready to help by offering 5 percent off everyday purchases with a Lowe’s Business Credit Account, quick-turn, customizable quotes on volume purchases, providing an order-ahead option and pulling materials for pickup, giving reduced delivery rates and offering bulk discounts on supplies used the most.
LAST TIME AT RICHMOND: Last time at Richmond International Raceway, Johnson started third and finished third, leading 44 laps en route to his seventh top-five result at the 0.75-mile track.
RICHMOND DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the eighth-best driver rating at Richmond with a score of 91.3 during the past 10 years at the track. 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. Johnson’s average finish at Richmond during that span is 15.6.
JOHNSON 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 in as many races.
JOHNSON AT THE CHEVY STAGE AT RIR: Johnson will appear for a question-and-answer session at the Team Chevy stage at Richmond International Raceway at 4:25 p.m. local time on Saturday, Sept. 10.
OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS STEERING WHEEL: September is Ovarian 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-colored steering wheel this weekend at Richmond.
LAKE DAVIDSON TRIATHLON: The Lake Davidson Sprint Triathlon is this Sunday, Sept. 11, at 8 a.m. at the Ingersoll Rand campus in Davidson, North Carolina. To register, log on to www.jjfwellnesschallenge.org.
No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Jeff Gordon
Driver Jeff Gordon   Hometown Pittsboro, Indiana
Age 45                         Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
2016 Season
5 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
Career
802 starts
93 wins
81 pole positions
325 top-five finishes
475 top-10 finishes
24,929 laps led
Track Career
46 starts
2 wins
6 pole positions
18 top-five finishes
30 top-10 finishes
1,637 laps led
BACK FOR MORE: With Dale Earnhardt Jr. out for the remainder of the 2016 season, Jeff Gordon will again fill in for him this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. It will be the sixth race that the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has driven for Earnhardt and the No. 88 team. Gordon’s best finish (11th) in the No. 88 came at the Bristol short track, so Richmond, also a short track, may provide a good opportunity for the team to earn a top-10 finish. He will also fill in for Earnhardt at Dover International Speedway (Oct. 2) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30). He is the defending race winner at Martinsville, which propelled him to a spot in the “Championship 4” of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2015.
RICHMOND STATS: Gordon has two victories at the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval and an average finish of 13.3. He also has an impressive qualifying history at Richmond, earning six poles — the most of any active driver — in addition to holding the track qualifying record at 130.599 mph, which he set on Sept. 7, 2013. His average starting position is 8.3 in 46 starts, the best of any active driver at the Richmond, Virginia, facility. He also leads all active drivers at Richmond in top-five finishes (18), top-10s (30), lead-lap finishes (33) and laps led (1,637).
AXALTA PARTNER: Axalta is able to leverage its sponsorship of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS at Hendrick Motorsports to add value for its partners. This weekend in Richmond, Axalta will have one of its distributors, National Coatings & Supplies (NCS) on the TV panel and rear roof strip of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet. For more news and updates on the Axalta Racing program, visit their website: http://www.axaltaracing.com/.
CLOSE TO HOME: Adam Jordan, interior mechanic for the No. 88 team, grew up in Timberville, Virginia, about two-and-a-half hours northwest of the Richmond racetrack. His job as a painter in a body shop led him to meet someone who helped lead him to a career in racing. A few years later, Jordan moved to North Carolina and made his way to Hendrick Motorsports after working for another Cup team for a couple of years. In 2014, Earnhardt and the No. 88 team won the Daytona 500, which Jordan names as his most memorable moment in NASCAR.
Hendrick Motorsports
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT RICHMOND: At Richmond International Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 17 pole positions, 57 top-five finishes and 102 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 102 top-10 finishes at Richmond International Raceway — one of only three tracks where Hendrick Motorsports has accomplished that feat. The organization’s 119 top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway lead the way, followed by 116 top-10s at Pocono Raceway.
ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 242 victories, 209 pole positions, 1,001 top-five finishes and 1,673 top-10 finishes in Sprint Cup competition. Its teams have led 65,499 laps since 1984.
QUOTABLE /
“I’ve always liked Richmond. I have been able to win here in the past and I look forward to the challenge. I think you can bring a lot back from the day race, but the bigger thing is the cars have changed since then. Even though it will be the same package, the teams have built better cars. We were really competitive in the first race, and I think we’ll bring back a similar setup, but a better car, and work from there in practice.”
Kasey Kahne on racing at Richmond
“I’m really looking forward to representing the Red Cross this weekend at Richmond and having them on our car. They are a special group that is working for a good cause. I hope people take some time to go see them and donate blood this weekend.”
Chase Elliott on representing the American Red Cross at Richmond
“We’ve found some speed lately so I’m really proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports right now. I hate that we spun out in Darlington. I was charging too hard to get my lap back and I’m pretty disappointed in myself. We had a great Lowe’s Chevy and just didn’t get to show our potential but we win and lose as a team. I’m looking forward to Richmond. We’ve run really well there as of late and it would be great to have some momentum heading into the Chase.”
Jimmie Johnson on his finish at Darlington and looking ahead to Richmond
“I was just happy to do what is best for the team. We sat down and looked at the tracks and decided what would be best for everyone. These (Darlington, Richmond, Dover, Martinsville) are all tracks I feel very confident at.
“This (No. 88) team loves Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and wants him back. They are in a really tough situation here, where not only are they missing Junior, but they have two different drivers filling in. But, they’ve handled it amazingly. Their demeanor and attitude about it has been phenomenal. It has really been a great experience for me. I’ve spent so much time with the No. 24 team that going into the shop with the 48/88 guys and spending time with (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and their team has been great for my overall Hendrick knowledge and has allowed me to bond with those guys, as well as the bond I have with my (No. 24) guys, and see how the teams work separately and together.”
Jeff Gordon on filling in for the No. 88 team
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