Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Chicagoland

by Official Release On Tue, Sep. 12, 2017

CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: JOLIET, ILLINOIS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 27 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, SEPT. 17 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)


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No. 5 Great Clips Strong Against Cancer Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne
Driver Kasey Kahne Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 37 Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season
13th in standings
26 starts
1 race win
0 stage wins
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
31 laps led

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

Track Career
13 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
12 laps led

GREAT CLIPS: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips Strong Against Cancer Chevrolet SS. The longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner will also adorn the No. 5 machine at Texas Motor Speedway and the season-ending finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In last year’s race at Chicagoland, Kahne ended the day with a seventh-place finish. His highest finishes at the Joliet, Illinois, track are two third-place results.

MEET WYATT: Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS will have a different look this weekend at Chicagoland. Children from Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Strong Against Cancer initiative, in conjunction with Great Clips, had the opportunity to create a design for Kahne’s car this weekend. The three finalists went before a fan vote, with 9-year-old Wyatt, from Washington, receiving the most votes. Wyatt was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in October 2016 after he woke up one morning with an egg-sized lump on his neck. Wyatt, his parents and siblings will all be attending this weekend’s event courtesy of Great Clips.

PLAYOFFS: After finishing 12th at Richmond Raceway last weekend, Kahne will begin the playoffs as the 13th seed among the 16 competitors vying for the championship. The first playoff round goes until the Oct. 1 race at Dover International Speedway. Kahne will need to be in the 12th points position following the checkered flag at the “Monster Mile” in order to continue on in his quest for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship. It marks Kahne’s first time in the 10-race playoffs since the 2014 season.

CHICAGO LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is first in the closers category with 20 positions gained during the last 10 percent of those races. Additionally, the 37-year-old ranks ninth in fastest laps run at Chicagoland with 78.


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No. 24 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21 Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2017 Season
10th in standings
26 starts
0 race wins
2 stage wins
1 pole position
6 top-five finishes
14 top-10 finishes
184 laps led

Career
67 starts
0 wins
3 pole positions
16 top-five finishes
31 top-10 finishes
542 laps led

Track Career
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
1 top-five finish
1 top-10 finish
75 laps led

NAPA BRAKES: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Chase Elliott will pilot the No. 24 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet SS for the second time this season. Elliott most recently raced the scheme at Richmond Raceway in April. Now through Sept. 30, save up to $50 on your favorite sports team apparel and merchandise from Fanatics.com with qualifying brake pad and rotor purchases at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores.

PLAYOFF-BOUND: For the second consecutive season, Elliott has secured his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. He will begin the playoffs as the 10th seed among the 16 competitors.In the regular season, the 21-year-old driver collected six top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and the pole award for the season-opening Daytona 500. In those 26 races, Elliott averaged a starting position of 10.4 and finishing position of 13.5.

CHICAGOLAND STATS: This weekend, Elliott will make his second Cup Series start at Chicagoland Speedway. In his 2016 start at the 1.5-mile track, Elliott qualified 14th and finished third after leading 75 laps. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native also has four NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Chicago – collecting a win in his first start at the speedway in July 2014. In the four XFINITY starts he averaged a starting position of 7.5 and finishing position of 9.8

RICHMOND REWIND: Elliott started ninth in Saturday night’s 400-lap regular-season finale and used that position to score two additional points in Stage 1 by finishing ninth. The No. 24 Mountain Dew team slipped just outside the top 10 in Stage 2, finishing 12th after Elliott reported he may have charged too hard and overused his tires in the early laps of what ended up being a lengthy green-flag run throughout the 100-lap stage. The No. 24 team raced inside the top 20 for the remainder of the night and was able to climb to 10th when the checkered flag waved, securing his playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

SEE ELLIOTT IN CHICAGO: Elliott is scheduled to participate in NASCAR’s youth autograph session at the Chicagoland display in the midway of the racetrack on Sunday, Sept. 17, beginning at 10:30 a.m. local time.


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No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 41 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season
5th in standings
26 starts
3 race wins
1 stage win
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
8 top-10 finishes
188 laps led

Career
569 starts
83 wins
35 pole positions
221 top-five finishes
338 top-10 finishes
18,634 laps led

Track Career
15 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
10 top-10 finishes
695 laps led

TESTED AT CHICAGO: Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team spent two days testing at Chicagoland Speedway in August to help Hendrick Motorsports prepare for the playoff-opening event.

CHICAGO DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the second-best driver rating at Chicagoland 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.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. JOHNSON: El Cajon, California, native Johnson will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Sunday, Sept. 17.

WINLESS IN THE WINDY CITY: Even though Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team have led 695 laps at Chicago and own seven top-five finishes, the 1.5-mile track remains one of the three venues on the current NASCAR Cup schedule where Johnson has yet to score a win. The others are Kentucky and Watkins Glen.

BRISTOL BOUND: On Thursday, Sept. 14, Johnson will head to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, for NASCAR playoff media and to help promote the sport over the next 10 weeks en route to the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

PLAYOFF-BOUND: With Johnson’s three wins this season, he is currently seeded fifth in the NASCAR playoffs grid with 17 playoff points. He is the only driver who has made the NASCAR Cup Series’ postseason playoff system every year of its existence.

KNAUS FROM NEARBY ROCKFORD: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, approximately 106 miles north of Chicagoland Speedway. Knaus made a name for himself racing Late Model Stock cars at Rockford Speedway with his father, John. Knaus graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Rockford.

STEERING WHEEL FOR A CAUSE: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Johnson honored 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 last 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.


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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
26 starts
0 race wins
0 stage wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
37 laps led

Career
621 starts
26 wins
14 pole positions
149 top-five finishes
256 top-10 finishes
8,224 laps led

Track Career
15 starts
1 win
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
5 top-10 finishes
123 laps led

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m. local time in the Chicagoland Speedway media center.

AXALTA ON THE NO. 88: This weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway will mark Axalta Coating System’s penultimate race as primary sponsor on the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 2017. This season, Axalta colors have adorned the No. 88 Chevy for 11 races with Chicagoland making 12. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings will close out the season with the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a special red-and-black scheme. In 2018, Axalta will be a primary partner for both the No. 88 and the No. 24 teams at Hendrick Motorsports.

CHICAGOLAND STATS: In 15 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Chicago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one win, three top-five finishes and five top-10s. He has an average start there of 16.9 and an average finish of 15.3. His average running position (12.9) since 2005 ranks him ninth among active drivers, according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics. He has completed 97.4 percent of all the laps he’s attempted (3,903 of 4,008 total) and has led 123 laps at the 1.5-mile track. Per NASCAR’s stats, the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet ranks eighth among active competitors since 2005 in fastest laps run at Chicagoland with 79 laps. Earnhardt leads all active competitors in the green-flag passes category with 801 passes and ranks second in quality passes with 394. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.

WINDY CITY WIN: Earnhardt reached Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2005. The then-30-year-old Earnhardt lined up 25th for the event and cracked the top 10 within the first 100 laps. He led the final 11 laps en route to securing the win.

PAWS CHICAGO SUPPLY DRIVE: Chicagoland Speedway has partnered with PAWS Chicago to pay tribute to Earnhardt’s career. Taking his love for his dogs into consideration, a donation drive will be held in his honor during the race weekend, Sept. 14-17. PAWS Chicago, the Midwest’s largest No Kill humane organization, finds homes for more than 5,100 animals each year. With the level of destruction and homelessness caused recently by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, animals are in need of emergency sheltering. To assist in the aftermath of these tragedies, PAWS Chicago has mobilized an ongoing rescue effort to evacuate animals from the impacted areas. With the influx of animals, the organization is in desperate need of wet dog and cat food and kitty litter. All supplies collected for the Chicago-based animal shelter will be donated in Earnhardt’s name. In addition to the physical donation generated by NASCAR’s loyal fan base, Chicagoland Speedway will also make a monetary contribution. For more, click here.

IVES’ BIRTHDAY: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives celebrates his 38th birthday on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The Bark River, Michigan, native grew up working with his father and older brother at the racetrack and spent eight years behind the wheel before finding his true calling under the hood. This is his third season atop the pit box with Earnhardt and the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet SS team.

TEAL SHOES: Earnhardt will wear 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.


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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, Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group committed a combined $300,000 and are encouraging the public to join the effort. Visit HendrickRelief.org for more information and to donate.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT CHICAGO: At Chicagoland Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has two wins, four pole positions, 21 top-five finishes and 31 top-10s. Mark Martin most recently visited Victory Lane for the organization at the track in 2009.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,022 top-five finishes and 1,724 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,814 laps since 1984.


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QUOTABLE /

“I’m glad I’m in the playoffs this year and have an opportunity to see how far we can go. We just need to get the best results every week and make no mistakes and see where we end up. I think with everybody all-in, hopefully we can come out of nowhere and really make some noise throughout the next 10 races. We just need to do the best we possibly can, give a lot of effort and put a lot of time into it. If we do all of that I think we’ll get our best result and I’ll be happy with it.”
Kasey Kahne on making the playoffs

“Anything is possible. I know that everyone is really going to start pushing it next week and I hope our group is leading the pack when it comes to performance and the things that we need to do. Now is the time of the year to get in the right direction if we are going to do it. So, we will see.”
Chase Elliott on beginning the playoffs

“I feel like we have been talking about our summer slump a lot lately, but I am confident going into these next 10 races that the ‘slump’ is over. No one steps up to the challenge better than my No. 48 Lowe’s team. I’m looking forward to Chicago, we had a great test there and I’ve always wanted to give (No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) a win at his home track.”
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Chicagoland

“We should’ve run well all year and gotten ourselves into the playoffs for all of our fans. I’m proud of how we did last weekend and I hope we can continue to run like that the rest of the year. Chicago should be a good track for us. One of our teammates went out there and tested, so we’ve got some information that we can look at. (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) is going to be back. T-Mack (Travis Mack, served as interim crew chief last week at Richmond) is still there as a car chief. I told all my guys at the end of the race last week that this is the team that Greg needs underneath of him to be successful. All of these guys stepped up a little bit and we need to be that way all year long. We should be able to do this going forward, at least that’s what I think we’re capable of, so we’re going to keep working hard for these last 10 races.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on entering the final stretch of the season

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