Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Bristol

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY (0.533-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: BRISTOL, TENNESSEE
EVENT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 8 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 1 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, APRIL 17 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)


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No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne
Driver Kasey Kahne Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 36 Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2016 Season
16th in standings
7 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
2 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

Career
439 starts
17 wins
27 pole positions
86 top-five finishes
158 top-10 finishes
4,607 laps led

Track Career
24 starts
1 win
1 pole position
5 top-five finishes
10 top-10 finishes
512 laps led

BRISTOL CHECKERED FLAG: Kasey Kahne is a winner at the 0.533-mile track, taking the checkered in the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS in the Spring 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The winning weekend included Kahne starting from the second position and leading 109 laps en route to his 15th career Sprint Cup Series win. For a photo gallery from the win, click here.

BRISTOL TRACK STATS: In Kahne’s 24 starts at Bristol, he has earned the outside pole position three times and has an average starting position of 12.5. Kahne ranks seventh in laps led at Bristol out of all active drivers to total 4.6 percent of total laps run. He also has two runner-up finishes in his Sprint Cup career at Bristol.

BRISTOL LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Kahne ranks third out of active drivers in quality passes with 631. Quality passes are determined by the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. In the fastest laps run category, Kahne ranks fifth among active drivers with 478. The Enumclaw, Washington, native ranks 10th in laps spent in the top 15 at Bristol with 6,043.

GREAT CLIPS AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Kahne will join Bristol’s Fan Fest on Friday, April 15, at the Great Clips display. The autograph session begins at 6 p.m. local time and the required wristbands will be available for pickup in the fan midway earlier in the day.

GREAT CLIPS GIVEAWAY: Great Clips is teaming up with Xbox and Forza Motorsport 6 to give fans a chance to win a grand prize — one custom Kasey Kahne Great Clips Xbox One console, four Kasey Kahne custom Xbox One controllers, Forza 6 game premium edition with season pass and one year of Xbox Live Gold. Additionally, entrants have the chance to win secondary prizes. The promotion ends on May 22 and more information can be found at http://www.greatclips.com/promotions/xbox.


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No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott
Driver Chase Elliott Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 20 Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2016 Season
14th in standings
7 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
5 laps led

Career
12 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
5 laps led

Track Career
0 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS, will visit the media center at Bristol Motor Speedway at 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday, April 15.

KELLEY BLUE BOOK ON THE NO. 24 CHEVROLET SS: Kelley Blue Book will be the primary partner on board Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time this season. Kelley Blue Book, which began its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports in 2014, extended its relationship with the team through the 2017 campaign earlier this year and will be the primary partner on the No. 24 for one additional race this season.

PUTTING AN END TO DISTRACTED DRIVING: Kelley Blue Book and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have teamed up to educate high school and college-aged students on the importance of driver safety in conjunction with Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. Elliott, as a brand spokesperson for Kelley Blue Book, has pledged to promote safe driving and encourage friends to drive phone free.

ROOKIE RANKING: Elliott leads the 2016 Rookie of the Year contender standings heading into Bristol by 13 points over second-place Ryan Blaney.

TOP-10 PROWESS: Elliott has earned four top-10 finishes in the first seven races of the 2016 season with his most recent finish a career-best fifth at Texas. He will look to add to that total this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old driver secured his first top-10 finish of 2016 at his home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also earned Sunoco’s Rookie of the Race honors for his top-10 finishes at Phoenix International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Additionally, he was named the Problem Solver of the Race for his race effort at California.


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No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson
Driver Jimmie Johnson Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 40 Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2016 Season
2nd in standings
7 starts
2 wins
0 pole positions
4 top-five finishes
5 top-10 finishes
171 laps led

Career
514 starts
77 wins
34 pole positions
211 top-five finishes
319 top-10 finishes
17,880 laps led

Track Career
28 starts
1 win
1 pole position
10 top-five finishes
16 top-10 finishes
833 laps led

ICYMI YELLOW NUMBERS ARE BACK: In response to fan feedback and passion for Jimmie Johnson’s iconic yellow No. 48, Lowe’s Racing is bringing back the yellow numbers for both the Lowe’s and Lowe’s ProServices paint schemes. Lowe’s Racing shared a video to help promote the rollout of the numbers last weekend in Texas: https://youtu.be/Dk0OxJuG8HY

IN THE TOP FOUR: In the last three outings at Bristol, Johnson and the No. 48 team have earned a fourth-, second- and fourth-place finish. His lone victory at the half-mile track came on March 21, 2010, when Johnson led 84 laps en route to the win. Click here for a photo gallery of the victory.

BRISTOL AND FOOD CITY HONOREE: Food City Race Night will recognize Johnson for his contributions to the sport of NASCAR and the racing community on Friday, April 15, at the Bristol Motor Speedway Pepsi Stage (Hospitality Area). Johnson will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. ET for the recognition along with Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president/general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Mike Helton, president of NASCAR. Larry McReynolds of NASCAR on FOX will be the master of ceremonies. Food City will make a donation to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in its 24th year of sponsoring the race event at Bristol.

COLOSSUS TOUR: Johnson was able take a tour while the newly constructed “Colossus Television” screen at Bristol Motor Speedway was under construction. Click here to view a video of the visit.

BRISTOL RATING: Johnson has many series-best accolades at Bristol Motor Speedway according to NASCAR’s loop data. Among active drivers, Johnson has the fifth-best driver rating in the series with an average score of 92.7. 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.

HELMET OF HOPE: This is the last week for nominations for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program. Nominations end on Thursday, April 14. Non-profit organizations that support K-12 public education in the United States, including parent/teacher organizations, are eligible to be nominated. Five charities will be selected to receive a $25,000 cash grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and have their logo featured on six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson’s helmet during the race on August 7, 2016, at Watkins Glen International. Visit www.helmetofhope.org to nominate a charity. Click here to read about how the Helmet of Hope has helped charitable organizations in the past.

JIMMIE JOHNSON WELLNESS CHALLENGE: Registration is open for the 2016 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge. Register now for early-bird pricing and register for all three events to receive a reduced rate. The first event is May 22, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5K in Huntersville, North Carolina. Log on to www.jjfwellnesschallenge.org for more details.


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No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 41 Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2016 Season
6th in standings
7 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
49 laps led

Career
584 starts
26 wins
13 pole positions
146 top-five finishes
250 top-10 finishes
8,183 laps led

Track Career
32 starts
1 win
0 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
15 top-10 finishes
790 laps led

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media at 1:30 p.m. local time on Friday, April 15, in the Bristol Motor Speedway media center.

BRISTOL STATS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has earned one victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, which came in August 2004 when he led 295 laps en route to capturing the checkered flag. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has been running at the finish of 30 of the 32 (93.8 percent) races he has entered at Bristol. He has also completed 15,549 of 16,027 laps (97 percent) in his 32 starts. Earnhardt has completed the most green-flag passes (1,202) among all active competitors in the last 10 years according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native is tied for the second-best average finish among all drivers in the last 22 Cup races at Bristol. Earnhardt, who recorded 10 top-10s during that span, has an average finish of 12.0.

PATIENT CHAMPION AIDEN: Through The Dale Jr. Foundation’s Driven to Give Gloves program, 8-year-old Aiden VanWagner will have his name featured above the passenger door of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet this weekend. Aiden was diagnosed with autism at an early age but under the care of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s (NCH) Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Aiden has received individualized and comprehensive interventions and is enjoying school in a mainstream classroom. The Driven to Give Gloves program has been revamped for 2016 and focuses on four NCH Patient Champions. This month, Earnhardt is wearing gloves accented in blue, representing autism. Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off to raise funds for NCH’s clinical and research programs. NCH is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay. All four 2016 NCH Patient Champions will be attending the Kentucky Speedway race as special guests of Earnhardt and the No. 88 team.

NASCAR MPD WELCOMES NFL MVP: Earnhardt, NASCAR’s 13-time Most Popular Driver, will welcome fellow Nationwide spokesman and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning to his first NASCAR experience for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Manning, Tennessee’s proverbial hometown football hero, has been named honorary race official of the 500-lap event at Bristol. As an honorary race official, the legendary quarterback will accompany Earnhardt during driver introductions and experience the World’s Fastest Half Mile from Earnhardt’s pit box on Sunday.

NATIONWIDE CELEBRATES 90 YEARS AND THROWBACKS: Earnhardt will race a throwback No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 4. While he races the throwback paint scheme — which will be unveiled Wednesday, April 13 — to honor NASCAR’s storied heritage, the scheme is also a way for Nationwide to pay homage to its own past. On April 14, Nationwide will celebrate its 90th year as a company. Earnhardt’s paint scheme features colors and logos used by Nationwide during the same era. The unveil will be streamed live on NASCAR.com Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. For details on the media-only event, please contact Tiffany Daniels.

#DALEJRSANDWICH: Earnhardt’s favorite banana and mayo sandwich went viral last week when he tweeted a picture of it from a Hellmann’s photo shoot. After realizing how much attention the sandwich was getting, the driver came up with an idea to use it to do something positive. He and his teams at JR Motorsports and The Dale Jr. Foundation created a website called DaleJrSandwich.com where people can donate money that will benefit Blessings in a Backpack – a national, non-profit organization that packs food for school children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekends. The site will remain live until April 23 when Earnhardt competes in the XFINITY race at Richmond in the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevy. He has pledged to match up to $50,000 before donating it in full to Blessings in a Backpack, and Hellmann’s has agreed to match it with another $50,000. Total donations to date total almost $35,000. This weekend, Bristol Motor Speedway will be selling the “Dale Jr. Sandwich” for $4 with $1 from each sandwich sold going to The Dale Jr. Foundation.


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Hendrick Motorsports
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT BRISTOL: In 64 Cup events at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 11 pole positions, 52 top-five finishes and 94 top-10s. Kahne most recently won there for the organization in March 2013.
ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 242 victories, 207 pole positions, 988 top-five finishes and 1,652 top-10 finishes in Sprint Cup competition. Its teams have led 65,242 laps since 1984.


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QUOTABLE /

“The day race is always a pretty cool show at Bristol. We will have a great car and as long as we keep working together well just like we did at Texas, we will be fine. The new aero package will change things up just a tick, but I don’t think it will change Bristol a whole lot. It will be pretty similar to how it usually is.”
Kasey Kahne on racing at Bristol

“Bristol is just a special place and a track where I’ve loved watching races. It’s a very fan-friendly racetrack and has always put on some really cool racing. I think the best way to describe it to a fan would be to go and watch for yourself because racing at Bristol is not like anywhere else that we go to — it’s special. The track definitely has a little bit of a different feel and is a unique spot being surrounded by fans in the stands and the Tennessee mountains. It’s very small and tight, which produces great racing. I’m looking forward to getting there.”
Chase Elliott on racing at Bristol

“The song selection is something that I’ve actually really been looking forward to. I was excited about it when I thought we could do it on the XFINITY side and I found out we couldn’t, so I’m excited about choosing a song for the first time this year. I haven’t picked my song yet, but I will try to make it a good one.”
Elliott on his song choice for driver introductions at Bristol

“Kelley Blue Book is a recognized and respected name in the automotive industry. It means a lot to have them support the No. 24 team, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of their car. Continuing what they’ve started at Hendrick Motorsports is going to be a lot of fun. Our entire team is looking forward to making the program a success.”
Elliott on Kelley Blue Book

“Bristol is such an awesome facility, and the improvement of the new television is just crazy. Bristol puts on a great show and it’s a great fan experience, great racing for the drivers – just lots of neat stuff going on there. It’s a great place to watch a race. This Lowe’s team has been pretty solid there as of late and as always we go there to try and win.”
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Bristol

“We’re excited about how good our cars are – (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) is doing an awesome job, and so is the whole team. They are putting some great cars on the racetrack. I’m looking forward to the next several weeks. I love racing at Bristol. I always look forward to racing there. There’s just no other track like it.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Bristol

“We had that sandwich tweet go viral. We’ve eaten that sandwich all of our lives – it’s a banana sandwich that you put a little bit of mayo on. It’s pretty easy and pretty good. I just took a picture of it and put it on social media and that thing went crazy. After it went viral, we decided to try to take advantage of that attention and raise some money for Blessings in a Backpack, which is a national non-profit organization that we’ve worked with for a long time at The Dale Jr. Foundation. We saw it as a great opportunity to try to raise more money than we have in the past. I pledged $50,000; I challenged the fans, our supporters and people online to donate an additional $50,000; and Hellmann’s stepped up with an additional $50,000. As of today, the fans have raised almost $35,000 and we have plenty of time left before we get to Richmond in two weeks.”

Earnhardt on the ‘Dale Jr. Sandwich’
“It’s pretty awesome that Peyton Manning is coming out to Bristol. I think he’s going to enjoy watching the race there because it’s such an amazing racetrack. It’s awesome to have a legend like him coming to participate and enjoy our sport. He’s going to enjoy his experience, I’m sure, and we’re excited to have him.”
Earnhardt on Peyton Manning coming to Bristol



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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