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Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Watkins Glen

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No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne
Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 37                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
2017 Season
19th in standings
21 starts
1 race win
0 stage wins
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
4 top-10 finishes
31 laps led
489 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
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
3 laps led
RATED RED: This weekend at Watkins Glen, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Rated Red Chevrolet SS. The Rated Red paint scheme will also adorn the No. 5 Chevrolet SS at Bristol Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Hendrick Motorsports docuseries “Road to Race Day” can be seen on Complex Networks’ Rated Red available on go90. Rated Red is the Heartland’s first digital video network, covering the best in news, outdoor life, food, sports, DIY and more. Whatever your passion, Rated Red has you covered.
WATKINS GLEN STATS: Watkins Glen proves to be one of the more challenging tracks for Kahne on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. In his 13 starts at the 2.45-mile road course, he has an average starting position of 19.2 and an average finishing position of 21.1. The Enumclaw, Washington, native started on the outside pole position at The Glen in 2006. Kahne has also completed 98.3 percent of the 1,174 laps he’s run at the New York track.
WATKINS GLEN LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne ranks first in the green-flag passes category with 619. He is second fastest on restarts with a speed of 117.006 mph, and ninth in quality passes with 172. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running inside the top 15 while under green-flag conditions.
ROAD COURSE STATS: Kahne has 27 starts on road courses, including one win at Sonoma Raceway in 2009. He’s also earned two pole positions at road courses in his Cup Series career. Since 2013, he has amassed four top-10s on road courses.
RECAPPING POCONO: Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Kahne qualified the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevy in the 12th position. He earned a stage bonus point and overcame a pit road speeding penalty before the start of the final stage to take the checkered flag in the 11th position.
RACING ROOTS: has released a four-part video series on Kahne titled “Racing Roots.” The videos take you from Kahne’s early beginnings in Enumclaw, Washington, to being part of Hendrick Motorsports today. The video series also looks at his passion away from the asphalt track – his dirt car team, Kasey Kahne Racing. The video series can be viewed here.
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No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott
Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia
2017 Season
7th in standings
21 starts
0 race wins
2 stage wins
1 pole position
6 top-five finishes
12 top-10 finishes
173 laps led
62 starts
0 wins
3 pole positions
16 top-five finishes
29 top-10 finishes
531 laps led
Track Career
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET: This weekend, SunEnergy1, one of the world’s largest privately held solar energy companies, will adorn the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. It marks the third of four races that SunEnergy1 will serve as the primary sponsor for Chase Elliott. In the most recent appearance, Elliott piloted the SunEnergy1 Chevy at Pocono Raceway in the June event, when he collected an eighth-place finish.
POCONO REWIND: Elliott rallied from 29th to 10th in the final stage of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway to record his 12th top-10 finish of the 2017 season. The result puts him seventh in the Cup Series driver point standings with only five races remaining in the regular season.
WATKINS GLEN STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his second Cup Series start at Watkins Glen. During his debut at the 2.45-mile road course in 2016, Elliott started 16th en route to a top-15 finish of 13th. Elliott has also competed in six road course races in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series, earning four top-five finishes. He has also competed in one Camping World Truck Series road course event, scoring a victory, and three ARCA Racing road course races, earning top-five finishes in each.
BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR ALAN: No. 24 team crew chief Alan Gustafson will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Watkins Glen. Gustafson, who grew up just down the road from historic Daytona International Speedway, got his start in racing turning wrenches on the go-karts of childhood friend Casey Yunick, the grandson of legendary car builder and mechanic Smokey Yunick.
GOING RETRO: Last week, Elliott’s Darlington Raceway Southern 500 ride was revealed with a 360-degree video via Hendrick Motorsports’ Facebook page. The driver’s No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS will have a retro look based on his father Bill Elliott’s light blue paint scheme that debuted at Rockingham Speedway in 1976.
A LOOK BACK AT NASHVILLE: Last week, Elliott visited Nashville to promote the upcoming Aug. 19 night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He appeared on “Nash Nights Live” with Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith, tried his hand at archery and was the guest co-host at the Grand Ole Opry for the second segment of the evening. Click here to take a look back at Elliott’s day.
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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
11th in standings
21 starts
3 race wins
1 stage win
0 pole positions
3 top-five finishes
7 top-10 finishes
188 laps led
564 starts
83 wins
35 pole positions
221 top-five finishes
337 top-10 finishes
18,634 laps led
Track Career
15 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
4 top-five finishes
8 top-10 finishes
17 laps led
WATKINS GLEN FAN FEST: Jimmie Johnson will appear Friday, Aug. 4, at the Watkins Glen International Fan Fest taking place inside the track. Johnson will be on stage for a question-and-answer session at 6:45 p.m. local time. See for more details.
JOHNSON RIDES RAGBRAI: Prior to heading to Pocono, Johnson and friends made a trip to Iowa to participate in an annual bike ride across the state called RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI, an acronym for “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,” is a non-competitive, recreational bicycle ride that travels from west to east across the state of Iowa. It is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world. Johnson and longtime pal Lance Armstrong rode more than 100 miles over the two days they attended. Click here for the story.
JOHNSON IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL EDITION: In the July 24 edition of Sports Illustrated, Johnson is featured among some elite athletes including MMA fighter Daniel Cormier, soccer star Didier Drogba, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran and former WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones in a story focused on athletes either nearing or just past their 40th birthdays. Centered around New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s ability to stay on top of his game as he nears the age of 40, writer Greg Bishop looks into what it takes to succeed past that magic age. Click here for the full story.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHAD: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus will celebrate his 46th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 5, while at The Glen. Knaus, who hails from Rockford, Illinois, became a crew chief at age 14, helping his father John compete at Rockford Speedway and other tracks across the Midwest.
48 CREW WINS MECHANIX WEAR SECOND QUARTER: The No. 48 pit crew was voted the Second Quarter Most Valuable Pit Crew by Mechanix Wear. The “Most Valuable Pit Crew” award is voted on by the crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series garage. The team was awarded a check for $5,000 and an opportunity to be recognized as the Most Valuable Pit Crew at the end of the playoffs. The team won the award along with the No. 48 team’s seventh Cup championship in 2016. Members include: tire changers Kevin Novak and Calvin Teague; tire carriers R.J. Barnette and Ryan Patton; gasman Brandon Harder and jackman Kyle Tudor. Pit coaches are Chris Kreig and Jon Carvin.
MORE MALEC: No. 48 team car chief Ron Malec, this year’s recipient of the Brian Lunniss Mechanix Wear Lifetime Achievement award, will be featured in an article written by longtime motor sports journalist Al Pearce in the Aug. 7 edition of AutoWeek magazine. Malec was also featured this past weekend on NASCAR on FOX’s “RaceDay” show where Malec, Johnson and Knaus sat down with host Kaitlyn Vincie to talk about Malec’s career. Click here to see the interview.
WINLESS AT WATKINS: Watkins Glen remains one of the three tracks on the current NASCAR Cup Series circuit that is not represented in the No. 48 team’s trophy collection. Although Johnson has four top-five finishes in 15 starts, the team hasn’t finished better than third at the New York road course. In addition to Watkins Glen, Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are the only other tracks where Johnson has yet to win.
DRIVER RATING AT THE GLEN: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Watkins Glen with an average score of 95.2 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.
CALLING ALL KIDS TO CHICAGO: Johnson is hosting a special ticket package for families at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17. Johnson, Chicagoland and NASA have teamed up for the third consecutive year for a special ticket package that features a youth question-and-answer session. The pricing is $23 for kids 12 and under and $48 for adults. Log on to for more info.
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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
21 starts
0 race wins
0 stage wins
1 pole position
1 top-five finish
4 top-10 finishes
24 laps led
616 starts
26 wins
14 pole positions
149 top-five finishes
256 top-10 finishes
8,211 laps led
Track Career
16 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
2 top-five finishes
3 top-10 finishes
46 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 11:30 a.m. local time in the Watkins Glen International media center.
AXALTA RETURNS: After a five-race stretch with Nationwide as the primary partner on the No. 88 Chevrolet SS, the bright red, orange and yellow Axalta colors will return this weekend at The Glen. Axalta will be the primary partner on the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 13 total races in 2017, including the next three race weekends – Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol.
AT THE GLEN: In his last two visits (2014 and 2015) to Watkins Glen International, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a pair of 11th-place finishes. In 16 total starts, the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS has earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes at the road course. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Earnhardt ranks sixth in the “closers” category, gaining an average of 1.2 positions during the last 10 percent of the race. He ranks among the top 10 in several other categories, including laps led (sixth – 34 laps), average speed early in a run (sixth – 104.157 mph), average speed late in a run (seventh – 103.215 mph), quality passes (eighth – 175 passes) and laps spent in the top 15 (ninth – 530 laps).
NO. 88 HOMESTEAD CAR UNVEIL ON QVC: On Wednesday, Aug. 2, Earnhardt will appear on QVC to unveil his Axalta car for Homestead as part of his #Appreci88ion tour. The celebration show will air at 7 p.m. ET and will also be live-streamed on Earnhardt’s Facebook page. The show will also provide an exclusive opportunity to purchase die-casts of the ride in addition to special apparel. For more information, click here.
RIR VICTORY TOUR: Next week, the driver of the No. 88 Chevy will visit Richmond for his Victory Tour, where in addition to spending time at the racetrack, Earnhardt is scheduled to visit training camp for his favorite NFL team – the Washington Redskins.
ROAD TO RACE DAY: The third installment of “Road to Race Day,” the eight-part docuseries about Hendrick Motorsports, premieres Wednesday on go90 and focuses on Earnhardt and the No. 88 team. The episode was filmed during the April 2016 Bristol race weekend, where Peyton Manning visits with the No. 88 team before they wage a nail-biting, unforgettable battle. The series is directed by Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”) and executive produced by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Lone Survivor”).
TIES TO HOME: No. 88 spotter and podcast host TJ Majors, who is known for his calls of “Door. Bumper. Clear.” over the in-car radio, lists Watkins Glen International as his home track. He was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, but grew up in East Bethany, New York, before moving to Mooresville, North Carolina, where he lives with wife Tamela and daughter Madelynn. Majors, who was introduced to Earnhardt via iRacing in 1997, began spotting for the driver at the end of the 2007 season and has continued with the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 team since Earnhardt joined in 2008, in addition to spotting for a variety of teams in other series, including Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports.
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Hendrick Motorsports
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT WATKINS GLEN: In 31 races at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, six pole positions, 18 top-five finishes and 35 top-10s. Jeff Gordon ranks second on the all-time wins list at WGI with four victories. He earned Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent victory at the road course when he won the 2001 event. With 262 laps led, Gordon is the all-time leader in that category at the serpentine track.
ROAD TO RACE DAY: Hendrick Motorsports has teamed with Complex Networks, Film 45 and Markay Media on an original eight-part documentary series that goes behind the scenes with the organization during the 2016 season. New “Road to Race Day” episodes premiere Wednesdays on the go90 streaming platform. Watch for free by downloading the go90 app on your Apple or Android device, or view the series at
ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 212 pole positions, 1,022 top-five finishes and 1,721 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 66,788 laps since 1984.
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“For whatever reason it took me a little while to figure out the braking and turning at Watkins Glen. It didn’t come to me as quickly as Sonoma did. Over the last couple of years I’ve improved at Watkins Glen, but I still have a little bit of work to do to get us to run up front.”
Kasey Kahne on racing at Watkins Glen
“When it comes to road courses, I feel like we’ve run better at Watkins Glen – it just seems like we have had a little bit more success there. I haven’t really ever had the results to show, but I feel like at times we have had speed at Watkins Glen, which is nice, and we’ve shown pace.”
Chase Elliott on racing at Watkins Glen
“Watkins Glen hasn’t been too kind to the No. 48 team or me in particular in years past, but I look at this track every year as a personal challenge. The past two weeks haven’t been kind to us either, but our qualifying has improved and we are finding speed.”
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Watkins Glen
“We aren’t going to find top-two or top-three speed on Friday or Saturday. That kind of speed is built into the car and is made on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so we’ve got a ways to go to figure out how to get that kind of quickness. We’re not satisfied with 12th (at Pocono), but with the way our luck’s been going, it’s nice to get a race finished and get one in the bank. I think we’ve actually got an opportunity to run better than 12th at Watkins Glen – a road course. We’ll go there and dig and work hard.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on finding speed and heading to Watkins Glen

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