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Charlotte and Pink

Sprint Cup Series

 

From Denny Hamlin

How can you turn the consistency the team has shown at Charlotte into your first career win at the track?
“Charlotte has been one of our more consistent tracks over the past couple years. We have been fortunate to bring fast cars there and get good qualifying positions to try to stay up front in the races. We need that again on Saturday night. Charlotte is going to be fast and fun under the lights, and hopefully we have a car that can compete for the win when it gets down to the end.”

No. 11 FedEx Express Notes

Charlotte Preview: The Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s 500-mile event on the 1.5-mile oval. Hamlin is making his 17th career Cup Series start at Charlotte on Saturday, and has posted nine career top-10 finishes in 16 events at the track, including six-straight top-10 finishes in the last six Charlotte races. Earlier this year, Hamlin set the track qualifying record when he qualified on the pole for May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, a race that he led six laps in before a fourth place finish.

Kansas Recap: Denny Hamlin piloted the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota to a 23rd place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. Starting the day in the 10th position and reaching as high as second place, pit strategy and caution flags down the stretch did not go in the FedEx team’s favor in a race that featured 15 yellow flags. Kevin Harvick claimed the checkered flag after starting the day on the pole. Hamlin worked the FedEx car to fourth place by lap 90 of 267 when the car’s handling started to loosen. Wedge and track bar adjustments on the subsequent two pit stops helped keep the No. 11 FedEx machine running in the top-10. A caution flag on lap 155 brought Hamlin to pit lane for four tires and fuel. Much of the field made the decision to stay out, leaving the FedEx team in 26th place when green flag racing returned. Fifteen laps later, the FedEx team was able to reap the benefits of the early pit stop. As the remaining cars pitted under caution, Hamlin kept the No. 11 car on the track and moved into second place behind Logano. Despite a tightening race car, Hamlin maintained a top-10 position until being forced to pit under caution on lap 217. Taking four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, the No. 11 returned to the pack having fallen to 31st place. Needing the race to stay green until stops cycled through, the caution came out once again with Hamlin one lap down.

 

Kyle Busch Quotes

What are the challenges of racing at Charlotte?

“I think the biggest challenge about Charlotte is how much the track changes from practice. You practice all during the day and then you go into night racing. You’ve got to know what kind of adjustments to make to your car and how well you can race at night. Typically, you go back to your night notes. For us, we’ve run well there in the past and like going there. It’s a fun place to race and adds to the excitement of spending some time at home.”

You’ve said in the past that Charlotte is your favorite track. Is there any particular reason why?

“Charlotte is my favorite racetrack for a lot of reasons. Just growing up watching races on TV, I loved watching the All-Star Race under the lights and the 600 with all the sparks flying and all the guys going after hard-fought, hard-racing wins. The Nationwide Series has been good to me there. The Truck Series has been pretty good to me there, too. But a Cup Series win has eluded me there. We’re definitely getting closer than I was back when I first started racing at Charlotte. I think I have something like 10 top-10 finishes in my last 12 races going into this weekend, so I hope my luck is turning around a bit and I can finally get that Sprint Cup win there with our M&M’s Camry. We’ve been very close there plenty of times over the last several years.”

You’ve won at 17 different racetracks but you badly want to win at Charlotte, someday. Would you consider winning the October race at Charlotte to also be a feather in your cap?

“Winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway, since it is my favorite track, would be really special since I’ve been able to win there in other series and have been close a lot in the Cup car. It seems like the month of May at Charlotte just hasn’t liked me too much. We got to win in the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series races there in the spring, so I’m hoping we can change that this weekend and get a fall Sprint Cup win. There are plenty of other tracks we need to win at, too, but there’s no doubt it would be big.”

After a tough weekend in Kansas, how do you approach the final six races of the season?

“We’ll just have to work hard. We just have to keep doing what we’ve done to get us to this point all year long and that’s been consistency. And every other track except Kansas seems to be able to bode well for us, so we’ll see what happens and, if it doesn’t happen, doesn’t happen. This team isn’t going to give up, by any means. We’ll try to work hard and see what falls our way and if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But there’s still a lot of racing to be done with our M&M’s Camry.”

Do you enjoy the night race at Charlotte?

“Charlotte is always fun because it’s cool for us. It’s my favorite track, but it’s cool for a lot of teams because it’s kind of – quote-unquote – close to home. I like going there. It makes things interesting with the night race. Practicing during the day and racing at night and the cooler temperatures and everything. You’ve got to put your best foot forward and work as hard as you can.”

What’s the biggest difference from the spring race to the fall race at Charlotte?

“It’s a little bit warmer in the spring and summer months – in May versus where we are now in October. It’s still one of those neat facilities we get to go to two or three times in the year, if you count the All-Star race. I like going there. It’s close to home for everybody, so it’s not too far out of bed.”
 

Kyle Busch: Filling Out the Resume

With 12 combined wins between the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch has spent plenty of time in victory lane at the 1.5-mile oval in the heart of NASCAR country.

But the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) would like nothing more than to highlight his resume with his first Charlotte Sprint Cup win during Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at the racetrack Busch calls his favorite on the circuit.

Despite falling just short of earning his first Charlotte Sprint Cup victory twice in the last three seasons, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success on the 1.5-mile oval known as the “Beast of the Southeast” during his 19 previous Sprint Cup starts there.

He’s riding a streak of 11 top-10 finishes in the last 13 points-paying races there dating back to October 2006. In addition to solid Sprint Cup finishes, Busch has captured seven NASCAR Nationwide Series wins (May 2004, 2005 and 2008, October 2008 and 2009, May 2010, and May 2013) and five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2013).

Coming off a tough outing Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City – statistically one of his worse racetracks – the Las Vegas native heads to one of his strongest tracks in hopes of regaining some ground in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship battle, where he sits fifth in the standings, 35 points behind points-leader and JGR teammate Matt Kenseth.

Busch finally appeared headed for his breakthrough Sprint Cup win at Charlotte in the October 2010 and 2011 races there. In 2010, he led a race-high 217 laps but had to settle for a second-place finish behind Jamie McMurray. Then, the following year, he looked to be the class of the field once more but, after leading a race-high 111 laps, Busch was forced to settle for another second-place finish, this time behind Kenseth. He followed that up with a solid fifth-place finish in this race one year ago.

So, with a strong record at Charlotte over his nine plus seasons on the Sprint Cup circuit, Busch and his M&M’s team are looking to add a long-awaited win in the NASCAR mecca of Charlotte to his growing resume and are determined to keep fighting in a 2013 championship battle that still has a long way to go.

 

From Matt Kenseth

“I love racing at Charlotte because it’s a great race track and I’ve had some success there in the past. With it being a 1.5-mile track, those are the types of tracks that typically we’ve run decent at, so hopefully we can have a good run Saturday night, stay up front, and stay in the running for the Chase. We’re running a pink No. 20 Toyota this weekend thanks to all the wonderful work Dollar General does to help support breast cancer awareness including their sponsorship of the Dollar General 300 on Friday night. I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race and hope to get a solid run in.”

From Jason Ratcliffe, Crew Chief
“I was really happy with the first race we had at Charlotte back in May. We led a lot of laps, Matt (Kenseth) felt good about the car, and although we got caught up in a late-race deal there and damaged the car, overall we left that race feeling good about everything. We weren’t too happy with the finish we ended up with, but I feel that Charlotte is another track that our team is looking forward to getting back to. Charlotte is pretty sensitive to weather conditions, but I don’t foresee it being too different from the May race in regards to how it affects our race car this weekend.”
 

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News & Notes:

  • DRIVERS SUPPORT LOCAL READING EFFORTS: Earlier this fall, Dollar General’s Literacy Foundation partnered with Unilever to launch the “Reading Puts You on the Track to Victory” program in three Charlotte-area school districts. More than 6,000 students from 28 schools participated in this year’s program, reading more than 2.8 million minutes. Trackers recorded reading minutes for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. The kindergarten class that logged the most minutes received a special classroom appearance from Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers. This week, the two drivers will make their visit to the winning school, Ashley Park Elementary, and read their favorite childhood books.
  • KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS: In 28 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Charlotte, Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 14.2, has completed 9,436 of 9,986 (94.5 percent) career laps, and has led for a total of 567 laps. Kenseth has earned two wins, seven top-five, and 14 top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile track.
  • THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Pringles, First Quality, Hanes, Arrid, Glad, Coca-Cola, Listerine, Bounty and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will be featured on the pink No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway..
  • RACE INFO: The Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (1.5-mile) begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 12th. The race will be broadcast live on ABC, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.
Elliott Sadler

 

From Elliott Sadler

“There’s no doubt about it, this is one of my favorite races of the season. Charlotte Motor Speedway does such a great job in the October race to raise awareness for breast cancer, and I am thrilled to be able to be part of it again this season, We have an awesome sponsor with OneMain Financial to run this special pink paint scheme in honor of my mom and all those battling breast cancer. It is a cause that is so near and dear to my heart, and I really hope this OneMain Financial team can bring home that pink trophy this weekend.”
 

No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota News & Notes:

  • THE OLD NORTH STATE: Elliott Sadler and the No. 11 OneMain Financial prepare for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. With 13 Nationwide Series starts at the track, Sadler has one pole award, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. He also has NASCAR Sprint Cup Series experience at Charlotte with 25 starts, one pole award, one top-five and three top-10 finishes, as well as 196 laps led. He made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in 2010, where he started fourth, finished fifth and led 31 laps.
  • LOOKING BACK: In the October 2012 event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sadler started from the pole position for the first time at the 1.5-mile track. Battling issues on pit road and problems competing in traffic, Sadler muscled his way to a third-place finish.
  • SEEING PINK: This weekend, the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota will sport a special pink paint scheme to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month. Sadler will also wear a pink OneMain Financial firesuit for the weekend. The cause is near to Sadler’s heart as his mother, Bell, was diagnosed with the disease in 2007. She is now a survivor, and the Sadler family continues to be an advocate for the cause. Sadler wears pink shoes and pink driving gloves in every race in the Nationwide Series.
  • BREAST CANCER AWARENESS AUCTIONS: Fans will have the opportunity to bid on several items this month, including Sadler’s pink race-worn gloves, pink shoes, a VIP race experience and the one-of-a-kind pink OneMain Financial firesuit that Sadler will wear throughout Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend. For more information and to bid on the items, visit OneMainRacing.com.
  • MEET SADLER: Sadler will host a fan meet and greet on Thursday, October 10 at 11 a.m. at the OneMain Financial branch at 1096-13 Concord Parkway North, Concord, N.C. Fans will have the opportunity to meet Sadler, participate in giveaways and take photos. Sadler will also participate in the Joe Gibbs Racing Fan Fest on Friday at 10 a.m. at the JGR shop in Huntersville, N.C., as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series autograph session at 1 p.m. on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • TO THE POINT: Sadler sits in the fourth position in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 43 points behind the leader with four races remaining in the 2013 season.
  • LAST RACE: Kansas Speedway: Starting from the third position last Saturday at Kansas Speedway, Sadler and the No. 11 looked to capitalize on the second row starting position. Early in the event, Sadler reported the No. 11 Toyota developed a tight-handing condition. The driver came down pit road for a scheduled stop, and as he was getting back up to speed, he spun but avoided damage. Restarting in the 24th position, Sadler steadily worked his way up toward the front to finish in the 10th position.
 

From Matt Kenseth

“I’m excited to be heading back to Charlotte this weekend because even though the Nationwide and Cup Series cars handle a lot different, the more time you get to spend on the track, I feel the better off you are. It’s been a lot of fun to get back into the Nationwide Series this year. We obviously had a great finish last weekend at Kansas getting the win and I’m hopeful that we can get another strong run Friday night at a track that I’ve had some success at in the past.”

From Matt Lucas

“We had a good test day at Charlotte earlier this year; we were fast and at the top of the board. We came back the next day to start our normal practice for the weekend, picked up a bounce in the front end of the car, and just missed something with the front of the car that carried over into the race. Our race didn’t go as well as we had hoped, so I’m looking for better things to come out of this weekend’s race. Each1.5-mile track that we run, I feel like we get a little bit better, but I think that we improved on the car a lot this past weekend at Kansas and should be able to apply that at Charlotte.”
 

No. 18 GameStop/Call of Duty: Ghosts Toyota News & Notes:

  • JOE GIBBS RACING AT CHARLOTTE: Joe Gibbs Racing has 62 Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway including six wins, 22 top-five, and 33 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 1,006 laps, has an average start of 12.4, and an average finish of 12.6 at the team’s hometown track.
  • CHARLOTTE HOMECOMING: In 21 Nationwide Series starts at Charlotte, Kenseth has led for 662 laps, earned three wins, nine top-five, 12 top-ten finishes and four poles. Kenseth has an average start of 10.2, an average finish of 13.4 in NNS starts and has completed 3,913 of 4,203 (93.1 percent) career laps at the 1.5-mile track.
  • “CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS” THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 18 TOYOTA: Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outmatched. Welcome to Call of Duty®: Ghosts, an extraordinary step forward for one of the largest entertainment franchises of all-time. This new chapter in the Call of Duty® franchise features a fresh dynamic where players are on the side of a crippled nation fighting not for freedom, or liberty, but simply to survive. Ten years after a devastating mass event, the nation’s borders and the balance of global power have been redrawn forever. A superpower no more, its economy and government in ashes, the country’s once-mighty military struggles to stave off complete collapse. As what’s left of the nation’s Special Operations forces, a mysterious group known only as “Ghosts” leads the fight back against a newly emerged, technologically-superior global power. Fueling this boldly reimagined Call of Duty® universe, the franchise’s ambitious new next-gen engine delivers stunning levels of immersion and performance all while maintaining the speed and fluidity of 60 frames-per-second across all platforms.
  • RACE INFO: The Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, October 11, 2013. The race will be broadcast on ESPN2, SiriusXM channel 90, and PRN Radio.
 

From Brian Vickers

“I’m really looking forward to racing at Charlotte this week. It’s great for the team — everybody gets to be at home with their families. I’ve got family in North Carolina too and it’s always good to see them. I’m very excited for Dollar General as well. This week is huge for them, and they’ve done a great job focusing on breast cancer awareness efforts surrounding this race. They’ve got a really big group of supportive people in town for the Dollar General 300, and we would love nothing more than to drive our pink DG Toyota into Victory Lane to celebrate with them on Friday.”
 

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News & Notes:

  • DG GOES PINK IN SUPPORT OF BREAST CANCER AWARENESS: For the third year in a row, Dollar General and Charlotte Motor Speedway are going pink for the Dollar General 300. For Friday’s 200-mile race, the discount retailer is changing the colors of the annual race to pink in support of breast cancer awareness month. Their efforts include a pink Dollar General 300 pace car, pink grandstand tickets, a pink start/finish line and a pink pit wall. Dollar General has also exchanged its traditional yellow for pink on its racecars. The No. 20 Nationwide Series Dollar General Toyota driven by Brian Vickers and the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series Dollar General Toyota piloted by Matt Kenseth will both be sporting special pink paint schemes.
  • DRIVERS SUPPORT LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL READING EFFORTS: Earlier this fall, Dollar General’s Literacy Foundation launched their “Reading Puts You on the Track to Victory” program in three Charlotte-area school districts – Iredell-Statesville, Cabarrus County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Trackers recorded reading minutes for children in different grade levels, and the readers who logged the most minutes at each participating school were entered in a random drawing to win a grand prize – a special classroom appearance from Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kenseth and Vickers. The winning school was Ashley Park Elementary in Charlotte. This week, the two drivers will make their visit to the school and read their favorite childhood books “Go, Dog, Go” (Kenseth) and “The Little Engine That Could” (Vickers) to Ashley Park Elementary kindergarteners. This marks the seventh year that Dollar General has sponsored “Reading Puts You on the Track to Victory” for Charlotte-area students.
  • DOLLAR GENERAL HOSTS ST. JUDE PATIENT AT CMS: Title race sponsor Dollar General will be giving a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® patient and their family a VIP race experience on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since 2007, Dollar General has been a partner in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. From the outset of their participation, Dollar General has not only raised over $7.8 million, but each year a St. Jude patient and their family get to enjoy a VIP race experience at the Dollar General 300.
  • JOE GIBBS RACING AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide Series operation has 62 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The four-car team has tallied six wins, 22 top-five finishes, 33 top-10 finishes and led 1,006 laps at the 1.5-mile Concord, N.C. oval. Joe Gibbs Racing has won the last two consecutive Nationwide Series races at Charlotte, which include wins by Joey Logano in last year’s Dollar General 300 and Kyle Busch in this season’s race there in May.
  • THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Eveready, TUMS, TruMoo Milk, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Eckrich, Pringles, First Quality, Iams, Motrin, Bounty, Hanes, Arrid, Glad and Coca-Cola will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • RACE INFO: The Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, October 11. Watch and listen live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.
 

Kyle Busch Quotes

You and Adam enjoyed success here earlier this year. Will you be able to pull it off again?
“The night race is a little different animal, but it’s still about managing your car handling through the race and being consistent. Turns 3 and 4 are tighter than turns 1 and 2, so moving all over the race track to find the best line is important. I’ve found you have to be good at the bottom and at the top in order to get the most out of the race track and your car. I always feel this track, being close to home, is special because it allows our friends and family to come out and watch us. If we’re able to pull off the win again, it’s that much sweeter.”

Tell us about this special paint scheme you have for Friday?
“Samantha and I, through our Foundation, approached our primary partner Monster Energy, really after last year’s Charlotte race, and asked for their permission to change the scheme in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. They agreed but we wanted to take it one step further and so we hooked up with the Pretty in Pink Foundation out of Raleigh. They help breast cancer patients going through the hard stuff now, who need assistance with their medical bills. Over the year, a lot of work has gone into this fundraising effort for the ‘Champions’ that we are sponsoring. Samantha and I are excited the opportunity is finally here, so that we can offer a little comfort to those around us who need our help. It’s great to share our race Friday with neighbors who can use a fun night out, without worries about their treatment.”

Adam Stevens, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
You and Kyle conquered CMS in the spring race, are you ready to get back and take over the fall race too?
“Charlotte is still a challenging track, even going to the night race. The track conditions change here with the ambient conditions, perhaps more than any place we go to. It is a very fast track which makes track position and clean air extremely sensitive. Throughout the race the top groove will open up and the drivers will be able to move around to try to find speed. Kyle and I have both enjoyed some success at Charlotte and coming off the last win here, we hope to repeat and offer a special experience for our Pretty in Pink guests. It would be neat to give them a victory lane visit in this pink and black Monster Energy Toyota.”
 

Kyle Busch No. 54 Monster Energy Preview

The No. 54 Monster Energy team and its driver, Kyle Busch, approach Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (CMS ) this week the same as they have every race this season, focused on a victory. This race, however, they are also focused on providing a fun night of entertainment for some very special guests. The Kyle Busch Foundation and Monster Energy “Project Pink: Protect Your Pair” paint scheme will be on display in an effort to raise awareness and money for the Pretty In Pink (PIP) Foundation – a Raleigh, N.C.- based foundation whose mission is to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients regardless of their ability to pay. As part of the program, 12 local ‘Champions’ and their guests, from the PIP, will be on hand to cheer for Busch and team, looking for a night of entertainment, free from their treatment worries.

It should prove to be a good show for the special guests. This Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 team not only has 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event wins already in 2013, but the Monster Energy unit and Busch are the returning race winners at Charlotte. The Toyota team won the May CMS event, and with seven NNS victories, placed Busch as the winningest driver on the 1.5-mile quad-oval in the series, moving him one win ahead of veteran Mark Martin.

Busch will make his 23rd Nationwide Series start piloting the matte black and now pink Toyota Camry in Friday’s Dollar General 300 event, under the lights. While North Carolina is home to him now, the 28-year-old Las Vegas-native is very familiar with Victory Lane at his race team’s closest NASCAR track, winning there 12 times with three poles, in 47 career starts across NASCAR’s top three divisions.

Comments

Wendy Phillips
Reply

How does one get cancer survivor names on a car? My mom is a 25 yr survivor and my cousin is finishing up chemo- both breast cancer!!! Thank u for alllll u alllll do for them!!!!

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