EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING HEADS FOR KENTUCKY
Kentucky Speedway Advance Notes
Race: Quaker State 400 on Saturday, July 9
Track: Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Location: Sparta, Ky.
Jamie McMurray and No. 1 McDonald’s Team
New Addition: This weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway makes it the first track to be added to the Sprint Cup Schedule since Chicagoland Speedway and Kansas Speedway were introduced in 2001. McMurray is one of only five Sprint Cup regulars who will have started in the inaugural Nationwide Series event at Kentucky in 2001 and the inaugural Sprint Cup Series event this weekend.
Welcome Back: When the Sprint Cup Series starts the Quaker State 400 on Saturday night, it will be the first time the series has raced in the state of Kentucky since going to Corbin Speedway in 1954. Overall, this race will be only the second time that NASCAR’s top division started their engines at any track in the “Bluegrass State.”
No First-Timer: Jamie McMurray comes into this weekend’s inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway as a driver with previous NASCAR experience at the track. While the Quaker State 400 will be McMurray’s first NSCS start at Kentucky, it will be his third start overall after making two starts in the 2001 and 2002 Nationwide Series events held there. In his two previous races, he picked up two top-10 finishes including a best finish of sixth in 2002. His best start at Kentucky was 12th, also in the 2002 edition of the race.
Daytona Review: The No. 1 team started 18th in last weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Just six laps in, the McDonald’s Chevrolet suffered minor damage from an incident, and the team was forced to make repairs during the next few pit stops. McMurray and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya quickly paired up to work in the two-car draft. After spending laps at the back of the field, hoping to avoid any further issues, they made a run to the front and lead laps in the latter stages of the race. Coming to the finish line on the second green/white/checkered finish attempt McMurray was running among the top-ten cars, but was collected in a multi-car crash and limped across the finish line in the 22nd-position.
In the Points: After a 22nd-place finish at Daytona International Speedway, McMurray and the No. 1 team stays in the 27th position in the standings, 208 points behind the leader. He is also 116 points out of 12th place, and 61 points out of wild-card contention.
Old Kentucky Home: Spotter for the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet, Lorin Ranier comes back to his home state of Kentucky for this weekend’s Quaker State 400. Raised in Prestonsburg, Ky, Ranier got his start in horse racing before moving to a sport with a different kind of horsepower. Ranier has a family history of racing; his grandfather was a car owner in the 1950’s and his father was a successful NASCAR team owner in the 1970’s & 80’s and has several victories to his credit, including three Daytona 500 wins as an owner. After working with drivers like Davey Allison, Tony Stewart and Bill Elliott, Ranier has been in the spotters’ stand for more than 15 years and came to EGR for the 2011 campaign with Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 team.
Visit McDonald’s: Attention Race Fans - Stop at one of the many McDonald’s locations near Kentucky Speedway. Two locations can be found at 976 Highway 1039, Sanders, KY 41083 and 506 South Main Street, Owenton, KY 40359.
Juan Pablo Montoya and No. 42 Target Team
“Transforming”: Juan Pablo Montoya's No.42 Target Chevrolet appears in the new Michael Bay film "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon." In the film, Montoya's Chevrolet transforms into an “Autobot Wrecker” and comes with a fully loaded arsenal of weapons. The wrecker named Leadfoot, is an “Autobot” engineer, who is responsible for orchestrating the technological side of the war against the evil “Decepticons.” "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon" was released in theaters worldwide on Wednesday, June 29th.
It’s Good to Be First: When the green flag flies in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, Juan Pablo Montoya will become the first Colombian-born stock car driver to start a NASCAR event at the track.
Test Taker: Kentucky Speedway was the site of Montoya’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session for Chip Ganassi Racing back in 2006. During his first time behind the wheel of a cup car, his biggest challenge was finding grip and adjusting to a loose race car. Now, in his fifth full-time season in the NSCS, he is focused on winning the first Sprint Cup event at the track.
Daytona Recap: The No. 42 team headed back to the high banks of Daytona for the third superspeedway race of the season. The Target Chevrolet started in the back of the field and paired up with McMurray as soon as the green flag flew. The duo spent the majority of the race staying in the back of the field to avoid any on-track melee. With 50 laps remaining, the two made their move to the front and Montoya would be credited with leading a lap. Multiple accidents would occur in the closing laps resulting in two green/white/checkered flag attempts. Montoya and McMurray lined-up ninth and 10th in the final attempt and despite getting tangled up in an accident on the final lap, the Target Chevrolet crossed the finish line in the ninth position.
In The Points: With his ninth-place finish, Montoya moves up two positions in the point standings to 14th. The No. 42 team is now only 30 points out of the 10th and final position in the cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The Return of the Target Race Carts: The Target At-Track Mobile Series will make their second 2011 appearance at a NASCAR race this weekend during the Quaker State 400. The Target Race Carts demonstrate the unique nature of the Target Racing program and also showcase its valued sponsor partners by handing out samples and coupons. The focal point of the program includes customized, completely operational and oversized Target Race Carts patterned after Target shopping carts. Trained Target street teams will drive and accompany these race cart vehicles at Kentucky Speedway Friday and Saturday.
“Go Wildcats”: Jackman Mark Jacobs hails from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, but his alma mater is the University of Kentucky, where he played defensive tackle for the Wildcats from 1995-1998, lettering in all four seasons. Before joining EGR, he got his start working as a member of Bill Elliott’s pit crew in 2000, only months after receiving his degree from the Lexington, KY institution.
Race For Life: Juan Pablo Montoya took his racing skills to a new track last Thursday, while driving awareness for the “Help Win the Race for Life” campaign at the Florida Hospital for Children's Walt Disney Pavilion. He raced remote controlled cars against kids as part of an announcement about newer blood-banking and transplantation techniques which will help save lives.
No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1004. Chassis #1004 will be making its 2011 debut this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The chassis ran at Texas, Michigan and Pocono in 2010 and has served as the backup in eight races this season.
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1105. The No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1105 to Kentucky Speedway this weekend. This chassis has already run four times in 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Kansas Speedway and got its best finish (third) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.