UPDATE: DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will officially bring in the sport’s New Year during a two-day Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway this week.
Newly-crowned Monster Energy Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) joins new Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney (Ford), Chase Elliott (Chevrolet) and Aric Almirola (Ford) on the 1.5-mile Fort Worth high banks Tuesday and Wednesday.
For Elliott, this marks the debut of the No. 9 on the sides of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which formerly carried the No. 24. And for Almirola, this will be his first formal outing in the No. 10 Ford since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in the offseason after a six-year tenure with Richard Petty Motorsports. The same is true for Blaney, who moves from Wood Brothers Racing to Team Penske this season.
The test session also marks the on-track debut of the Camaro ZL1, the new model Chevrolet will field in the 2018 Monster Energy Series, replacing the Chevy SS.
“The new Camaro ZL1 is a great looking race car with a lot of heritage behind it, which will make it a big hit with fans,” Chevrolet’s seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson said at the car’s August unveiling. “And as someone who’s enjoyed the ZL1 on the street, I’m really looking forward to getting this new race car on the track.”
The next preseason test is for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Jan. 17, its goal to help teams get accustomed to the new optional engine approved for use in 2018.
The Monster Energy Series will have an organizational test Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – with one car from each organization allowed laps at the 1.5-mile facility that will host its first ever Playoff race on Sept. 16.
NASCAR’s Daytona Speedweeks begins officially Feb. 11 with Daytona 500 pole qualifying followed by the Advance Auto Parts Clash. The 60th running of the “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500, is Feb. 18.
— NASCAR Wire Service —
AND The event will be open and free to the public on both Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the main grandstands. Entry to the grandstands will be through Gate 4 and ample parking is available in front of the gate entrance.
— Texas Motor Speedway —
Original post: 1-6-2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola will participate in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday, January 9 at Texas Motor Speedway.
• The test will be a historic day for both Chevrolet and NASCAR as Elliott will be behind the wheel for the on-track debut of the Camaro ZL1, which will be the manufacturer’s new entry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season. The Camaro will replace the Chevy SS, which registered 71 victories since its 2013 debut in NASCAR’s premier series. The Camaro ZL1 will make its competition debut in February during Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway, highlighted by the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18.
• The Camaro’s primary objective for Chevrolet is current-day relevance, in the showroom and on the speedways. From a consumer standpoint, the Camaro represents a more visible model than its predecessor. The low-volume SS, a V8-powered, four-door sedan based on the Australian-built Holden Commodore, ends its public production run this year. Texas Motor Speedway will have the street version of the Camaro ZL1 on display in front of the media center on Tuesday. It also will serve as the official pace car for Texas Motor Speedway.
• Truex Jr., a two-time XFINITY Series champion, is coming off his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Driver of the No. 78 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, Truex Jr. turned in a dominant performance en route to the regular-season title and series crown. He recorded a series-high eight victories, capped by the final one coming in the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also had a series-leading 2,253 laps led, 19 top-five finishes, 26 top-10s and three poles in the season. He joined Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Brad Keselowski as only the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win titles in both the Cup and XFINITY Series. Truex Jr.’s focus was incredible throughout the season while standing by the side of his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who had a recurrence of ovarian cancer in July. She started chemotherapy after doctors located a Ping Pong ball-sized recurrence of cancer in her spleen. Despite the adversity, Truex Jr.’s success served as an escape for Pollex while her battle with cancer has shown him that life is more than success on the track.
• Elliott, the 22-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, is quickly becoming one of the most popular drivers in the sport and is the leader of the next-gen stars in NASCAR. In 2014, he became the first rookie and youngest driver to win a NASCAR national series title when he won the XFINITY Series championship. That season also was highlighted by his first-career series win coming at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Hendrick Motorsports tabbed Elliott to replace retiring four-time series champ Jeff Gordon in the iconic No. 24 in 2016. Elliott had a strong 2017 campaign despite still searching for his first-career Cup Series win. He posted 12 top-five finishes, including five runner-up efforts, in 36 races and advanced to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs. He finished fifth overall in the series championship.
• Blaney, another young, rapidly rising, second-generation NASCAR driver, is fresh off a breakout Cup campaign in 2017. Driving the No. 21 entry for the one-car Wood Brothers organization, he posted his first-career win, added a pair of poles, recorded 14 top-10 finishes and advanced to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs. He went on to finish ninth overall in the series championship. The 24-year-old son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Dave Blaney makes the move to Penske Racing for the upcoming season. He will be driving a third Cup entry for Penske, alongside Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. He will drive the No. 12 Ford for Penske.
• Almirola, who spent the past six Cup seasons at Richard Petty Motorsports, moves over to Stewart-Haas Racing and replaces Danica Patrick in the No. 10 Ford. The 33-year-old from Tampa, Fla., has won races in each of NASCAR’s top-three national touring series with one Cup Series victory, three XFINITY Series wins and two Camping World Truck Series triumphs.
• Texas Motor Speedway repaved and reconfigured its 1.5-mile layout heading into the 2017 season. The speedway reduced the banking in Turns 1 & 2 from 24 degrees to 20 degrees while Turns 3 & 4 remained at the original 24 degrees.
— Texas Motor Speedway —