Let the Voting Begin: Voting for the 2011 NASCAR® Sprint Cup Wheaties most-popular driver has begun started. Fans can visit www.wheatiesfuelmostpopulardriver.com once a-day to vote for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray until 11:59 PM CT Sept. 10 following the race at Richmond International Raceway. At that point, the 10 drivers with the most votes will be announced as finalists, and the vote count will reset to zero. Fans will then have 10 race weeks to cast their vote once a day to determine the 2011 NASCAR® Wheaties FUEL Most Popular Driver from the final field of 10 drivers. Voting will conclude November 20 at 11:59 PM CT. The winner will be announced at the NASCAR® NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon in December.
Jamie McMurray and No. 1 WIDIA Team
Milestone weekend: Jamie McMurray will be making his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. McMurray’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career began in 2002 when he filled in for an injured Sterling Marlin at Talladega Superspeedway. The following weekend McMurray made history by becoming the quickest driver to win a NSCS event in only his second series start. In his previous 299 starts McMurray has accrued seven poles, 92 top-10s, 39 top-fives and six wins; including his first multiple-win season in 2010 capturing victories in the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte.
McMurray at Martinsville: McMurray has 16 starts at Martinsville Speedway, with three starts from the outside pole all of which occurred for the spring NSCS event at Martinsville. In his 16 starts at the paper-clip shaped oval, McMurray has brought home nine top-10 finishes, including a best finish of second in 2004. He has also completed 7,780 of 8,019 of the laps (97%) within these 16 starts, leading 86 total laps.
Last Weekend: The No.1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet started the Auto Club 400 from the 12th-postion Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, and would spend much of the afternoon working feverishly to find the right balance on the race car. After a timely mid-race caution that kept the Earnhardt Ganassi team on the lead lap, the No. 1 crew made adjustments that had McMurray running competitive lap times and making up valuable positions. In the closing laps McMurray had worked his way back inside the top-20 and was looking to secure a solid points finish. That was until he was shuffled back several spots on the final restart with just nine laps remaining in the event, eventually finishing in 23rd-place.
Sponsor Spotlight: WIDIA™ colors will adorn the No. 1 Chevrolet this weekend as McMurray’s primary sponsor. WIDIA™ is the industry-leading manufacturer of cutting tools.
Team President, Steve Lauletta on WIDIA™: “The 2010 season that Jamie and the No. 1 team put together allows us to feel great about being able to bring new brands to our team and into the sport, we are confident that the experience will deliver a business return that will get them hooked on the power of NASCAR and our team. Both us and our partners at Widia are very much looking forward to the 2011 season and more specifically Jamie being behind the wheel of the No. 1 Widia Chevrolet in Martinsville.”
Juan Pablo Montoya and No. 42 Target Team
Montoya at Martinsville: Montoya has led 46 laps in his eight starts at Martinsville Speedway. The Colombian-born racer has one top-five, two top-10 finishes and zero DNF’s at the .526-mile oval. His best finish of third came in October of 2009. Montoya has completed 3,909 of 4,019 (97.3%) of the laps made within his eight starts.
Last Weekend: Juan Pablo Montoya made his 150th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start last weekend at Auto Club Speedway. With that milestone came his first pole position of the 2011 season and his third top-10 finish after five races on the schedule. The Target team crossed the finish line in the 10th position.
Top of the Charts: Montoya won his first Coors Light Pole award for the season at Fontana this past weekend. This was Montoya’s first pole at Fontana, but his second start on the front row. Montoya was the only driver to break 39 seconds in time trials for the fifth race of the season.
Notable Items: After five races in the 2011 season, Montoya has an average starting position of 19, an average finishing position of 12.4, has one pole and three top-10 finishes. He is ranked first as the driver to advance the most positions in the last 10 percent of each race, and has a driver rating of 87.4. The Target team heads into Martinsville Speedway eighth in the point standings; just 26 points out of first.
No. 1 WIDIA Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1007. Kevin “Bono” Manion will bring chassis #1007. McMurray ran this chassis in both the 2010 spring and fall races at Martinsville and Richmond.
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1110. Crew chief Brian Pattie and the Target Team will bring chassis #1110 this weekend. This is a brand new chassis.