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Archive for May 27th, 2018

MLS ushers in Week 13 of the 2018 Season

MATCH PREVIEWS WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

This Week in MLS – May 21, 2018

 

​USA Today Sports Images

 

  • All eyes on Galaxy’s Jonathan dos Santos before 23-man World Cup rosters revealed
  • World Cup hopeful MLS players in final week of play before reporting to camp
  • Crew SC’s Zardes finds attacking groove, on pace for career season
  • Zimmerman called into U.S. Camp after strong LAFC start
  • MLS Week 13: Match Notes

All eyes on Galaxy’s Jonathan dos Santos before 23-man World Cup rosters revealed
With hopes that his lasting MLS impressions will result in a World Cup opportunity, LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos is taking full advantage of his most valuable chances to shine before players report to national teams after the weekend. A mainstay for El Tri in major international competitions last year, the persistent playmaker has a goal and assist for the Galaxy this season, and is poised for peak performances on Monday against the Montreal Impact and on Friday against the San Jose Earthquakes in 83rd all-time Cali Clasico.

With 34 caps and a proven difference-maker under pressure, the younger dos Santos brother who joined MLS last season has already translated valuable LA Galaxy experience into World Cup Qualifier appearances and an influential role in Mexico’s run to the semifinals of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. During the Confederations Cup, he sent in the game-tying assist against Portugal in the Group Stage and earned Best XI honors in the competition.

Named to Mexico’s provisional roster with older brother and Galaxy teammate Gio dos Santos, the two will be channeling strong performances for the Galaxy this week to solidify their spots among El Tri’s final 23 heading to Russia.

World Cup hopeful MLS players in final week of play before reporting to camp
MLS players are making final preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as over 20 standouts across the league will play in their final club matches before reporting to national team camp next week. Before traveling to Russia, a number of players are battling for final spots on their countries’ 23-man roster, using MLS play as a final opportunity to impress their national team coaches.

Among those heading to the World Cup include Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain and defender Kendall Waston. One of six active MLS players named to Costa Rica’s final 23-man roster, Waston will play on Saturday against New England before departing for national team camp with the rest of his fellow countrymen. Additional players reporting to camp after this week’s matches include seven MLS-based Panama players, two Peru National Team players and three Mexico National Teamers.

A full list of MLS players called into preliminary or final rosters can be found here.

Crew SC’s Zardes finds attacking groove, on pace for career season
Columbus Crew SC striker Gyasi Zardes is on pace for a career campaign through just 12 weeks of the 2018 season, having already generated more scoring chances than his previous two seasons. Zardes will once again lead Crew SC this weekend when they visit Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City on Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. (6 p.m. ET / FS1).

After spending five seasons with the LA Galaxy, Zardes was traded to Columbus during the offseason, and the move has paid dividends both individually and collectively. Zardes is tied for the league lead with eight goals in 13 matches, sitting alongside Atlanta United forwardJosef Martínez and the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips in the MLS Golden Boot race. Zardes and Columbus are tied for second in the Eastern Conference with 24 points alongside New York City FC with a 7-3-3 record.

The 26-year-old forward already is halfway to matching his career high of 16 goals during the 2014 season. Zardes has created 39 shots this year, already a massive leap from the 29 shots in 2017 and 24 shots in 2016. Zardes’ most recent standout effort was a brace during Columbus’ 3-0 win against the Chicago Fire on May 12.

As Zardes continues to add to his MLS resume, the goal is also to carry over that play into the U.S. Men’s National Team realm. Zardes was last called into the U.S. MNT’s January camp earlier this year, but it has been nearly two years since his last goal during the Copa América Centenario, scoring the game-winning goal during a 2-1 victory against Ecuador. One of Zardes’ best international performances took place at Children’s Mercy Park, where he recorded a brace to lead the USA to a 4-0 win against Bolivia on May 28, 2016.

GYASI ZARDES MLS GOALSCORING

YEAR CLUB GP GOALS
2014 LA Galaxy 32 16
2018 Columbus Crew SC 13 8
2016 LA Galaxy 19 6
2015 LA Galaxy 29 6
2013 LA Galaxy 27 4
2017 LA Galaxy 24 2

Zimmerman called into U.S. Men’s National Team after strong LAFC start
Following a tremendous start with the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), defender Walker Zimmerman received his second call up in 2018 to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team for a friendly match against Bolivia on May 28 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. (6:30 p.m. ET). The 25-year-old has played in the last eight matches for LAFC with the club compiling an impressive 4-2-2 record in those contests, sitting second in the Western Conference under head coach Bob Bradley.

While Zimmerman has shined under Bradley’s tutelage this season, he will now look to impress U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan in camp. While the two managers have never coached on the same staff, their careers have taken many similar stops, with Sarachan taking over the Chicago Fire head coach position in 2002 from Bradley. Sarachan also took over as an assistant coach following Bradley departues from the University of Virginia in 1984 and at D.C. United in 1997.

Along with Zimmerman, Sarachan also called in Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono to face Bolivia. The 24-year-old also earns his second call to represent the U.S. after a historic 2017 where he captured a treble with Toronto before finishing as runner-up in the 2018 Concacaf Champions League.

MLS Week 13: Match Notes
Friday, May 25, 2018
Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

  • Toronto FC put an end to a two-game losing slide, getting a late goal for a 2-1 win against Orlando City SC at BMO Field on Friday evening. Ryan Telfer scored his first career MLS goal for the match-winner.
  • FC Dallas remained undefeated at home this season, extending their current undefeated run to three games, gaining a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. Reggie Cannon scored his first career MLS goal; Mauro Diaz collected his fourth assist in the past two games.
  • Toronto FC won the last meeting between the teams at BMO Field, a 1-0 victory on May 7, 2016 – their first win against FC Dallas since the 2007 season. FCD won eight of the 13 regular-season encounters in between, with five draws.
  • FC Dallas have never lost to TFC in Frisco in league play, holding a 7-0-2 record there, with victories in the past three meetings at Toyota Stadium, including a 3-1 win last July 1 in the lone meeting between the teams. TFC did win 3-0 in the Concacaf Champions League group stage in 2011.

Houston Dynamo vs. New York City FC, 8:55 p.m. ET (UniMás, UDN)

  • The Dynamo extended their undefeated run to three matches, getting a pair of goals from Alberth Elis for a come-from-behind 3-2 win against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.
  • NYCFC remained perfect at home this season, with a fifth win in five home games, after a 4-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Maxi Moralez scored a goal and added two assists, the second time in his MLS career (in 41 appearances) he was involved in three goals in a single game.
  • David Villa scored a pair of goals, the 17th multiple-goal game of his MLS career, tied for seventh-most in league history (in just 103 regular-season appearances).
  • NYCFC have never lost to the Dynamo in their time in Major League Soccer, in three meetings. The teams played to a 1-1 draw last Sept. 23, at the University of Connecticut’s Rentschler Field, in the lone matchup between the teams – the second 1-1 draw in NYCFC’s home games in the all-time series.
  • The lone victory in the series came Sept. 30, 2016 at BBVA Compass Stadium, a 2-0 NYCFC triumph.

LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 11 p.m. ET (UniMás, UDN)

  • Danny Hoesen scored for a third consecutive match, now with six goals on the season, but the Quakes saw their home winless streak stretched to four games (with a second loss in a row) in a 3-1 defeat to D.C. United at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The teams met three times a year ago, and the Quakes won twice. San Jose claimed a 3-0 win in the last meeting, Aug. 27 at StubHub Center – its first win in Carson since 2012. The Quakes also took a 2-1 win on July 1 at Stanford Stadium.
  • The Galaxy claimed a 4-2 win on May 27 at Avaya Stadium, just their second victory in the past 16 regular season games in northern California, across four stadiums.
  • Known as the California Clásico, the Galaxy and Earthquakes have met 82 times in all competitions. In regular season play, the Galaxy have won 30 times and the Quakes 22, with 14 draws, since their first meeting on April 28, 1996.

Saturday, May 26, 2018
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Sounders FC return to action after a week off, suffering a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on May 13, the 100th meeting all-time between the clubs, the longest-running rivalry in U.S. soccer history.
  • Real Salt Lake remained winless on the road this season, suffering a fifth consecutive away defeat, falling 4-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Real Salt Lake snapped a three-game Sounders FC winning streak in the series in their second meeting last season, a 2-0 win on Sept. 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real have won their past five home games vs. Seattle; Sounders FC last won in league play in Sandy on May 28, 2011, a span of seven games (they did win there in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2012).
  • Sounders FC won the matchup between the teams at CenturyLink Field, winning by the game’s lone goal on May 20. Sounders FC have won the past seven meetings between the teams in Seattle. RSL’s lone win there came May 12, 2012, a 1-0 victory.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. New England Revolution, 5:30 p.m. ET (TSN, ESPN+)

  • Whitecaps FC reached a third consecutive draw, coming back from two goals down for a late 2-2 result with FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Kei Kamara scored the equalizing goal from the penalty spot in the 10th minute of added time in the second half, the 100th-minute goal matching the latest ever score in regulation time in an MLS game.
  • Kamara’s 102nd career goal moved him into sole possession of eighth place all-time in MLS history, passing Revolution great Taylor Twellman (101).
  • The Revolution fell to their second home defeat of the season, losing by the game’s only goal to Columbus Crew SC at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • The Revolution won the lone meeting between the clubs a year ago, a 1-0 win on Aug. 12 at Gillette Stadium. It was the first home win for either team in the series since 2013, when Whitecaps FC won 4-3 at BC Place.
  • The ‘Caps have won once in three home meetings with the Revolution. The Revolution won 2-1 on June 18, 2016 in the last match in Vancouver, a second consecutive win for the road team in the series, after Whitecaps FC won 2-1 in Foxborough in 2015.

New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • The Red Bulls won their fourth game on the trot – a third in a row away from home – in their 3-1 win against Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday evening. Kaku recorded a pair of assists, a fourth consecutive game with an assist, his third two-assist game in that span; he now leads MLS with nine assists on the season.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a pair of goals, moving into a tie for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with eight goals for the year with Josef Martínez (ATL) and Gyasi Zardes (CLB). It was the 20th multiple-goal game of Wright-Phillips’ MLS career (his second two-goal game this season), now tied for fourth-most in MLS history.
  • The teams evenly split their three league matchups a year ago. The Union claimed a 3-0 win on May 6 at Talen Energy Stadium behind a CJ Sapong hat trick, then the Red Bulls won 2-0 in Chester on June 18 as Wright-Phillips then netted both goals. The teams reached a goalless draw in the lone meeting at Red Bull Arena on Sept. 17.
  • The Red Bulls are undefeated in the past three meetings at Red Bull Arena, winning two in a row before last year’s draw. When the Union won 2-0 there on May 24, 2015, it was their first-ever win in Harrison; the Red Bulls had gone 5-0-1 in their first six home games vs. Philadelphia.
  • The Union have won once in the past six meetings at Talen Energy Stadium, the victory in last year’s first meeting. The Red Bulls have won three times in that span, dating back to 2014.

Orlando City SC vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • Orlando City SC suffered a second consecutive defeat on the heels of a club-record six-game winning streak, falling 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field on Friday evening.
  • The Fire suffered a second consecutive loss, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon. Nemanja Nikolic scored his sixth goal of the season, while rookie Diego Campos scored his first career professional goal.
  • The Fire won for the first time ever in league play against Orlando City SC in the second meeting a year ago, a 4-0 victory June 24 at Toyota Park. OCSC had won two of the first six meetings between the teams, with four draws, the victories coming on the club’s first two visits to Toyota Park, both in its inaugural season.
  • All three meetings in Orlando have ended in draws, including a goalless draw last June 4, when Orlando City SC played two men down for the final 24 minutes.

Minnesota United FC vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m. ET (TVA Sports, ESPN+)

  • Minnesota United FC put an end to a two-game losing skid, gaining a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
  • Darwin Quintero scored his third goal in six appearances since coming to MLS and MNUFC, his first since April 28.
  • The Impact play the LA Galaxy at Stade Saputo on Monday afternoon in the 25th anniversary of the club’s first home game (which was as part of the APSL). It is the 14th league game played on a Monday in MLS history.
  • The teams met once in Minnesota United’s inaugural season, as the expansion outfit came from behind to claim a 3-2 win at Stade Saputo on Sept. 16.

Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • The Rapids suffered their fifth consecutive defeat, falling 4-0 to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Timbers set a club record for their MLS history with a fifth consecutive victory, defeating Los Angeles FC 2-1 at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon. Cristhian Paredes scored his first MLS goal, and also added an assist on the game-winner from Samuel Armenteros.
  • The teams met twice a season ago, each winning by a 2-1 scoreline on their home grounds, the Rapids on June 17 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and the Timbers on Aug. 23 at Providence Park.
  • The Rapids have won twice in the past nine meetings between the teams, dating back to the 2015 season, both coming in the last four encounters. The Timbers have won four games over that stretch, with two draws.
  • The Timbers have a seven-game home winning streak alive vs. Colorado, while the Rapids have won the last two meetings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The visiting team has won just twice in the all-time series, the Rapids winning in Portland on June 11, 2011 before a Timbers victory in Commerce City on May 30, 2015.

Los Angeles Football Club vs. D.C. United, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

  • LAFC had their six-game undefeated run put to an end – losing for just the third time – falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon.
  • Carlos Vela scored a goal for a second consecutive game, a fourth game in a row with either a goal or an assist (with two goals and two assists in that span). Vela has seven goals and five assists, involved in 12 of LAFC’s 23 goals scored this season.
  • D.C. United snapped a two-game losing slide and won on the road for the first time this season, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. The win put an end to United’s away winless run after 10 games, their first triumph on the road since last Aug. 19, matching the third-longest away losing streak in the club’s 23-year history.
  • D.C. United have lost just three times when facing an expansion team for the first time over their 23-year history. The third came last year in a 4-0 defeat by Minnesota United (D.C. had defeated Atlanta United 3-1 in their initial encounter). D.C. United have also lost to Philadelphia in 2010 and New York City FC in 2015; all-time, United are 10-3-2 in first encounters.

Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew SC, 6 p.m. (FS1 / FOX Deportes)

  • Sporting saw their two-game winning run put to an end but still extended their undefeated streak, gaining a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
  • Crew SC won a third game in a row and extended their undefeated run to six games, getting the game’s lone goal from Lalas Abubakar for a win against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
  • Zack Steffen made six saves in recording a fourth consecutive shutout. Crew SC have now not allowed a goal in their last 405 minutes – nine minutes away from the longest shutout streak in the club’s 23-year history.
  • The teams reached a 1-1 draw in their lone meeting a season ago, Sept. 10 at Mapfre Stadium. Crew SC have won once at home in the last six meetings between the teams in Columbus, a 3-2 win on Aug. 22, 2015, which snapped a five-game Sporting winning streak (and six-game undefeated streak) in the all-time series.
  • Sporting have won the last four meetings in Kansas City, including a 3-2 win on July 3, 2016 in the last matchup at Children’s Mercy Park. The last Columbus victory in Kansas City came July 28, 2012.

 

Red Bulls star Bradley Wright-Phillips named MLS Alcatel Player of the Week

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

NEW YORK (Wednesday, May 23, 2018) – New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the 12th week of the 2018 MLS season.

New York defeated Atlanta United 3-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday behind a Wright-Phillips brace. The Englishman is now tied for the Golden Boot lead with eight goals scored in 10 matches played, while his five assists tie for fifth in the league. The Red Bulls sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points (7-3-0 overall record).

Wright-Phillips gave New York a 2-1 lead with a sensational header from the center of the box in the 51st minute, redirecting a Michael Murillo cross to the left side of goal past goalkeeper Brad Guzan (Watch Goal).

Minutes later, Wright-Phillips struck again with yet another header to give the Red Bulls a 3-1 advantage in the 55th minute. Alejandro Romero Gamarra sent a cross into the center of the box, with Wright-Phillips elevating to head the ball off the crossbar into goal (Watch Goal). The multi-goal performance was the second this season for Wright-Phillips and the 20th in his MLS regular season career.

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters. The organization includes print, television, radio and online journalists who cover domestic men’s soccer in the United States and Canada.

NASCAR heads to Charlotte Memorial Day Weekend

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coca-Cola 600

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, May 27

The Time: 6 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 5:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 600 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 100),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 200), Stage 3 (Ends on Lap 300), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Alsco 300

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 26

The Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Rattlesnake 400

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Friday, June 8

The Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

It Only Takes One (Lap)

Austin Dillon picked up his first career win in the Coca-Cola 600 last year, leading only two laps. Among them, the most important one: the last lap.

 

Since then he collected his second career win in this year’s season-opening Daytona 500. This time he led the race only when most necessary – the final lap – giving him three laps led in the two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races he’s won. Both races are absolutely stars of the NASCAR schedule and Dillon has firmly established himself a star as well.

 

Since Daytona in February, Dillon has led only four more laps – giving him five out front for the 2018 season. He has one more top-10 – a 10th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway – through the opening 12 races and arrives at his hometown track ranked 17th in the standings.

 

The 28-year old North Carolina native is as optimistic as you would expect a defending race winner to be for Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), however.

 

“I’m really pumped about the 600,’’ Dillon said. “It’s a long race for us and obviously coming back being the defending winner hopefully we can do it this year again. If fuel mileage is the way we do it, we will do it that way again, it doesn’t matter, if we can get back to Victory Lane again this year it would be great.

 

“But, I’ve always felt comfortable here at Charlotte in any series I’ve ran. I felt like I have been pretty solid here in Xfinity and Trucks. Yeah, I’m pumped for the 600. Anytime I come to this track my confidence is high and I feel good about it,” said Dillon.

 

Always A Contender At Charlotte

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. has good reason to feel confident racing in Charlotte this week. He has two wins in the last four races at the track, including one of the most dominant performances in NASCAR history in leading 392 of the 400 laps (and 588 of 600 miles) to hoist his first Coca-Cola 600 trophy in 2016.

 

Truex led a race best 233 laps in last year’s 600 only to finish third, but he answered with a convincing victory five months later during the Playoffs – one of four Playoff wins he would earn on the way to his first Monster Energy Series championship in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota.

 

Truex has five top-five finishes – including two wins – in the last six races at Charlotte. His average speed (160.655 mph) in winning the 2016 Coca-Cola 600 is an all-time record at the track.

 

Collecting Milestones

Kevin Harvick is attempting to win his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 – which would match his three-race winning streak set earlier this year at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

 

And the 2018 season’s winningest driver has some other milestones within reach this week as well.

 

Harvick is a mere 89 laps away from becoming the 15th driver all-time to lead 12,000 or more laps in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Should he reach the mark Sunday night he would be among rare company to have led that many career laps. Seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson (18,663 laps) and 2015 champ Kyle Busch (14,878 laps) are the only other active drivers to have led at least 12,000 laps. Richard Petty holds the all-time record of 51,695 laps.

 

Here’s a look at the drivers with the most laps led:

Drivers Laps Led
Richard Petty 51,695
Cale Yarborough 31,627
Bobby Allison 27,344
Dale Earnhardt 25,683
David Pearson 25,159
Jeff Gordon 24,936
Darrell Waltrip 23,134
Rusty Wallace 19,971
Jimmie Johnson 18,663
Kyle Busch 14,878
Bobby Isaac 13,200
Mark Martin 12,878
Tony Stewart 12,819
Junior Johnson 12,643
Kevin Harvick 11,911

 

Additionally, Harvick – who won the Monster Energy All-Star Race last Saturday night in Charlotte – is aiming to become only the sixth different driver to win the All-Star race and championship in the same year. Jimmie Johnson is the most recent driver to do so – claiming both trophies in 2006 and 2013. Only seven times has a driver won both the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same season. Kurt Busch was the last to do so in 2010.

 

The Elusive Victory Lane

Kyle Busch still leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings despite Kevin Harvick’s amazing roll of wins. And although Busch is historically quite good at Charlotte, it is the ONLY track on the Cup schedule where the 2015 champion has never won a points-paying race.

 

Busch’s driving rating of 104.9 is second only to the track’s all-time winningest driver Jimmie Johnson. In fact, Busch is second to the eight-time Charlotte winner in most of the vital loop data statistical categories (covering races from 2005-present) from average running position (8.019 vs. 10.069) to laps led (1,094 vs. 993) to percentage of time running in the top-15 (87.0 vs 77.5).

 

The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota was runner-up in the Coca-Cola 600 last year and has been second there three times in his career. He has four third-place finishes. His 16 top-10 efforts in 28 starts is second only to Johnson and Matt Kenseth’s 20 top-10s among active drivers.

 

Making His Mark

Daniel Suarez’ impressive runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick in Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star race was reflective of the second-year Cup driver’s work of late. He has raced to three top-10 finishes in the last four races. He tied his career best Monster Energy effort of third-place at Dover two weeks ago.

 

And the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway proved to be one of his better tracks during his 2017 rookie season. He was 11th in his first 600-miler in the spring and sixth in the fall 500-mile race there. His runner-up finish to Harvick in the All-Star Race non-points event last weekend at Charlotte was visibly encouraging for the 26-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

 

“Definitely a lot of confidence,’’ Suarez said with a smile. “The team has been doing a hell of a job in the last month and a half, two months, being competitive, racing up front.  It’s been a lot of fun obviously racing in the top five, top 10 more often.

 

“I feel like we are on the right track, we are in the right line obviously to keep moving forward. But we have to keep working to try to get a little bit better. I feel like we are good, but we are not great yet. Hopefully we can get there soon.”

 

King Of The Queen City

Jimmie Johnson is still looking for his first win this season, but the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion must feel optimistic arriving at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he has earned eight wins (four in the Coca-Cola 600) and five pole positions (three in the Coca-Cola 600) and boasts the best driving rating of any of his competitors this weekend (109.8).

 

He leads in all six of the primary statistical categories from average running position (8.019) to laps led (1,094) since 2005. Two of his wins here from the pole position (2004, 2014) have come in the Coca-Cola 600. He also won the fall race from the pole in 2009.

 

“The All-Star Race was fun, but this weekend is a different package, so that race didn’t do much to help us prepare for this weekend,’’ said Johnson, whose Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet finished sixth last Saturday night.

 

“The 600 is a long race, it’s a test of endurance and patience, and you have to accommodate for track conditions changing from the day to the night.”

 

First Time’s The Charm

For whatever reason, the 1.5-mile Charlotte track has been prone to new winners. Ten times a driver has scored his first win at Charlotte – seven times in the Coca-Cola 600.

 

NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Jeff Gordon (1994) certainly headlines that list that also includes Hall of Famer David Pearson (1961), 2000 Cup champ Bobby Labonte (1995), 2003 champion Matt Kenseth (2000), Casey Mears (2007), David Reutimann (2009) and Austin Dillon (2017).

 

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jamie McMurray got his first career Monster Energy Series win at the track in only his second race – filling in for the injured Sterling Marlin in the 2002 fall race at Charlotte. Buddy Baker (1967) and Charlie Glotzbach (1968) also tallied their first Cup win in the fall Charlotte race.

 

Kahne Can

Charlotte Motor Speedway has been an important place in Kasey Kahne’s career. The Leavine Family Racing driver has won four times here – the most of any Cup track for him. He swept the 2006 season races.

 

In the last 15 years, only eight-time winner Jimmie Johnson has celebrated in Charlotte victory lane more than Kahne. Three times Kahne has won the Memorial Day 600-miler (2006, 2008, 2012). Since 2011, Kahne has eight top-10s including his 2012 win and runner-up finishes in both 2013 Charlotte races.

 

Kahne is looking for his first top-10 since moving to the Leavine No. 95 Chevrolet team this season.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Queen City’s Turn To Keep The Xfinity Series Different Winners Streak Alive

Ten races into the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season and there have been 10 different winners. Now it’s Charlotte Motor Speedway’s turn to see if the streak can continue and give the series its 11th different winner in as many races.

 

If a 11th different winner should occur this weekend, the 2018 season would solely hold the second-longest different winner streak to start the season in series history. Currently at 10 different winners, the 2018 season is tied with 1987 for the second-longest different winners streak to start a NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

 

Since the series inception in 1982, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has had 10 different winners in the first 10 races just three times – 1987, 1988 and 2018.

 

The record for the highest number of different winners to start a NASCAR Xfinity Series season is 13 set back in 1988; followed by 2018 and 1987 with 10 different winners.

 

The 1988 and 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons are tied for the series-most different winners for the entire season with 18 each.

 

This season’s winners include Tyler Reddick (Daytona), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Brad Keselowski (Phoenix), Joey Logano (California), Ryan Blaney (Texas), Ryan Preece (Bristol), Christopher Bell (Richmond), Spencer Gallagher (Talladega) and Justin Allgaier (Dover).

 

Allgaier, Bell and Keselowski are the three winners this season entered this weekend in the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Saturday, May 26 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) that could end the different winners streak. Of the three, Brad is the only driver who has previously won at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series, three times to be exact (Fall 2010, Summer 2012 and Fall 2014).

 

Fury Race Cars To Make Debut, Enlists Driver Kaz Grala For Next Four Races

A well-known face in the NASCAR garage is returning this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tony Eury Jr., the famous NASCAR crew chief, has turned owner and in doing so enlisted rising young talent Kaz Grala to drive the No. 61 Fury Race Cars Ford Mustang for the next four races including this weekend in the Alsco 300 (Saturday, May 26 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Tony Eury Jr. and his father Tony Eury Sr. became famous over the last three decades working as crew chiefs at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the Monster Energy Series and JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Now Tony Eury Jr. has been running Fury Race Cars in the Late Model and Modified divisions of NASCAR, but this weekend he and crew chief Shane Wilson and driver Kaz Grala are making their NASCAR national series debut.

 

“We are all really proud of what we’ve been able to put together in such a short amount of time,” said Tony Eury Jr.

 

Grala is an ideal contender for the No. 61 Ford. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate is currently 19th in the series driver standings. In 10 starts this season he has posted one top five and an average finish of 22.0.

 

“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to continue competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” said Grala.

 

This weekend will be Grala’s series track debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

Former Series Champ Chase Elliott Returns For GMS Racing

With driver Spencer Gallagher currently sidelined as he completes the NASCAR Road to Recovery Program, GMS Racing has tapped former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Chase Elliott to pilot the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This will be his first race in the series since the season-opener at Daytona.

 

Elliott, 22, will also drive the No. 23 for GMS at Pocono (June 2), Chicagoland (June 30), Daytona (July 6) and Bristol (Aug. 17).

 

Johnny Sauter took the reins of the No. 23 a few weeks back at Dover for GMS Racing and posted a top-10 finish (sixth). Elliott this weekend will look to continue to build on the team’s recent success. Elliott’s Xfinity career has been quite impressive, in 73 starts he has five wins, 31 top fives and 59 top 10s. He also won the title in his rookie season.

 

Elliott has made four series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, posting a pole and three top 10s. His average finish on the 1.5-mile track is 15.5.

 

Elliott Sadler’s Winless Streak Could Reach 50 Races At Charlotte

High atop the point standings mountain sits veteran JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler, 38 points ahead of his teammate Tyler Reddick in second, and 52 points ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in third. While the points cushion is nice, it has been too long since the driver from Emporia, Virginia has visited Victory Lane. If he doesn’t take the checkers this weekend, it will bring Elliott Sadler’s winless streak to 50 races – the fourth-longest winless streak of his career.

 

Sadler’s last series win was at Kentucky Speedway on September 24, 2016. This season, though he doesn’t have a victory, Sadler has been very competitive. In 10 starts he has posted eight top fives and 10 top 10s (both are series-most); including a runner-up finish a few weeks back at Dover.

 

“I couldn’t be more ready to get back into my OneMain Financial Chevrolet after the last few off weekends,” said Sadler. “We’ve had a strong start to the season, so we’re looking to keep that going as we head to Charlotte.”

 

This weekend’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway could be the race that ends Sadler’s winless streak. He has made 22 series starts at 1.5-mil speedway posting one pole (2012), five top fives, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 16.8.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Youth Movement Seem Quite Formidable

Joe Gibbs Racing is known for cultivating young talent in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and this season is no different.

 

The JGR stable has been filled with rising stars this season but the two going for the series title are Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell, 23, in the No. 20 Toyota and Brandon Jones, 21, in the No. 19 Toyota.

 

Bell, the elder statesmen of the two, leads the young JGR stars as he is currently ranked third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship driver standings, just 52 points back from the standings leader. In 10 starts this season Bell has already locked himself into the Playoffs with his win at Richmond. He has also posted three poles and six top-five finishes to accompany the win. Bell made his series track debut at Charlotte last season in this event; starting seventh and finishing fourth.

 

Bell’s teammate Brandon Jones is having the best start to a season in his Xfinity Series career. The Atlanta, Georgia, native is currently seventh in the series championship driver standings. In 10 starts this season he has posted one top five and six top 10s. His average finish this season is a career-best 11.9. Jones has made four starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 13.0.

 

Both youngsters will have veteran teammate Kyle Busch to lean on this weekend as the Las Vegas native returns to the series in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch leads the series in wins (eight), top fives (18) and top 10s (20) at Charlotte.

 

Charlotte Welcomes New Series Winners

In the 72 NASCAR Xfinity Series races held at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1982, 35 different drivers have won and nine of those 35 have been first-time series winners; including Alex Bowman’s big victory last fall.

 

This weekend at Charlotte, among the 43 entrants attempting to qualify, 29 have yet to win in the series and only four currently have wins at the 1.5-mile facility (Kyle Busch with eight, Brad Keselowski’s three, Jeff Green has two and Joe Nemechek has one).

 

The nine drivers to previously get their first series win at Charlotte are Harry Gant (5/29/1982), Darrell Waltrip (10/9/1982), Bobby Allison (5/26/1984), Tim Richmond (5/25/1985), Terry Labonte (10/5/1985), Sterling Marlin (10/6/1990), Mike Bliss (10/15/2004), Dave Blaney (10/13/2006) and Alex Bowman (10/7/2017).

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Wilburn Named Crew Chief For No. 7 – This week JR Motorsports announced Bill Wilburn, who has served as car chief with the No. 7 team for the past five seasons, will step into the crew chief role normally occupied by Jason Burdett this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

“We’re definitely going to miss having Jason (Burdett, crew chief) at the track, but I have full confidence in Billy Wilburn and this team. These guys have been working like crazy at the shop and I know we’re going to have a strong BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy this weekend,” said Allgaier.

 

Burdett is serving a two-race suspension after an infraction was found during inspection following the team’s win at Dover.

Monster Mayhem – Five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers are entered in this weekend’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

Owner Standings Update – Through 10 races this season, the JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet team leads the series owner standings by 10 points over second-place Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota team and 13 points ahead of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford team.

Sunoco Rookie Points Update – Tyler Reddick leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 14 points over second-place Christopher Bell through the first 10 races of the season.

 

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

A First Time For Everything

It was a rainy and muggy Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and waiting was the name of the game for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Caroling Education Lottery 200. After multiple delays, the race went green and Johnny Sauter sure was glad it did. For the first time in his career, Sauter took home the victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

This win marked his third of the season and 20th of his career. It also marked the second race of his career where he won from the pole. The last time Sauter did that was in 2011 at Martinsville.

 

He passed Brett Moffitt on Lap 87, one tour before Josh Reaume’s spin-out brought out the fifth caution of the race. From there, Sauter was unstoppable in his No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet. He continued on to lead a race-high 71 laps and increased his series points by 59 over second-place Noah Gragson. That also put him 65 points ahead of Moffitt in third.

 

It was his first win in 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Charlotte, so his excitement was more than overdue.

 

His best finish at the speedway before his victory over the weekend was last year, when he started third and finished second. Sauter’s worst finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway was in 2013, when he started 16th and finished 28th due to a crash.

 

It was a long time coming for Sauter and all that was heard through his radio stream after he crossed the finish line was a lot of yelling and cheering, “We just won Charlotte!”

 

Sauter, who just celebrated his 40th birthday on May 1, has 228 races under his belt in the series with 20 wins, 94 top fives and 146 top 10s. He also has six poles and has led 2,135 laps.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is entering a two-week break this weekend before heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the Rattlesnake 400 on Friday, June 8 (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

What Will Sauter Do Next?

Sauter has become the sixth different driver in series history to post three or more wins (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte) in the first seven races of the season; joining Kyle Busch (four wins: 2014, 2011), Matt Crafton (three wins: 2015), Mike Skinner (three wins: 2007, 1996, 1995), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three wins: 1995) and Ted Musgrave (three wins: 2001)

 

In 1995, Mike Skinner won eight of the 20 series races and captured the championship. Like Sauter, he won three of the first seven races. None of the other drivers listed above went on to win the championship after posting three or more wins in the first seven races of the season.

 

Looking ahead to Texas, Sauter has visited Fort Worth 19 times in his career and has been very successful, winning four times. He has posted nine top fives, 15 top 10s and three poles. Matt Crafton is the only driver who has visited the track more than Sauter.

 

So far this season, Sauter hasn’t started outside of the top ten and has finished in the top-five in every race except for Martinsville, where he finished 21st.

 

In 2017, Sauter had his career-best tally with four wins. Only seven races into the 2018 season and he is one win away from tying that record.

Season Wins
2014 1
2015 0
2016 3
2017 4
2018 3

 

It should be noted that of his 20 career wins, Sauter has won the most at Texas, with four victories followed by three each at Martinsville and Daytona.

The Wheel Is His

NASCAR national series drivers are not permitted to drive on tracks 1.5-miles in length or longer until they reach their 18th birthday

 

But Todd Gilliland doesn’t need to worry about that anymore, as the young racer out of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, celebrated his 18th birthday on May 15.

 

Gilliland has raced three times so far this season and only nine times total in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He made his first appearance on a 1.5-mile track in Charlotte last weekend for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 where he finished 10th after starting third

 

This was Gilliland’s first-time racing at his home track of Charlotte. Of the three races he has been in so far in 2018, he has gotten better and improved with each race. His first race was in Martinsville where he started 23rd and made his way up to finish 14th in the No. 4 Toyota. For the second time of his career, Gilliland traveled to the Monster Mile at Dover International Speedway where he started in third and finished in 10th, the exact same thing he did at Charlotte.

 

Gilliland has yet to post a win in his career with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but for having only participated in nine races, he has made a solid name for himself. He has posted two top fives and five top 10s, meaning he has only placed 10th or worse four times. Two of those times were due to car issues with the suspension and transmission in his first two career series races.

 

Gilliland has only led one lap in his entire career, but it seems that could be changing as this season continues.

 

Gilliland’s father, David, ran his first race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2005. In 2009, he hit the track two more times and in 2015, he ran seven times. In 2018, he has raced twice, at Daytona and Dover. David has never won a race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Todd is already put up better numbers than his dad in the Truck Series. David has one top five and four top 10s. Although, David has one pole under his belt from the 2018 season opener at Daytona, where he drove Todd’s truck and finished 21st.

Texas Motor Speedway Quick Facts

Oval: 1.5 miles

Width: 58 feet (minimum)

Turns: 750-foot radius

Banking: 20 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, 24 degrees in Turns 3 and 4, five degrees in straightaways

Frontstretch: 2,250 feet long

Backstretch: 1,330 feet long

Fastest Race: 158.002 mph/1 hr., 23 mins., 44 sec. – Erik Jones (2015)

Slowest Race: 109.988 mph/2 hr., 20 min., 44 sec. – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)

Qualifying Record: 185.134 mph/29.168 sec. – Noah Gragson (2017)

Closest Winning Margin: 0.116 of a second (Tom Bodine over Mike Skinner, 2006)

Largest Winning Margin: 13.302 seconds (Matt Crafton over Justin Lofton, 2014)

Winner’s Best Starting Position: 1st – Jay Sauter (1999), Greg Biffle (2000), Bryan Reffner (2000), Clint Bowyer (2006), Todd Bodine (2007)

Winner’s Furthest Starting Position: 22nd – Todd Bodine (2004)

Most Laps Led by Winner: 140 – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)

Most Laps Led by Non-Race Winner: 133 – Matt Crafton (2016)

Fewest Laps Led by Winner: 1 – Todd Bodine (2006)

Youngest Winner: William Byron, 18 years, 6 months, 13 days (2016)

Oldest Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr., 52 years, 11 months, 21 days (2011)

Most Lead Changes: 19 (2011, 2015)

Most Leaders: 11 (2011)

Fewest Lead Changes: 1 (1997)

Fewest Leaders: 2 (1997, 2006)

Most Cautions: 10 (2011, 2017)

Most Caution Laps: 46 (1998, 2011)

Fewest Cautions: 1 (2015)

Fewest Caution Laps: 5 (2015)

Most Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 24 (2005)

Fewest Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 6 (2000, 2002, 2007)

 

 

Fast Facts on the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS MEDIA RELATIONS/COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil fast facts

 

Race weekend: Friday, May 25 – Sunday, May 27

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile oval

Starting lineup: 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil

Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles

Firestone tire allotment: Thirty-six sets for use throughout the event.

Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #Indy500 #ThisIsMay, #IndyCar

Event website: www.ims.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2017 race winner: Takuma Sato (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda)

2018 Verizon P1 Award winner: Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet), 2:36.7818, 229.618 mph (four laps)

NBCSN Miller Lite Carb Day broadcast: Friday, May 25 (11 a.m. ET)

Kevin Lee will anchor NBCSN’s coverage of Indianapolis 500 final practice, the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race and TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition. Robin Miller, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will serve as analysts with Katie Hargitt, Jon Beekhuis and Marty Snider as pit reporters.

ABC race broadcast: Sunday, May 28 (11 a.m. ET)

Allen Bestwick is the lead announcer for ESPN on ABC broadcasts for the third consecutive year alongside analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. Rick DeBruhl, Dr. Jerry Punch and Jon Beekhuis are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn and Donald Davidson. Nick Yeoman (Turn 2), Jake Query (Turn 3) and Chris Denari (Turn 4) are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden, Ryan Myreh and Michael Young on pit lane. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 219, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. The Verizon IndyCar Series final practice session on May 25 is available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, May 25

11 a.m.-noon – Indianapolis 500 final practice

1:30 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition

Sunday, May 27

11:38 a.m. – Driver Introductions

12:14 p.m. – Command to Start Engines

12:21 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (200 laps/500 miles), ABC (live at 11 a.m.)

Race notes:

* The Indianapolis 500 will be the 102nd 500-mile Indy car race conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s oval. Ray Harroun won the inaugural race in 1911. Takuma Sato won the race in 2017 to become the first Japanese winner.

* Six drivers entered have won the Indianapolis 500. Helio Castroneves has won the race three times (2001, 2002 and 2009) while Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Alexander Rossi (2016) and Takuma Sato (2017) are the other former winners entered.

* There have been four different winners in five Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018. Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), Alexander Rossi (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (ISM Raceway and Barber Motorsports Park) and Will Power (IMS road course) have won races in 2018.

* Ed Carpenter became the sixth difference pole winner of 2018 by winning the Verizon P1 Award for the Indianapolis 500. Carpenter won his third Indianapolis 500 pole, all since 2013.

* Tony Kanaan has finished in the top four in four of the last seven Indianapolis 500s, including his win in 2013.

* Four drivers will race Verizon IndyCar Series cars on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for the first time: Zachary Claman De Melo, Kyle Kaiser, Matheus Leist and Robert Wickens.

* Twenty drivers have won the race from the pole – most recently Castroneves in 2009.

* Team Penske has 16 wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most of any team. Andretti Autosport has five wins while Chip Ganassi Racing has won four times. A.J. Foyt Enterprises has won twice.

* Two drivers have a chance to become the first to win on both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the famed 2.5-mile oval: Simon Pagenaud and Will Power have road course wins.

* Danica Patrick is the only female driver in the field. It marks the 19th consecutive Indy 500 that a woman has qualified for the race.

* Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 289th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 229 consecutive starts heading into the weekend which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing.

 

Indiana native Jon McLaughlin to sing ‘God Bless America’ at Indy 500′

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS MEDIA RELATIONS/COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – Indiana-born singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin will sing “God Bless America” during pre-race ceremonies for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27, a patriotic tradition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The multi-talented McLaughlin, a native of Anderson, Indiana, has thrilled fans with his soulful pop vocals and piano playing since his self-titled debut record in 2004.

“It’s such an honor for me to sing at the Indy 500 again,” McLaughlin said. “There is absolutely nothing else like it!”

McLaughlin has released six full-lengths albums since his debut: “Indiana” in 2007, “OK Now” in 2008, “Forever if Ever” in 2011, “Promising Promises” in 2012, “Holding My Breath” in 2013 and “Like Us” in 2015.

He stepped into the international spotlight by performing his song “So Close” in the Oscar-nominated Disney film “Enchanted” in 2007. The song also was nominated for an Oscar, and McLaughlin performed at the 80th Academy Awards in February 2008.

McLaughlin’s songs also have been featured in the hit TV series “Scrubs” and “A Little Thing Called Life.”

Classically trained pianist McLaughlin also has toured with Kelly Clarkson, who will sing the national anthem before the Indianapolis 500 this year, Sara Bareilles, O.A.R., Sister Hazel and Straight No Chaser, and he opened for the legendary Billy Joel at two shows in 2014.

McLaughlin’s talents as a writer and producer have attracted attention from music superstars. McLaughlin and Demi Lovato co-wrote “Every Time You Lie” and “Falling Over Me” for Lovato’s second album, “Here We Go Again.”

This will be the second time McLaughlin has performed “God Bless America” before the Indianapolis 500, as he also performed in 2013. McLaughlin also was the headline artist for the inaugural Rev gala party in 2014 at IMS to kick off the Month of May.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome Jon McLaughlin back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “His performances always strike a chord with our fans and are an important part of our salute to our great nation and its Armed Forces during pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.”

ABC will televise the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at 11 a.m. (ET) Sunday, May 27. The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network also will telecast the race live.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27, and for more information on the complete Month or May schedule at IMS.

 

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