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Habul donates $100,000 to Nationwide Children's Hospital
A father of a boy and two girls with another baby girl on the way, Kenny Habul balances being a successful business owner, race car driver and family man. While in Ohio last Thursday afternoon, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his family visited the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) and made a $100,000 donation on behalf of everyone at his company, SunEnergy1. For more than half a century, Nationwide has partnered with NCH to provide life-saving care to children and their families. The third annual Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio was part of the company's effort to raise awareness and more than $4 million for NCH and its wide-ranging, world-class research efforts. RELATED: Drivers form lasting bond with Patient Champions In his 11th career XFINITY Series start and second of the season, Habul qualified 15th and finished 28th. Last month, Denny Hamlin drove Habul's SunEnergy1 No. 20 Toyota Camry to New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Victory Lane.
Habul causes huge collision in Mid-Ohio
During the restart with 7 to go, Kenny Habul gets jammed up, makes contact with Boris Said causing him to spin out and collect multiple cars behind him.
Red flag brought out after hard hit for Habul
The red flag is brought out at Watkins Glen International after Kenny Habul was hit hard by Ryan Reed, causing major damage.
Habul gets spun when Barrett goes off course
Kenny Habul and Carlos Contreras collide after Stanton Barrett goes off the course in the Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.
Habul collects a sign on restart
Kenny Habul hits a sign on a restart during the Johnsonville Sausage 200 Presented by Menards at Road America.
Chase Elliott's SunEnergy1 paint scheme revealed
Photo credit: Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott will have a sun-filled paint scheme later this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The look for his SunEnergy1-sponsored No. 24 Chevrolet has been unveiled and it has quite the array of colors. The car will first take to the track at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the July 2 race at the revamped facility. SunEnergy1 will also be the primary sponsor for Elliott’s races at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 7), Kansas Speedway (Oct. 16) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13). SunEnergy1 founder, CEO and part-time NASCAR driver Kenny Habul will pilot the No. 88 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Aug. 6 at Watkins Glen International . The solar energy company is on board as a sponsor for four races in each of the next three years for the Hendrick Motorsports driver. Elliott’s rookie season in the sport’s top series is off to a strong start. In addition to nabbing the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 , he has three top-10 finishes in the season’s first five races. The 20-year-old Georgia native and son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott is 16th in the point standings. RELATED: Which rookie will win first? " SHOP: Elliott fan gear
Chase Elliott gains SunEnergy1 as sponsor
As Chase Elliott climbs into the legendary No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this year, the rookie gains sponsor SunEnergy1 for four races each of the next three years. "We at SunEnergy1 are more than thrilled to be joining Hendrick Motorsports for several years," said Kenny Habul , founder and CEO of SunEnergy1. "It is a privilege to be on the No. 24 Chevrolet and support a driver like Chase Elliott , one of NASCAR's rising stars. The Hendrick Motorsports family is a symbol of excellence and integrity. There is no better fit for SunEnergy1 in the sport." In 2016, SunEnergy1 will be featured as a primary sponsor July 2 at Daytona International Speedway , Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International , Oct. 16 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway . The partnership also includes associate-level sponsorship. "SunEnergy1 is on the cutting edge of the renewable energy industry," said the 20-year-old Elliott, who was voted by fans as the NASCAR XFINITY Series' most popular driver in 2014 and 2015. "In the XFINITY Series, I raced against Kenny on the road courses. He's a great competitor, and it will be fun to build this relationship with him and SunEnergy1. I'm looking forward to having them as a partner, and our whole team is focused on making the program a success." SunEnergy1 joins primary partners NAPA auto parts (24 races), 3M (five races), Kelley Blue Book (two races) and Mountain Dew (two races) to complete Elliott's 37-race 2016 Sprint Cup schedule.
Recovering Hamlin expects to be ready at Daytona
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin said Tuesday that he's roughly 50 percent recovered from offseason knee surgery, but that the relatively lengthy healing process should not hinder his readiness for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Hamlin, 35, underwent successful surgery Nov. 30 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing basketball in early September. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who competed in the final 11 races of the season without an absence, said his recovery was still a "day by day" process. "I'm not where I want or should be right now, but I'm getting there, like every day," Hamlin said during the Joe Gibbs Racing portion of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "I went on vacation and that kind of set me back a little bit and then now I'm starting to get back in the groove of things." Hamlin said the method of surgery differed from an ACL operation he underwent on his left knee during the 2010 season. He added that while the style of surgery may make him stronger in the long run, the short-term recovery process might be more drawn out. With little more than three weeks before cars hit the track at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Hamlin said he wasn't worried about any sort of delay for the start of his season. "There's no concern about Daytona," Hamlin said. "I definitely could get in a car and do what I need to do right now. I think the challenge for me would probably be getting in the car, (that) would probably be the toughest part, but I was able to get in one at JGR last week, so I think everything will be fine. It's just once I get my range of motion back, it'll be fine. I'd say 50 percent's probably fair." Coach Joe Gibbs, Hamlin's car owner since his Sprint Cup debut in 2005, also struck a positive note. "I think it's been a lot slower coming back, but I think he feels good about it," Gibbs said. "We don't see any issues, so he should be ready to go at Daytona." The recuperation process did have an unintended side effect, halting an opportunity for Hamlin to compete in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona, the star-studded opening race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Hamlin was in line to join part-time NASCAR competitors Boris Said and Kenny Habul in the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS entry for the 24-hour sports car race Jan. 30-31. "I was closer than what Joe was willing to think I was," Hamlin said with a grin. "I think I was going to run it, I'd verbally told someone I was going to run it, but then Joe reminded me and he talked to my doctor and said that I just wasn't ready to do it. I agree with them. I needed some more time to get ready for the season, and when you have the Rolex 24 and driver changes and you've got to get in and out real fast, I just wasn't ready for that."
Drivers react to Chase Elliott's Daytona 500 pole
Chase Elliott made quite the debut in the legendary No. 24 Chevrolet on Sunday, wheeling the fastest lap in the field to earn the Daytona 500 pole award. The accomplishment makes Elliott, 20, the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500 pole. Drivers and NASCAR personnel took to Twitter to offer their congratulations to the budding star. Really proud of @TeamHendrick & @chaseelliott . #DAYTONA500 Pole to start the season. I know there r a lot of 24 fans proud also. — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) February 14, 2016 Well damn. We had a shot at the pole but congrats to @chaseelliott and the 24 gang. Focus now turns to getting a trophy in 150 on Thursday. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) February 14, 2016 Congrats to @chaseelliott on making it into the 2017 Clash. #MakeTheClashGreatAgain — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) February 14, 2016 . @LowesRacing had a solid day as did all of @TeamHendrick but... A killer day for @chaseelliott & the 24 team. #DAYTONA500 #NASCAR — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) February 14, 2016 Awesome to be locked into the #DAYTONA500 . Product of the hard work everyone does behind the scenes. Congrats @chaseelliott on P1 — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) February 14, 2016 Nice lap brotatochip! @chaseelliott — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) February 14, 2016 @TeamHendrick @chaseelliott @NAPARacing Congrats Chase! Sunenergy1 are proud to be on the 24... #bigyear . — Kenny Habul (@kennyhabul) February 14, 2016 Congrats to @TeamHendrick @chaseelliott and the 24 guys on the pole. — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) February 14, 2016
Pursuing NASCAR's triple crown intrigues Bobby Labonte
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Bobby Labonte quietly bowed out of full-time Sprint Cup Series competition at the tail end of the 2013 season. No retirement tour, no gifts. Certainly no ponies. The 2000 premier series champion has selectively dabbled in the sport since, however, with a handful of unremarkable starts at Indianapolis and the restrictor-plate tracks, knowing the pack racing may be his last remaining shot at picking up his first -- and likely final -- Cup victory in more than a decade. Labonte will run in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway , his second of a scheduled four-race slate in 2016. While not sure if this same type of deal will continue to be available to him in future years, the brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte hinted at an interestingly hush-hush opportunity that could be coming down the pipeline later on this season. "I do have a couple other possibilities I am excited about that might come to fruition later on in the year that I didn't see coming around the corner but they are opportunities that might lead to something that I have been more excited about than anything I have done in my career," Labonte said Friday at Talladega. "Racing is still a big passion of mine and I know I am not going to go do a lot of things I used to do but there are still some opportunities out there that are still up on my radar that I would like to do." But what does he have left to prove? What racing goals remain? "That is a great question, too. Winning any race. It might be a bicycle race. Racing at the Sprint Cup level has gotten so intense that if you can't do it every weekend … (Talladega) is different as we all know. Last weekend and next weekend is different than here," Labonte said. "It is one of those things that I guess I kind of want to race more in a way but I don't want to race more in some ways. I don't want to do it every weekend but I know there are different series you can do that aren’t quite as strenuous as this. "My brother told me one time after about two years of retirement, 'You know, you will have a lot more friends later that you didn't know you had.' And that is true. I am enjoying that. As far as racing goes I am enjoying it and my opportunity is only four times right now through a little bit of what I want to do and a little bit from other people." One remaining goal is obvious: becoming NASCAR's first Triple Crown winner by notching a championship at each of its three national series levels. Labonte has the two arguably tougher feats down, winning the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) title by 74 points over Kenny Wallace in 1991, then taking his first and only Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup) title by a wide, 265-point margin over Dale Earnhardt in 2000. It's a long shot, and Labonte admits that "everything has to line up right," but he's at least considered the prospect of running for a Camping World Truck Series title. He has 10 career starts in the series, with one win (2005 at Martinsville). "It is absolutely something that we have talked about and met with some people about," Labonte said. "I couldn't just make it happen by snapping my fingers and we couldn’t quite get it all lined up. I definitely had it in my mind that it was something I really wanted to do. I would still entertain that but there is also a point where if you can chase the championship that is one thing, and you can do it in a lot of ways. "When I started racing when I was little, the passion was to race and win and that is what you want to do. You want the chance to do that. We did it back then and I think the Truck Series is very appealing to me. I loved it when I did a few of them for a couple of guys and won a race and finished in the top five quite a bit. It is definitely a different level and the garage area is a lot calmer there than it is in the Sprint Cup Series and it kind of, at this point in time, is very appealing."