Raphael Lessard Joins KBM’s Super Late Model Program

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that 16-year-old Canadian driver Raphael Lessard will pilot the team’s No. 51 Super Late Model in 18 events during the 2018 season. Lessard will make his KBM debut Sunday Jan. 28 in the ARCA/CRA Super Series SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga.

Lessard is scheduled to compete for the CARS Super Late Model Tour championship and will also compete in several high-profile Super Late Model events this year, including The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston, Ala., the North South Super Late Model Challenge and the All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., the U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

The Quebec native captured the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour championship after recording four wins, one pole, 157 laps led, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes across 10 races. He also finished inside the top-10 in three premiere events that year; the All-American 400, the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby. In 2017, Lessard added his fifth career CARS Tour win while competing in a limited schedule, captured the pole and won the shootout race for the inaugural U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol and posted an average finish of 11.5 in two ARCA Racing Series starts.

“Raphael has put himself on the map in the Super Late Model world the last few years and we’re excited to see what he can do behind the wheel of our No. 51 Toyota in 2018,” Kyle Busch said. “To be able to win races at such a young age while also learning a new language and how to communicate with his team is pretty remarkable, so we’re confident that he’s only going to get better as he continues to mature both on and off the track.”

“I’m really excited to join Kyle Busch Motorsports for the next step in the development of my career and looking forward to the opportunity to learn from Kyle and everyone involved in the Super Late Model program,” said Lessard.  “I want to thank Toyota Racing Development, my parents and all of the partners that believed in me and made this possible.”


Hitachi Group Continues Partnership With Team Penske

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske and Hitachi Group today announced an extension of their partnership for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

After a productive five-year relationship working with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske, the familiar Hitachi branding will transition to the No. 1 Dallara/Chevrolet of reigning INDYCAR champion Josef Newgarden for eight races in the 2018 season.

Additionally, Hitachi will continue as an associate sponsor on Team Penske’s other Verizon IndyCar Series entries – the Dallara/Chevrolets driven by Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion and Will Power, the 2014 title winner, along with a return to Castroneves’ No. 3 car for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

“Our partnership with Hitachi continues to deliver for both organizations across a wide variety of business platforms,” said Roger Penske. “Hitachi is deeply involved in our on-track performance as they continue to collaborate with Chevrolet on its winning INDYCAR engine program. Away from the race track, our relationship continues to reach new heights with shared success through various automotive and technology projects, along with joint marketing and promotional initiatives. We are excited to build on this success in 2018.”

Hitachi and Team Penske began their partnership in 2012 and it has evolved into one of the successful pairings in the INDYCAR paddock. The industry leaders have aligned for race wins, podium finishes and pole positions and the future is bright with Newgarden, one of the fastest rising stars in motorsports.

“Over the course of my first season with Team Penske, I was able to witness this great partnership firsthand,” said Newgarden, who earned four wins, one pole and nine podium finishes en route to his first series championship in 2017. “I look forward to working with all of the Hitachi employees and partners as we try and build on the tremendous framework of success already in place.”

The activation strategy around the Hitachi Team Penske partnership includes event marketing and execution at key automotive events and industry shows across the globe, to go along with unique at-track experiences and creative social media integration with Hitachi and its partners.

“The sponsorship with Team Penske continues to provide the Hitachi Group with a tremendous opportunity to leverage the success of a great IndyCar racing team, as well as to partner with a global leader in transportation and logistics – Penske Corporation,” said Toshiaki Higashihara, President & CEO, Hitachi, Ltd. “Since 2012, Hitachi has been able to leverage its technology and applications experience, along with data analytics expertise to help Penske build a successful racing team and also optimize other aspects of their business.” “Partnering with Penske puts Hitachi in a strong position to continue to build our global brand around Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business,” he continued.

“We are very excited to continue our partnership with Team Penske in 2018,” said Hideaki Seki, President & CEO for Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd., . “Finishing in four of the top five positions in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series final standings and earning a 15th series championship illustrates Team Penske’s commitment to excellence. Hitachi shares the same drive and determination to be the best.”

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season begins on the Streets of St. Petersburg in Florida on Sunday, March 11.

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society’s challenges. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2016 (ended March 31, 2017) totaled 9,162.2 billion yen ($81.8 billion). The Hitachi Group is a global leader in Social Innovation and has approximately 304,000 employees worldwide. Through collaborative creation, Hitachi is providing solutions to customers in a broad range of sectors, including Power / Energy, Industry / Distribution / Water, Urban Development, and Finance / Government & Public / Healthcare. For more information, please visit http://www.hitachi.com.

About Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.

Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company is engaged in the development, manufacture, sales and services of automotive components, transportation related components, industrial machines and systems, and offers a wide range of automotive systems including engine management systems, electric power train systems, drive control systems and car information systems. For more information, please visit the company’s website athttp://www.hitachi-automotive.co.jp/en/.

About Team Penske

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 470 major race wins, over 540 pole positions and 32 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 52-year history, the team has also earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. For 2018, Team Penske will compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske. For more information about Team Penske, please visit www.teampenske.com.


Christopher Bell Goes Back-To-Back At The 2018 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals!

Christopher Bell
Kyle Larson had hoped for another epic battle night with Christopher Bell, about seven weeks after they thrilled fans at “Turkey Night” in California, where Bell beat Larson in a major midget-car race.

The stage was set Saturday night as they traded the lead at the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, but a blown engine in Larson’s car with 13 laps remaining ended that drama, and Bell sped to his second consecutive Chili Bowl crown at the Tulsa Expo Center.

Larson and Bell had appeared to be the class of the field during the week of qualifiers, and they had a spirited match race in which Larson shoved Bell to capture the pole for the 55-lap event on the quarter-mile clay oval.

Larson was seeking that elusive Chili Bowl title, an annual event typically with more than 300 entries. Larson was fifth in 2016 and third in 2012.

“That’s the most disappointing thing about this year’s Chili Bowl is I wanted to race it out,” Bell said. “I felt like it was going to be a really good show for the fans and it was going to be a lot of fun for us. … Winning the Chili Bowl with 300-something cars is always going to be special.

“But, man, I’m disappointed. That’s the right word. I feel like Kyle got robbed, I got robbed and the fans got robbed.”

Larson, obviously, was more disappointed, especially after losing the lead to Bell on a restart early in the race and then taking it back when Bell got caught behind a lapped car. Larson appeared destined to earn that first Chili Bowl win when his engine went up in smoke.

“That sucks,” said Larson, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver who won four NASCAR Cup races in 2017 and whose 2017 Cup title hopes were thwarted by a blown engine in the NASCAR playoffs in October. “I had a blown engine here before getting close to the lead.

“But leading … I guess I can deal with it since I’ve dealt with it now, it seems like, the last few months. Just a bummer.”

Rico Abreu, the 2015-16 Chili Bowl winner, was second and 2017 U.S. Auto Club Midget national champion Spencer Bayston finished third. All of the top three drivers (and Larson) drove cars prepared by car owner Keith Kunz.

“Anyone can win this race — it’s just about having that perfect night and minimizing their mistakes, which Kyle and Christopher are really good at,” Abreu said. “That’s what makes them the class of the field.”

Bell, who won the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, will compete in a full-time Xfinity Series ride for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018. He could face Larson in stock cars when Larson runs in the Xfinity Series. Bell is looking forward to more battles with Larson in the midget cars, but he doesn’t know when their schedules will put them in the same event.

“At Turkey Night, we raced our butts off and I won, and here tonight, he had a motor blow up? His turn is coming,” Bell said.

Bell and Larson were the only two current NASCAR drivers in the main event. Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Justin AllgaierJ.J. Yeley and Chase Briscoe failed to advance to the feature event. Stenhouse flipped in his heat race but was OK.

“Somebody hung a right and I was on the outside,” Stenhouse said. “It’s been a while since I flipped one. I forgot how it feels. It’s definitely not the easiest feeling you have.”

Could this Chili Bowl win for Bell be an omen?  Last year the Norman, OK native won the 2017 Chili Bowl and then went on to win the CWTS championship, could that be a prelude to him winning the 2018 NXS championship?  Stay tuned race fans!


Safeflite AutoGlass Joins Kyle Busch Motorsports And Noah Gragson For 2018

Noah Gragson

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that Noah Gragson will return to the No. 18 Tundra for the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season with primary sponsorship for all 23 races from Safelite AutoGlass®. The nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services will also serve as an associate sponsor on Harrison Burton’s No. 51 Tundra for his nine races at KBM this season.

Gragson finished 10th in the Truck Series championship standings after collecting one win, three poles, 187 laps led, four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in his rookie campaign last year. The 19-year-old earned his first NCWTS victory last October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway outdueling series veterans Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton in the closing laps. The Las Vegas native also competed in three events for KBM’s Super Late Model team in 2017, highlighted by his triumph in the prestigious ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in October.

The NASCAR Next alum cut his racing teeth on the same grounds as KBM owner Kyle Busch, getting his start at the age of 13 in the Bandoleros division at the Bullring – a 0.375-mile paved oval at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. After finding success in the Bandoleros, Gragson moved up to the Legends division in 2014 where he won the Young Lion Road Course championship and also began racing in the Super Late Model division at the Nevada track.

Gragson graduated to the K&N Pro Series West as a 16-year-old in 2015 and visited victory lane at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway in just his third start. He went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors after producing two wins, one pole, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts, while finishing second in the championship standings. In 2016, he collected a combined four wins, 12 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes across 27 starts, while finishing in the top-five in the championship standings of both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and Pro Series West divisions.

Burton, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeff Burton, made his Truck Series debut with KBM at Martinsville in October of 2016 and enters 2018 with seven NCWTS starts under his belt. In six NCWTS starts in 2017, he recorded an average finish of 12.3 and earned a career-best fourth-place finish at Martinsville last October in his final start of the season. The 17-year-old also collected five victories en route to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship last year.

“We’re honored that Safelite AutoGlass has chosen to partner with KBM for the 2018 season and we look forward to hosting all of their employees and customers who come out to the track in bunches to support the program each and every race,” said Kyle Busch. “Both Noah and Harrison are talented on the track and have great personalities off the track, so they will be great representatives for Safelite.

Noah showed continuous improvement in 2017 winning a couple of poles in the first half of the season, and in the second half of the season putting whole races together. He was able to showcase his potential late in the year winning in the Super Late Model at Winchester and followed that up with a Truck Series victory at Martinsville a few weeks later. His progress was similar to Christopher’s (Bell) at the end of 2016, and we’re confident now that Noah has a year of experience in the trucks under his belt, he will be able to win more races and compete for a championship this year. Harrison also made great strides during his six-race schedule in 2017 and we look forward to being a part of his continued development as he returns for an expanded part-time schedule at KBM in 2018.”

“This year is already off to a great start knowing that I’ll be back at Kyle Busch Motorsports to compete for a Truck Series championship in 2018 with Safelite as the primary sponsor on my No. 18 Tundra,” Gragson said. “Having Kyle as a mentor and the technology that Toyota and TRD have in place for young drivers allowed me to learn a lot in my first full-time season in trucks, and I know that I’m better prepared to start 2018 off strong. I was able to get my first taste of victory late last year and it was special. This year I plan on climbing more fences and celebrating more wins with everyone at Safelite.”

“Our associates have a passion for NASCAR and are huge fans of our partnership with Toyota, and the developmental driver program,” Garth Beck, Safelite AutoGlass vice president of retail field operations, West said. “We look forward to this year’s season and working with KBM. It’s going to be a great opportunity for continued learning with a lot of excitement along the way.”

Dan Loyal, Safelite AutoGlass vice president of retail field operations, East agrees. “This year marks our third as a sponsor, and we work very hard to maximize the tremendous benefits of our partnership. There’s no doubt our brand nicely aligns with NASCAR, and the complexity of racing, along with the commitment to the sport is what makes our partnership with both Toyota and KBM so rewarding.”


About Safelite AutoGlass®


With more than 7,800 MobileGlassShops™ and stores in all 50 states, Safelite AutoGlass®- is the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services. Last year 6 million customers chose Safelite AutoGlass for its 24/7 national contact centers, advanced online scheduling, superior repair and replacement systems, and the industry’s only nationwide lifetime guarantee.

Safelite AutoGlass is a member of the Safelite® Group family of brands, which together, make a difference in the lives of 10 million customers annually. This leading service organization, founded in 1947, is reaching record-growth thanks to its People Powered, Customer Driven strategy. The Columbus, Ohio-based company employs nearly 14,000 people across the United States.

About Kyle Busch Motorsports:

Since debuting in 2010, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has quickly established itself as one of the most successful teams in all of NASCAR. Owned by 2015 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and fueled by his passion for winning, the organization holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (65) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).

KBM prepares a fleet of race-winning Toyotas out of its state-of-the art 77,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville, N.C. Fans can stay up-to-date with all the latest KBM news online at www.KyleBuschMotorsports.com, by liking the team on Facebook (KBMteam) and by following the team on Instagram (KBMteam), Snapchat (KBMteam) and Twitter (@KBMteam).


Gallagher Motorsports Adds Dalton Sargeant To Their Driver Stable

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With the start of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season being only 35 days away, Gallagher Motorsports Racing officials are proud to announce the addition of Dalton Sargeant to their driver lineup. Competing for Rookie of the Year honors this season, Sargeant will be the driver of the No. 25 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado.

Sargeant will move to the NCWTS full time after successful seasons competing in the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The 19-year-old most recently recorded four wins, one pole award, 20 top-five finishes, 2016 ARCA Rookie of the Year honors, and a second-place finish in the 2017 ARCA Series championship standings. Sargeant also has 18 K&N Pro Series starts across both the West and East Series with one win, two pole awards, 10 top-five finishes and was selected to the 2015 NASCAR Next Class. Heading into the 2018 season, Sargeant has six previous NCWTS starts under his belt with two top-10 finishes, including a 10th-place finish in his debut at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I’m really excited to be joining a championship-caliber team in GMS Racing for the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season,” said Sargeant. “Mike Beam and everyone at GMS Racing has put so much effort into this No. 25 team during the off-season and I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. GMS Racing has put together an all-star team of people and equipment, plus had faith in me to drive and compete for wins. I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish in 2018. It’s always been a dream and a goal to compete at this level in NASCAR. I left a career and a life in Europe to compete against the best in NASCAR and today is that day. We have a full slate of things coming up as a team and I know we’re all really looking forward to getting on the track and beginning the season.”

Although Sargeant will be competing as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in 2018, the No. 25 Chevrolet Silverado will be led by a veteran crew chief. Doug Randolph joined GMS Racing in the off-season, bringing 17 years of experience as a crew chief across all three of NASCAR’s top three series. Randolph has worked with both Dave and Ryan Blaney, Sterling Marlin, Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Scott Riggs and Jimmy Spencer. Randolph has 11 wins, 75 top-five and 149 top-10 finishes, including eleven pole awards as a crew chief in NASCAR competition.

“I can’t thank Mike Beam and GMS Racing enough for the opportunity to lead this race team in 2018,” said Doug Randolph. “I met Mike on my first job in racing as a mechanic for Junior Johnson’s team in 1982. We’ve worked together many times throughout our careers and have stayed friends along the way. He and Maury Gallagher have certainly given us all the resources we need to win races and championships. I’ve watched Dalton progress in his career for a while now. He’s been impressive and won in everything he’s driven, against tough competition for years. I’ve taken a lot of pride into developing drivers over the years, and the opportunity to work with Dalton at a race team like GMS Racing is something that I’m excited to be a part of.”

Additional information for Dalton Sargeant and the No. 25 GMS Racing team will be announced at a later date.


Textron Aviation Returns To Kyle Busch Motorsports

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that owner-driver Kyle Busch will compete in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2018. Busch’s Tundra will carry primary sponsorship from Textron Aviation, an aircraft industry leader that provides its customers with the most versatile and comprehensive general aviation product portfolio in the world. He will race twice behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra and three times in the No. 51 Tundra. KBM will promote Textron Aviation’s Cessna and Beechcraft brands through the partnership.

Busch enters the 2018 season second on the Truck Series all-time win list with 49 and is two wins shy of moving into a tie for first. The Las Vegas native has been victorious in a remarkable 35 percent (49/140) of his starts since debuting in NASCAR’s third division in 2001 and has finished first or second 52.1 (73/140) percent of the time. ‘Rowdy’ collected three wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes across seven Truck Series starts in 2017. With 182 all-time combined NASCAR national series wins, he ranks second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty (200).

“Our partnership with Textron Aviation and the Cessna and Beechcraft brands got off to a great start last year with two trips to victory lane and we have our sights set higher this year,” Busch said. “There are a couple of really cool things happening with my truck schedule this year — two of my races will be in the No. 4 Tundra, which was the number on my first Legends car back at the Bullring, and I’ll also be racing a truck at Las Vegas for the first time since 2001. It’s always fun to race in my hometown and it’s the only active track on the Truck Series schedule where I’ve made a start and haven’t visited victory lane — so hopefully we can change that in March.”

Busch will make his 2018 Truck Series debut Feb. 24 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra and will also race for the No. 4 team May 11 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. His three races for the No. 51 Tundra team will be March 2 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and July 28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.


Rette Jones Racing Announces Its 2018 Driver Stable

Image result for grant quinlan

Heading to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open test at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this weekend in preparation for next month’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) third year of competition is shaping up to be their best season yet.

Led by ARCA championship winning crew chief Mark Rette, RJR heads to the “World Center of Racing” bringing back a blast from the past, while strengthening their relationship with a familiar face.

19-year-old Grant Quinlan returns to RJR to test the team’s No. 30 Ford Fusion in this weekend’s two-day test.

The Maidstone, Ontario native will pair with Wallkill, New York’s Tyler Dippel who will return to the Mooresville, N.C.-based team for an increased schedule this season.

Quinlan has made six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts with RJR, including his most recent race at New Jersey Motorsports Park this past September where the Canadian delivered a solid eighth place finish. He is also a veteran of the ARCA / CRA Late Model Series.

“I’m very excited about testing an ARCA car at Daytona,” said Quinlan. “Rette Jones Racing has a very strong superspeedway program and I’m looking forward to having a successful test with Mark and learning the ropes with my teammate Tyler (Dippel) alongside.

“Hopefully, everything pans out and were able to come back and compete in the season-opener in February. That would be a dream come true.”

Image result for tyler dippel

Dippel, 17, will continue his foray into ARCA competition with an intense superspeedway test in the new superspeedway composite body No. 30a Ford Fusion. Dippel, a NASCAR Next alumnus competed his first full K&N Pro Series East season with RJR which was highlighted by a third-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway to end the year.

Despite missing one race to compete in the ARCA dirt race at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, the New Yorker finished the season in the top-10 in the series’ standings.

The avid dirt competitor also made three ARCA Racing Series starts in 2017 spotlighted by a stout third-place finish on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds after starting 12th.

“I’ve always dreamed of competing at Daytona and thanks to Mark and the guys at Rette Jones Racing, I’ll have that opportunity to test this weekend,” said Dippel.

“The test will be a good experience where hopefully in 2019 when I’m 18, I’ll be able to race at Daytona and kick off the year on a high note. This weekend though will be one I won’t forget.”

Rette is proud of his team’s ability to flourish some of the young upcoming talents in Motorsports through RJR.

“After our second-place finish last February at Daytona, we’ve had it circled on our calendar for 2018,” explained Rette. “It’s great to have Grant back with the team and look forward to seeing him around a little more this season, while also having the opportunity to build on our relationship with Tyler (Dippel).

“We were really finding that momentum and chemistry towards the end of the season and I’m thrilled to know that our relationship will continue in 2018.”

Rette Jones Racing will announce Dippel’s 2018 schedule lineup in the coming weeks.

The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at the team’s Facebook page, while also active on Twitter @RetteJones30.

For more information on Tyler Dippel, please check out TylerDippel.com, his Facebook page (Tyler Dippel Racing) or on Instagram @tylerdippel.

Dippel tweets too. Follow him @Tyler_Dippel.

Quinlan also tweets. Follow him @GQuinlan28.

About Rette Jones Racing:

Headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) was founded in 2015 with the intent of building a successful racing operation built around the fundamentals of hard work and a never give up attitude.

Owned by racers Terry Jones and Mark Rette, RJR will field cars in 2018 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE), the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).


Robby Benton Joins Team Penske As Team Manager

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Motorsports industry veteran Robby Benton will join Team Penske in 2018, serving as NASCAR Team Manager, the organization announced today.  Benton, who has spent time as a driver and owner in a number of different series from NASCAR to IMSA, will report to Competition Director Travis Geisler

Benton will help handle various administrative and competition-related duties for both the team’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) as well as the team’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).  Team Penske will field four full-time NASCAR programs in 2018 with the addition of the No. 12 Ford Fusion and driver Ryan Blaney to its Cup program.

“I’m very happy to join an operation like Team Penske,” said Benton. “Anyone that is involved in this sport has a tremendous amount of respect for Roger Penske. He has a world class operation and expects nothing but the best from his people, and that shows on and off the track. I’ve emulated many of Team Penske’s values through my own programs, so it’s especially meaningful to now be a part of this team. I’m honored to receive this opportunity and I hope I can help the organization continue moving forward as they continue to expand their NASCAR operations.”

Following his time as a driver, Benton transitioned to become a team owner in many different racing series. Most recently, Benton was an owner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Over the years, Benton’s teams scored victories in NXS and IMSA.

“Robby has been racing most of his life and we are really fortunate to be in a position to add someone with his experience to our organization,” said Team Penske President Tim Cindric.  “As we continue to expand our NASCAR programs, he will bring a wealth of knowledge to add more depth to our management team.”

The 2018 MENCS regular season begins with the 60th anniversary running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on Sunday, February 18.


“Young Money” Wins The Opening Night Race At The 2018 Chili Bowl

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Kyle Larson went back to victory lane on the opening night of the Chili Bowl Nationals.

The NASCAR star drove to a commanding victory in Tuesday night’s opening night of the Super Bowl of Midget Racing. The win automatically advanced Larson into the 55-lap Saturday night main event at the Tulsa Expo Center.

Also advancing to the main event was Brad Sweet, a World of Outlaws Sprint car regular and the brother of Larson’s fiancée, as well as Tyler Courtney. The top three finishers each night earn automatic berths into the main event. All three drivers were in Toyotas, and Larson won his fourth preliminary feature win at the Chili Bowl — tying him with the late Bryan Clauson.


Harrison Burton Returns To KBM In 2018

Harrion Burton

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that Harrison Burton will return to the organization in 2018 with an expanded NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule. Burton will drive the No. 51 Tundra in nine NCWTS races this season, beginning March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Burton, the son of former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, made his Truck Series debut with KBM at Martinsville in October of 2016 and enters 2018 with seven NCWTS starts under his belt. In six NCWTS starts in 2017, he recorded an average finish of 12.3 and earned a career-best fourth-place finish at Martinsville last October in his final start of the season.

Last year was a breakout year for the second-generation driver as he gained valuable experience while competing in a variety of series. He captured the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship after registering a series-high five wins, two poles, 142 laps led, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 3.3 across the series’ 14 events. Burton also visited victory lane in his lone ARCA Racing Series start at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.

In Super Late Models, he visited victory lane twice en route to the championship in 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, outdueled Cup Series driver Erik Jones for the victory in the prestigious ARCA/CRA Super Late Model SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga., and won his lone CARS Super Late Model Tour start at Concord (N.C.) Speedway.

“Harrison made great strides as a driver in 2017 and we look forward to being a part of his continued development by expanding his schedule at KBM in 2018,” Kyle Busch said. “He proved capable of winning races in a variety of series last year and with each Truck Series start you could see his confidence grow and his performance improve. We’re confident that his first Truck Series win is just around the corner.”

“Returning to KBM and knowing that they had the confidence in me to add races to my schedule for this year is a huge honor,” Burton said. “KBM has a developed a culture of winning races and I’m confident that everything I learned throughout my six-race schedule last year has helped me be prepared to carry on the winning tradition this year.”

The NASCAR Next product’s nine-race NCWTS schedule in 2018 will include both races at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway as well as Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Iowa Speedway in Newton, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., the November race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Announcements on Burton’s sponsors and crew chief are forthcoming.