Keselowski will ‘race guts out’ at Talladega after finishing 38th at Kansas

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After wrecking and finishing 38th in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, Brad Keselowski left Kansas Speedway in 11th place in the Chase standings, 44 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson and seven points below the Chase cutoff line heading to Talladega next Sunday.

But to hear Keselowski, a four-time winner at Talladega, he’s feeling very confident that not only will he have another strong finish at NASCAR’s largest superspeedway, but that he’ll also make the cut when the Round of 12 is whittled to the Round of 8 after next Sunday’s race.

“I don’t think it is a must-win situation; I am not worried about it,” the 2012 Sprint Cup champion said. “I am going to go there and bust my butt to try to win but I don’t think it is a must win yet.

“I like Talladega. Talladega has been good to me and I am going to drive my butt off and at the end of the day I have faith that if it is meant to be, it is meant to be. We can’t get down. There is a long way to go still.”

Keselowski had a promising race going at Kansas until he slid up in front of Denny Hamlin on Lap 189, got loose and Hamlin couldn’t slow fast enough to avoid hitting the rear of Keselowski’s car.

That contact sent Keselowski’s Ford Fusion sailing left, where it made heavy contact with the concrete rumble strip at the entrance to pit road, causing extensive damage to his front end.

“I don’t know what happened,” Keselowski said. “Days like today are going to happen to anybody and everybody in the Chase. It is about the effort you have when that happens.”

Keselowski lost 29 laps while in the garage as his team worked feverishly to install a whole new front end on his race car.

Unfortunately, he got back out on the racetrack when a huge plume of smoke came out from the back of his car, signaling the end of his day once and for all.

“The guys busted their butt to get me back out,” Keselowski said. “They put on a whole new front end. There must have been some kind of damage to the engine (that caused the heavy smoke) from the spin.

“It was running fine before that. I think it is just unfortunate. I am not going to say for sure what happened to cause the spin. We will move forward. If we keep getting the effort like they did to fix this thing we will be fine.

“If my team keeps putting up this kind of effort, I don’t worry about today. We will win another race. We will win Talladega and other races and be fine. … I am proud of my guys for doing their best to recover and we will move on to Talladega and give ‘em hell.”

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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

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Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.