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Dominique Van Wieringen set for Truck Series debut at Phoenix

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Dominique Van Wieringen will make her Camping World Truck Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway Friday night.

Rette Jones Racing, who Van Wieringen competed for in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year, has formed a technical alliance with Young’s Motorsports for Van Wieringen to drive the No. 02.

Van Wieringen earned five top-10 finishes in 14 starts in the K&N East Series, which was her rookie year. She finished ninth in the overall points and became the first female competitor to earn three consecutive top-five finishes in addition to being the highest leading female in the series with 140 laps led.

“I’m very humbled by this opportunity to make my Truck Series debut at Phoenix,” Van Wieringen said in a team release. “We’ve been working hard on this project since the checkered flag flew at Dover in October (for the K&N Series) and I’m excited to go to Phoenix and see what we can do.”

The No. 02 has been driven by five different drivers this season. Tyler Young, the team’s primary driver, earned a season-best sixth-place finish at Daytona in February.

Friday will be the first time Van Wieringen has competed at Phoenix.

“I know Phoenix is going to be a completely different atmosphere for me, but I’m surrounded with a lot of great people who will help me with my learning curve,” Van Wieringen said. “Mark (Rette), my Rette Jones Racing guys and of course the help from Tyler (Young) will no doubt be a huge asset for me.

“I’ve never been to Phoenix, so we just have to use practice to the best of our ability and then work on just getting faster and faster from the first practice to the final practice and then qualifying. I’m pretty sure we’re locked into the race – and that’s a big relief, but I want to qualify on time and then just race towards a clean and respectable finish. If we can do that, it will be a great weekend in the desert.”

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Mental fatigue, endurance are biggest challenges for drivers in Coca 600 (video)

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While you’d think they’re the same thing, mental fatigue and endurance are two entirely different animals when it comes to racing in NASCAR’s longest race of the season, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Friday’s Motorsports Special on NBCSN, NASCAR on NBC analyst and former NASCAR Cup crew chief Steve Letarte explained how drivers deal with both the mental and physical strain of the grueling race. Also giving their viewpoint were Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman.

Driving around isn’t grueling you say, eh? Tell that to Brad Keselowski, who lost an incredible 16 pounds racing in a 600 a few years back.

Drivers will make sure to stay hydrated with liquids — and even snacks like candy bars to keep their energy boosted — during the course of the race.

Check out Letarte’s analysis in the videos above and below.

 

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (video)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula One’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400 lap, 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).

Roller coasters, bicycling & softball: How drivers spent their day off

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With no track activity, NASCAR Cup drivers had a free day on Friday and some were able to get out and about.

Jimmie Johnson helped organize a 69-mile bike ride Friday morning for 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, who died May 22 at age 35 from injures suffered when he was hit by a car while cycling in Italy. The 69 miles ridden were for the number Hayden raced with in his career. Among drivers who joined him were Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez.

 

Others did other activities on their day off.

Ryan Blaney went to Carowinds amusement park just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and took to periscope as he rode in the front row on the Fury 325 roller coaster, which reaches a peak height of 325 feet and then goes into an 81-degree drop.

The ride reaches speeds up to 95 mph. The coaster is North America’s longest steel coaster at 1.25 miles. The average ride time is 3 minutes, 25 seconds, and the ride crosses both the North Carolina and South Carolina border.

Brad Keselowski spent part of his team playing in the Team Penske softball game and provided proof of his hitting ability.

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Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach settlement that includes sponsorship

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Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Nature’s Bakery that will include the company serving as a sponsor for four Cup races split between Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick.

Those four races will be announced at a later date.

As part of the agreement, all lawsuits between Stewart-Haas Racing and Nature’s Bakery have been dropped.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

“It’s gratifying to see a difficult situation get resolved in a professional manner that suits all parties,” said Brett Frood, president, Stewart-Haas Racing. “Together, we worked diligently to find an equitable solution to our collective challenges.”

“I am a longtime motorsports fan and, particularly, a fan of NASCAR,” said Dave Marson, founder of Nature’s Bakery. “Our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing began with direct, open conversations and that foundation allowed us to reach this agreement.”

Other parts of the agreement were not revealed.

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