chase-briscoe
ARCA Racing Series

Chase Briscoe joins Brad Keselowski Racing as first member of Ford driver development program

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Chase Briscoe, the defending ARCA Racing Series champion, has joined Brad Keselowski Racing as a full-time driver in the Camping World Truck Series this season.

He joins Austin Cindric as the team’s drivers for the 2017 season.

The team announced Thursday that Briscoe, 22, is the first member of Ford’s newly founded NASCAR driver development program. BKR will be the first step of the program, which will include more teams at other levels of racing.

Teams that are part of the program will have input on driver selection, but drivers will have contracts with Ford.

“Starting this program with BKR makes sense since it has made a significant investment in its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series operation and it is reflected in its success on the track,” said Dave Pericak, global director of Ford Performance, in a press release. “As we at Ford look to develop new winning drivers for, ultimately, our Cup Series teams, the BKR model is a proven step in that ladder. We are enthusiastic about the role BKR will play in our efforts and we look forward to working very closely with the team in driver selection, engineering, and other mission critical areas.”

A formal development program comes after Pericak said last July Ford needed to have “more involvement” in securing and developing drivers.

In the Cup Series, Ford fields five drivers who are in their 20s:  Ryan Blaney (23), Trevor Bayne (25), Joey Logano (26), Landon Cassill (29) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (28). Chris Buescher (24) was with Ford-backed Front Row Motorsports last season but will drive a Chevrolet for JTG Daughtery.

In the Xfinity Series, Ford is represented by Darrell Wallace Jr. (23) and Ryan Reed (23) at Roush Fenway Racing.

Tyler Reddick (21), who drove for BKR in 2016, is now with the Chevrolet-backed Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series. Daniel Hemric (25) will drive a Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Cole Custer (18), who drove a Chevy for JR Motorsports, is now partnered with Ford and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Briscoe, a native of Mitchell, Indiana, captured the ARCA championship with Cunningham Motorsports, winning six races in the process. His only experience in NASCAR is three starts in the K&N Pro Series West in 2013.

BKR fields the No. 19 and No. 29 trucks and has competed in the Truck series since 2008. Last year,Reddick, Hemric, Austin Theriault and Cindric made starts for the team.

“This is a big day in the history of BKR,” said Keselowski in a press release. “To be recognized as a true partner to Ford and Ford Performance and what they are trying to do speaks directly to the hard work our team has put in over the last several years. It is an honor, frankly, and it is really what BKR is all about – providing young, talented drivers with championship-caliber equipment to continue to hone their craft and showcase their talents.

“We have been fortunate to have had a lot of success together with Ford across the three major NASCAR touring series and to now elevate that relationship in an official capacity is a testament to what we set out to do.”

The Truck series season begins Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

In need of a wedding singer? Call Steven Tyler

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05:  Singer Steven Tyler performs during his "Out on a Limb" tour at the Dolby Theatre on July 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA)
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA
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Steven Tyler has performed with Aerosmith in a video for ESPN back when it broadcast NASCAR races. Tyler also has performed before the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, he’s played Kurt Busch‘s wedding.

What more is left for the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer?

Tyler performed at a celebration for the marriage of Kurt and Ashley Busch earlier this month. Kurt Busch posted a photo of the evening.

That NASCAR-themed video Tyler did with Aerosmith for the 2007 season? Here it is:

Before he performed at Bristol in Aug. 2015, Tyler met Richard Petty:

Chip Ganassi Racing adds competition director

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Team owner Chip Ganassi looks on as drivers perpare on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Mark McArdle to be its competition director, a new position for the organization.

McArlde will oversee the team’s two Cup teams — Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray — and its Xfinity operation, which features Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Justin Marks and Larson.

McArdle had been with Roush Fenway Racing. He joined the team in Nov. 2014 to oversee engineering for its Cup and Xfinity programs. He previously had been director of racing operations at Richard Childress Racing, joining that organization in April 2013. He spent four years before that at Furniture Row Racing, overseeing the team’s competition department.

At Ganassi, McArdle will report to Max Jones, team manager.

Last year marked the first time in the team’s history that it had two cars make the Cup playoffs. Both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, though, failed to advance from the first round. Larson, who had one win, finished ninth in the points. McMurray, who was winless, placed 13th.

“I think everybody in the building feels like we took a good step forward last year,’’ said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re not happy with the step we took. We have more to do. So, being able to bring more of the leadership into the building that can focus on how we get there, the process that we need, we continue to bring on more people.

“I think Max feels like another person can help us make sure that everybody is focused on the right thing and we’re not wasting time and resources. Mark brings a tremendous amount of expertise to continue that growth that we’ve seen.’’

JR Motorsports to keep championship-contending tandem together

SPARTA, KY - JULY 07:  Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 OneMain Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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JR Motorsports confirmed Tuesday that crew chief Kevin Meendering will remain with Elliott Sadler this season.

Meendering and Sadler recorded three Xfinity wins last year in their first season together. Meendering also helped Sadler score a career-best 29 top-10 results and finish runner-up for the series title to Daniel Suarez.

The announcement was included in a team release about Hunt Brothers Pizza serving as the primary sponsor for Sadler’s car in two races in each of the next two seasons.

Wood Brothers give a tour of new race shop

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15:  Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images
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The Wood Brothers begin this season not only with a charter but with a new home.

The team had shared a building with JTG Daugherty in Harrisburg, North Carolina, but moved after last season to a shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. The move puts the Wood Brothers closer to Team Penske. The two organizations are aligned.

The Wood Brothers will again have Ryan Blaney as driver. The team also has a charter, leasing it from Go Fas Racing. That means the Wood Brothers team is guaranteed a starting spot in every Cup race this year, unlike last year when they did not have a charter.