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Great Clips to end sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s team after this season


Great Clips will end its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s team at Hendrick Motorsports after this season, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Wednesday. first reported the news.

In September, it was announced that Great Clips had signed a two-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports to serve as a primary sponsor of Kahne’s team through the 2018 season.

The deal was for Great Clips to serve as a primary sponsor in 10 races annually.

Great Clips issued a statement to NBC Sports that also stated the company was ending its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s World of Outlaws team with driver Daryn Pittman.

“Great Clips will exit two of its motorsports programs at the end of 2017: NASCAR and World of Outlaws. After a nearly 20-year run in NASCAR, Great Clips will focus more of its marketing efforts in new and emerging platforms.

“The Great Clips #5 will take its final turn with Kasey Kahne behind the wheel on Nov. 21 at Miami’s Homestead racetrack.

“Driver Daryn Pittman will be behind the wheel in the final World of Outlaws race for Great Clips on Nov. 4 at Concord, North Carolina.

“We’ve had a great run with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne, World of Outlaws, and Daryn Pittman,” said Steve Hockett, Great Clips President. “These racing programs provided us with a platform to expand our brand. From the early days as Kasey’s first full-time sponsor in 2003, he has represented us well on and off the track. Our decision is purely a business one made after careful study about where to pursue more new customer growth through our overall marketing mix.”

“While Great Clips involvement with NASCAR and World of Outlaws wraps up with the 2017 season, the brand will continue its presence in NHRA through 2018. Great Clips will look to grow visibility in other areas such as Monster Jam, college football, and college basketball. The brand will also expand into innovative digital spaces that align with our strategy for new customer growth.

“We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne, NASCAR, World of Outlaws, Daryn Pittman and our Great Clips racing fans for their tremendous support and loyalty over the years,” Hockett said.

Last year, Farmer’s Insurance decided that it would end its sponsorship of the team after the 2017 season. Farmer’s Insurance has been the primary sponsor of Kahne’s car in five of the first 12 points races, including the Daytona 500. Farmer’s Insurance is to be on the car for 12 races.

Great Clips has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 2012. Great Clips signed an extension in July 2013 through 2016 for the company to serve as the primary sponsor in 10 races annually. 

Kahne’s car will have Great Clips as the primary sponsor this weekend at Dover International Speedway. This will be the fourth time Great Clips has been the primary sponsor of Kahne’s car this season. Great Clips also was the primary sponsor earlier this year at Phoenix, Martinsville and Bristol.

Kahne enters this weekend 20th in the points. He has three top-10 finishes in 12 races this season. His best result is a fourth-place finish at Atlanta in March.

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NASCAR America: The challenges of Martinsville Speedway

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What Martinsville Speedway lacks in size compared to other tracks it makes up in difficulty say drivers and NASCAR America’s analysts.

Landon Cassill joined Carolyn Manno, Parker Kligerman and Jeff Burton on Thursday’s show and discussed the challenges of the half-mile paperclip track.

“It can be fun when it’s going well,’’ said Cassill, who will make his Cup season debut this weekend in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing. “That place, if you’re car is not handling well, you can end up going backwards and just by the time you’ve got some clear race track the leader is right behind you. So it can be frustration. I tend to like Martinsville.’’

Kligerman calls racing in the pack at Martinsville Speedway “the most aggressive racing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.’’

Jeff Burton said: “It’s … one of the hardest race tracks we go to period because you have to do it lap after lap after lap and it’s so easy to get, quite simply, just really, really mad at the guy you’re racing with because he’s hitting you and he’s banging on you.’’

Cup drivers have their description of the track. See what NASCAR America’s analysts and Cup drivers have to say about the track that hosts Sunday’s Cup race in the video above.

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Richard Childress Racing reinstates Xfinity crew chief Nick Harrison

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Richard Childress Racing has reinstated Nick Harrison to crew chief  of the No. 3 Xfinity team after he served a five-race suspension for a violation at Daytona International Speedway. 

Harrison’s first race back will be April 8 at Texas.

Harrison was suspended after the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon had a rear suspension violation in pre-qualifying inspection. Harrison and the team’s car chief were ejected by NASCAR after the violation. RCR imposed the suspension.

“I’m looking forward to being back with my team and winning races after my five-race suspension,” Harrison said in a statement from the team.

Brandon Thomas served as the interim crew chief while Harrison was out. Austin Dillon finished a season-best fourth for the team last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

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NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Martinsville breakdown, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and features host Carolyn Manno and Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut, and Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill from Burton’s Garage.

Among the topics today:

  •  Prepare for paint swapping, bent fenders, and bruised egos. It’s time to go short-track racing at Martinsville Speedway! Jeff, Parker and Landon will tell you what to expect this weekend at the famous half-mile. We’ll also see what it takes to succeed there, as Parker takes us for some quick laps in the NBCSN iRacing Simulator.
  • After making the switch to Stewart-Haas Racing in the offseason, Aric Almirola is off to the best start of his Cup Series career. Currently 10th in the standings, he’ll tell Marty Snider about his early season success.
  • Since finishing second at the Daytona 500, rookie driver Bubba Wallace has cooled off. Now he faces his first Cup Series start at Martinsville in the iconic No. 43 car, and he’s feeling confident — it’s where Wallace scored his first truck series win nearly five years ago. We’ll examine the struggles he might have to work through this season and also hear his reflections on his early years of racing in the latest edition of “A Driver’s Drive.”

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/ If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Weekend schedule for NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway

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NASCAR returns to its backyard this weekend after the three week West Coast swing.

The Cup and Camping World Truck Series visit Martinsville Speedway in Southern Virginia.

The weekend is capped off by Sunday’s STP 500. It will be the first Cup race broadcast on Fox Sports 1 this year.

Here’s the full weekend schedule complete with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, March 23

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. — Truck garage opens

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. — Truck practice (No TV)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. — Truck practice (Fox Sports 1)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. — Final Truck practice (FS1)

Saturday, March 24

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Cup garage open

7:30 a.m. — Truck garage opens

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

11:05 a.m. — Truck qualifying; multi-truck/three rounds (FS1)

12:15 p.m. — Truck driver-crew chief meeting

12:30 – 1:20 p.m. — Final Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

1:30 p.m. — Truck driver introductions

2 p.m. — Alpha Energy Solutions 250; 250 laps/131.5 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

5:10 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, March 25

9:30 a.m. — Cup garage opens

Noon — Driver-crew chief meeting

1:20 p.m. — Driver introductions

2 p.m. — STP 500; 500 laps/263 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)