BK Racing

Photo: Richard Petty Motorsports

Silly Season Scorecard: Holiday edition

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Richard Petty Motorsports’ announcement Friday that it will switch to Chevrolet and partner with Richard Childress Racing in 2018 will help make it a good holiday season for both organizations.

The move continued what has been a long and eventful Silly Season in Cup. And it’s not finished with still some rides remaining.

Here’s a look at where Silly Season stands about two months before cars are back on track at Daytona International Speedway.

ANNOUNCED RIDES FOR 2018

Ray Black Jr. joins Rick Ware Racing and will drive the No. 51 car (announcement made Nov. 22)

Aric Almirola joins Stewart-Haas Racing and will drive the No. 10 car (announcement made Nov. 8)

Darrell Wallace Jr. joins Richard Petty Motorsports and will drive the No. 43 car (announcement made Oct. 25)

Jeffrey Earnhardt returns to the No. 33 car at Circle Sport Racing (announcement made Oct. 15)

Kasey Kahne joins Leavine Family Racing and will drive the No. 95 car. (announcement made Sept. 19)

Ty Dillon signs a multi-year contract to remain at Germain Racing and drive the No. 13 car. Sponsor Geico also extends its deal with the team (announcement made Sept. 5)

Chris Buescher signs a multi-year contract to remain at JTG Daugherty and drive the No. 37 car. (announcement made Aug. 18)

Matt DiBenedetto remains with Go Fas Racing in the team’s No. 32 car (announcement made Aug. 12)

William Byron will drive the No. 24 at Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kasey Kahne (announcement made Aug. 9)

Paul Menard moves to Wood Brothers Racing to drive the No. 21 car (announcement made July 26)

Ryan Blaney moves to Team Penske to drive the No. 12 car and signs a multi-year contract extension (announcement made July 26)

Brad Keselowski agrees to contract extension to drive the No. 2 car for Team Penske (announcement made July 25

Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. (announcement made July 20)

Erik Jones will drive the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing, replacing Matt Kenseth (announcement made July 11)

OPEN/POSSIBLY OPEN RIDES

— Nos. 23 & 83: BK Racing has not announced plans for its cars for 2018.

— No. 27: Richard Childress Racing has not announced plans for this car for 2018.

— No. 34: Front Row Motorsports informed Landon Cassill on Oct. 9 that he would not be returning to the team next season. The team has not announced its driver lineup for next season. 

— No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing declined to pick up the option on Kurt Busch’s contract for next year on Aug. 1. Even so, the team tweeted that it expected Busch back with sponsor Monster Energy for next year. Busch said Nov. 29, a day before the Cup Awards in Las Vegas, that he is not too worried about his situation and expects to be with the team. “I think that my best chance to win races and to win championships is to be with Stewart-Haas Racing,’’ he said.

— No. 77: Furniture Row Racing sold the charter to this team. This car will not compete in 2018.

AVAILABLE DRIVERS

Matt Kenseth: Out of the No. 20 after this season. He does not have plans for 2018.

Kurt Busch: With Stewart-Haas Racing declining to pick up his option for next year, Busch is a free agent. Even with Stewart-Haas Racing’s action, there’s still a good chance Busch signs a deal to remain with the organization.

Danica Patrick: She will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing after this season. Patrick announced Nov. 17 at Homestead that she plans to drive only the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 next year before retiring. She has not completed a deal to run either race so far. 

Michael McDowellWill not return to Leavine Family Racing with Kasey Kahne joining the team next season. Has not announced 2018 plans.

Landon CassillSearching for a ride after being informed he will not be back at Front Row Motorsports. He said Oct. 10 that he did not have sponsorship to bring with him at the time.

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Investment group purchases minority ownership share of BK Racing

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The Lynch Racing Co., a division of Sport Venture Group, announced Friday that it has acquired a minority ownership share in NASCAR Cup organization BK Racing from Iowa City Capital Partners.

“We’re constantly trying to improve and I think this is a step in the right direction to do that,” BK Racing majority owner Ron Devine told NBC Sports in a phone interview. “I think it’s a welcoming transaction for us and I’m excited about it. There’s a lot of work to do between now and that green flag at Daytona, but we’re on it.”

Devine said discussions are still taking place with Lynch Racing/SVG to gauge how much involvement there will be, but added, “I’m pleased, let’s just say that.”

“We look forward to working with Ron (Devine) going forward to enhance the value of the charter(s),” Ron Konersmann, Chairman of Sport Venture Group, said in a media release.

Anthony Marlowe, owner of Iowa City Capital Partners, is selling his share of BK Racing to Lynch Racing/SVG to focus on other areas of NASCAR involvement.

“Short term, I plan on moving from owner to sponsor, perhaps even a Series partner,” Marlowe told NBC Sports. “Long term, I am open to reinvesting in the sport if the right opportunity presents itself.

“With the right strategy, I think NASCAR can re-grow its market share. It needs to find a way for teams to build franchise value. … I’ve been a fan myself for many years, proud to have been involved, I proposed to my wife at the track. We love racing.”

An investor and entrepreneur, Marlowe purchased 15 percent of Swan Racing in 2013, then acquired 49 percent of Swan’s assets as it was closing and merged them into BK Racing in April 2014 for a 10 percent share of BK Racing.

BK Racing was founded in 2012 when Devine and Wayne Press acquired Red Bull Racing. It fields two teams in the NASCAR Cup Series and holds a NASCAR charter for the No. 23 Toyota Camry and the No. 83 Toyota Camry. BK Racing holds a NASCAR charter for the No. 23, but does not have a charter for the No. 83, having sold its charter before the 2017 season.

The No. 23 finished 35th in the 2017 Cup season owners standings, while the No. 83 was the highest-finishing “open” (unchartered) car in Cup, finishing 36th in the owners standings with a rotating cast of drivers.

“Without Ron, the majority owner, and managing partner, subsidizing the team, the team wouldn’t exist,” Marlowe said. “The reality is that most teams across all of the motorsports around the world, including stock car racing, at all levels operate because of someone like Ron. Ron at this stage in his life races for a living, and is determined to make it work in NASCAR.”

Marlowe said the addition of a venture group as an investor in BKR could help take the organization to bigger heights.

“The team has been dramatically underfunded vs. other teams since before my involvement, due to limited sponsorship sales, and lack of a competitive engine program,” Marlowe said. “I think it is clear to all incoming, outgoing and existing parties that some significant changes would go a long way to ensure it continues as a viable entity.”

IRS issues tax lien against BK Racing

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The IRS issued a tax lien against BK Racing this week, the third tax lien against the organization since in less than a year.

The tax lien issued Tuesday to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office against BK Racing is for $180,794.97. The lien is for the tax period ending March 31.

The IRS tax liens filed April 25 to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office against BK Racing are for $163,925.76 (tax period ending Sept. 30, 2016) and $322,910.62 (tax period ending Dec. 31, 2016).

The three tax liens total $667,631.35.

Devine told NBC Sports that he’s been told by the IRS there will be “no more effort to collect as long as BK Racing stays current. It’s an agreement we worked out with them.

“We’re working out our  differences on the past stuff. The IRS has been nothing but great to work with. They’ve been very accommodating and we’re very pleased with that. Our relationship with them is good.”

Devine called the NBC Sports report: “irresponsible reporting.”

A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against property owned by a person or business when they neglect or fail to pay a tax debt.

Each issue is with tax form 941, which is an employer’s quarterly federal tax return. The form reports income taxes, social security tax or Medicare tax withheld from employee paychecks.

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office stated Friday that it had not received word from the IRS that the April tax liens were resolved. An official with the IRS told NBC Sports that it does not comment on specific cases. BK Racing did not return messages to NBC Sports seeking comment about the tax liens.

The latest tax lien comes in a week when multiple media reports have raised issues about the financial status of the two-car team owned by Ron Devine.

A story by Frontstretch.com detailed the deal between BK Racing and Gray Gaulding to put Gaulding in one of the team’s cars this season. Devine told the site that the team had a $2 million agreement for GGR Enterprises to pay the team for Gaulding to drive the car this season. The report stated that monthly totals of $200,000 from GGR Enterprises to BK Racing were late in March (by seven days) and April (11 days).  

Devine told the site that Gaulding owes him $560,000 in sponsorship money while owing him $1.36 million overall

Also this week, The Final Lap reported that Devine and BK Racing had defaulted on a promissory note for $2 million signed in Feb. 2013. Devine called the report “nonsense.”

A report by Kickinthetires.net in January stated that binding arbitration required BK Racing to pay $1.46 million to Race Engines Plus and that the engine company return equipment and parts to the team in a dispute that dated back to 2013.

BK Racing has Corey LaJoie in the No. 23 car and Brett Moffitt in the No. 83 car this weekend at Watkins Glen. Moffitt, the 2015 Cup Rookie of the Year, also will be in the car next weekend at Michigan.

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Brett Moffitt joins BK Racing for next two Cup Series races

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Brett Moffitt will make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series as he joins BK Racing for the next two Cup races.

Moffitt will step into the No. 83 Toyota this weekend at Watkins Glen International and at Michigan International Speedway.

The 2015 Cup Rookie of the Year, Moffitt will make his first start in the series since the 2015 finale. Moffitt enters the cockpit a week after he made his first Xfinity start of the year at Iowa Speedway, finishing 11th in the No. 96 owned by GMS Racing.

Moffitt began his year by competing in five Camping World Truck Series races with Red Horse Racing before the team shut down.

“I’m very excited to be back in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car for the next two weekends, and I can’t thank BK Racing and JAS Expedited Trucking enough for making it happen,” Moffitt said in a press release. “I have only raced Watkins Glen once in a K&N car, but it was a great race and I finished third. I can’t wait to race the Glen in the No. 83 Toyota Camry this weekend and Michigan next week.”

MORE: Details of BK Racing’s split with Gray Gaulding over financial dispute

Moffitt’s return to Michigan comes a year after he won his first national NASCAR race at the track, taking Red Horse Racing’s No. 11 truck to victory lane after a last-lap pass of teammate Timothy Peters.

The 24-year-old is the fourth driver to be in the No. 83 the season. Corey LaJoie has been in it for 14 races, Ryan Sieg for four and Stephen Leicht for one. Sieg withdrew from the Brickyard 400 and the No. 83 was not entered at Sonoma.

“I have been watching Brett display his ability to drive at the Cup level for many years,” said Ron Devine, Owner of BK Racing in a press release. “He is a big part of the Toyota family, and we are very excited to have him in our car for the next two races.”

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Report: Details of mid-season split between BK Racing, Gray Gaulding over financial dispute

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NASCAR Cup Series rookie Gray Gaulding has competed in 17 races this year, but 13 of them have been with BK Racing and his last four with Premium Motorsports.

The story of why the 19-year-old went from driving the No. 23 Toyota owned by Ron Devine to the No. 55 owned by Jay Robinson has been reported by Frontstretch.com.

The story is a detailed account of the he-said, he-said relationship between the driver and owner, with Gaulding claiming he wasn’t getting paid and Devine saying Gaulding defaulted on payments of a $2 million deal that had been struck with the driver’s family marketing firm, GGR Enterprises, in January.

Devine claims Gaulding owes $560,000 in sponsorship money, while owing him $1.36 million overall from the deal.

The story also details the problems other drivers – including Landon Cassill and Cole Whitt – have had with BK Racing, which was founded in 2012.

Read the full story at Frontstretch.com