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Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive StarCom Racing’s No. 00 in Daytona 500

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An Earnhardt will be in the 60th Daytona 500 after all.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. and son of Kerry Earnhardt, will stretch the family’s streak of competing in the “Great American Race” to 40 years.

The 28-year-old will drive StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet in the Feb. 18 race and the rest of the season, the team announced Tuesday.

The team announced last week that it was leasing a charter from Richard Childress Racing, ensuring the No. 00 a starting spot in all 36 Cup points races.

Earnhardt will be sponsored by VRX Simulators in the race.

“I am so appreciative of everyone at StarCom Racing and VRX for having confidence in me and making this a reality,” Earnhardt said in a team release. “There’s been an Earnhardt driving in the 500 for 39 years so to be able to keep that streak going for a 40th year means a lot to me and I’m sure a lot of Earnhardt fans are going to be happy to hear this news.”

In 2017, Earnhardt drove the No. 33 Chevrolet for Circle Sport with The Motorsports Group. But the two entities split in December and Earnhardt lost his ride.

Derrike Cope, the 1990 Daytona 500 winner, is the team manager for StarCom Racing.

“It was imperative for our young team to have a sponsored driver for our start-up year, and we did have several options,” Cope said in the press release. “We felt that Jeffrey was the best fit for our team and VRX has already shown the type of enthusiasm and commitment that SCR has both for Jeffrey and for the sport. It will be a very exciting year for us.”

Earnhardt has 58 Cup starts since 2015. Last season, he made his first start in the Daytona 500, starting 32nd and finishing 26th. It was the last Daytona 500 start for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who retired from Cup competition following the season.

The family’s history in the Daytona 500 began in 1979 when Earnhardt Sr. made his first start and led his first laps in the race. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his only victory in the race in 1998.

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Friday schedule at Texas Motor Speedway

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All three of NASCAR’s national series are on track today at Texas Motor Speedway, culminating with the Camping World Truck Series race.

Cup teams will have a practice session before qualifying today. Xfinity teams will have two practices today.

(All times are EASTERN)

10:30 a.m. — Truck garage opens

10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Cup garage open

12:30 – 8:30 p.m. — Xfinity garage open

1 – 2:25 p.m. — Cup practice (NBCSN)

3 – 3:45 p.m. — Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4 p.m. — Truck qualifying, single vehicle/two rounds (Fox Sports 1)

5 – 5:55 p.m. — Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

6:15 p.m. — Cup qualifying, multi-vehicle/three rounds (NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network; airs at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

7:30 p.m. — Truck driver intros

8 p.m. — JAG Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief Truck race, 147 laps/220.5 miles (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Weekend schedule for Cup, Xfinity, Trucks at Texas

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Each of NASCAR’s three national series are at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend as the season enters its final weeks.

The Camping World Truck Series races Friday night, the Xfinity Series races Saturday night and the Monster Energy Cup Series races Sunday afternoon at Texas.

Track action begins today with the Truck Series.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:

(All times are EASTERN)

THURSDAY, Nov. 2

1 – 7 p.m. — Truck garage open

3 – 3:55 p.m. — Truck practice (No TV or radio )

5 – 5:55 p.m. — Final Truck practice (No TV or radio)

FRIDAY, Nov. 3

10:30 a.m. — Truck garage opens

10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Cup garage open

12:30 – 8:30 p.m. — Xfinity garage open

1 – 2:25 p.m. — Cup practice (NBCSN)

3 – 3:45 p.m. — Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4 p.m. — Truck qualifying, single vehicle/two rounds (Fox Sports 1)

5 – 5:55 p.m. — Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

6:15 p.m. — Cup qualifying, multi-vehicle/three rounds (NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network; airs at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN)

7:30 p.m. — Truck driver intros

8 p.m. — JAG Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief Truck race, 147 laps/220.5 miles (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

SATURDAY, Nov. 4

1:30 – 10 p.m. — Cup garage open

2 p.m. — Xfinity garage opens

3 – 3:55 p.m. — Cup practice (CNBC)

5 – 5:50 p.m. — Final Cup practice (CNBC)

6:05 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle/three rounds) (CNBC)

8 p.m. — Xfinity driver intros

8:30 p.m. — O’Reilly 300 Xfinity race, 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

SUNDAY, Nov. 5

8:30 a.m. — Cup garage opens

Noon — Cup drivers meeting

1:20 p.m. — Cup driver intros

2 p.m. — AAA Texas 500 Cup race, 334 laps/501 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Darrell Wallace Jr. the start of a ‘completely different’ Richard Petty Motorsports

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There are still a lot of blanks to be filled for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2018.

It’s not known what manufacturer logo will adorn the front of its famous No. 43 car when it’s unloaded for Darrell Wallace Jr. in February at Daytona International Speedway to begin his rookie Cup season.

In a Wednesday teleconference, Petty also gave no firm answer on a possible new technical alliance for the team.

On top of that, the team is still looking for a new home to replace the 80,000 square foot shop it’s vacating at the end of the year.

“All that stuff is still up in the air,” Petty said. “We’re doing one thing at a time. We decided just to go ahead and get Bubba all signed up, get that behind us, so that we can then sit down and say, ‘Okay, what is our next best move?’ Bubba will be involved in that part of it, too, because he’s going to be a big, big part of RPM for the coming years.”

There’s “a bunch of irons in the fire” for the team co-owned by the seven-time Cup champion, but “The King” proclaimed his organization is eager for all the changes.

“When you see us at Daytona … it’s going to be a completely different RPM than what it’s been in the past,” Petty said. “We’re looking forward to that.”

It all starts with Wallace. The 24-year-old driver will become to newest full-time pilot of the No. 43, replacing Aric Almirola, who has driven it since 2012 and won the 2014 Coke Zero 400.

RPM hired Wallace based off his four-race performance as a substitute for an injured Almirola this year. Wallace joins the team after three years with Roush Fenway Racing in the Xfinity Series.

“He really impressed me,” Petty said. “After seeing him operate with our crew chief and all the guys at the shop, with the sponsors and stuff like that, we want to have a whole new look at Richard Petty Motorsports for 2018 anyway. So we said, Let’s just look at Bubba and see if we can put him in the car. … A new page in the Petty deal.”

The new page is significant not just for RPM, but for NASCAR. Wallace will be the first full-time African-American Cup driver in NASCAR’s modern era, which began in 1972. He follows the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott, Bill Lester, Willy T. Ribbs, Charlie Scott, Elias Bowie, Randy Bethea and George Wiltshire. 

But Petty, who raced against Scott, said the color of Wallace’s skin was “the least of my considerations” when determining who would inherit the number he made famous.

“We looked at the talent,” Petty said. “We looked at how we thought he handled the fans, how he handled the press, how he handled sponsor deals, all this kind of stuff. I didn’t care what color he was, where he come from, any of that.

“If you look back at the Petty history and stuff, we’ve had a driver from Brazil (Christian Fittipaldi) that drove for us for awhile, one from Mexico (Carlos Contreras) that drove (a season in the Camping World Truck Series) for us. It’s not anything different than what we’ve done before.”

Wallace also succeeds Almirola, who is of Cuban decent. From 2011-14 Marcos Ambrose, a native of Tasmania, drove the No. 9 for RPM.

Wallace will be one of the latest additions to rapidly growing youth movement in the Cup Series. He will race against drivers and friends he came up through the ranks with since before his days in the K&N Pro Series East series. He joins fellow young guns Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones and more.

“This is a sport that a lot is based on patience,” Wallace said. “Everybody has different ways of getting to the level that I can now say that I’m at. It’s pretty special to be here. … We were all 10, 11, 12 years old running against each other here at Charlotte Motor Speedway, beating and banging with each other. Now we’re at the top-level. Each and every one of us have a different story of how we’ve gotten there.

“I’m just glad to share that spotlight with them.”

Wallace is also a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which produced Larson, who is Asian-American, and Daniel Suarez, who is from Monterrey, Mexico. Suarez became the first foreign-born driver to win a national NASCAR title last year in the Xfinity Series.

“We all have special, unique talent,” Wallace said. “It comes in many different shapes and sizes and forms. Myself, Suarez come up through there, it’s pretty special to see how that has made us who we are today. I’m excited for that, excited to be racing with those guys. We’ve been doing it for a long time now, but now we can all say we’re at the Cup level.”

Wallace’s place in the youth movement and the evolution of the sport was a prominent factor for Petty in giving him the keys to the company car when the company has a lot of question marks with its future.

“It’s ready for a change,” Petty said of NASCAR’s current landscape. “We wanted to be involved in that part of it, felt like that Bubba was going to be our best bet to be right up to the cutting edge of what’s going on.”

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Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Chicagoland Speedway

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All three of NASCAR’s national series will be racing this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

While the Cup Series begins its playoffs, both the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series end their regular seasons at the 1.5-mile track.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Tale of the Turtles 400

There are 39 cars entered into the race.

Brett Moffitt will drive the No. 83 for BK Racing. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 23 for BK Racing.

Gray Gaulding will drive the No. 55 for Premium Motorsports.

Last year Martin Truex Jr. opened the playoffs with a win after a two-lap shootout to end the race. Truex beat Joey Logano and Chase Elliott to the checkered flag.

Click here for the full entry list.

Xfinity – Chicagoland 300

There are 40 cars entered into the race.

Six Cup regulars are entered into the race: Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Austin Dillon.

Darrell Wallace Jr. will drive the No. 98 Ford in his first Xfinity start since June at Pocono.

The No. 96 of Ben Kennedy has been withdrawn from the event by GMS Racing.

There is no driver attached yet to the No. 78 for BJ McLeod Motorsports.

Last year Jones led the final nine laps to score a win over Larson and Elliott Sadler.

Click here for the full entry list.

Truck – Chicagoland 225

There are 30 trucks entered into the race.

Drivers are not attached to the No. 0 owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb and the No. 36 owned by MB Motorsports.

Last year Kyle Busch won after leading 95 of 151 laps. He beat Daniel Hemric and Cameron Hayley.

Click here for the full entry list.