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Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s to sponsor RCR in Cup, Xfinity in 2018

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Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s will sponsor Richard Childress Racing in multiple races in the Cup and Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Monday.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s merged in September 2017.

The outdoors brands will be on Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet during the 60th Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 and in several other races during the season.

Richard Childress Racing

They will also be a primary sponsor for Austin and Ty Dillon on the No. 3 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series for several races.

“Our relationship with Bass Pro Shops dates back to the mid-1990s and we’re thrilled to be able to continue it during the 2018 season,” team owner Richard Childress said in a press release. “Austin, Ty and Ryan are terrific ambassadors for the great outdoors. They are all passionate about our hunting, fishing and conservation heritage which has made this partnership thrive.

“Next season will be exciting as we welcome Cabela’s, the iconic outdoor brand acquired by Bass Pro Shops, to the RCR family.”

Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1972 by Johnny Morris, is also a primary sponsor of Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota owned by Furniture Row Racing.

The store chain will be on the hood of the No. 78 in 16 races and on the sides of it in 14 others.

Your guide to the 2018 Cup Series paint schemes

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The 2018 NASCAR Cup season is still two months away from its start with the 60th Daytona 500.

But it’s not too early to start brushing yourself up on the various Cup Series paint schemes.

Some teams haven’t made many changes to their cars (Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing), while others have completely revamped their looks (Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing).

Here’s your look at all the released paint schemes so far for next season.

This post will be updated.

Jamie McMurray

Brad Keselowski

Source: Lionel Racing

Austin Dillon

 

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

 

Kevin Harvick

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

Trevor Bayne

Roush Fenway Racing
Lionel Racing

Chase Elliott

Lionel Racing

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Denny Hamlin

Lionel Racing

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ty Dillon

Lionel Racing

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lionel Racing

Kyle Busch

Lionel Racing

Daniel Suarez

Lionel Racing

Erik Jones

Lionel Racing

Paul Menard

Lionel Racing

Joey Logano

Team Penske
Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports
Lionel Racing

Ryan Newman

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing
Richard Childress Racing

Kyle Larson

 

Chip Ganassi Racing

Darrell Wallace Jr.

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Jimmie Johnson

Martin Truex Jr.

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Lionel Racing

Alex Bowman

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William Byron’s rookie mindset: Race like you’re on borrowed time

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — In 2018, William Byron will be racing like his career is about to end.

“You just never know how long you’re going to race,” Byron told NBC Sports. “I’m going to move up to the Cup Series like it’s my last year.”

That’s the mindset the newly 20-year-old driver will have in his rookie season in the Cup Series.

“I think you gain that (mindset through) advice,” Byron said Thursday during an event for NASCAR’s national touring series champions. “Max Papis had helped me a lot in understanding the role and the person you need to be. Just how special of an opportunity this is.”

If that’s the mentality Byron’s had the last two years in NASCAR, it’s worked.

Byron is weeks removed from winning the Xfinity Series title and five years removed from the start of his career on the iRacing simulator.

In 73 days, he’ll start the biggest chapter of his career driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

The fact he’s a NASCAR champion has “not really” set in for Byron. It might finally do so when he gives his champion’s speech Saturday night at the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Awards banquet in Charlotte.

With all that going on, Byron doesn’t feel like he’s two decades old.

“I still feel really young,” Byron said. “Everything’s going to happen really fast and I feel like I’ve matured a lot this year.”

How do you measure your own maturity when you’re a college student who spends his weekends at race tracks going 180 mph as a living?

“I don’t know,” Byron admits. “I feel like compared to my peers, I obviously feel quite a bit ahead of the guys my age. But in racing, I feel really young. It’s a little bit of both. I’m surrounded by two different environments, when I’m at home it’s a lot different than when I’m racing the guys on the road. I feel like I’ve got a while, but I think I’m in the right direction and hopefully I can run hard with the Cup guys and the guys I used to watch on TV.”

Part of getting comfortable in the mindset of being a Cup driver is simply being comfortable in his car.

“I think really it involves the pouring the seat (getting his seat fitted) and everything for next year and getting all that stuff aligned,” Byron said. “Those races are really long, so you got to make sure all that stuff is really comfortable. Make sure you’re really ready for that. That’s what we’ve been working on mostly. As well as getting to know my crew chief.”

A winner of 11 NASCAR races in the last two years, Byron has been paired with Darian Grubb as his crew chief.

Grubb has 23 Cup wins as a crew chief and won the 2011 championship with Tony Stewart. But since his start as a full-time crew chief in 2007, this will be his first time working with a rookie driver.

“I think for us, it’ll be key just to start out and be consistent at the beginning of the year and kind of progress and compete for wins as the year goes,” Byron said. “I feel like if we can start out consistent, which I know Darian’s really used to having consistency, it’s going to be successful and hopefully we keep progressing each race.”

When it comes to his transition from JR Motorsports to Hendrick Motorsports, Byron is still getting used to his new home.

“I’m starting to figure out my way around the place,” Byron said. “Hopefully (I’ll) be able to know where I need to go to get all the information I need.”

He’ll have plenty of time to figure it out, even though he’ll be racing like he’s running out of it.

Kyle Busch dominated 2017 Cup pole winners with career-best total

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Martin Truex Jr. finished the 2017 Cup season with the championship and his name at the top of almost every significant stat category, including laps led, top fives, top 10s, race wins and stage wins.

But there was one stat that Truex wasn’t even close to leading the series in.

When it came to the number of poles Truex claimed in his title campaign, the No. 78 Toyota bested the field just three times in the season’s 34 qualifying sessions (out of 36 races).

It was Kyle Busch‘s eight poles, a career-best, that led the series. Joe Gibbs Racing led all teams with 12 poles.

Busch led Kevin Harvick (four), Kyle Larson (three), Truex and Brad Keselowski (two) among the 14 drivers who won at least one pole.

Busch’s previous career-high was three, twice (2013-14).

He started from the pole at Dover I, Pocono I, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Pocono II, Watkins Glen, Chicago and New Hampshire II.

Four of his poles came in a five-race stretch, including three straight at Indianapolis, Pocono II and Watkins Glen. He won twice from the pole, at Pocono II and New Hampshire II.

Harvick’s four poles (Atlanta, Texas I, Coke 600, Southern 500) are the second most in his career, following his eight in 2014 when he won the title. Sixteen of Harvick’s 21 Cup poles have come in the last five seasons. He didn’t win any from 2007-2012.

Larson’s three poles (Auto Club, Michigan I and Sonoma) brought his career total to four. His first came in 2014.

Truex’s three poles (Loudon I, Dover II and Kansas II) fell short of his career-high of five from last year. He has 15 poles in his 12 full-time seasons.

Keselowski’s two poles (Las Vegas, Michigan II) bring his career total to 14.

Two drivers, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, won their first Cup poles.

Jimmie Johnson failed to earn a pole for just the second time in his full-time career, which began in 2002.

Here’s the full list of 2017 pole winners.

Kyle Busch – Eight
Kevin Harvick – Four
Kyle Larson – Three
Martin Truex Jr. – Three
Brad Keselowski – Two
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Two
Denny Hamlin – Two
Joey Logano – Two
Matt Kenseth – Two
Ryan Blaney – Two
Chase Elliott – One
Erik Jones – One
Kurt Busch – One
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – One

Chevrolet shut out of victory lane in Cup playoffs for first time

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Kyle Larson was Chevrolet’s only hope.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver ran in third place in the closing laps of the Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Despite close racing, the 25-year-old driver was unable to pass Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for the win.

When the checkered flag flew, Larson was one of two Chevy drivers in the top five, followed by Chase Elliott in fifth.

Had Larson found a way to get around Busch and Truex’s Toyotas, he would have delivered Chevy’s first – and only – win of the postseason.

The manufacturer went without a win in the Cup postseason for the first time since NASCAR changed how it crowned its Cup champion in 2004.

Toyota won eight playoff races and Ford claimed the other two.

Larson earned the last Chevrolet win in the regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway.

In all, Chevrolet visited Victory Lane 10 times in the first 26 races of the season. Toyota and Ford each won eight.

Here’s how many postseason races Chevrolet has won in each year of the playoffs.

2004 – Seven wins, all consecutively

2005 – Four wins

2006 – Eight wins

2007 – Seven wins

2008 – Four wins

2009 – Six wins, including five in a row

2010 – Five wins

2011 – Seven wins, five by Tony Stewart

2012 – Four wins in the last four races

2013 – Six wins, four in a row

2014 – Six wins, including final four races

2015 – Four wins, three in a row

2016 – Five wins

2017 – Zero wins

In 14 seasons, Chevrolet has won 73 of 140 playoff races.