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Todd Gilliland to drive No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports; father to fill-in at Daytona

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Todd Gilliland will get a helping hand driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota this season before he turns 18 on May 15.

The two-time K&N Pro Series West champion will miss four of the first six races to start the year because of NASCAR’s rule that drivers under 18 years old are restricted to tracks 1.25 miles or less in length or road courses.

Gilliland will miss the season-opener at Daytona (Feb. 16), Atlanta (Feb. 24), Las Vegas (March 2) and Kansas (May 11).

After starts at Martinsville (March 24) and Dover (May 4) to begin his Rookie of the Year campaign, his first race on a 1.5-mile track will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18.

Team owner Kyle Busch will drive the No. 4 at Atlanta and Kansas.

In a video released by the team on Twitter, it announced that Gilliland’s dad, David Gilliland, will open the season at Daytona.

The former Cup driver will make his first NASCAR start since 2016 in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

A veteran of 398 national NASCAR races, David Gilliland’s last Truck Series start was in 2015. He has 10 Truck starts. One of those was at a restrictor-plate track (Daytona, 2015).

That’s not the only race the elder Gilliland will try to be part of that weekend.

He will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Ricky Benton Racing, which has fielded the No. 92 in the Truck Series since 2010.

Gilliland will attempt to qualify the No. 92 Black’s Tire and Auto Service/Carquest Auto Parts Ford into the “Great American Race.” If he’s successful, it will mark the Cup debut for the team.

Gilliland made seven starts for the team in 2015.

“After talking with our partners, we felt the time was right to make a move into the Cup Series,” team owner Ricky Benton said in a press release. “Getting David back on board was also key. Having a veteran driver with his experience and success on restrictor-plate tracks – with whom (crew chief Mike) Hester has familiarity – gives us a leg up as we try to make the race.”
Gilliland has made 16 starts at Daytona in the Cup Series, including seven in the Daytona 500. His best finish was third in the 2011 Daytona 500.
UPDATE: KBM has also announced its crew chief lineup for this season.
Ryan Fugle will be paired with Noah Gragson on the No. 18 truck.
Mike Hillman Jr. will work with Harrison Burton, Busch and other drivers on the No. 51 truck.
Marcus Richmond will be on the No. 4 truck.

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Regan Smith to drive select Truck races for Ricky Benton Racing

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Regan Smith has a part-time ride for the 2017 racing season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“We are looking at running 10-12 races this year with Regan,” Ricky Benton Racing team owner Rick Benton told NBC Sports in an email Wednesday.

The story was first reported by JeffGluck.com.

“I wasn’t done racing — don’t count me out yet,” Smith told Gluck. “It’s just nothing was playing out to be in a good situation in Cup this year.”

Friends for nearly 20 years, Smith and Benton had previously talked about racing together, but as Gluck noted, the timing had never worked out.

Smith’s first run in the No. 92 Ford will be the season-opening race at Daytona. He’ll remain in the truck for the following five races, through Dover on June 2. The rest of the races Smith will drive are undecided.

Smith told Gluck he’d like replicate the start NASCAR On NBC analyst Parker Kligerman had in the No. 92 last season with three straight top-10 finishes: third at Daytona and eighth at both Atlanta and Martinsville.

“If we could duplicate the start we had last year, that would be an ideal situation,” Smith told Gluck. “Then we could aim for top 10s and try to stay up there.

“We have to work to get consistency a little bit, but I think the sky’s the limit. There’s some really good people down there.”

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NBC NASCAR analyst Parker Kligerman to compete in season-opening Truck race

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NBC NASCAR analyst Parker Kligerman will move from in front of the camera to behind the wheel for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener.

Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises, of Cerro Gordo, North Carolina, announced Thursday that Kligerman will drive the No. 92 Ford in the Feb. 19 NextEra Energy Resources 250.

“Over the last few years, I have watched the Ricky Benton Racing team improve their program and results,” Kligerman said in a media release. “Having this opportunity, as they come off one of their best years in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is a massive honor.”

Kligerman competed full-time in the Truck Series in 2011 and 2012, earning one win. He moved to the Xfinity Series in 2013 and also had 10 Sprint Cup starts in 2013 and 2014.

“Parker comes to us with a great racing resume,” Benton said. “He has proven that he can be competitive and win races in good equipment. Now it’s our job to make sure we give him fast trucks and put him in a position to be successful.”

The truck will be sponsored by Valvoline, Advance Auto Parts, BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors and Goodyear Commercial Tire Network.

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