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Two Xfinity teams penalized for lug nut violations at Phoenix

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Two Xfinity Series teams were fined for violations from this past weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

Both teams and their respective crew chiefs were penalized for the same Safety level violation: Sections Tires and Wheels, lug nut(s) not properly installed.

The crew chiefs that were fined were:

* Greg Erwin, crew chief of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang (driven by Ryan Blaney), was fined $5,000.

* Eric Phillips, crew chief of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry (driven by Christopher Bell), was fined $5,000.

There were no penalties issued in either the NASCAR Cup or Camping World Truck series.

Team Penske announces Xfinity sponsor for 2018

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Fitzgerald Glider Kits will serve as the primary sponsor for Team Penske’s No. 22 Xfinity car in 16 races next year, the team announced Wednesday.

Fitzgerald Glider Kits will be an associate sponsor on the car for the races it is not a primary sponsor.

As part of the agreement, Fitzgerald Glider Kits will be the sponsor for Ryan Blaney‘s Cup car in the Bristol night race next August and will continue as an associate sponsor on reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden’s car.

“Team Penske continues to grow its relationship with Fitzgerald Glider Kits and we welcome the company’s increased role as a sponsor with the No. 22 Ford Mustang team in 2018,” said team owner Roger Penske in a statement. “We work closely with Fitzgerald in our trucking business and the company has certainly made the most of its partnership with our race teams across different platforms since it joined Team Penske in 2016. We look to continue to build the Fitzgerald Glider Kits brand as we move to the next level next season.”

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Keep up with all the Silly Season changes for 2018 with this scorecard


Aric Almirola became the latest driver to secure a ride for 2018 when Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday that he’ll drive the No. 10 car.

Even with that announcement, more questions remain on which drivers will be in what rides next season.

Here’s a look at where Silly Season stands as Cup teams head to Phoenix Raceway for Sunday’s playoff race.


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

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

Kasey Kahne will join Leavine Family Racing and 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 will remain 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)


— No. 27: Richard Childress Racing states it will announce plans for a third Cup team at a later date with Paul Menard joining the Wood Brothers for next season. Key will be sponsorship money on what happens with that car.

— 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. 3 that “we are in negotiations’’ to remain in the No. 41. Co-owner Tony Stewart said Nov. 5: “That’s our goal, is to have Kurt back in that car for next year.’’


Matt Kenseth: He said Nov. 4 on the NASCAR on NBC podcast that he has “decided to take some time off” after the 2018 season. Kenseth isn’t using the word retirement but says he has no ride 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 has not announced any plans for next season. She’s not looking for a ride in the Xfinity Series. “Cup only,’’ she said.  

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

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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Alliance Truck Parts, Team Penske extend partnership in multi-year deal

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Team Penske announced it has extended its partnership with Alliance Truck Parts in a multi-year deal that stretches beyond the 2018 Cup season.

The company will be the primary sponsor on Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford in six Cup races.

Alliance Truck Parts and its associate Detroit Genuine Parts have been the primary sponsor this year at Phoenix, Richmond, Pocono, Daytona II, Charlotte II and Martinsville II.

Next year, Miller Lite will be the primary sponsor for Keselowski in 11 Cup races.

Discount Tire will be the primary sponsor in 10 Cup races next year.

Alliance Truck Parts has been a partner of Team Penske since it sponsored Sam Hornish Jr. in 17 Xfinity Series races in 2013. It moved up to the Cup Series in 2014 when it sponsored Keselowski in eight races.

Detroit Genuine Parts was on Keselowski’s car when he earned Team Penske its 100th Cup victory at Daytona in July 2016.

Miller Lite, Discount Tire to sponsor Brad Keselowski’s Cup car in 2018

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Miller Lite and Discount Tire will sponsor Brad Keselowski‘s Cup car in 2018, Team Penske announced Friday morning.

Miller Lite will sponsor Keselowski’s car in 11 races. Discount Tire will sponsor Keselowski’s car in 10 races, including next year’s Daytona 500 and the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Discount Tire will serve as a prominent associate sponsor in the other races in 2018.

Discount Tire also will continue as primary sponsor of Team Penske’s No. 22 Xfinity car for multiple races in 2018 and beyond.

Miller Lite’s deal is for 2018 and beyond, according to the team. Miller Lite served as primary sponsor in 24 races from 2013-17.

“Miller Lite has been a terrific partner with Team Penske for 27 years and we welcome their continued support of the No. 2 Ford team,” said team owner Roger Penske in a statement. “There is no question that they have been a tremendous part of our NASCAR success, including winning the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series title together. We look forward to having Miller Lite back with the team as we head into the future.”

Discount Tire has been with Team Penske since 2010. Team Penske won the 2010 Xfinity title with Discount Tire and won the owner championship from 2013-15 with the sponsor.

“Our partnership with Team Penske has been incredibly successful during an exciting time for our company,” said Discount Tire Chairman Bruce T. Halle in a statement. “Roger and his team have been wonderful to work with, and of course, all of the wins and championships are fantastic. As we continue to expand Discount Tire across the country, we look forward to celebrating more successes with Brad and all of Team Penske as together we pursue the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.”

Said Keselowski: “Discount Tire has been an important part of my racing life for a long time now. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together and of the relationships I have built over the years. It will be like coming full circle next year, as many of the current guys on the No. 2 Cup team were also with me during our 2010 Xfinity championship run. It’s great to see this partnership continuing into the Cup Series while still maintaining an important place in the Xfinity Series.”

“Many of the biggest moments of my career have involved Miller Lite. We have had a lot of success together and I am very proud to represent them within our sport. Many of the fans who cheer for the No. 2 on a weekly basis do it because of the Miller Lite brand. It’s an iconic look for NASCAR and a mainstay with Team Penske.”

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