Multi-time champion also served as matchmaker for Brad Keselowski

1 Comment

All-time series winner, record holder in series championships and most successful series driver are just some of the titles attached to Frank Kimmel.

Add matchmaker as well.

Brad Keselowski credits Kimmel, the 10-time ARCA champion and longtime family friend, with introducing him to girlfriend Paige White.

“Frank has done a lot of tremendous things,’’ Keselowski said this week in a conference call with reporters. “I can remember him from as far back to the first time I met him when I was 8 years old, and we used to call him the big kid because he was a big guy, right, and he would walk around with squirt guns and squirt us as kids. We’d play with him back and forth and we had a grand old time.’’

But it goes beyond that.

In interviews for an NBC SportsWorld story on Keselowski in July, White and Kimmel discussed the role Kimmel played in the early courtship of Keselowski and White.

White said she met Kimmel and his family in 2013. White was standing with Kimmel at Kentucky Speedway when Keselowski approached.

Keselowski later sent a message to Kimmel’s son that he wanted Kimmel to call him. Kimmel did.

“Brad just said, ‘I have a funny question for you,’ ” Kimmel recalled Keselowski telling him.

Keselowski asked Kimmel about White.

“I told him that’s a great little girl,’” Kimmel said.

White and Keselowski met at Martinsville that fall but White admitted “it was super awkward. You could tell he was trying so hard. You know how it is when you meet someone for the first time that you think you might like.’’

He asked her to dinner but she turned him down. White, the daughter of racer, was going to watch her father compete that night.

Their paths crossed again at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski won the Xfinity race there and gave White his cowboy hat that the winner received. He asked her to hang out with him that weekend but she turned him down because she was with family.

A couple of weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway, she agreed to go to dinner with Keselowski – along with Kimmel and his wife, Donna. White went there that weekend with the Kimmels because he was competing in the Camping World Truck race.

All three were to go to dinner with Keselowski after the Xfinity race. He won. His victory lane duties delayed their dinner plans. Eventually, they went out to dinner.

The next night, they went to dinner again and White had the Kimmels join them again.

“It made it easier that people were with us,’’ White told NBC Sports in May.

The following week she and Keselowski had dinner together in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

Asked in May how White has changed him, Keselowski said: “I feel like I have someone closer to me to talk to which is good.”

He noted last fall’s Sprint Cup race at Texas where he and Jeff Gordon made contact late in the race when Keselowski made a move for the lead. Gordon confronted Keselowski on pit road after the race. After Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski back toward Gordon, a melee ensued, leading NASCAR to suspend four members of Hendrick Motorsports and penalize two of the organization’s crew chiefs.

Keselowski said White proved comforting after that.

“When everything happened at Texas, I felt pretty confident that I handled it right,’’ Keselowski said. “When it was all said and done, you always question it, you’re going to question yourself, that’s just normal. When I looked at her on the plane home and asked her if she was proud of the way I handled it and she said yes, I felt like mentally I was able to move on immediately.”

White delivered the couple’s first child, Scarlett, in May. Keselowski revealed in a blog last week that Scarlett faced a potentially life-threatening medical issue in June. Keselowski wrote that his daughter has recovered and doing well.

 

 

Daytona road course entry lists

Leave a comment

NASCAR’s national series will make their debuts on the Daytona road course this weekend. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck events will be held without any practice or qualifying.

NASCAR is prohibiting drivers from competing in more than one series this weekend on the Daytona road course in an effort to get extra track time. NASCAR states that is to make the event fair for everyone.

Sunday’s Cup race will be broadcast on NBC.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for the races at the Daytona road course 

Cup – Go Bowling 235 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

Thirty-nine drivers are entered for the race at the Daytona road course.

JJ Yeley is in the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing.

Joey Gase is in the No. 51 for Petty Ware Racing.

Gray Gaulding is in the No. 53 for Rick Ware Racing.

Brendan Gaughan is in the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports.

Timmy Hill is in the No. 66 for Motorsports Business Management.

Reed Sorenson is in the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports.

Click here for Cup entry list

 

Xfinity – UNOH 188 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Andy Lally is back in the No. 02 Our Motorsports car after finishing fifth last week at Road America.

AJ Allmendinger, who finished second last week at Road America, is in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing.

IMSA driver Earl Bamber will make his Xfinity debut this weekend in the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing.

Brandon Gdovic will make his second start of the season, driving the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

 

Truck – Sunoco 159 (Noon ET Sunday on FS1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered in the race that will be held before the Cup event on Sunday on the Daytona road course.

Alex Tagliani will drive the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Click here for Truck entry list

Silly Season Scorecard: Christopher Bell moves back to JGR

Leave a comment

No surprise that Christopher Bell moves over to the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing next season with Leavine Family Racing being sold and Erik Jones not remaining with JGR beyond this season. Joe Gibbs Racing made the announcement Monday.

While JGR lets the 24-year-old Jones, who has 133 Cup starts go, it brings in the 25-year-old Bell who has made 22 career Cup starts. Jones said before Sunday’s race he was “blindsided a little bit” by JGR’s move.

It’s part of the building momentum of Silly Season. In the last week, Team Penske signed Brad Keselowski to a reported one-year extension and Bubba Wallace said he has an offer for next year not only from Richard Petty Motorsports but also Chip Ganassi Racing.

Here’s how the Cup Silly Season scorecard looks as of Aug. 10.

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2021

No. 00: Quin Houff enters the second year of his two-year deal with StarCom Racing.

No. 1: Kurt Busch enters the second year of a multi-year contract that Chip Ganassi Racing announced last season.

No. 2: Brad Keselowski and Team Penske announced a contract extension Aug. 3.

No. 4: Kevin Harvick signed a contract extension in February that will keep him at Stewart-Haas Racing through the 2023 season.

No. 8: Tyler Reddick said in a press conference Aug. 7 that he will be back with Richard Childress Racing next season.

No. 9: Chase Elliott is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2022 season.

No. 11: Denny Hamlin is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 12: Ryan Blaney and Team Penske announced a multi-year extension earlier this season.

No. 18: Kyle Busch is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 20: Christopher Bell moves from Leavine Family Racing to take over this ride in 2021.

No. 22: Joey Logano is tied to Team Penske “through the 2022 season and beyond.”

No. 24: William Byron is under contact with Hendrick Motorsports through at least 2021.

No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters the second year of a multi-year deal with JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 88: Alex Bowman will race for Hendrick Motorsports under a one-year contract extension announced earlier this year.

 

Available/possibly available rides

No. 10: Aric Almirola is in a contract year at Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 13: Ty Dillon is in a contract year at Germain Racing.

No. 14: Clint Bowyer is in a contract year to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto is in a contract year at Wood Brothers Racing. He said after the Aug. 9 Michigan race: “I haven’t really talked about that stuff for next year yet, but we’ve just been so focused and head down on digging and trying to make the playoffs and run well. We haven’t even really talked about it, so, hopefully, I stay here for a very long time to come and that’s what they had expressed to me when I came over here.”

No. 32: Corey LaJoie is in a contract year at Go Fas Racing.

No. 42: Matt Kenseth told NBC Sports on Aug. 8 in regards to talks with Chip Ganassi Racing for next year: “We really haven’t had any very meaningful discussions really about any of that to be honest with you.

No. 43: Bubba Wallace said Aug. 9 he has an offer from Richard Petty Motorsports and an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 car next season.

No. 48: With Jimmie Johnson retiring from full-time competition, Hendrick Motorsports has this seat to fill.

No. 95: Leavine Family Racing announced it was selling its assets earlier this week. The buyer has not been announced. Christopher Bell will move to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for 2021.

Christopher Bell to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021

2 Comments

Christopher Bell will drive for the No. 20 next season for Joe Gibbs Racing, the team announced Monday, a decision that was expected with Erik Jones’ contract expiring after this season and it not being renewed. 

“I’m so appreciative of the opportunity I have this year with LFR and I want to finish this season strong for Bob (Leavine) and everyone there,” Bell said in a statement from the team. “At the same time, I’m extremely excited to return to Joe Gibbs Racing starting in 2021. It’s an organization I’m very comfortable with and have had a lot of success with.”

Said car owner Joe Gibbs: “We are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021. He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”

Bell drove for JGR in in the Xfinity Series in 2018 and 2019, winning 15 races, before moving to the Cup Series and Leavine Family Racing this season. Leavine Family Racing announced last week that it has been sold.

Entering Sunday’s race at the Daytona International Speedway road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC), Bell is 19th in points. His best finish this season is fourth at the first Pocono race in late June.

Xfinity playoff grid after Road America

Leave a comment

Brandon Brown extended his hold on the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid last weekend at Road America after struggles early in the race.

Brown needed to be pushed back to pit road before the field took the green because of a mechanical issue. He fell a lap down as his crew diagnosed the issue, got his lap back, scored four stage points in the second stage and finished 12th, one spot off his best career finish on a road course.

MORE: Brandon Brown wants to reward father with a special celebration

MORE: Austin Cindric wins at Road America 

Brown’s effort and Jeremy Clements misfortune in being collected in a crash to finish 29th led to Brown extending his lead on Clements for the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid to 53 points. Myatt Snider is 73 points behind Brown. Eight races remain until the Xfinity playoffs begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here is a look at the playoff grid. Drivers shaded in green are locked in the playoffs. Those shaded in yellow are in a playoff spot based on their point total. Drivers shaded in red are outside a spot in the Xfinity playoff grid.