Mobil 1 will remain with Stewart-Haas Racing after Tony Stewart’s retirement

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ExxonMobil will stay with Tony Stewart‘s team after the three-time Sprint Cup champion’s career ends.

In a Friday announcement, the company extended its deal as a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas Racing. Its Mobil 1 brand will appear as a primary sponsor at “various premier series races” on the cars of Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. It also will remain an associate sponsor at all races with SHR drivers.

Mobil 1 has been a partial-season sponsor on Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet since the 2011 season and also has sponsored a few races for Harvick and Patrick this year.

Here’s a news release on the announcement:

ExxonMobil today announced it will be extending the Mobil 1TM brand’s sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing in a multiyear deal.

Beginning next year, Mobil 1, the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR®,” will provide full primary sponsorships across SHR’s four NASCAR premier series drivers. Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 car, Danica Patrick’s No. 10, Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 and Kurt Busch’s No. 41 will see Mobil 1 full primaries at various NASCAR premier series races throughout the year. At the same time, the Mobil 1 brand will remain an associate sponsor for all SHR drivers at all other races.

“ExxonMobil and Mobil 1 lubricant technology have been integral to my success with SHR and my 2014 Championship, so I’m excited they’re coming back,” said Harvick. “I’m also honored to step in as the lead representative for the Mobil 1 brand both on and off the track.”

Tony Stewart, who has represented Mobil 1 since the brand joined SHR in 2011, is retiring as a NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season. He will remain a brand ambassador for Mobil 1 in his role as a team owner, as he co-owns SHR with industrialist Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation.

Additionally, the Mobil 1 brand will be an associate sponsor of SHR’s new NASCAR XFINITY Series™ for the 2017 season, where Cole Custer will run for rookie of the year.

The company has been providing lubricant technology support to the team since 2011, which helped Stewart and Harvick earn premier series championships for SHR in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

“With two championships already, our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing has been pushing performance limits since day one. Finishing this year and going into 2017, we’re ready to add more wins and titles to the collection,” said Kai Decker, global motorsports manager at ExxonMobil. “Our engineers are continuously working to advance our lubricant technology and SHR plays a large role in how we test our engine lubricants – ensuring consumers and race fans are getting the best product available.”

After announcing the partnership in 2010, SHR and Mobil 1 engineers began working closely together to tackle racing challenges. The 2017 season continues a collaborative engineering relationship used to develop lubricant packages and push technology limits to new frontiers. This relationship helps the SHR team win races and ExxonMobil continue to improve the performance of Mobil 1 branded lubricants with improved power, fuel mileage, engine efficiency and reliability.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ExxonMobil for the 2017 race season and beyond,” Stewart said. “They’ve been an incredible partner. “The success we’ve achieved has been greatly helped by Mobil 1 lubricant technology and our engineers working hand in hand with their engineers.”

Including the 2016 season, the partnership with ExxonMobil has led to significant on-track success for SHR, compiling two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles, 34 race wins, 140 top-five finishes, 266 top-10 finishes and 28 poles.

Along with its association with SHR, Mobil 1 is entering its 15th year as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR.” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of the teams in NASCAR’s top-three series.

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.

 

Could Talladega open door for a record 20th winner?

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Talladega Superspeedway is known for fast speeds, huge drafting packs, sensational wrecks and tight finishes.

On Sunday (2 p.m. ET on NBC), it could be the site of an unexpected record.

Nineteen different drivers have won Cup races this season, tying a record. If a new winner shows up in Talladega victory lane Sunday, it will mark the first time in the sport’s history that 20 drivers have won races in a single season.

One of the remarkable things about that possibility is that the driver who has far and away the best record at Talladega among active drivers is among the group still looking for a win in 2022. That’s Brad Keselowski, who has won six times at NASCAR’s biggest track. No other active driver has more than three. (Keselowski is tied for second on the all-time Talladega win list with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt tops that list with 10).

Talladega and Daytona tend to reject repeat winners. The past nine races at the two tracks have been won by nine different drivers.

Other seasonal non-winners who could break through at Talladega:

Ryan BlaneyBlaney’s only win this year is in the All-Star Race, so he’s still looking for his first points win while continuing to chase the championship. He won at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.

Martin Truex Jr. — Superspeedways have been a pox on Truex’s career. In 70 races at Talladega and Daytona, he has failed to win.

Aric Almirola — In what has been a disappointing season, Almirola’s best finish is a fifth — twice. He won at Talladega in 2018 but hasn’t had a top 10 in his last four runs there.

Michael McDowell — McDowell’s best finish at Talladega is a third, but he is usually very competitive in the Talladega and Daytona drafts, winning the 2021 Daytona 500.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Stenhouse won at Talladega in 2017 and usually is a factor in the draft.

Harrison Burton — Burton has had a tough rookie season, but the peculiarities of the Talladega draft should play in his favor. The No. 21 team’s next win will be its 100th.

Justin Haley — Haley has no top-10 runs in five Talladega starts, but he showed potential last week with a third-place finish at Texas.

Corey LaJoie — LaJoie has started nine Cup races at Talladega and has led exactly one lap. His best finish is a seventh.

Noah Gragson — Gragson, the star of this Xfinity season, is in the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman out because of concussion-like symptoms. In the Talladega draft he could be a threat.