Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Ty Dillon moving up to Cup, replaces Casey Mears

9 Comments

Ty Dillon will drive the No. 13 Cup car for Germain Racing in 2017, replacing Casey Mears, the team announced Monday.

The move had been expected for several weeks.

Along with the driver change, Germain’s partnership with Richard Childress Racing will expand. RCR’s partnership includes technology sharing, research and development and engineering. Germain Racing also will continue to use ECR Engines.

Dillon, the 24-year-old grandson of Richard Childress, has 17 career Cup starts. He finished a career-high sixth at Talladega in May 2016 while driving for Tony Stewart, who was out with a back injury. Dillon finished fifth in the points in the Xfinity Series this past season.

“I have been preparing for this next step in my career for several years,” Dillon said in a statement from the team. “With my experience in the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, I am ready to drive full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. I want to thank Bob Germain and the entire Germain Racing organization for giving me this opportunity. It will be an honor to represent a brand and sponsor like GEICO which has played such a significant role in the sport for so many years.”

Said Germain in a statement: “First of all, I want to thank Casey Mears for everything he’s done for our race team over the past six years. He’s been an integral part of our growth and a great representative for GEICO and our many partners. Bringing Ty onboard is an exciting opportunity for us and we are committed to giving him all the resources he needs to reach his full potential. He’s a very talented driver and first class young man. I’m looking forward to working with him, as well as expanding our relationship with RCR.”

In six seasons with Germain Racing, Mears had one top-five finish and five top-10 finishes. His best finish in the points with the team was 23rd in 2015. Germain Racing announced Nov. 12, 2015, that it had signed three-year contract extensions with Mears and GEICO.

 

NASCAR mourns Kobe Bryant

NBC Sports
Leave a comment

Joining their brethren in other sports, the NASCAR world took to social media upon learning the tragic news of the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Bryant had met a number of NASCAR drivers in his career, including Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. They were among a number of NASCAR notables who took to social media to mourn Bryant:

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Chad Knaus and wife expecting second child

Photo courtesy Brooke Knaus official Instagram account
Leave a comment

Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus and wife Brooke are expecting their second child.

Brooke made the announcement Saturday on her Instagram account.

The couple, already parents to one-year-old son Kip, will soon be adding a daughter to their growing family.

Brooke Knaus’s Instagram post said the baby is due in July.

Kip figured prominently in the baby revelation, coming at the end of mom and dad’s ski run while vacationing in Telluride, Colorado:

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kyle Larson flips, misses finals of Australia’s biggest sprint car race

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyle Larson’s hope of following up last week’s Chili Bowl win with a triumph in Australia’s prestigious Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic fell far short Sunday.

Larson’s bid to race his way into the 24-car finals of the three-day race at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia, ended when he flipped (uninjured) on the opening lap of a last-chance qualifying heat race earlier in the evening.

Instead of being one of the featured drivers in the Classic’s 40-lap finale – the largest and most popular sprint car race of the year in the land down under – Larson was left to watch the event from the pits and cheer on Dyson Motorsport teammate and fellow American Carson Macedo.

Even that didn’t go very well, as Macedo flipped his own sprint car on the first lap of the Classic, resulting in a last-place finish. The highest finishing American was Cory Eliason, who ended up fourth.

Meanwhile, it was an all-Australian podium, with James McFadden winning the Classic for the second time in his career, followed by James Veal and Kerry Madsen.

In eight days, Larson went from capturing what he called the biggest win ever of his racing career on all levels – the Chili Bowl in his 13th try last Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma – to nothing but bad luck and utter frustration throughout his Australian journey.

Larson’s first race on Wednesday in the King’s Challenge at Borderline Speedway was rained out.

Then, in the first night of the Classic on Friday, Larson wrecked heavily in his first heat race, including flipping (he was uninjured). After his team repaired his car, Larson went back on the track, only to suffer a blown engine that knocked him out of contention to race in that evening’s feature event.

After not being on the schedule to race in Night 2 of the Classic on Saturday, Larson had one last chance to make Sunday’s featured championship event.

A total of 80 drivers battled it out in the B, C and D Mains for the eight remaining spots in the A Main, but Larson would end up not being one of those — as can be seen in the second line of the following tweet by his team:

Larson now returns to the United States to prepare for the Daytona 500 on February 16.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kyle Busch feeling like ‘the new guy’ during his Rolex 24 debut at Daytona

2 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch was looking forward to his first stint at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The two-time Cup champion was less enthused about his second turn behind the wheel in the IMSA season opener. Busch will climb back into the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 at 2 a.m. Sunday, just past the midpoint of the endurance race classic at Daytona International Speedway.

“That’s going to suck, yeah,” Busch deadpanned. “That’s exactly when I told them I did not want to run, and I got it.  Thank you very much.

“(I’m) the new guy.  I pulled the short straw.”

Click here to read more about how Busch felt about his AIM Vasser Sullivan car.