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Great Clips to end sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s team after this season

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Great Clips will end its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s team at Hendrick Motorsports after this season, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Wednesday.

ESPN.com first reported the news.

In September, it was announced that Great Clips had signed a two-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports to serve as a primary sponsor of Kahne’s team through the 2018 season.

The deal was for Great Clips to serve as a primary sponsor in 10 races annually.

Great Clips issued a statement to NBC Sports that also stated the company was ending its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne’s World of Outlaws team with driver Daryn Pittman.

“Great Clips will exit two of its motorsports programs at the end of 2017: NASCAR and World of Outlaws. After a nearly 20-year run in NASCAR, Great Clips will focus more of its marketing efforts in new and emerging platforms.

“The Great Clips #5 will take its final turn with Kasey Kahne behind the wheel on Nov. 21 at Miami’s Homestead racetrack.

“Driver Daryn Pittman will be behind the wheel in the final World of Outlaws race for Great Clips on Nov. 4 at Concord, North Carolina.

“We’ve had a great run with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne, World of Outlaws, and Daryn Pittman,” said Steve Hockett, Great Clips President. “These racing programs provided us with a platform to expand our brand. From the early days as Kasey’s first full-time sponsor in 2003, he has represented us well on and off the track. Our decision is purely a business one made after careful study about where to pursue more new customer growth through our overall marketing mix.”

“While Great Clips involvement with NASCAR and World of Outlaws wraps up with the 2017 season, the brand will continue its presence in NHRA through 2018. Great Clips will look to grow visibility in other areas such as Monster Jam, college football, and college basketball. The brand will also expand into innovative digital spaces that align with our strategy for new customer growth.

“We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne, NASCAR, World of Outlaws, Daryn Pittman and our Great Clips racing fans for their tremendous support and loyalty over the years,” Hockett said.

Last year, Farmer’s Insurance decided that it would end its sponsorship of the team after the 2017 season. Farmer’s Insurance has been the primary sponsor of Kahne’s car in five of the first 12 points races, including the Daytona 500. Farmer’s Insurance is to be on the car for 12 races.

Great Clips has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 2012. Great Clips signed an extension in July 2013 through 2016 for the company to serve as the primary sponsor in 10 races annually. 

Kahne’s car will have Great Clips as the primary sponsor this weekend at Dover International Speedway. This will be the fourth time Great Clips has been the primary sponsor of Kahne’s car this season. Great Clips also was the primary sponsor earlier this year at Phoenix, Martinsville and Bristol.

Kahne enters this weekend 20th in the points. He has three top-10 finishes in 12 races this season. His best result is a fourth-place finish at Atlanta in March.

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All-Star Race, Open entry lists

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It’s officially All-Star Race week.

For the first time the annual exhibition event that awards $1 million will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET Wednesday on FS1).

Twenty drivers will compete in the 140-lap, four-stage main event. Sixteen drivers currently make up the field following Cole Custer’s win Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

Three drivers will qualify for the main event via the All-Star Open, the 85-lap preliminary race that’s divided into three stages. The winners of all three stages will advance. The remaining driver will advance via a fan vote.

Here are the entry lists for each race.

All-Star Race 

Drivers who automatically qualified for the All-Star Race: Those who won points races in 2019-20, past All-Star Race winners and previous Cup champions.

Drivers who have clinched an All-Star Race spot: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

Click here for the entry list.

All-Star Open

Twenty-two drivers are entered in the preliminary race.

Notable drivers include Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, rookies Tyler Reddick, William Byron and John Hunter Nemechek, as well as Bubba Wallace.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR in ‘good place’ with Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson after fight

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Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, says that series officials will keep an eye on Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson moving forward but that the sanctioning body feels it is in a “good place” with those drivers after their fight last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Gragson punched Burton after Burton repeatedly shoved him in the garage area as they discussed their contact on the track late in Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway. A NASCAR spokesperson said Friday night that no penalties were anticipated.

Asked about where matters stood between NASCAR and the two drivers, Miller told “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday morning:

“I personally wasn’t in the post-race conversations. (NASCAR Xfinity Series Managing Director) Wayne Auton does a great job with that and the report that I got from him is he talked to some of the crew members that were involved and obviously both of the drivers. I think we got to a good place. They’re going to have some words this week and try to make sure we’re in a good spot when we start the weekend next weekend in Texas. We feel like we’re OK.

“This is an emotional sport and there’s going to be things like that that crop up. It’s not a great situation for us to deal with as a sanctioning body, but we also want the emotion in the sport. That’s what makes it so special. Those things are unfortunate, but we do know from time to time those are going to happen. If we feel good about the conversations we’ve had, in a lot of cases we’re going to move on from that and keep an eye on those individuals moving forward.”

Race and Sports in America: Conversations to air at 8 p.m. ET Monday

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Damon Hack will host two roundtables with athletes and former athletes for a conversation on race and sports in America. The show airs at 8 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel and the NBC Sports Regional Networks.

Appearing with Hack will be Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, NBA superstar Steph Curry, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, NFL player Kyle Rudolph, pro golfer Troy Mullins, former tennis player James Blake, Major League Baseball player James Rollins and Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

Among the topics discussed are: The conversations they’ve had with family in the last few months, what they hope things will be like in a year’s time, the level of optimism vs. pessimism and their experiences.

 

 

Winners and losers from Kentucky

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WINNERS

Cole CusterHe entered Sunday’s race well out of a playoff spot at 25th in the points. He took advantage of a series of events in the final laps to score a dramatic victory and earn a playoff spot.

Martin Truex Jr.Lost the lead on the last lap but recorded his first top-five finish since his Martinsville win last month.

Matt DiBenedetto He was 18th with 14 laps to go and finished third.

Christopher BellSeventh-place finish was his fourth finish of 12th or better in the last six races.

Austin Cindric Had not won on an oval in the Xfinity Series before sweeping both series races at Kentucky Speedway.

LOSERS

Matt KensethA week after finishing runner-up at Indianapolis, he spun twice and finished 25th at Kentucky.

Ryan PreeceFinished last for the second race in a row. He was eliminated in a pit road accident at Indy and by transmission issues at Kentucky. He has failed to finish five of 17 races this season (29.4%).

Jimmie JohnsonWas third on a late restart when contact with Brad Keselowski spun him. Instead of contending for his first victory since 2017, Johnson finished 18th and had a little warning for Keselowski.