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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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Saturday schedule for Cup at Sonoma, Trucks at Gateway

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Cup cars are only on the track for qualifying today at Sonoma Raceway, and Camping Work Truck teams will qualify and race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Johnny Sauter has won three of the last five Truck races. Brett Moffitt won last weekend’s Truck race at Iowa.

Here’s today’s schedule at both tracks:

(ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN)

At SONOMA RACEWAY

10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. — Cup garage open

2:45 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-vehicle/two rounds (FS1, Performance Racing Network)

4:30 p.m. — K&N Pro Series West race; 64 laps, 127.36 miles (airs at 6 p.m. ET June 28 on NBCSN)

At GATEWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK

11 a.m. — Truck garage opens

Noon – 1 p.m. — Final Truck practice (No TV)

5:45 p.m. — Truck qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (airs from 7-8 p.m. on FS1)

7 p.m. — Driver/crew chief meeting

8 p.m. — Driver introductions

8:30 p.m. — Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200; 160 laps/200 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Kurt Busch fastest in final Cup practice at Sonoma

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Kurt Busch posted the fastest single lap in the final practice for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway with a speed of 94.061 mph.

He beat second-place Denny Hamlin (94.012 mph) by .040 seconds.

Martin Truex Jr. (93.718) had the third fastest lap, but the team will have some work to do before Saturday’s qualification. With nine minutes remaining on the clock, he ran into the back of Bubba Wallace in the esses and did significant damage to his nose. Wallace landed 34th on the chart with a speed of 91.641 mph.

Jamie McMurray (93.549) and Kevin Harvick (93.441) rounded out the top five.

Harvick (91.468) had the quickest 10-lap average – leading a sweep of the top three by Stewart Haas Racing. Busch was second quickest at 91.452 mph with Clint Bowyer third quick at 91.443 mph.

William Byron broke an axle seal in final practice, but the team was able to get him back on track with 24 minutes remaining in the session. His speed of 92.279 mph was 25th fastest.

Click here for the full report from final practice.

Friday Truck Series practice report from Gateway

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Second practice

Last week’s winner, Brett Moffitt topped the speed chart in Friday evening’s practice session for the Eaton 200 with a speed of 137.191 mph.

He beat second-place Myatt Snider (136.658 mph) by .128 seconds.

Johnny Sauter (136.608), Riley Herbst (136.355), and Ben Rhodes (136.219) round out the top five.

Herbst is making his Truck Series debut this week.

Also making his Truck debut is Zane Smith, who posted a lap of 136.120 mph to land sixth on the chart.

Christian Eckes (135.906) failed to back up his series-leading speed from the first practice session and was only ninth fastest, but he had the quickest 10-lap average of 135.039 mph.

Click here for complete results from practice 2.

First practice

Rain canceled the practice session at Gateway that was scheduled to run from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. Eastern time.

When they finally got on track, Eckes posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session with a speed of 134.360 mph. He is making his Truck series debut this week.

Eckes’ speed was .009 seconds faster than Noah Gragon (134.324), who landed second on the speed chart.

Rhodes (134.120), Moffitt (133.817) and Matt Crafton (133.706) rounded out the top five.

Rhodes had the quickest 10-lap average of 133.466 mph.

With the first practice canceled at Gateway, NASCAR added a final practice session scheduled for Noon – 1 p.m.

Click here for complete results from practice one.

Denny Hamlin offers advice on how to deal with critics on social media

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Denny Hamlin, who has been fined by NASCAR for comments on Twitter, and was vocal toward critics after this year’s Daytona 500, says he’s found peace on how to deal with those on social media who don’t agree with him.

“I’ve been very good this year about not replying to mean people, and you all should do the same,’’ Hamlin said Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

“I’m making a (request) right now to every driver, every team owner, every NASCAR executive and every media member, stop replying to people who make nonsense comments. They have 16 followers. Don’t give them your 100,000. Do not give them your 100,000 as their stage. No one will ever see their comment, just brush it by, talk about the positives and I’m not a positive person.”

Asked how does one ignore such divisive comments, Hamlin said: “You just scroll by it. Forget it. That person doesn’t exit. They’re an admirer that has lost their way.’’

Hamlin has been better at doing so since the Daytona 500. He faced negative reaction on social media to the contact he and Bubba Wallace had at the end of the Daytona 500.

They engaged in a brief shouting match in the garage area after Hamlin learned that Wallace had taken a dig at him on national TV about a recent comment about drivers using Adderall.

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