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Niece Motorsports enters tech alliance with GMS Racing, Justin Fontaine to race full-time

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Niece Motorsports, a Camping World Truck Series team, has announced it is entering into a technical alliance with GMS Racing and it has signed Justin Fontaine to compete full-time for the team next season.

The technical alliance will include chassis, body, suspension and engineering support. Niece Motorsports will move its shop location to Statesville, North Carolina, to be closer to GMS Racing. In 2017, GMS Racing fielded the trucks of Kaz Grala, Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley.

“I’m really proud of how far this team has come in the last year,” team owner Al Niece said in a press release. “I’m proud of this team’s growth and everything we’ve accomplished this year.  I’m thrilled to begin working with GMS this offseason and into next year.  This really gives us the chance to improve our program, by aligning with a team that has a proven track record.  It’s going to be our job next year to go out there and perform at a high level.”

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Fontaine, 20, will drive the No. 45 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports. He will compete for rookie of the years honors and enters the 2018 season with three Truck starts since 2016. He joins Austin Wayne Self in running full-time for the team.

Fontaine made one start for Niece Motorsports in 2017 at Chicagoland Speedway, where he finished 17th.

“This is an exciting time in my career and I believe I’m ready for this next challenge with Niece Motorsports,” Fontaine said in a press release.

“I know I have a lot to learn, but with the leadership of Niece Motorsports and the support of my management team at AM Racing, I believe I can transition well and produce some good results in my rookie season.”

Fontaine ran a partial ARCA Racing Series season in 2017 for AM Racing’s development partner, Win-Tron Racing.

Fontaine was injured in the opening race of the ARCA season and missed five races before returning in June at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, where he finished 11th. He picked up a career-best finish of ninth at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and ended the year with a top 10 at Kentucky Speedway.

The 2018 Truck Series season begins on Feb. 16 at Daytona International Speedway.

Driver-to-Driver with Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’ve got a lot to prove still’

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Jimmie Johnson is in his 17th year of full-time Cup racing and is in the midst the longest winless streak of his career at 42 races.

But the seven-time champion’s competitive drive is as strong as ever.

Johnson sat down with NBC Sports’ Dale Jarrett to discuss his career at this point in the latest edition of Driver-to-Driver.

“I can honestly say I spend more time now than I did my rookie year focusing on my job,” Johnson said. “I think that the support I have from my wife (Chandra), my kids are 7 and 4, to have them watch me be passionate about something has another meaning I didn’t anticipate coming. I’m lovin’ what I’m doing. I wish the results were a little better than what we have right now, but the process of what I’m going through is really fun.”

Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is in a slump. The team is in the middle of the second longest winless streak in its history at 35 races.

Johnson admits it’s hard to know when the right time will be for him to retire.

“The thing I can pull out of it is, don’t pick a number, make sure that fire’s gone out and that fire hasn’t gone out,” Johnson said. “The other thing that’s weighing on me, I don’t want to go out not at my fullest potential and not on my terms. The last thought that’s going to run through my mind is to walk away or, ‘Oh, it’s not going right, time to stop.’ Uh uh. I know I still got it. I’m going to go down swinging. I’ve got a lot to prove still.”

Watch the above video for more.

 

New Hampshire Cup race in rain delay

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The Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is in a rain delay.

The race was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The start time had been moved up from 2 p.m. ET due to the threat of weather.

Kurt Busch is on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. will start second.

Check back for more.

Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver rediscovers his magic here and locks into the playoffs.

Dustin Long

Martin Truex Jr. wins back-to-back races for the first time in his career.

Daniel McFadin

Kevin Harvick earns a career-best sixth win of the season.

Dan Beaver

Martin Truex Jr. is getting into the same groove he had last year. This week he catches Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Next week, he starts to pull away,

Today’s Cup race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

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The Cup Series holds its only race of the year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today with the Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301.

Kurt Busch starts on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. starts second.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 35

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won this race last year over Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch won the playoff race over Larson.

TO THE REAR: Landon Cassill (backup) and Michael McDowell (backup).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the complete starting lineup.