Photo: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

NASCAR Euro Series will have record number of teams for 2018

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The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will have a record number of teams competing this season, it was announced Thursday.

A total of 30 cars and drivers from 19 teams – both returning teams and newcomers – will take part in the 12-event series held on six racetracks in competition for the European NASCAR championship.

The six countries that will play host to the series are Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Belgium.

A new addition to the series’ roster of racetracks will be the oval track at Tours, France, which will play host to the Oval World Challenge.

Here’s how the 2018 NASCAR Euro season shapes up:

  • The season will open with the NASCAR Grand Prix of Spain, April 14-15, at the Circuit Valenciana Ricardo Tormo road course as part of the fifth annual Valencia NASCAR Fest.
  • From there, the schedule will go to Brescia, Italy and the Autodromo Franciancorta road course on May 19 and 20.
  • June 9-10 will be contested at Great Britain’s famous Brands Hatch road course as part of the American SpeedFest.
  • June 30 and July 1 will see the only oval track of the season, the Oval World Challenge at Tours Speedway in Tours, France.
  • After a 2 ½ month layoff, the series resumes with a four-race playoff: Sept. 15 and 16 at the road course in Hockehiem, Germany, and the championship-deciding pair of races Oct. 21 and 22 on the Circuit Zolder road course in Belgium.

Date Round Track Country

April 14: Round 1 – Valencia (road course), Spain
April 15: Round 2 – Valencia (road course), Spain
May 19: Round 3 – Franciacorta (road course) in Brescia, Italy
May 20: Round 4 – Franciacorta (road course) in Brescia, Italy
June 9: Round 5 – Brands Hatch (road course) in Great Britain
June 10: Round 6 – Brands Hatch (road course) in Great Britain
June 30: Round 7 – Oval World Challenge (oval) in Tours, France
July 1: Round 8 – Oval World Challenge (oval) in Tours, France
PLAYOFFS:
September 15: Semi-final 1 – Hockenheim (road course) in Germany
September 16: Semi-final 2 – Hockenheim (road course) in Germany
October 20: Final 1 – Circuit Zolder (road course) in Belgium
October 21: Final 2 – Circuit Zolder (road course) in Belgium

The series will once again be divided into the Elite 1 and Elite 2 divisions.

Israeli driver Alon Day will return to defend his 2017 NWES championship with CAAL Racing, which will field three Chevrolets.

Other key teams include:

* Knauf Racing, which brings back Elite 2 Division Champion Thomas Ferrando as part of a two-car Ford Mustang operation.

* PK Carsport and Alex Caffi Motorsport will once again both have two two entries apiece.

* Braxx Racing will expand to three cars.

* Racers Motorsport will field three Ford Mustangs.

* Renauer Motorsport and MRT by Nocentini will field two Mustangs apiece.

* Other returning teams include RDV Competition, Racing Total, DF1 Racing, Mishumotors and The Club Motorsports.

* Newcomers to the series include Go Fas Racing Europe, Pegasus Racing (switches to the NWES from endurance racing), Solaris Motorsport (from GT racing), Hezemans Racing, Race Art Technology and BVR Motorsport. All newcomers will make their official NWES debuts at Valencia.

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Vote for best 2018 Cup paint schemes

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It’s time to take stock of the 2018 Cup season.

That means voting in the best paint schemes of the year tournament.

The NBC Sports tournament has now reached its final four.

Here’s the bracket so far.

Bubba Wallace, RPM reinlist US Air Force as two-race sponsor

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Richard Petty Motorsports will continue to receive support from the United States military. On Friday, they announced the US Air Force will continue as a primary sponsor in 2019 as well as a major associate sponsor throughout the season on Bubba Wallace’s No. 43.

The two races for which the Air Force will be the primary sponsor are Saturday, July 6 at Daytona International Speedway (4th of July weekend) and Sunday, Nov. 10 (Veteran’s Day weekend) at ISM Raceway. Last year during his rookie campaign, Wallace finished in the top 15 in both of those races. He was 14th in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona and 10th at ISM.

“The Air Force continues to see benefits from our partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver, Bubba Wallace,” said Major Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service in a press release. “Wallace Jr. and his personality align well with our target audience’s interests and the Air Force’s commitment to teamwork and technology. The combination of Bubba Wallace and the iconic No. 43 provides a continuing sponsorship opportunity that reflects our Air Force core values of Integrity, Service and Excellence, as well as has a positive impact on generating public awareness about the U.S. Air Force, our people and our mission.

“Like NASCAR, much of our work is based on science, technology, engineering and math principles combined with teamwork and training. This sponsorship is a great way to highlight that connection.”

Last year, Wallace visited four Air Force bases. He participated in drills at each and flew in an F-16 with the 77th Fighter Squadron “Gamblers” at Shaw AFB in South Carolina.

“I was really impressed with all the different aspects of the Air Force, and the different opportunities they offer,” said Wallace Jr. “I was able to visit different bases and see the Airmen in action and actually participate myself. That gets me excited and then I’m able to talk to inspiring students who are looking at a career in the Air Force. I’m pretty humbled to represent the Air Force.”

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John Hunter Nemechek, Chase Briscoe approved to run for Xfinity Rookie of the Year

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NASCAR has approved John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Briscoe to compete for the Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year title in 2019, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Nemechek made 18 Xfinity starts in 2018 with Chip Ganassi Racing while Briscoe made 17 with Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Fenway Racing.

Nemechek will compete for GMS Racing in the No. 23 Chevrolet. Briscoe will drive the No. 98 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

When Nemechek was announced on Dec. 6 as joining GMS Racing, a team press release said he would compete for Rookie of the Year. But a NASCAR spokesperson said his eligibility had not been decided on at the time.

The Rookie of the Year title was not mentioned in SHR’s Nov. 27 press release about Briscoe going full-time.

The Xfinity rookie field next year will include Nemechek, Briscoe, Noah Gragson in JR Motorsports’ No. 1 Chevrolet and Justin Haley in Kaulig Racing’s No. 11 Chevrolet.

Briscoe said in an Q&A on Reddit he was “honestly surprised” he was approved.

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Richard Childress Racing reveals Daytona 500 cars, sponsors and Xfinity details

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WELCOME, N.C. – Richard Childress Racing kicked off its 50th anniversary Friday at its headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina, with announcements about the 2019 season.

RCR announced Daniel Hemric will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in his rookie Cup season. Hemric had originally been announced as driving the No. 31.

Hemric, who moves up after two years in Xfinity, drove the No. 8 in his two Cup starts in 2018.

Richard Childress Racing

Hemric will be sponsored by Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance, Cessna and VF Workwear.

Cessna is also a sponsor at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Growing up in Kannapolis, it was all about racing,” Hemric said in a press release. “I always dreamed of having the opportunity to drive for RCR and for Richard himself. Now, two iconic numbers, the 3 and the 8, are going to be under one roof. I know it makes Richard happier than anybody, just understanding what that means for the sport of NASCAR and how our fans are going to be able to connect with that.”

RCR also confirmed NBC Sports’ report that Luke Lambert would be the crew chief for Hemric.

Photo by Daniel McFadin

The team revealed gold-themed cars Hemric and teammate Austin Dillon will drive during Speedweeks in Daytona to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary.

Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Bass Pro Shops in the Advance Auto Parts Clash.

The scheme for the exhibition race is based on the car Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in the 1998 All-Star Race.

Xfinity Series

Team owner Richard Childress confirmed Tyler Reddick would be the organization’s only full-time Xfinity Series driver in 2019.

The defending series champion will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet and be paired with crew chief Randall Burnett, who worked with Matt Tifft on the No. 2 in 2018.

Childress said its second Xfinity car will be the No. 21 “more than likely.”

Technical Alliance

Childress confirmed the teams that will be full members of a technical alliance with RCR in 2019.

In Cup, RCR will be joined by StarCom Racing (No. 00), Germain Racing (No. 13) and Richard Petty Motorsports (No. 43).

Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series (No. 11 Chevrolet) will also be a part of the alliance.

Childress said ECR engines would be provided for all those teams.

Charter

Childress said the team would sell a team charter to StarCom Racing that had been leased to the team in 2018.

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