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Ty Majeski already getting advice from fellow Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth

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CONCORD, North Carolina — It’s only one call, but Ty Majeski is already benefiting from the return of Matt Kenseth to the fold at Roush Fenway Racing.

Majeski, one of three drivers competing for Roush in the N0. 60 in the Xfinity Series this season, reached out to the 2003 Cup champion ahead of last weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway.

It was the first time the two Wisconsin natives have talked since Roush announced Kenseth would share its No. 6 Cup car with Trevor Bayne for the rest of the year, starting this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Majeski, 23, is from Seymour, Wisconsin, 120 miles north of Kenseth’s hometown of Cambridge.

“He just told me what to expect, what to look for in the car, what the car needs to feel like in practice to be good on race day,” Majeski told NBC Sports Monday during a break in the Xfinity test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

MORE: Long: Can Matt Kenseth help return Roush to glory?

The conversation came after Majeksi’s first two starts in the No. 60 this season, where he wrecked out of races at Bristol and Talladega.

Majeski felt he had a top-10 car at Dover after qualifying ninth. But Majeski lost fourth gear and wrecked on Lap 170 in an incident with Dylan Lupton.

Majeski was “for sure” that his call with Kenseth helped him despite his third DNF in as many starts.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but that was the best put together weekend I feel the 60 has had all season,” Majeski said. “We practiced well. We qualified well, and we were racing really well.”

So far, the No. 60 Ford is struggling with Majeski, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric sharing the ride. None has finished in the top 10 or on the lead lap through 10 races. The No. 60 has five DNFs between Majeski and Cindric.

While Cindric also races for Team Penske and Briscoe with Stewart-Haas Racing, Majeski is limited to his races with Roush.

Majeski “was excited” when he learned Kenseth was returning to the team he raced for from 1999-2012 before departing for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Anytime you can get Matt Kenseth or any guy of his stature and his level of experience back into an organization it’s huge for everybody,” Majeski said. “It’s huge for me to lean on him. It’s huge for our engineers to get a guy that has experience to give us the feedback we need to make our cars better.”

Kenseth’s insight comes in addition to Majeski’s access to Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Stenhouse helped shake down Majeski’s car for the Charlotte test before he took over.

But Majeski’s history with Kenseth didn’t start with his phone call.

His path has crossed with Kenseth’s multiple times on short tracks in their home state in late model races. It didn’t always end well for Majeski.

“Early in my career I wasn’t racing around him at all,” Majeski said. “Two years ago at (the) Slinger (Nationals at Slinger Speedway), I was leading the race with 50 to go and blew a right rear tire. I was pulling away from them, we were probably going to win the race, but he ended up winning. … He was driving for a different team so I wasn’t able to go and talk to him or anything like that. We actually got into each other for the lead on like Lap 20 and we both had to go to the back and we both had to make our way up through the field and he was actually following me up through the field. I was making the holes for him.”

 

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.

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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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