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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.”

 

Brad Keselowski puts on driving clinic with convincing win at Martinsville

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Brad Keselowski put on a driving clinic Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, leading 446 of 500 laps to win the STP 500. It was Keselowski’s second win of the season (also won at Atlanta), and his fourth top-3 finish in the last five races.

It was also Keselowski’s 29th career Cup win and his second Cup Series triumph in 19 career starts at Martinsville, having also won in April 2017, as well as his eighth top-5 and 13th top-10 there.

Chase Elliott finished runner-up.

Kyle Busch, making the 1,000th overall start of his NASCAR career, finished third, snapping a two-race winning streak (Phoenix and Fontana). Busch and Keselowski are now the only two drivers to win more than one race thus far this season.

Ryan Blaney finished fourth, followed by Denny Hamlin. Sixth through 10th were Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez.

There were only three leaders in the race: Keselowski, Chase Elliott (49 laps) and Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate and pole sitter Joey Logano (6 laps).

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brad Keselowski (first stage win of season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

WHAT’S NEXT: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 31 (Fox); green flag shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

We’ll be back with more information, including quotes, full results and updated standings. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kyle Busch has idea for NASCAR’s Xfinity, Truck limits

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kyle Busch would entertain the opportunity to pursue the one NASCAR championship that has eluded him – in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series – when his Cup career is over.

But he’s got an idea that would allow him to run both series concurrently and address the limits on Cup drivers running in lower series.

“Why don’t you let us run as many races as we want to run and then once we miss one, we’re done?” Busch pondered after his victory Saturday in the TruNorth Global 250 truck race at Martinsville Speedway. “So if I go all the way to (the June 15 race at Iowa Speedway) in the trucks and run 10 races and can’t go to Iowa, I’m done.

“You can race for points or whatever and so if that ever came down to that, then maybe there’d be an opportunity years down the road that then you can run multiple series and try to go after a championship that way.”

What was NASCAR’s reaction to the plan?

“That’s probably the first time I’ve said that or thought about it,” Busch said with a laugh. “Now that it’s out there … there’s not a damn fan that’s ever going to let it happen.”

Indeed, Busch’s 201st career victory in a NASCAR national series drew the usual outrage on social media Saturday, both from his Rowdy Nation legion of fans and those who vehemently believe he should be limited beyond the NASCAR cap of five truck races and seven Xfinity races allowed for full-time Cup drivers.

Busch has won in seven of 11 starts in trucks, Xfinity and Cup this season.

“Could have been nine or 10 (victories) probably, that’s what the scary part is if it wasn’t for simple mistakes,” Busch said. “Overall, it’s been fun. It’s a damn shame I’m only allowed five and seven.”

Busch has two 2019 starts left in trucks: at Texas Motor Speedway next week and Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

He said the chances are solid for going 5 for 5.

“I’d like to think Texas is a good place,” he said. “I think our guys have a good baseline. Charlotte is always one of my best tracks, favorite tracks and enjoy running there with the trucks, especially. There’s a good opportunity.

“It’s kind of an expectation (to win every race). We just go out, work hard and smart, and today we let the race play itself out and come to us.”

Busch won the 2009 Xfinity championship in the last season in which he ran full time in NASCAR’s top two series. He has focused solely on Cup full time since then, and NASCAR has changed rules over the past eight years limiting the ability to run for more than one title.

Despite 148 starts (and 54 victories), he is yet to run a full truck season, but the 2015 Cup champion has said he’d like to become the first driver to win a championship in each of NASCAR’s top three series.

Three Cup cars fail prerace inspection at Martinsville Speedway

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The cars of William Byron, DJ Kennington and Jeb Burton failed inspection Sunday morning at Martinsville Speedway.

Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet failed mechanical measurements. His sixth-place qualifying time will be disallowed, and he will have to start from the rear.

Kennington failed the OSS. He qualified 34th.

Burton had qualified 33rd.

The three cars will officially start behind those that passed inspection. Cars that qualified behind them will move up one spot.

The No. 24 suffered a right-front tire problem in the opening minutes of first practice Saturday morning, and the team made repairs to put the car back on track.

Today’s Cup race at Martinsville Speedway: Start time, lineup, more

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MARTINSVILLE — High downforce could bring hot tempers to Martinsville Speedway, where today’s STP 500 will mark the first short track of the 2019 Cup schedule.

In the last visit to the 0.526-mile oval, Joey Logano bumped Martin Truex Jr. aside entering the last two corners in one of the most thrilling finishes of the 2018 season.

Here’s the pertinent information for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Robert DeRidder, the senior vice president and general manager of Energizer Holdings Inc. (owners of STP), will give the command to start engines at 2:01 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:07 p.m.

PRERACE: The crew chief and drivers meeting is at noon. Driver introductions will begin at 1:20 p.m. The invocation will be given by track chaplain Mike Hatfield at 1:54 p.m. The 380th Army Band will perform the national anthem at 1:55 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 500 laps (263 miles) around the 0.526-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 130. Stage 2 ends on Lap 260.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race with coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race. MRN’s coverage begins at 1 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast, which is also available at MRN.com.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 63 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: In a race delayed to Monday by a snowstorm, Clint Bowyer scored his first victory for Stewart-Haas Racing. Kyle Busch finished second. Ryan Blaney placed third. Joey Logano won at Martinsville last fall. Denny Hamlin placed second. Martin Truex Jr. was third. 

TO THE REAR: William Byron (mechanical measurements), DJ Kennington (OSS) and Jeb Burton will start from the rear after failing inspection Sunday morning.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.