Brad Keselowski reveals vision for his new 3D printing company

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STATESVILLE, N.C. – Brad Keselowski unveiled his long-anticipated new business Thursday, which is designed to be “at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.”

Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing, which will be housed in the 70,000-square-foot shop that once was the base of the 2012 Cup champion’s NASCAR truck team, will be a hybrid manufacturing factory that Keselowski said will help build “the world of the future.”

In a release, Keselowski said “tens of millions of dollars” would be invested in “equipment and expertise.” The company has a staff of 30 with plans to expand to 100 by the end of the year.

Keselowski told reporters that he has no investors, and it’s all his money. He said he didn’t leverage the spend by going into debt.

“I already owned the facility so that was advantageous,” he said. “I liquidated the truck series assets, and that helped to pay for this. I wanted to do it myself so I could go fast.

“I’ve been very frugal for a number of years. I didn’t put my house on the line. There are some risks, but you have to believe in something. I wasn’t going to just retire from racing and do nothing. The opportunity was right. I feel I hit the market perfectly.”

Keselowski is hoping for a return on the investment within five to 10 years. He envisions it as possibly providing an avenue for staying involved in NASCAR after his driving career ends, perhaps as a team owner (though he also cautioned he “didn’t want to get too far over his skis” on the future).

“I feel like I’m planting a really nice seed, so we’ll see where it goes,” he said.

He said the business also wouldn’t curtail his driving career, where he said winning another Cup championship remains a major goal.

“I need a job to pay for it, especially for the next few years,” he said. “I don’t think it affects my timeline of being a competitor on the NASCAR level.

“In some ways, I hope it potentially extends it as we see the market shift with drivers in a position where they can no longer really be paid. Or sometimes they really have to pay to race. I hope it can extend that because I’ll be immune to it.”

Partnering with several equipment and technology companies, KAM will focus on “additive manufacturing,” also known as 3D printing, that can bend and form metal into parts.

“In North America, no one will offer hybrid manufacturing on the scale we will,” Keselowski during a 20-minute presentation to media and industry members.

Though there could be motorsports applications, Keselowski said the vast majority of its clients will be outside racing. “If this only serves motorsports, it’ll be a tremendous failure,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll dabble some.”

He does have some NASCAR faces on his payroll already, though, hiring former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief and executive Robbie Reiser as production manager.

“His ability to build teams at the NASCAR level is a direct parallel to what we’re looking to do here,” Keselowski said of Reiser.

Keselowski said the company plans to hunt the NASCAR job market for “a lot of people behind scenes in engineering and manufacturing talent. That’s part of the reason I liked this sector. The talent pool here is phenomenal. As the motorsports sector continues to change, I expect the pool to overflow and find top talent.”

The Statesville location also is attractive because of its adjacent airport, which allows for swift transport in an industry with on-demand needs.

Keselowski said his company will focus on “new and exciting products the world has never seen” in industry sectors such as aerospace, nanotech, biotech and quantum computing that he believes will lead the fourth industrial revolution. Keselowski said KAM already has aerospace and Defense customers and hopes to branch into automotive and medical contracts.

Keselowski, who turns 35 next month, said his background as a NASCAR driver makes him “perfectly positioned to lead an advanced manufacturing company” because his “years in motorsports have taught several lessons in the harshest of environments where failure to perform could mean not only your job but also your life.” He learned more about advanced machines and tools from his exposure in NASCAR, which has become heavily focused on engineering over the last 15 years.

As a driver at “the top of the fastest and most rigorous feedback loop in the world,” Keselowski said he watched how Team Penske’s 500-plus employees responded to solving racing problems and wanted to apply it to manufacturing.

“Teams meet massive challenges with speed, precision and reliability,” Keselowski said. “So I asked, ‘What if this was available outside motorsports? What could these technologies and talents achieve?’”

Keselowski, whose grandfather spent World War II making military drill bits, said he was inspired by the manufacturing background of his Michigan-based family.

“My vision of KAM was born of fire and competition, and the ability to act fast,” said Keselowski, whose family owned team raced its own Late Models.

Keselowski traveled through Europe last summer to learn about “factories of the future” that rely on heavy automation, robotics, cloud computing and “the Internet of things” for building.

“All of those maximize communication and efficiencies,” Keselowski said. “All of those tools will be used in the facility today.”

 

Harrison Burton, Paul Menard exchange words after trading hits

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LOUDON, N.H. – There’s a 20-year gap between Paul Menard and Harrison Burton and seemingly just as wide a gulf in how they viewed their incident Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Burton, 18, finished 29th in the Xfinity Series race after being wrecked by Menard, 38, with 45 laps remaining.

Parking his No. 18 Toyota after completing 169 of 200 laps, Burton waited for more than 20 minutes until the race ended and then strode purposefully from the entrance of the Xfinity garage to the pits and confronted Menard for a terse but civil conversation.

“I wanted to get across to him that I got wrecked for no reason,” said Burton, who competes full time in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series was making the third start of his Xfinity career and the first on a track at least a mile in length. “I barely touched him. There’s barely a mark on his door. I don’t know if he’s heard of NASCAR before, but this isn’t F1 where if you touch someone, there’s a 5-second penalty.

“I barely touched him, and I got wrecked. He says that I got into him on the restart. I’m on the apron, and he comes down across my nose and then gets mad about it. When he watches the film, I think he’ll see that. I think that we just worked our butts off and didn’t get the result we deserve. We’ll just come back and race harder and beat him next time.”

Menard said he was justified to tap Burton in the left rear and spin the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into the Turn 1 wall.

“He ran into me a couple of times,” said the driver of the No. 12 Ford for Team Penske. “So I voiced my displeasure. He’s a young kid. He’s got a long time in this sport. He’s got to figure that stuff out pretty early. As he races more in Xfinity, and especially if he gets to the Cup level, they don’t put up with that stuff. I felt it was my place to tell him that’s not cool.

“A lot of these kids are good clean racers. He kind of stood out from the crowd. He had a fast enough car he could have been clean. I hate tearing up race cars. I didn’t really want to tear up his race car, that’s for sure. But sometimes enough is enough.”

Menard singled out Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson, both in their early to mid-20s, for having raced him cleaner than Burton.

“Some of these kids are really fun to race with, and some of them just don’t get it,” said Menard, a veteran of 14 seasons in the Cup series who was teamed with Burton’s father (and NASCAR on NBC analyst), Jeff, for three seasons at Richard Childress Racing. “So I think you have to cut that shit out at an early age.”

“Some of these kids have a lot of talent and don’t have to run into you to try to pass you. Harrison, I’ve never met the kid before. I know his dad really well. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jeff. Really good man. But the kid ran into me a couple of times, and that was enough of that.”

Though he had the chance to air his grievances, Burton was skeptical it would make any difference with how Menard would race him in the future.

“He doesn’t care,” Burton said. “He doesn’t care about anyone else but himself. But I’m going to just go out and beat him on the racetrack like I was going to today. I was driving away from him. I was gone.

“We were going to beat him on the racetrack, and that’s all you can do is just beat people on the racetrack and show them you’re going to outwork them. I’m fired up and ready to go for the next one.”

Results, points after Xfinity race at New Hampshire

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Christopher Bell led 186 of 200 laps on his way to winning Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell beat Cole Custer to claim his fifth of the year.

The top five was completed by Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick and Paul Menard.

Click here for the race results.

Points

Tyler Reddick continues to lead the standings despite having two few wins than Bell and Custer.

He has a 56-point lead over Bell and 76-point advantage over Custer in third.

The top five is completed by Justin Allgaier (-146 points) and Austin Cindric (-163 points).

Click here for the full standings.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity race at New Hampshire

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Christopher Bell won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in dominating fashion, leading 186 of 200 laps and beating Cole Custer.

With the win, Bell’s second in a row on the 1.058-mile track, he is again tied with Custer for the most wins on the season with five.

Bell and Custer have finished 1-2 four times this year.

“I just had a really good race car,” Bell told NBCSN. “This track’s been really good to us and our team.”

The top five was completed by Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick and Paul Menard.

Bell’s win is the 13th of his Xfinity career in just his 59th start, tying him for the most by that point with Darrell Waltrip.

Custer, who started from the pole, never led a lap.

“There at the end I felt like we had a car that could compete with him, but I just wasn’t driving the car right at the start of the race and I got us behind on adjustments,” Custer said. “From there, we were kind of playing catchup.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brandon Jones won in a three-wide finish over Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell won with a 6.5 second lead over Justin Allgaier

MORE: Race results and points

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Allgaier earned his first top-five finish at New Hampshire in his ninth start … Ryan Sieg placed eighth for his first finish better than 15th at New Hampshire in six starts.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: John Hunter Nemechek finished 36th after he wrecked in Turn 1 on Lap 32 … Harrison Burton finished 29th after he was spun from contact with Paul Menard with 46 laps to go. That was after Burton had fought his way back into the top five following a slow early pit stop when a pit gun malfunctioned. The drivers had a tense post-race discussion on pit road.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t care what series he races in or who he is. He raced me in a terrible way and I just decided I needed to hear from him what his story was. I didn’t like his story so I’ll race him accordingly.” – Harrison Burton to NBCSN after his discussion with Paul Menard.

WHAT’S NEXT: U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway at 5 p.m. ET July 27 on NBCSN

Check back for more

Ryan Blaney fastest in final Cup practice at New Hampshire

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Ryan Blaney was fastest in the Cup Series’ final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Blaney posted a top speed of 133.572 mph.

He was followed by Denny Hamlin (133.226 mph), Kyle Busch (132.739), Kevin Harvick (132.688) and Martin Truex Jr. (132.646).

Brad Keselowski (sixth) and Kurt Busch (14th) each recorded the most laps in the session with 61.

Blaney also had the best 10-lap average.

Click here for the speed chart.

Alex Bowman wrecked in Turns 1 and 2 in the middle of the session.

Bowman, who was already in a backup car after he had a driveshaft failure in qualifying Friday, will now go to a second backup car. The No. 88 team will use Jimmie Johnson‘s backup car.

Matt DiBenedetto‘s left-rear tire shredded twice during the session.

“Not a lot of warning, I’ll tell you that,” DiBenedetto told NBCSN after the first tire problem. “I went down into (Turn) 1 and I was passing (Landon Cassill), as soon as we got down into the corner I don’t know if we ran over something or what but the left rear went down in a hurry.”

DiBenedetto, who qualified seventh for Sunday’s race, was able return to the track to make a lap right before the session ended.