Kasey Kahne

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Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson highlight preliminary Chili Bowl list

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Last week, the preliminary entry list for the 2019 Chili Bowl sat at 200. As of Tuesday, Dec. 18 the entry list has swelled to 302 including several notable drivers with NASCAR connections.

Last year featured more than 350 entries.

Last year’s winner Christopher Bell will try to defend his title with his 2018 car owner Keith Kunz. Former Truck series driver, Rico Abreu will race as a teammate to Bell.

Kyle Larson hopes for a better outcome this year than his 19th from 2018.

Other notable drivers include:

Last year, Kasey Kahne advanced to ninth in his B-Main. In addition to the annual Midget race, he will compete in more than 50 sprint car races in 2019.

Justin Allgaier failed to finish his B-Main last year and was credited with an 18th in that race. Before advancing to the B, he finished second in his C-Main

JJ Yeley finished 12th in one of two B’s and failed to advance to the A.

Making her first Chili Bowl appearance will be Kelley Earnhardt Miller’s daughter Karsyn Elledge.

Tanner Berryhill hopes for better fortune in 2019. Last year, he advanced only as far as the J-Main.

Click here for the complete list.

Kasey Kahne set for more than 50 sprint car events in 2019

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Kasey Kahne‘s NASCAR career is over after 15 year of Cup competition, but his racing career is far from over.

Kahne is scheduled to make more than 50 starts in sprint car races next year in the World of Outlaws and All-Star Circuit of Champions with his own sprint car team.

The news is part of a sponsor announcement that will have Kahne and Kasey Kahne Racing’s No. 9 car sponsored by Wicked Energy Gum/Wicked Energy in select races.

“This is the most excited I have been in a long time to get back to racing,” Kahne said in a press release. “I feel great and I’ve been working out a lot preparing for the upcoming season. Returning to sprint cars on a more regular basis is something that I have been looking forward to for years.”

Click here to see Kahne’s tentative schedule.

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Dale Jr.’s persuasive power impacts chaotic paint scheme poll

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An ordinary Twitter poll on a sleepy Tuesday during the offseason took some wild turns when a Hollywood star, athletes from outside of NASCAR and even the son of the President of the United States, Donald Trump Jr. attempted to sway the results.

The poll told a story of pluck and determination – the potential of a dark horse and a grassroots movement determined to defy the odds.

Ultimately, however, it reminded us of just how persuasive Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s Twitter feed can be.

Tuesday’s matchup featured special paint schemes on Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto‘s cars.

At that point, both teams went to work – appealing to their fans to vote.

Around 4 p.m. ET, heavy hitters weighed in for the fight.

Nashville recording artist Chris Lane and Ian Somerhalder, who played Boone Carlyle on “Lost,” appealed for votes on the Dillon car.

But that wasn’t enough to move the ticker in Dillon’s favor. DiBenedtto led the vote 54 to 46 percent.

Donald Trump Jr. jumped in around 7:30 p.m. garnering 500 retweets and 2,500 likes.

Olympic medalist Chris Mazder and Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey also appealed for Dillon to win. Overnight, the cumulative effect tipped the scale in favor of the No. 3 for a little while.

Dillon led 58 to 42 percent with 7,000 votes cast.

DiBenedetto’s team, GoFas Racing, appealed to dog owners and swung the pendulum back in their favor. Spooky Snoopy led 51 to 49 percent.

Foul!

Bots! cry RCR.

Dillon tries to fight fire with fire – offering to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit if only they will turn on their hero DiBenedetto.

It’s not enough. Dillon is seemingly down for the count.

DiBenedetto appears to be cruising to a 60 – 40 percent victory with 20 minutes remaining in the poll.

Until Earnhardt steps in, that is. After all, Dillon’s paint scheme was a tribute to his father Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s 1995 All-Star car.

Another 6,000 votes are cast in less than two minutes. By the time the polls close, 7,000 more roll in for a total of 24,000. Dillon wins 64 to 36 percent.

By a margin of slightly more than 6,600 votes, this was the most cast in NBC’s paint scheme pole. The second best was DiBenedetto versus Kasey Kahne’s Darlington Throwback in the first round, which received 17,329 votes.

Click here to read Dillon’s AMA on Reddit.

Social Roundup: Kasey Kahne gets surprise NASCAR retirement party

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Kasey Kahne‘s NASCAR career came to an unfortunate and unceremonious end this year when dehydration issues kept him from competing in the final 11 races of the season.

Kahne, 38, saw his last start in the Sept. 2 Southern 500. He ended his career with 529 Cup starts, 18 wins, 93 top fives and 176 top 10s.

The Cup Awards banquet came and went without any acknowledgement of Kahne and his accomplishments, which included three Coke 600 wins and a victory in the 2017 Brickyard 400, his last win career win.

But Thursday night saw Kahne get a send off with a surprise retirement party. By the end of the night, the party wound up at a Waffle House according to Kahne.

Clint Bowyer was among those in attendance. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver congratulated Kahne on his career on Twitter and then was critical of the fact that Kahne wasn’t recognized in some form at the banquet in Las Vegas last week.

The Kasey Kahne Racing Twitter account then took a dig at any critics of Kahne’s career with a simple, yet provocative picture of Kahne and his trophy case.

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Jimmie Johnson hopes to compete in Chili Bowl ‘one of these years’

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Jimmie Johnson‘s car swap with Formula One driver Fernando Alonso last week in Bahrain got people’s imaginations running in high gear.

What else could the seven-time Cup champion try his hand at?

“I’d look at anything,” Johnson said after the car swap. “Anything is open. I’m far from done. I want to keep driving and hopefully I can find some good opportunities.”

Johnson’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports goes through 2020. Then the 43-year-old driver could have a lot more time on his hands if he doesn’t renew with the the only team he has ever raced for in Cup.

Johnson, who mentioned his interest in IndyCar road course races, also has had his eye on possibly competing in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, a six-night event held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in January.

The subject was broached by a fan on Twitter.

In the immediate wake of the car swap, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, NASCAR drivers with dirt racing backgrounds, expressed their desire to get Johnson behind the wheel of a sprint car.

NASCAR drivers have a rich history in the Chili Bowl. Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell is the two-time defending winner of the event. Former Camping World Truck Series driver Rico Abreu won the two years before that.

Three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart won it in 2007 and 2002 and former Cup driver Dave Blaney won it in 1993.

Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have competed in the event every year since 2011 and Larson said earlier this year that “the Chili Bowl is bigger than the Daytona 500” for him.

NASCAR’s presence in the Chili Bowl will continue in 2019.

Alex Bowman, Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, is the only full-time NASCAR driver currently on the early entry list for the event.

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