Dave Pericak

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Chase Briscoe to run multiple series in 2018

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Chase Briscoe‘s second year in the Ford Performance Driver Development program will see him run in multiple series and with multiple teams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Briscoe, rookie of the year in the Camping World Truck Series, will drive in 12 Xfinity races in 2018 for Roush Fenway Racing. He also will drive in at least one Xfinity race for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Briscoe also will run select Mustang GT4 races in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series as well as select Mustang events in the Trans-Am TA2 class.

“If you want a championship driver, you have to train the young driver and that’s what our program is all about,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “It’s about developing him and developing his skills. Chase is taking a step up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but we’re also going to pair him up with the best in the business and he’s going to understand what it means to go out and road race.”

Briscoe also will assist Ford as a test driver.

“I’m excited for next year just because I’m going to be doing multiple things,” Briscoe said. “I’m not committed to just one series, which is good because I probably haven’t run 50 pavement races in my entire life. I feel like I’m at a point where I learn a ton every single race, so to get a chance to run some IMSA and Trans-Am races, in addition to my Xfinity schedule, is going to be a huge deal.”

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Richard Petty Motorsports adds sponsor for 2018

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Click n’ Close will be the primary sponsor of the No. 43 car for at least three races next season, including the Daytona 500.

Darrell Wallace Jr. will drive the No. 43 car next year. He replaces Aric Almirola, who is expected to drive the No. 10 at Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Stewart-Haas Racing is scheduled to announce the driver for the No. 10 car Wednesday.

Richard Petty Motorsports has yet to announce what its manufacturer will be, where the team will be located and its full sponsor lineup for 2018.

Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance, addressed if RPM will be back with Ford.

“Ford remains committed to being RPM’s OEM partner for the 2018 season and we are awaiting finalization of our contract to do so,’’ Pericak said in a statement. “RPM has not made a commitment to Ford for 2018 as of yet.”

Click n’ Close is Mid America Mortgage’s new digital mortgage approve and closing platform. The company has entered into an official partnership with NASCAR and RPM.

Click n’ Close will sponsor Wallace at Phoenix and Texas next year, along with the Daytona 500.

“We have recently had a lot of positive discussions about our race program in 2018, and having a new partner such as Click n’ Close is proof of that,” said Richard Petty, co-owner, Richard Petty Motorsports, in a statement. “Click n’ Close is a perfect tool for people who want a faster, more secure way to apply for a mortgage. We feel that Bubba and our team are a perfect fit to help spread their message to NASCAR fans across the country.”

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Dave Pericak stepping down as director of Ford Performance on Dec. 1 after ‘heck of a ride’

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After a three-year stint as director of Ford Performance, Dave Pericak will leave the role Dec. 1.

Pericak will stay with Ford on its production side, serving as the engineering director for Unibody.

Motorsport.com first reported the news.

Pericak said Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” that his time at Ford Performance was a “heck of a ride.”

His time included Ford winning the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class and recruiting Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford from Chevrolet.

The first year of the relationship with SHR has seen Kurt Busch win the Daytona 500 and Busch and Kevin Harvick make the playoffs.

“We can’t underestimate what it’s like to switch to a new manufacturer and all the work that goes into that,” Pericak said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We weren’t able to start until the last race last year working together in earnest. There was a short amount of time to get ready and running. I think they’ve done an amazing job. I think they’re really gaining traction right now on understanding the Ford body and everything that goes with it. We’ve given them quote a few tools that were new to them as well. Next year, I have high expectations for Stewart-Haas and I know they do too.”

Harvick is one of four Ford drivers still alive in the playoffs, including Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

If any of those drivers win the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it would be Ford’s first since Kurt Busch won the title in 2004.

“I can tell you guys, rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we end up at Ford Championship weekend with more than one driver there and for the ability to win that race,” Pericak said. “The championship means a lot to Ford. We haven’t had a championship in a while. I know the teams have recently said to me that they have even more of an incentive now that they know I’m leaving. They want to hand me the championship before I go.”

Pericak’s tenure also included the manufacture reeling off seven consecutive wins in Cup restrictor-plate races. That was capped off by Brad Keselowski’s win Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I think what you’re seeing now is everything’s coming together and it’s really starting to click,” Pericak said “This team is ready to continue on. They don’t need me to do so. I’m actually going back into the mainstream now and take all the learnings and approaches that I’ve had here at Ford Performance and take it back into the bigger Ford (body) and affect a larger portion of the company.”

With his new role as engineering director for Unibody, Pericak will be responsible for the engineering on all Ford products that are not trucks.

“Anything that’s not on a frame, engineering globally I will be responsible for,” Pericak said. “It’s a really big job within the company. Several thousand people will report to me. It’s the next evolution for me and my career.”

Pericak’s last year with Ford Performance also saw its NASCAR competitors, Toyota and Chevrolet, make significant body changes and announcements. Toyota brought a new nose to the Cup Series and Chevrolet revealed it will bring the Camaro to Cup after years of use in the Xfinity Series.

Pericak was asked if Ford plans to promote the Mustang from Xfinity to Cup in the near future.

“Clearly for 2018 we’ll be running the cars that we’re running now,” Pericak said. “We’ll have to see what we do in 2019. It would be great to see the Mustang out on the track. I think it would lend itself quite well to this racing. All I’ll say guys is stay tuned.”

Ford chooses Sebastien Bourdais replacement for Le Mans (and it isn’t Tony Stewart . . . yet)

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CONCORD, N.C. —  Ford has chosen a replacement for injured Sebastien Bourdais at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and is expected to announce the driver soon – but don’t hold your breath NASCAR fans.

It isn’t Tony Stewart, who has indicated his desire to run the renowned event.

While taping an upcoming episode Thursday of the NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ford Performance director Dave Pericak said the three-time champion, who retired from NASCAR’s premier series last year, still is lobbying “every time he sees us” to race a Ford GT car.

“We love Tony, and he wants to get behind the wheel of that GT but not at LeMans” in 2017, Pericak told NBC Sports at the Ford Performance Technical Center.

However, the new co-driver will be relatively inexperienced on the famous Circuit de la Sarthe road course in France. Pericak said Ford’s high-tech simulator (which mainly is used for NASCAR but also is used for sports cars and street models) at its North Carolina facility would help prepare the replacement.

“We will be using the simulator heavily between now and then for that driver to become fully up to speed not only in the GT but at Le Mans,” Pericak said. “There’s a great example of where we’re going to get tons of hours behind the wheel before that driver gets on an airplane and heads over the France.

“The realism is unbelievable. It’s a fantastic tool to have with this situation. Otherwise, you pick a driver, send him to Le Mans and take your chances. We’re going to be much more prepared. We already have the simulator ready to run that track because we ran it all last year.”

Returning to France, Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Chip Ganassi Racing GT driven by Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller last year.

Bourdais, who suffered pelvic fractures and a fractured right hip in an Indianapolis 500 qualifying crash last Saturday, was released from an Indianapolis hospital Thursday.

“Thank God, he’s going to be OK,” Pericak said. “We’ve talked to him, he’s in good spirits, but we’re really pleased he’s going to make a full recovery.”

Pericak said an announcement of Bourdais’ replacement will be likely Thursday or Friday.

Ford boss states ‘commitment’ to Danica Patrick’s team amid SHR’s lawsuit vs. sponsor

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The head of Ford’s racing operation said Monday that “you have my commitment” that the performance of Danica Patrick’s car will not be affected by the team’s legal situation with its sponsor.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery, the sponsor of Patrick’s car, last week in North Carolina Superior Court. Stewart-Haas Racing seeks damages in excess of $31 million, claiming that Nature’s Bakery breached its contract by attempting to terminate the company’s deal with the race team last month. Nature’s Bakery is contracted to sponsor the team through the 2018 season.

Dave Pericak, Global Director, Ford Performance, declined to say if Ford would consider sponsoring Patrick’s car if needed, but reiterated Ford’s support for the team.

“What I can say is that you have my commitment and the commitment of Stewart-Haas Racing and everyone that is involved that (the legal issue) is not going to affect our ability to hit the track and run that car and run it the way it needs to be run,’’ Pericak said Monday on a teleconference with reporters.

“I don’t really want to make any additional comments given where we are in the whole situation, and it’s very unfortunate that we are going through it right now, but one way or another, I can just tell you that you will have that 10 car on the track and it will be ready to perform.’’

Nature’s Bakery sponsored Patrick in 27 points races last year and was scheduled to sponsor her car in a minimum of 25 races this season.

Stewart-Haas Racing stated in its lawsuit that the actions of Nature’s Bakery “set SHR up for a devastating loss of revenue just before the beginning of the 2017 race season; and rendered it nearly impossible for SHR to have any reasonable hope of mitigating its damages.”

Stewart-Haas Racing said in a statement after filing the lawsuit that “the litigation with Nature’s Bakery will not impact the organization’s on-track efforts.”

Officials from Nature’s Bakery have not responded to repeated requests for comment from NBC Sports.

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