Parker Kligerman returning to Cup to race in Coca-Cola 600

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NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman announced on Thursday’s NASCAR America that he will return to the Cup Series to drive in the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kligerman will race the No. 96 for Gaunt Brothers Racing.

This will mark Kligerman’s first Cup start since the 2014 Southern 500. He has competed in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series since and won at Talladega last year for his second career Truck series victory.

“It was about a month ago that a friend of mine and my girlfriend asked: ‘Do you think you’ll ever drive a Cup car again?’ Nah, I think that boat has passed,’’ Kligerman said.

“A couple of weeks later, this popped up. I know Marty (Gaunt, team owner) well, and I know how professional he is and he does things the right way.’’

As a new team, Gaunt Brothers Racing, is allowed five tests during the season. The team tested with Kligerman on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kligerman said the cars are “vastly different” from what he ran four years ago.

“These cars, technology-wise, have accelerated so quickly to the point where just what you’re working on is so vastly different than what we were doing four years ago.’’

Kligerman said the lower downforce combined with the no ride height rule has “put you in a position where what you work on is primarily how to take advantage of every little ounce of aero, which we know. The way you go about it is so different than an Xfinity car or Truck or what we’ve done in the past.’’

Kligerman said the cars are challenging to drive.

“I think I had a general idea, but I don’t think I realized the extreme to how tough it is to get the cars to do what you would want as a driver,’’ he said. “What it has done to force people to change their habits, I think, is interesting.’’

Kligerman said that the experience also will help him convey to viewers the nuances of driving Cup cars.

“Just in one day of testing it was an incredible eye-opener,’’ he said. “I think that’s what my role at NASCAR on NBC is, to be that guy that can take the experience of being a current driver … understand what is happening and bring it to life.’’

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Gaunt Brothers Racing raises $12,000 in auction for Humboldt Broncos hood

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Gaunt Brothers Racing announced Wednesday it raised $12,000 in an auction for the hood off DJ Kennington’s No. 96 Toyota in last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Kennington’s hood featured the logo for the Humboldt Broncos.

The hood honors the 16 people who lost their lives and the 13 who were injured on April 6 when a bus carrying members of the junior-A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was struck by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The money will be donated to the Humboldt Broncos charity. The winning bid was placed by Kennington’s sponsor, Castrol.

Kennington, who finished 27th in Food City 500, is a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

The hood was signed by every member of the No. 96 team.

Gaunt Brothers Racing to auction hood for Humboldt Broncos charity

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Gaunt Brothers Racing is auctioning the hood from D.J. Kennington‘s car at Bristol in support of the Humboldt Broncos.

The hood honors the 16 people who lost their lives and the 13 who were injured on April 6 when a bus carrying members of the junior-A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was struck by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada. Kennington is a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

On its Facebook page, Gaunt Brothers Racing stated that all proceeds from the auction will go to the Humboldt Broncos charity.

A GoFundMe page for the Humboldt Broncos has raised more than $11.6 million.

Kennington was 30th in the Food City 500 when the race was stopped after 204 laps on Sunday because of rain. The race is scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. ET.

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Michael Annett, DJ Kennington to honor victims of Humboldt Broncos bus crash

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This weekend DJ Kennington and Michael Annett will pay tribute to the 16 players and staff of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team who have lost their lives as a result of an April 6 bus crash.

The bus was carrying 29 members of the junior-A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team which is based in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Kennington is a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and both drivers have played hockey.

Kennington, who drives for Gaunt Brothers Racing, will have the team’s logo on the hood of his No. 96 Toyota this weekend in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Annett, who drives for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, will have the logo above the B pillar on his No. 5 Chevrolet.

The logos are the latest in a series of tributes in memory of the victims and the first in NASCAR.

“I remember riding buses when I played hockey,” Annett said in a press release. “It was part of the game, traveling together to away games. In NASCAR, we use planes and motorhomes, but none of us as players had the ability to do that. You went as a team.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to the families and fans of the Humboldt Broncos.”

D.J. Kennington to attempt to qualify for Daytona 500 with Gaunt Brothers Racing

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Canadian driver D.J. Kennington will try to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Gaunt Brothers Racing for the second year in a row, the team announced Monday.

Kennington, a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, will drive the No. 96 Toyota sponsored by Lordco Auto Parts and Castrol.

The team, sponsor and driver combination made the 2017 edition of the race, making Kennington the first Canadian driver to compete in the Daytona 500 in 29 years.

Kennington started 28th and finished 36th following a multi-car crash at the start of Stage 2.

“Last year was an awesome experience for my sponsors, Lordco and Castrol, and me,” Kennington said in a press release. “We knew once it was over, we wanted to do it again. (Team owner) Marty (Gaunt) and everybody at GBR is pulling out all the stops for us this year. I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Lordco/Castrol Toyota Camry and seeing the difference a year makes.”

The 40-year-old driver has five Cup starts with a best finish of 26th in last November’s race at Phoenix.

Gaunt Brothers Racing does not own a charter, meaning Kennington is not guaranteed a starting spot in the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.

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