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Kaz Grala, Fury Race Cars secure sponsorship for Xfinity race at Daytona

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Kaz Grala announced on Twitter he and Fury Race Cars have obtained sponsorship for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), giving him and the team a sixth race together.

Grala’s No. 61 Ford will again be sponsored by Kiklos Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil in addition to Marlow’s Tavern.

Kiklos was on Grala’s car Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway when an electrical issue ended his day after just one lap, giving him a last-place finish and his third DNF of the year.

Marlow’s Tavern sponsored Grala in the Feb. 24 race at Atlanta.

Fury had to scramble to find sponsorship after its deal with NETTTS ended following the June 17 race at Iowa Speedway. NETTTS sponsored the No. 61 in the team’s first four races after Grala’s departure from JGL Racing following the May 5 race at Dover.

Kiklos has been a frequent sponsor of Grala’s since he competed in the K&N Pro Series East and the Camping World Truck Series. It sponsored Grala when he won the Trucks 2017 season opener at Daytona. At 18, the victory made him the youngest Daytona winner in NASCAR national series history.

This weekend’s Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 will be the first restrictor-plate race for Fury Race Cars, which is co-owned by Grala’s father, Darius Grala.

With chassis and team members from JGL Racing and support from Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines, Grala has two top 10s in his five starts for Fury. His last-place finish Saturday was his first finish worse than 16th with Fury.

In the season opener at Daytona, Grala finished fourth for JGL Racing giving him top fives in both of his NASCAR starts at Daytona.

Grala enters this weekend 17th in points.

 

Truck championship contender still hunting for money this season

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JOLIET, Ill. – Brett Moffitt continued the feel-good story of the 2018 Camping World Truck Series, winning Friday night’s Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The victory happened when leader John Hunter Nemechek lost power on the final lap, but Moffitt’s chances of taking the checkered flag for the third time this year were uncertain long before that.

With Hattori Racing still struggling to secure sponsorship, the team considered parking early in Friday’s race.

“We have discussed many, many scenarios,” crew chief Scott Zipadelli said. “That was probably the least favorable one.

“But at the end of the day there was probably a good chance that we would have to do something like that. It’s never good to be in a position to where you don’t know if you’re going to go race or you had the funding for this week or next week, but we did talk about that. … I hope we don’t have to have that conversation again.”

The team picked up a last-minute sponsorship deal with Fr8Auction to race at Chicagoland. Moffitt said the No. 16 Toyota still needs money to run Bristol Motor Speedway, Eldora Speedway and at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Per NASCAR rules, the team must attempt to qualify for every regular-season race to maintain its playoff berth (with three wins ranking second on the circuit, Moffitt is a virtual lock to contend for the championship.

Team owner Shige Hattori said the team was getting closer to being funded for the season finale.

“Every win definitely helps,” he said. “We’re working really hard to find more money. It’s tough. We’re a really good team. We want to keep going. Definitely, Moffitt is a really good driver and racer. That’s a big help for sponsorships.”

Moffitt is a 25-year-old from Grimes, Iowa, who has 71 starts across the Cup, Xfinity and truck series but is in the midst of what would be his first full-time shot at a title in NASCAR’s top three national series.

He said the key to Hattori Racing’s success is “badass people. That’s the truth. We didn’t start the race that good tonight. I gave the team one adjustment, and we were great. It goes all the way from the bottom up in our shop and we have quality people. Quality pit crew.

“And we’re all passionate and work really hard. That’s all that matters.”

Jimmie Johnson details continuing sponsorship search

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CONCORD, N.C. — Just over two months since Lowe’s announced it would not return to sponsor his No. 48 Chevrolet in 2019, Jimmie Johnson provided a little insight into his first search for a major sponsor in his Cup career.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver had to “swallow the pill” of Lowe’s departure but recognizes that “ship has sailed.”

Johnson made his comments Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Johnson, who has been sponsored by Lowe’s since 2001, said “multiple companies” are interested in backing the seven-time champion.

He was asked about a rumor that Red Bull was one of those companies interested.

“There’s definitely interest there,” Johnson said of the energy drink company that fielded its own Cup team from 2007-09. “I think there’s interest from a variety of different companies. That’s only one of a long list of hopefuls.”

Johnson said it is “exciting” to “look through a different lens” at what opportunities are out there for his team.

“A lot of conversing and ideas and you feel like sometimes a conversation with a given company is going in a different direction and then they go to work and brainstorm and come back with a new idea and angle,” Johnson said. “So, it’s amazing how much follow-up is involved and how much collaboration exists through it all. I have enjoyed the process. I’ve enjoyed being involved. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve been able to bring some opportunities to the table through my own contacts that I have and also others have come along through Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s network and other networks.  It’s been interesting. It’s taken a lot of time and it’s been a fun, new experience for me.”

Johnson shared some of the questions he asks regarding prospective sponsors.

“How I can be integrated into their mission statement in a sense and help them internally, how they are going to market us, how they are going to use us, that is all exciting stuff,” Johnson said. “We have some great opportunities there to look at.”

Hertz set as primary sponsor of William Byron for next two years

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Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that the rental car company Hertz will be a primary sponsor of William Byron in four races this year and next.

In will also sponsor Byron in this weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star Race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hertz will serve as an associate sponsor in all other events.

Byron, the defending Xfinity Series champion, is in his rookie Cup season. He is 19th in the point standings. His best finish is 10th at Texas Motor Speedway.

“It’s really special that a leading brand like Hertz has so much confidence in me,” Byron said in a press release. “It motivates me to continue working hard and doing everything I can to make sure we deliver results for them. I’m happy to welcome Hertz to the Hendrick Motorsports family and look forward to having a lot of success with them in the months and years ahead.”

Byron is entered in the Monster Energy Open before the All-Star Race. Byron can transfer to the main event by either winning one of the Open’s three stages or by winning the fan vote.

Kansas Speedway announces sponsor for May 12 Cup race

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The May 12 Cup race at Kansas Speedway will have a new sponsor, the track announced Wednesday.

The night race will be called the KC Masterpiece 400, after the barbecue sauce created in Kansas City in 1978.

The race was sponsored by GoBowling.com for the last two years.