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New Cup driver, spotter combinations set for 2019

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A number of Cup drivers will have new spotters this season, including former champion Brad Keselowski.

Coleman Pressley will be Keselowski’s spotter this season, Team Penske confirmed.

Pressley replaces Joey Meier, who had been Keselowski’s spotter since 2006. Meier announced in November that he would no longer be Keselowski’s spotter.

Meier will spot for Paul Menard this season, a team official confirmed to NBC Sports.

Pressley, the son of former NASCAR Cup driver Robert Pressley, had been the spotter for AJ Allmendinger at JTG Daugherty Racing from 2015-18.

With rookie Ryan Preece taking over the No. 47 car for Allmendinger this season, Preece will have Stevie Reeves as his spotter, a spokesperson with JTG Daugherty confirmed to NBC Sports. Reeves had previously been the spotter for Menard at the Wood Brothers.

Former champion Kurt Busch also will have a new spotter this year. He’s moving from Stewart-Haas Racing to Chip Ganassi Racing. Tyler Green, who had been the spotter for Jamie McMurray, will remain with the team and work with Busch this season.

Michael McDowell also will have a new spotter this year. He’ll work with Frank Deiny Jr. Rookie Matt Tifft will have Chris Monez as his spotter. Monez worked with multiple drivers in the Xfinity Series last year.

Matt DiBenedetto moves to Leavine Family Racing this season and will be paired with Doug Campbell, who was the team’s spotter last season.

Drivers to take part in Cup Las Vegas organizational test

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway has announced a roster of 14 drivers who will take part in the first Cup organizational test of the year on Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

The test on the 1.5-mile track will be one of the first opportunities for teams to test the 2019 rules package that includes a tapered spacer.

The drivers who will take part:

Brad Keselowski (Team Penske)

Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports)

Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing)

Kurt Busch (Chip Ganassi Racing)

Ryan Newman (Roush Fenway Racing)

Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing)

Clint Bowyer (Stewart-Haas Racing)

Landon Cassill (StarCom Racing)

Matt DiBenedetto (Leavine Family Racing)

Ryan Preece (JTG Daugherty Racing)

Paul Menard (Wood Brothers Racing)

Ross Chastain, David Ragan and Drew Herring are also scheduled to be at the track. They will be driving manufacture wheel force cars.

The test will be the first on-track time for Kurt Busch, Newman, Preece and DiBenedetto with their new teams.

The test is tentatively scheduled to run from 11 am to 9 pm ET on Jan. 31 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Feb. 1.

A section of the main grandstands and pit road will be open to fans at the test.

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Three Cup teams set for first Goodyear test of year

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While many are counting down to the Daytona 500 (39 days), the first NASCAR action of 2019 is here with a two-day Goodyear tire test.

Three Cup Series teams will test Wednesday and Thursday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Joey Logano (Team Penske), Martin Truex Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Daniel Suarez (Stewart-Haas Racing) will participate in the test.

The test will be the first on-track action for Truex and Suarez with their new teams. Suarez was announced as joining SHR on Monday. 

Ticket owners for the March 17 Auto Club 400 will be able to watch the test Wednesday. They can watch from the Infield Terrace Suite rooftops just above pit road from 1 – 7 p.m ET.

Hard Card members (ticket holders who renewed their tickets before the deadline) will have the opportunity to reserve a seat to attend a special Q&A session with Logano on Wednesday after the session concludes.

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2018 Cup Season in Review: Joey Logano

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Joey Logano

CREW CHIEF: Todd Gordon

TEAM: Team Penske

POINTS: First

WINS: Three (Talladega I, Martinsville II and Miami)

LAPS LED: 934 (Most since 1,431 in 2015)

TOP 5s: 13 (Second fewest since 2014)

TOP 10s: 26 (Tied for second most in career)

POLES: One (Kansas II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Delivered Team Penske its second Cup title, joining Brad Keselowski‘s title in 2012 … Earned Penske its sixth Talladega win since 2014 … Won the title after failing to make the playoffs in 2017 … Earned first Martinsville win after contact with Martin Truex Jr. on last lap allowed him to take the lead … Passed Truex with 11 laps to go in Miami and went on to win race and title … Miami win made Team Penske the only Cup team with a win on every active Cup track …

WHAT WENT WRONG: Suffered three DNFs (Daytona II, Watkins Glen and Phoenix II) … Led a race-high 100 laps at Kansas II but finished eighth … Had an 11-race stretch from the Coke 600 to the second Michigan race where he failed to finish in the top five.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019: Logano enters his seventh season with Penske, all of which have been spent with crew chief Todd Gordon. They are the second longest tenured driver-crew chief pairing in Cup. 2019 will represent the start of Logano’s second decade as a full-time Cup driver.

2018 Cup Season in Review: Brad Keselowski

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Brad Keselowski

CREW CHIEF: Paul Wolfe

TEAM: Team Penske

POINTS: Eighth

WINS: Three (Southern 500, Brickyard 400, Las Vegas II; matched 2017 win total)

LAPS LED:  705 (Down from 778 in 2017)

TOP 5s: 12 (Fewest since nine in 2015)

TOP 10s: 20 (Fewest since 20 in 2014)

POLES: None (Lowest since earning none in 2012, his championship year)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Won three consecutive races for the first time … Earned first two major wins of career with victories in Southern 500 and Brickyard 400, the former being Penske’s first Darlington win since 1975 and the latter Penske’s first Brickyard 400 win … Led a track-best 108 laps at Dover in the spring and finished sixth … Won multiple races for third straight year.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Crashed out of three of four restrictor-plate races … Led 29 laps on the Charlotte Roval before wrecking on a restart with five laps to go … Three DNFs in first 10 races … Eliminated from playoffs after Round of 12.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019: Will try to give Team Penske second consecutive Cup title and the second of his career … Will be ninth full-time season in Cup.