Race Weekend Update
- Kevin Harvick won the AAA Texas 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of 2017, 1st win at Texas and 37th career win. He passed #78-Truex, Jr with 9 laps remaining and pulled away to win by 1.5 second. The win assures that Harvick will run for the championship at Homestead.
- #78-Truex, Jr finished 2nd and locked himself into the championship race at Homestead on points.
- #11-Hamlin finished 3rd followed by #20-Kenseth, #2-Keselowski, #22-Logano, #21-Blaney, #24-Elliott, polesitter #41-Busch, and #77-Jones.
- #78-Truex Jr. leads the driver points over #18-Busch by 50 points.
- Stage 1 was won by #4-Harvick, who won; Stage 2 was won by #42-Larson, finished 37th.
- There were 29 lead changes among 13 drivers and 8 cautions for 40 yellow flag laps. There was a 10 minute, 29 second red flag for track cleanup with 50 laps to go after an accident by #42-Larson.
Kenseth to step away from Cup next season
After 18 consecutive seasons in Cup, Matt Kenseth said he is taking a break from NASCAR's premier series after the 2017 season.
In his first expansive comments about the future since the announcement four months ago that he was losing his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth said Saturday during the taping of a NASCAR on NBC podcast episode (which will be posted early next week) that he will put a two-decade career on hiatus, possibly for good.
"I've put a lot of thought into it and pretty much decided after Martinsville, which I kind of already knew anyway, but we decided to take some time off," the 2003 series champion said. "I don't know what that means. I don't know if that's forever. I don't know if that's a month or I don't know if that's five months. I don't know if that's two years. Most likely when you're gone, you don't get the opportunity again. I just don't really feel it's in the cards.
"Really most of my life, everything has been very obvious to me. Moving to Joe Gibbs, everybody was like, 'Oh that must have been the hardest decision. Actually, it was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made. Both ends, everything lined up. It lined up to not stay where I was for a whole bunch of different reasons, and it lined up to go over there for a whole bunch of different reasons. It was just like it was really easy. This one, I've been fighting it as long as I can, because I'm like, 'Man, once you're done doing this, not many of us get to do this, especially at the top level.' I think I fought it for a long time.
"Sometimes you can't make your own decisions, so people make them for you. That's unfortunate, because I wanted to make my own decisions. I felt like in a way I've earned that to be able to go out the way other drivers who had similar careers to dictate when your time is up. Anyway, I just came to the realization it's probably time to go do something different."
Aric Almirola to replace Danica Patrick at Stewart-Haas Racing
Aric Almirola is set to replace Danica Patrick in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 car next season, and new SHR sponsor Smithfield also has agreed to continue a relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports, sources said.
Almirola said last week that he was continuing to work on his 2018 plans, and SHR has announced that it would hold a news conference Wednesday morning to introduce the driver of its Smithfield-sponsored No. 10 car.
Smithfield, which has sponsored Almirola for the past six seasons at RPM, announced in September that it would move to SHR in 2018 but did not announce a driver. At the time, Almirola would not say what his 2018 plans were but just that he would not return to the Petty team.
Smithfield has recently agreed to an ongoing collaboration with RPM next season as it transitions to SHR, according to a source.
NEXT RACE: This weekend at Phoenix Raceway; TV Sunday on NBC at 11:30 a.m. PT
Tasca to return to full-time Funny Car schedule in 2018 with Ford Performance
Ford will bring its legendary performance legacy to help fuel Bob Tasca III's Mustang Funny Car for the 2018 NHRA drag racing season. Ford Performance will help the team make the car as "slippery" as possible through the company's investments in aerodynamics engineering, including racing and production vehicle wind tunnels.
Ford and its selected brands will sponsor Bob Tasca III and Tasca Racing for the entire season as the primary sponsor for 16 races, and as a co-sponsor the rest of the season, building on the company's legacy of drag racing that dates back to the start of the sport.
"We're excited about partnering with Tasca Racing and helping them return to NHRA for a championship run," said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. "We believe we have the technology tools to help the team be competitive on the track long-term, and are looking forward to the effort starting in 2018.
"The Tasca family has always been a pioneer in racing, and a leader in Ford vehicle and parts sales for many decades," said Pericak. "This partnership will only serve to strengthen that legacy."
During his decade as an NHRA Funny Car competitor, Tasca has four race wins, 11 finals appearances and qualified for the Countdown to the Championship three times. His career best ET is 3.892 and his career best speed is 326.56 mph.
With Tasca Racing's new technical alliance with Don Schumacher Motorsports, and the engineering support of Ford Performance, the team is focused on making a run for the NHRA Funny Car title.
NEXT RACE: The NHRA season comes to a close this weekend at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona. Championships will be decided in all four professional categories. TV Sunday live on FS1 at 1 p.m. PT
A little levity: Penske Games Bloopers: www.indycar.com/Videos/2017/11/11-04-Penske-Games-bloopers
- Final Wednesday Night Drags and Sonoma Drift of the year slated for this Wednesday. Donations to the Thanksgiving Food Drive will be collected at the gate.
- The 17th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive is underway: http://www.sonomaraceway.com/media/news_archive/sonoma-raceway-kicks-off-17th-annual-thanksgiving-food-drive.html
- SPEED SF hits the track this weekend: speedsf.com/events-registration/.