Bristol Update: Matt Kenseth leads at halfway

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Matt Kenseth led the halfway point of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway after opting for track position with a two-tire pit stop under yellow at Lap 236.

Denny Hamlin has led 117 laps today, but sat second behind Kenseth with Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne (60 laps led) and Greg Biffle rounding out the Top 5 at Lap 250.

Kenseth is looking to follow up his first victory with Joe Gibbs Racing last week at Las Vegas with his third career triumph at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Food City 500

Top 10 (Lap 250 of 500)

1. Matt Kenseth

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Jimmie Johnson

4. Kasey Kahne

5. Greg Biffle

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Clint Bowyer

8. Joey Logano

9. Jeff Gordon

10. Brad Keselowski

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.