Valvoline to partner with Hendrick Motorsports from 2014

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Valvoline, a longtime partner of Ford teams in NASCAR, will switch to Chevrolet’s longtime flagship team Hendrick Motorsports in 2014.

The new multiyear agreement through 2017 will see Valvoline featured as a prominent associate sponsor on the four cars driven by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Valvoline will also be the preferred oil for the Hendrick Automotive Group, the fleet of dealers owned by Hendrick Motorsports team boss Rick Hendrick.

Valvoline has past history with Hendrick – it was a lubricant technology partner for Gordon’s first three full seasons in Cup from 1993 to 1995 – and Hendrick himself won his first drag race at age 14 with Valvoline in the car.

Valvoline has long been associated with Roush Fenway Racing, notably on Mark Martin’s No. 6 Ford and more recently with its green Valvoline NextGen brand featured on the No. 17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth and this year, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It has also been on the No. 13 Germain Racing Ford driven by Casey Mears this year.

Those longing for a return to the more traditional Valvoline blue, white and red would seem to have high hopes because all four Hendrick cars have a variation of blue paint schemes, with only Earnhardt Jr.’s Diet Mountain Dew livery in the green department.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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