Dollar General ups its NASCAR sponsorship of Kenseth’s car

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In 2013, it took some getting used to two different things regarding the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

One, it wasn’t Tony Stewart or Joey Logano in the car but it was Matt Kenseth in his first year driving something other than a Blue Oval. And two, it wasn’t orange for most of the year in deference to longtime sponsor The Home Depot, but instead yellow for new primary sponsor Dollar General for 17 of the 36 races.

After a year in which Kenseth and the JGR team gelled almost immediately and won a series-high seven races, Dollar General is upping its support of the team to 27 races as primary sponsor in 2014. Home Depot and Husky had been announced for 21 races, previously, and are expected to continue albeit with now fewer races as primary sponsor.

“Dollar General is excited to build on its successful partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor more races with Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 team next year,” Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO said in a release. “NASCAR is key to connecting with our customers, many of whom are loyal race fans, and we look forward to a continued partnership with JGR to further our business.”

Kenseth finished second in this year’s Chase to six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, with only one bad race (Phoenix) in the 10-race Chase.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.