Dollar General ups its NASCAR sponsorship of Kenseth’s car


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.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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