Paul Menard, Landon Cassill and Parker Kligerman will start from back at Bristol

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When Sunday’s scheduled Food City 500 finally gets underway, the starting grid will be slightly different than what was determined in qualifying.

Landon Cassill’s team tried to repair the damage sustained on his Chevrolet when he hit the wall during Saturday’s final Happy Hour practice.

But the damage was too severe on Cassill’s Circle Sport Chevrolet to be fixed in time, so the team has gone to a backup car, sending Cassill to the back of the starting grid for the race – whenever it is run.

It’s been a rough start to the 2014 season for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native.

Cassill, who originally qualified 31st for the Bristol race, had a great run in the season-opening Daytona 500, qualifying 18th and finishing 12th in the Great American Race.

But he failed to qualify in the last two Sprint Cup races at Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Things have been a bit better in the Nationwide Series, which is Cassill’s designated full-time series in 2014. After finishing 21st at Daytona, he’s been 19th at Phoenix and Las Vegas and was a season-best 12th in Saturday’s Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol.

That top-15 Bristol showing moved Cassill up in the NNS standings to 10th, 75 points behind series leader Regan Smith.

Paul Menard, still in wait for the birth of his and his wife’s first child, will also start at the back of the field due to an engine change in his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

Coming into Bristol 18th in the Sprint Cup standings, Menard got off to a rough start with a 32nd-place finish at Daytona and 23rd at Phoenix, but had a very impressive third-place finish last week at Las Vegas.

Also going to the back of the Bristol starting grid due to an engine change is rookie Parker Kligerman, who arguably has had the worst luck of any driver in Sprint Cup thus far this season.

Driving the Swan Racing Toyota, Kligerman recorded DNFs at Daytona (29th) and Phoenix (42nd). And while he didn’t earn a third DNF at Las Vegas, he finished 40th, 27 laps off the lead lap.

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Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.