NASCAR: Brad Keselowski’s Truck Series team finalizes lineups for 2015

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After almost capturing a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title last year, Brad Keselowski Racing will look to continue their momentum in 2015 with Tyler Reddick as its new full-time driver.

Reddick, the 19-year-old Californian, is taking over the appropriately numbered No. 19 Ford F-150. He made 16 starts in that very machine last season, earning two pole positions, three Top-5s, and nine Top-10s (best finish of fourth; Chicagoland, Talladega, and Texas).

All three of his Top-5s and seven of his nine Top-10s occurred during the last eight races of the season.

BKR’s No. 29 Ford will also run the full schedule in 2015. But it will go for the Truck Series’ owner’s championship after Ryan Blaney drove it to second in last season’s driver’s standings.

The four-driver rotation for the No. 29 includes Blaney, who will compete on a part-time basis in Sprint Cup for the Wood Brothers in 2015.

Also in the rotation are former Cup Series champion Keselowski, his Cup Series teammate Joey Logano, and young gun Austin Theriault.

Theriault returns to BKR after running in its developmental program back in 2012 and 2013. He will get the majority of seat time in the No. 29, as the team says he’ll be running 13 of the 23 events.

“One of the things I wanted to do at BKR is give talented young drivers an opportunity,” said Keselowski. “Both Tyler and Austin are perfect examples of what I’m trying to accomplish.

“We saw a lot of improvement with Tyler in 2014. He really stepped up his game during the second half of the season and I certainly think he can compete for wins and challenge for a championship in 2015. Austin was part of our driver development program, so for him to have an opportunity to drive for us in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is pretty special.”

BKR has retained sponsorship support from Cooper Standard (No. 29), as well as Broken Bow Records and Cequent Performance’s group of companies (No. 19). Doug Randolph will guide Reddick as his crew chief, while Chad Kendrick will lead the No. 29’s formidable quartet.

Tony Kanaan says his message of IndyCar-NASCAR unity aimed at fans

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Over a 22-year IndyCar career featuring its share of adversity, Tony Kanaan has learned to embrace trying to find the positives in a negative situation.

He believes NASCAR and IndyCar will find a tiny silver lining from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The series will race together at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in a July 4 doubleheader, which he believes sends a message of unity he’d like to see from the world during this dark period.

“It’s time to send that message (of unity),” Kanaan told “Happy Hours” hosts Kevin Harvick and Matt Yocum in a Wednesday afternoon interview on SiriusXM’s NASCAR Channel. “If we don’t come out of this situation as better people, globally, in every way, shape or form … it’s just being kind to people. Hopefully, we’ll be sending the right messages, doing radio shows together, doing live on Instagram together, doing races together.

ON NBCSN: IndyCar at virtual Barber Motorsports Park, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

MORE: Jimmie Johnson wants to run IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader

“I was bugging Jimmie Johnson to say, ‘Can I be a guest in NASCAR on iRacing?’ I think the misperception, and probably a little our fault as well, is that people don’t know how (IndyCar and NASCAR drivers) respect each and how we think each other’s jobs are so cool.”

It was Kanaan’s comment last week that “it’s not us and them. It is the motorsports world’ that prompted Harvick to ask the 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner about his views on past IndyCar and NASCAR divisions.

Harvick noted that “over the years, IndyCar and NASCAR have that separate stigma as far as the fans, but the racers in the middle, we talk with each other. We’re just racers. I think it’s absolutely great” the doubleheader will happen.

Kanaan said he felt it was the right message to send because of the fans. “For drivers, I don’t think we ever thought of it that way,” he said. “We always respected each other and thought each other’s jobs were cool. That tweet was for our fans who say, ‘Those cars are too fast. Those cars are too slow.’ It’s time for us to stop. It’s a racing family.

“For people who don’t understand about racing, any race car is cool. Doesn’t matter if it’s a go kart, a sprint car, a  Cup car, it doesn’t matter. … The situation, we’re in, we’re all equal. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. We’re all in the same boat now. We can’t do what we love. It just clicked. I said it’s time to send that message. Hopefully this will be the end for ‘you guys and us’ for the fans. For drivers, I don’t think we ever thought of it that way.”

The GMR IndyCar Grand Prix is scheduled to be run July 4 on the IMS road course ahead of the Xfinity race, which will mean that the NTT Series’ Firestone rubber will be on the asphalt before the Goodyears of NASCAR hit the track.

Recalling a NASCAR test many years ago at Nazareth Speedway when he turned laps a second faster because there’d been an IndyCar race the previous day, Harvick asked Kanaan whether the varying tire compounds might present a challenge.

“I don’t there is a solution for that,” Kanaan said. “It’s part of the job, and we need to realize that you guys run different tires. We run softer tires. It’s no different than (IndyCar) racing with the trucks at Texas. It’s probably harder on an oval than a road course.

“But I like it. It’s part of the challenge and makes the race weekend more interesting, the people who can manage that as well.”

Even though he is sidelined, Kanaan still will stay busy this weekend, racing in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. IndyCar iRacing Challenge event at virtual Barber Motorsports Park on NBCSN. He will be tuning in Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox and FS1 as NASCAR hits Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Last Sunday I had my alarm set for 12:40 p.m., because at 1 o’clock (NASCAR was) on,” Kanaan said with a laugh. “I told (wife) Lauren, ‘Let’s turn the TV on and watch the NASCAR race!’ I was excited, and it wasn’t even real. She’s like, ‘Man, look at you … I said, ‘That’s what we got.’ It’s been a weird year.”

Harvick also will be racing Sunday, having recently joined Kanaan in installing a new racing simulator at home.

“Let’s do this Kevin: Come do an IndyCar race on iRacing,” Kanaan said. “I’ll do NASCAR. Now that you have a sim. What do you think?”

“Well, I’ll have to go to my 7-year-old to figure out how to drive it fast,” Harvick said.

“He’s been practicing. I’m really good at crashing.”