Ty Dillon to drive No. 13 Germain Racing Chevy in 2017
Germain Racing announced Monday that Ty Dillon will jump full-time into NASCAR's premier series next season, taking the reins of its No. 13 Chevrolet. Dillon replaces Casey Mears , who had driven the No. 13 GEICO-sponsored entry since the second half of the 2010 season. The 24-year-old Dillon has made 18 Sprint Cup starts over the last three years, including a relief stint for the injured Tony Stewart during the early stages of last season. In a Monday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR's Radio's "The Morning Drive" program, Dillon indicated that an agreement with Germain Racing came together earlier in the year. The challenge, he said, was staying mum until this week. "The questions kept coming and coming," Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "The cool thing is that I knew what I was doing; I just didn't say anything. It's kind of like having an awesome secret that you want everyone to know, but you kind of had to hold it back. I guess all good things are worth waiting for. I'm just excited for what's to come."
Ty Dillon to drive for Germain Racing in 2017
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman gets you caught up on the news about Ty Dillon replacing Casey Mears in the No. 13 in NASCAR's Premier series for Germain Racing in 2017.
Casey Mears inks extension with Germain Racing
Driver will return to the No. 13 Chevrolet in 2016 Casey Mears has signed a contract extension to keep him with Germain Racing for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Mears, 37, has been with Germain Racing since late in the 2010 season. During that time, he has one top-five finish and five top-10 finishes, all of which have come at restrictor-plate tracks. "I'm really happy to announce that Casey Mears is back in the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS next year," team owner Bob Germain Jr. said in a release provided by the team. "He's been an integral part of the team's growth and success over the past 5 years and I am confident he can continue to help us move forward and reach our goals. We've come a long way as a team, and assembled a group of extremely talented people who enjoy working together. As the team owner, that's really the thing I'm most proud of. And, of course, the long term support of GEICO has given us the stability we needed to make it all happen." In his fifth full-time season with Germain , Mears is currently 20th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. "It's really exciting to drive the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS again in 2016," Mears said in a team release. "I think that it's been a long time in the making here at Germain Racing , being competitive at the Cup level. It's been a long process to get the GEICO program to where we are now. We are finally starting to see some of the benefits from all the hard work from the last four or five years. I'm very excited to carry on the GEICO relationship and to be a part of Germain Racing 's continued growth." In his 13 seasons in the sport's top series, Mears has one win, which came in 2007 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 with Hendrick Motorsports . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Get the history of Germain Racing and full crew of Casey Mears
Germain Racing extends deals with Mears, GEICO
Casey Mears and Germain Racing have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep Mears in the No. 13 Chevrolet through 2018, the team announced Thursday. GEICO also extended its relationship with Germain Racing to be the vehicle's primary sponsor through 2018. GEICO has been a primary sponsor with the team since its inception in 2009. "This is great news for our Germain Racing team because everyone has worked so hard to build this GEICO program and people in the garage are taking notice of what we're accomplishing," Mears said in a team release. "GEICO is such a great partner and they not only support our team, but the sport in general, which makes me even prouder to have the opportunity to drive the GEICO Chevy. We appreciate their belief in us and have enjoyed our relationship with everyone at the corporate office, as well as the GEICO associates that we get to interface with each week at the race track." Mears has piloted the car full time since the 2011 season, notching one top five and five top 10s during that span. He currently sits 22nd in the points standings with two races remaining in the 2015 season. If it holds, it would be his best finish with Germain Racing .
Childress forms alliance with Germain Racing
Richard Childress Racing will offer technical insight as Germain shifts to Chevrolet in 2014
BK Racing shuffle: Ragan, DiBenedetto won't return
BK Racing will have a significant overhaul to its driver lineup for 2017 with announcements on consecutive days that primary drivers David Ragan and Matt DiBenedetto would not return to the team next season. DiBenedetto, touting the promise of an exciting announcement in the future, announced Thursday night on Twitter that he would not return to the Charlotte-based team. Ragan's departure was the next bit of news, with the Ron Devine-owned organization confirming that transition Friday afternoon. I've decided to go in a different direction next year. Exciting announcements coming soon. It's been a great ride @BKRacing_2383 Thank you! — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) December 8, 2016 In two years with the organization, DiBenedetto logged 68 starts with one top-10 finish. That finish, in April 2016 at Bristol, was a sixth-place result -- he finished one spot ahead of 2014 champion Kevin Harvick -- and resulted in an emotional, memorable on-air interview. "I can only say so much at this time," DiBenedetto said Thursday night on SiriusXM Radio. "I've been in talks with BK, and no hard feelings. I'm appreciative of everything they've given me. … Just kind of evaluating the team situation for next year. From my end there's a little too much unknown, so I just had to make that decision. I'm excited about what the future has to hold here still, and obviously everyone will have to stay tuned." Devine confirmed DiBenedetto's parting through a statement released later Thursday evening. "Our 33rd- and 34th-place finishes this year did not produce the results we were hoping to achieve," Devine said. "I am, however, very proud of Matt DiBenedetto and his many accomplishments over the past two years. He is a wonderful driver and a special person. I am confident that Matt will go on to be a very successful NASCAR driver, and I believe it is the right time to release him so that he can pursue other opportunities. "Myself and everyone at BK Racing wishes Matt all the best in his future endeavors. I am looking forward to much success for both Matt and BK Racing ." Devine struck a similar tone in his statement on Ragan's release, hinting at measures to better its results next season. " BK Racing has agreed not to renew David Ragan 's contract for next year," Devine said. "Everyone wishes David the best of luck in his career. BK Racing will continue to restructure as an ongoing effort to improve our on-track performance ... and we will be announcing our 2017 driver lineup in the near future." DiBenedetto and Ragan were the primary drivers for BK Racing in 2016, but the organization also fielded Toyotas in spot duty for Jeffrey Earnhardt , Ryan Ellis , Dylan Lupton , Robert Richardson Jr., and Michael Waltrip. The team has been full time in NASCAR's premier series since 2012, when it debuted as a two-car outfit with drivers Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil . Ragan, 31, has two victories in NASCAR's top division since he began full-time competition in 2007. He won at Daytona International Speedway driving for Roush Fenway Racing in July 2011 and handed Front Row Motorsports its first victory at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2013. Ragan finished 33rd in the final standings in his only season for BK Racing . His most recent top-10 finish was in March 2015 in a fill-in role for the injured Kyle Busch in Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 18 Toyota. DiBenedetto missed one race in 2016, at Texas Motor Speedway in November, after not being medically cleared following a wreck in the NASCAR XFINITY Series the day prior. He was cleared from concussion protocol in time for the next race. DiBenedetto, 25, also has 68 career starts in the XFINITY Series. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
K&N East champ Justin Haley joins GMS Racing for 2017
RELATED: See which drivers, crew chiefs are on the move in '17 Statesville, N.C. - Two wins, 13 top-five finishes and 14 top-10 results in just 14 races. That is what it took for Justin Haley to claim the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) Championship. On Saturday night, the 17-year-old will accept his title in front of his family, teammates and competitors. Today he announces that he will be taking the next step in his career by joining GMS Racing for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Haley, who has competed in a total of six NCWTS races over the past two seasons with one top-10 finish, will pilot the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado beginning at Martinsville Speedway . Haley's rookie season will be directed by second-year crew chief Kevin Bellicourt. "I'm so excited and thankful for this opportunity with GMS Racing . The past few years in K&N has been an effort to get to the next step in my career and I don't think we could have done any better than joining GMS, especially at this point in time," Haley said. "Everyone knows what they've been able to accomplish over the last year and it's that type of consistency and drive that every driver wants to see when making a decision like this. Kevin Bellicourt coming on for 2017 is one of the most exciting parts of this deal. He's had a lot of success with young drivers and I can't wait to see what we're able to accomplish." The Indiana native began his racing career in 2008, at the age of nine years old. He has earned wins in quarter midgets, micro sprints, the CRA Late Model Sportsman Series, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In 2015, Haley completed his first full-time season in the NKNPSE with six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and a ranking of sixth in the point standings. He followed that up in 2016 by earning his first NKNPSE win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway after starting from the second position and his second victory at Columbus Motor Speedway where he started from the pole position. With only one finish outside of the top five and no result worse than ninth, Haley claimed the NKNPSE title by a 22-point margin. Bellicourt joins GMS after completing his first year as a NCWTS crew chief with ThorSport Racing and driver Ben Rhodes , earning two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He also earned the 2015 NKNPSE Championship with driver William Byron. "There are a lot of great things happening at GMS Racing ," said Bellicourt. "It's one thing to watch the progress and success from a distance, but to now be a part of what is coming together is a completely different experience and I'm thankful for chance to be here. Justin is a great driver, who has had a lot of success fast, but he has handled it like a driver who has been doing this for years. I'm excited to see what he's able to do once we get him in the No. 24." Bellicourt and Haley join a GMS Racing team that garnered six wins with four different drivers last season, as well as the 2016 NCWTS Championship with veteran driver Johnny Sauter r. Haley will unite with Sauter and 17-year-old Kaz Grala, who returns to the team after competing in nine NCWTS races in 2016. Haley and Grala will both compete for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. Additional details on sponsorship for all three drivers will be announced at a later date.
Matt DiBenedetto talks about decision to part from BK Racing
Matt DiBenedetto speaks with SiriusXM NASCAR about his decision to part ways with BK Racing , and what his future looks like for 2017.
The Rundown: Miami driver grades
RELATED: Miami results " Final standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Johnson championship gear Breaking down the full field for the EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway : 1. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . You don't win seven titles without a little good fortune coming your way, but you have to put yourself in position to be there at the end, too. And that’s what Johnson and the 48 team did when Johnson drove his way from 40th on the grid after he had to start from the rear of the field because of unapproved body modifications. Congrats to Johnson for joining Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as the Sprint Cup Series' only seven-time champions. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Larson put on a show and deserved to win the race. He dominated and was cruising to his second victory when the yellow flag was waved on Lap 253. The entire complexion of the race changed. Moments later, carnage ensued on the restart, and the complexion changed again. Then, another yellow, another restart, and this time another driver -- Jimmie Johnson -- got the best of him. Tough, tough way to not win a race. Grade: A++ 3. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick dominated early, leading 79 laps (second to Kyle Larson 's 132). He raced among the leaders all day and finished the season with a series-high 27 top 10s. His top fives -- 17 -- tied Kyle Busch for most, and his four wins were one short of Jimmie Johnson 's series-leading five. Bottom line: Another truly remarkable season for Harvick. Grade: A+ 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . After losing a tense green-flag battle with Carl Edwards and seemingly resigned to finishing runner-up to Edwards for the championship, a caution on Lap 253 gave Logano new life. Mr. Restart nailed the Lap 258 restart, but when Edwards went down to block Logano, all hell broke loose. Fortunately for Logano, he was able to emerge with minimal damage … and instead of finishing runner-up to Edwards, he finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson . One last Logano note: His finishes in the final six races of the season were: 3rd, 1st, 9th, 1st, 2nd, 4th. Impressive. Grade: A 5. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray survived restart roulette to post his second top five of the season. Grade: A 6. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Not enough went Busch's way for him to win back-to-back championships, but that shouldn't take away from a stellar season in which he tied his career best in top fives (17) and set a personal high in top 10s (25). Grade: A 7. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . On the day Tony Stewart retired as a Sprint Cup Series driver, Kenseth grabbed his 309th career top 10 to pass Smoke for 17th all time in the series. Grade: A 8. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger closed out the season with four top 10s in his final six starts. Grade: A 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Check out this line for Hamlin's second half of the season: 2 wins, 7 top fives, 15 top 10s and only one finish outside the top 15. Grade: A 10. Michael McDowell , No. 59 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. McDowell finished off the best season of his Sprint Cup career with his second top-10 finish, which doubled his career total coming into 2016. Grade: A 11. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott finished his terrific rookie season with 17 top 10s, which equaled the total of 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and is the third-highest total since 2000. Grade: B+ 12. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon took the same high line as Kyle Larson but unlike Larson, had brushes with the wall. Still, it was good to see him going for it. Grade: B 13. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Handling was an issue all day for the No. 41 team, which led Busch to say, "We were the slowest seventh-place car in points that I've ever seen." Grade: B 14. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard capped off one of the worst seasons of his Sprint Cup Series career with back-to-back top-15 finishes for only the second time this season. Grade: B 15. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Maybe Scott is calling it a career too soon. Sunday's finish was his third best this season and sixth best of his career. Grade: A- 16. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Another solid day for Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s main understudy. Now the question is where Bowman lands in 2017. Grade: B 17. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . An electrical issue forced the No. 16 team to replace the car's battery multiple times, but Biffle still was able to carve out a respectable finish. Grade: B- 18. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears finished 18th for the second week in a row for his first back-to-back top-20 finishes since the first two races of the Chase ... last season. Grade: B 19. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick's 14th top-20 finish this season tied a personal best set in 2014. Grade: B. Grade: B 20. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne avoided late-race mayhem to finish exactly where he started, 20th. Grade: C 21. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill suffered through his second consecutive season without a top-10 finish, but he did set career highs for laps completed, laps led, average finish, running at finish and lead-lap finishes. Grade: A 22. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart finished second among "retiring drivers." Seriously: What a run it has been. Next stop: NASCAR Hall of Fame. Grade: C 23. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Here's some irony: The driver who is replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14 finished one spot below him in his new boss' final race. Grade: C 24. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The rookie had five top-25 finishes in the first half of the season. Sunday's finish gave him 11 in the second half, including his landmark win and another top five. Grade: B- 25. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was collected in the massive wreck touched off by Carl Edwards ' block of surging Joey Logano on a restart with 10 laps left in regulation. Newman's fate in the chain reaction mess was sealed when Brad Keselowski was knocked into the wall in the immediate path of Newman and Martin Truex Jr . Grade: B- 26. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Twice Blaney found the wall and brought out cautions. Only attrition from later wrecks kept him from finishing in the mid-30s. Grade: D 27. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 9 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto was another young driver who had a better second half of the season. DiBenedetto had seven top-30 finishes in the first 18 races; in the second half, in one less start, he had 11 top-30 finishes. Grade: C 28. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett posted his best finish at Homestead in his third start at the track. Grade: C 29. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . For the first time in his Sprint Cup career, Ragan failed to post at least one top-10 finish. He was one of four drivers -- Danica Patrick , Casey Mears and Landon Cassill were the others -- to start all 36 races and not post a top 10. Ragan's only top 10 at Homestead came in his first race there (2007). Grade: C 30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was vying for a top-10 finish -- he was ninth with four laps to go -- but he got the short end of a three-wide when his car broke loose and hit the inside wall to bring out the final caution of the race. Grade: C 31. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Earnhardt, who brought out the second caution when he spun trying to get onto pit road, finished seven laps back. Grade: D 32. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished nine laps back. Grade: D 33. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. The No. 95 received just enough damage in the big wreck to spoil a solid day. Grade: B- 34. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Cousin Carl was on his way to being King Carl until the fifth caution on Lap 253. His car was strong and he had blown by Joey Logano for second. Less than 15 green-flag laps separated Edwards from his first Sprint Cup Series title. Then came the caution and the restart to end all restarts. Not to mention Edwards' championship hopes. Grade: B- 35. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . After Joey Logano' s contact with Carl Edwards on the apron, the No. 22 came up the track right into Keselowski's No. 2, sending Keselowski up into the wall in front of Martin Truex Jr . and Ryan Newman . Keselowski's great season ended with his third DNF in his final six races. Grade: B 36. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . To say Truex was collected in the massive restart wreck is an understatement. The No. 78 burst into flames after smashing into Brad Keselowski 's car. To have such a great season end in that manner was just horrible. At least Truex wasn't hurt. Grade: B 37. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was on his way to a decent finish when Carl Edwards ' car shot back up the track after hitting the inside wall and ended up in front of Kahne and Regan Smith . The impact tore apart Kahne's car. Grade: B 38. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was two laps down when he got caught up in the big restart mess and his car was destroyed. Tough way to end his first full-time season since 2012. Grade: C- 39. Dylan Lupton , No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing . Who knew a driver named Dylan Lupton would ultimately be the gateway to Jimmie Johnson' s record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Series championship? If not for Lupton's left rear tire going down, which brought out the fifth caution with less than 15 laps to go, history likely would not have been made. Grade: F 40. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola's worst season in Sprint Cup came to a painful end, which included time in the garage for a breakdown in the rear housing. Grade: F