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NEWS DIGEST: Scott Wimmer to drive for Key Motorsports this season

NNSracing.com

Veteran Scott Wimmer will drive the full NASCAR Nationwide Series season with Key Motorsports, the team announced recently.

Wimmer will drive the No. 40 Chevrolet Impala, beginning with next weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway.

In limited action in 2010 Wimmer led every race in which he competed, finishing with three top-10s in just five races.

Key Motorsports capped off a consistent 2010 season with 20 top-20 finishes and finished 21st in points.

Wimmer has six career victories in the Nationwide Series, including four in 2002 when he finished third in the standings.

Baker Curb Racing suspends operations

The Baker Curb Racing team has temporarily halted operations, RacinToday.com reported. The team is currently without sponsorship after finishing 15th in the Nationwide Series owners standings last year.

Team co-owner Gary Baker told the website that he has not officially folded the team. But without sponsorship or a driver, things don't look good.

"As it stands right now, we won't be racing," Baker told RacinToday.com.

Timmy Hill to run for Nationwide rookie of the year for Rick Ware

When Timmy Hill turns 18 on February 25th, the opening day of NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at Phoenix, buying a lottery ticket or going to a movie rated "R" will not be on the agenda; jumping behind the wheel of his full time ride in the No. 15 Ford for Rick Ware Racing will be.

"My Dad, Jerry, raced for Rick back in the day, and I ran a few ARCA and K&N races with RWR last season," Hill said. "Of course, Rick and my Dad have been friends for a while, but I love working with him and the entire RWR crew. Rick has given me the opportunity to pilot his NASCAR Nationwide entry for the 2011 season, and I don't think my 18th birthday can come soon enough."

Because of NASCAR's age restriction for drivers, Hill will sit out the opening race at Daytona, but his No. 15 car will be under the veteran care of Todd Bodine.

Hill will compete for Rookie of the Year, and RWR purchased a stable of Fords from Roush-Fenway Racing and engines from Roush-Yates.

Doug Richert has joined the team as Hill's crew chief.

David Ingram to crew chief Morgan Shepherd's No. 89 in 2011 

Veteran NASCAR crew chief David Ingram has been tabbed to crew chief Morgan's Shepherd's No. 89 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry in 2011, Faith Motorsports announced.

 

Ingram, who served as crew chief for K-Automotive Racing's No. 26 program in 2010 has been around the garage for quite a few years. Ingram also worked as a crew chief for McDonald Motorsports' No. 81 program in 2009.

"David is a young guy but he has a lot of racing experience and most of his experience has come from his working with smaller teams, which is good," Shepherd said. "He has been brought up racing with a small budget and limited crew members so he is one of those crew chiefs who can work on the car and understands that our people have to be able to do more than one thing for us to be successful."

Shepherd said his 2010 crew chief, Gary Ravan, is still with the Faith Motorsports program and has assumed other duties in the two-car shop, which will feature Shepherd's No. 89 and Brett Rowe's No. 55 Nationwide entries.

Fans wishing to learn more about Ingram can access an interview done while he was crew chief of the #81 team here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ8JOilvgNY.

KHI signs multi-year sponsorship agreement withTapouT

Kevin Harvick Inc. announced  a multi-year partnership with world-renowned mixed martial arts apparel brand TapouT, an Authentic Brands Group company.

TapouT will make its NASCAR debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, 2011 as sponsor of the No. 2 Chevrolet Impala in the Nationwide Series event with driver Elliott Sadler.

This partnership marks an unprecedented expansion for the TapouT brand, which to date has only sponsored MMA fighters and events. With the rise in popularity of MMA, TapouT is now branching out into new markets and reaching new fans in other sports.

Co-founders of TapouT, Skyskrape and Punkass, believe that NASCAR and MMA fans alike will be excited about the company's new sponsorship venture.

"I expect NASCAR and MMA fans to be in a bit of shock - in a good way," said Skyskrape. "TapouT has never ventured outside of MMA like this, but seeing how the fans love both sports, I think they will be the real winners here. TapouT loves doing things out of the ordinary and we think this is going to be a great partnership."

Punkass echoed Skyskrape's sentiments. "There are so many crossover fans that will love to see TapouT breaking ground into other competitive sports."

G&K Services returns to JD Motorsports for 2011 season

After a limited involvement last season, G&K Services has returned to JD Motorsports with Mike Wallace driving the No. 01 Chevrolet beginning with the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., the uniform company has improved their association with the NASCAR Nationwide Series team by signing on as a primary marketing partner for six races this season. After the 300-mile race in Daytona on February 19, they will be on board for the Auto Club Speedway event in Fontana, Calif. The other primary races will be determined based on their sales regions.

"This is a great testament how a company can benefit from an association with our team," said Johnny Davis, owner of JD Motorsports. "G&K Services were on board for a few races last year, and we're happy to have them with us again this year. They decided to invest in more races this year based off the results they saw.

"This just proves how an affordable marketing plan can be beneficial in our series. Like everyone else, we're still looking for more primary and associate partners. As a team, we're very happy to have them on board again; especially for the Daytona race. Now, it's up to Mike (Wallace) and Brad (Parrott, crew chief) to give G&K Services a good showing."

ESPN extends contract of Rusty Wallace through 2014

Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN's lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.

"Rusty Wallace is a NASCAR legend," Williamson said. "We're very happy that he will continue to share his knowledge and experience with our viewers for the remainder of our current relationship with NASCAR. It's a very strong property and we look forward to the next four years."

Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR's top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN's NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now.

Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN's coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN.