Kenseth still moving fast

Offseason move adds to interest

jutter@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 11, 2013 

— Last season’s Daytona 500 champion looks in prime position for a repeat thus far.

Matt Kenseth has been fast since Thursday’s start of NASCAR’s three-day test at Daytona International Speedway and he wasn’t on the track Friday during a 12-car wreck that erupted while cars were drafting.

While Kenseth would consecutive Daytona 500 victories, even a repeat performance would have unique qualities.

Kenseth’s two previous 500 wins came at Roush Fenway Racing. The 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion moved to Joe Gibbs Racing this offseason.

“We’re going to do everything we can just like you do every year. Show up down here and try to win the race. It’s always unpredictable,” Kenseth said.

“It’s the biggest race of the year, and there’s a lot of effort that goes into these races, and certainly (restrictor) plate racing is anything but predictable. Hopefully, we’ll have cars like we did last year.”

Ambrose will drive in Rolex 24: NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose will join Michael Shank Racing for the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona to drive the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley.

Ambrose will supplement the driving lineup of A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, John Pew, and Ozz Negri as Negri continues to heal from an off-season testing injury. Those drivers led five of eight practice sessions during the weekend between the two Daytona Prototype teams.

“We couldn’t have been happier with how quickly Marcos jelled with everyone on this team,” team owner Mike Shank said. “Obviously (Ambrose) was very fast in the car, but he was also great out of it. That’s hugely important for a race like this – you need to have everyone pulling in the same direction.”

JR Motorsports hires crew chief: JR Motorsports has hired Mike Bumgarner as crew chief for its No. 5 Nationwide Series team, which will be driven by Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet this season.

Bumgarner has spent the past 18 years at Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked on cars for Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

In 2007 he was crew chief on Busch’s No. 5 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series. Together they compiled four wins, 14 top-fives, 16 top-10s and three pole awards in 2007.

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