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Jersey Joe's Racin' News-n-Views

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100_0412.jpg

(2/23/18) 

Courtesy Amanda Vincent

(Thanks Amanda !):

NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch notches first Atlanta Motor Speedway pole


http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-kyle-busch-notches-first-atlanta-pole/

 



Courtesy NBC Sports

  
Truck practice report at Atlanta
Noah Gragson led the way in the final practice. Justin Haley recorded top lap in opening Truck practice. 

Courtesy NASCAR.com

 
 
Courtesy Amanda Vincent
(Thanks Amanda !):

 http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-bubba-wallace-falls-out-of-favor-with-denny-hamlin-clique/

NASCAR Cup: Bubba Wallace falls out of favor with Denny Hamlin clique

Amanda Vincent

Courtesy Speed Sport News.com

 (https://speedsport.com/):

Tanner Thorson To Enter 12 Truck Series Races

https://speedsport.com/nascar/camping-world-trucks/youngs-motorsports-plans-second-full-time-truck/ 

Courtesy NBC Sports

Xfinity practice report from Atlanta

John Hunter Nemechek paces field in final practice. Christopher Bell leads opening Xfinity practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Courtesy The Frontstretch.com

(https://www.frontstretch.com/):


The Critic's Annex: Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace
by Phil Allaway
 
Welcome back to the Critic's Annex.  Today, we're taking a look at our first Facebook Watch series.  For about four months, cameras followed Darrell Wallace Jr. around as he went about his business.  The result was Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace, an eight-part series about his preparations for his rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
 
Much of the first half of the series is based around introducing Wallace to the general public, getting announced as Richard Petty's new driver, and his time away from the track.  Wallace's girlfriend Amanda Carter figures in constantly, providing support (and to an extent, unintentional comic relief).  She's essentially the straight man here.
 
Ryan Blaney, Wallace's best friend, does figure into the show a little.  Apparently, he also has really bad table manners.  Not sure if that was just for the cameras, or if he's just a naturally farty man.  Wouldn't be shocked if it were both.
 
The show does touch a little on the Blaney-Wallace friendship, but not as much as previous features on shows such as NASCAR RaceHub or even the former NCWTS Setup has.  They're not quite inseparable, but they are definitely best buds.
 
Sadly, there has been some virulent opposition to Wallace taking over the No. 43 in the past few months.  One instance with a (very likely) racist NASCAR fan on Twitter was highlighted.  On that occasion, Wallace took the high road.
 
The series has bleeped out words in darn near every episode, yet they only ran a disclaimer about the profanity before the fifth episode.  That's the one where Wallace tests in Las Vegas and goes to Topgolf with the team for a bonding experience.  Don't really understand that approach, despite the fact that there were more bleeped-out words there than in the other episodes.
 
Each of the episodes had a number of pop-ups based on the content that was designed to encourage viewer engagement in the comment sections.  In practice, few of the comments seemed to reference those questions posed.  Most seemed to wish Wallace good luck.
 
Most of the pop-up questions were decent.  For example, they might ask about Daytona 500 memories, overcoming adversity, hobbies in relation to Wallace's, etc.  Some of them were a little more silly, like asking thoughts about Blaney referencing bodily functions at the dinner table.
 
The final episode was centered upon the race itself, but it seemed almost like they glossed over the race.  Focus was on pre-race, the start, Wallace's wall contact, the Big One that Wallace avoided and post-race.
 
As we know, post-race was quite emotional for Wallace.  He had trouble keeping his emotions in check on stage, while his mother outright ran up on stage to hug him.  That wasn't staged.  That was real emotion from Wallace.
 
It should be noted that the post-race confrontation between Wallace and Denny Hamlin did not make the final episode of the show.  Perhaps the cameras didn't catch it, although one enterprising chap with a phone did.
 
Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace was a great show to watch and a great place for NASCAR to start in regards to engaging younger fans.  However, there was one rather glaring omission.  Wallace's father never appears on the show and is apparently not even referenced at all.

Darrell Wallace Sr. was key to helping his son start his career and it seemed bizarre that he wouldn't be present for any of this.  Perhaps he voluntarily chose not to be a part of the show, but it just seems like a plot hole.
 
So far, fan reaction to the series seems to be overwhelmingly positive.  That's great to see.  Fans don't like the idea of drivers becoming bigger than life.  They want to see content like this that reinforces the notion that drivers are ultimately normal people without airs.

Frontstretch Folio: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
by Phil Allaway
 
The Sprint Cup Series has finally left Daytona and moved to a place where the engines can be less restricted.  This weekend, the series will make their lone visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Coverage of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday with NASCAR RaceDay on FOX Sports 1.  FOX coverage begins with FOX NASCAR Sunday at 1:30 p.m.  The green flag is scheduled to drop around 2:15.  In addition, the event can also be heard on your local PRN affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90. Drivers will compete for 325 laps (500.5 miles) en route to the checkered flag.
 
However, there is rain in the forecast on Sunday.  NASCAR has a policy that allows the start of the race to be moved up an hour with 24 hours' notice.  Don't be surprised if that decision is made.

Records and facts

Last year, Kevin Harvick completely dominated the race, leading 292 of 325 laps.  However, he was busted on his final stop for speeding entering pit road.  That gave the lead to Kyle Larson.  Brad Keselowski ran down Larson and took the lead with seven to go.  From there, Keselowski held on to take his first win of 2017.
Larson finished second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott.  Harvick recovered from his late penalty to finish ninth.

Among active drivers, Jimmie Johnson is the winningest driver at Atlanta Motor Speedway with five career victories.  Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch each have three.  All-time, the late Dale Earnhardt tops the win charts with nine wins.

Track Facts
Track / Race Length: 1.54-mile quad-oval, 325 laps (500 miles)
Banking: 24 degrees
Frontstretch: 2,332 ft, banked 5 degrees
Backstretch: 1,800 ft., banked 5 degrees
Grandstand Seating: 75,000
Pit Road Speed: 45 mph
Pace Car Speed: 55 mph
Opened: 1960
Website: http://www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/atlmotorspeedway
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amsupdates

Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:

Qualifying: Friday, February 26, 5:15 p.m. on FOX Sports 1

Happy Hour: Saturday, February 27, 12  - 1:20 p.m. on FOX Sports 1

Say What?!

"I led 292 laps last year at Atlanta and screwed it up with a speeding penalty at the end of the race. But, I think if you would talk to the garage in general, this is one of the drivers’ favorite tracks. I think the reason it is considered one of the favorite tracks on the circuit is that the tires wear out so fast, cars slide around and you just have to do so much behind the wheel to be able to make your car go around the corner all day. It’s a very fun place to race but, for me, it’s been a very frustrating place to race because we’ve run so well through the years there and only been to victory lane one time – and that was my very first time. It’s a place we want to go to and run well and hopefully they keep putting a lot of patches down – a lot of patches. Anybody from a fan standpoint or a driver standpoint, feel free to find Marcus Smith on Twitter and tell him how great the old asphalt is and do not repave the racetrack. The campaign has begun – do not repave Atlanta." - Kevin Harvick

"After how we ran in Daytona, we are definitely looking forward to going to a downforce track.  While Daytona is the biggest and most prestigious race to win, the season actually starts – at least in our case – at a downforce track. Atlanta should give us a good indication how we fare against the competition.
"We not only had one of the fastest cars all the time [on intermediate tracks last year], we executed well, qualified well and got those stage points early.  I just feel like across the board, from our whole team's perspective, we executed really well. We didn't make many mistakes. We didn't give anybody an opportunity to pounce. There were times where guys were as fast as us and there were times when guys were faster, but they weren't more consistent." - Martin Truex Jr.

"The racetrack has aged really nicely, where it’s probably aged too much, and why they will have to pave it at some point soon. It’s a place where you can run the bottom all the way from the white line to the wall and anywhere in-between. You have to have a good car there, but it’s a neat racetrack with the way you can race around and move around and not get too comfortable running one lane. Our guys have brought good cars there in the past and I’m hoping we can go for the win with our SNICKERS Almond Camry." - Kyle Busch


TODAY ON FRONTSTRETCH:

Friday Faceoff: Butt Tattoos, Anyone?
by the Frontstretch Staff

4 Burning Questions: Who Will Win the 1st Intermediate Race of 2018?
by Michael Finley

Anything But Monster: The Cultural Decline of the Cup Series
by Bryan Keith

Tech Talk: Daytona 500-Winning Crew Chief Justin Alexander Discusses 2018 Rule Changes
as told to Mike Neff
 
NASCAR 101: Here's Why the Winner of the Daytona 500 Isn't Leading the Point Standings
by Kevin Rutherford

Courtesy NBC Sports

Truck practice report at Atlanta

Justin Haley records top lap in opening Truck practice.


Courtesy ESPN.com



After Daytona 500 win, Richard Childress Racing looks to build momentum

For an organization that had its morale tested with significant offseason downsizing, Austin Dillon's emotional victory Sunday served as a needed shot of confidence. 

 http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22534391/nascar-daytona-500-win-big-step-reshaped-richard-childress-racing

Courtesy USA Today.com

(https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/):

Rain forecast for NASCAR race in Atlanta Sunday

Dillon goal: Titles in all three NASCAR series


Courtesy Catchfence.com


Richard Childress Racing parts ways with former XFINITY Series crew chief


Atlanta holds strong memories for Kevin Harvick


Ryan Truex looks to continue strong start


Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon to run Truck race at Atlanta


Courtesy NBC Sports


Police investigating vandalism, theft at North Wilkesboro Speedway
North Wilkesboro Speedway hosted NASCAR races from 1949-96 

Others’ predictions motivating Austin Dillon after Daytona 500 win: ‘I guess they don’t believe it yet’
Richard Childress Racing driver determined to prove his second career victory won't be his last in 2018.   

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. paces Cup field in opening practice at Atlanta
Ford posts fastest lap and Chevrolet takes next four spots on the speed chart.

 Xfinity practice report from Atlanta
Christopher Bell leads opening Xfinity practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Courtesy NASCAR.com



Where to catch NASCAR on TV

Best 10-lap averages at Atlanta

Hendrick welcomes new sponsor

SNL's Kenan Thompson to serve as grand marshal at Atlanta   

https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2018/02/02/kenan-thompson-serve-grand-marshal-atlanta-motor-speedway/


Courtesy Amanda Vincent
(Thanks Amanda !):

 http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-schedule-weather-outlook-for-atlanta-motor-speedway/

NASCAR schedule, weather outlook for Atlanta Motor Speedway

Amanda Vincent

Courtesy NBC Sports


Friday 5: Future NASCAR stars could get their start online instead of on track

Will William Byron lead a revolution on how youngsters begin their path to NASCAR's highest levels?


Friday’s schedule at Atlanta for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks
There will be five total practice sessions and one qualifying session Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Forbes’ annual NASCAR report: Team values dip slightly, but sport is still strong overall
Revenue and team value dips slightly, but NASCAR remains strong in several areas, especially with its growing youth movement and social and video engagement.

NASCAR America returns to NBCSN on Monday, February 26
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be a regular contributor this season.


Recent News 

(2/22/18)

Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar ):         
                  

Courtesy ESPN.com ( http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/):

Rating debuts, playoff chances of new driver-team pairings

Ryan Blaney and Penske Racing started things off on the right foot to kick off the 2018 Cup season. How did the other new driver-team duos fare? Our NASCAR experts weigh in.

http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22530359/rating-debut-playoff-chances-nascar-cup-series-new-driver-team-pairings-2018


Courtesy USA Today.com



Courtesy Catchfence.com


 NASCAR driver Chase Elliott unveils “DESI9N TO DRIVE” racing shoes to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta


Team Penske forms technical partnership with Siemens 


Local country trio, Temecula Road, to perform National Anthem and pre-race concert at NASCAR XFINITY 300 race


Courtesy Amanda Vincent
(Thanks Amanda !):

http://autoracingdaily.com/ford-executive-raj-nair-loses-job/

Ford executive Raj Nair loses job

Amanda Vincent

Courtesy The Frontstretch.com


  Frontstretch Line of the Week
 
From Beyond the Cockpit: Brett Moffitt Finds New Home, Optimism with Hattori Racing Enterprises

"It’s the best way I can make a living. It’s always been a passion of mine. When you’re having those struggles, you really get down. My family kept telling me to keep pushing and to keep after it. A lot of that came from my dad and some of the struggles he’s been through in life. To keep going after it and being with Red Horse the last couple of years off and on, getting that win really refueled my fire." - Brett Moffitt on his drive to race.


Frontstretch Podcast: What’s New is Old
with Dustin Albino, Zach Catanzareti and Mike Neff


  

Courtesy NASCAR.com


Aged to perfection

As NASCAR heads to Atlanta, a look at how track surfaces are measured

Full schedule for Atlanta

Smooth to rough: NASCAR tracks

Where to catch NASCAR on TV 

Courtesy NBC Sports

(http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar ):

Tyler Reddick reflects on closest finish in NASCAR history

Tyler Reddick lost his voice and was surprised by friends and family after his historic Xfinity win at Daytona.

   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/22/tyler-reddick-reflects-on-closest-finish-in-nascar-history/


(2/21/18) 

Courtesy Amanda Vincent
 (Thanks Amanda !):

http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-bill-elliott-honored-at-georgia-state-capitol/

NASCAR Cup: Bill Elliott honored at Georgia State Capitol

Amanda Vincent

Courtesy ESPN.com

(http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/): 

BK Racing’s charter guarantees it a minimum of $2.9 million for competing in all the races, according to an affidavit filed by a Union Bank & Trust executive as part of recent litigation. The affidavit states BK Racing would earn more than $200,000 for the Daytona 500 and an average minimum of $75,000 for 36 other events throughout the year. It is not clear if that assumes a particular race finish or a last-place finish in every event. NASCAR no longer releases driver earnings following each race, but a $2.9 million base would be fairly consistent with a team 35th in points (drivers who finished between 33rd and 36th in 2015 earned $2.9-$3.2 million). NASCAR would not comment on the accuracy of the bank’s estimates.


Courtesy Speed Sport News.com



Courtesy Catchfence.com


Ageless bond between Darrell Wallace Jr. and “The King” Richard Petty evident at Daytona


Superior Essex to support Justin Fontaine in Atlanta debut 


Akinori Ogata returns to Truck Series competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway 


Daniel Suárez set to attend Greater Milwaukee International Car and Truck Show on behalf of PEAK



Courtesy NASCAR.com

Junior: Bubba drove 'like a vet'


Courtesy NBC Sports


Cole Custer will drive Rick Ware Racing's No. 51 Ford at Las Vegas.

Ben Rhodes' No. 41 Ford was found to be too low following the Truck Series season opener.

Courtesy ESPN.com


Meet Dale Jr., the TV analyst and social media critic

The 15-time most popular driver, who retired from full-time NASCAR Cup series racing after last season, has such a passionate fan base that it can already fuel a hot topic.


Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/):

Today's Featured Commentary
Back in Business
Professor of Speed
by Dr. Mark Howell
 
It is the dawn of a new NASCAR season and I, for one, could not be any happier nor more excited.

Like it or not, last week at Daytona was something amazing to behold. Natalie Decker earned the pole for the ARCA race and finished fifth in a demolition derby. Then, Alex Bowman put the famed No. 88 Chevrolet up front to start the Daytona 500. Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott won their qualifying races on Thursday. An exciting NCWTS event on Friday night kicked off the weekend, with NASCAR’s timing technology tested by the finish of Saturday’s XFINITY race (a margin of victory of .0004 seconds?!). We then enjoyed a wild 60th running of “The Great American Race” with iconic car numbers like Nos. 3, 43, and 11 atop the scoring pylon come Sunday evening. The week ended with Austin Dillon and crew sliding across the infield grass, and an emotional Darrell Wallace Jr. crying tears of joy in the Media Center. His margin of victory for second place over Denny Hamlin? A difference of mere inches.
 
It was quite the Speedweeks.
 
The wave of new drivers who bring youthful enthusiasm and talent to our struggling sport provides hope for its future. So, too, does the innovative and highly precise Optical Scanning System (OSS) that will make pre-and-post-race inspections both quicker and much more accurate. The ongoing battle among Ford, Chevy, and Toyota looks more intense than ever, and Year No. 2 of “the Playoffs” gets us farther away from those awkward seasons of “the Chase.”
 
There is much positive energy to take us into the 2018 season.
 
Oh…. and I’m back at my beloved keyboard.
 
It’s been a while.
 
My “sabbatical” from “The Professor of Speed” came after the diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) I received in January of 2017. One of the first things my neurologist suggested was cutting back on work over-and-above what I absolutely had to do. With the help of the college where I teach, my schedule was shifted to an entirely online course load. That allowed me time to pursue personal necessities like physical therapy and what exercise I could muster. The time enabled me to better manage the often-overwhelming symptoms of PPMS like chronic fatigue, pain, muscle spasticity, cognitive delay, and overall mobility.
 
Unfortunately, these new demands required me to step away from my work here at Frontstretch. It would be unfair to the fine folks with whom I work (and to my audience of loyal readers) for me to suddenly miss a deadline because of being so tired, or in so much physical discomfort, that I was unable to write a column or revise one for publication. So I reduced my writing load, with the exception of taking part in the occasional Friday Faceoff or some other less-demanding task.
 
Even a limited role allowed me to feel engaged with NASCAR Nation.
 
But that was a year ago, and what a year it was in the world of stock car racing. The changing of the guard among drivers became the central topic of conversation, with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s impending retirement taking precedent over the apparent dismissals of Matt Kenseth, Landon Cassill and Danica Patrick. Martin Truex Jr. helped demonstrate that a team far from North Carolina (in physical proximity, at least) could capitalize on competition changes and dominate the Cup Series en route to a national title. William “The Boy Wonder” Byron celebrated his XFINITY championship with a move into Jeff “The Wonder Boy” Gordon’s former ride, while Chase Elliott announced the much-heralded return of his family’s revered car number.
 
And now…. here we are. Thirty-five more weeks of Cup racing lie ahead, mixed with all the other events that comprise the 2018 NASCAR schedule. I’m getting ready to begin an infusion treatment that is currently the only game in town for slowing the progression of PPMS, and I’ve learned to better manage my overall condition.
 
Looks like we’re all, happily, back in business….


TODAY AT FRONTSTRETCH:

Did You Notice? ... The New Dale Earnhardt, Debunking NASCAR's Decline
by Tom Bowles

The Frontstretch 5: Things We Know After Daytona
by Amy Henderson
 
The 10: Cup Series Power Rankings After Daytona
compiled by Christian Koelle
 
Beyond the Cockpit: Brett Moffitt Finds New Home, Optimism with Hattori Racing Enterprises
by Phil Allaway
 
NASCAR Mailbox: Will Darrell Wallace Jr. Start to Get More Sponsorship?
by Joseph Wolkin


  

Courtesy NASCAR.com


Full weekend schedule for Atlanta   
 

Courtesy NBC Sports


  Catching up with racing’s ‘Hat Man’: The incomparable legacy of Bill Brodrick

He has more appearances in victory lane than anyone else, yet he never drove in a race.

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/21/catching-up-with-racings-hat-man-the-incomparable-legacy-of-bill-brodrick/

Kevin Harvick on Denny Hamlin: ‘Sometimes you’ve got to keep your mouth shut’ 

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/21/kevin-harvick-on-denny-hamlin-sometimes-youve-got-to-keep-your-mouth-shut/


 5 articles, courtesy Amanda Vincent
 (Thanks Amanda !!!!!):

http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-premium-motorsports-plans-two-crew-chief-rotation/

NASCAR Cup: Premium Motorsprots plans two crew chief rotation

  http://autoracingdaily.com/terrance-cox-drops-racial-discrimination-lawsuit-against-nascar/

Terrance Cox drops racial discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR 

http://autoracingdaily.com/darrell-wallace-jr-s-adderall-comment-no-worse-than-denny-hamlins/

Darrell Wallace Jr.'s Adderall comment no worse than Denny Hamlin's

http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-cole-custer-expected-to-make-debut-at-las-vegas-motor-speedway/

NASCAR Cup: Cole Custer expected to make debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

 http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-garrett-smithley-moves-to-no-15-for-atlanta-las-vegas/

NASCAR Xfinity: Garrett Smithley moves to No. 15 for Atlanta, Las Vegas

Amanda Vincent



100_0415.jpg

Older News 

(2/20/18)

Courtesy Amanda Vincent
(Thanks Amanda !):

 http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-smithfield-sponsors-no-43-for-six-races/

NASCAR Cup: Smithfield sponsors No. 43 for six races

Amanda Vincent

Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar ):

Denny Hamlin still angry at Bubba Wallace over Adderall blast

Joe Gibbs Racing driver was asked about the barb shortly before an altercation with Wallace in the garage.   

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/20/denny-hamlin-still-angry-at-bubba-wallace-over-adderall-blast/

Bump & Run: Daytona 500 takeaways and tattoos
Did the Xfinity race show it is time to change the overtime rule?  

Nationwide Children’s Hospital to sponsor Tyler Reddick in multiple races
Nationwide Children's Hospital will be on Reddick's No. 9 Chevrolet beginning this weekend.

Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):

Blaney on the rise
Ryan Blaney flexes muscle at Daytona; see where he, others stand in Power Rankings


Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/):


Today's Featured Commentary
Ricky Benton Racing’s 14th-Place Finish Is Pretty Great. Or Is It?
by Clayton Caldwell
 
Speedweeks 2018 was a memorable one, for sure. For the most part, I enjoyed the weekend. There were a few too many wrecks for my liking but overall, it’s better that drivers are pushing too hard than not enough. 
What's great about Speedweeks is that it’s a new year and every team has a fresh start. Teams and drivers can live out their dreams by competing in the Daytona 500. Every year, there’s an underdog story and 2018 was no different.

Ricky Benton Racing is an organization that has operated in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for some time now. Prior to joining the Truck Series, the team had some success in the lower divisions of racing including the USAR Hooters Pro Cup, where they won the championship in 2002. Since joining the Truck Series in 2010, they have registered three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 79 starts. They’re a smaller operation based out of Cerro Gordo, N.C. 

This year, the team decided to make a move into stock car racing’s highest level, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The team announced their first race would be the 60th annual Daytona 500 with veteran and former Daytona 500 pole sitter David Gilliland behind the wheel. 

The weekend started out a little rough for the team. During Sunday’s qualifying session, Gilliland qualified 36th out of the 40 cars entered. That meant they started 19th in race No. 1 of the Can-Am Duels on Thursday. Using cars formerly owned by Richard Petty Motorsports, the team had a tall task to try and be competitive for the Daytona 500. One thing they couldn’t afford to do was tear up a race car. 

For the first part of the race on Thursday, the team stayed out of trouble. Running towards the tail end of the field, the single-car effort was just trying to learn what their car would need for the big dance on Sunday. However, tragedy struck when Gilliland spun out and smacked the outside wall after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tried to pass him in turn 2. Their day was done as the car was unrepairable. The small team needed to go to a backup car, a major expense for the organization.  
 
However, for the first time in the history of the Daytona 500, all cars that entered the race made the field. So even though Speedweeks had been tough, the tiny RBR team still qualified for the main event. That made Sunday's goal simple for them: learn as much as you can and run all the laps. Wrecking another car during the weekend would have been costly.  
 
Their strategy for the Daytona 500, then was a conservative one. Not running in a big pack for most of the day to avoid an accident is a common strategy among smaller teams on the plate tracks. But Sunday, it paid off. In a race filled with carnage, the Ricky Benton Racing team stayed out of trouble all day. When the checkered flag fell, they were in the 14th position, a very respectable outcome for a team making their debut in NASCAR’s highest level. 

Some may say they didn’t earn their finish by the strategy they chose but that is far from the truth. Part of what makes racing such a great sport is that there are so many factors that go into being competitive, including strategy. Even though some people may not like it, it’s one of the many keys to being a good team and building an organization. 

When all was said and done on Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway, I looked up at the leaderboard and saw the No. 92 in 14th and thought, wow. That’s a solid day for them. 

Then, I thought about what that run does for the team. How will this benefit the organization over the long run? There was a time in this sport where a 14th-place finish in the Daytona 500 was a great points day. The team could build off that run and use the points they built up for future races to make it easier for them to qualify into future events. 

Plain and simple, the more owner points you had, the more likely you were to make a race. A 14th-place run would have meant a great deal to a building organization like Ricky Benton Racing. It would have made life easier on the in the future and may have even encouraged them to enter the car in more events. However, their finish on Sunday, at least from a qualifying perspective, means nothing. 

With the new chartering system, you pretty much have to buy your way into the field. How you finish and how you run doesn’t mean a thing.

It’s a sad day when performance doesn’t matter. For Ricky Benton Racing, the team’s 14th-place finish may feel pretty good but means nothing as far as NASCAR is concerned. That’s a crying shame. RBR's No. 92 wasn't on the entry list for Atlanta and you wonder if they could have been in a different time, a different era when purse money and performance dictated the future of your season.

Numbers Game: Daytona 500
by Tom Bowles
 
0
Top-five finishes by Danica Patrick during her NASCAR Cup Series career. Patrick, who wrecked out of this year's Daytona 500 before retiring from the sport, did no better than a sixth at Atlanta (2014) in 191 career starts. Sara Christian remains the lone NASCAR woman to score a top-five finish at the Cup level, doing it in the series' first year (a fifth at Pittsburgh in 1949).

1
Lap led by Austin Dillon during the entire 2018 Daytona 500 - the last one.

2
Straight years in which the Daytona 500 winner has led just one lap. Kurt Busch did the same in 2017 en route to his first Daytona 500 victory.

3
Leaders in the last three laps of the 2018 Daytona 500: Denny Hamlin, Almirola, and Dillon.

4
Stage points for Darrell Wallace Jr. Sunday, more than the No. 43 collected all season last year.

2nd
Finishing position by Darrell Wallace Jr. in the 2018 Daytona 500, the highest finish ever for an African-American driver in this race.

5
Career starts by Darrell Wallace Jr. at the Cup Series level.

6
Straight top-15 finishes by Paul Menard on restrictor plate tracks. Menard was sixth Sunday in his Cup debut with the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford.

15
Drivers who failed to finish the 2018 Daytona 500 (38 percent of the field).

17
Years to the day Dale Earnhardt Sr. died (2001) that Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 in that same Richard Childress Racing No. 3.

20 
Years between Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s Daytona 500 win (1998) and Austin Dillon's in the No. 3 car. Earnhardt also won the Great American Race in his 20th career Daytona 500 start.

21st
Finishing position for Jeffrey Earnhardt Sunday, a career best. 

22nd
Finishing position for 66-year-old Mark Thompson in his first Daytona 500, a career best in the Cup Series.

118
Laps led by Ryan Blaney in the 2018 Daytona 500 to lead all drivers. 


Courtesy Speed 51.com (http://speed51.com/):                                           

Sterling Marlin to Field Super Late Model Team in 2018

Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar):          

                   

Darrell Wallace Jr.'s history-making Daytona 500 major step toward long run


Courtesy Speed Sport News.com (https://speedsport.com/):


Courtesy USA Today.com 

Danica left a complicated NASCAR legacy

NASCAR's Daytona 500 ratings drop on Fox

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is pumped for the Olympics 


Courtesy Catchfence.com (http://www.catchfence.com/ ):

Georgia Legislature to honor David Ragan for 400th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start


 Austin Dillon’s Daytona 500 victory is an extended family affair


JJL Motorsports announces sponsor for 2018 Truck Series debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway


Cast of Super Troopers 2 named grand marshals of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race


Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/): 

Unsolved mysteries after Daytona

Whether Austin Dillon's Daytona 500 victory will endear him to more fans is one of three big unknowns following NASCAR's first race of the season.

http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22502969/nascar-unsolved-mysteries-2018-daytona-500-include-austin-dillon-kyle-busch-tires-yellow-line-debate


Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

 Daytona 500 victory was 50 years in the making for Austin Dillon’s tire changer

After more than 20 years of trying, tire changer Terry Spalding got to celebrate a Daytona 500 victory.  

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/20/daytona-500-victory-was-50-years-in-the-making-for-austin-dillons-tire-changer/

Ryan: Four drivers had a Daytona 500 win in reach. Here’s how it got away  

http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/19/ryan-how-a-daytona-500-win-got-away-from-four-drivers/


Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):

School of hard knocks
Plenty of lessons were learned in the Daytona 500 -- see our top takes

 2 articles courtesy Amanda Vincent
 (Thanks Amanda !!): 

http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-bk-racing-owner-blames-fellow-team-owner-for-continued-woes/

NASCAR Cup: BK Racing owner blames fellow-team owner for continued woes

http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-kyle-benjamin-added-to-jgr-roster/

NASCAR Xfinity: Kyle Benjamin added to JGR roster

Amanda Vincent

(2/19/18) 

Courtesy NASCAR.com

 NASCAR TV schedule: February 19 - 25


Courtesy Catchfence.com


NASCAR focus shifts to Atlanta Motor Speedway for week two


Danica Patrick’s NASCAR career ends with 35th place finish in Daytona 500


Courtesy Speed 51.com (http://speed51.com/):


Courtesy NBC Sports


Entry lists for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series at Atlanta
There are 36 cars on the initial entry list for the Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.   

Darrell Wallace Jr. picks up sponsor for Atlanta Cup race
The NASCAR Racing Experience, operated by Driving 101, will be on the No. 43 this weekend.  

Overlooked stories from the Daytona 500
Drivers like Justin Marks and D.J. Kennington earned career-best results in Sunday's Daytona 500.


Austin Dillon, No. 3 team celebrated Daytona 500 win with tattoos

Austin Dillon will forever be known as a Daytona 500 champion and he'll carry that on his body the rest of his life. 

   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/19/austin-dillon-no-3-team-celebrated-daytona-500-win-with-tattoos/

Social Roundup: The day after the Daytona 500
Austin Dillon's No. 3 car has been installed at the Daytona International Speedway museum.   

Déjà vu: Lucky penny once again rides with the No. 3 to Daytona 500 victory
Like Dale Earnhardt 20 years ago, a lucky penny was with Austin Dillon as he won the Daytona 500.


Courtesy ESPN.com


'Dale would thank him for tonight.' Austin Dillon breaks through in No. 3

Earnhardt Nation has been reluctant to embrace Austin Dillon. But even on a miserable anniversary date, Dillon gave Dale Sr. fans a reason to smile.  

 http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22496382/nascar-darrell-bubba-wallace-top-10-cup-series-driver-our-nascar-experts-debate-following-2018-daytona-500  

An 11th-place finish encouraging for Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing

  http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22497062/nascar-aric-almirola-11th-place-finish-daytona-500-sign-move-stewart-haas-racing-was-right-one

Darrell Wallace Jr. a top-10 driver? Our experts debate this and more

http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22496382/nascar-darrell-bubba-wallace-top-10-cup-series-driver-our-nascar-experts-debate-following-2018-daytona-500



Courtesy USA Today. com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/) :

Daytona 500 lives up to billing with wild finish

Danica's fans praise her at final NASCAR race



Courtesy Sporting News.com


Courtesy NASCAR.com


 Take 5: Hard luck for Hendrick 


 'The King' revved up after Bubba Wallace's electrifying performance 

          
  • Austin Dillon's Daytona 500 win popular among First Family


  • Courtesy The Frontstretch.com


     Letter of the Race: Sunday's Daytona 500 was brought to you by the letter "C," for "Controversy."  Likely one of the biggest takeaways of Austin Dillon's victory on Sunday is that he seemed to drive through Aric Almirola on the final lap in order to get it.  Almirola admitted that he was blocking Dillon something vicious afterwards, but wrecking the leader on the last lap typically doesn't look good. - Phil Allaway


    Quotes to Remember: Daytona 500
    compiled by Phil Allaway
     
    "I don't know, I think I blacked out and just everything just kind of kept going, and we were staying in the gas, and things were happening fast, and I knew ‑‑ I kind of knew it was the checkered flag, I knew it was green‑white‑checkered because we crossed the line once, and I was like, OK, this is it right here, and got to give a shout‑out to my buddy Bubba, I raced Bandoleros, legends cars, and glad he's got him a good ride in the No. 43.  That ECR engine gave us a good push down the backstretch, and when we caught the No. 10, he tried to block, and I just had a lot of momentum.  The last lap of the Daytona 500, you just don't lift, actually the last couple laps.  We were lucky to get through there.

    "Man, this place is awesome.  I don't know what it is about storylines and Daytona.  This place just creates history.  Proud to be a part of it and make some history here tonight." - Austin Dillon, race winner
     
    "Whew, that’s my thought right there. There were a lot of close calls out there on the racetrack in just getting experience in my first Daytona 500. We wanted to do two things. We wanted to run a lot of laps and not wreck the car. We came home with one of those. We ran all the laps and got wrecked there at the end. But, that’s part of it. When you put that aside, what an unforgettable week-and-a-half it’s been. Being followed by cameras every day 24/7 for the last three months. Just dealing with that, there was a lot of stress." - Darrell Wallace Jr., finished second
     
    "There were a lot of ups and downs all day for us. Getting the left-rear fender rub, needing to pit, going down a lap, getting the Lucky Dog, scoring points in that stage was amazing. To get ourselves back in position where we needed to be behind Blaney, our teammate, to try to control the race and win. It was a mental mistake on pit road. My fault. Can’t pick a worse time to do that. Once you are back there, you are kind of back there in the garbage. It was getting crazy. All the holes close up at the end of the race, it is hard to make progress and the crashes happen more often. We were able to get a top five out of it, which is nice for the Shell Pennzoil team. Maybe we would have gotten caught up in a crash if I stayed up front but overall, I just feel like I let us down a little bit." - Joey Logano, finished fourth
     
    "It was just hard racing. You say it all day. I was trying to be aggressive blocking the lead, kind of fell back and got a good run back up towards it. Man, the No. 11 blocked the No. 41 and the No. 41 kind of went high last minute and I was on his left rear and I turned him. I feel bad about that. He kinda changed lanes last minute and I couldn’t react quick enough. It stinks. We led a lot of laps. It just wasn’t meant to be. But it was a good showing. Hopefully, we go into Atlanta and have a decent run." - Ryan Blaney, finished seventh

    "We had our ups and downs, that is for sure. I am thankful to get stage points. It takes a top-10 finish and makes it like a top five. We had a fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford. Unfortunately, we had a little mishap on pit road. The No. 6 was coming out of his box as we were coming in. There was no way I wasn’t going to hit him, so we had to come back through and lost a lap. Thankful to get out of Daytona with a top 10. We brought a fast Ford. It was a really good run." - Michael McDowell, finished ninth
     
    "He’s not driving too aggressively, he’s trying to win the Daytona 500 just like I was. I saw him come with momentum and I pulled up to block and did exactly what I needed to do to try to win the Daytona 500. I wasn’t gonna just let him have it. I wasn’t gonna just stay on the bottom and let him rail the outside, so I blocked and he got to my bumper and pushed and I thought I was still gonna be OK and somehow, I got hooked. I still haven’t seen the replay, so I don’t know what happened, but I’m just devastated.

    "I really thought we were gonna start this relationship off with Stewart-Haas Racing in Victory Lane and get Smithfield and Ford and everybody to Victory Lane, but I’m really proud of everybody. That was a backup car and we were a half-lap away from winning the Daytona 500. I’m really proud of that. I’m still very excited. I’m not gonna let that get me down. We’ve got an incredible race team and I’m gonna go to Atlanta and we’re gonna have good race cars there and we’ll have a shot to win next week. That’s something I’ve not had in my career, where I feel like every week I get on the plane to go to the racetrack I feel like we’re gonna have a shot to go win. This is just one race. It might be the biggest race and this one is gonna hurt for a while, but I think next week we’ll have another shot." - Aric Almirola, finished 11th

    "Yeah, just put ourselves in a good position all day and really shouldn’t have been in that spot. That last restart I didn’t do a good job and that is what put us there. My fault, learn from it move on. I'll definitely do some things differently going forward, but everybody on this Nationwide 88 did such a great job. It’s cool to see Austin (Dillon) get the Camaro ZL1 its first win. Working with Kevin Hamlin (spotter) was great all day. Greg (Ives, crew chief) made good calls all day, but it’s just Daytona." - Alex Bowman, finished 17th (crashed out)

    "I have no clue. Unfortunately, we got some front-end damage. We were overheating there at the end of that second stage and had to pit and that really caught us laps down. We were trying to battle back and I think we were in the free pass spot there for a minute and everything broke loose and we just got caught up in it. Two laps from the end was a bummer, but we felt really good at the start of the race. I hate that we had to pit and lose our track position and the lead lap because I felt like our Fastenal Ford was really, really good all day and really strong. I could make just about any move I wanted to stay towards the front, just had to pit there with like six or seven to go in that second stage.

    "It’s a bummer. I made a huge save there on the back straightaway and I felt like we were doing everything we needed to do. But, all in all, it was a fun Speedweeks. I felt like our cars were good and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta." - Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 29th (crashed out)
     
    "The No. 24 got loose and spun out in front of us all and got caught up in it. It just really sucks. We had a great car and were in a great position. I guess that’s the way it goes. I went to pass the No. 24 on the bottom and he came down. I can’t tell if I made contact or not, but obviously he turned and there was nothing I could do. We were all wrecked." - Brad Keselowski, finished 32nd (crashed out)

    "The car was a lot better than it was in the Duel. It was a lot better than practice. Tony Eury Jr., my crew chief did an awesome job. The guys on the whole team did a really good job. I know we pulled this together not that long ago, a month ago. That is a tall order to get a car ready for a superspeedway that is competitive. But, it was. I said earlier today that I feel like the whole thing was picture perfect with GoDaddy on the car, and it being that green again. It just wasn’t meant to be today. I am proud - we raced the whole race other than a little bit at the end of that first stage when it looked silly with all the cars with tires and no tires. Other than that, we raced it and the car was competitive. That is all you can do. That is the gamble at Daytona. It can go so well; and it can go so awful. I’m grateful for everything. Thank you to all the fans. Still have one more. It is not a stock car, but still have one more." - Danica Patrick, finished 35th (crashed out)

    "There was some great racing throughout. Unfortunately, many thought it was the black-and-white checkered flag and not the green-and-white checkered flag. On lap 59, to be throwing blocks like that just…a lot of wrecked race cars. We will go to work and go to Atlanta next week. But it is disappointing for this Lowe's team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for all the work they put into it. But we’ll get this Camaro ZL1 dialed in for Atlanta and take it over there." - Jimmie Johnson, finished 38th (crashed out)
      

    Chasing the Chase: Ryan Blaney Uses Stage Points to Claim Points Lead
    by Phil Allaway
     
    Ryan Blaney dominated much of his time on the track during Daytona Speedweeks.  He finished second in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, won his Can-Am Duel and led 118 laps on Sunday.  However, Blaney managed only a seventh-place finish after a late wreck ruined his chances for the win. 

    However, that performance was good enough to give Blaney the points lead leaving Daytona.  His edge is eight over teammate Joey Logano.  Logano fell off the lead lap twice (once due to an unscheduled stop and the other due to a penalty) but still recovered to finish fourth. 

    That leaves Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon in third, 11 points back.  He's tied with second-place finisher Darrell Wallace Jr. because Dillon tallied up a limited number of stage points.
     
    Further back, Paul Menard was in the hunt for much of the race before winding up sixth.  That leaves Menard fifth in points leaving Daytona for the second year in a row.  Michael McDowell tied for the second-most stage points on Sunday, which boosted him to sixth in the standings after finishing ninth.  Denny Hamlin is seventh after being edged out for second by Wallace; Hamlin blew a tire and wrecked with the No. 43 at the start/finish line.

    Ryan Newman is eighth in points after a solid top 10 to start the season while Chris Buescher and Aric Almirola are tied for ninth.  Despite Almirola leading at the white flag, Buescher's fifth-place finish earns him the tiebreaker. 

    Trevor Bayne is 11th in points after finishing 13th while Martin Truex Jr.'s 18th-place result will see him start his championship defense in 12th.
     
    Clint Bowyer and Alex Bowman are tied for 13th in the standings.  However, Bowyer gets the tiebreaker by finishing 15th to Bowman's 17th. 

    Stage points once again influenced the remainder of the top 16. AJ Allmendinger is 15th in points despite finishing 10th.  Kurt Busch, meanwhile is 16th despite crashing out and finishing 26th.  He benefitted heavily from winning stage one.
     
    Point Standings (1-16): 1) Ryan Blaney 58, 2) Joey Logano -8, t-3) Austin Dillon -11, t-3) Darrell Wallace Jr. -11, 5) Paul Menard -12, 6) Michael McDowell -19, 7) Denny Hamlin -21, 8) Ryan Newman -24, t-9) Chris Buescher -25, t-9) Aric Almirola -25, 11) Trevor Bayne -27, 12) Martin Truex Jr. -28, t-13) Clint Bowyer -29, t-13) Alex Bowman -29, 15) AJ Allmendinger -30, 16) Kurt Busch -31.
     
    Playoff Points: 1) Austin Dillon 5, t-2) Kurt Busch -4, t-2) Ryan Blaney -4.
     
    Stage Points: 1) Ryan Blaney 18, t-2) Paul Menard -7, t-2) Martin Truex Jr. -7, t-2) Michael McDowell -7, 5) Kurt Busch -8, 6) Alex Bowman -9, t-7) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -11, t-7) Aric Almirola -11, t-9) Kevin Harvick -14, t-9) Trevor Bayne -14, t-9) Darrell Wallace Jr. -14, 12) Chase Elliott -15, 13) Austin Dillon -16, 14) Denny Hamlin -17. 
     
    Old Point Standings (1-16): 1) Austin Dillon 44, t-2) Darrell Wallace Jr. -5, t-2) Denny Hamlin -5, 4) Joey Logano -6, t-5) Chris Buescher -8, t-5) Paul Menard -8, t-5) Ryan Blaney -8, 8) Ryan Newman -11, t-9) Michael McDowell -12, t-9) AJ Allmendinger -12, 11) Aric Almirola -13, 12) Trevor Bayne -16, 13) Clint Bowyer -18, t-14) Jamie McMurray -19, t-14) Alex Bowman -19, 16) Martin Truex Jr. -20.
     
    Race Winners: Austin Dillon (Daytona)
      

    Courtesy Amanda Vincent
    (Thanks Amanda !):

    http://autoracingdaily.com/aric-almirolas-post-daytona-500-take-refreshing/

    Aric Almirola's post-Daytona 500 take refreshing

    Amanda Vincent

    (2/18/18) 

    Courtesy NBC Sports


     An emotional Bubba Wallace breaks down in tears after victory

    Richard Petty Motorsports driver overcome with emotion at family's support after a career-best second in the Daytona 500.

      http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/an-emotional-bubba-wallace-breaks-down-in-tears-after-victory/ 

    Darrell Wallace Jr. snipes at Denny Hamlin after contact 

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/darrell-wallace-jr-snipes-at-denny-hamlin-after-contact/


    Dillon dedicates Daytona 500 win to Dale Sr.

    A very grateful Austin Dillon dedicated his Daytona 500 win to Dale Earnhardt Sr. who won the Daytona 500 20 years ago.


    Courtesy USA Today.com


    Courtesy Amanda Vincent
    (Thanks Amanda !):

    http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-austin-dillon-returns-no-3-to-daytona-500-victory-lane/

    NASCAR Cup: Austin Dillon returns No. 3 to Daytona 500 victory lane

    Amanda Vincent


    Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 in the No. 3 two decades after Dale Earnhardt 


    Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar):         
                      

    Courtesy NASCAR.com


    Dillon plays his ace
    Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 on 20th anniversary of Dale's victory

    Complete Daytona 500 results

    Bubba scores runner-up finish

    Almirola: 'My heart is broken'


    Courtesy NBC Sports


    Austin Dillon wins 60th Daytona 500

    Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 over Darrell Wallace Jr. and Denny Hamlin 

     http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/austin-dillon-wins-60th-daytona-500/

    Yet another big wreck with 2 laps left sends Daytona 500 into overtime

    Kurt Busch and several other drivers were going for the lead when they were involved in a big wreck 2 laps from the scheduled finish of the Daytona 500.

    Danica Patrick’s final NASCAR race ends with a wreck, not a win
    Danica Patrick ends her NASCAR Cup career with 191 starts, but zero victories.

     Another big one at Daytona: Chase Elliott, Danica out of race; several others involved

    Danica Patrick's last race of her NASCAR career comes to a premature end.   

    Stage 1 of Daytona 500 ends with crash; Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones and more eliminated
    The crash also involved William Byron, Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon. 
      http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/another-big-one-at-daytona-chase-elliott-danica-out-of-race-several-others-involved/


    Kyle Busch suffers apparent tire failure, hits wall, falls 3 laps down in Daytona 500
    Busch suffers second apparent tire failure of race

    Bubba Wallace gets pre-race good luck call from baseball legend Hank Aaron
    Bubba Wallace gets an inspirational message of good luck from the Baseball Hall of Famer

    Brad Keselowski’s dog lost and found prior to Daytona 500
    The family dog, Tess, was found about an hour before the start of the Daytona 500

    Matt Kenseth isn’t racing Daytona, but he still is trolling on Twitter
    The two-time Daytona 500 champion posted another update from the slopes.


    Courtesy Speed Sport News.com


    1959 Daytona: The Ultimate Photo Finish


    Remembering Dale Earnhardt’s Daytona 500 Victory 


    The 1988 Daytona 500


    Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/): 

    by Michael Massie


    Courtesy ESPN.com



    How NASCAR will deal without Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the track

    NASCAR Executive VP Steve O'Donnell, who has engaged in a Twitter conversation with Dale Eanrhardt Jr. about controversial yellow-line calls at Daytona, says "I have the yellow line dividing me and this guy" as he introduces Earnhardt at the prerace drivers meeting. Earnhardt was introduced because he will give the command to start engines for the Daytona 500.

    Here are 60 people to watch at the 60th Daytona 500

    http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22484399/nascar-cup-series-60-people-watch-60th-daytona-500-alex-bowman-denny-hamlin-aaron-rodgers-dale-earnhardt-jr-2018

    Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott primed to be NASCAR's next-gen stars 

    http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22457043/next-generation-nascar-stars-famous-last-names-chase-elliott-ryan-blaney

    Most Daytona 500 celebrities don't actually know much about NASCAR. But Chipper Jones grew up in the area, told stories about attending races as a huge Jeff Gordon fan. The new Hall of Famer also lobbied for Dale Murphy, Andruw Jones, Fred McGriff and non-Brave Edgar Martinez to join him in Cooperstown.


    Courtesy NASCAR.com


     Driver to Danica: Thank you! 

    How Daytona grass gets look


    Courtesy NBC Sports


     The ‘little hints’ that helped put Chase Elliott in the No. 9 this season

    A few well-timed emojis sent to team owner Rick Hendrick helped make the case for Hendrick Motorsports' number swap for 2018.  

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/the-little-hints-that-helped-put-chase-elliott-in-the-no-9/


    Cup teams are allowed 12 road crew members weekly and five on the pit crew.

    Staff picks for today’s Daytona 500
    Here is who the NBC Sports writers are picking to win the opening race of the season.  


    Courtesy Catchfence.com


    Stadium tickets for 60th annual DAYTONA 500 sold out


    Courtesy USA Today.com



    Courtesy NBC Sports


     After ‘rough year,’ Rick Hendrick seeks to change fortunes with new approach

    Hendrick Motorsports has made a number of changes since last season, including how all four teams work together.

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/hendrick-cultural-change/

    Formula 1 champion wishes Darrell Wallace Jr. good luck in Daytona 500

    Lewis Hamilton sends a tweet to Darrell Wallace Jr. on Sunday morning.

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/formula-1-champion-wishes-darrell-wallace-jr-good-luck-in-daytona-500/ 

    Daytona 500 start time, TV/Radio, starting lineup and more

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/18/daytona-500-start-time-tv-radio-starting-lineup-and-more/

     

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. back at Daytona but enjoying life not in the car
    For the first time since 1999, the Daytona 500 will run without Dale Earnhardt Jr.


    Courtesy NASCAR.com


     Daytona's Day
    Everything you need to know about today's Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX) 


    (2/17/18) 

    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

      Mother’s tears a celebration of a journey more than a decade in the making

    Garrett Smithley's career-high fifth-place finish in Saturday's Xfinity Series race led to a family celebration on pit road. 

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/17/mothers-tears-a-celebration-of-a-journey-more-than-a-decade-in-the-making/


    Courtesy USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/):


    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

    Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity Series opener at Daytona in overtime finish

    Tyler Reddick beat teammate Elliott Sadler in a photo finish on the fifth overtime attempt.

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/17/tyler-reddick-wins-xfinity-series-opener-at-daytona-in-overtime-finish/


    "Just my humble opinion "

    It is time to either limit the # of "overtime" re-starts (2-3 seems good), or END IT ALTOGETHER ! (I'd prefer that!)

    All these overtime attempts usually lead to more damaged race cars, and INCREASES the chances of injuries to the drivers , and possibly the crew members , AND ... the fans !
    " Just my humble opinion ? "

    We shall see

    Joe

    Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/ ): 



    Courtesy Speed Sport News.com (https://speedsport.com/):  

     The New Look Of Hendrick Motosports




    0-for-190. Did Danica have a chance in NASCAR?

    "I had 20 years on her when she started in a stock car ... You are never going to make up that ground." Danica Patrick never really broke through in NASCAR. The question is whether it was even possible.  http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22467984/what-happened-danica-patrick-career-nascar-cup-series-transition-indycar


    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):

    Anderson goes from $190 in bank account to top 10 at Daytona


    Best NASCAR Xfinity Series moments 


    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

    NASCAR ejects three crew members from Xfinity garage
    Penalties enacted for violations in inspection before qualifying


     Saturday schedule at Daytona capped by Xfinity opener

    The Xfinity Series race begins at 2:30 p.m. ET.    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/17/nascars-saturday-schedule-at-daytona-capped-by-xfinity-opener/

    Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more
    All the pertinent details for today's season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
     
    (2/16/18)
     
    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/): 

    Here's Johnny
    Johnny Sauter wins Camping World Truck Series opener at Daytona

     
    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

    Johnny Sauter wins Truck Series opener for third Daytona victory

    Johnny Sauter beat teammate Justin Haley and Joe Nemchek to earn the win.   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/16/johnny-sauter-wins-truck-series-opener-for-third-daytona-victory/

    Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/):  

    Sauter wins 3rd Truck Series race at Daytona

    Bankruptcy aside, BK Racing vows full season


    Courtesy Amanda Vincent
    (Thanks Amanda!):

    http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-cup-driver-only-broadcast-team-for-talladega-superspeedway-race/

    NASCAR Xfinity: Cup driver-only broadcast team for Talladega Superspeedway race

    Amanda Vincent

    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/): 

    2020 vision: Germain Racing, GEICO announce extension  



    Ty Dillon: I want people to know me and who I am  


     A wreck, a fight and a mysterious phone call: How the 1979 Daytona 500 put NASCAR on the map

    More: Ranking the greatest Daytona 500s

    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):  

    David Gilliland wins pole for Truck Series opener at Daytona
    David Gilliland will start on the front row with Johnny Sauter.


    Predicting NASCAR's biggest risers in 2018

     


    Friday 5: Restrictor-plate kings and Daytona tactics

     
    Courtesy USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/): 

    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):  

     Suarez sweeps 'em
    Daniel Suarez paces second Daytona 500 practice in a row Friday at Daytona 


     Courtesy Amanda Vincent
     (Thanks Amanda !!): 

    http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-some-engine-changes-wont-result-in-atlanta-penalties/

    NASCAR Cup: some engine changes won't result in Atlanta penalties 

     http://autoracingdaily.com/conservative-strategy-right-call-for-alex-bowman/

    Conservative strategy right call for Alex Bowman

    Amanda Vincent

    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):

    Suarez sizzlesJGR driver tops third

     Daytona 500 practice; next session at 3:05 p.m. ET on FS1



    Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/):

      Frontstretch Folio: Daytona 500
    by Phil Allaway
     
    This weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opens up the season with its Great American Race, the Daytona 500.  TV coverage is scheduled to begin with NASCAR RaceDay at 11 a.m. Sunday on FOX.  FOX NASCAR Sunday begins at 1 p.m. and the green flag is scheduled to fly around 3 p.m.  Radio coverage will be provided by local MRN radio affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

    Records and Facts

    Last year's Daytona 500 was a rather competitive affair with 37 lead changes among 18 drivers.  However, fuel mileage was the name of the game.  Chase Elliott led 39 laps and was up front with three laps to go when he had to stop.  Kyle Larson had the lead at the white flag, but sputtered.

    Kurt Busch streamed past on the final lap and held on to claim what turned out to be the only win of 2017 for the 2004 champion.  Ryan Blaney finished second, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, and Paul Menard.

    Among active drivers, Jimmie Johnson leads the pack with three Daytona victories.  That includes a season sweep in 2013.  Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray each have two victories at Daytona, one in each race.  Eight others have a single wins.

    All-time, Richard Petty has seven Daytona 500 triumphs (the most recent of which occurred in 1981) and ten overall wins in point races, most of all drivers.  Cale Yarborough has nine wins, followed by David Pearson with eight.

    Track Facts
    Track / Race Length: 2.5-mile oval, 200 laps (500 miles)
    Banking: 31 degrees
    Frontstretch: 3,800 ft, banked 18 degrees in tri-oval, 6 degrees in chutes
    Backstretch: 3,400 ft., banked 3 degrees
    Grandstand Seating: 101,000
    Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
    Pace Car Speed: 70 mph
    Opened: 1959
    Website: http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/DISUpdates

    Remaining Pre-Race Schedule:
    Practice No. 3: Friday, February 16, 1 - 1:55 p.m. on FOX Sports 1

    Practice No. 4: Friday, February 16, 3 - 3:55 p.m. on FOX Sports 1

    Happy Hour: Saturday, February 17, 12 - 12:55 p.m. on FOX Sports 1

    Say What?!

    "The Daytona 500 is the race everyone wants to win. I’ve gotten close several times at that race. It’s one of those tracks you feel like, ‘Darn it, I’m gonna win this someday.’ Forget about points and everything else. You want that trophy at the end of the race. I really don’t know what I’d do if I won the Daytona 500. Racing with SHR is one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had and the confidence is as high as it’s ever been." - Clint Bowyer

    "It’s crazy because I felt that as a rookie, maybe my second year, but I don’t necessarily feel it that much now. I feel it’s like another race, but it is the first race of the year and you want to start it off well. Are you always really ready for the start of the season? Who knows? If the Daytona 500 was the fifth or sixth race of the year, would it be better for me or better for somebody else? Maybe, or maybe not. The only way I can explain it to people is if you ever get excited or the adrenaline starts pumping and you don’t necessarily have any feelings and it’s just excitement. It could be for people experiencing the birth of a kid or something like that, or seeing their kid go through graduation or something like that. That’s sort of the feeling of getting ready to start the Daytona 500. To me, I get nervous or pumped up or excited for the start of the Super Bowl just watching it. I’m excited and I’m jacked up for it, so I can only imagine what the players feel, and that’s sort of the feeling you get." - Kyle Busch on the feeling of starting the race

    "I'm really excited to be here and to have laps under my belt in the Love's Ford. We had pretty smooth practices -- just a few growing pains on my end, getting things fine-tuned. We were working on the shifter and all the things you get used to over the years, because they change when you go to another team and another car. But everybody did a good job, and practice went pretty smoothly, and we're ready for the Duels and the 500... it's crazy that the Daytona 500 is going to be my 250th Cup start. There have been a lot of great drivers that have come through the series, and I feel very fortunate that I'm still here and have another opportunity this year. To make 250 is awesome, and to do it at Daytona is special. I've got a lot to look forward to this year and hopefully I can make it count." - Michael McDowell


    Courtesy Catchfence.com (http://www.catchfence.com/):

    Darrell Waltrip to be inducted into city of Hampton’s Speedway Lane Hall of Fame


    Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar):         
                        


    Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/): 

    NASCAR's youth movement in full effect

    Give Ryan Blaney credit. The 24-year-old driver, along with 22-year-old fellow Duel winner Chase Elliott, made the right moves at the right times to capture one of Thursday's qualifying races at Daytona.  http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22460598/nascar-ryan-blaney-chase-elliott-young-drivers-show-their-stuff-daytona-500-qualifying-races

    Qualifying races just the appetizer for Sunday's Daytona 500 main course 

    http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22459788/nascar-four-things-learned-daytona-500-duels-qualifying-races


    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar): 
     
    In a critical year for driver identities, how NASCAR will tell their stories

    An in-depth look at the marketing machine designed to spread the word about the "New Kids on the Block" who are filling the void left by recent retirements and departures. 

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/16/in-a-critical-year-for-driver-identity-heres-how-nascar-is-telling-their-stories/ 

    Xfinity practice report from Daytona
    Tyler Reddick leads the field in the opening practice session

    Eight teams going to backup cars for Daytona 500
    Among those going to backup cars are Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson.

    Seven Cup cars penalized practice time Friday
    Danica Patrick's team among those penalized practice time Friday for being late to inspection.  

     NASCAR’s Friday schedule at Daytona includes Truck Series opener
    The Camping World Truck Series opens its season with the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

    Dumping Duels can revive Daytona drama    

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/16/ryan-dumping-the-duels-can-return-drama-to-daytona/

    Kids coming in focused on Daytona 500 trophy 

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/15/long-the-kids-are-coming-and-focused-on-a-daytona-500-trophy/

    (2/15/18)


    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/): 

    Youth, moving
    Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney take Can-Am Duel races at Daytona International Speedway 



    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):  

     Chase Elliott wins Can-Am Duel No. 2, Kevin Harvick second

    Chase Elliott claimed his second win in a Daytona 500 qualifying race.   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/15/chase-elliott-wins-can-am-duel-no-2-kevin-harvick-second/



    Courtesy USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/):

    Champ Truex hopes to pick up where he left off

    Pit changes, new faces take center stage in 2018

    Dale Jr.: Watching 500 will be 'weird,' 'relaxing'


     Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/): 

    Daytona 101: Drivers rely on film, data to prep for the 500

    A torrent of data along with a library of recordings of races and practice sessions are what you'll find today's NASCAR competitors poring over -- all in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage in the sport's biggest event of the year.

      http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22452654/nascar-cup-series-drivers-watch-film-pore-data-preparation-competitive-advantage-2018-daytona-500

    FRR owner Visser returns from heart attack


    Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar):         
                       

    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar): 

     Ryan Blaney wins Can-Am Duel No. 1 in overtime finish, Joey Logano second

    Ryan Blaney helped give Team Penske its second win of Speedweeks

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/15/ryan-blaney-wins-can-am-duel-no-1-in-overtime-finish-joey-logano-second/

    Aaron Rodgers shows support for Danica Patrick at Can-Am Duels

    The Green Bay Packers quarterback is in Daytona Beach for the qualifying races and the Daytona 500.


    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/):  

     Blaney wins Can-Am Duel 1 


    Live on FS1
    Follow: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Duel 1 at Daytona, 7 p.m. ET


    Can 4 SHR teams make playoffs? 


     Counting down the greatest Daytona 500s: Nos. 21-30 


    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):

    Two fans answered the Camping World Truck Series driver's request for vanilla ice cream.


    BK Racing lists in court documents that it has liabilities of more than $10 million.


    The two 60-lap races will set the field for Sunday's Daytona 500

    Harrison Rhodes to make Cup debut at Atlanta
    Harrison Rhodes will drive the No. 51 car for Rick Ware Racing

     Questions remain for drivers heading into tonight’s qualifying races

    Handling issues could be significant for some who sacrificed stability for speed.   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/15/questions-remain-for-drivers-heading-into-tonights-qualifying-races/

    Practice results for Truck teams at Daytona
    Grant Enfinger posts the top lap in the first practice session Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.  

    Courtesy Amanda Vincent

    (Thanks Amanda !):
    http://autoracingdaily.com/you-do-you-noah-gragson/

    You do you, Noah Gragson

    Amanda Vincent


    Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/): 


    BK Racing Acquires EarthWater Sponsorship for Daytona 500

    On Tuesday, BK Racing announced that EarthWater will serve as the primary sponsor of Gray Gaulding's No. 23 Toyota in the Daytona 500.  Read more

    The Critic's Annex: New Smyrna 175
    by Phil Allaway
     
    Welcome back to yet another year of TV columns.  Once again in 2018, we'll use this space to cover events and shows that cannot fit in the regular editions of Couch Potato Tuesday.  We should have a fair amount of fun this season.
     
    First up is the New Smyrna 175, the season opener for the K&N Pro Series East.  This is a very interesting selection in that it would normally had not aired on television yet.  In fact, it still hasn't.  The premiere date on NBCSN is Feb. 27 as NBC Sports' coverage of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang continues.
     
    When we wrote out the TV listings last week at Frontstretch, there was no mention of live coverage for this race.  In fact, FansChoice.tv was late getting out their listings for the week in general.  As of Friday, the race was not being broadcast.
     
    However, NASCAR decided to make an experiment out of the race on Sunday night.  The whole event would be livestreamed for free at FansChoice.tv as part of the site's ongoing coverage of the World Series of Asphalt.
     
    In recent years, races at New Smyrna Speedway for K&N Pro Series East have been very enjoyable to watch.  There's also been some quirkiness (Ex: NASCAR screwing up the flags in 2016, resulting in an extra lap being run).  Sunday night may not have been all that quirky, but there was plenty of good racing to be had.
     
    Problem is, you had to get around a bunch of problems.  The beginning of the stream was plagued with video issues and sound issues.  As a result, viewers missed any kind of introduction from the "commentators," any mention of the starting grid and the command to start engines (given by Noah Gragson).
     
    The commentary on the race was done via the PA system on New Smyrna Speedway.  The track's regular PA announcer was joined in the booth by Heather Debeaux.  When the race airs on NBCSN in a couple of weeks, Derek Pernesiglio will be working the pits on that broadcast.
     
    For Debeaux, Sunday night was basically the first time doing commentary.  Her years of pit reporting experience seemed to work quite well.  She came off as quite informed and brought a lot of expert knowledge to the broadcast.
     
    Having the track PA count as the only commentary for the race can be a good thing, or a bad thing.  You could barely hear the commentary for much of the race as the cars were way louder.  That's pretty much par for the course for a race track, but typically not the case for a broadcast.
     
    The lack of a pit reporter on the stream did hurt the coverage quite a bit.  Viewers couldn't figure out what the heck went wrong with certain cars.  For instance, the second yellow flew because Hailie Deegan stalled her No. 19 Toyota on the backstretch.  We never heard why that happened on the broadcast, but she never returned to the race and finished last (29th).  According to NASCAR Home Tracks' Twitter, Deegan's team thought she had battery issues.  However, it turned out to be more than that.
     
    The race turned out to be a two-man race.  Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton effectively staged a 175-lap duel, which delighted the crowd in attendance.
     
    Competition cautions were introduced into the race, but they ultimately didn't change the outcome of the event.  Despite the race length, tire changes were still prohibited outside of flats.  As a result, Burton actually went the full race length without stopping.  That was a move that surprised the commentators because they thought no one could go the full distance on fuel.  Ultimately, Burton was the only one who tried it.  Everyone else pitted on lap 64.
     
    The broadcast admittedly had a fair amount of focus on Burton and Gilliland, but there was a decent amount of battle coverage as well.  Having only four cameras at their disposal meant that you could only cover so much, but viewers did get good battles.
     
    Also, there were replays of incidents as well.  They were rather rudimentary, but they did the best with what they had.  It's not all that different than what local short tracks do each Saturday night.  To use Lebanon Valley Speedway as an example, all the races there are shot by a group called Bobco Video.  They can rewind the coverage to take a look at incidents to help determine fault.
     
    One driver that should have gotten more coverage than he did was DGR-CROSLEY's Tyler Ankrum.  Ankrum had a fast car in the opening practice, but had issues that put him back to 25th on the grid.  From there, he drove into the top 10, got spun out, dropped to the back, then drove up to finish fifth.
     
    One of the more controversial momemts of the race occurred on lap 160 when Gilliland (leading at the time) ran into the back of the lapped car of Matt Levin exiting turn 2.  Levin spun out, causing the final caution of the race.  It seemed like there was no reason for this incident to occur.  Gilliland just ran in the back of him.  That brought up the specter of a race-altering penalty.  At many venues here in the United States, Gilliland would have been sent to the rear.  NASCAR chose not to penalize here.
     
    The final nine laps of the race saw some rooting around, along with quite a bit of contact.  However, Burton and Gilliland have raced each other a bunch of times over the past couple of years.  They know how to race and not outright take people out.  That led to a swell final segment of the race.
     
    Post-race coverage was decent.  Debeaux left the PA box to do the interviews on the frontstretch.  After waiting out Pernesiglio's interviews for NBCSN, Debeaux got interviews with the top three finishers.  There was also a check of the unofficial results before the stream ended.
     
    Ultimately, the stream was enjoyable, but that mainly because the on-track action was pretty good.  New Smyrna Speedway rarely disappoints.  The stream itself was plagued by problems early on.  Viewers had very limited on-screen graphics and no leaderboard at all until lap 17.  The lap counter was such that for the first 125 laps, it displayed the lap that had been completed instead of the lap the race was on.  That was despite the lap counter seemingly having been designed for the latter.  Made me worry about another strange instance similar to 2016.  Thankfully, that didn't come to pass.
     
    The sound mix was off for the entire race.  As a result, there was never a balance between the PA and the cars on-track.  However, we did get the race 16 days earlier than what would have normally happened.  Given the race, I suppose we can be happy about that.
     
    NASCAR termed Sunday night's K&N Pro Series East livestream as an experiment.  We'll see how they thought it went.  Perhaps this could be one of many streams this year.  Or, it could be a one-off.


    Frontstretch Line of the Week
     
    From Ty Majeski Discovers Road Racing Versatility at Daytona
     

    "It’s a different world.  Obviously, this is my first time on a road course with other cars, so it’s definitely different for me.  It’s going to be a whole new ballgame starting the race." - Ty Majeski, prior to his first start in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

    TODAY AT FRONTSTRETCH:

    2 Headed Monster: Is Only 40 Cars Entered In The Daytona 500 A Cause For Concern?
    by Michael Massie and Frank Velat

    3 Things to Take Away from Daytona 500 Media Day
    by Dustin Albino
     
    Erik Jones Looking to Start Own Legacy with Joe Gibbs Racing
    by Dustin Albino
     
    Happiness Is: Joy
    by Ava Huston Ladner

    Eyes on XFINITY: Keeping Up With a Busy Off-Season
    by Dustin Albino
     
    Daily Fantasy Forecast: 2018 Daytona 500 Preview
    by Corey Brewer
     
    Truckin’ Thursdays: 4 Changes for the 2018 Season
    by Beth Lunkenheimer
      

    Courtesy ESPN.com (http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/): 


    Twenty years later, Dale Earnhardt's Daytona 500 win remains one of a kind

    After 19 failed attempts, Dale Earnhardt won the 1998 Daytona 500 as crew members from several teams took part in the celebration. It was a storybook scene, one the sport will likely never be able to replicate.

     http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22425912/nascar-20-years-later-dale-earnhardt-daytona-500-win-1998-remains-one-kind

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. picks Daytona 500 winner, Cup champ and more

    http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22452034/nascar-dale-earnhardt-jr-2018-picks-rookie-daytona-500-winner-cup-champion

    Danica says Rodgers will attend Daytona 500

    Courtesy USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/):


    Courtesy Catchfence.com (http://www.catchfence.com/): 


    For most popular driver award, everyone is Chase Elliott

    Aric Almirola takes a sentimental journey home

    “Facebook Watch” will document Darrell Wallace Jr.’s first Daytona 500 run

    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar): 

    Thursday’s schedule at Daytona
    Three Truck Series practices lead up to the Can-Am Duels

    Drivers Council features new faces  

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/15/drivers-council-features-new-faces/

    Danica happy Daytona 500 will be last NASCAR race
    Danica Patrick is ready for the Daytona 500 and is happy she's able to say goodbye to her NASCAR fans at the biggest race of the year.


    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/): 

    A Daytona Legend
    The untold stories behind Dale Sr.'s iconic 1998 victory in 'The Great American Race'

    Impact of a penny still felt

    https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2018/02/15/twenty-years-later-impact-penny-felt-far-wide/

    Wessa on her hero, Dale Sr.

    Photos: 1998 Daytona 500

    All 76 of Earnhardt's wins

    Dillons relive winning moment

    Official Can-Am Duel lineups


    2  articles , courtesy Amanda Vincent
     (Thanks Amanda !!) : 



     http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-jeffrey-earnhardt-honors-grandfather-with-daytona-500-helmet/

    NASCAR Cup: Jeffrey Earnhardt honors grandfather with Daytona 500 helmet

    Amanda Vincent
     
    (2/14/18)

    Courtesy NASCAR.com (https://www.nascar.com/): 

     Best quotes from Media Day
    Martin Truex Jr.'s take on being champion, plus quirky quips from many drivers  https://galleries.nascar.com/gallery/1841/best-quotes-from-daytona-500-media-day#/0

     4  articles, courtesy Amanda Vincent
    ( Thanks Amanda !!!!) :  http://autoracingdaily.com/whats-the-big-deal-about-nascar-sharing-information-everyone-already-had/

    What's the big deal about NASCAR sharing information everyone already has?


     http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-b-j-mcleod-motorsports-plans-two-full-time-one-part-time-entry-in-2018/

    NASCAR Xfinity: B.J. McLeod Motorsprots plans two full-time, one part-time entry in 2018

    http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-jp-motorsports-adds-josh-bilicki/

    NASCAR Xfinity: JP Motorsports adds Josh Bilicki

    Amanda Vincent

    Courtesy  USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/): 

    Courtesy NBC Sports (http://www.nbcsports.com/nascar):   

    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks yellow line controversy
    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks about his success on speedways last season and carrying that into Daytona, the yellow line controversy in The Clash and more.  

    Twitter brings Ryan Blaney together with ‘biggest little fan’ at Disney World
    The Team Penske driver made a young fan's dream come true Tuesday at Walt Disney World.  

    When it comes to Daytona, Martin Truex Jr. only cares about winning
    Two years after finishing second in the Daytona 500, Martin Truex Jr. views restrictor-plate racing as his "biggest weakness."

    Truex Jr. on recent close calls at Daytona 500
    Martin Truex Jr. discusses the strategic racing at the Daytona 500, his close calls in recent years at the race and more


     Kyle Busch blasts Ryan Blaney in NASCAR marketing debate

    The Joe Gibbs Racing driver takes umbrage at suggestion he turns down opportunities.   http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/14/kyle-busch-blasts-ryan-blaney-in-nascar-marketing-debate/


    Courtesy USA Today.com (https://www.usatoday.com/sports/nascar/): 


    Courtesy Speed Sport News.com (https://speedsport.com/):

    Joe Nemechek To Drive JD Motorsports Camaro At Daytona


    Courtesy  Wall Stadium Speedway (https://www.wallspeedwayracing.com/):

    Link to the 2018 Schedule :


    *RAIN DATES: SAT JUNE 9 >> MAKEUP SAT JUNE 16 SAT JULY 14 >> MAKEUP SUN JULY 15 SAT AUG 18 >> MAKEUP SUN AUG 19 SAT OCT 6 >> SUN OCT 7
                                        TURKEY DERBY XLV
    2018 Official Race Schedule


    Courtesy ESPN.com

    Bubba Wallace has the car and the drive to change NASCAR

    As the first black racer with a full-time Cup ride in 45 years, he knows his progress is pivotal.

    http://theundefeated.com/features/bubba-wallace-has-the-car-and-the-drive-to-change-nascar-state-of-the-black-athlete/

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. stays true to his late father in work partnerships  http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22426904/nascar-dale-earnhardt-jr-pays-tribute-late-father-goodyear-got-name-commercial-2018

    The Earnhardt name, legacy remain on the track -- for now  http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/22426269/nascar-track-jeffrey-earnhardt-continues-name-legacy-racing-2018-daytona-500

    Kyle Busch repeating a common comment from the Daytona 500 competitors today. "There are certain guys that you have to keep your eye on in the 500, and really, people you study. For me those guys are Brad (Keselowski) and (teammate) Denny Hamlin. They see what's happening and can see it several cars ahead or behind. Not me. But l'm working on it."


    Courtesy Sporting News.com (http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar):          
                      

    Courtesy NASCAR.com

    Countdown of Greatest Daytona 500s: Nos. 31-40


    Courtesy The Frontstretch.com (https://www.frontstretch.com/): 

     Entry List: PowerShares QQQ 300Saturday's PowerShares QQQ 300, the season opener for the XFINITY Series, will have 46 teams attempting to qualify for the 40-car starting field.  That number includes six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars. Read more
     
    Entry List: NextEra Energy Resources 250  The entry list is out for Friday night's Camping World Truck Series season opener.  After rumors of a short field, 36 trucks will vie for the 32 starting spots available.  Read more
     
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., Charlize Theron & Peyton Manning Announced for Daytona 500 Grand Marshal, Pace Car Roles

    The Daytona 500 usually brings out the celebrities for special roles and this year is no different.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be the Grand Marshal.  He'll be joined in official duties by Charlize Theron and Peyton Manning.  Read more


    Courtesy Catchfence.com

    Performance Plus Motor Oil joins Dalton Sargeant and GMS Racing for 2018 http://www.catchfence.com/268737/performance-plus-motor-oil-joins-dalton-sargeant-gms-racing-2018

    Legacy of Goodyear and Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought to life in new ad


    Cobra Electronics announces partnership with NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace Jr 


    Courtesy NBC Sports

    Daniel Hemric’s journey to Xfinity Series aided by loyal mechanic

    Daniel Hemric and Tim Ladyga first encountered each other 20 years ago. Their careers have intertwined ever since. 

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/14/daniel-hemrics-journey-to-xfinity-series-aided-by-loyal-mechanic-legend-car-owner/

    Where in the world is Matt Kenseth? (Hint: Not in Daytona)

    http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/02/14/where-in-the-world-is-matt-kenseth-hint-not-in-daytona/

    Social Roundup: NASCAR drivers enjoy day off at beach, Disney World
    Danica Patrick went for a walk on the beach with her hands while William Byron flew with the Thunderbirds



    Fans send lucky charms to help Chase Elliott get to Victory Lane
    Atlanta Motor Speedway presented the trinkets and items to Chase Elliott on Tuesday.

    Courtesy NASCAR.com

    Way back when
    See today's stars like Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and others in their first Daytona 500 


    Courtesy Amanda Vincent
    (Thanks Amanda !):

     http://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-truck-brett-moffitt-replaces-ryan-truex-at-hattori-racing/

    NASCAR Truck: Brett Moffitt replaces Ryan Truex at Hattori Racing

    Amanda Vincent

    Contact me !!!
     
    Like what you've read here?  Share my passion and want to contribute?     WANT TO SPONSOR THIS SITE ?
     
    Have advice / suggestions on how I can improve this site,or move it to a better webserver ?
     
     Please get in touch!
     
    If you would like to contribute news / comments. I have 2 requests
     
    1 .Spelling ,and punctuation , doesn't matter. I'm not perfect ,and I don't expect you to be.
     
    2. Keep your comments / pictures clean,or I won't even consider posting them on this site .
     
    I will post your comments , If ,and only IF ,you permit me to to so .

    Just click this address to send me mail:

    You can reach me at   josnasceph@comcast.net ,or joe9fan@yahoo.com  .
     
    OR you can call me, on my cell phone ,and leave a message @ 732 581-8331.

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    Please note that the hit counter for this site has recycled many , many times ,over the life cycle of this website !

    Born on date  11/14/08
     
    Now for the reason for creating this site
     
    This site was created by me because of frustations with other internet service providers, and is for the use of anyone who's interested in anything about NASCAR. 
     
      However,over time I hope to add other auto racing news,from other auto racing series / venues ,in the hopes of having something here for everyone to enjoy.
     
    Now for a little bit about me ,
     
     
    I'm Joe,from New Jersey. I've lived in the Garden State for most of my life.  It's also where I've been fighting,to get a major NASCAR track built somewhere in the NYC/NJ area for many years now.
    I am also "foot soldier" / bill collector for the electric company.So I do work days. Therefore the best time to check for any updates is after 8 pm,on weeknights.  But just about any time on weekends !!!
    My favorite current driver : KASEY KAHNE
    I'm also a fan of :Martin Truex Jr. ( Hey ! He's a "Jersey Guy" !!! I was rooting for him since I first saw him racing .and winning,as a 17 year old,in the modified division at Wall Stadium ( now known as Wall Speedway ) !!!
    My favorite all time driver : "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville" ... BILL ELLIOTT !!!
    Needless to say .My favorite car owner is fellow "Jersey Guy"...Ray Evernham
    My favorite NASCAR Track : Dover
    My favorite local tracks : Wall Speedway (paved),and New Egypt Speedway (dirt)
     
    My favorite actors/actresses : Tom Hanks, John Wayne,Kiefer Sutherland ,Catherine Zeta-Jones,Rene Zellweiger
     
    My Favorite movies : Star Wars ( all 6 of them),
    Lord of the Rings (ALL OF THEM),
    Gone With the Wind,
    Fort Apache,
    She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,
    The Longest Day,
    Saving Private Ryan.
    Zorro (especially the Antonio Banderas ones !)
    Batman ( the ones with Michael Keaton,and Christian Bale ! The rest of them...blech ! Sorry Adam West ! I used to like the old "campy" BATMAN tv shows. But then I grew up !)
     
    Favorite TV shows :
    MASH !!!
    Cheers,
    Seinfeld,
    Bones
     

     


    24 !!!  & House !, & Fringe !!! , &  Terra Nova ! , & Alcatraz ! 
    24: Live Another Day !!!
    Almost Human
     
    Sleepy Hollow  !!!   The Following
    Touch
     
     
    Person of Interest
    & Bones !
     
    (Always,and forever !!!)
     

    GOTHAM !!!

     
     
    Law and Order : SVU
     

    Empire

     LUCIFER !!!

    Designated Survivor  &

    24: Legacy

    & New for 2017  : The Good Doctor, Gifted,  Seal Team, and The Long Road Home .
     
     
     
     
    Favorite all time master sleuth :
    Sherlock Holmes !
    (as portrayed by Jeremy Brett !)
     
    Favorite Comedy Routine :
    "Who's on First ? "
    Needless to say my favorite comedy team is ....
    Abbott & Costello !!!
     
    My other interests other than NASCAR :
    My family
    The New York Yankees ( I was BORN a Yankee fan !!!)
    The New York Giants
    The New Jersey / now Brooklyn Nets
    The New York Knicks
    The Hawthorne Caballeros "all age" & Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
    The Golden Knights Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
    The Bayonne Bridgemen Alumni Drun & Bugle Corps
    The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps (formerly of Garfield NJ.Now they currently are based in Allentown,Pa.)
    Do I give you the impression that I also love Drum & Bugle Corps? I could go on with the many corps that I really enjoy !
    I was a snare drummer in high school !
     
    I truly hope that you enjoy visiting my site. I also hope that you will come back often,and that you tell your friends & family about it.
     
    P.S.
    As I type this ( Nov.25,2006). My current 1/24 scale NASCAR diecast car collection is @ 175 + cars !!!
    Personal note from me. ( AKA Site disclaimer...or something like that ! )
    If you see something here that you would like to use on your website / newsletter / whatever. Please feel free to do so.
    HOWEVER !!! 
    I do ask that you give credit where credit is due ( as I do here). Please indicate something  (somewhere / somehow ),that you got it from this website.
    Thank You,
    Joe

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