Monday, February 19, 2018

What Happen This Last #NASCAR Weekend

What Happen This Last #NASCAR Weekend

Johnny Sauter (#NCWTS), Tyler Reddick (#NXS), and Austin Dillon (#MENCS) Win and Are In

#NASCAR Daytona International Speedway Produced Numerous "Big Ones"
Daytona International Speedway Produced Numerous "Big Ones"

Just in case you had not heard . . . . . NASCAR is back! The three top National Series battled at the track known as the 'The World Center of Racing,' the Daytona International Speedway.

* * * NASCAR Camping World Truck Series * * *


Johnny Sauter won the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway #NASCAR


On Friday, the Camping World Truck series started off the season. Johnny Sauter won the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, his third victory in the season-opening event for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Sauter, driving the No. 21 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet, emerged from a late-race battle among front-runners, taking the lead for good with eight laps remaining in the 100-lap/250-mile race on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Sauter, whose previous victories in the event came in 2013 and ’16, outraced Justin Haley (No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet) and veteran Joe Nemechek (No. 87 D.A.B. Constructors Inc./Fleetwing Chevrolet) to the finish.

“This is the most unbelievable superspeedway truck I’ve ever driven. I felt like we executed flawlessly.” Sauter exclaimed.

* * * NASCAR Xfinity Series * * *

Tyler Reddick endured a flurry of late-race incidents and five “#NASCAR Overtimes” to win the PowerShares QQQ 300 on Saturday.


Tyler Reddick endured a flurry of late-race incidents and five “NASCAR Overtimes” to win the PowerShares QQQ 300 on Saturday.

The season-opening race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series was scheduled for 120 laps (300 miles). By the time things wrapped up, a total of 143 laps had been run on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Reddick, a rookie driver in the No 9 BurgerFi Chevrolet partially owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., edged his JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler (No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet) in a door-rubbing photo finish. Officially, the margin of victory was listed as 0.000 seconds, the closest finish in NASCAR national series history. Two-time race winner Ryan Reed (No. 16 Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford) finished third.

“This feels amazing,” Reddick reported. “Helluva way to start the year off with JR Motorsports … and get my first win for JR Motorsports.


* * * Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series * * *

Austin Dillon delivers emotional DAYTONA 500 victory for Richard Childress Racing in the “The Great American Race.” #NASCAR


In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Austin Dillon delivers emotional DAYTONA 500 victory for Richard Childress Racing in the “The Great American Race.”

Twenty years after Dale Earnhardt ended a career-long drought by winning the DAYTONA 500 in the famed No. 3 Chevrolet of Richard Childress, Austin Dillon – Childress’ grandson – returned the No. 3 to Gatorade Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. And he did it with a last-lap, bump-and-run move that was absolutely Earnhardt-like, to boot – in the 60th running of the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.



A Lap 199 late-race incident took out a number of front-running contenders and forced two extra laps of “NASCAR Overtime.” On the first OT lap, Tampa native Aric Almirola (No. 10 Smithfield Ford) assumed the lead and as the final lap transpired, he appeared headed toward the victory.

As the lead pack approached Turn 3, Dillion – with a considerable aerodynamic push from the No. 43 Click n’ Close Chevrolet of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – made a run in his Dow-sponsored car for the front but was blocked by Almirola. Dillon kept going, tapping the rear bumper of Almirola, which sent the Ford into the wall. Dillon and Wallace continued on to the finish line, with Dillon winning by 0.260 seconds. Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota), the 2016 DAYTONA 500 champion, finished third.

“I did what I had to do,” Dillon explained. “He was trying to block me and I just turned him. We had a run and I stayed in the gas. It’s so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to victory lane. This one is for Dale Earnhardt and all those Earnhardt fans. We’re going to keep kicking butt for the rest of the year.”


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  4. KURT BUSCH – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Did Bubba Wallace Live Up to the #NASCAR Hype?

Did Bubba Wallace Live Up to the #NASCAR Hype?

“Drove Smart and Remained Patient”

If you follow NASCAR and Speedweek, you could not help but notice the name Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. In December 2017, in one of the Richard Petty Motorsport’s most anticipated moments in its history, it was announced that Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. would be the new driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, made famous by team co-owner, “The King” Richard Petty. 



Wallace, 24, will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and for the ‘Sunoco Rookie of The Year’ beginning at the 2018 Daytona 500 today. However, Wallace was not new to the iconic MENCS ride. He had driven the car a handful of times in 2017, when Petty’s then-full-time driver Aric Almirola was injured in a race, Wallace filled in for four races in the 43 car.

“This is a dream come true to race for ‘The King’, Richard Petty Motorsports, the iconic No. 43 and for all the fans and partners that have and continue to support this team,” Wallace stated at the time. “I believe in what Richard Petty Motorsports is doing and their desire to win races. I believe this team, its partners and fans are ready to see some great things again. I’m humbled that they have chosen me to take that next step with them. I’m ready for next season to begin and to prove to people that we can compete at the level we all expect to be at.”

As the first full-time African-American driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since Wendell Scott, all eyes were scrutinizing this young rookie.

In fact, Bubba even received a pre-race phone call from Baseball Legend Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron grew from humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama, Wallace’s hometown, before passing through the sandlots with brief stops in the Negro Leagues and the minor leagues before he settled in with the Braves where he ultimately became one of baseball’s most iconic figures. 



So How Did Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. do in the 2018 NASCAR Season Opener?

Wallace finished third in the first Duel 150 on Thursday, to secure a seventh place starting position for the 60th running of the Daytona 500. At the drop of the green on the Daytona 500, he maneuvered up to second place by lap three, right behind leader Denny Hamlin. In lap thirteen, after pit stops, Wallace restarted in third.

On lap twenty-eighth, it would appear that the #43 ran out of racing room and tagged the wall a bit. There was not much damage, but it put him back into fourteenth place. He dropped steadily after that, all the way back to twenty-fourth before surviving the first “Big One” to finishing Stage One in fourteenth.

During his pit stop the crew addressed his observation that the car was “on the free side” He started Stage Two from eleventh. The adjustment must have been positive because Wallace worked his way up to eighth on lap seventy-three.

Wallace did take some hostility from Trevor Bayne for blocking on lap eighty-four. Nonetheless they were both battling to stay in the top-ten. Darrell was again able to avoid a crash and emerged through the carnage in ninth. Wallace finished Stage 2 in a very respectable seventh place (out of twenty-one cars on the lead lap).

Bubba was lined up in eleventh place for the Stage 3 start. He was very impressively maintain his position is sixth place for most of this stage.

Wallace did fall back to tenth before the yellow flag fell with just ten laps to go.  With just a lap to go, Darrell was in the perfect position to create his own "luck" maneuvering on a rough ride below the yellow line to avoid last "Big One" of the event.


So did Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. live up to all the hype he received before his debut in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevy? Driving from sixth to a second place finish Bubba’s performance surprised me in an encouraging manner. 

I would have to give his rookie run an enthusiastic A+. Go Bubba - you earned a new fan.


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Rest In Peace Dale Sr.

Rest In Peace Dale Sr.

#3 Forever / 40 Years of Continued Earnhardt Legacy/ #LegendsNEVERDie

Rest In Peace Dale Sr.  #NASCAR


As NASCAR returns to Daytona, NASCAR Race Mom has to take a moment to reflect on Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. posted a track record 34 victories over 21 seasons and was without question Daytona’s dominant driver of the 1980s and 1990s. Behind the wheel of his iconic, Richard Childress-owned black No. 3 Chevrolet, Dale won at least once a season for 10 consecutive years from 1990 and 1999, including the 1998 Daytona 500.

This legend died at the young age of forty-nine following a final lap accident in the February 18, 2001 Daytona 500.

"Honesty I don’t even think about it when the anniversary of dads passing comes annually. He lived so hard and fast. His life was so grand, the date never registers with me for some reason. But I see the comments in my timeline and they are appreciated. #LegendsNEVERDie" Dale Jr. (via twitter)

Dale Sr. & Dale Jr. #NASCARToday, Dale Jr., son of this great seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is one of NASCAR Race Mom’s favorite drivers for his skills both on and off the race track. His daddy taught him well.

NRM was gloomy to see Dale Jr. retire from full-time on-track competition; but super excited to see what 2018 brings to his JR Motorsports organization.



Additionally, the Earnhardt name will be represented by grandson Jeffrey. He currently competes full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 00 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for StarCom Racing.



Today, and every day, we remember you, the Intimidator. 





Rest In Peace Dale Sr.

April 29, 1951
Rest in Peace
Ralph Dale Earnhardt, II
#3 Forever
February 18, 2001



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#Daytona500 - Chipper Jones, Honorary Race Official and Peyton Manning, Honorary Pace Car Driver

Chipper Jones Honorary Race Official and Peyton Manning Honorary Pace Car Driver

There’s only one #DAYTONA500 – celebrate it at the place that’s delivered unforgettable moments for six decades.

#Daytona500 - Chipper Jones, Honorary Race Official and Peyton Manning, Honorary #NASCAR Pace Car Driver


The wait is finally over – NASCAR Season is here. If you think ‘The Great American Race’ is just a race, you need to look again. This is pageantry and history, celebrities and spectacle taken to a whole different level.

Former Atlanta Braves great and new Baseball Hall of Fame member Chipper Jones will serve as an Honorary #nascar Race Official.

Former Atlanta Braves great and new Baseball Hall of Fame member Chipper Jones will serve as an Honorary Race Official for the 60th annual DAYTONA 500 today. The Daytona 500 is the opening race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

“We’re going to have one of the legendary stars of the ‘National Pastime’ join us for ‘The Great American Race,’” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “Chipper Jones was an obvious choice for the hall of fame this year. He’s also a local hero. We’re thrilled to welcome him back home for the DAYTONA 500.”

Peyton Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Nationwide member/spokesperson, will serve as the Honorary #NASCAR Pace Car Driver.

Peyton Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Nationwide member/spokesperson, will serve as the Honorary Pace Car Driver.

“Serving as the Honorary Pace Car Driver will be a truly unique and exciting experience,” Manning reported. “I want to thank NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and Nationwide for making this possible. I’m really looking forward to race day.”

“We’re talking true star power with this announcement, as Peyton Manning is one of the legends of both college football and the NFL,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “He also has the persona and popularity to match his achievements. He’ll be an awesome Honorary Pace Car Driver and a great addition to our lineup of high-profile guests for the 60th DAYTONA 500.”



Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on:


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KURT BUSCH – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance

KURT BUSCH – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance
Eleven drivers have won the Daytona 500 more than once since the race started in 1959. Only three drivers have ever won consecutive Daytona 500s. 

KURT BUSCH – 2018 NASCAR Daytona 500 Race Advance


So for Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the important numbers are now 12 and four. He hopes to become the 12th driver to score multiple Daytona 500 victories and the fourth to score back-to-back wins.

The only drivers to win consecutively are Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).

But while those drivers had the same crew chief for the consecutive races they won (Petty and Dale Inman; Yarborough and Waddell Wilson; Marlin and Tony Glover), Busch will have a new man atop the pit box.

Tony Gibson, a Daytona Beach native with more than 30 years of crew chief experience, retired from the road at the conclusion of the 2017 season and took a job as production manager at SHR.

In steps another Florida native, Billy Scott, who was crew chief for former SHR driver Danica Patrick for the last two seasons. Scott hails from Land O’ Lakes, Florida and would love nothing better than to score a Daytona 500 victory with Busch.

And as fun as winning was last year, perhaps Busch would like to lead a few more laps this year, for last year, he only led one. But it was the most important one.

With a last-lap pass of Kyle Larson in turns one and two of the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway oval, Busch won the “Great American Race” in his 17th attempt. In leading the only lap that mattered, Busch scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win on a restrictor-plate racetrack, giving him victories on every type of circuit the Cup Series visits, which includes short tracks, high-banked ovals, flat tracks and road courses.

Busch won both the Advance Auto Parts Clash and the first Can-Am Duel qualifying race at Daytona in 2011. Busch led three laps and beat Jamie McMurray to the finish line by .058 of a second to win the Clash in 2011. That same year, he went on to lead seven laps and beat Regan Smith to win the first Can-Am Duel 150 by .065 of a second. Busch narrowly missed a clean sweep of 2011 Speedweeks by finishing fifth in the Daytona 500, which was won by rookie Trevor Bayne.

Busch is a veteran in NASCAR with 612 races started. And he’d love nothing more than to score a huge victory for number 613.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What makes it so difficult to score a repeat win in the Daytona 500?

“I think the factors involved, whether it’s the manufacturers changing from year to year, the engine combinations. This year, it’s a whole new ballgame with the no ride-height rule. You will see cars with a whole different style of setup. That is what gets me all motivated to work as hard as I can because, when there is something new, you want to be on the cutting edge to be the first guy to do it.”

Will the speeds be up at Daytona in 2018?

“I haven’t seen the sims or how it will play out as far as overall speed. Any time you think you will go too fast, they slap the smaller restrictor plate on you. There is always that range right around 200 to 205 mph.”

Has Ford lifted its game overall this year? Do you anticipate things being better?

“I think having a year under our belt will help things. That newness stage is gone and those meetings have productivity and not people stepping on each other’s toes. I like it. I like the way it feels. Mark Rushbrook is now the director of Ford Performance with our group and there is an enthusiasm still there. We just needed to find a little more rear aero last year. This new system, where they will be scanning the cars in tech inspection, should help us close the gap.”

Was there any work in the offseason on the engine or chassis that can help the Ford group?

“There isn’t a big new PR announcement or rollout of a new car, but there is always development. There are always new things. I can’t talk specifics about the engine, but we have improved in the areas that Penske, Roush and us at SHR all demanded. Doug Yates listened to us and applied that. That is exciting news (with) all the 1.5-mile and short-track stuff. We believe we have the elite superspeedway engines right now. The aero side, with the new Hawkeye scanning system in tech, that will be a whole new game that the teams have to learn and play within. We have hired four guys already just to try to help perfect that system for us at Stewart-Haas.”

Has it been good to get to Florida and distance yourself in the offseason in order to be fresh for Daytona?

“It has been good and the weather is great down there. I came back a few days ago and I feel stuffy already. Jimmie Johnson goes to Colorado and does a lot of skiing and high-altitude training. When I am down in Florida, I love the weather and love to support my wife’s polo team. It is great to be down there with her in the offseason because she gives so much to be on the road with our race season. For me, I work out twice as hard down there. I have one of those altitude masks that help raise the altitude level. At sea level, the air is really good down there but, as soon as you get the season started and go to Atlanta, that isn’t too bad. But Vegas and Phoenix are high altitude and dry, dirty air out West. That is why I like Florida and like to train down there.”

How often do you think about the 2017 Daytona 500 and what happened?

“It was an amazing win. The prestige, history and value of that race and just being part of it over the years was special. Now, to go back there as the defending champion of the Daytona 500 gives me that much more motivation to do it again and make sure nobody shares in all the glory. It was a huge day. With Monster’s CEO there and announcing the entitlement sponsorship and, for us, getting back together for me with Ford. I couldn’t have written more of a fairy tale-type of race. Daytona, I think about it all the time. Once we get past that race and it is on to Atlanta and we don’t win, 2017 Daytona 500 winner is done. We have to find other wins.”

What do you think of the new pit-road rules?

“I like the move. It will create a safer environment with one less guy per team out on pit road. What it does now is put more responsibility on the jack man and tire carrier. Yet it is just the evolution. We used to have seven guys on pit road and we thought taking the catch can man away was going to be big, but it didn’t change the game much. Now, we are down to five guys. Will it change it much, I don’t think so. What I like to do is always change it up (during practice). The car doesn’t stop in the same spot each time. I will come in there nosed-in, nosed-out and juke up a lot of our sequences so they can adapt.”

Have you had conversations with Billy Scott and the No. 41 team about strategies you may incorporate due to the new pit-road rule?

“There is the new pit-road rule and also tires that continue to be limited as far as our quantity every weekend. I think we saw at the spring race at Richmond, guys were gluing up old scuffed tires, which is a no-no, and now you have more of a tire management sequence. I think it puts more variables on pit road by having fewer guys, fewer tires and the stages and when yellows come out and how many heat cycles are on your tires. I think that is what NASCAR wants. More variables to create more opportunities for guys.”


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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hooters Rewards Race Fans with Every Chase Elliott Top-10 Finish

Hooters Rewards Race Fans with Every Chase Elliott Top-10 Finish

Hooters Puts Fans of the No. 9 Chevrolet in Victory Lane with ‘When Chase Wins, You Win’ Promotion #Di9 #Hooters9

Hooters Rewards #NASCAR Race Fans with Every Chase Elliott Top-10 Finish

Hooters is back on the track for a second season with Chase Elliott driving the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. Hooters will serve as a full-season associate sponsor, as well as Elliott’s primary sponsor for two races this 2018 season – July 7 at Daytona International Speedway and on Sept. 22 at Richmond Raceway.



Hooters Rewards #NASCAR Race Fans with Every Chase Elliott Top-10 FinishTo celebrate the return, Hooters is giving fans another reason to cheer Elliott and his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team to victory – exclusive offers and prizes when Elliott wins or places in the top 10 all season long. If Elliott wins a NASCAR Cup Series race, fans will receive 10 free boneless wings with the purchase of any 10 wings. If Elliott finishes in the top 10, fans win a free order of fried pickles, with beverage purchase.

Guests can claim “When Chase Wins, You Win” offers on Mondays after race weekends by mentioning the offer to their Hooters Girl. Fans can also join the Hooters9 Crew at hooters9.com and immediately win with a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase.



NASCAR fans can also look forward to seeing the Hooters showcar on tour throughout the NASCAR season. The No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 showcar will make pit stops at Hooters locations across America, where fans can take photos and purchase official merchandise. Daytona-area fans can catch the showcar ahead of the upcoming Daytona 500 race at select Hooters from Feb. 15 - 18. Find the full 2018 showcar tour schedule online at hooters9.com.

NASCAR fans are invited to watch the races at Hooters every week while enjoying Hooters world famous chicken wings and one-of-a-kind Hooters Girl hospitality. Fans are encouraged to use the #Di9 and #Hooters9 hashtag throughout the year to share their excitement and engage via social media.

Hooters Rewards #NASCAR Race Fans with Every Chase Elliott Top-10 Finish
Hooters and Elliott head back to the track this year following an exciting 2017 season. Elliott activated “When Chase Wins, You Win” prizes 12 times throughout the season for registered fans, highlighted by a second-place finish in the Hooters Chevrolet at the Nov. 12 race in Phoenix. Hooters also auctioned off the Hooters Chevrolet hood from Elliott’s May 7 Talladega race, raising $7,500 for its annual Give A Hoot fundraising campaign. The campaign has raised more than $5.3 million for breast cancer research over the years.

Hooters has served as a primary sponsor in more than 150 Cup-level races, notably as the full-season sponsor of 1992 premier series champion Alan Kulwicki. That year, Kulwicki won two races and narrowly edged Elliott’s father, 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott, by 10 points to win the title.

“When Chase Wins, You Win” offers are only available in-store the Monday following a victorious race day. No coupon is required to receive the deal, guests must mention the deal to their Hooters Girl to claim the reward. To receive additional coupons and offers via email, register for the Hooters9 Crew in advance of race day at hooters9.com.

To find your nearest Hooters location, visit Hooters.com.


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KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance
The start of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has a look of familiarity for driver Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion team at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). For the first time in several years, the season will kick off with the same race format, points system, manufacturer, primary partners and series sponsor from the previous season as the team heads to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the season-opening Speedweeks.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 #NASCAR Daytona 500 Race Advance

The biggest changes for Harvick and the No. 4 team this year include an updated Jimmy John’s livery featuring a reversed color scheme with a white hood, black fenders and red highlights; new SHR teammate Aric Almirola driving the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion; one fewer pit crewmember over the wall on pit stops; and a new NASCAR inspection process.

There is comfort in familiarity, which is good news for Harvick and the No. 4 team as Jimmy John’s returns for its third season on the hood of the No. 4 Ford for the 60th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Illinois and famous for its freaky fast delivery, made its Daytona 500 debut in 2016, when Harvick and the No. 4 team started ninth and finished fourth to start the season in “The Great American Race.”

While Jimmy John’s is on the hood for the Daytona 500, for the third consecutive year Busch Beer returns to Harvick’s No. 4 Ford Fusion at Daytona for Sunday’s Advanced Auto Parts Clash – the 75-lap, non-points-paying race that kicks off the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Busch’s rich racing history began in 1978, when the brand sponsored the award presented to Cup Series pole winners. Busch went on to be the “Official Beer of NASCAR” from 1988 through 1997 and was the title sponsor of the stepping-stone division to the Cup Series – currently known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series – from 1984 through 2007. The last Busch-sponsored driver prior to the company’s return in 2016 was NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and his iconic No. 11 car during the 1980 season.

Both Jimmy John’s and Busch have reason to be optimistic as Harvick and the No. 4 team head to Daytona.

As Harvick enters his 18th NASCAR Cup Series season and his fifth at SHR with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm, he is looking to score his second win in the Daytona 500. He won the famed Harley J. Earl trophy in 2007, when he beat Mark Martin to the Daytona 500 finish line by .020 of a second on the final green-white-checkered restart. It was the closest Daytona 500 finish since the inception of computer scoring in 2003. The race still stands as the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history.

Harvick also has three wins in the Clash at Daytona – 2009, 2010 and 2013 – tying him for second-most with his team owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett.

In the 2009 Clash at Daytona, Harvick survived an incident-filled race that saw a record eight caution periods and less than half the starting field make it to the checkered flag.

The following year, he joined Neil Bonnett, Ken Schrader and Stewart as the fourth driver in event history to win consecutive races, and he did so driving a backup car he was never able to practice, passing Greg Biffle with two laps remaining in a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR declared Harvick the winner when a multicar incident ended the race under caution.

In his 2013 win, Harvick led 40 of 75 laps, dominating the second and third segments en route to his third Clash at Daytona victory in five years.

If Harvick can add his name to the Harley J. Earl trophy for a second time Feb. 18 in the season-opening Daytona 500 at “The World Center of Racing,” he would be the 11th driver in NASCAR history to win the iconic event more than once. It would also put the No. 4 team in prime position to secure a berth in the 2018 playoffs as it attempts to win a second NASCAR Cup Series championship in four years. KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

SHR has two Daytona 500 winners on its roster. You are one of them. How satisfying is it to win that race?

“You always hear people talk about how winning the Daytona 500 is different than winning any other race. Once experiencing that, I would definitely say that it’s true just because everything you do at Speedweeks during the Daytona 500 weekend is just bigger and different than any other race you go to. So, winning our sport’s most prestigious race is pretty cool and something you would definitely like to experience again.”

Does winning one Daytona 500 make you even hungrier for another one?

“After experiencing everything that comes with the Daytona 500, yes. But, you know, you look back in time and see how hard it’s been to win that one particular race because you only get one shot a year. It’s a tough one to win. So I’m very fortunate to have been to victory lane in the Daytona 500, but would love to get back there.”

How helpful is it to come out of Daytona with a strong run?

“Winning the Daytona 500 almost makes your whole year, just for the fact that it is the Daytona 500 and the amount of notoriety and things that come with it for your team and organization are pretty high. I would not want to do it that way, but it is a race that can make your year. However, I think as far as racing for a championship, it’s much different in 2017 and in going forward than it has been in the past, because that hole can also be helped by stage points. Last year, we wrecked out of the Daytona 500 but led and won the first two stages, and I think we left (Daytona) fourth in the points. So, racing hard is definitely the strategy now to gain as many points as you can early in a race to try and protect yourself from the end. You want to carry momentum as early as you can in the season because it never hurts anything going to the next few races.”

A win for you in this year’s Daytona 500 would be a heck of a party with Busch beer bringing 500 fans to the Daytona 500. This is almost unprecedented activation by a NASCAR sponsor and you are at the center of it. What do you think of this?

“The activation and enthusiasm that Busch has brought back to the sport, a sport they’ve been in since the late ’70s and the activation and the marketing plan that they have brought to the No. 4 team and the sport in general, is something that has not been seen in years. For me, being a part of that is pretty cool because I know how much effort they put in and how good they want it to go. And to see them bring 500 fans to the Daytona 500 this year is something that’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s not like they’re just bringing them and giving them a ticket to the race. They’re giving them the VIP treatment, with paying for the flights, food, hotels, race tickets and a meet-and-greet – all the things that come with making the Daytona 500 weekend fun.”

Two Of NASCAR Race Mom's Loosing Entries


You will have one fewer person servicing your racecar during pit stops this year. Instead of six crewmembers, you will have five. This is the same for everyone, but how do you think it will change the dynamic on pit road?

“I like change. I like things that are different. A few things were accomplished in the pit crew changes. Getting 40 people off pit road is going to help the bottom line with the race teams. I think the pit stops were in the 10-second range, and I think slowing them down a little bit and keeping those cars on pit road and having a little bit longer pit stop isn’t going to hurt anything. The amount of money we were spending on the pit guns, the R&D and things wasn’t exactly fair for all the teams up and down pit road, so the spec gun is a good change. I’m excited about pit road. When I first started Cup racing, the pit stops were 22 seconds long. If I have to sit there for 12 or 13 seconds, I’m probably still going to think it’s really fast.”

If there is a slow pit stop, are you a little bit more understanding knowing how much your guys now have to multitask during a stop?

"As you go through the early part of the season, I think you have to have some patience with pit road because you know how new, fresh and different it is through those first few races. I mean, we’ve all practiced this, but nobody’s practiced it with cars going everywhere, and in the heat of the moment. So it’s definitely something you’re going to have to have some patience with. But, as we get toward the end of the year, they should have it figured out, and it’ll probably just be the new norm.”



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Friday, February 16, 2018

Valvoline Launches Fast Track to Fame Program in Support of Grassroots Racing

Valvoline Launches Fast Track to Fame Program in Support of Grassroots Racing

The Contest Will Operate In Two Rounds Driven By Public Voting and Judged Criteria



Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) — a leading worldwide supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services — today announced the launch of its 'Fast Track to Fame' contest celebrating the grassroots racing community by providing sponsorship opportunities for amateur racers.

The contest opens on Feb. 15, 2018, at TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack.

“Amateur racers demonstrate their passion and pursuit of excellence every time they race, and Valvoline wants to celebrate those values through Fast Track to Fame,” said Heidi Matheys, Valvoline chief marketing officer. “We believe in the ‘Never Idle’ spirit and we are looking for someone who lives it.’

Valvoline™ has been engrained in professional racing since its North American inception in 1895 and further cemented itself in the culture introducing the world’s first racing oil in 1965. The brand continues its support today with involvement in IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, Formula Drift and several other major national touring series. Valvoline invites grassroots racers from asphalt, dirt, motorcycle, snow and a variety of other classifications to enter for the chance to win the grand prize package valued at up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.

The contest will operate in two rounds driven by public voting and judged criteria and housed on TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack. In round one, driver entrants are encouraged to share their entries with their friends and family to gain votes. In order to qualify for finalist consideration, each driver entrant must receive a minimum of 50 votes from 50 unique voters. The top four finalists will be chosen by a combination of public vote and a judging panel to move to the next round. Finalists may be featured in a video series, filmed at the finalists’ hometown tracks, to give voters an up-close-and-personal look at the finalists’ racing dream, struggles and successes. The driver with the most fan votes at the conclusion of round two wins the contest and will be announced July 10 on TeamValvoline.com/FastTrack 

How it works

  1. Call for entries and Round 1 voting begins - Fans are allowed to vote once in a 24-hour period for as many drivers as they’d like. Entrants MUST receive votes from at least 50 unique voters to qualify for consideration for finalist selection.
  2. Up to four finalists selected - Round 2 voting begins April 17th.
  3. Contest winners selected and notified

The grand prize winner and runners-up will be announced.

The three runners-up will receive incremental prizes including cash and Valvoline product.


Click Here to Enter or Vote


This opportunity is made possible by sponsors including Speedway Motors, One on One Brand, TSMGI and iRacing.


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Blaney and Elliott Win the #NASCAR Daytona Duels

Blaney and Elliott Win the #NASCAR Daytona Duels

Earned Their Spot on the Second Row for the Daytona 500 Start

Ryan Blaney emerged victorious in the First #NASCAR Duel Race.
Yesterday, the NASCAR Youth Movement was front and center in the Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway.

Twenty-Four-Year-Old Ryan Blaney emerged victorious in the first event while Twenty-Two Year-Young, Chase Elliott held off the veterans to take the checkered in Duel II.

Blaney’s win places him on the inside of the second row of the Daytona 500 starting lineup. Elliott’s win secures him a starting position on the outside of the second row. 

Ryan Blaney emerged victorious in the First #NASCAR Duel Race.


I thought our car was super-fast all night. I thought all three of our cars were really fast, myself, Brad and Joey. It's a shame the 2 got tore up.

I thought we were able to really control the whole race pretty much. We saw that in the Clash, the 2 was able to control it, Joey was able to control it. I was kind of the middle. We had a set plan to try to work with each other the best we can. I think we do that great as a whole organization.

Nice to know we have some really fast racecars, and can also be aggressive at the same time, race people. We don't have a fast car in a straight line, we can make aggressive moves. Our balance between the two is pretty good right now.

It will change. I would like my car to do a little bit different stuff for Sunday. Tonight I could get a little bit free, Sunday you're just going to be having your hands full a little bit more.

Really happy with the performance of our car. Nice to have a friend at the last restart. That's why I chose the bottom, because he was in third. I figured he'd help me out a good bit.

He did a good job all night, but really happy for our whole team. Can't thank everybody enough from the whole organization for giving us a fast car. - Ryan Blaney



#NASCAR Duel Winner Chase Elliott reported that the cars are a "handful" right now.
We did this last year. We got the big one to go on Sunday. That’s the big thing," Chase Elliott stated level-headedly. "To be honest with you, I was kind of trying a bunch of stuff. This new (aerodynamic) package is a lot different. This package is strange compared to what we had in the past. I think we’re all trying to learn and figure out what the best position is to be in and when you want to be there."

Elliott added that the cars are a "handful" right now. "Sunday with the sunshine, it's going to be interesting to watch," he said. 

#NASCAR Duel Winner Chase Elliott reported that the cars are a "handful" right now.


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ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance
ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 #NASCAR Daytona 500 Race Advance

The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicks off at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with the 60th running of the Daytona 500 with Aric Almirola piloting the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). This year marks the 11th season behind the wheel of a stock car in NASCAR’s most elite series for the native of Tampa, Florida. 


Almirola reunites with several former co-workers from his past, including John Klausmeier, the leader of the No. 10 team whose 2018 season will be his first as a full-time crew chief calling the shots from atop the pit box. The 37-year-old from Perry Hall, Maryland, spent the last several seasons as an engineer under longtime Cup Series crew chief and current SHR production manager Tony Gibson. Almirola will pilot the black-and-white Ford Fusion with Smithfield branding for Daytona Speedweeks and for a majority of the season.

Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, enters its seventh season with Almirola and first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.


Almirola is the newest driver among SHR’s four-car contingent, joining veterans Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. The 33-year-old driver is looking forward to getting to know his teammates better and being an integral part of the two-time championship-winning organization.

“Obviously, we see each other every week at the racetrack and there is that peer relationship, acquaintance relationship,” Almirola said. “I am the kind of guy who for the most part is pretty easy to get along with. I don’t create a lot of turmoil or animosity. I’ve never had negative interactions with any of my new teammates. I can’t say that I’m friends with them or have a great relationship with them, but that is coming. I plan that, by a few races into the season, I’ll have a great relationship with those guys. I want to help. I want to be part of the team and contribute to Stewart-Haas Racing and help put banners up inside the shop. I want to be a contributing factor to the race team. I am a firm believer that high tide raises all ships. If I can go and do my part and do my job and contribute, then hopefully we will all run better together.”


Almirola has found himself in victory lane at the 2.5-mile Daytona superspeedway multiple times. His Cup Series win there came in July 2014. He led 14 laps and captured the win in the rain-shortened race. Most recently, he led the most important lap – the final one – in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in July 2016 at the high-banked superspeedway. Even though he’s accomplished his goal of winning at his home track, Almirola looks to add the famed Harley J. Earl trophy to his collection.

“Everybody loves to go to Daytona, but for me it has a little extra special meaning because I grew up in Tampa, Florida,” he said. “It’s just a couple of hours away across the state on Interstate 4. I grew up as a kid dreaming about racing at Daytona. Not only do I now have that privilege, but I’ve been fortunate enough to go to victory lane. I haven’t done it in February yet, though, and winning the Daytona 500 is the ultimate – you’re forever the Daytona 500 champion.”

While this year’s Daytona Speedweeks mark the first time Almirola and the No. 10 crew will work together in an official race capacity, the Smithfield crew tested Jan. 9 and 10 at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in a two-day Goodyear tire test.


Rejuvenated for the 2018 season, Almirola spent most of his free time during the offseason visiting the SHR shop on an almost daily basis in preparation for his seventh full-time season piloting a 3,300-pound vehicle around racetracks throughout the United States. In addition to visiting with his new coworkers at SHR, Almirola has been busy with preseason media, including visiting the Miami area in mid-January to promote the Daytona 500. Smithfield also participated in the media tour by donating $6,010 to Feeding South Florida – 60 signifying the 60th running of the Daytona 500, and 10 signifying the number adorning Almirola’s Ford Fusion. Between the two busy Daytona weekends, the Florida native will be returning Tuesday, Feb. 13, to Pierce (Fla.) Middle School in Tampa, where Almirola’s parents met and attended.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Daytona 500 Race Advance

ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

How do you feel going into this season with a new team?

“I’ve been through six full seasons in the Cup Series and they’ve been average, so I’ve got a new opportunity and a new chance in my career to go out and prove what I’m capable of. I’m so excited about this opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing and having Smithfield as the sponsor, and continuing to drive Ford Fusions. I’m so fired up about my opportunity to go out this year and perform at a high level every week.”

You have a little history working with your new No. 10 team crew chief, John Klausmeier. Can you provide background on that relationship?

“I had the opportunity to work a lot with Johnny at Dale Earnhardt Inc. He kind of headed up the engineering group for all of the tests. We would go and test what seemed to be like every week back when you could test all the time. I’ve had a relationship with him that dates all the way back to 2007. For us to come full circle is neat, and for him to get this opportunity to be a full-time crew chief, he certainly deserves it. He’s a very smart, talented engineer and has a passion for racing. I’m excited for him as much as I’m excited about my opportunity. We get along great, we’re young, we’re like-minded people and we both enjoy similar things and each other’s company.”

You’ve worked with Tony Stewart before. How does it feel to work with a legend and under his leadership?

“Tony has been great to me. From the time I moved to North Carolina in 2004 – he really took me under his wing. I started driving a Late Model for Joe Gibbs Racing and he was someone that I really looked up to, and he befriended me. At 19 years old, he took me under his wing and would let me go test his Cup car with Greg Zipadelli as his crew chief. He really got me started driving the stock cars and gave me the confidence that I could do it. He believed in me and that was big for me. Through the years our friendship has really grown and, finally, we now have the opportunity to work together again. I’ve been wanting to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing for a while now. They’ve won championships and a lot of races in their short existence as a team.”

How has the transition been for you to Stewart-Haas Racing?

“The transition to Stewart-Haas Racing has been really easy. They have so many talented people that they just make the transition easy. Everybody from the marketing and PR side to the personnel on the shop floor and the guys on the team. It has been great. That transition has been fun. It has been easy, fun, all of the above. I have just been really looking forward to getting to the racetrack to go race. Changing teams is a big undertaking. I would say that the most challenging thing has been learning 380 employees’ names and faces. That is one of the most challenging things. Besides that, just all the little things like getting your seat right, and going and trying to work with a new team and new pedals and new seat and seat insert – all those things to make sure I am comfortable when the season starts inside the racecar.”

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