DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Award-winning country music duo Florida Georgia Line, comprised of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, will perform the DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show prior to the start of the 58 th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 21 (FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM Radio), the first ever “Great American Race” to be held at Daytona International Speedway following the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising frontstretch redevelopment project. "We are thrilled to secure Florida Georgia Line as the performers for the DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Florida Georgia Line is country music's premier duo and will provide race fans with an energetic performance prior to the start of the DAYTONA 500 ." All race fans who purchase Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access for the DAYTONA 500 will be able to view Florida Georgia Line’s DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Show, as well as driver introductions, from the grass tri-oval area. A limited number of DAYTONA 500 Pre-Race Concert ticket packages, available starting at $235, have been designed around Florida Georgia Line and include a DAYTONA 500 ticket, Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access and VIP area access to the performance. Race fans who have already purchased DAYTONA 500 tickets can add Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access and VIP area access for $110. All VIP ticket packages will be available beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 28. For Kelley, performing at the "World Center of Racing" will be a homecoming having grown up in the neighboring city of Ormond Beach. Kelley attended Seabreeze High School and Daytona State College and his father, Ed Kelley, has been the mayor of Ormond Beach since 2010. "It's a dream come true to play in the city where I was born, went to high school in and now have the honor of being a part of one of my family's favorite sporting events, the DAYTONA 500 ," Kelley said. "Performing at the 500 feels full circle to me as I grew up working the 500 as a fundraiser for our baseball team and was in awe then and still am." "We're extremely thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a huge day for NASCAR and our fans. We can't wait to bring the biggest party the DAYTONA 500 has ever seen," Hubbard said. Florida Georgia Line fueled with three scorching consecutive #1 hits -- GOLD-certified "Sippin’ On Fire" and "Sun Daze" and 2X PLATINUM-certified "Dirt" -- and the recently-released title track, Florida Georgia Line radiates with the GOLD-certified sophomore album ANYTHING GOES (Republic Nashville). Their latest album soared to a #1 debut on the all-genre Billboard 200 and Billboard Top Country Albums charts with music critics and fans alike embracing the superstar duo's fresh sound. FGL has skyrocketed to stardom becoming the only artist in history to join Brooks & Dunn in achieving four back-to-back, multi-week #1 singles; breaking the record for longest #1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and selling over 21 million tracks worldwide of their 2X PLATINUM debut HERE’S TO THE GOOD TIMES and ANYTHING GOES. Taking their undeniable songwriting skills to the next level and discovering new talent, FGL recently formed publishing company Tree Vibez Music, whose moniker was aptly inspired by Kelley's custom treetop recording studio built by Pete Nelson for the hit show Treehouse Masters. In addition to collaborating across genres with sensations like Nelly and Jason Derulo, FGL has racked up a plethora industry awards, closing out an epic 2014 topping four of Billboard's year-end charts and leading Forbes "30 Under 30" list. The accolades continue to pour in: FGL brought home two ACM Awards -- their second consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year title and Vocal Event of the Year ("This Is How We Roll" featuring Luke Bryan) -- a CMT Music Award for Duo Video of the Year ("Dirt") and tallied four Billboard Music Awards nominations. They are currently on tour through October 17. Those wishing to attend the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will need to act quickly as there will be a limited number of tickets available due to the reduced seating capacity in the new stadium. Fans should also note: · Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.DAYTONA500.com . · Hospitality and premium seat packages, including the Trioval Club, the Rolex 24 Lounge and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race wristbands are also available. · For all other Speedweeks events, children 12 and under are $10 in reserved grandstands and free in general admission areas and in the Sprint FANZONE. Fans can also visit PrimeSport.com, the new official ticket exchange and travel package provider of Daytona International Speedway . Offering multiple options for tickets, lodging and hospitality, https://www.primesport.com/d/ daytona - 500 -tickets is ideal for fans looking for the ultimate racing experience
RELATED: Buy tickets for the 2016 Daytona 500 Editor's note: This photo is concept only DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It continues to be full speed ahead for the DAYTONA Rising project at Daytona International Speedway . The track's parent company, International Speedway Corporation, announced Tuesday that Sunoco will become the speedway's fourth "founding partner" as part of the massive redevelopment project. The $400 million renovation or "re-imagining" of the iconic facility will now include a massive Sunoco presence, giving the longtime NASCAR partner naming rights to one of the five "injector" entry areas at the new-look facility set to debut its makeover in January 2016. "The thing I keep thinking about is, here with Sunoco is a partner who has been in the sport for a number of years, has a lot of good things going on and now wants to expand their footprint,'' Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "It shows me this is working. There's success there. For them to want to grow the relationship and invest even more in the sport, that's a real positive for the industry." Added ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy, "A brand synonymous with motorsports for many years, Sunoco will continue to be a great asset across the ISC enterprise, adding to the overall fan experience.'' Indeed fans will see plenty of Sunoco branding at the track. In addition to the entry naming rights, the company will have branding rights for one of the newly created 11 fan "neighborhoods" -- a football field-sized area along the frontstretch with dining and souvenir areas outfitted with dozens of video screens so fans don't miss a minute of the race action on track. "This represents the next chapter of our long-term partnership with ISC,'' Sunoco Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Cynthia Archer said in announcing the Daytona Rising relationship. "ISC is taking the motorsports experience to new heights by creating a visually compelling facility. Fans will be amazed when they see the new motorsports stadium and Sunoco's engaging injector experience for the first time in 2016.'' Sunoco has served as the Official Fuel of NASCAR since 2004 and is the exclusive supplier of Sunoco Green E15 racing fuel for all three of NASCAR's national series. Sunoco joins Toyota, Florida Hospital and General Motors as founding partners on the Daytona Rising project. "Across the board, we're seeing people already in sport wanting to own a piece of Daytona or someone new that that says, 'Hey, I want to be a part of Daytona , there's a lot of exciting things happening,' " Chitwood said. "I like the mix right now and really think it sends a positive message for everything we're doing with the Daytona Rising project."
RELATED: Timeline of Dillon's wreck at Daytona JOLIET, Ill. -- Daytona International Speedway track president Joie Chitwood III said Saturday that other than the necessary repairs, no changes were made to the fencing at Daytona in the wake of Austin Dillon 's scary crash there in July. Medical personnel evaluated 13 fans after Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet went airborne and slammed into the fence on the frontstretch of the 2.5-mile speedway during a final green-white-checkered finish. Eight fans declined medical attention, four were evaluated on-site and one was transported to an area hospital following the completion of the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. "We've re-installed all the appropriate poles, mesh fence, the cable, all those elements," Chitwood said following a press conference at Chicagoland Speedway . "We completed that a couple of weeks after the event. "We … went through an analysis with NASCAR, brought in our experts to review everything. (The fencing) did what it was supposed to; we went quickly to repairing it so that we're ready for racing." The fencing at Daytona and other International Speedway Corp. properties was last upgraded in 2009, according to Chitwood. Changes to the crossover areas, allowing foot-traffic flow between the grandstands and infield, were made following a similar incident involving Kyle Larson in an XFINITY Series event in 2013. The $400 million " Daytona Rising" project, expected to be completed around next year's Rolex 24 test in early January, includes changes that create slightly more distance between the fans and the race track while fencing off the area known as the ring road will remove foot traffic from the area. "We felt good about where we are, but we wanted to get the rest of the property done," Chitwood said. "So the other half of the property, with the setback and the height elevation of the first row, and with the catch fence we feel pretty good about going into next year." Approximately 15 additional feet now separate the first row of seats in the grandstands, although Chitwood said the actual distance might vary depending on location on the frontstretch. The lowest row of seats is also approximately 10 feet higher with the rebuild. • With series sponsor Sprint scheduled to leave the sport after the 2016 season, Chitwood and his group at Daytona will be looking for sponsorship for what’s currently known as the Sprint Unlimited, the annual non-points event that kicks off Speedweeks each February. Saturday, Chitwood and officials with BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) announced that Can-Am is replacing Budweiser as the title sponsor of the two qualifying races that help set the field for the Daytona 500 next season. Can-Am is the motorcycle division of BRP. "Obviously we were disappointed when Sprint chose not to come back," he said. "For us, we've got to figure out what partner we'd like to be on that event. It never stops. Whether it's the Sprint Unlimited or the Duel, we never stop figuring out what partner we'd like to be at Daytona ."
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- BRP, the manufacturer of world renowned motorized recreational vehicles and engines, will serve as the title sponsor for the 150-mile qualifying races for the DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), part of Speedweeks 2016. The races will be known as the Can-Am Duel At Daytona . The Can-Am Duel At Daytona , scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18, are a pair of 150-mile qualifying races that finalize the starting lineup for the 58th annual DAYTONA 500 , the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening event on Sunday, Feb. 21. The Can-Am Duel At Daytona will feature every DAYTONA 500 entrant battling for a coveted starting spot in "The Great American Race." "We're excited about developing this new partnership with BRP, the world leader in recreational vehicles," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "With two thrilling and unpredictable 150-mile qualifying races, the Can-Am Duel At Daytona will provide a great platform for BRP to promote their Can-Am products at the 'World Center of Racing.' " "BRP and its Can-Am products are synonymous with innovation and performance in the powersports industry," said Anne Bélec, senior vice-president, Global Brands and Strategy. "We feel that there’s a natural fit with NASCAR racers and their fans. Thanks to our association with Kappa, Cyclops Gear and the GOFAS race team, we are now a sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the title sponsor of the Can-Am Duel, the ultimate test before the Daytona 500 ," she concluded. With Can-Am ATVs, side-by-side vehicles and Spyder roadsters, BRP is carrying on a long tradition of conquests. More than 30 years ago, the world discovered the Can-Am brand through revolutionary motocross bikes and its legend and winning spirit live on -- with passion and exhilaration. The events during Speedweeks 2016 will be the first to be held at Daytona International Speedway following the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising frontstretch redevelopment project. Race fans will experience new amenities such as wider and more comfortable seats, spacious concourses, escalators and elevators, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concessions and merchandise stands. Tickets for the Can-Am Duel At Daytona as well as other Speedweeks 2016 events are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest and YouTube for the latest news throughout the season. Fans also can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com .
Ticked off Tony sends brazen tweet after poor qualifying performance Tony Stewart 's No. 14 Chevrolet was nearly 5 mph slower than Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 4 car in Thursday's qualifying, and the boss was highly displeased. Kevin Harvick posted a speed of 191.415 mph in the third and final round of qualifying Friday, winding up with an 11th-place starting position in Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But the No. 4 Chevrolet had been even quicker in practice, topping the leaderboard with a fast lap over 193 mph. Stewart's top qualifying speed was 186.754 mph, dropping him to 36th place for the start of the Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart's qualifying has been a sore spot this season. He has cracked the top 10 of the starting grid only eight times. A four-race stretch from Indianapolis to Michigan seemed to indicate the problem was fixed, with consecutive top-five qualifying runs. The three-time champ announced that 2016 will be his final full-time Sprint Cup season and during his announcement said he intended to be competitive next season. Job 1 will be getting his first Daytona 500 win. It appears 'Smoke' wants to light a fire under his team immediately.
Presenting NASCAR content from around the web Editor's note: On Wednesday at noon ET, "High 5" will present some of the best NASCAR-related content from around the web. 1. Don't push the button... College football didn't disappoint viewers this week, as Clemson knocked off No. 6 Notre Dame in a thrilling fashion, beating the Fighting Irish 24-22. After the game, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney -- who is known for his passionate speeches, enthusiastic behavior and even a little dancing -- began what was a promising post-game sermon on ABC. But he was interrupted with a wrong push of a button back in the ESPN studio. For 13 slow seconds, viewers were treated to a clip of unknowing SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris and Kevin Connors scrolling through their iPads. Major oops. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp; Apologies for glitch during Dabo Swinney's emotional postgame interview. Wrong button hit - interrupted his answer. Live TV — Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) October 4, 2015 Just goes to show you how big of a deal one button can be. The flagman at Bristol can certainly attest to that, as his accidental lean on a switch at the end of the race in 2014 brought out the caution, handing the checkered flag to Carl Edwards . Doesn't seem like Carl minded too much, though. 2. I'm lovin' it Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2015 was a big day in America: McDonald's began serving breakfast all day long . Yup, now you can satisfy your midnight cravings for an Egg McMuffin. We know one guy who's excited for late-night oval-shaped hashbrowns. So excited that he even put Mickey D's breakfast on his car. #dedication If you don't have dinner plans, remember that breakfast is now an option! #AllDayBreakfast starts today @McDonalds https://t.co/RQEk6vsBCb — Jamie McMurray (@jamiemcmurray) October 6, 2015 3. Make way for ducklings NASCAR is no stranger to wildlife on the track. Back in August, a rabbit was seen hopping down the track at Bristol Motor Speedway . And there was that one time that a seagull dared to face off Dale Earnhardt in the 1991 Daytona 500 . Poor, poor seagull. This little guy was the latest critter to (literally) hit the track Sunday during the Sprint Cup Series' AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway . For the bird's sake, thank goodness for caution flags and wings that allowed him to escape the Miles the Monster unscathed. 4. Where there's rain, there's... Apparently giant snakes. As if the bird on-track wasn't enough, a five-feet-long boa constrictor was seen slithering its way through downtown Dover, Delaware, amidst the rainy conditions on Wednesday. While the idea of a massive snake slinking its way around town is creepy (and slightly terrifying), at least it didn't make its way to the race track like Mr. Bird did on Saturday. Can you imagine the chaos a SNAKE would cause? Although the Miles the Monster-giant snake match-up is an interesting idea … 5. 'Merica The MLB's Texas Rangers were certainly feeling patriotic during Tuesday's practice before their upcoming playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays. A little workout before heading to Toronto. #NeverEverQuit pic.twitter.com/oninA5nXqB — Texas Rangers (@Rangers) October 6, 2015 With all the pride Texans have for their state, we are a tad surprised these are American flag shorts and not Texas flag ones. But either way, NASCAR's got them beat. Cars > Shorts. #Merica
RELATED: Complete Darlington schedule " Darlington's throwback schemes Officials with Darlington Raceway and International Speedway Corp., which owns the South Carolina facility, should be congratulated for their efforts leading into this weekend's Bojangles' Southern 500 .The retro-themed weekend has been the talk of NASCAR in recent months, garnering more attention than any event outside of the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February. Copious amounts of content -- print, Internet and broadcast -- have been devoted to this weekend's race. And rightfully so. The fact that the program coincides with the return of the historic event to the Labor Day weekend is icing on the cake. When the seed for the throwback plan was planted, there was no indication that this year's race would be return to its long-held September date -- the 2015 schedule wasn't officially announced until August of '14, and track officials weren't privy to potential changes much earlier than that. After a one-year dalliance with a November stop in 2004, the 500 had a nine-year run on Mother's Day weekend in May where it did well. Last year's race was held in April in yet another schedule shuffle. But the Southern 500 in April or May is not the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend. "Having the extra time from last April until Labor Day this year has been really helpful because truly it's just a small group of people that have put this together," Chip Wile, President of Darlington Raceway , said recently. "And it's been a learning process but it's been really fun." The platform is the kickoff of what Wile describes as a five-year plan to revitalize the track’s lone NASCAR race weekend, which includes Saturday's XFINITY Series race as well as Sunday's Sprint Cup event. For decades, the Southern 500 was considered one of the most difficult races on the series' circuit. The track's unusual shape -- a 1.336-mile layout with distinct differences between Turns 1-2 and 3-4 -- favors no particular driving style. Winners are often determined by a combination of skill and good fortune. The oppressive heat and humidity that hung over the track nearly every September race weekend took its toll as well -- the list of drivers that required relief at some point is a lengthy one. That difficulty, combined with the fact that the track is the oldest paved speedway to host NASCAR events (it opened in 1950), earned Darlington a lofty position in NASCAR's early years. The race is still considered one of NASCAR's crown jewel events -- along with the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 . But the praise for this weekend's program shouldn't stop with track officials. Teams have bought into the idea wholeheartedly, developing amazing throwback paint schemes, many of which honor some of the sport's legendary drivers and organizations. Sponsors and various stakeholders, such as Goodyear, have gotten on board. Broadcast teams will incorporate the throwback platform into their programming. It's been a win-win situation for everyone involved. It also couldn't have come at a better time. Wile and his group wanted to make his track's lone Sprint Cup race stand out above the crowd, and it certainly seems as if that has been accomplished. Darlington isn't the only track that's been able to develop an idea that resonates with those in the sport as well as those in the stands. Not as large in scope but certainly just as entertaining, the annual night race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August generates interest not only for the competition on the track, but its pre-race show is perhaps the most popular on the schedule. Anchoring the program are drivers entering the track to music they have chosen and the Motor Racing Outreach effort that has children of drivers and other personnel singing the National Anthem (an idea generated by former track president Jeff Byrd). The product on the track remains of primary importance, and fortunately that's been a constant at Darlington -- the racing there rarely fails to excite and entertain. And if there's a bit of a history lesson included, so much the better. "I really love the history and the heritage of the sport," former championship-winning crew chief Ray Evernham said. "I think it's really important if we're going to bring new fans, younger fans, that demographic, they've got to understand why. When you start telling some of the history and the tradition, and showing that, I think it gets people really interested. "Now they understand why people are so passionate about it or why somebody will come sit in the same seat for 50 years or why we work so hard on these cars. I think it's really important that we go back and show the steps that it took to get here in order to engage new fans." And there's no better place or time than Darlington Raceway . On Labor Day weekend.
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Entering the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , something looms over the remaining 12 drivers in the sport's championship battle -- massive Talladega Superspeedway . Yes, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and from there the series moves to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 . Yet the 2.66-mile track, which hosts the CampingWorld.com 500 on Oct. 25, is firmly on the minds of all the competitors even though it's two weeks away. "I think this round is probably the most stressful because of Talladega," Martin Truex Jr . told reporters earlier this week at Contender Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I think everybody is really putting a lot of pressure on themselves to do good in these first two and try to get a win so you don't have to worry about Talladega." And Truex is not the only driver who feels that way. "Yeah, nobody wants to go to Talladega ‑‑ even if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr . and you feel like you're the most dominant car on those restrictor-plate tracks, and we've been, I think, as dominant as he has been just without the victories, I still don't want to go there and have to be in the top 10," four-time series champion Jeff Gordon said during media day. "You know, it's just one of those tracks where there's too many variables that can reach out and grab you." Carl Edwards simplified the approach even more, saying that he looked at the Contender Round as a "two-race series" instead of three races because of the uncertainty with Talladega. The two-time 2015 winner predicted drivers would be going even harder to try to get a win at Charlotte or Kansas to secure a spot in the Eliminator Round of eight drivers. "If you have a shot, if you can see the win at one of these next two races, you are going to see just some really tough racing for that win because nobody wants to go to Talladega with the uncertainty," Edwards said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "There's going to be a lot of nerves at Talladega." Last year Kansas hosted the opening race of the Contender Round. That event saw Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . find trouble they ultimately could not recover from, while Brad Keselowski had to score a walk-off win at 'Dega to overcome his Kansas trouble. But simply navigating the opening two races of the Contender Round doesn't make drivers immune to Talladega trouble, either. Kyle Busch scored top-five finishes at Kansas and Charlotte in 2014 before being caught up in a 10-car wreck at the Alabama track that sent him to a 40th-place finish and ultimately knocked him out of the Chase -- something that wasn't lost on the Joe Gibbs Racing driver this week. "Last year we played it right, we were the top point total scorer of the first two rounds and we were seeded the highest guy without a win and we went to Talladega and we sure learned how to throw that away," Busch said. "I think what we can do a better job of instead of being one of the only guys to race at the back of the pack and get ourselves caught up in something that none of the other Chasers were involved in, is race with all the rest of the Chasers and if they all get caught up in a wreck and we do too then hopefully our point total will all be lower, but all the same instead of me just being the only guy down at the bottom of the totem pole." The value of winning early in a round of the Chase is raised to an even higher level in the Contender Round with the uncertainty of Talladega on the horizon. "When you look at Charlotte and Kansas -- the first two races of this round -- they're super-important," Joey Logano said. "If you can win, you're going to be sleeping a lot better at night."
Michigan International Speedway employee for 27 years dies at 55 RELATED: Response to fire allowed NASCAR to finish race Duane Barnes, who drove the jet dryer that caught fire after contact with Juan Pablo Montoya during the 2012 Daytona 500 , passed away on Tuesday at age 55. For the past 27 years, Barnes worked at Michigan International Speedway, serving as chief "UNO 1" jet dryer operator, fabricator and heavy equipment operator. He also served as a jet dryer operator at other International Speedway Corporation tracks. With 40 laps to go in the Great American Race three years ago, Barnes was drying the track against the Turn 3 wall during a caution period when a mechanical malfunction on the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (now known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet) saw Montoya veer into the rear of the dryer. Following evaluation at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, Barnes was released. Two days after the 2012 accident, MIS issued a statement on his behalf. "I appreciate everyone for taking the time to write, call and ask how I am," Barnes said. "I am OK and I am amazed at how many people have wished me well. I am also glad Juan Montoya is OK, and thank him for his concern." An avid NASCAR fan and hunter, Barnes also enjoyed farming and gardening. He is survived by his wife, two children, four step-children, 14 grandchildren, his mother, two brothers, one sister, two nephews and one niece. On Barnes' passing, Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis issued the following statement: "Our condolences are with Duane's family and friends. Duane was a trusted, respected and most important part of our MIS family and the NASCAR community for almost 30 years, and we will miss him tremendously. We're a tight group, and I can only hope the wonderful memories of Duane will help comfort us and his family during this difficult time."
Buddy Baker suffered from many heartbreaks in the DAYTONA 500 , but finally in 1980 Baker took the nicknamed 'Grey Ghost' to Victory Lane at Daytona .