Paulie Harraka and Alex Kennedy get together before rolling off for the warm up laps in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Huge wreck comes near midpoint of NextEra Energy Resources 250 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The bad luck associated with Friday the 13th had a one-week hangover in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as a massive 12-truck stack-up thinned the 32-truck field in Friday night's season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Starting off the year on an up note wasn't in the cards for the unfortunate dozen, all of whom had their high hopes derailed near the halfway point of the NextEra Energy Resources 250. It was the biggest melee in the 100-lap, 250-mile opener, continuing the trend of especially tense, close quarters racing across all three NASCAR national series at Daytona's Speedweeks. "It's just a product of the racing," said Timothy Peters, fifth in last year's final truck standings but crashed out in 24th place in the 2015 opener. "It's great racing. Just hope there'll be enough trucks on the race track to finish." The truck-swallowing conflagration began shortly after Ben Kennedy's No. 11 truck slowed with damage near the top lane at the end of the backstretch. When the pack stormed past on Lap 49, congestion and a hair-trigger reaction bottled up the single-file scrap among Austin Theriault, Scott Lagasse Jr. and James Buescher, snaring bystanders behind them. A blown tire on Kennedy's truck, battered from an earlier altercation, forced the second-year driver to limp his Red Horse Racing around the 2.5-mile track. With the pack bearing down on him, he was unable to steer to safety on the apron. "It was either wreck it into the pack or wreck it into the wall, and we had pretty much wreck it into the wall at that point," Kennedy said. "Stinks for these guys, it stinks for (sponsor) Local Motors and that's not the best way to start the season, but we'll get them from here." By the time the sparks and smoke died down in Turn 3, Buescher, Peters, Kennedy , John Wes Townley, Ryan Ellis, Spencer Gallagher, Chris Fontaine, Cameron Hayley, Daniel Hemric and Todd Peck had piled in. Theriault and Johnny Sauter also were involved but to a lesser degree. Though several drivers involved made the mandatory trip to the infield care center, all emerged unhurt but with stories of scary views to share. "It was funny. I saw kind of the obvious -- cars starting to collide -- and then I saw my hood all over my windshield for the rest of it," said Gallagher, who started 10th. "Sadly, there wasn't much to be done. … This is but a setback. We know what we are and what we've got for this year." Said Hayley, a product of the NASCAR Next program: "I was following the 05 of John Wes Townley and all I saw was smoke. Just white smoke and I tried to go to the outside and just couldn't get there and next thing you know my hood is crunched and I was sideways." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson top earlier Sprint Cup Series practice Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA 500 PRACTICE 4 " Full results Alex Bowman topped the leaderboard at Daytona International Speedway during Wednesday's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. ET, FOX). The 21-year-old driver powered his No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet around the famed track at 200.495 mph. Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne posted the second-fastest time, registering a high speed of 200.459 mph. The top five -- who all clocked times over 200 mph -- consisted of Roush Fenway Racing's Trevor Bayne (200.387 mph), and Richard Childress Racing's Paul Menard (200.374 mph) and Brian Scott (200.285 mph), respectively. Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion, rounded the "World Center of Racing" 12th-fastest with a top speed of 196.113 mph. The Sprint Cup Series is back on the track for its next practice session on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 12 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. DAYTONA 500 PRACTICE 3 " Full results Kyle Busch was the fastest driver in today's opening Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. ET, FOX) practice session, propelling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 200.776 mph around Daytona International Speedway. Daytona 500 outside pole winner Jimmie Johnson came up just behind him, rounding the "World Center of Racing" at a high speed of 200.530 mph. RELATED: Jeff Gordon wins Daytona 500 pole Completing the top five were 2011 Daytona 500 winner and Roush Fenway Racing's Trevor Bayne (200.053 mph), Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne (199.858 mph) and Richard Childress Racing's Ryan Newman (199.645 mph). 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick came in as 23rd-fastest, powering his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet around the track at 196.640 mph in preparation for the coveted Great American Race. Joe Gibbs Racing's Matt Kenseth, winner of Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited showdown, posted a high speed of 194.489 mph, ranking 31st on the leaderboard. Minutes into qualifying, Danica Patrick's No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet hit the wall after making contact with Denny Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, bringing out the caution flag. Her Chevrolet SS was towed off the track with extensive damage. Michael Annett and Jeb Burton also were collected in the incident, receiving damage to both of their cars. RELATED: Danica Patrick's car destroyed in practice FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kennedy makes Red Horse Racing debut in NextEra Energy Resources 250
Denny Hamlin and Alex Kennedy wreck with four laps to go to bring out the second red flag of the day.
Second-year Sprint Cup driver spent rookie year at BK Racing Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Who the 'F' is Alex Bowman ? Alex Bowman 's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career will continue in 2015 with a new team in Tommy Baldwin Racing . The 21-year-old will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet this upcoming season, the team announced Friday. Bowman had a full-time ride with Swan Racing last year, the team that was eventually incorporated into BK Racing . He ended the year with a best finish of 13th at Daytona International Speedway in July. "I'm looking forward to working with TBR and the entire No. 7 team," Bowman said in a team release. "With Tommy's experience and his drive to run competitively, I feel like we can run well this year." Bowman made his NASCAR national series debut in 2012, with four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He drove full time for that series in 2013, netting six top-10s in 33 starts for RAB Racing. " Alex is the future of TBR, and he will be a great representative of our team," owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. said. "He is a young driver who displayed a great talent in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series the past few years. We are pleased to give Alex the opportunity to further showcase his skills behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet this season." The team did not announce sponsorship or a crew chief. The team on Twitter promoted #TBR7in7, which promises seven team announcements in seven days. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Young challengers exist, but can they match veteran's consistency? Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series boasts a thriving community of talented young drivers ready for the chance to make their names known. But for the last two years, an unflappable veteran has made the next wave of talent wait its turn. Matt Crafton takes the first steps toward a championship three-peat Friday night at Daytona International Speedway, kicking off the 23-race schedule with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The 38-year-old driver had to wait until his 13th season to wear the series crown; now he has two in a two-year span. In 2013, Crafton virtually clinched the title with one race remaining. Last year, the points battle was a much closer contest, but the California native said his laid-back approach minimized any late-season pressure. "Two was actually a lot easier to be totally honest," Crafton said. "The points gap was closer, but for me personally and internally and in my head, definitely two was a lot easier. Three, I'm just going to go with the same mindset I did for two -- just go out here and race and have fun. I get paid to do what I love to do, so not put any pressure on yourself and just go out there and try to lead laps and win races." No surprise, ThorSport Racing left the core of his No. 88 Toyota team unchanged heading into 2015. But while the organization has stayed the course, the series' competition environment has changed. Gone from the Camping World Truck Series are 2014 runner-up Ryan Blaney, as well as third-place Darrell Wallace Jr., a four-time winner on the circuit last year. Fourth-place Johnny Sauter, his ThorSport teammate, and veteran fifth-place finisher Timothy Peters return for 2015, but several young drivers -- Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick and Ben Kennedy among them -- aim to assume the mantle of title contenders. It's a path that has been blazed already by reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, who clinched his first national series title at age 18. Reddick, ready for a full season in Brad Keselowski Racing's No. 19 Ford, says the Truck Series should be no different. "I feel like a lot of young drivers feel like we can challenge the veterans in any series. … Just look at Elliott and Blaney," said Reddick, 19. "I feel like the younger guys have a lot of confidence right now." Confidence, though, hasn't necessarily translated to consistency, which has become Crafton's calling card through his championship campaigns. "Something that Crafton has really figured out with the trucks is, he may not be lightning-fast, but over the long run, he is probably the most consistent guy out there," said Kennedy , the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year last season. "He can run the same lap time over and over and over again. Once he gets on a long run, that's where he kind of prevails. A lot of these guys will just go out there and burn their tires off, and five or 10 laps later will start falling back a little bit." Besides Crafton's performance over the long haul, the organization's chemistry has made the bright yellow No. 88 the team to beat the last two seasons. Carl "Junior" Joiner returns as the team's crew chief, continuing a combination with friendship ties that run deeper than a working relationship. Any other changes in the ThorSport camp, Crafton said, amount to mere fine-tuning for 2015. While the defending champion may have plenty of challengers lining up to stake their claim to the throne, any serious threat must pass the season-long test. "There's going to be some very fast trucks, without a doubt," Crafton said, "but it's one thing to be fast for one weekend or five weekends out of the year. Just trying to put it together throughout the whole 23 races that we run." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Pit boss heads to Red Horse Racing to run the No. 11 team Red Horse Racing announced Friday afternoon that Scott Zipadelli will be crew chief for the No. 11 Toyota to be driven by Ben Kennedy next season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Since 2007, Zipadelli has had a recurring role as a crew chief in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The Red Horse job will mark his first venture into the truck circuit. "Red Horse Racing is a well-respected organization that has had a lot of success in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and I am very excited to be a part of it," Zipadelli said in a release provided by the Tom DeLoach-owned team. "Ben ( Kennedy ) is a talented driver and I have high expectations for him and the No. 11 team. He had an outstanding rookie season, and our goal this year is to win races and put ourselves in position to contend for the 2015 championship." Zipadelli has posted three XFINITY Series wins in his career -- two last season with Kyle Larson at the wheel, and one with Boris Said on the Montreal road course in 2010. His brother, Greg, is a 34-time winner as a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and is currently the vice president of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing . Last month, Red Horse announced that Kennedy -- the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NCWTS in 2014 -- would join its driver lineup and that the field of crew chief candidates had been whittled to a short list. The hiring of Zipadelli fills the lone vacancy in its driver-crew chief pairings for 2015. "Scott Zipadelli has great experience on top of the pit box and brings a lot to the program," Kennedy said in the team's release. "I am really looking forward to working with him and can't wait to unload our No. 11 Toyota Tundra at Daytona in February." The 23-year-old Kennedy netted seven top-10 finishes for Turner Scott Motorsports in his rookie truck season, highlighted by having the number one starting spot for the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway . In making the switch, he'll take on the role of teammate to Timothy Peters and crew chief Marcus Richmond in the organization's No. 17 Toyota. The Camping World Truck Series' 23-race schedule opens Feb. 20 with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 (7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1) at Daytona. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Evernham, Kulwicki, Martin added to ballot; Landmark Award nominees named Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners and drivers. Their roles and responsibilities may have differed, but they all have one trait in common – each made an everlasting mark on NASCAR history. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees – legends all – who exceled in various disciplines, at various levels. RELATED: Photo gallery of the Class of 2016 nominees Among them are three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Evernham; 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Harry Hyde; 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki; winner of a combined 96 NASCAR national series races, Mark Martin; and 1986 NASCAR west series champion Hershel McGriff. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2016 class will be Wednesday, May 20. The five nominees for the Landmark Award are Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500 Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949 Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series Jerry Cook , six-time NASCAR Modified champion Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Fox , legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Bobby Isaac , 1970 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte , two-time NASCAR premier series champion Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion O. Bruton Smith , builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing" Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner The five nominees for the Landmark Award are as follows… Harold Brasington , founder of Darlington Speedway H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Ralph Seagraves , formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence The 22-person Nominating Committee are as follows... NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook (Note: Due to Jerry Cook's inclusion on the ballot for the NHOF Class of 2015, he was recused from voting for the Class of 2016 nominees.) Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy ; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp. Media: Mike Joy, FOX. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
See where your favorite driver will pit Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Ty Dillon scored the Keystone Light Pole Award for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and as a result got the first choice for pit stalls. Dillon chose the pit stall closest to the pit road exit, which should give him a quick escape to get off pit road in the race. Dillon also has the advantage of not having a driver in front of him on pit road. However, he is not the only one to have that luxury. James Buescher (starting fifth), Erik Jones (starting seventh), Cameron Hayley (starting 14th), Ben Kennedy (starting sixth), Austin Theriault (starting fourth), Tyler Reddick (starting third) and Spencer Gallagher (starting 10th) also have openings in front of them on pit road. Travis Kvapil, who will start on the front row with Dillon, chose the pit stall closest to the pit road entrance. The season-opening race is the first of 23 on the schedule for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule