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From The Vault: Jeff Gordon wins first race at Fontana
Relive the first race at Auto Club Speedway that saw Jeff Gordon be the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver to go to Victory Lane at the track in 1997.
Bruce: Family theme flows through 2017 Hall of Fame inductions
RELATED: Class of 2017 enters Hall of Fame CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The name on the card for Friday night's NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony read "Forever Legends." But after watching and listening to the Hall's eighth class as each was welcomed into the Hall, perhaps "Forever Family" would have been more fitting. "How great is that, to have your wife and your two grandsons to induct you into the NASCAR Hall of Fame?" asked Richard Childress, who rose to prominence as the owner of Richard Childress Racing , his teams winning 12 championships across NASCAR's three national series. Childress, fellow car owners Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks, and drivers Mark Martin and Benny Parsons made up this year's Hall of Fame class. And much like Childress, others paid tribute to family and the family atmosphere that has permeated NASCAR practically since it's 1948 incorporation. NASCAR drivers Austin and Ty Dillon introduced their grandfather on the special night. Although Childress is 71, Ty Dillon noted that he doesn't believe his grandfather "will ever stop pursuing his passion." "He will continue to live his life, fighting to keep this ground which we stand on tonight the best in the world," Dillon said. "He will always keep going to the track because that is what he loves to do, but most of all, he loves his family." Family was also what drove Mark Martin to never give up on his dream, returning to the sport to rebuild a career that was halted almost before it began. With a wife by his side and four young children, Martin feverishly worked his way back into NASCAR to earn a second chance. More than three decades later, after 96 wins in NASCAR's three top series and five runner-up finishes in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points battle, Martin stood on stage and officially joined the list of racing legends. "Tonight," he said, "for me is about recognizing the VIPs that made this happen. But the MVP is Arlene Martin. "We met Christmas 1983, and Arlene, from that day, that day and every day since then, you have made me better. It's incredible what we've seen and what we've done to get here." RELATED: Martin recalls second chance, relishes induction Emotions were kept in check, somewhat. Voices did crack on occasion. No surprise there. This was, after all, a big, big deal. "We are like a big family, even though it's a lot of us, we care about each other, and I don't care if people think that's corny," Hendrick, who was a racer himself long before he built a successful auto dealership empire, said. "That's the way I was raised. It's worked for me, and it's worked in our companies, both of them." When Hendrick arrived at the Hall prior to the ceremony, one of the first people he saw was executive director Winston Kelley. Kelley, Hendrick said, told him that there was one thing he could tell the car owner and auto dealer about both his companies, that it was clear that his employees loved their boss. "And I said, 'You know what? Your telling me that means as much to me as getting into the Hall of Fame,'" Hendrick replied. It was every bit as much validation for what he had strived to become as the Hall of Fame ring he would receive just a few hours later. "I feel like 'job well done,'" Hendrick said, "because you look after your people and they look after you." Martin was still riding the adrenalin of the moment when he sat down with the media afterward. "I feel like I've had a cup of coffee or I've been playing some Gucci Mane," he said, grinning. Retired from racing since 2013, he now spends his days focused on more mundane matters. "How shiny can I get my motor home," he said. "I've got to get that trash and take it out. That lightbulb is burned out, damnit. ... "You know I just do all the things that I used to pay people to do. I still go like hell every day. That's the same ol' me." It had been an emotionally draining week for others. Those still entwined in the never-ending cycle of competition, where forward focus is key and there's no time for looking back. "It really was," Hendrick, a leukemia survivor, said. "... This has been the toughest week, besides losing a family member. "We're all emotions up and down, and we had a little champagne toast before I went in there, and the two doctors, the doctor that invented the medicine that saved my life was in there, and I lost it. I mean, Jeff Gordon said, 'I've never seen you that emotional in there since I've known you.'" NASCAR is one big extended family. Full of the quarrels that divide them and the emotional ties that draw them back together. "I meant what I said tonight about all the people in the sport," Hendrick said. "There are some great folks. Hendrick and Childress had spoken earlier in the day. Joe Gibbs phoned, unable to attend Friday's function but happy for his fellow team owner. So did Roger Penske. Just three short months earlier, Penske, Gibbs and Hendrick met with the media in Homestead, Florida, each having drivers competing for the championship. "We're racing each other and we're paying each other compliments," Hendrick said. "You wouldn't see that in the NFL. We want to beat each other just as bad as anybody, but it's really strange. It's a different deal. "I don't know what it is, but it's pretty special." Forever Legends? Sure. But forever family? There's no doubt. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Five cool Dale Jr. stats in addition to 600 starts
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary As Dale Earnhardt Jr. prepares to make start No. 600 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), we thought it'd be fun to find five other interesting stats about Junior, courtesy of RacingReference.com : 170,689 Matt Kenseth (176,372) is the only active driver with more laps than Earnhardt Jr., who ranks 21st on the all-time list with 170,689 laps. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is 15th with 202,288 laps, and Richard Petty is tops with 307,836. Earnhardt Jr. has averaged about 9,000 laps per season, so it's conceivable he could catch his dad in about three to four years. .1752 Junior is third in winning percentage in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at .1752 (17 percent). He's behind only Kyle Busch (.2636) and Mark Martin (.2076). Earnhardt Jr. has 24 wins in 137 career XFINITY Series races, with 13 of those victories coming in 1998 and '99 when he won back-to-back series championships. 94 Earnhardt Jr. has 94 podium finishes (first, second or third place) in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him 25th all-time in this category. He's four behind Matt Kenseth and five back of Kyle Busch. Richard Petty is tops with 461 on a list that reads like the head table lineup at a NASCAR Hall of Fame banquet. 412 Junior has 412 lead-lap finishes in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him in eighth place all-time. That's a testament to his longevity and consistency, and puts him just eight behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Former teammate Jeff Gordon sits atop this list with 588. 148 Earnhardt Jr. has 148 top-five finishes in the Monster Energy Series, tying him with Kyle Busch for 24th place all-time heading into Auto Club. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are the only active drivers ahead of Junior on this list. Richard Petty is on top of the mountain with 555 top-five finishes. Junior has 26 career Cup wins, but he's been in contention for wins many times. Do your own stats query on RacingReference.com . &<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;gt;
From The Vault: Harvick edges Gordon at Atlanta in 2001
Relive Kevin Harvick's first win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he beat Jeff Gordon by inches earning his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win.
Four Sprint Cup teams docked practice time
Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will lose a portion of their practice time at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for failing to arrive in the inspection line in the allotted time at Richmond International Raceway . According to NASCAR, the entries for drivers Alex Bowman ( Tommy Baldwin Racing ), J.J. Yeley ( BK Racing ) and Michael McDowell ( Leavine Family Racing ) were late getting to the inspection line prior to qualifying. As a result, each will lose 15 minutes in the opening practice, scheduled to get underway Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET. The No. 23 entry of Jeb Burton (BKR) will miss the opening 30 minutes of practice after being late to both qualifying inspection and race inspection at Richmond. ( UPDATE: NASCAR revealed on Friday that Burton will only serve a 15-minute practice hold for being late to qualifying inspection only.) Arriving late in line for at-track inspection results in an automatic 15-minute deduction in practice time at the next scheduled series event. Teams that fail to pass inspection in the specified number of attempts receive warnings, with the accumulation of four warnings resulting in the loss of pit box selection. According to NASCAR, no warnings were issued last weekend at RIR. Two XFINITY Series teams will also serve 15-minute penalties at Chicagoland -- the No. 66 with driver Benny Gordon (late to qualifying inspection) and the No. 17, to be driven this week by Ryan Ellis and fielded by Rick Ware Racing. The No. 17 team, which did not enter last week's race at RIR, was penalized for being late to the inspection line two weeks ago at Darlington Raceway .
Dillon, Starr pace first 2016 XFINITY Daytona practices
Practice 3: Results Ty Dillon was once again back on top in the third and final NASCAR XFINITY Series practice on Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway . The Richard Childress Racing driver paced the final session at 182.113 mph to best the field, hitting the mark on his fifth and final lap. Ray Black Jr . was next on the charts at 181.207 mph, followed by Jeb Burton (181.127 mph), Joey Gase (180.411 mph) and Darrell Wallace Jr . (179.802 mph) to round out the top five. Midway through the session, Wallace's No. 6 team was forced to swap out the transmission in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford backup car. The red flag was also displayed in the session, as Derek White had a mechanical problem in Turn 2 that dropped fluid on the track. The NASCAR XFINITY Series hits the track again for Coors Light Pole Award qualifying at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on FS1, followed by the season-opening PowerShares QQQ 300 at 3:30 p.m. ET, also on FS1. Practice 2: Results David Starr topped the second of three NASCAR XFINITY Series practices Friday at Daytona International Speedway . Speeds dipped significantly in the afternoon session, with Starr's 183.516-mph clip well off the pace that Ty Dillon (192.526 mph) set in the opening practice. Dillon's teammate, Brandon Jones , was next on the charts at 183.109 mph, followed by Joe Nemechek (183.035 mph), Ryan Preece (182.964 mph) and Benny Gordon (182.426 mph). Erik Jones made a mock qualifying run in his only lap of the session, pulling in ninth at 180.567 mph. Practice 1: Results Ty Dillon paced the opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice of 2016 on Friday morning at Daytona International Speedway . Dillon, one of the favorites to win the 2016 series title, bested the field with a top speed of 192.526 mph, achieved on his eighth of 16 laps. Blake Koch was next on the charts at 191.963 mph, followed by Dillon's brother and Sprint Cup Series regular, Austin, at 191.910 mph. A pair of Cup regulars followed in Kasey Kahne (190.034 mph) and reigning Daytona 500 champ Joey Logano (190.002 mph). The practice session was halted early after Darrell Wallace Jr . was turned by the No. 98 of Aric Almirola , sending his No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford down onto the apron and then up into the outside retaining wall. MORE: Early practice wreck forces Bubba Wallace to backup "It's just a bummer, but excited to be here. just trying to be a better pack racer," Wallace told FS1 after the wreck. "I don't know if I came down on him or he just got into me. "If this is a sign of getting (wrecking) out of the way early, I'm an advocate of that." Final practice is at 3 p.m. ET, with Saturday's season-opening race seeing the green flag at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Follow all the coverage on FS1 and keep track on NASCAR.com's Live Leaderboard .
Sadler leaves Daytona disappointed with runner-up result
No. 1 driver caught up in multi-car pile-up during final laps It’s difficult to be too disappointed with second-place when second is your best result of the season. It’s difficult to be too disappointed with second when only a handful of laps earlier, your car was pinched hard against the outside wall and thoughts of seeing the checkered flag were quickly fading. But Elliott Sadler finished second in Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway. And he was disappointed. “Tonight was really a ‘what could have been race,’” the Roush Fenway Racing driver said after trailing Austin Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing ) across the finish line at DIS. Sadler’s No. 1 Ford Mustang managed only two top 10s through this year’s first eight races. But Saturday night’s was Sadler’s fifth in his last seven starts. After avoiding trouble in a 12-car crash with 10 laps remaining, Sadler was running second, outside of leader Brian Scott , three laps from the finish when Scott move up the track in an attempt to halt Sadler’s progress. Contact sent both cars into the outside wall. Ten more cars were swept up in the incident on the 2.5-mile track. “We were definitely in the catbird seat there going down the back straightaway there; we had Joey Logano pushing us and had a lot of momentum coming off Turn 2 and were making our way to the front,” Sadler said. “I think either Brian or his spotter made the block too late; I was already up to his right rear tire. He made the block to late and wrecked us. It was nothing intentional, it’s just racing. It just stinks that it’s it happened to us. Two restrictor-plate races in a row we were in really good shape with less than four laps to go and couldn’t pull it off. “But tonight really stinks because we were fast all night. In the top-four or five all night and then the wreck happened. “Second place is a good finish; it’s our best finish of the year. But it’s not what we came to Daytona to do but we’ll have to take it and move on.” Defending XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott (JR Motorsports) finished third while teammate Kasey Kahne was fourth. Benny Gordon completed the top five. Points leader Chris Buescher , involved in the first of the two multi-car incidents, managed a 12th-place finish. More importantly, he managed to retain his hold on the points lead as well. He now leads Elliott by 34 points. Ty Dillon (26th) fell from second to third. Buescher said he nearly avoided the wreck, “but then got trunked from behind and at that point you are just along for the ride. “The guys did a nice job fixing it and it was a good recovery considering where we were. To come home P12 isn’t bad.” Scott led the most laps (84) but wound up 23rd. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Austin Dillon wins Daytona XFINITY race
No. 33 driver holds off Sadler, Elliott in green-white-checkered finish RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Austin Dillon led just nine laps Saturday night, including the one that mattered most. Dillon, grandson of legendary team owner Richard Childress, outlasted Elliott Sadler and Chase Elliott during a green-white-checkered finish to claim the crash-filled Subway Firecracker 250 , the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. "This is Daytona, man," Dillon said during the post-race celebration. "There are so many family memories here. ... I'm just happy for my grandfather. He told me once when we were here in Victory Lane with Dale Earnhardt that you'll have this opportunity one day. It means so much to be here." A multi-car crash on Lap 96 of the 100-lap race took out Brian Scott , who led 84 laps and was in front when the crash started. Scott moved to the outside line to block Elliott Sadler , but was spun out, collecting several cars. Dillon slipped through the crash, then stayed ahead of Elliott after the final restart. Sadler recovered from the crash and surged past Elliott as the field reached the checkered flag to finish second. Afterward, he blamed Scott for the crash. "Either Brian's spotter or Brian tried to make the move too late to block us," Sadler said. "We were already up to his right rear door. It wrecked us, man. This is Daytona. It's a shame. We had a car good enough to win." Scott admitted the move was aggressive and poorly timed, but said he thought Sader could have given him room. “I told myself I was going to be aggressive, and I was going for the win," Scott said. "I was trying to time that run. I knew the outside lane was coming. Obviously I mistimed it a little bit, but I still felt like I gave them room to split me and go high. Instead of going high on me, he turned me into the wall.” Dillon scored his third XFINITY Series win of 2015 and fifth of his career, putting a smile on his grandfather's face. "It's cool any time you win here at Daytona," Childress said. A 12-car pile-up with 10 laps to go collected the top two in the XFINITY points standings -- Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon -- and set the stage for a restart with five laps remaining. Scott restarted ahead of Sadler and Austin Dillon . Sadler fell behind in the outside line but regained momentum and appeared to be ready to pass Scott, who was leading the inside line. Scott moved up to get in front of Sadler, but didn’t have enough room and was turned into the wall. The crash left only nine cars on the lead lap. Dillon restarted ahead of Dakoda Armstrong and Chase Elliott for the green-white-checkered finish, and Elliott quickly moved into second on the low line. He finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne , Benny Gordon and Armstrong. The XFINITY Series picks up again on Friday at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Steer Clear: Avoiding the Big Ones at Daytona
Watch and listen as Ty Dillon, Benny Gordon and David Gilliland make impressive moves to avoid the huge pileups at Daytona.
XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 starting lineup
See where every driver will start Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN Pos Car Driver Team Time 1 18 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 49.929 2 2 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 50.048 3 20 David Ragan (i) Interstate Batteries Toyota 50.140 4 22 Joey Logano (i) Discount Tire Ford 50.164 5 54 Erik Jones (i) Monster Energy Toyota 50.193 6 3 Ty Dillon Yuengling America's Oldest Brewery Chevrolet 50.242 7 33 Austin Dillon (i) Rheem Chevrolet 50.243 8 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 50.351 9 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 50.381 10 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 50.398 11 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 50.446 12 15 Scott Lagasse Jr. Florida DOT Chevrolet 50.454 13 60 Chris Buescher Bit-O-Honey Ford 50.286 14 6 Darrell Wallace Jr . # Cheez-It Ford 50.302 15 7 Regan Smith Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet 50.306 16 42 Brennan Poole DC Solar Chevrolet 50.395 17 43 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Ford 50.412 18 26 Timmy Hill (i) JGL Racing Toyota 50.497 19 98 Aric Almirola (i) Fresh from Florida Ford 50.541 20 66 Benny Gordon SomersetRegionalWaterResources Chevrolet 50.599 21 88 Kasey Kahne (i) Ragu Chevrolet 50.692 22 8 Blake Koch Celsius Healthy Energy Cola Toyota 50.692 23 25 John Wes Townley (i) Zaxby's Chevrolet 50.699 24 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 50.712 25 44 David Starr Zachry Toyota 50.767 26 85 Bobby Gerhart Lucas Oil Chevrolet 50.799 27 92 Dexter Bean CrashClaimsR.us Chevrolet 50.878 28 28 JJ Yeley Texas 28 Spirits Stage Toyota 50.888 29 89 Morgan Shepherd Courtney Construction Chevrolet 51.007 30 90 Martin Roy Gamache Truck Center Chevrolet 51.038 31 74 Mike Harmon FatBobsGarage.com Dodge 51.056 32 39 Ryan Sieg Uncle Bob's Self Storage Chevrolet 51.135 33 70 Derrike Cope EvergreenFabrication&IndustrialServices Chev 51.148 34 4 Ross Chastain # Flex Shot Chevrolet Owner Points 35 0 Harrison Rhodes # Flex Seal Colors Chevrolet Owner Points 36 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com/BRTExtrusions Chev Owner Points 37 14 Cale Conley # IAVA Toyota Owner Points 38 52 Joey Gase FaithofourFathers/SupportMilitary.org Chev Owner Points 39 24 Eric McClure Hefty Easy Grip Cups Toyota Owner Points 40 97 Peyton Sellers # Vroom Brands Chevrolet Owner Points