Hamlin, Keselowski clash at Daytona's opening weekend
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! MORE: Hamlin wears special pair of Jordans for 'The Clash' DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Brad Keselowski checked over the damage to his No. 2 Ford's right-front fender, the result of a last-lap crunch in a tense contest for the lead with Denny Hamlin 's No. 11 Toyota in the Advance Auto Parts Clash. The contact cost Keselowski a victory in a season-opening exhibition that -- despite his superspeedway acumen -- he's now 0-for-5 in. But after conferring with crew chief Paul Wolfe and expressing his dismay, he had no regrets in choosing to keep his foot on the gas -- and serving notice that in similar circumstances, he'd do it again. "It's unfortunate. I had to make the move," Keselowski said after Sunday's matinee at Daytona International Speedway . "I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again." The final-lap collision that scuttled the chances of two of the best restrictor-plate racers in the sport allowed Keselowski's Team Penske stablemate Joey Logano to scoot to a victory in a race delayed a day by persistent Saturday night rain. Neither Keselowski nor Hamlin seemed especially peeved by their own (lower-case) clash, the last of four incidents in the unofficial opener to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Both drivers started on the front row by virtue of a Friday draw. By the time the white flag flew, they were 1-2 again after combining to lead all but nine of the 75 laps. But Keselowski had an extra level of headway in the form of Logano, who finally linked up with his teammate in the waning laps to give both drivers an aerodynamic assist. The fast-closing Keselowski dipped to the low side of the track through the first and second turns, forcing Hamlin to chop-block into his path. The two cars wedged together, with Hamlin swerving into a lazy spin off course and Keselowski limping to the checkers to finish a distant sixth. "I was in a bad spot there," said Hamlin, who took 13th place in the 17-car invitational field. "He was just coming so much faster than what I was. There's not much that I could have done to defend." If nothing else, the non-points exhibition helped take a stick to the offseason cobwebs ahead of next Sunday's Daytona 500 (Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The revival of "The Clash" name brought back at least a nominal nod to history. The racing brought another reminder of the mercurial nature of the high-speed dance at the 2.5-mile track. "Yeah, you're definitely pulling all the strings, but that's the game," Keselowski said. "That's part of what the fun is. You have to be two moves ahead, like a chess game." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hamlin, Keselowski top practices for 'The Clash'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Practice 2 " Results Joe Gibbs Racing 's newest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Daniel Suarez , got his first drafting practice in the No. 19 Arris Toyota with teammates Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin in Friday's final practice session for Saturday's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Hamlin led the second session at Daytona International Speedway with a top speed of 196.528 mph in the No. 11 Toyota as the team also rolled out the 2018 Camrys. Suarez was right behind him on the leaderboard at 198.279 mph with Busch third (196.249 mph) and Kenseth fourth (196.224 mph). Joey Logano rounded out the top five in the evening session in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford at 195.584 mph. Jamie McMurray was the lone driver to sit out final practice. Practice 1 " Results Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars fired up and hit the track for the first time in 2017 in practice Friday for Saturday's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Joey Logano came out on track first in the 55-minute practice session and laid down a quick lap of 190.795 mph in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. But his Team Penske teammate Keselowski finished the session atop the leaderboard at 191.604 mph in his No. 2 Ford. Logano finished third with a top speed of 191.351 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing came out strong in the opening session, piloting its Fords. Kevin Harvick laid down a lap at 190.743 mph for fourth place in the No. 4, with teammate Danica Patrick in fifth at 190.367 mph in the No. 10 Ford. Chip Ganassi Racing 's Kyle Larson was second-fastest in the first practice at 191.436 mph in the No. 42 Chevrolet. None of the five Toyotas -- Joe Gibbs Racing 's Nos. 11, 18, 19 and 20 ( Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth , respectively), as well as Furniture Row Racing 's No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr . -- participated in the first practice session. Kurt Busch and the No. 41 team of Stewart-Haas Racing also sat out opening practice. Saturday's action at Daytona International Speedway begins at 11:30 a.m. ET (FS1) with the opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET Feb. 26, FOX, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.) &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Brad Keselowski Racing reveals '17 Truck Series lineup
CONCORD, N.C. -- Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) announced its team lineup details for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season at the National Motorsports Press Association annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. Austin Cindric will pilot the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150 and Chase Briscoe, who was recently named as the first driver in the Ford Performance development program, joins the organization as the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150. Cindric and Briscoe will both compete on a full-time basis as they pursue the NCWTS championship for BKR. Doug Randolph, who has been atop the pit box at BKR since 2012, will serve as crew chief for Cindric, while two-time NCWTS championship-winning crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. will lead the effort for Briscoe. "We're very fortunate to have partners like Cooper Standard and Horizon Global, with brands like Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog, that make it possible to give two young drivers an opportunity. And that's something I'm very proud of," team owner Brad Keselowski said. "Austin Cindric has already had success in various forms of racing, and has shown a lot of potential in our Ford F-150 race trucks. I certainly believe that Chase is ready to take the next step in his career, and we're excited to have him join the BKR family. He won the ARCA championship in his first full-time season, and he's proven to have the ability to learn quickly and win races. We're pleased to give both Austin and Chase the opportunity to compete full-time at a high level in NASCAR." Cindric, 18, has six NCWTS series starts dating back to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October 2015 -- all with BKR. He made four starts with BKR in 2016, qualifying a career-best second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario). Cindric scored victories in the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway and in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway. "This is a massive opportunity from Brad and everyone at BKR who trusts me and believes in my abilities as a driver to move on to the next level for a full season," said Cindric. "2017 gets more and more exciting for me with every day that goes by. I've only done a handful of one-off races in my brief stock car career, so I'm really looking forward to having the same guys by my side week in and week out. I've spent a lot of time at the shop the last few weeks and I know everyone is really excited to get back racing." The past two seasons for Briscoe read like a Hollywood screenplay. The 22-year-old Mitchell, Indiana, native joined Cunningham Motorsports in 2015 as a volunteer in the team's shop, and just one year later, the rookie driver was celebrating the ARCA Racing Series Championship. Briscoe led the series in wins (six, including four consecutive victories) and poles (six). He finished with 14 top fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 races. "It's is an absolutely huge opportunity and such an honor to drive for Brad," said Briscoe. "The competition level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is so high, but I'm going to be in the best equipment out there. It's really cool to once again be working with the Keselowski family. When I moved to North Carolina three years ago, I was helping Brian and Bob in their shop, so things have come full circle. I'm truly blessed with this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it. At the end of the day, it's all about winning races and championships, and that's what I plan to do."
Brad Keselowski , Paige White get married
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and fiancée Paige White were married on Feb. 10 in a ceremony the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion said would "live on forever." Keselowski tweeted the news and posted a video of the event Saturday evening. Last night will live on forever, an amazing night w/my bride @PaigeKeselowski & our family/friends! https://t.co/UY2rcSMJwh ⚖️ — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) February 11, 2017 Best night ever! ❤ https://t.co/JxcsQzcpng — Paige (@PaigeKeselowski) February 11, 2017 The two dated for years before announcing their engagement in December 2016 -- a lavish proposal in which Keselowski dropped to one knee in front of a beautiful horse and carriage, the moment captured by a photographer and shared on Twitter. Crazy fun day, this was more nerve racking than 500 miles @TalladegaSuperS ! Ps: she said yes pic.twitter.com/mfR0TcoPBp — Brad Keselowski (@ keselowski ) December 12, 2016 Keselowski , who turns 33 on Sunday, and his wife have one child together, Scarlett, who will turn 2 in May. Congrats to the happy couple!
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's , on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski . It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski . But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron Keselowski , an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series. "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski , now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Suarez earns high marks in Monster Energy Series debut
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Where will Suarez line up in the Duels? DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The education of Daniel Suarez has been an accelerated course. Just three years ago, he was competing at Daytona International Speedway under much different conditions, racing a K&N Pro Series car on a temporary .370-mile oval on the large track's backstretch. This year, it's a much different stage that greets the Mexican-born driver, a move that's equivalent to a prodigy starting work on a graduate degree. "I really felt like I went to school," Suarez said Sunday, after his first competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series provided him valuable experience as he nears his debut in the Daytona 500 . The 25-year-old rookie wound up eighth in the 17-car Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition after a late-race shuffle, but now has a feel for competing in NASCAR's major leagues as he progresses through his first Speedweeks in the sport's top series at Daytona. Suarez avidly studies video footage before each race, but said that nothing could quite prepare him for actually driving his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota in a pack against the sport's best. Suarez said he gained an understanding about the nuances of tire wear and how his car handles, but perhaps the most valuable lesson was learning the differences between the Monster Energy Series and the XFINITY Series, where he spent the last two years and claimed the 2016 championship. "Those guys are aggressive and they race hard as soon as they see the green flag," Suarez said on pit road post-race. "I felt like I learned a lot. I felt like it was a very productive race for me and for my team and hopefully we can put everything we learned on the table for next week." RELATED: Suarez's five-year plan heads for new heights The next phase for Suarez is a run through Thursday's Can Am Duels (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 150-mile qualifying races that will help determine the Daytona 500 lineup. The preliminaries add another 60 laps of actual race conditions to the 75 now in his portfolio after Sunday's Clash. Crew chief Dave Rogers, preparing to work with his fourth driver in the last four seasons at JGR, said Sunday's exhibition was an educational event for him as well. The veteran wrench connected with Suarez's feedback early and then watched his driver make prudent decisions down the stretch. When Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski joined forces and freight-trained their way past him in the penultimate lap, Suarez lost momentum and slipped back from the second-place position he'd held for much of the event's second segment. Though the choice ultimately dropped him from contention, a more hawkish move to block the Penske pair's advancement could have left his peers with crumpled cars and an unfavorable first impression. "At the very end, I think he got a good taste of how these Cup guys play," Rogers said as he walked back to the garage, his car still in one piece. "He just made a smart decision there at the end. He could've tried to roll up in front of the Penske cars and block them, and then we end up with a bunch of torn-up race cars, so he made a wise move, which I'm proud of him for. "You know, he's a young kid in his first Cup race, he only wants to finish really well but he let common sense prevail and didn't cause a big wreck and earned the trust and respect of some competitors. So that was good, and I think we'll just get better throughout the week." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Logano nabs victory in 'The Clash' after wild final lap
RELATED: Results " SHOP: Logano gear BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 Live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin collided in Turn 2 on the final lap of Sunday's rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway , Joey Logano was there to seize the moment. Charging to the outside and grabbing the lead near the entry to the Superstretch at the 2.5-mile speedway, Logano took the checkered flag 1.121 seconds ahead of runner-up Kyle Busch , who beat third-place finisher Alex Bowman to the stripe by .018 seconds. Danica Patrick dodged the Turn 2 melee to surge from 10th to fourth on the final lap to post her first top-five finish in any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, though the result is not official because "The Clash" is an exhibition event with a limited field. Kevin Harvick , driving a Ford for the first time at NASCAR's highest level, came home fifth. Daniel Suarez , in his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, finished eighth. Logano's victory was the first in "The Clash" for a Ford driver since Dale Jarrett took the checkered flag in 2004. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas settled into the first four spots after a restart on Lap 65, but Team Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano sped toward the front in the outside lane, successfully side-drafted and broke up the Camry armada. The race was decided when Keselowski challenged defending winner Hamlin for the lead on the final lap. Keselowski , who came home sixth, powered his Ford to the bottom of Turn 2. Hamlin tried to protect his position, and the cars collided, Hamlin's Toyota spinning wildly and Keselowski's Ford losing momentum off the corner. Logano pulled out to a 100-yard lead and maintained it as Busch and Bowman battled side-by-side behind him. "That was the play," Logano said of the side-drafting strategy. "The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They're able to work together and think of one car winning, and they're really good at that. "We had to think that same way as Ford (drivers), and we Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars, we were able to get a good enough run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes, and then there at the end, it was kind of a mess. "Everything was going really fast, and I was just in the right place at the right time." Even though "The Clash" featured a mandatory caution at Lap 25, and even though the cars had been set up for racing under the lights, drivers were uniformly aggressive in the opening segment, often running three-wide in an attempt to gain track position. On Lap 17, Kurt Busch fell victim to a handling problem with reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Chevrolet. Johnson got loose in Turn 4 and spun into the right rear of Busch's No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, turning Busch hard into the outside wall. "I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right rear," Kurt Busch said after exiting the Infield Care Center. "It's kind of a shame -- all of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season -- Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas, all of the effort put toward building a car and we didn't even make it to the first pit stop, so it's kind of a bummer." Johnson car survived that wreck, but the handling remained evil, and on Lap 49 he spun again off Turn 4 and clobbered the inside wall near the entrance to pit road. The wreck put Johnson out of the race, his sixth straight DNF in the season-opening exhibition event. With 14 laps left, Martin Truex Jr . tried to fill a hole that wasn't there and clipped the right front of Kyle Larson 's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Truex spun in Turn 3, rocketed toward the outside wall and caught the left rear of Chris Buescher 's No. 37 Chevrolet, which needed two trips to pit road to repair the damage. That wreck set up the wild 11-lap run to the finish that saw the opportunistic Logano take advantage of the last-lap tangle between Keselowski and Hamlin. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Tweets to the Winner: Everything is Joey's fault
MORE BLOGS: Inside Groove page Joey Logano took advantage of a last-lap incident to win the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, injecting momentum into the No. 22 team's Speedweeks. While Logano and his fans were ecstatic to watch the familiar red and yellow Ford drive into Victory Lane to end the long offseason, others didn't have such nice things to say. Some folks were just flat-out mean -- and weirdly specific. #joeylagano won the race! What a weasel! — Paula Sandt Miller (@FlyDC989) February 19, 2017 @joeylogano PUKE IN DAYTONA — susieq (@kbuhurico) February 19, 2017 @NASCAR @joeylogano Joey Joey Joey is a kids name — Joe Post (@Joepost43) February 19, 2017 Other Logano haters felt it was more appropriate to dismiss the win altogether, despite the fact that the No. 22 wasn't involved in the late-race crash between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski . @NASCAR @joeylogano you only got that win because others crashed. @joeylogano the way you were driving out there. — al provost (@ambergriffin123) February 19, 2017 Way to go Logano - payback won't be fun. #NASCAR — Koreen M (@czarinakem) February 19, 2017 At least some fans had Joey's back ... @MonsterEnergy the girl who offered @joeylogano the towel, wiped herself first then offer it to him? Gross. Good thing Joey didn't take it — Bridget Reeves (@trakmom2013) February 19, 2017 Logano? More like LoWINgo — ÿøęł (@novus_discipula) February 19, 2017 ... but there always will be the people who don't like when you have a good day. Will someone please Punch Joey Lagano he is always so happy — David Kemp (@davidkemp88) February 19, 2017
Chase Elliott captures back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Full results DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Winning back-to-back Daytona 500 poles is something of a family tradition, as Chase Elliott proved by the skin of his teeth Sunday at Daytona International Speedway . The last driver to take a lap in the second and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Elliott covered the distance in 46.663 seconds (192.872 mph) to edge Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr . by .002 seconds. The pole was the second straight for Elliott, who led the field to green last year as a Sunoco rookie. It was the third straight for Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, who won the pole with driver Jeff Gordon in 2015 in Gordon's last year as a full-time driver. With three straight poles as a crew, Gustafson shares a record previously held solely by Ernie Elliott, Chase Elliott 's uncle, who fielded cars driven by former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott , Chase's father. "Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season," said Elliott, who claimed the third Coors Light Pole Award of his career, all at restrictor-plate tracks. "This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then last year with here and Talladega (where Elliott also won the pole). "But that stuff doesn't just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster, and the engine shop is always finding new things. So I think that's just proof that they're improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. "I'm happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we can run good next Sunday." Elliott and Earnhardt are the only two drivers locked into their starting spots for next Sunday’s 59th running of the "Great American Race" (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They will lead the field to the green flag in both Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- Elliott in the first Duel, Earnhardt in the second. Earnhardt is racing for the first time since a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 events of the 2016 season. The satisfaction of locking in a front-row starting position tempered his disappointment at missing the pole by the slimmest of margins. "I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man (Rick Hendrick) is happy," Earnhardt said. "I just talked to him on the phone, and he's got to be thrilled with having his cars up front." Brad Keselowski qualified third at 192.691 mph and will start on the outside of the front row in Thursday night's first Duel. Clint Bowyer , in his first competitive effort in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, will start beside Earnhardt in the second Duel after posting the fourth-fastest speed (192.571 mph). With 36 chartered teams knowing they will race next Sunday, six Open entries are vying for the four remaining berths in the Daytona 500 field. Sunday's time trials brought good news for Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler , who know they will race next Sunday as the two fastest qualifiers among the "go-fast-or-go-homers." Conversely, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Timmy Hill , who posted the two slowest times in the field, can race in the 500 only if they are the fastest Open drivers in their respective Duels. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Update available for NASCAR Heat Evolution
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Can't get enough NASCAR Heat Evolution? Well, get ready. The game is about to get even more real. An update to the Dusenberry Martin Racing game launched Feb. 21. It's $9.99 on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace and Steam. The update includes team and roster updates, new drivers, new 2017 paint schemes, the 2017 schedule, new Toyota Camry model and the video debuts of the No. 41 Monster Energy and No. 77 5-hour Energy cars. Dusenberry Martin Racing's long-term and deeply rooted relationship with NASCAR has allowed the company to develop a wide range of games across multiple interactive entertainment platforms, giving fans a uniquely NASCAR gaming experience. NASCAR Heat Evolution features fun and exciting gameplay for all skill levels, up to 40 player online multiplayer races (a console gaming first), more than 40 drivers, all 23 licensed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tracks and a variety of thrilling gameplay modes. In today's world of technology, video games can often take much time and skill to master, leaving a novice or causal gamer frustrated. Finding the balance between realism and fun, NASCAR Heat Evolution features an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI), which adjusts to gamers' competence, keeping them challenged based on their skill level. Equal to the importance of the game's adaptive AI is the players' ability to relate and understand the connection between racing for hours in a video game and doing the same in real life. NASCAR Heat Evolution features numerous game play modes that allow gamers to run just a few laps or up to an entire race. Along with full-length races, the game includes a career mode that gives users an understanding of acquiring sponsors and how to improve their car race after race. Brad Keselowski played a sample of the game last year with NASCAR.com and gave his insights. You can re-watch that video here.
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