'American Ninja Warrior' filming at Daytona International Speedway
NBC's wild and wildly popular obstacle course show "American Ninja Warrior" is coming to the biggest stage in NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway, to film as part of Season 9. Daytona is a true modern motorsports stadium and will now serve as a proving ground not only for race car drivers but also for athletes in city qualifying and city finals rounds for the show. Competitors who make it out of the finals course will move on to the national finals rounds in Las Vegas with a chance at a $1 million prize. "We're excited to serve as a host location for the filming of 'American Ninja Warrior' and add another new event to an already busy schedule," Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. "We're thrilled to welcome the competitors to the world's only motorsports stadium and provide an electric atmosphere as individuals attempt to navigate these challenging obstacles. To succeed, they are going to need strength, speed and perseverance, very similar to what we see on the high banks of the Speedway." The TV tapings will begin each night at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET in between the Axalta and Chevrolet Injectors at the speedway. There will be two different sessions for each night of taping, both of which are available for guests to view. To sign up for free tickets to attend the event, visit http://on-camera-audiences.com/shows/American_Ninja_Warrior . The qualifying episode filmed at Daytona will air June 26, and the city finals will air Aug. 7. The only remaining question is whether "Stenja" will compete again. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who is a fan of the show along with girlfriend and fellow racer Danica Patrick, competed in 2016. MORE: @nascarcasm Q&A with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- aka "Stenja"
Pete Hamilton wins the 1970 Daytona 500
Driving the blue Petty Enterprises Plymouth Superbird, Pete Hamilton won the 1970 Daytona 500. See the thrilling action unfold in vintage video.
Daytona president, Chip Wile named on SBJ's 'Forty Under 40' list
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! MORE: Closest Daytona finishes " Daytona story lines DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chip Wile, the youngest President of Daytona International Speedway , was recognized today as a recipient of SportsBusiness Journal's (SBJ) Forty Under 40 honor. Chosen from among an initial candidate list of more than 500, Wile will receive the award on April 20 at the Forty Under 40 Gala at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California. Forty Under 40 recognizes excellence and innovation among young sports executives nationwide. MORE: Wile appointed Daytona track president " Wile accepts award "This is an incredible honor," Wile said. "I have been so blessed in my career thus far being surrounded by talented professionals who share the same passion and admiration for motorsports. As president of Daytona International Speedway , I am fortunate to work with a remarkable team both at the Speedway and ISC who have a passion and dedication for creating unparalleled experiences for our guests. It's their hard work that makes the World's Only Motorsports Stadium the most fan-friendly, hands-on experience in all of sports." Wile will embark on his first Speedweeks and Daytona 500 as President of Daytona International Speedway beginning February 18, but he led the first major motorsports event of the season and North America's most prestigious sports car race when the Rolex 24 At Daytona kicked off Jan. 28. MORE: Daytona through the years " Rolex 24 history "I have said this all along about Chip -- he brings a wealth of talent and energy to the track president position," said ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy. "His leadership style is always to place others first -- whether his team or his community, but in all cases, the fans. I couldn't be happier for him to receive this honor." Wile spent the first 10 years of his career working with NASCAR race teams, then joined Motor Racing Network (MRN) as director of business development and just one year later, was appointed President of Darlington Raceway where he spearheaded a five-year strategy to reinvent the facility with its throwback thematic. MORE: ' 16 Darlington schemes " Darlington announces '17 throwback theme Tickets for the 2017 Daytona 500 and Speedweeks can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can also follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat, and by downloading the Speedway's mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Daytona Days: A France family affair
RELATED : Key moments in family history " NASCAR is France family business It's been one year since a red ribbon was cut to signal the official opening of DAYTONA Rising, a $400-million overhaul of NASCAR's iconic venue—the Daytona International Speedway (DIS). It was an exciting time for Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, and his sister, Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Vice Chairperson of the NASCAR and ISC Board of Directors. This year brings similar excitement as they gather for Daytona ’s three NASCAR national series races, highlighted by Sunday's 59th running of the DAYTONA 500. There are a number of reasons why. A green-and-white checkered flag will wave twice during each race, followed by the traditional black-and-white checkered flag at the finish. More than just colorful flags, they will usher in a dynamic format in which races will be contested in three stages designed to deliver more dramatic moments over an entire race, where every lap matters and every moment can have a massive impact on a season. While Kennedy’s ISC projects include a modernization of Phoenix Raceway and construction of ONE DAYTONA , the premier mixed-use retail and entertainment destination sprouting across the street from DIS, France looks to continue to build on the collaboration that has impacted the NASCAR industry over the past several years. MORE: France talks key to running family business “Brian has such diverse talents,” says Kennedy. “He has a great feel for the racing side of the sport, yet he’s also great at marketing, a true visionary. He doesn't always get the credit he deserves for running this sport, but he was there early thinking ‘big’ alongside my father (Bill France Jr.), and he’s still thinking big today, not only with our family but also now with the entire industry.” "I am so proud of what Lesa has done here, from DAYTONA Rising to ONE DAYTONA -- and that's only in the last few years,” says France. “She's done it with passion and persistence, two of her biggest attributes. Lesa is without a doubt the best developer in the family. We are ushering in the next era of motorsports entertainment facilities, something this industry needs as our sport continues to focus on modernizing itself for the next 10, 20 and 30 years.” IN-DEPTH: Daytona rises even higher
Back-to-back Daytona 500s? Hamlin knows 'odds are stacked against (me)'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: See every winner of the Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Denny Hamlin was all smiles and backslaps as he navigated the crowded Daytona 500 Club for NASCAR’s annual Media Day. He joked with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth in the midst of Kenseth’s live internet interview and later kidded with Kevin Harvick about his golf handicap. RELATED: Hamlin teases Harvick about his golf game Times are good for the reigning Daytona 500 champion. In another four days, however, Hamlin will have to defend his title. And consecutive wins in this event are rare. Sterling Marlin is the last driver to earn back-to-back trophies (1994-95) in the Great American Race. Only three men in the race’s great history: Marlin, Richard Petty (1973-74) and Cale Yarborough (1983-84) have won back-to-back Daytona 500 s. Hamlin knows the challenge and the historical record. But he’s fast. And he’s a favorite. His No. 11 FedEx Toyota led 48 of the 75 laps in Sunday’s The Clash exhibition and was out front when he collided with Brad Keselowski on the last lap. A couple hours later, he was sixth in Daytona 500 pole qualifying. "The odds are stacked against you," Hamlin acknowledged Wednesday of winning back-to-back Daytona 500 trophies. "If this were Martinsville I’d say the odds are really good, or Richmond. But at Daytona we know the entire field could win the race. We’ve seen surprise winners. There’s just more drivers that can win this week than say, next week in Atlanta. And it makes it very, very hard to repeat." Hamlin’s competitors acknowledge the route is tough. The late Dale Earnhardt made a great effort -- winning in 1998 and finishing second in 1999. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr . was runner-up in 2012 and 2013 and won in 2014 before finishing third in 2015. RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s full 'Great American Race' history Ryan Newman won the 50th Anniversary edition of the Daytona 500 in 2008. He finished 36th the next year. And that’s an equally as common turn of events. " It is that hard to win a Daytona 500 in general," Newman said, allowing a smile. "So doubling up isn’t easy. It is challenging. You can have the best car and get shuffled out. You can have a not-so-good car and be stuck in the middle all day. It’s not easy. A lot of it is luck that you create. You have to put yourself in the right position. In 2008 we were fortunate to do that. "And," he added, "I think it was easier to have a package that would dominate say 10, 15, 20 years ago. Just the way the rules are and everything else, we all kind of know some things like the No. 4 car ( Kevin Harvick ) guys did. You can’t do that kind of stuff anymore. So it becomes harder because of that. I think those rules have kind of communized the garage performance-wise." Kevin Harvick hoisted the Harley J. Earl trophy in Daytona's Victory Lane in 2007 and finished 14th both the year before and the year after. He acknowledged that the last to win two straight here, Marlin, competed in a vastly different time in restrictor plate racing. "Those guys were dominant back in the 90s during that particular time period with the Kodak entry," Harvick recalled of Marlin’s wins. "When you get to superspeedways like this there are so many things that can go wrong. There are more things that can go wrong than right. If you have a fast car or a slow car you can get caught up in a wreck, a miscue on pit road, hit a bird. You just never know what can go wrong or what could go wrong. Usually if it’s going to happen there’s usually some crazy event that happens during the Daytona 500 , you just never know. "And," he paused, "It’s just really competitive." RELATED: Drivers with multiple Daytona 500 wins Michael Waltrip is a two-time Daytona 500 winner and very nearly captured three straight Daytona wins -- with victories in 2001 and 2003 and a fifth place in 2002. While acknowledging the odds are against a driver having both a super fast hot rod and everything fall right in competition, he immediately offered confidence in Hamlin becoming the first back-to-back Daytona champion in more than two decades. "We might see it this year," Waltrip said. "Denny obviously was in a position to win Sunday (in The Clash), so we could very well see it this year. I know, like I had the best chance ever in '02, and I finished fifth but that's just what the results say. "Part of my suspension fell off my car and went through Junior.'s radiator, took him out, and my car just drove terrible all day long, and we were the best car in '02, and then we finished fifth. So it's always something. This race is so difficult, and anything in the world can happen, and it's hard to predict. "But Denny could be the guy that does it." And that’s something Hamlin absolutely agreed with. "I do feel like over the past four years or so, I’ve always had a great shot," Hamlin said. "I’ve been smart enough to make the moves necessary to win it, but last year was the first time I did it. "I always feel like we have a chance, that our cars were good enough to do it. I know that. But it just seems like we didn’t win it for some reason or another. But last year things came together for us and we executed a plan great. "And this year I just feel like, if the chips fall right, we could do the same thing." &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;gt;
How the Daytona 500 field is set for the 2017 race
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! The Daytona 500 is a unique event in many ways, including how the 40-car field is set for this year's race (Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). There are two days that carry the most significance in how the field is set. The first is Sunday, Feb. 19 when two rounds of single-car qualifying will take place starting at 3:10 p.m. ET (FOX). The second is Thursday, Feb. 23 when the Can-Am Duel races take place, starting at 7 p.m. ET (FS1). Here are more details: SINGLE-CAR QUALIFYING Programming info for single-car qualifying When: Sunday, Feb. 19 Where: Daytona International Speedway TV: FOX Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio What is the format? This event will determine the front row (spots 1 and 2) for the Daytona 500 . There will be two rounds of single-car qualifying, with the 12 fastest cars in Round 1 advancing to Round 2. There will be a 10-minute break between rounds, and cars will make their Round 2 run based on Round 1 times (slowest going first, fastest last). The fastest time in Round 2 will be the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the Daytona 500 . The second-fastest time in Round 2 will earn the other spot on the front row for the Daytona 500 . The pole winner will start first in the first Can-Am Duel race on Thursday. The other front-row driver will start first in the second Can-Am Duel race. The rest of the field will line up for Thursday's Can-Am Duels based on qualifying time, with odd-numbered finishers lining up in the first Duel, and even-numbered finishers lining up for the second Duel. CAN-AM DUELS Programming info for the Can-Am Duels When: Thursday, Feb. 23 Where: Daytona International Speedway TV: FS1 Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio What is the format ? The Can-Am Duels will determine spots 3-38 in the Daytona 500 grid. With 36 Charter teams entered in the race, two of these spots will be filled by the top Open car in each Duel race. The qualifiers from the first Duel will line up on the inside row in the Daytona 500 depending upon their finish in Duel 1. The qualifiers from the second Duel will line up on the outside row for the Daytona 500 depending upon their result in Duel 2. The remaining two spots on the Daytona 500 grid will be awarded to the top Open teams from Sunday's qualifying that are still left (i.e. didn't qualify through the Duels). In review : - Two spots (front row) determined by Sunday's qualifying. - Spots 3-38 determined by results of Duels races. - Spots 39, 40 go to the top Open cars remaining. - That's a total of 40 cars for Sunday's race (36 Charter cars, 4 Open cars). &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Blaney's Daytona runner-up finish an early-season victory
RELATED: Results " Standings " Blaney amongst sport's next class of greats DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – All things considered, Ryan Blaney 's runner-up finish in Sunday's Daytona 500 was essentially an early season victory for the 23-year old driver. He started from the rear of the field in a backup No. 21 Motorcraft Ford, avoiding several multiple-car crashes and surviving a final-lap push to the front despite concerns about running out of gas. Any runner-up finisher – especially one in the Daytona 500 – would concede some disappointment on the day, but Blaney still left Daytona Beach deservedly feeling accomplished. And encouraged. "I thought we had a good car all day to start off," Blaney said. "We showed that definitely in the first half of the race. Then we got some damage there in one of those big wrecks about middle of the race. Kind of hurt our car a little bit." But, Blaney explained, he finally got some well-timed help going forward in the final laps. "I started kind of running out the gas there into (Turn 3), we started sputtering pretty bad," Blaney said. "Luckily made it back to the line. It was a good showing for us. It was a good way to start off the year. Stinks to be so close. But I think that's good momentum for our team, to be good at the beginning of the day, get some damage and be able to rally for a good finish." While Blaney's final lap effort was certainly dramatic, his Wood Brothers Racing team felt all along the car was good enough to challenge for the trophy. And that Blaney was good enough to challenge for the trophy. Blaney joked that not having his "rookie stripe" -- or yellow tape -- on the rear of his Ford may have helped encourage the veterans to stick with him. Of course, driving a super-fast car doesn't hurt either. "I thought our car in the Duel race was spectacular and it's a shame it got torn up, but our backup car was honestly, I felt like, just as good," Blaney said. "We came from the back really early and were able to drive up through the middle, and our car handled correctly where we could be up the middle and be aggressive when the time was right. We were able to stay up there." Blaney's crew chief Jeremy Bullins said he will arrive in Atlanta later this week feeling very encouraged by the work of the team and his driver. "Obviously, we showed speed in the 150s [ Daytona qualifying race], but we tore that car up," Bullins said. "It was an easy decision to get this car out. It was built just the same, just as fast. Had a good car all day, got ourselves up front pretty quick, got a little bit of damage a couple of times and had to work on it a little bit, but phenomenal job by Ryan of timing his moves and getting back through there at the end. "We knew we were close on fuel, got him to save a little bit, which was just enough to get us to the end. Almost where we wanted to be, but really close." It is Blaney's best Daytona finish in four races (three Daytona 500 starts) and places him second in the series points standings heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway – all in all, an impressive mark for him and a fine start to the season. "Any time you get a good finish anywhere, no matter what track, it always propels you into the next week," Blaney said. "Maybe it feels a little better when it's the Daytona 500. "It doesn't mean your car is going to be great when you go to Atlanta [next week], doesn't mean your car is going to be great when you go out West. Until you get nine or 10 in, then you can kind of get a good judge of how your cars are and where your team stacks up. "No matter where it is, if you get a good finish, it definitely helps your team confidence‑wise for the next week and maybe a couple weeks after that."
Gaughan, Sadler lock spots in Daytona 500
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Veteran drivers Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler secured positions in next weekend's Daytona 500 (Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) thanks to their qualifying efforts Sunday at Daytona International Speedway . Sadler and Gaughan were fastest among six drivers without secured spots in the 40-car field, guaranteeing their chance to race next weekend by virtue of their two-lap qualifying runs Sunday. Thirty-six of the 40 starting positions are secured through team charters. The other four spots on the Daytona 500 grid include the two best qualifiers among Open teams (Sadler and Gaughan), plus the top Open finisher in each of Thursday's Can-Am Duel races. The 40-year-old NASCAR veteran Gaughan secured just his second Daytona 500 starting position thanks to his speed of 189.294 mph in the No. 75 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet -- helping the young Beard Motorsports team to its Daytona 500 debut. The speed was 33rd overall among 42 entries, but fastest among the Open, non-Charter teams. Gaughan finished 19th in the 2004 Daytona 500 , which was his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut. It also is his only scheduled Monster Energy Series start as he will compete full time again in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Richard Childress Racing . "This is a team that's never made a Cup race," Gaughan said. "Nice owner and very nice group of guys. You never know what will happen, but I know how hard it is to do this Cup stuff. Jay Robinson gave the owner of this race car, Mark Beard, some advice. He said, 'Go buy a speedway car and a big motor from (Earnhardt Childress Racing),' and that's exactly what he did, and then they called me to come drive it. "This man has tried six or seven times to make a race, and his first Cup race is the Daytona -freaking-500. I'm so glad to do it for him." Sadler, meanwhile, was 36th fastest overall in Tommy Baldwin Racing 's No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet at 188.561 mph, good for second-best among Open teams. This will be the 41-year-old Sadler's 14th Daytona 500 start. His best finish was a runner-up showing to Ward Burton in 2002. Baldwin was Burton's crew chief for the victory. "It's a good start for the week," a grinning Baldwin said. "It allows us to relax the next two or three days and just focus on the 500. We finished eighth in last year's Daytona 500 and hopefully we just stick to that plan. I've got all the notes from that." Drivers Reed Sorenson , D.J. Kennington, Corey LaJoie and Timmy Hill are vying for the final two spots in the Daytona 500 . &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;gt;
Kurt Busch seeks to snap Daytona 500 hex of runner-up finishes
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! MORE: Busch through the years " Busch marries fiancée DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Three hundred and fifty-five days. Give or take a week, perhaps. That's how long losing the Daytona 500 sticks with you, according to Kurt Busch . And Busch, driver of the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing , should know. Three times Busch has been in position to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening event. Three times he has been denied, taking the checkered flag before everyone else except for the race winner. Second is a lonely place. Others have finished second in the 500-mile race held annually here at Daytona International Speedway more often than Busch. NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt finished second five times. Fellow Hall cohort Cale Yarborough did it four times. Dale Earnhardt Jr . has been runner up four times, as well. But the sting of a second-place finish in the season's biggest event isn't as painful when there are Daytona 500 trophies in the trophy case, and that's the case for the Earnhardts, Yarborough and a host of others. For Busch, the lack of a Harley J. Earl trophy, presented to the Daytona 500 victor, is the lone omission on an otherwise solid resume. He's a former series champion (2004), and enters the 2017 season with 28 wins over a 17-year career. This year's race, scheduled for Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be his 16th attempt at being known as a Daytona 500 champion. "You go with all the optimism you can to win it," Busch said. "You apply all the knowledge from years past being so close to try to win it. (But) it sticks with you." WATCH: Busch and Kenseth talk Monster Energy, Daytona 500 Restrictor-plate races contested at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway haven't been kind to Busch, although he did win an IROC race at Talladega in 2003 en route to the championship for that four-race series. He's also won the non-points "The Clash" at Daytona as well as one of the Can-Am Duel qualifying races that determine the bulk of the lineup for the 500. "But both those (Clash and Can-Am) wins were when we were doing the tandem (draft)," Busch said of the NASCAR victories. "I mastered the tandem really well I felt like." What he's yet to master, he said "is the aggressive blocking, making the car as wide as it can be at the end of the race to hold that position. "I was in position, I thought, to win the April race at Talladega last year and Brad (Keselowski) got around me at the end. I made a mistake. Coming to the line here in July running second, third, behind Brad. Joey (Logano, Keselowski’s teammate) is behind me pushing and I got spun coming to the line. "So many close opportunities and yet nothing to show for it as far as a points win. I just have to be more aggressive and strategic in blocking at the end."
Starting lineup for the Daytona 500
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! The field is set! Heading into Thursday's Can-Am Duels at Daytona , we already knew the front row for the Daytona 500 -- Chase Elliott is on the pole, and Dale Earnhardt Jr . will start second when the green flag drops Feb. 26 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). We also knew Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan had clinched spots in the field because in Daytona 500 single-car qualifying, they posted the two fastest times among the six Open, or non-Charter teams. That's good for a spot in the field. And both drivers had to fall back on those times with Corey Lajoie and DJ Kennington racing their way into the Daytona 500 . As a reminder, the 36 Charter teams are locked into the Daytona 500 , and every other points race. Duel 1 results set the inside row of the Daytona 500 . Duel 2 set the outside row. * Denotes Open team
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