Michigan International Speedway employee for 27 years dies at 55 RELATED: Response to fire allowed NASCAR to finish race Duane Barnes, who drove the jet dryer that caught fire after contact with Juan Pablo Montoya during the 2012 Daytona 500 , passed away on Tuesday at age 55. For the past 27 years, Barnes worked at Michigan International Speedway, serving as chief "UNO 1" jet dryer operator, fabricator and heavy equipment operator. He also served as a jet dryer operator at other International Speedway Corporation tracks. With 40 laps to go in the Great American Race three years ago, Barnes was drying the track against the Turn 3 wall during a caution period when a mechanical malfunction on the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (now known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet) saw Montoya veer into the rear of the dryer. Following evaluation at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, Barnes was released. Two days after the 2012 accident, MIS issued a statement on his behalf. "I appreciate everyone for taking the time to write, call and ask how I am," Barnes said. "I am OK and I am amazed at how many people have wished me well. I am also glad Juan Montoya is OK, and thank him for his concern." An avid NASCAR fan and hunter, Barnes also enjoyed farming and gardening. He is survived by his wife, two children, four step-children, 14 grandchildren, his mother, two brothers, one sister, two nephews and one niece. On Barnes' passing, Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis issued the following statement: "Our condolences are with Duane's family and friends. Duane was a trusted, respected and most important part of our MIS family and the NASCAR community for almost 30 years, and we will miss him tremendously. We're a tight group, and I can only hope the wonderful memories of Duane will help comfort us and his family during this difficult time."
Interim driver hoping to continue in No. 55 ride RELATED: Toyota not sure what MWR will do BRISTOL, Tenn. -- David Ragan , 10 starts into his role as driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota, said he's yet to speak with MWR officials, or anyone else, about his future role with the organization. Ragan joined MWR earlier this season after a nine-race stint with Joe Gibbs Racing as interim driver for the No. 18 team of Kyle Busch . His first start of the year, the Daytona 500 in February, came with Front Row Motorsports . "I haven't talked about next year with anybody for anything," Ragan said before the start of an open test on Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "In regards to some of the rumors that are out there, I've read just like everybody else has online, but all I can do is the best I can do week in and week out and hopefully everything will take care of themselves." Ragan qualified third for the second consecutive race this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was his fourth top-10 start in the past five races. However, he has only two finishes inside the top 15 since joining the team in a relief role for driver Brian Vickers , who remains sidelined due to medical issues. Aaron's, a long-time MWR sponsor and currently the primary sponsor for the No. 55 entry, has yet to announce its plans beyond the 2015 season. In addition to the No. 55, MWR also fields the No. 15 Sprint Cup entry with driver Clint Bowyer . Sponsorship is provided by 5-hour ENERGY and both Bowyer and the sponsor are in the first year of multi-year agreements with the organization. Ragan, 29, is a two-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series. His first win came in July of 2011 at Daytona with Roush Fenway Racing . In 2013, he put Front Row Motorsports in Victory Lane for the first time when he won at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. MWR is said to be considering a split from Toyota, which has provided engines and technical support to the organization since the automaker moved into Sprint Cup in 2007. Dave Wilson, President & General Manager, Toyota Racing Development, USA, told NASCAR.com that he did not know if the relationship with MWR would continue beyond 2015. In the meantime, Ragan said he would like to remain at MWR going forward if that is an option. "I like everyone at MWR and the Aaron's folks have been great to work with," he said. "We've got a good thing going ... hopefully we can keep it going. That'd be fun." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Crew chief suspended for a race; team owner docked 15 points RELATED: NASCAR's official release NASCAR handed down a P3-level penalty Wednesday to the Premium Motorsports No. 98 Ford team for failure to properly attach weight during last weekend's Sprint Cup Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 98 car, driven by Timmy Hill for the second straight week in last Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400, lost a piece of tungsten during Friday practice near the pit-road exit on the 2.5-mile track. The dropped weight was a violation of three sections of the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book (Sections 12:1; 184.108.40.206.1; 20.3.5). NASCAR officials suspended crew chief Scott Eggleston for one Sprint Cup Series race and fined him $25,000. NASCAR also suspended car chief Kevin Eagle for one race. Both were placed on probation through Dec. 31. Mike Curb, the listed team owner for the Premium No. 98, was also docked 15 championship points in the car owner standings. The No. 98 began the year under the Phil Parsons Racing umbrella before Premium Motorsports took ownership in the spring. Josh Wise failed to qualify the car for the season-opening Daytona 500 , but competed in the next 17 races before announcing that he had parted ways with the team. Hill has driven for the team the last two weekends. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Companies will continue to compete against each other in 2015 RELATED: Toyota 'not sure what MWR is going to do' Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman has agreed to purchase an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, according to statements from the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizations. According to a statement from MWR, the "companies will continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season. They are also currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 and beyond." How the move will impact the number of teams involved has yet to be determined, although it appears likely that the re-tooled CGR will be a three-team effort in 2016. What that means for co-owner Michael Waltrip and MWR going forward is also unknown at this time. Sponsorship agreements with Aaron's and manufacturer support with Toyota are scheduled to conclude at the end of '15. "My focus is on 2015 and fulfilling the commitment we have made to our partners and Toyota, which is placing our teams in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ," Michael Waltrip said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of details yet to be sorted regarding 2016. I will work closely with Rob Kauffman and our sponsors to formulate the best way forward." MWR, founded by Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner as a driver, fields two Sprint Cup teams for drivers Clint Bowyer and David Ragan . It has been affiliated with Toyota since the automaker made the move into Sprint Cup in 2007, the same year Kauffman came aboard to provide financial stability. Recent years have seen the organization, located in Cornelius, North Carolina, struggle; it downsized from three teams to two following the 2013 season when penalties before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup knocked one of its teams out of the Chase field. That led to the decision by primary sponsor NAPA to part ways with the organization, and without funding, driver Martin Truex Jr . was left to seek employment elsewhere ( Furniture Row Racing ). Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 Toyota, hasn't been to Victory Lane since his debut season with the group in 2012. He is currently 15th in points and trying to earn one of this year's 16 Chase berths. Teammate David Ragan joined the organization this season, replacing Brian Vickers in the No. 55 ride when Vickers had to step aside for health reasons. Ragan is 24th in the points standings. On Wednesday, he told NASCAR.com that he would like to remain with the organization. "I like everyone at MWR and the Aaron's folks have been great to work with," he said. "We've got a good thing going so hopefully we can keep it going." Aaron's is the primary sponsor of the No. 55 team. CGR, which is currently affiliated with Chevrolet, also fields two Sprint Cup teams, featuring drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson . The organization also has XFINITY Series interests as part of an alliance with HScott Motorsports . A statement from CGR on Thursday confirmed the agreement between Kauffman and Ganassi. Both McMurray and Larson are looking to make their first Chase appearance this season; McMurray is ninth in points and likely one of this year's 16 participants. Larson is currently 20th in points and could qualify should he win one of the next six races. Sabates, owner of the team from 1989 through 2000 before becoming a minority partner in '01, issued a statement to SiriusXM NASCAR on Wednesday, saying that the move "is about making our team stronger; a three-car team is stronger than a two-car (team)." Sabates also discounted reports that Kauffman's involvement meant he was out as a partner. "I'm not going anywhere," Sabates said. "... The rumors that Rob is buying me out are not true." Ganassi became majority owner of the team in 2000; he partnered with Dale Earnhardt Inc. from 2009-13 and the organization was known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Since '14, the group has been known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Catch up quickly for the Coke Zero 400 (Sunday, NBC) RELATED: Full lineup for Sunday's race " See all 43 cars that will be on track What: Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola Where: Daytona International Speedway, 2.5-mile oval in Daytona Beach, Florida When: Sunday, July 5, 11 p.m. ET TV/Radio: NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Distance: 160 laps, 400 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 70 mph Fuel window: 36 laps Competition caution: Lap 25 On the front row: Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . will start from the pole at Daytona for only the second time in his career (he won the pole for the 2011 Daytona 500 ) after bad weather cancelled qualifying Saturday night and the field was set by first practice speeds, per the NASCAR rule book. Austin Dillon , who won the 2014 Daytona 500 pole position, will start alongside Earnhardt. RELATED: Dale Jr. wins Coors Light Pole at Daytona Fastest in practice: Earnhardt's pace-setting 202.284-mph lap in Friday's opening practice was good enough to put his No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet on the pole. Dillon, Clint Bowyer , Paul Menard and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. Danica Patrick was fastest in the second practice, but will start 28th -- her best effort in the first practice. Last year's winner: Aric Almirola gave team owner Richard Petty's famous No. 43 its first win on the Daytona high banks since 1984 after rain forced the event to be called 48 laps short of its 160-lap scheduled finish. On the line: With only 10 races remaining to set the 16-car Chase field, several top-shelf drivers are still trying to earn their first win of the season and automatic entry into the Chase playoff. Preseason favorites such as Clint Bowyer , three-time Cup champ Tony Stewart , Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Jamie McMuray and Kyle Larson and Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne are among the A-list names still looking for a victory. RELATED: Which winless driver has best Daytona stats? Farewell: This will be the last Sprint Cup Series start at Daytona for three-time Daytona 500 winner Gordon, who is retiring at the end of the season from his famed No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Daytona International Speedway is home to Gordon's very first NASCAR victory -- a win in the 1993 Daytona 500 qualifying race in his first start. Gordon's track record here is among the all-time bests with three wins in the summer Coke Zero 400 to go with his three Daytona 500 wins, five Budweiser Duel victories, two wins in the Sprint Unlimited and a victory in the 1998 IROC race. He will start his No. 24 Axalta Chevy 23rd in his final start. Overdue: Stewart may be enduring the toughest season start of his storied career, but Daytona has been a good place for Stewart with the exception of the Daytona 500 . He has 19 career wins here -- multiple victories in every race he's entered outside the 500 . He leads all active drivers with four wins in the Coke Zero 400 and is the only active driver to score back-to-back wins in the race (2005-06). And he has led more laps (369) in this race than any other active driver. Although he will start the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevy from the 31st position, he was fourth-fastest in the second practice session Friday. He won this race in 2012 after starting 42nd. Stewart is ranked 26th in the championship standings with only one top-10 finish on the season. RELATED: Stewart has a shot at Daytona Nuts and Bolts: A whopping 73 percent of all Daytona summer races have been won from a top-10 starting position. ... If pole sitter Earnhardt Jr. stays in front of the field for 46 laps Sunday he will have led 8,000 laps in his Sprint Cup career. ... Kurt Busch has the longest Daytona winless streak on the starting grid with an 0-for-28 record here. He said it: "I come into restrictor plate races feeling like we have very fast race cars and that we have a chance to come out of here with a great finish, if not a win, as much or more so as the field. And at the same time, that thought and confidence is followed right up with, 'When was the last time I finished one of these races?'" -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet) MORE: Gordon, Earnhardt Jr. on the drivers' council FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
2001 Pepsi 400 was also first race that NBC televised Note: NBC Sports Network is reairing this race on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET as part of its NASCAR Classics series. The 2001 season was far from an easy year for the NASCAR world. The sport was shaken to its core by a crash on the closing lap at Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 500 that led to the passing of NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. The races in the weeks after were filled with emotion as Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Steve Park won the week after the Daytona 500 at Rockingham. Two weeks later, Kevin Harvick , in just his third career Cup start, scored his first career win in the re-numbered No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing . Harvick had been tapped after the Daytona crash to take over the car, which had been Earnhardt's No. 3. Many wondered what would happen when the sport returned to Daytona that summer for the Pepsi 400 as an emotional scene was sure to unfold. The 2001 Pepsi 400 also marked NBC's initial foray into NASCAR race coverage as it was the first race the network televised as part of a six-year pact with the sport. An interesting coincidence is that this year's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona will be NBC's first premier series race under its new TV contract that kicks in this season. The booth for that first race featured play-by-play man Allen Bestwick with analysts Wally Dallenbach and Benny Parsons. Britney Spears gave the command to start the race. Here is the intro NBC used for races in 2001 featuring the song "Fuel" by Metallica. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; At the time, Dale Earnhardt Jr . was 26 years old and in his second full-time season in the sport's top series. He came to Daytona that summer on a 39-race winless streak. After experiencing the loss of his father, his 2001 season was very much up-and-down as you might imagine. He came into Daytona the sentimental and emotional favorite. The race had plenty of emotion in the air as Sterling Marlin led the field to the green flag. Starting 13th, it took Earnhardt 26 laps to get his No. 8 Chevrolet to the front and from there it was his show for most of the night. Dale Jr. led 116 circuits in the 160-lap race en route to his third career premier series win and his first at Daytona . The win was anything but certain though, as Junior had to hold off DEI teammate Michael Waltrip (who held off Junior to win the 2001 Daytona 500 ), Elliott Sadler and Ward Burton to win by 0.123 seconds. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; When the checkered flag dropped, the crowd at Daytona roared with approval as Dale Jr. took the victory under the lights. There were tears and jubilation among the crew members and one heck of a burnout, not to mention a big embrace with Chocolate Myers, the fuel man with RCR on his dad's team. The celebration spilled over to the infield with Dale Jr. and Waltrip, who never got to truly celebrate the Daytona 500 win that year, embracing. In Victory Lane, an emotionally drained Dale Jr. told NBC's Bill Weber, "Man, I just don't know what to say. I am worn out. I got to thank my buddy Tony (Eury Jr.), my crew chief for hanging in there with me. All my friends, all the guys on the crew. "I had a great car. It was all car, 100 percent. I was just holding on." On his father he said, "he was with me tonight. I don't know how I did it. He was there and Michael helped me. I guess we're even now." He also predicted that he would be "crying sooner or later." "I dedicate this win to him. There ain't nobody else I could dedicate this win to that it would mean more to me." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; Waltrip said of his role reversal with Dale Jr. from the last Daytona race, "I just wanted Dale Jr. to win so bad and I wanted to be a part of it. …I was committed to Dale Jr. just like he was to me in February." The victory would be the first of three Junior recorded that season as he later added victories at Dover and Talladega in the fall. NBC returns to NASCAR premier series coverage after a nearly nine-year absence, with Sunday night's Coke Zero 400 (7:45 p.m. ET). Rick Allen will handle the play-by-play duties alongside analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte.
Complete news and notes on all 43 drivers in the Coke Zero 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Daytona International Speedway 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It was initially a muted celebration for Earnhardt's second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the year as he watched Austin Dillon 's horrifying crash from his rear-view mirror after the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. His No. 88 ride dominated, leading six times for 96 laps in the 161-lap main event. " WATCH: Dale Jr. on big week, scary crash 2. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt's stablemate was one of few drivers within striking distance at the finish. Johnson paced 35 laps, the only other driver with more than 10 laps led in the Coke Zero 400 . " MORE: Johnson pleased with 1-2 Hendrick finish 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The JGR driver landed his first top-five finish since winning at Martinsville Speedway in March, but came across the finish line sideways at the checkered flag after contact with Kevin Harvick ignited the final massive crash of the night. " WATCH: Hamlin reacts to wild wreck 4. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick took the checkered flag at the leading edge of the race-ending melee, making the cool-down lap with heavy front-end damage. He remained the Sprint Cup Series points leader with his fourth top-five finish in the last five races. " MORE: See the updated Chase Grid 5. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch held on to avoid the brunt of the damage erupting around him on the final-lap crash to secure his fourth straight top-five finish, moving him to eighth in Sprint Cup Series points despite missing three races to start the season. 6. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon wound up sliding out of control after taking the checkered flag for the final time at the 2.5-mile track, but clinched his ninth top-10 finish of the year. Barring an unexpected return to competition, Gordon's career will end with six Daytona wins on his resume. 7. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon, the NASCAR XFINITY Series winner the night before, emerged largely unscathed after his No. 3 entry went tumbling into the catch fencing not far from the start-finish line. He walked away from the crash and offered a wave to the crowd with a nod to former professional bull rider Lane Frost. " MORE: Dillon shaken, but OK after massive wreck 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman caught part of the massive crash at the finish. His RCR entry led its first lap since Martinsville in March as Newman posted his second straight top-10 effort. 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne went skidding as part of the pileup at the checkered flag, but recorded his second top-10 finish of the year in the No. 6. 10. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . The MWR driver eked out his third consecutive top-10 finish in spite of early contact in the first crash of the day and being caught in the midst of the race-ending tangle, with Dillon's airborne car sailing over his No. 15. Bowyer was among seven drivers credited with leading just one lap. " WATCH: See the contact Bowyer had 11. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears' team recovered from an early pit-road penalty and repairs of a faulty sensor that caused the No. 13 to lose power. He just missed his second top-10 of the season; the first came in the Daytona 500 . 12. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan brought out the next-to-last caution period with a long slide on the backstretch and was collected in the major crash as the curtain fell on the Coke Zero 400 , but still managed to register his best finish thus far in his seven-race stint with the Michael Waltrip -owned team. 13. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill ran with the powerhouse teams in the third restrictor-plate race of the season, emerging with damage but also with his best Sprint Cup finish of 2015. 14. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart had a prime but unfortunate seat for the race-ending crash, watching Austin Dillon 's car sail into the catch fencing. Smoke matched his car number in the results column for his fourth top-15 performance of the season. 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray was among the drivers wrapped up in the final multicar crash of the day. Though four of his seven Sprint Cup wins have come at either Daytona or Talladega, he's yet to record a top-10 finish in three races on restrictor-plate tracks this year. 16. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard's fourth-place starting spot was his best of the season, awarded based on first practice speeds after Coors Light Pole Qualifying was rained out. He dipped from his position in eighth place on the final restart to miss out on a top-10. 17. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch's first race back at Daytona was a rocky one. He scraped the wall in the 17th lap and twice received the free pass during caution periods to rally, but his No. 18 suffered further damage in the race-ending wreck. " MORE: How is Busch positioned to make the Chase 18. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier went spinning after the checkered flag, but his best restrictor-plate finish of the year helped him gain two spots in the standings to 29th place. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse surfaced from the carnage to notch his best Sprint Cup finish since a fourth place at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. 20. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle was involved in the first yellow flag of the race, then was sent scraping past the finish line at the checkered flag to end an eventful day in the No. 16. 21. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The recent dry spell extended to 14 races without a top-10 finish for the JTG Daugherty crew, which had its No. 47 returned to the Daytona garage by a wrecker after the race-ending crash. 22. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . The reigning Daytona 500 champion's chances at a Daytona season sweep fizzled early with involvement in the first large crash of the day and a black flag for racing with a flapping rear fender. Logano rallied with help of the free pass on the next-to-last caution, turning the rough day into a lead-lap finish. 23. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was at the center of an 11-car stack-up just past the midway point, spinning in tight racing with Kasey Kahne off Turn 4. " WATCH: See Kenseth and Kahne make contact to trigger wreck 24. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman, who failed to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 , converted a lead-lap finish despite his No. 7 ride sustaining damage as he took the checkered flag. 25. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt described his car's handling as "darty" in radio communications but held on to end the race as the Front Row team's top finisher. 26. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The former NASCAR Next driver secured his first lead-lap finish since placing a season-best 18th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. 27. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Though it's a distant result from his season-best of eighth place, Moffitt's early morning finish was his best in eight races driving for team owner Bob Jenkins. 28. Brendan Gaughan , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The NASCAR XFINITY Series regular, who has failed to qualify for eight Sprint Cup races this season, secured his first lead-lap finish of the season as the last driver to complete all 161 laps. 29. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . A day that started with radio communications trouble ended with Keselowski's out-of control No. 2 sliding through fluid and wreckage into the mangled No. 3 of Austin Dillon after the race. Keselowski was also involved in the race's fifth caution period, just past the halfway point. 30. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish's sour luck continued with his involvement in three Daytona crashes, the final of which finally broke the No. 9 with heavy damage after a wild ride through the backstretch grass. 31. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise finished seven laps off the leader's pace after a battery cable came unfastened, requiring a tow back to the garage. 32. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne ran among the top five with his Hendrick teammates in early portions of the race, but was caught up in Matt Kenseth 's spin that touched off a sizable wreck in Turn 4 on Lap 105. " WATCH: Kahne and Kenseth involved in big wreck 33. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley returned from repairs after a Lap 87 pileup collected his No. 23 and six other cars, but finish 22 laps down to the front-runners. 34. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . A crash in the wake of Matt Kenseth 's spin in heavy traffic dashed Almirola's hopes for a Coke Zero 400 repeat, sending the Petty-owned No. 43 to the garage. He was listed as running at the finish after extensive repairs. 35. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick was caught by the race's first crash, just four laps in, but any dwindling hopes of contending were thwarted by another hit with the outside retaining wall in the 129th lap, sidelining her for the balance of the event. " WATCH: Trouble at Daytona for Danica 36. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate lost plenty of ground after the first big wreck of the event, finishing 40 laps off the pace. 37. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . A part in the first multicar crash of the day doomed Annett's effort almost from the outset, relegating the second-year driver to his sixth consecutive finish of 30th or worse. 38. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . "The weekend didn't start off well for us and it ended worse," was the sentiment of Truex after a crash in practice and another multicar wreck in the 105th lap. After reeling off top-10 finishes in 14 of the first 15 races of the season, Truex now has back-to-back DNFs related to crashes. " RELATED: Truex among big names taken out in 'Big One' 39. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . The 105th-lap crash that snared 11 cars hit Larson's No. 42 hard with heavy nose-first contact against the Turn 4 inside retaining wall. The second-year driver has three DNFs this season, all at restrictor-plate tracks. 40. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland was a focal point of the first large crash of the race, spinning in front of a large pack after contact with the car of Clint Bowyer . He returned to the race, enduring a solo spin just before halfway and taking the checkered flag 65 laps down. " WATCH: Gilliland brings out first caution 41. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Two crashes curbed Edwards' efforts, the first causing rear-end damage in the 53rd lap and the latter lifting his No. 19 Camry up onto the hood and windshield of Brian Scott 's No. 33. " WATCH: Hard hit for Edwards 42. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Scott's fifth Sprint Cup race of his part-time season ended with a too-close-for-comfort view of Carl Edwards ' car on top of his. Scott has DNFs in his last three races in NASCAR's top division. 43. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. The former series champion's third race of the season ended early as the Archie St. Hilaire-owned No. 32 completed just two laps before tangling in Sunday's first multicar shunt. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Adjustments made for Coke Zero 400 weekend during $400 million makeover RELATED: Spotters relocated at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Consider it a sneak preview. When NASCAR teams and fans show up for this weekend's Coke Zero 400 at the sport's most iconic track, they will see a Daytona International Speedway in the final and crucial stages of its $400 million makeover, called Daytona Rising. From impressive new grandstands and modern amenities for fans to improved SAFER barriers for the competitors, it's all full throttle ahead. "People will notice just how immense it is,'' Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said of the remodeled and redesigned outer façade and entry that will greet fans. "It's gigantic, and it's cool. The changes are so visible and people can see it and that's what's going to excite everybody, that the opening is just around the corner, a short seven months to get there." Fans will notice what's been made over, and what's in the process. Three of the five massive new entryways called "fan injectors" will be up and running with new escalators, elevators, concession stands and restrooms. While there will be only 50,000 grandstand seats for Sunday's Coke Zero 400 , they are all the new wider, more comfy versions. And 10,000 of those -- located in Turn 4 -- have never been used before. Drivers such as Jamie McMurray , Austin Dillon and Joey Logano , who have previewed the various stages of construction and sampled the view from the grandstands, have all impressively declared, "there is no bad seat." RELATED: Logano visits Daytona Rising, honors military The press box and spotters stand will be smaller, temporary versions of themselves as work continues on a new tower. Timing and scoring will move across the track to the Daytona 500 Club in the infield. And the green flag will wave from a spotters stand at the start/finish line that stands alone against a backdrop of grandstand construction. "It won't be the most pretty Daytona International Speedway that we've ever had, but it's just a step in the process to get us to the finished project in January of 2016,'' Chitwood said. "So I know our fans will work with us. They understand this was the most critical window to get things done. "So the Coke Zero will be a little bit of 'pardon our dust' opportunity, but it also shows just how much work we've gotten done so far." 2016 Daytona 500 : Buy tickets now Equally as significant as the improved fan experience is the work completed for the competitors. While the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway surface remains the same, DIS has installed additional SAFER barriers, as promised, following Kyle Busch 's bad crash in February's season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona . Specifically the barriers were installed on the inside of Turn 1 and an additional 20,000 square feet of asphalt was added to extend the skid pad. "I can say really for all tracks, this is starting that cycle of repeat visits so Daytona has really stepped up and talked to all of the competitors about where you'll see changes heading in for this year with the goal of '16, it'll be SAFER everywhere,'' NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. "We feel really good about the progress that's been made and the changes you'll see at each track going forward where there will be some solutions in place. And then in '16, you'll see more and more of it. "The dialogue with the competitors has been terrific in this regard and certainly something that we said needed to happen, and we're happy to see what's taken place, especially at Daytona , leading into this weekend." The Coke Zero 400 marks the traditional mid-point of the NASCAR season, the first time teams return to tracks for the second half of the schedule. And this year, that means a return of NBC as a broadcast partner with Sunday's race marking the first race telecast for the network in a 10-year deal (7:45 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). RELATED: All you need to know about NBC Chitwood says DAYTONA Rising in on schedule and on budget for completion in time for Daytona Speedweeks 2016 and promises that while the facility has been transformed, the history of the speedway is intact and the intense excitement produced on the track remains unchanged. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Project completion set for 2016; Chevrolet official partner of Daytona 500 2016 Daytona 500 : Buy tickets now DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Two American racing icons have further cemented a long relationship with one another as Daytona International Speedway formally welcomed Chevrolet as a long-term partner in the Daytona Rising redevelopment project. The announcement was made Wednesday at the speedway, which is undergoing a $400 million makeover. The partnership includes naming rights for Chevrolet on one of the speedway's five fan "injectors" -- a massive 20,000 square foot entry area spanning four concourse levels where Chevrolet will be able to place fan engagement activities, and new vehicle displays. Additionally Chevrolet will have branding rights on one of the track's new football field-sized "neighborhoods" adjacent to the injector. The neighborhoods -- located throughout the new front stretch -- will feature multiple large video screens, WiFi access and retail and dining areas. "Chevrolet's commitment to racing originated more than a century ago with Louis Chevrolet and remains strong today as we solidify our presence at the 'The World Center of Racing' by partnering with International Speedway Corporation, Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona Rising project," said the President of General Motors North America Alan Batey. International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy spoke at the announcement, also stressing the strong history-rich bond between the companies. "Chevrolet has been an integral part of the ISC family for many years, and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship,'' Kennedy said. In addition to the naming rights on the speedway, Chevrolet will receive official pace car rights in select years and serve as an official partner of the Daytona 500 . This week's news comes as the facility prepares to host the July 5 Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The Daytona Rising project is on scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 Daytona Speedweeks.
Busch, Keselowski tangle in wreck that sparks multi-car melee RELATED: Complete schedule for Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It took all of 10 minutes into Friday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice before the "big one" occurred at Daytona International Speedway. Video replay showed contact between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch triggered a 10-car accident that relegated eight drivers to backup cars for Sunday night's Coke Zero 400 , including three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. Busch, his JGR teammates Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin , Chevrolet drivers Martin Truex Jr ., Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman and Ford drivers Trevor Bayne and Sam Hornish Jr . all had to switch to backup cars. "Looks like the 2-car (Keselowski) got into my left rear and he got away unscathed and crashed everybody else's stuff," Busch said after looking at a video replay of the incident. "It's frustrating, it's not at all what these guys pour all their blood, sweat and tears into preparing cars. We wreck in practice, that's not very smart. The 2-car just spun us around. There's room to lift but some people don't. "It sucks a guy that started it all got away unscathed." But, Busch conceded, "It's his fault he caused it, but I've probably been in the same boat and caused one before. It's just not that time to go (so early in practice)." RELATED: Danica, Dale Jr. top practices at Daytona Following the first of the day's two 55-minute practices, Keselowski surveyed the bodywork on his No. 2 Ford and wondered aloud if he actually made contact with Busch. He conceded it doesn't take much, however. "First off, it stinks seeing cars get torn up," Keselowski said. "I had a run on Kyle. ... and Greg Biffle right on my butt so I wanted to go back down low. I went to go down low and Kyle started to come down. I had Greg there and I ran into the back of Kyle. "Just flat out ran into the back of him. All the timing was off. I'm not sure if I even hit him that hard and looking at the front of my car, not sure if I hit him at all. I'm sure it looked that way, though. "It's just a bummer to see cars get torn up. … it stinks. It's one of those deals here at Daytona . You race so close. This July race it doesn't race like the February race and when you bump in the corners that's what happens." RELATED: What to know about NASCAR on NBC Newman, who was helplessly caught up in the melee, spoke to Busch in the garage, curious as to what actually happened. The veteran could only shake his head as he watched his crew roll his backup No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy off the truck. "Not sure what happened, but it doesn't surprise me at all," the 2008 Daytona 500 winner Newman said. "We were in a different mode of going out there and practicing and learning a little bit. It doesn't change to much for us, we'll have the backup out there for the second session and we were going to do some single car runs anyway. "It's nothing spectacular other than we have a torn-up race car that didn't need to be." Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . was fastest in opening practice with a best lap of 202.285 mph in the No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevy. Austin Dillon , Clint Bowyer , Paul Menard and Bayne rounded out the top five. Another Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray was as much philosophic as frustrated as he waited for the team to get his backup No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet ready to drive. "I think it's way harder for the team than it is the driver," McMurray said of Friday's circumstances. "The year (2010) we won the ( Daytona ) 500 we were on our third car. "I'm not really frustrated, it's part of plate racing and hopefully it just happened today and doesn't during the race." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule