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.
Dale Jr.: 'I feel really good'
Dale Earnhardt Jr. discusses his early season performance in 2017 and plans to discuss his next contract with Hendrick Motorsports down the road
Junior reflects on first race, more ahead of milestone 600th start
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: See where Junior's lining up for 600th start FONTANA, Calif. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his 600th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. And for all the glory, trophies and adoration, his two-time Daytona 500 winning career hasn't necessarily been as NASCAR's most popular driver imagined it to be. Earnhardt's initial motives were simpler and his goals modest. But he's enjoying the long ride and the achievement and respect he's accumulated in 18 full-time seasons on NASCAR's main stage. "I just wanted to drive," Earnhardt said of the milestone. "I wanted to race cars for a living. I wanted to do it well enough to be able to afford to make a living doing it. "I didn't have vision or assume that I was going to make all of the money and success that we have made, but all I really wanted to do was to do it long enough so I didn’t have to get a real job. I mean that as sincere as I can. I'm real thrilled that I've had the opportunity to stay around and drive for some really great teams. Some really awesome owners. Worked with a lot of amazing crew chiefs and crew members." Earnhardt, who missed the second half of the 2016 season recovering from concussion symptoms, returned to competition this year more grateful for the opportunity and with perhaps a different perspective. MORE: Dale Jr.: 'I feel really good' He acknowledged Friday in California that he has had preliminary talks with team owner Rick Hendrick about extending his contract with the championship organization. Earnhardt has maintained that he wanted to see how he felt behind the wheel again before committing to a contract process. "We have had some discussions about planning to get together," Earnhardt said. "It's not something I put on the shelf for sure. We are getting closer and closer. "I have done some things that I really think have (given) me a lot of confidence in the car and in my ability to continue to race and so … yeah, I'm not in any hurry to sit down and have those discussions, but we have been chit-chatting a little bit about what we need to go ahead and start heading in that direction." As for the weekend's important milestone, only Matt Kenseth has more (618) starts among active drivers. And despite the large number, Earnhardt concedes there are typically a few he hears about most -- and he gets it. "They talk about wins," Earnhardt said of his fans. " 'I was at Daytona when you won in '04, I was at Daytona when you won in '14, I was at the All-Star race when you won or I've watched every race you've ran.' You know you hear … really, they remember the moments on the track more than anything. And I do the same thing. "I think back about the wins and maybe not even the wins, some races are really fun and satisfactory, but you are the only one that will remember them because you ran third or fifth or something like that and they are kind of obscure in most people's minds. "I think about winning the All-Star race as a rookie, just how fortunate we were to do that. Winning the Daytona 500 twice. I didn't know that I would even win it once and everything that has happened. The list goes on and on." Despite the success -- the Daytona 500 wins, the dramatic Daytona summer race win in 2001 following his father's death in that year's Daytona 500 , the All-Star race win, the streak of four consecutive Talladega trophies -- Earnhardt humbly and vividly remembers the first of his 599 starts. "My first Cup race? I was really nervous," Earnhardt said. "I remember sitting on the starting grid or sitting in qualifying for the race and telling (then crew chief) Tony (Eury) Jr. that I would switch with him for a million dollars so he could do this instead of me because I was scared to death. "Just they had made such a big deal about that whole thing." And to think, that was only the beginning of the making of a superstar, the most popular driver -- a talent that earned his place in the record books. And in hearts. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Fill-in-the-blank: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
What a race! It's ridiculous scary uncomfortable just plain silly how many drivers got busted for speeding on pit road Sunday. Why don't they just go slower try not to play games with the timing lines ignore the black flag push opponent cars so they're speeding, too ? The biggest least surprising most unfortunate most unexpected story, of course, was how Kyle Larson Kevin Harvick totally gave the race away after being in position to win winning the first two race stages I got this tattoo in celebration of a sure-fire win speeding on pit road losing the race late at Daytona, too . I thought for sure that Kyle Larson Kevin Harvick tire strategy Richard Petty himself was going to triumph in the end, but I'm not upset with Brad Keselowski winning Harvick leading the points Clint Bowyer's performance seeing Cole Whitt in playoff contention ! Kyle Larson Kevin Harvick Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chase Elliott Jeff Gordon Darrell Waltrip is such a good driver millennial bright future star terrific commentator that I don't even care that he's not locked into the playoffs Jeffrey Earnhardt is only 5 points behind Dale Jr. Gray Gaulding's engine blew Dale Jr. won't retweet me for my birthday bees are dying at an alarming rate . Now, it sounds like Atlanta Motor Speedway Richard Childress Racing Kevin Harvick the No. 47 team the No. 22 team every driver is having second thoughts about repaving that worn-out surface how to install car batteries pit road speed how to tighten lugnuts . I certainly hope that's the case that's not the case NASCAR steps in I'm right Dale Jr. wins the next 34 races things change nothing changes , at least. For the second race in a row, Kyle Larson nearly won Kevin Harvick won Stage 2 Kevin Harvick led the most laps a Ford scored the victory Stewart-Haas Racing performed well Joe Gibbs Racing drivers struggled . If I were in that position, I would have won the race instead of Brad Keselowski tried harder to win the race switched my team to Ford, too tried to lead more laps flown the American flag for 500 miles, not just on the Victory Lap spun out because I'm not a race car driver . Time will only tell what happens next, when NASCAR Goes West Harvick goes for his third consecutive Stage 2 win I apply for JTG Daugherty Racing's likely new tire changer position Ford goes for three in a row RCR reverses its battery strategy Austin Dillon finally makes it to pit road after losing battery power Jamie McMurray tries to pass the entire field on a restart I get arrested for calling 911 to Kevin Harvick's house because I said he was choking try to talk my way out of a speeding ticket by blaming pit road timing lines I let another shopper in front of me in line at the Target checkout .
Chase Elliott: 'Fifth is good , but not as well as we ran'
RELATED: Race recap " Results " Standings HAMPTON, Ga. -- A peach of a day was within the grasp of home-state favorite Chase Elliott at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A fast car, combined with a crucial late-race error by race dominator Kevin Harvick, had left the door open. Elliott rallied for a fifth-place finish in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 , overcoming a mid-race, pit-road speeding penalty to work his way back into contention. But some unfortunate wheelspin on the final restart left him just shy of a breakthrough Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in his Georgia backyard. Harvick won both of the opening stages and led 292 of the 325 laps, but when he was pinched for speeding on pit road during the final caution period, the waiting room for contenders suddenly became much more crowded. Elliott, who ran second to him for a sizable portion of the 500 -mile distance, was first in the queue, but Brad Keselowski cut in line to grab his first win of the season. "It's nice to have a top five I guess, but man, we had an opportunity with Kevin having a problem," Elliott said after exiting the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. "We weren't as good as him. I thought at times we were a little better than Brad, and ran second to Kevin the majority of the race. When a guy has trouble like that, it'd be nice to be able to capitalize on it. "You'd rather beat them outright if you have the opportunity, obviously, but you've got to capitalize on days like that. Fifth is good , but not as well as we ran." Before Harvick served his penalty, Elliott was poised to restart fifth. With Harvick sent to the back of the line and the running order adjusted, Elliott lined up fourth in the disadvantageous outside lane, which bogged him down to start the closing green-flag run. "Just a product of restarting fourth. … It was tough," Elliott said. "The outside lane, just coming to the restart boxes, is really slick. We saw it all weekend and I don't really have a good answer as to why that is. It just is. Made it tough on the guys up top." Elliott's week, packed with extracurricular activities and a bonus Camping World Truck Series start in his stomping grounds, had the markings of a special homecoming, but ended in disappointment for the second-straight weekend. The 21-year-old driver started from the pole position in the season-opening Daytona 500 and led the majority of the green-flag dash to the finish before running out of fuel with less than three laps remaining. MORE: Despite falling short, Elliott runs masterful race at Daytona Circumstances worked against Elliott again at Atlanta, but No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson said his team was able to take some solace in both strong showings to kick off the 2017 campaign. "It was an opportunity, so we made a couple of mistakes, and that's all it takes -- mistakes at inopportune times," Gustafson said. "The 2 (Keselowski) made mistakes, too, but they just made them early enough that they could overcome them. We were close to getting back on track with them, but didn't quite execute there at the end. Good day, solid day. I mean, there were a lot of positives out of the first two races. Just need to execute when the time is right there." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
From 1 to 600: Dale Jr.'s milestone memories
See where Dale Earnhardt Jr. made milestone starts Nos. 1, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 as he gets set to hit 600 in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Daniel Suarez stars in first national television ad for Subway
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Daniel Suarez is debuting in his first national TV ad as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with sponsor Subway this weekend as the series wraps up its NASCAR Goes West swing at Auto Club Speedway. Suarez will drive the No. 19 Subway Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The accompanying television ad focuses on Suarez's drive and desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport, his path to get here and his competitive fire. "I came here to race," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender says. "I came here to be better. Now, I stand here a challenger …" Get a sneak peek of the ad here: When Subway came on as a sponsor for Suarez earlier this year, the young star said, "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year. I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Subway is primary sponsor on Suarez's No. 19 ride for four Monster Energy Series races this season, including the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte; the July 1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona; and the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega.
Custer, Dillon meet with NASCAR officials after Phoenix incident
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Auto Club FONTANA, Calif. -- A week after an on-track run-in with Austin Dillon, NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie Cole Custer, 19, maintained the two had found a version of racing Kumbaya. The two drivers met with NASCAR officials early Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway, spoke their minds and shook hands, both ready to move on and race. Custer acknowledged he mistakenly hit Dillon, 26, last week during the Phoenix race, which resulted in on-track retaliation by Dillon. NASCAR did not feel Dillon's retaliatory move warranted a penalty this week, instead calling the two drivers in for a meeting and detente. "I got into the corner way too deep," Custer acknowledged. "It was a mistake and I wish I didn't do it. "I probably got in a half-car length too deep. ... Took him out and it was a mistake and I wish I didn't do it. I didn't have much anxiety (going into NASCAR meeting with Dillon) because I didn't think we were on bad terms. I wasn't too nervous. It went fairly well." And he added with a slight smile, "I've been in the NASCAR hauler before. It's not a new thing." WATCH: Custer sends Dillon into wall, Dillon bumps back The Ladera Ranch, California, native has two top-11 finishes in four XFINITY races this year driving the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing and appeared eager to put the Phoenix incident behind him as he prepared to race at his "home" track Saturday. "Cost us and the 2 (Dillon) a good finish, 100 percent my fault. Happy with how much better we got our car, pretty good there at the end," Custer tweeted earlier in the week before meeting up with Dillon at Auto Club. Mostly, Custer is looking forward to his "home track" racing debut. "I'm really excited. I've never raced here, just excited to get on track," Custer said. "We've had some pretty solid finishes, had good enough cars for top-10. Hopefully we can start out the weekend good . "A lot of things translate from track to track. We're looking forward to seeing what we have unloading here. We should be pretty good . I'm confident. It's just me getting used to the track since I've never been here before."
Rookie William Byron impresses with second straight top-five day
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Auto Club RELATED: Full race results FONTANA, Calif. – Kyle Larson won the race, but William Byron bested the field of XFINITY Series regulars in one of the most competitive, hard-fought XFINITY Series events of the year at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday. It wasn't a win, but it was a well-timed boost of confidence for the rookie. Byron finished fifth in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, the top finishing XFINITY Series regular, just ahead of Roush Fenway Racing's Darrell Wallace Jr. and JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler. It was his second consecutive top-five finish and places the rookie second in the series standings, 17 points behind his veteran teammate Sadler. A week ago Byron won the pole position at Phoenix and scored a career-best fourth place in the race – the showing buoying him for his debut on California's two-mile oval. "Been good lately to get some top-fives," said the 19-year old Byron, allowing a smile. "We were able to make some good adjustments during the race today. I felt like we kinda struggled some in traffic getting the car to handle right. Ultimately, we got it to handle right, the guys did a great job on pit road, led a lap and got a good finish." Byron started the race from the sixth position and ran among the lead cars early on. Battling a rough handling car midway through the race, he praised his team for good pit stops and timely adjustments and was able to join in the dramatic final laps of tight racing. "It was really fun," Byron said. "It was a blast out there. I'd never been here before. You have a lot of options, so many places to run your car. It makes the hard work pay off." </p>
Larson hangs on for XFINITY triumph at Auto Club
RELATED: Results " Larson on pole for Sunday's race " Detailed breakdown FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Larson kept pole-sitter Joey Logano at bay after a restart with four laps left in Saturday's Service King 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway and held on to win by .127 seconds. Larson and Logano had swapped the lead on three successive laps before Brandon Jones plowed into the outside wall on Lap 142 to bring out the seventh and final caution of the afternoon. The lead cars pitted for fresh tires under the yellow flag, with Larson exiting pit road first and Spencer Gallagher grabbing the second spot with a two-tire stop. That proved Logano's undoing, as his No. 22 Team Penske Ford was pinned behind Gallagher's GMS Racing Chevrolet for the restart on Lap 147 of 150. Logano chased Larson to the checkered flag but couldn't prevent the driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet from scoring his first victory of the season, his second at Fontana and the sixth of his career. "The racing there at the end with Joey was awesome," said Larson, a California native who got his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at the 2-mile track. "I had just a couple-lap fresher tires than he did, and I was able to chase him down. That was a lot of fun. WATCH: Larson overcomes speeding penalty to win "I wish that last caution wouldn't have come out, because it would have been easier for me to win, I think. But a heck of a race. I honestly didn't think we would be here yesterday. I was struggling bad in practice. Fought the balance a lot throughout the race, too. Finally, the last few runs, we hit on it and it felt good for the short run and throughout the long run." MORE: Larson fast, atop Monster Energy Series standings Both the winner and the runner-up had obstacles to overcome. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to win the race. Logano sped on pit road and subsequently fell to the back of the field when the jack on the left side of his Ford dropped prematurely during an extended stay on pit road. But Logano -- who led six times for a race-high 70 laps -- was in prime position at the end, though he acknowledged that Gallagher's two-tire call deprived him of the chance to overtake Larson. "What's his number? 23?" Logano asked. "Yeah, I don't know about that move. That wasn't a good move. I don't know what they were thinking, but that maybe wasn't the best play at this race track. I knew he was going to spin them (his tires). There's no way he couldn't. It wasn't his fault. "He was a sitting duck and I was a sitting duck behind him that lost too much track position on that restart being too far behind Kyle. If not for that, we would have probably been door-to-door across the line bumping and banging or something. We were able to catch Larson the last few laps. We were definitely faster, but I needed another lap, maybe two." Kyle Busch led 55 laps and finished third after scraping the wall on Lap 122 while in pursuit of Logano, who was leading at the time. Erik Jones ran fourth and Sunoco rookie William Byron fifth as the highest-finishing series regular. The action-filled race wasn't without a number of hard crashes. Paul Menard's Chevrolet nosed hard into the outside wall after contact from Jones, who appeared to misjudge his Turn 4 exit on Lap 94. WATCH: Fiery hit for Menard at Auto Club "I don't know if he tried to push me or if he was just crossing over," Menard said after leaving the infield care center. "Definitely had a brain fart." Cole Custer took a wild ride when he clobbered the Turn 1 wall with an assist from Ryan Sieg -- and was upset when he exited the car. "I just got hooked going into the corner," Custer said. "I think I hit him (Sieg) a tick just on my side-draft going off of (Turn) 4, and then he decided just to hook us going into Turn 1 and wreck us. I thought we could have competed for a win there. We had a bad pit stop. We were going to work our way back up there, but just got our day ended by a clown move." The incident left him with a wrecked car for the second straight week. "Last week it was all my fault and I'll take that all on me," said Custer, who finished 35th. "Today it was just a clown. I don't understand what his reasoning was to pay us back that much, but that's just a joke." Notes: Byron is second in the series standings, 17 points behind seventh-place finisher Elliott Sadler… Darrell Wallace Jr. finished sixth for the fourth-straight race… Busch won both the first and second stages of the race, earning a total of two playoff points toward the owner's championship. Contributing: Staff reports </p>
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