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Post-Race Reactions: Heluva Good ! Sour Cream Dips 400
The top 5 drivers along with an upset Dale Earnhardt Jr. give post-race comments.
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;
Logano looks strong, Dale Jr. returns at Daytona
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Junior returns at Daytona " Practice results Dale Earnhardt Jr . returned to competition for the first time in seven months, but it was Joey Logano in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford who led qualifying practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway . Logano's fastest lap of 193.116 mph held firm at the top of the leaderboard after the nearly four-hour practice session and gave him a boost heading into Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Sunday (3:10 p.m. ET, FOX). However, lots of eyes were on Junior, who missed the final 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2016 because of a concussion. Thirty minutes into practice, Junior climbed into the car, then after a debris caution 20 minutes later the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports took the track. Earnhardt Jr.'s first lap was 17th-fastest at 190.504 mph. Junior finished the session in 11th place at 192.670 mph. "It felt good to just get out there and get to work a little bit and be with the guys and see all the familiar faces in the garage, other drivers and team members and so forth," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Yeah, just trying to put as many laps as I can behind me and get further and further into this deal to where the events from last year become more of a distant memory and don't define me as who I am so much anymore." Behind Logano in second and third place, respectively, were Aric Almirola and Brad Keselowski , both in Fords. Rounding out the top five at the 2.5-mile superspeedway were Kyle Larson in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and another Ford driven by Wood Brothers Racing 's Ryan Blaney . This was the only practice scheduled before Sunday's single-car, two-round qualifying that will set the front row for the 59th running of The Great American Race. MORE: How the field is set for the Daytona 500 &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowman thankful for opportunity in 'The Clash'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: How 'The Clash' works DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Alex Bowman made his case for a spot in the season-opening exhibition for 2016 pole winners, claiming his first Coors Light Pole at his home track at Phoenix as part of his substitute stint in Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s place. But even though he'd earned eligibility, so had Earnhardt as a former winner. With only 10 starts as an interim driver in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, Bowman didn't exactly feel like he could pipe up and volunteer. "I just kind of let it go quiet," Bowman said Friday at Daytona International Speedway . "I didn't want step on any toes, or ask anybody and have it seem like I was begging for something. I wasn't really asking." It didn't stop him from joking about a possible one-off effort with his crew chief under the banner of Greg Ives Racing so that both he and Earnhardt could be in the field. But the word came from Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt on the chilly December day at Darlington Raceway while Earnhardt completed the compulsory on-track preparations to gain medical clearance in his return from concussion. Earnhardt will defer his comeback one week, joining the FOX Sports team to call the action in Saturday night's Advance Auto Parts Clash (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from the TV booth. But his influence will still resonate in his vote of confidence for Bowman's ability. RELATED: Dale Jr. to be in the broadcast booth for 'The Clash' "I am very thankful for the opportunity," Bowman said. "Dale's been so great to me. I wouldn't be here without him. He is the one that pointed me out when he wasn't feeling good . I feel like I owe a lot to him, and I am very thankful for him to put me in the car for this race." Bowman will start eighth in Saturday night's invitational, the only race currently on his 2017 schedule. The 23-year-old driver, who drove part-time in the XFINITY Series last year, participates in simulation tests for Hendrick Motorsports and some testing duty for Chevrolet. His 10-race stint during Earnhardt's recuperation was impressive enough to attract the eyes of a handful of prospective car owners with full-time positions in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . But none were enough to make Bowman jump. "There was just really wasn't anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports ," Bowman said. "I feel like I want to be part of a winning organization whether I am driving, just working for the team, doing testing or doing the simulation stuff. Whatever I'm doing, I want to be part of a winning team. Nothing was going to drag me away from here." With this event shaping up as a "one night only" performance, Bowman says he isn't treating the race as another audition. And the fickle nature of restrictor-plate racing has him prepared for all possible outcomes. The only additional pressure, he says, comes from having a superspeedway expert in Earnhardt observing his efforts with a vested interest from the TV booth. But much like last year, Bowman says he'll savor the moment. "It's another race," Bowman said. "It's another opportunity to have a lot of fun with Hendrick Motorsports . That is something I kind of tried to do all last season was just to have fun and that is what we are going to try to do on Saturday night and hopefully bring home a trophy."
How the Advance Auto Parts Clash works
MORE : Full starting lineup " Practice results The exhibition event known as the Advance Auto Parts Clash (Feb. 18, 8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the kickoff to the 2017 NASCAR season. The non-points paying event at Daytona International Speedway features a select field of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers at the 2.5-mile track. How does the race work? What is the format? How does one qualify for the event? NASCAR.com answers those questions and more. Programming info for The Clas h : When: Feb. 19, 11:35 a.m. ET Where: Daytona International Speedway TV: FS1 Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Defending race winner: Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing What is the format? The 75-lap, 187.5-mile race will be split into two segments. A competition caution at Lap 25 will separate the segments. How do drivers qualify for this event? Drivers are eligible for this event by the following ways: 2016 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016. All 16 drivers from the 2016 playoffs are also eligible. Which drivers are eligible to race then? " Entry list for 'The Clash' 20 drivers meet the requirements. They are: Chris Buescher (2016 playoff qualifier) Greg Biffle (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Alex Bowman (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Kurt Busch (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Kyle Busch (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Austin Dillon (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Dale Earnhardt Jr . (Former Clash Race winner) Carl Edwards (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Chase Elliott (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Denny Hamlin (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Kevin Harvick (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Jimmie Johnson (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Matt Kenseth (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Brad Keselowski (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Kyle Larson (2016 playoff qualifier) Joey Logano (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Jamie McMurray (2016 playoff qualifier) Danica Patrick (Former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Tony Stewart (Former Clash Race winner) Martin Truex Jr . (2016 Coors Light Pole Award winner) Some of those names are not driving in 2017 or have yet to secure rides That's a good point. Biffle does not have a ride as of yet for the 2017 season, so he will not be competing. Edwards stepped away from racing last month, but NASCAR has allowed his replacement, Daniel Suarez , to drive in the race. Stewart has retired from NASCAR competition. So that puts the field at 18. Bowman and Dale Jr. drove the same car in 2016; how can they both be in the race? They won't. Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88 in The Clash as a nod to the work he did as a substitute driver while Dale Earnhardt Jr . was out last season with concussion-like symptoms. Instead, Dale Jr. will be in the TV booth calling the action on FS1 with commentators Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip. So the field will be made up of how many cars? Seventeen drivers will make up the field: Buescher, Bowman, Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Austin Dillon , Elliott, Hamlin, Harvick, Johnson, Kenseth, Keselowski, Larson, Logano, McMurray, Patrick, Suarez and Truex Jr. How is the lineup determined? A draw will be held to determine drivers' starting positions. In past years, the crew chiefs have drawn for position. Hamlin, last year's winner, started the race 15th . " See the starting lineup Are there any points on the lin e? No, this is a non-points event, just like the Monster Energy All-Star Race in May.
Hamlin to wear special shoes for 'The Clash' at Daytona
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! The 2016 Daytona 500 winner is ready to defend his "Great American Race" title, but before he can do that, Denny Hamlin will race in the Advance Auto Parts Clash on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (FS1) at Daytona International Speedway . And he will look stylish in the season-opening non-points race. Hamlin revealed Thursday via Twitter that his shoes, a custom pair from Michael Jordan's line, for the 75-lap event have a special meaning -- a tribute to significant moments in his career. Here's a preview of the @Jumpman23 shoes I'll be wearing for The Clash @DISupdates this weekend! pic.twitter.com/dZVftr40Nc — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 16, 2017 The shoe includes an outline of Richmond International Raceway , honoring Hamlin's first win in 2002, according to his tweet. He now has three career wins at the .75-mile track, which is also his home track, in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . Also, "I can I wi11" is written on the tongue of his Jordans to represent the 36-year-old's motto while recovering from a back injury in 2013. The 11 is his car number with Joe Gibbs Racing .
Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning 'The Clash'
Joey Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning 'The Clash' at Daytona International Speedway.
Full lineup for Can-Am Duels at Daytona
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Sunday's Coors Light Pole qualifying set 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). The qualifying speeds also set the lineups for Thursday's Can-Am Duels at Daytona (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the twin 60-lap races that determine both the field and the full lineup for the "Great American Race." As a reminder, 36 Charter teams are locked into the Daytona 500 , leaving four available spots to be filled by six Open, or non-Charter teams. Duel 1 is typically comprised from the odd-numbered drivers on the Daytona 500 qualifying speed chart -- first, third, fifth, etc. Duel 2 is then the even-finishing drivers. The duel lineups could be minimally altered from that formula, though, to ensure an even number of Open teams in each duel race (three apiece). Below is the official lineup for each race:
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;