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Stadium tickets for 59th annual Daytona 500 sold out
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2017) -- Reserved stadium tickets for the 59th annual DAYTONA 500 , the season-opening event for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , are sold out, Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile announced today. Ticket holders for "The Great American Race" on Sunday will enjoy all the amenities that come with the world's only motorsports stadium including 101, 500 permanent and wider seats, five expanded and redesigned entrances, 40 escalators and other upgrades throughout the 11 football-field sized neighborhoods in the facility. Premium hospitality, infield admissions and UNOH Fanzone/Pre-Race access still remain for the DAYTONA 500 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP as well as through PrimeSport.com, the official ticket exchange and travel package provider of Daytona International Speedway . This is the second straight year that the DAYTONA 500 has sold out. "The ticket demand for the DAYTONA 500 continues to be a constant in our sport," Wile said. "Likewise, the race continues to be the perfect kick-off to a new NASCAR season, showcasing the unique and energized at-track experience that our sport -- and our stadium -- provides to our fans. "This is the most prestigious event on the NASCAR schedule and a true American sports tradition. Fans have always recognized those facts. This latest sellout, once again, reflects that recognition." This year's Daytona 500 will be attended by fans representing 41 different countries and every state in the U.S.
Jeff Gordon to drive Camaro pace car at Daytona 500
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Three-time Daytona 500 winner and four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will lead the field to the start of Sunday's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) behind the wheel of the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 pace car. "Chevrolet and I have a great history at the Daytona 500 and it's an honor to drive the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 pace car for the largest, most historic race of the season," Gordon said. Chevrolet will also pace the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Nextera Energy Resources 250 with a 2017 Silverado on Friday evening. A 2017 Camaro SS -- featuring a new Krypton Green exterior color -- will pace the NASCAR XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 on Saturday. "Chevrolet is proud to pace the 'Great American Race' on the high banks of the iconic Daytona International Speedway ," said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. "The Camaro ZL1 delivers unprecedented levels of technology, refinement and track capability." Gordon has plenty of experience leading the field at Daytona. In addition to winning the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999 and 2005, he shared the overall win last month at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. All three Chevrolet pace vehicles share graphic theme highlights in silver and black, along with selected accessories and personalization features. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Two 'Big Ones' in short span reshape Daytona 500
RELATED: Full results " Standings Contact from Trevor Bayne sent Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet spinning on Lap 127 in Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . The 'Big One' also collected Danica Patrick , Clint Bowyer , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Denny Hamlin , Kurt Busch , Joey Gase , Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill , among others. Johnson was running third when the wreck unfolded. He was ruled out of the race, along with Patrick, due to extensive damage that was not fixed in the five-minute window on pit road. The wreck involved 17 cars in total. Less than 15 laps later, a wiggle from Chase Elliott 's No. 24 Chevrolet caused a multi-car pile-up that involved Brad Keselowski , Jamie McMurray , Daniel Suarez , Ty Dillon and Ryan Newman , and brought out the eighth caution flag at Lap 141. All told, 11 cars were involved. Together, the two wrecks reshaped the running of the 59th annual Daytona 500 . WATCH: Wreck collects Suarez, Keselowski, others "The Fords were really fast today," Patrick said. "We got organized and we were gone! It was the (most fun) 500 I've ever had. Well, probably not 500 , more like 300 or 250. It is a real shame. I feel like we could have been a contender at the end, for sure we could have been an influencer." Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne were running 1-2 as cleanup for the wrecks commenced, although Kurt Busch -- involved in the first of these wrecks -- rallied for victory. All told, 15 cars finished more than 10 laps back largely due to these incidents.
Kurt Busch wins first Daytona 500 with last-lap pass
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown " Shop for winner gear DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- His car damaged in a wreck on the backstretch and held together with tape, Kurt Busch grabbed the lead on the final lap of the 59th Daytona 500 on Sunday and took the checkered flag in the Great American Race as a capstone to a checkered career that has trended upward since Busch joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. In a race that featured the first test of a new three-stage race format in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series -- and featured enough twisted sheet metal to keep fabricators busy for a month -- Busch surged to the front with a run around the outside when more than half the vehicles in an 11-car lead draft sputtered and ran short on fuel. Having pushed other drivers to victory in the 500 on three previous occasions, Busch took the prize himself this time, finishing .228 seconds ahead of Ryan Blaney , who came from the rear of the lead pack on the final two laps. AJ Allmendinger ran third after conserving fuel over the final 20 laps, as a race that had produced eight caution flags for 40 laps ran green for the final 47 circuits. Aric Almirola finished fourth as a single car for Richard Petty Motorsports , with Paul Menard and Joey Logano coming home fifth and sixth, respectively. "I can't believe it!" Busch shouted on his team radio after claiming the 29th victory of his career and by far the most significant. "I love you guys! Thank you! Thank you!" Busch lost his rear view mirror in the middle of the final green-flag run, but it didn't matter. "There is nothing predictable about this race any more, and the more years that have gone by that I didn't win I kept trying to go back to patterns that I had seen in the past," Busch said. "My mirror fell off with 30 laps to go and I couldn’t even see out the back. And I thought that was an omen. Throw caution to the wind. "It just got crazy and wild, and I am so proud of all the drivers at the end. We put on a show for a full fuel run, and nobody took each other out and it was one of the smartest chess games I have seen out there. All the hard work that Ford and SHR put into this -- this Ford Fusion is in Daytona's Victory Lane!" Busch did what other drivers with seemingly stronger cars could not. Pole winner Chase Elliott was disconsolate after running out of fuel on the white-flag lap. He finished 14th. Kyle Busch won the first 60-lap stage and collected the first playoff point in series history, but on Lap 105, he spun in Turn 3 when he cut a rear tire and collected fellow Toyota drivers Erik Jones and Matt Kenseth , as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who was returning to competition after missing the final 18 races of the 2016 season while recovering from a concussion. Busch fell out of the race in 38th place. Earnhardt took his car to the garage in 37th. Kevin Harvick led 50 of the 200 laps and took the second stage, but he fell victim on Lap 128 to the 17-car pileup on the backstretch that also did the most damage to the sheet metal on Kurt Busch 's car. The 2014 series champion finished 22nd, three laps down. Busch's team owner, Tony Stewart , retired from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of the 2016 season. Stewart-Haas spent the winter converting from Chevrolet to Ford, but it seemed to make little difference to Busch, who won his 2004 series championship in a Roush Fenway Racing Ford. "It was a crazy race, even crazier to sit and watch it from a pit box finally," Stewart said. "If I had known all I had to do was retire, I would have retired 17 years ago, if I knew it was what it took to win the race ... I ran this damn race for 18 years and didn't win it. "Kurt did an amazing job. He doesn't even have a rear view mirror. The mirror folded on him. His spotter, Tony Raines , did an amazing job. That is the most composed I have ever seen Kurt at the end of a race. He deserved this."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. busy in final Daytona 500 tune-up
RELATED: Final practice results In Saturday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, Dale Earnhardt Jr . ran 30 laps at Daytona International Speedway , second only to the 36 posted by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne . The No. 88 team changed from a qualifying engine to the race engine after practice on Friday, a practice customary at the Daytona 500 . But Earnhardt found his car less responsive with the new engine; in addition, the car developed a slight vibration that led to the team changing drive shafts in the car. "We changed the motor and went to the race engine today, took the qualifying motor out last night," Earnhardt explained. "I thought our car was a little better yesterday in practice. In the pack, it would develop runs a little bit better. It just seemed like I had to get a little luckier today with what was happening behind me, where yesterday the car would do some things or develop some things kind of on its own. "The thing about that is every time you get out there -- you might not even change anything -- it just depends on what kind of pack you get in, what kind of cars are around you, and your car's performance can change and kind of fool you a little bit. I'm just hoping that today was a little more laid back, not quite as many cars out there, not quite as active in the draft, and maybe that’s why we didn't see our car respond like it did yesterday." RELATED: Junior's Daytona 500 history The vibration was of particular concern. "You worry about that, because any kind of thing that is out of balance is going to hurt that straight-line speed," Earnhardt said. "We tried to work on that and were able to fix it right there on that last run. It's just simple stuff like flipping drive shafts and things like that. "You want to get all that out of there so you don't have any doubts about anything holding your car back. Otherwise, it's been really uneventful. We haven't had any issues or problems with the car mechanically, and nothing happened on the race track, so it looks like we are going to get this thing on the grid tomorrow and ready to go." The change in drive shafts won't affect Earnhardt's second-place starting position on Sunday.
Snapshot: Daytona 500
RELATED: NASCAR 101: Format fast facts " Complete starting lineup At a Glanc e Where: Daytona International Speedway , 2.5-mile tri-oval in Daytona Green flag: 2:30 p.m. ET Stage lengths: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60, Stage 2 ends on Lap 120, Stage 3/race slated to end on Lap 200 TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Forecast: Sunny with a high temperature of 68 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. North-northeast winds of 10 to 15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph National anthem: Jordin Sparks, starring in "God Bless the Broken Road," DAV Ambassador Grand Marshal: Actor Owen Wilson Race distance: 200 laps, 500 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 70 mph &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Rob Gronkowski brings the Monster Energy party to Daytona 500
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove " Celebrities at Daytona Things just have a way of being a whole lot bigger at the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 -- the fun, the stakes, the wrecks and, now, the fans. Rob Gronkowski, the 6-foot-6, larger-than-life personality and Super Bowl-winning tight end for the New England Patriots, is out in full force at Daytona International Speedway and he's brought the party with him. "Just enjoying it, seeing everyone pre-game, tailgate, talking to everyone. Just having a blast so far," Gronkowski told media ahead of the "Great American Race." "It's my first Daytona 500 . Having a great experience and just having a blast," Gronkowski said. "I've never really gotten to tailgate, never got to run around, so it's cool to run around, meet people, enjoy the atmosphere and seeing how it really goes down outside the stadium when everybody is getting prepared for the big event." Gronkowski, a Monster Energy athlete, pulled double-duty as pace car driver and grand marshal at Chicagoland Speedway in 2015, and has taken to NASCAR and its "strong" drivers and "passionate" fans since. RELATED: Gronk spends family time, double-duty at Chicago "I've been to Chicagoland one or two years ago and I see the fans and I see how passionate they are about the racing," said Gronkowski. "It just puts a new level of respect to the game. To be out there for three or four hours, being able to race that long, (drivers have) got to have that mentality, that strong mentality in your mind to just keep on going, keep on driving and doing everything right, every single turn. "It's just critical, so you've got to give huge respect to the drivers on what they do and how focused they are throughout the three hours." With a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series shirt on his back and a Monster Energy drink in his hand, Gronkowski was asked which he was a bigger fan of -- the drink or the trademark Monster Energy girls. "I'm a fan of both (Monster Energy drink and Monster Energy girls)," he said. "I've got my own drink, too, I make the girls drink my own drink so I get the benefit of both." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Stage 1 results for Daytona 500
RELATED: FAQ for race format The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series saw NASCAR's 2017 race enhancements in action in Sunday's Daytona 500 , with Kyle Busch winning Stage 1. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was ahead at the end of the 60-lap mark in his No. 18 Toyota and as a result, earned 10 race points and one playoff point for the 10-race championship run. The top 10 drivers also earned points after Stage 1, as distributed in the table below. The leader at the end of Stage 2 (Lap 120 mark) will also earn 10 race points and one playoff point. The race winner will receive 40 points and five bonus playoff points. The top 10 drivers at the end of Stage 2 and the conclusion of the race will receive race points, as well. We'll update this following the conclusion of Stage 2.
Fantasy Fastlane: Daytona 500
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@nascarcasm: Daytona 500 race-day bingo sheet
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove