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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;
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;
Hamlin does his homework before doing battle
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Lineup for 'The Clash' " Hamlin, Kes top practices DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won the last three Advance Auto Parts Clash races at Daytona International Speedway and four of the last five. They've visited Victory Lane often enough, recently enough, to be considered the favorites when this year's 75-lap, non-points event gets underway Saturday night here at the 2.5-mile superspeedway (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Two of those victories belong to Denny Hamlin , who won from 15th a year ago and first in 2014. More than a decade ago, the JGR driver won the non-points event for the first time -- also from 15th. "I was at the very back for the first 20-some laps last year," Hamlin said Friday before practice got underway at DIS. "We had some pit strategy, we worked a few things, we got up front and never left. "We've won it from the front (and) back; I actually can't remember starting up front in this race. I think I always start in the back, but we've been very fortunate. I actually had one ... I thought we had four wins but evidently we went below the yellow line in one of them." RELATED: Hamlin honors J.D. Gibbs on his car Hamlin sounds a familiar refrain when asked about the season's first on-track action -- the Clash is a "fun race" with no concerns about points clouding the picture. It's a chance, he said, "to knock that rust off, have fun and see if you can't win." This year Hamlin will start second in his No. 11 Toyota, alongside the No. 2 Team Penske Ford of pole-sitter Brad Keselowski . Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota) round out the top five in the 17-car field. Starting positions were determined via blind draw Friday. Others of note include Daniel Suarez , who will start 16th, and Alex Bowman , who will line up eighth on the grid. Suarez, the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, replaces Carl Edwards in the No. 19 JGR Toyota this season. Bowman is making a one-race appearance in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . Bowman won the pole at Phoenix last fall while filling in for Earnhardt. RELATED: How 'The Clash' format works The 75-lap race will be run in two segments – an opening 25-lap segment followed by a 50-lap finish. It's an entirely different animal from the Daytona 500 , thus the approach is different as well, according to Hamlin. "I think you get a little more aggressive from Lap 1 (in the Clash)," he said. "In the 500 you're kind of working (your way) toward the checkered flag. "I think the race is so short, that's why you see a lot of the wrecks. ... A) because we're a little rusty and B) because we're all going for it because we know it's win or nothing." Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kevin Harvick also has three Clash victories. Jimmie Johnson (HMS), Kurt Busch (SHR), Kyle Busch (JGR) and Matt Kenseth (JGR) will be looking for their second career Clash win. "I haven't driven anything since my last lap at Homestead, no testing for me or anything, which is kind of the same as last year and we fired off and won the Clash," Hamlin said. "I'm pretty confident that it just takes a (few) reps during practice to kind of feel the car out. I've done all the homework that I can do at home, studying tapes, studying data to figure out the best moves to make. I always like to kind of picture myself in certain situations and look at the data and see what I need to do to succeed. For me, that's why we've had the success we've had on these tracks." &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;
SHR's move to Ford brings new relationship for Team Penske
RELATED: Recapping 2017 Media Tour CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The lines of communication between Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske are open, but it's yet to be determined how each organization will benefit in the coming season. "There are definitely a lot of different avenues where we can work together," Team Penske driver Joey Logano said during Wednesday's NASCAR Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It is always an interesting relationship because we still have to race each other but we want to see how we can both grow and make Ford a powerhouse manufacturer … get them a manufacturer's championship and have both our organizations win more races. That's the ultimate goal." Team Penske , which joined the Ford camp in 2013, fields two full-time entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Logano and 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski . Stewart-Haas Racing made the switch from Chevrolet to Ford after the completion of the 2016 season. It's driver lineup consists of 2014 champion Kevin Harvick , 2004 champ Kurt Busch , Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick . Logano and Keselowski have won 25 times under the Ford banner since the start of '14; SHR drivers have 17 wins over that same period. "Teaming with SHR is a smart move and an impressive move by Ford," Logano said. "It shows their commitment to what they are trying to do and their investment in our sport." RELATED: Ford expects to come out firing with SHR in mix Roush Fenway Racing , Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports are among the organizations that also field Fords in NASCAR's premier series. Ford officials say that technical information gleaned by the manufacturer is provided to all its teams. Individual organizations, however, maintain a certain level of secrecy in the interest of competition. "I think it depends on which facet of racing we’re talking about," Raj Nair, Executive Vice President for Global Product Development and Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Co., said recently. "Certainly under the hood with Roush Yates Engines we're providing that continuity and sharing of information across all of our teams. "On the aero work that we're doing on the body, the same level of information is provided to all of the teams. Ford also provides access to a variety of chassis simulation tools, which teams may or may not choose to use. "We're trying to find a little bit of that balance of the things the teams are good at doing themselves, providing them that freedom and flexibility to do that on their own and to some extent compete against each other and see which way is better," Nair said. "But the things where you want to leverage a lot of commonality, the big tools that Ford Motor Company brings, the big investment … try to use that across all our teams." Logano said Ford officials "want us all to work together as much as we can, but we still have to race each other so there is that line there for trading out assets." "There has already been communication and some things are already underway," he said. "It will be interesting to see how that relationship grows over the next few years and how it works out. So far so good." A Ford driver has not won the championship since 2004, although Logano has qualified for the Championship 4 twice in the last three years -- 2014 and 2016. The automaker last won the manufacturer championship in 2002. &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;gt;
Team Penske's No. 2 team assessed P2 penalty after Michigan
The team for No. 2 Ford driver Brad Keselowski in the Sprint Cup Series was assessed a P2-level penalty after the car failed post-race inspection at Michigan International Speedway . NASCAR on Wednesday fined crew chief Paul Wolfe $15,000 and docked the team 10 championship driver points and 10 championship owner points after the No. 2 failed post-race laser inspection. The No. 2 Team Penske squad also received a written warning for failing pre-race laser inspection twice. NASCAR also gave written warnings to several other teams on Wednesday following last weekend's action at Michigan International Speedway and Road America . Twelve of the warnings were issued to Sprint Cup Series teams, while the XFINITY Series had one. The teams of drivers Regan Smith , Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell each received a written warning for failing pre-race laser inspection twice. The teams of drivers Josh Wise and McDowell received written warnings and a loss of 15 minutes of practice time after failing pre-qualifying laser inspection three times. The teams of drivers Kasey Kahne , Chase Elliott and Michael Annett received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying laser inspection twice. Trevor Bayne , Smith and Kyle Larson all received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying template inspection twice. As for the XFINITY Series, the only written warning given out was to Owen Kelly for failing pre-race laser inspection twice. Camping World Truck Series wheelman Spencer Gallagher received a behavioral penalty and was fined $5,000 for approaching the racing surface or apron during the event.
Team Penske , Discount Tire renew partnership for 2017
MOORESVILLE, NC (November 7, 2016) -- Team Penske and Discount Tire, the world’s largest tire and wheel retailer, announced today that the two companies will continue their partnership into the 2017 season. Discount Tire will return as the primary sponsor of Team Penske ’s No. 22 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) next season. Discount Tire will also continue as an associate sponsor on both the No. 2 and No. 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford Fusions and -- new for next season -- the company will join Team Penske ’s Verizon IndyCar Series program as an associate sponsor. A long-time supporter of NASCAR, Discount Tire joined the Team Penske family just prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. That year, the No. 22 Discount Tire team and driver Brad Keselowski earned a series-record 26 top-five finishes en route to the first NASCAR championship for owner Roger Penske . "Discount Tire is proud of its winning relationship with Roger and Team Penske . We have a shared desire of being the best at what we do, by caring for our wonderful people, teamwork and the pursuit of getting better every day." said Michael Zuieback, President of Discount Tire. "We look forward to sharing more success together." Since joining Team Penske ’s XFINITY Series program, Discount Tire has been a key part of four championships for the No. 22 team , following up Keselowski’s 2010 driver title with back-to-back-to-back NXS Owners’ Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In all, four different drivers have won races for Discount Tire at Team Penske , including Keselowski, Joey Logano , Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger . Discount Tire has made the most of its partnership with Team Penske and continues to leverage its sponsorship as one of the company’s key marketing platforms. Discount Tire engages its employees and customers at the race track and the company features all Team Penske drivers in exclusive autograph sessions at its stores across the country. In addition to an extensive showcar program that tours key markets, Discount Tire and Team Penske will continue to work on various cross promotions, including the creation of point of sale and collateral materials and the production of television commercials featuring Team Penske and its drivers. "When you think about companies that have made a commitment and helped the grow the sport, especially in the XFINITY Series, there is no question that Discount Tire is one of the first ones that comes first to mind," said Roger Penske . " Team Penske has developed a great relationship with Bruce Halle and the entire group at Discount Tire. They enjoy all of the success we have had together in racing, but they also maximize their partnership with our team away from the track. We are pleased to have Discount Tire back with us in 2017 and we look forward to winning more races and championships with them." Keselowski, Logano and Blaney are all scheduled to race the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in 2017. The 2017 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins in February with the running of the non-points Unlimited and Daytona 500 on February 26. The NASCAR XFINITY Series also begins at Daytona on February 25.
Team Penske expands XFINITY Series team
RELATED: Road to 100: All of Team Penske's Sprint Cup wins MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Coming off of their first NASCAR XFINITY Series win of the season last weekend at Watkins Glen International with driver Joey Logano , Team Penske today announced plans to return their XFINITY Series operation to a two-car Ford Mustang effort in 2017. The second Team Penske entry also clears the way for Ford Performance to use this entry as an extension of their new driver development program as both organizations continue to build for the future. "Our NASCAR XFINITY Series program has been one of the best in the series since we started running full-time in 2009," said team owner Roger Penske . "For several years, we ran it as a two-car operation and then decided to focus primarily on the No. 22 for the last few years. Along the way, we developed a lot of people that have moved into our Cup programs, including all of our current NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chiefs. We want to win another XFINITY Series Championship while continuing to utilize our program to build human capital." Team Penske 's NXS program ran sparingly between 2001 and 2008, winning nine races with drivers Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch . The team began competing full-time in 2009 and earned the NXS Driver's Championship with Brad Keselowski in 2010. Since joining Ford in 2013, Team Penske has earned 29 XFINITY Series wins and has won back-to-back-to-back NXS Owners' Championships. "Obviously, we've really enjoyed our relationship with Team Penske and the success that they've brought to the Ford family in the NASCAR XFINITY Series," said Dave Pericak, Director of Ford Performance. "The addition of a second Team Penske XFINITY Series car will allow all of us to work on developing talent behind the wheel and across the board. A driver and sponsorship on the second Ford Mustang will be announced at a later date. Since its inception, Team Penske has earned 55 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins, 53 pole positions and four championships. Newman, Busch, Justin Allgaier , Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr ., Logano, AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney have all visited victory lane for Team Penske in the XFINITY Series.
Team Penske's history, rosters for Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano's teams
Team Penske : Back-to-back babies to go along with wins
RELATED: Where does 2 crew stack up midseason? Team Penske's No. 2 crew members had double the reason to celebrate Brad Keselowski 's back-to-back victories at Daytona and Kentucky in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That's because jackman Braxton Brannon and gasman Nick Hensley both added to their families during the joyous past two weeks. Anyone who has ever been involved in the waiting process understands the stress of having a baby. The due dates were only three days apart and both guys had been on wait for the past two weeks. But the babies arrived safely on opposite ends of the Kentucky weekend and the crew members didn't miss a beat. For the Brannon family it was their first child. They welcomed a baby girl on July 7. For the Hensley family, they welcomed their second boy on July 11. "It was a tough decision to go to that race while they were still in the hospital," Brannon said. "Caroline told me to go and I think it was the right decision. Caroline is doing great now and the baby." Hensley echoed his feeling of relief. "I knew the next two races (after Sonoma) were Saturday night races, and close enough to home that Team Penske would do everything they could to get me home in a hurry if something happened," Hensley said. "I was more nervous for Braxton, this was my second child and I had stayed home from the Talladega race in 2014 for the birth of my first child, and I didn't want him to miss that special moment with his family." So three weeks ago the No. 2 crew had two wins on the season and a total of one kid between the six over-the-wall guys. Now, two weeks later, the team has two more wins and two more family members. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Did you know ...? Team Penske fast facts at win 100
Saturday night's win at Daytona International Speedway by Brad Keselowski was the 100th for Team Penske in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. The historic victory came during a season in which Team Penske is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. The journey to 100 is, of course, filled with numbers and some quirky stats. Here are some interesting tidbits, courtesy of Team Penske : • In two of Team Penske's 100 wins, the winning driver led only one lap. Both times in 2015 with Brad Keselowski at Auto Club Speedway and Joey Logano at Watkins Glen. • Fifteen of Team Penske's 100 wins have come from the pole position. • Brad Keselowski dominated at Richmond International Raceway in 2014, leading 96 percent of the laps. That is the highest percentage of laps led by a winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition for Team Penske . • Team Penske drivers have scored 12 wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, the most wins at a single track for the team . Rusty Wallace leads all Team Penske drivers with seven victories at the .533-mile track. • Both Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch won their first race with Team Penske at Bristol. • The No. 2 for Team Penske has scored 64 victories. Rusty Wallace has 37, Brad Keselowski has 19 and Kurt Busch has eight. • In Team Penske's 100 victories, winning drivers led 12,295 laps en route to Victory Lane. • Rusty Wallace scored 10 victories in 1993, the most wins for a Team Penske driver in a single season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. • In 2014, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano teamed to score 11 victories, the most for Team Penske in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. • Rusty Wallace started 33rd at New Hampshire in 1993, the deepest a Team Penske driver has started and won. • Team Penske's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win came in the 1973 Winston Western 500 at Riverside International Raceway with driver Mark Donohue. • In addition to the familiar 2, 12 and 22 numbers for Team Penske , the team also fielded the No. 16 for NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison in the 1970s, with Allison scoring three of the car's four victories. • Rusty Wallace and Joey Logano are the only drivers to win three races in a row for Team Penske . Wallace accomplished this twice, in 1993 winning Bristol, North Wilkesboro and Martinsville in succession, and in 1994 winning Dover, Pocono and Michigan. Logano accomplished this in 2015 by winning at Charlotte, Kansas, and Talladega in the Round of 12 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. • Forty-nine of the 100 wins came with the winning driver starting within the top five. • Team Penske has scored a Sprint Cup Series victory every year since 1991.