The top finishers and title contenders comment on the beating and banging at Martinsville Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson talks about capturing his third Martinsville pole, a track where he has won six times.
Green flag moved back approximately one hour Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. -- The start of today's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is being delayed by rain. The race, stop No. 2 of 36 for the Sprint Cup Series, was originally scheduled to take the green flag at 1:16 p.m. ET. Rain began falling in the area in the early-morning hours and the local Sunday forecast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), calls for areas of drizzle, cloudy conditions and a high near 46. The event eventually got underway at 2:12 p.m. ET. NASCAR's Air Titan track drying system was dispatched once the rain ended Sunday morning, and pre-race activities were conducted without any weather-related issues. Today's race can be seen on FOX. Performance Racing Network will provide radio coverage. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Rachel Rupert catches up with Joey Logano after he captures his first Coors Light Pole Award of 2015, only a week after securing his first DAYTONA 500 victory.
See who our staff members pick to take the checkered flag Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Members of the NASCAR.com editorial team make their picks for the Great American Race below. Who do you have? Let us know in the comments section. Zack Albert Denny Hamlin . Joe Gibbs Racing cars have shown plenty of oomph so far in Speedweeks, making Matt Kenseth another Daytona favorite. Sunday, it should be Hamlin's turn in Victory Lane. Kenny Bruce Dale Earnhardt Jr. Strong all week, and probably as pumped as he's ever been about his team and his car. Holly Cain Jimmie Johnson. Pat DeCola Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has been unstoppable thus far at Speedweeks, but he's coming off one of his worst seasons to date -- making Johnson the rare "dark horse favorite." The No. 48 Chevrolet swept both Daytona races in his 2013 championship season but hadn't finished higher than 20th in the six Daytona races prior to that. Still, I've got a feeling. Stu Hothem Dale Earnhardt Jr. After last Saturday's first practice, the defending Daytona 500 champion said he had the fastest car in the field. On the 20th anniversary of the last back-to-back winner (Sterling Marlin) going to Victory Lane, Earnhardt will join Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon and NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough with three or more wins in the Great American Race. RJ Kraft Carl Edwards. The Joe Gibbs Racing stable has been as strong as the Hendrick Motorsports fleet during Speedweeks, with the veteran showing plenty of speed. It will be the organization's newest driver that brings Joe Gibbs his first trip to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500 since 1993. Brad Norman Tony Stewart. His car is fast , and Stewart seems more like the 'Smoke' of old than at any other point over the past two years. Plus, he's just due for a good break at Daytona. Jessica Ruffin Jeff Gordon. The three-time Daytona 500 champion is starting from the pole position, has a dynamic duo of Hendrick Motorsports teammates helping him in the front and his No. 24 Chevrolet SS has showcased its speed the entire week. But above all, with this event marking his final Daytona 500 , Gordon has plenty of motivation to take the checkered one last time in the Great American Race. Taylor Starer Jeff Gordon. The four-time Cup champion is starting his final Great American Race as a full-time driver from the pole — what more motivation does he need to do well? Three previous Daytona 500 wins under his belt doesn't hurt, either. George Winkler Dale Earnhardt Jr. He becomes the first back-to-back winner of the Daytona 500 since Sterling Marlin in 1995. Junior's car has looked fast all week -- he won in the Daytona Duels -- and he has a strong history in this race (series-best 99.6 driver rating, two previous Daytona 500 wins). MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Brian Scott, Josh Wise, Justin Marks and Ron Hornaday Jr. also miss field Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Daytona 500 starting lineup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Crashes, mechanical woes and disputes over racing room all added to the pressure cooker of Thursday night's qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. For an unfortunate half-dozen drivers, the bubble finally burst. Six hopefuls were left on the outside of the 43-car field for Sunday's 57th Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), coming up short of making the final cut in the Budweiser Duels. Alex Bowman, Jeb Burton, Ron Hornaday Jr., Justin Marks, Brian Scott and Josh Wise -- all with varying degrees of experience in NASCAR's most prestigious event -- were the odd men out. Bowman, Burton and Scott all fell victim to crashes in the second 150-mile qualifying race. Bowman's Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 7 caught the brunt of the damage in the 37th-lap melee; he emerged from the infield care center unhurt but resigned to the fact that his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start with TBR will come next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. PHOTOS: Best images from Daytona Duels "I hate it," Bowman said of the pins-needles waiting game. "Really I'm not a fan of this style of racing, and this whole week is more stressful than I wish it was. But it's the game, and we all choose to play it." Burton -- trying desperately to make his Sprint Cup debut in his first Daytona 500 start -- wrecked for the second time in two days, right on the heels of his sustaining damage in the opening moments of Wednesday's practice. The second-day setback sent the BK Racing No. 26 Toyota home early, causing the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to echo Bowman's sentiments. "I hate it," Burton said. "I just … wrong spot, wrong time. These cars are so on the edge. I was very disappointed for us. We'll have to go get them in Atlanta." Scott's misfortune came later, after Danica Patrick spun in the midst of close racing in Turn 3 with Denny Hamlin. The mishap snared Scott's No. 62 Chevy, plus the No. 31 Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing's Ryan Newman "There was just nowhere I could go," Scott said as he walked away, shortly after learning his Speedweeks outcome. "Got us damage, got us in a bad situation. Obviously didn't finish good enough because of it. It's a nerve-wracking race for all those reasons. You've got fast cars that should be in the show that go home. It's a show. It's a good show for the fans, I suppose." MORE: Danica rallies to make Daytona 500 field " Underdogs find way into Daytona 500 field Wise's Daytona 500 hopes failed to get off the ground before the green flag ever fell on the second 60-lap qualifier. His No. 98 Ford stalled during pace laps, forcing his Phil Parsons Racing team to work on a faulty fuel pick-up behind the wall. Wise finally joined the race, 12 laps down after repairs, but completed just one circuit before calling it a day. "Total disbelief pretty much sums it up," Wise said via Twitter. "Was looking forward to racing my way into the Daytona 500 tonight. Something happened to the fuel pump and we never took the green flag. I really hate it for my team because I know how hard they work. Thanks for all the kind messages. We will bounce back and be ready to go for Atlanta." Justin Marks, attempting to make his first Daytona 500 start and just his second Sprint Cup appearance, needed to race his way in with a finish of 16th or better in the first Duel (thanks to Gordon placing inside the top 15). He wound up 18th in the RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota. Ron Hornaday Jr., the four-time Camping World Truck Series champion, was attempting to make his first Sprint Cup start since 2003. His effort with The Motorsports Group start-up team went downhill shortly after his No. 30 Chevrolet lost contact with the lead pack's aerodynamic draft. Hornaday finished below the cut line in 21st place, next-to-last on the lead lap. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver out for 'undetermined amount of time' with fractured right leg RELATED: Crafton to sub for Kyle Busch at Daytona " Drivers wish Kyle Busch well DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch will miss Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 after suffering a leg injury during a hard crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was being treated for a compound fracture of the right lower leg and a left mid-foot fracture, and would not compete in the season's biggest event. Busch had successful surgery on his right leg on Saturday night, according to Joe Gibbs Racing, and was resting comfortably. Busch's injuries will "sideline him for an undetermined period of time," according to the team. Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch's No. 18 Toyota for the Daytona 500 . An interim driver has not been determined for any races beyond the Daytona 500 at this time. On Sunday morning, Ed Laukes, vice president marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales, said the following in a statement: "Kyle Busch is a key member of our Toyota NASCAR family and it goes without saying that everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), U.S.A. has Kyle in their thoughts and prayers. Kyle is as tough a competitor as you'll find in motorsports and I'm confident he'll recover quickly and return to the track with an even greater passion to win. We know fellow Toyota driver Matt Crafton will represent not only Toyota, but Joe Gibbs Racing well in today's Daytona 500 ." Later Sunday, Busch tweeted from the hospital. Would rather b driving than watching the #Daytona500 but pulling 4 @Matt_Crafton and the No. 18 @mmschocolate team. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 22, 2015 Busch's No. 54 Toyota slid across the track and struck the interior wall on Lap 112 of the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series event, the Alert Today Florida 300. Busch appeared to begin to climb from his car without assistance, but was placed on a stretcher by emergency personnel shortly after being helped from the car. Busch was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center moments later. Samantha Busch and team owner Joe Gibbs, along with other team personnel arrived at the track's infield care center on foot, and then boarded golf carts to depart for the hospital. Busch, 29, was expected to scale back his racing activities in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series this season. He is the XFINITY series' all-time win leader with 70 career victories; he has 42 wins in the NCWTS. Busch was scheduled to start fourth in Sunday's Daytona 500 , the season-opening race for the Sprint Cup Series. The accident took place when there appeared to be contact between Busch and fellow JGR driver Erik Jones. Busch's entry slid across the grass apron just beyond the exit of pit road and slammed the inside wall nose first. There is no SAFER barrier in that location on the 2.5-mile track. In addition to Busch and Jones, J.J. Yeley, Brendan Gaughan, Chase Elliott, Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace Jr., Cale Conley and Jeffrey Earnhardt were caught up in the accident. "Kyle Busch got hurt? I didn't know that," said third-place finisher Ty Dillon. "I don't want to say anything wrong. But I think we're to the point now in NASCAR we should have SAFER barriers at a place like this, we're going so fast . I think we could probably afford it. "I hate to hear anybody in our sport getting hurt. We've advanced so far in safety we shouldn't be having any crazy bad injuries. So I hope he's all right. But, yeah, I know if it was me, I would want a SAFER barrier there if I got hurt in a spot." "We keep running into situations where people find spots that aren't thought of before," said runner-up Chris Buescher. "I think the sport has progressed so far in the safety aspect. We started to take it for granted. But just there's really no room to do that. My opinion, I mean, it needs to be as safe as possible. If that means lining the inside walls as well, it's probably a good idea." Roush Fenway Racing's Ryan Reed won the race to score his first win in the series. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Marty Snider and Chris Rice preview all the action in Daytona and pick their winner for Sunday's DAYTONA 500 .
First victory in the Great American Race for Team Penske driver SHOP: Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Get full race results " Series standings DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- No one seemed more surprised than Joey Logano as he stood atop his No. 22 Penske Racing Ford in Daytona International Speedway Victory Lane celebrating his first-ever Daytona 500 victory on Sunday. Logano -- who in 2009 at the age of 19 became the youngest winner in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series history -- emerged from a tight pack of pre-race favorites on a green-white-checkered overtime restart and held off reigning Cup champion Kevin Harvick as the caution and checkered flag flew to win at Daytona and clinch a berth in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the process. "I can't believe it," said Logano, whose previous best finish in this race was ninth in 2012. "That is really amazing. The Daytona 500 . Oh my God. Are you kidding me? "I was so nervous pretty much the whole race. We worked so hard in the offseason and this is my weakest race track, the superspeedways, and we worked so hard at them. I couldn't be more proud. "Unbelievable." Defending Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, frustrated after having what he thought was a race-winning car. Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five. Jeff Gordon, who started on the pole for the race and led six times for a race-best 87 laps, was collected in a last-lap wreck on the backstretch. But he drove his dinged-up No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet around the track to take his final Daytona 500 checkered flag in 33rd place. "For some reason I'm still smiling and enjoyed every moment of it," said the four-time Cup champ, who is stepping away from full-time NASCAR competition after this season. "I obviously enjoyed the first half (of the race) more than the second half. … This is an amazing week and an amazing day. I'm just in this different place that is so foreign yet so incredible, just soaking it all in. "I'm more upset I didn't have a chance at winning it. … I'm not going to miss those final laps. That was just crazy." The final restart came after a 6-minute red-flag period caused by a Justin Allgaier wreck on the frontstretch and created the kind of frantic finish fans are accustomed to in NASCAR's biggest race. But for the most part, Sunday's show on a Chamber of Commerce day with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s was tame by restrictor-plate racing standards. The final lap eight-car mid-pack melee was the sole "Big One" that most have come to expect on the superspeedways. Mostly, the day was characterized by exciting three-wide racing with familiar faces leading the way. Overshadowed amid other dramatic storylines that have dominated the 2015 Daytona Speedweeks, six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson quietly and doggedly went about his business Sunday and looked to be in good position to hoist his third Daytona 500 trophy, and second in the past three years. Rallying from a mid-race pit road penalty that dropped him to 40th place, Johnson strategically maneuvered his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet in the waning laps to be in position for the win, but lamented the fact his line of drafting cars just didn't have the get-up-and-go when they needed to be gone. "With 10 to go, I thought we were going to win the Daytona 500 , but with plate racing you have no clue what's going to happen really," Johnson said. Earnhardt echoed the disappointment. "I made a real bad decision on that restart with 19 to go, made a poor choice and got shuffled back and lost a ton of spots," Earnhardt said. "I'm real disappointed because the guys gave me the best car and we should have run the race." It was a touch-and-go day for several race favorites -- their strategy complicated after receiving pit road penalties in the season debut of NASCAR's new high-tech camera monitoring system on pit road. Johnson was called for a pit road violation when his crew was ruled to have jumped over the pit wall too soon on a mid-race stop. Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. -- who like Johnson were running among the top five much of the race -- were called for speeding penalties. And Sprint Cup Series sophomore Kyle Larson was caught speeding and then later for his team "throwing equipment over the wall" on consecutive stops forcing him into a day of catch-up. He was running top 15 in the final 10 laps but also got collected on the last-lap crash and finished 34th. Fan favorite Tony Stewart continued his dismal Daytona 500 fortune. While running among the top 10 cars 41 laps into the race, his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy suffered from a tight condition and slid up into the outside wall, nicking rookie Ryan Blaney's Ford. The Toyotas of Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip also suffered minor damage in the incident but continued. "I'll take the blame for that one, 100 percent my fault," said Stewart, the three-time Cup champion who is now 0-for-17 in the Great American Race. His 42nd-place effort Sunday is his third finish of 40th or worse in the last four years here. Former Daytona 500 winners Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman also struggled on Sunday -- with McMurray's No. 1 Cessna/McDonald's Chevy sustaining body damage in an early race dust-up and Newman -- the 2014 Sprint Cup championship runner-up -- hitting the wall after getting caught in the aftermath of Blaney's blown engine with less than 25 laps remaining. Substitute drivers Regan Smith and Matt Crafton finished 16th and 18th, respectively. Smith drove the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy for Kurt Busch, who has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR following off-track legal troubles. Crafton filled in for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who is recovering from broken right leg and broken left foot suffered in Saturday's XFINITY Series season-opener at Daytona. Logano's triumph was the second Daytona 500 win for legendary team owner Roger Penske and made the 24-year-old Logano the second youngest driver to win the race. "We knew what we had to do and had a really fast car and just need to make sure I didn't get snookered on the restarts," Logano explained. "I can't explain how cool this is. … It feels just like the way you dream it. This is better than Disney World in here." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joey Logano celebrates winning his first DAYTONA 500 in Victory Lane.