The Latest: McDowell wins Daytona 500, 1st career victory
Denny Hamlin wins the first stage during the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local):12:15 a.m.Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 after Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski wrecked on the final lap. Wallace became the Black driver to lead a lap in Daytona 500. Cope zipped past Earnhardt, who blew a tire with a mile to go, to win the 1990 Daytona 500. ___2 p.m.Bubba Wallace’s car failed inspection twice for the Daytona 500 and will have to start at the back of the field. Wallace drives a new entry owned by NBA great Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.
Rain washes out NASCAR's final practices for Daytona 500
“I think we proved as an industry last year that track time was a little overrated," said David Wilson, head of Toyota Racing Development. Heavy rain soaked the track early, though, prompting officials to shift gears before the Xfinity Series opener later Saturday. An ARCA series race also was scheduled for the middle of the day. “I'm fine without it,” said 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. ..."Obviously, we didn’t want to go to a backup car, but I think we’re still in a really good place for the 500.
Hamlin wins in 3rd overtime of Talladega's longest race
Denny Hamlin (11) races William Byron (24) and Matt DiBenedetto (21) to the finish line during the YellaWood 500 NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Talladega, Ala. Hamlin won. His sweeping three-wide pass in triple overtime Sunday brought an end to the sloppiest race of the season. “To win the championship, you have to win the last race and you have to get to the last race. But Talladega's finish line is unusually close to Turn 1 and Elliott had not made it there before a crash behind him. DiBenedetto was initially denied his first career victory a year ago by Hamlin the same week DiBenedetto learned he was out of a job.
Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round
“I hadn’t been to too many races where I’ve been that jacked up getting in the race car,” Harvick said. Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. “Think he might have thought I was in a different car.”Either way, Busch was aggravated enough to predict his run in these playoffs will be short. Erik Jones, who is not eligible for the playoffs, finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by rookie Tyler Reddick and playoff contenders Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish.
Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol
With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. “This whole group, this team, we are not a 16th-place-in-points team,” Blaney said. 12 team was also off last week at Richmond, where Blaney finished 19th to fall to the edge of elimination. Cole Custer trails Bowyer by eight points, while DiBendetto is 25 points behind and Blaney is 27 points out.
Suarez on the move again after parting with Gaunt Brothers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Daniel Suarez, who landed a ride two weeks before the season-opening Daytona 500, will not return to Gaunt Brothers Racing next season and is seeking a new team for the third time in three years. Gaunt Brothers said Tuesday it was a mutual decision for the Mexican driver to leave the team. “I’m extremely thankful to my entire Toyota family for everything they have done for me, especially this year," Suarez said. “I will always be grateful to them for having my back.”Suarez has struggled with Gaunt Brothers, which is in its first full season of Cup competition. His long relationship with Toyota helped Suarez get the job with Gaunt Brothers, a team that began in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2010 and the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
NASCAR: Keselowski dominates in playoff win at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. – Brad Keselowski entered NASCAR's playoffs certain he has as good a chance at the Cup championship as favorites Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. His confidence was correct as Keselowski indeed won Saturday night at Richmond, the second playoff race, and advanced into the second next round. Harvick, the title favorite, won last week’s opener to earn the automatic berth into the second round. Harvick, Hamlin and Keselowski are the only drivers locked into the next round of the playoffs. Harvick finished seventh.
Harvick takes Southern 500 after leaders Elliott, Truex bump
Harvick didnt dominate the Southern 500 in his series-best eighth victory of the season. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win, Harvick said. PLAYOFF PUSHAlmiorola is now squarely on the bubble ranked 12th among the 16 drivers after the first playoff race. BLANEY PENALTYBlaney's title chances took a hit just hours before the first playoff race began. UP NEXTThe second playoff race is at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
Playoffs begin with 14 drivers chasing Harvick and Hamlin
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are expected to race head-to-head for the NASCAR Cup title when the 10-week playoff series begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway. That theoretically leaves the 14 other drivers racing for just two spots in the winner-take-all race. Busch joins his older brother, Kurt, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and DiBenedetto as drivers without a win as the playoffs begin. Logano won twice in the first four weeks of the season, while Elliott scored his two wins after racing resumed. Others have been labeled dark horses, but Truex has very quietly made himself a strong challenger to Harvick and Hamlin.
Higher stakes at Daytona mean 'crazy things will happen'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Racing at Daytona International Speedway always comes with a hefty dose of drama. Nearly half the field is looking to clinch a postseason berth with a victory, including seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Crazy things will happen.Thats exactly what NASCAR envisioned when it moved Daytonas summertime extravaganza to the regular-season finale. Cup races at Daytona already were considered wild-card events in which just about anyone could end up in victory lane. Throw in the raised stakes, and it's sure to create an ultra-intense couple of hours on the track.
Dillon leads 1-2 RCR finish in Cup race before fans at Texas
Dillon raced to his third career win and first since Daytona at the start of the 2018 season. On the final restart, Dillon got a good jump and raced to the checkered flag ahead of his rookie teammate and some veteran drivers. After leading six times for 150 laps, both highs for the race, Blaney finished seventh. It was 30 degrees warmer than it was on March 29, when the race had been scheduled before the pandemic. The spectators were spread out along the frontstretch, which was fully shaded late in the race, and there were also people in about 40 suites.
Harvick, Hamlin still predictable Cup favorites at hot Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin can easily be considered favorites for the first summertime race at Texas, even in this unpredictable and unprecedented NASCAR Cup season. There are no rules changes from last year for the aerodynamic or engine packages used at Texas, where Hamlin won in the spring before Harvick won his third consecutive fall race there. We will take into account weather and all that stuff to figure out what kind of car we need to take to that race track to be successful, said Hamlin, who won both Texas races in 2010. Harvick, who has an 88-point lead over Brad Keselowski this season, paced a 1-2-3 finish for Stewart-Haas Racing at Texas last November. When Harvick takes the green flag Sunday, he will become the 18th driver to make his 700th career Cup Series start.
NASCAR Cup rookie Cole Custer wins in upset at Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky. Cole Custer became the first rookie winner in the NASCAR Cup Series in nearly four years, surging to the lead in a four-wide, final-lap scramble Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. The victory was the first by a series rookie since Chris Buescher at Pocono on Aug. 1, 2016. Making his 20th series start, the 22-year-old Custer celebrated with a frontstretch burnout as his crew happily ran to greet him. That didn't last long as Truex quickly stalked him on the last-stage restart and took over on 181 in hopes of his third Kentucky win in four years. Truex settled for watching Custer take the win.