Feb 15 | 201-MPH Lap Gives Jeff Gordon DAYTONA 500 Pole

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* DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger Produces Elite Front Row of Gordon-Johnson * Front Row Represents 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Titles, 5 DAYTONA 500 Victories

Jeff Gordon

Qualifying for the DAYTONA 500 this year was for the first time a group effort, but it produced a singular result on Sunday that immediately found a special place in the event’s hallowed history. 

When the DAYTONA 500 debut of NASCAR’s tournament-style “knockout” qualifying was complete, Jeff Gordon – starting his final fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and running his final DAYTONA 500 – emerged as the polesitter for next week’s (Sunday, Feb. 22) 57th running of the “Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway. Gordon won the third and final round of qualifying with a fast lap of 201.293 mph. It’s the first 200-mph pole speed for the race since Bill Elliott rocketed to 210.364 in 1987.

Gordon, driving the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, assured himself a spot in the field as did the second-fastest (201.135) qualifier in the final round, two-time race champion Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet.

“This is definitely huge for many reasons,” Gordon said, starting with his team’s mastery of the knockout qualifying format that he called crazy, chaotic – and strategic. “And then you add in that it’s the DAYTONA 500 … the emotion of the announcement I made to start the season … this is my last DAYTONA 500. This is a very special day.” 

This is arguably the most elite front row in race history. Gordon and Johnson have 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships between them (Gordon four, Johnson six) and five DAYTONA 500 championships (Gordon three, Johnson two). 

The top two qualifiers are locked into the event and will start from the pole in the two 150-mile Budweiser Duel At Daytona races on Thursday night – Gordon in the first qualifying race, Johnson in the second. The Budweiser Duel races will establish positions 3-32 in the DAYTONA 500 starting grid. Positions 33-36 go to the four fastest drivers from qualifying who haven’t made the field via their Budweiser Duel efforts, which also secures Carl Edwards a starting spot. Since Edwards is making his debut with a new team at Joe Gibbs Racing, there are no 2014 car owner points to fall back on, the criteria to fill positions 37-42 for the DAYTONA 500. If Edwards hadn’t qualified well, he would’ve been forced to rely on his Budweiser Duel-race finish to make the field.  

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Feb 15 | U. S. Women’s National Soccer Team Named Honorary Starter for the 57th Annual DAYTONA 500

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U. S. Women’s National Soccer Team Named Honorary Starter for the 57th Annual DAYTONA 500

Honorary Starters

Abby Wambach, Kelley O’Hara and Christie Rampone will represent the U. S. Women’s National Soccer Team as the Honorary Starters of the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. at Daytona International Speedway (TV – FOX, FOX Deportes; Radio – MRN Radio, SiriusXM).

In addition to serving as the Honorary Starters for the 200-lap, 500-mile race that kicks off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the trio will also be introduced at the driver’s meeting and participate in pre-race ceremonies.

“We’re honored to welcome three members of the U.S. Women’s National Team as Honorary Starters for the DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re looking forward to have these phenomenal athletes wave the green flag on both ‘The Great American Race’ as well as the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.”

Beginning June 6, the U.S. WNT will be participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada (TV – FOX). The U.S. team, which is ranked second in the world in the most recent FIFA Women’s World Rankings, is a superpower in women’s soccer having won four Olympic Gold Medals and two FIFA Women’s World Cups. For more about the WNT, please visit ussoccer.com/womens-national-team.

Past DAYTONA 500 Honorary Starters include actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, NFL legend Ray Lewis and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Feb 14 | Matt Kenseth Wins Sprint Unlimited At Daytona

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Enfinger Takes Wins ARCA Racing Series Season-Opener For Second-Straight Year

Kenseth Wins

Two-time DAYTONA 500 champion is back in Gatorade Victory Lane. After a winless 2014 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kenseth captured the 75-lap non-points Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. 

“It was a great start for the week [leading up to the Feb. 22 DAYTONA 500],” Kenseth said. “Hopefully we can keep up the momentum for the rest of the week.” 

The Sprint Unlimited rolled off with 25 drivers, a high-profile mix of 2014 pole winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners and DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014, plus several others who qualified based on final 2014 series championship standings. Quite different from the event’s 1979 debut, which featured nine drivers – 1978 pole winners only – racing for 20 laps. That one lasted 15 minutes and was won by Buddy Baker who, earlier that afternoon, had captured the pole for the DAYTONA 500. 

After a Lap 23 crash, however, 18 cars remained in contention in this 37th running of the event. The 14-car accident started when Greg Biffle’s Ford hit former DAYTONA 500 champion Jamie McMurray’s Chevrolet from behind, turning it sideways with the rear wheels briefly off the ground – directly into the path of the field. The race was red-flagged due to the clean-up required; that lasted 14 minutes, 42 seconds. When the race was restarted on Lap 30, two-time DAYTONA 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr., seeking a third Sprint Unlimited victory, was the leader. 

A late dust-up took several more cars out of the mix, setting the stage for a four-lap dash to the finish. Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, outdueled the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet of Martin Truex on the final lap, with the help of some cagy blocking moves. Kenseth’s margin of victory: 0.219 seconds. Carl Edwards, in his debut run as Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished third in the No. 19 Arris Toyota. 

The 75-lap/187.5-mile race was divided into 25- and 50-lap segments. The first segment ended under caution after 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski crashed in the tri-oval, ruining his night.             

                           *      *      *      *      *

Grant Enfinger won the Lucas Oil 200 Presented By AutoZone – the season-opening race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards – for the second straight year prior to the Sprint Unlimited, driving the No. 23 Alamo Rent A Car Chevrolet. Enfinger edged Daniel Suarez’s No. 15 Arris Toyota by a mere 0.140 seconds. It was a career milestone for Suarez, a 23-year-old driver from Monterrey, Mexico who is part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative. Suarez is competing full-time this season for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. 

“This is an incredible feeling,” Enfinger said. “It was definitely a nail-biter from my seat.” 

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Feb 13 | ARCA’s Thompson Becomes Oldest Pole Winner in DIS History

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Kurt Busch Tops 200 mph in Sprint Unlimited Practice; Menard Gets Pole Via Random Draw

Day 1 ARCA

What’s in a number?

For ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards veteran driver Mark Thompson, a history-making pole position. 

The number in question – 63 – is Thompson’s age, which made him the oldest pole winner in a major race at Daytona International Speedway, following Friday’s qualifying for the Lucas Oil 200 presented by AutoZone, set for today at DIS. Thompson won his first ARCA pole award in 17 years, with a fast lap of 187.336 mph during group qualifying in the 2.5-mile tri-oval.  

“Winning the pole at Daytona is a big deal,” said Thompson, driver of the No. 11 Phoenix Air-Ken Schrader Racing Toyota. “It’s special. There’s probably not another place I’d rather win the pole than here.” 

Thompson won three previous Menards Pole Awards in ARCA competition, all at Michigan International Speedway – two in 1996 and one in 1997.

Saturday’s race will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4 p.m.

 

                            *      *      *      *      *

Starting position for Saturday night’s (8:15 p.m. ET; FOX) Sprint Unlimited – the first 2015 event for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams – was determined by a random draw Friday by race fans and team’s respective crew chiefs. Paul Menard got the pole and will lead the 25-car field to the green flag in the No. 27 Peak/Menards Chevrolet. The Sprint Unlimited includes 2014 pole winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners and DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014.           

Friday night, two Sprint Unlimited practice sessions were held. The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Kurt Busch, led the first session (200.749 mph); four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, starting his final season, led the second session (196.764). 

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Feb 13 | Phillip Phillips to Sing National Anthem for 57th Annual DAYTONA 500

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“We’re excited to have Phillip Phillips be a part of the pre-race ceremonies and sing the National Anthem prior to the 57th annual DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said.

Phillips

Singer/songwriter Phillip Phillips, will sing the National Anthem prior to the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.  “The Great American Race” will also broadcast live on FOX Deportes, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.

“We’re excited to have Phillip Phillips be a part of the pre-race ceremonies and sing the National Anthem prior to the 57th annual DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Phillip is a talented singer, guitarist and songwriter and we are looking forward to his rendition of the National Anthem in front of thousands of race fans and millions more watching on FOX.”

Platinum recording artist Phillips released his sophomore album Behind The Light last May. The album includes all songs that were either written or co-written by Phillips including lead single “Raging Fire” which debuted in the Billboard Hot 100.  Behind The Light is the follow-up to 2012’s The World from the Side of the Moon, a platinum plus-selling album that debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and featured the 5x platinum smash hit “Home.” Throughout the last year, the 24-year-old Georgia native has toured the U.S. and the world, joining Matchbox Twenty and John Mayer on tour and sharing a stage with Bruce Springsteen at the 2013 Rock in Rio festival.  The American Idol season 11 winner spent the summer on a co-headline tour with O.A.R. before setting out on a national headline tour this past fall. 

To learn more about Phillip Phillips, visit www.phillipphillpps.com and follow him on Twitter (@phillips).

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Feb 13 | Daytona Rewards Stations to Offer Special Prizes For Sprint Unlimited, DAYTONA 500

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Daytona Rewards Stations to Offer Special Prizes For Sprint Unlimited, DAYTONA 500

DAYTONA Rewards Station

During Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited and the 57th annual DAYTONA 500, race fans visiting the “World Center of Racing” will be able to win numerous special prizes through the Daytona Rewards Stations. 

The Daytona Rewards Stations will be located inside the Sprint FANZONE as well as the Midway located outside Turn 4. Fan can pre-register now at http://www.disrewards.com/  or register onsite at either Daytona Rewards Station.  

Among the prizes that will be available include:

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage tours
  • Photo with the Sprint Unlimited champion
  • Ride in the Grand Marshal for the Sprint Unlimited
  • Present the Sprint Unlimited champion’s trophy in Gatorade Victory Lane
  • Ride along for driver’s introductions for the Sprint Unlimited
  • Access to the driver’s meeting
  • Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola tickets
  • Sprint FANZONE passes
  • Sunglasses, koozies and much more

 

When a race fans arrives at either Daytona Rewards Station, they will meet a brand ambassador for a credential, which will be scanned and display an instant prizing message. Fans can scan their credential at both Daytona Rewards Stations for a chance to win a prize. 

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. 

Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

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