- Thad Moffitt, Grandson of Richard Petty, Qualifies Second
- First 2019 NASCAR On-Track Action on Saturday With Three Practice Sessions
- ‘Draw Party’ on Saturday Night to Determine Starting Grid for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash
- Sunday Doubleheader Features Clash and DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented by Kroger
Christian Eckes claimed the pole on Friday for the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire at Daytona International Speedway, getting Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth off to a rousing start.
The 80-lap/200-mile Lucas Oil 200, set for Saturday at 4:45 p.m., is the season-opening race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. ARCA history has always been intertwined with Daytona International Speedway, with the Lucas Oil 200 an annual prime lead-in to the DAYTONA 500. Past winners include some of stock car racing’s most notable names, including Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Benny Parsons, Kyle Petty and Tim Richmond.
Eckes, driving the No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota, posted a fast lap of 183.001 mph on the famed DIS 2.5-mile tri-oval. Starting alongside Eckes in the front row will be Thad Moffitt (182.830) in the No. 46 Performance Plus Oil Chevrolet. Moffitt, 18, is the grandson of seven-time DAYTONA 500 champion Richard Petty. Both front-row starters are making their Daytona International Speedway debut.
“It’s always how you hope to start the weekend off, with a pole,” Eckes said. “I just can’t wait [for the race]. We got 80 more laps; it’s not just about one lap. There’s lot of work to do yet.”
Added Moffitt: “”It’s just a continuation of the family legacy. It’s a ‘rite of passage’ into the family. Uncle Kyle won here in his first ARCA race, my grandfather won the Daytona 500 seven times and my great-grandfather (Lee Petty) won the very first DAYTONA 500. It would mean the world to me to add on to that legacy and carry on that family tradition they started here in 1959.”
Also Saturday, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competitors will be on-track for the first time this year. First up: from 10:35-11:55 a.m., the sole practice session for Sunday’s (3 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) 41st Annual Advance Auto Parts Clash, the traditional season-opening non-points race for the Monster Energy Series. Two DAYTONA 500 practices will follow, at 1:05-1:55 p.m. and 3:05-3:55 p.m.
The Clash boasts an elite field consisting of 2018 pole winners, former Clash champions, former DAYTONA 500 champions who competed full-time in 2018 and drivers who qualified for the 2018 Monster Energy Series playoffs.
The Clash starting grid will be determined during a Saturday night (6:30-8 p.m.) “Draw Party” in the UNOH Fanzone in the speedway infield, involving crew chiefs whose drivers have qualified for the Clash. In addition, a number of Monster Energy Series drivers – including reigning DAYTONA 500 champion Austin Dillon – will attend, interacting with fans via “selfie stations” and question-and-answer sessions.
On Sunday at 12:10 p.m., DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented by Kroger will “lock in” the first two starting spots for next week’s (Sunday, Feb. 17) 61st running of “The Great American Race.” The single-car, two-round session will also establish the grids for the Gander RV Duel. The Duel features two action-packed 150-mile races that set the DAYTONA 500 field beyond the locked-in front row.
Tickets for the 61st annual DAYTONA 500, Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.