From The Marbles

  • Big wrecks in first stage of Daytona Xfinity race involve 27 of race's 40 cars

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 9 hrs ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Just 13 cars avoided two massive crashes in the first 30 laps of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona.

    The first big crash came on lap 23 when Scott Lagasse got into the back of Tyler Reddick and turned Reddick into the wall on the backstretch. Somehow, the wreck continued into turn 3 as cars kept piling in from the back of the pack.

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    The sequel to the lap 23 wreck was even worse. On lap 29, two laps after the race resumed after the crash, another massive wreck happened when Daniel Hemric’s car skated into Justin Allgaier’s.

    Allgaier’s car made contact with Brandon Jones, whose car smashed viciously into the outside wall. Daniel Suarez also hit the wall head-on in the accident.

    Thankfully, all drivers involved in the accident were OK. The two red flags following both accidents meant the 30-lap stage took 90 minutes. The entire 120-lap race took less than two hours in 2016.

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  • 'Daddy, you were flying like a feather': What it's like to flip a truck at 190 mph

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 10 hrs ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every so often, Matt Crafton has a bad day at the office. But unlike you or me, where a bad day might involve coffee spilled in your lap or a phone dropped on the sidewalk, for Matt Crafton, a bad day involves getting upside down at 190 miles an hour.

    Scene: Friday evening, Daytona International Speedway. The final lap of the Truck Series’ NextEra Energy Resources 250. Matt Crafton, the two-time Truck Series champion, is leading the race, just three turns from shaking off nearly two decades’ worth of frustration at Daytona.

    And then … chaos.

    A wreck behind him suddenly leaped forward and bit him, sending Crafton’s race hopes, as well as his truck, up in smoke. The video of Crafton’s truck spiraling into the sky, then landing back right-side-up, made the rounds of social media, and with good reason: this is a cinematic wreck, one where cars scatter like toys thrown by an angry toddler.

    We wondered, what’s it like to endure one of these wrecks, where everything in your world flips literally upside down? So we reached out to Crafton on Saturday morning and got the rundown. Think you’re tough? Take a ride with Matt and see.

  • Man wanted for murder in Texas arrested after going to Daytona 'for the races'

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 11 hrs ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A man wanted for murder in Texas apparently wanted to spend his potential final moments as a free person at Daytona International Speedway.

    Joe Earl Smith is accused of killing his uncle over a property dispute in Marion County, Texas. He was arrested in Daytona Beach Shores on Thursday and told authorities that he was in town to attend the events of Speedweeks at Daytona. Though, as the Daytona Beach News-Journal notes, it’s unclear if he ever got to fulfill his desire of seeing racing at the track.

    Smith also made it pretty easy for authorities to find him. His family told investigators in Texas that he was likely headed in the direction of NASCAR’s opening weekend. That put authorities on alert in Volusia County and he was found sleeping in his SUV.

    “He was parked in the lot right next to City Hall so he made it easy for us,” Fowler said.

    Fowler said officers recognized Smith’s 1993 Explorer from the descriptions given in an alert by Volusia County sheriff’s dispatch on Thursday afternoon

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  • Nature's Bakery makes Michael Jordan analogy in Danica Patrick counterclaim

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 16 hrs ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Nature’s Bakery alleges Danica Patrick’s agreement with a nutritional supplement company conflicted with the company’s agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, and is grounds for immediate termination.

    The company filed its counterclaims to Stewart-Haas Racing’s breach of contract lawsuit Friday. Nature’s Bakery alleges in the 58-page filing that SHR didn’t inform the team of a personal services deal Patrick has with Six Star Nutrition when pitching Patrick’s NASCAR sponsorships to the company before the deal was signed.

    Nature’s Bakery believes that since Six Star products include protein bars in the “on the go” snack category, Patrick’s deal with the company conflicted with her role as a spokesperson for the fig bar and brownie maker.

    “It was as if Michael Jordan decided to wear adidas while being paid by Nike,” the suit said.

    Oh lookie what I found here in small town Vermont!!! @naturesbakery

    A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on Jun 15, 2016 at 4:41pm PDT

    Let's do some yoga @the_southern_yogi! @naturesbakery #healthylifestyle

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  • Sometimes you have to slow down to win the Daytona 500

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 17 hrs ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As he surged ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth faded away in his rear view mirror on the final lap of the 2016 Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin touched his brake pedal.

    Yes, with seconds left in the race – and the Daytona 500 at stake – Hamlin made a conscious decision to slow his car down. He knew he had to give Truex a head start in the sprint to the finish. It was the only way he had a shot to win the race.

    “It sounds counter-intuitive when you see the finish line and you’re hitting the brake, but I knew I needed to be behind him about 300 yards before the start-finish to be ahead of him by the time of the start-finish,” Hamlin told Yahoo Sports.

    So Hamlin grazed the brake pedal enough to pull his front bumper right behind Truex’s right front tire.

    “That was the most optimum place to be on his car,” Hamlin said.

    The move worked out – barely – as Hamlin’s car surged forward at the last possible instant and beat Truex’s car to the line by 12 inches.

    And sometimes those moves are done blindly. While legend is that Earnhardt could see the air and the draft to pass his competitors, today’s Cup Series drivers have to feel the air to win.

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  • Clint Bowyer, rested and ready, looks forward to putting his career back in gear

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The voice was familiar. The grin was, too. It’s just the finishing position that was strange.

    Clint Bowyer walked into the media center after a second-place finish in the second of Thursday night’s two Can-Am Duels and smiled. “Been a long time since I’ve been in here,” he said, then picked up a placard in front of him. “Look at that! Got my name on it and everything.”

    Bowyer’s wide-eyed enthusiasm is understandable, given that he’s spent the last 18 months in career limbo. One peculiar aspect of NASCAR’s have-and-have-not environment is the fact that there are more good drivers than there are cars in which to place them. So when Bowyer’s old team, Michael Waltrip Racing, announced in 2015 it would be closing its doors, that left Bowyer – once a reliable top-10 driver and a former Cup championship runner-up – without a ride available at a top-flight team.

    HScott Motorsports stepped up, as best it could, giving Bowyer a seat while everyone waited for Tony Stewart to retire. But Bowyer effectively threw away an entire year of his career in equipment that couldn’t come close to keeping up with the cars of his more well-funded colleagues.

  • Will NASCAR's new race format affect race strategies?

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As lap 60 of Sunday’s Daytona 500 approaches, teams at the back of the pack may face a dilemma. Do you pit on lap 57 before the pits close? Or do you stay out and hope to work your way to the front in the second segment?

    The introduction of stages within races in the Cup Series in 2017 adds a huge wrinkle to in-race strategy. During last year’s Daytona 500, there was no guarantee a caution would fly around lap 60. But with guaranteed cautions on lap 60 and lap 120 of the 200-lap race and points awarded to drivers in the top 10 at the time of each of those cautions, some teams may try some previously unconventional methods to score points.

    “It will for sure impact how we race, especially at places we know we are running 25th,” Michael McDowell said. “If we have an opportunity; if a caution falls right; a strategy falls right, you can stay out and maybe get some points and get a little bit of a spotlight for your partners, I think you absolutely do it.”

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  • Joey Logano is going to be with Team Penske for a long, long time

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — By the time Joey Logano signs his next NASCAR contract, ads for the 2024 presidential campaign will be polluting our televisions.

    Friday at Daytona, Logano and Team Penske announced a contract extension for the driver that will keep him with the team through “2022 and beyond.” Shell-Pennzoil, Logano’s current sponsor, will also remain with the No. 22 team through that time period.

    “I’ve known my entire life I wanted to be a NASCAR Cup Series driver,” Logano said in a statement. “Now, to be able to know that I get the opportunity to drive for Roger Penske for the foreseeable future where I can focus solely on winning races and championships, is a life-long dream for me.”

    The contract means Logano now has one of the longest contracts in the Cup Series garage. And, perhaps staggeringly to some, it’s only through his age-33 season counting the 2023 season as the “beyond” in the announcement. That means Logano likely has at least one or two long-term extensions left in his driving career.

    For perspective, Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, turned 33 in February. In 2016, eight of the 16 drivers in the Chase were older than 33.

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  • Duel inspection failures for Allmendinger and Truex mean a loss of points

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    NASCAR’s new points format means AJ Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr. have already earned and lost points.

    The two drivers finished in the top 10 of their respective Duel Daytona 500 qualifying races Thursday night. But along with Allmendinger’s teammate Chris Buescher, the three failed post-race inspection. Their cars were too low.

    In previous years, the infraction simply means the three drivers would start at the back of the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. And they’ll still do that. But for Allmendinger and Truex, they went from having points to not having points.

    As part of the points changes NASCAR instituted for the 2017 season, the top-10 finishers in each Duel qualifying race earned points. The winners of each race — Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — received 10 points while the drivers who finished 10th each received a point.

    Truex finished seventh in the first Duel while Allmendinger finished fourth in the second Duel. Truex tentatively earned four points while Allmendinger had seven.

    Truex will start 35th, Buescher will start 37th and Allmendinger will start 38th. Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start on the front row.

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  • Denny Hamlin passes Dale Earnhardt Jr. on penultimate lap for Duel win

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Denny Hamlin thwarted the possibility of a triumphant return for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Hamlin passed Earnhardt Jr. with two laps to go in the second Daytona 500 Duel qualifying race Thursday night and pulled away from Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch over the final lap.

    Junior, making his first (albeit unofficial) start since missing the final 18 races of 2016, ended up finishing sixth. He’ll start second for Sunday’s Daytona 500, however, after qualifying there during single-car qualifying last weekend. As the winner of Duel No. 2, Hamlin will start right behind Junior in fourth.

    Hamlin, the defending Daytona 500 champion, will also enter the 500 tied with Chase Elliott atop the points standings entering the Daytona 500 with 10 points. Elliott won the first Duel race. As part of changes NASCAR made to its point system in 2017, the top 10 finishers in the Duel qualifying races received points.

    “I don’t know what I could have done differently to defend that,” Junior said.

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