DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – During his December test at Darlington Raceway that cleared his return to NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. gathered his No. 88 team in the hauler and broke some news. He wouldn’t be running The Clash, turning over the wheel of his Chevrolet to Alex Bowman as a reward for filling in for him last season. Unless his team said otherwise. “I said, ‘They could put (Bowman) in the 5 (the car of Kasey Kahne, who wasn’t eligible Saturday), and if the guys really want me to run (the No. 88), I’ll run it,” Earnhardt said Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. “But otherwise I’d just assume let Alex run it. They said, ‘Yeah, I think Alex earned his shot, and he should be able to work
Justin Fontaine, who was involved in a late multi-car crash during Saturday’s ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway, suffered a mild compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae, his team announced late Saturday night. Fontaine would be kept overnight at a local Daytona Beach, Fla. hospital for observation. “Justin is awake and alert following a hard crash at Daytona International Speedway,” said Win-Tron Racing owner Kevin Cywinski said in a media release. “Justin is in good spirits and we hope to be able to provide a further update on his recovery time when it’s appropriate.” Fontaine added, “I just want to let everyone know that I’m okay and I’m thankful for the outreach of support. I also
“This is by far the best we’ve run speed-wise … in the race since I’ve been at Stewart-Haas Racing,’’ Harvick told NBC Sports. “I’m really looking forward to a really strong week.’’ NASCAR’s opening weekend proved to be a good one overall for Stewart-Haas Racing in its debut with Ford. Danica Patrick finished fourth in the Clash with Harvick fifth. Clint Bowyer, who joined the team this year, was fourth in qualifying. Harvick was seventh. It wasn’t a perfect weekend, though. Kurt Busch wrecked in the Clash after he was turned by Jimmie Johnson. Busch was 22nd in qualifying and Patrick was 24th. Still, it could have been much worse after all the work to switch from Chevrolet to Ford in the offseason.