Tag:Daytona 500
Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:36 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:56 pm

2012 Daytona 500 entry list released

Posted by Pete Pistone


No. 1  Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

No. 2  Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing
No. 5  Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports 
No. 6  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing
No. 7  Robby Gordon, Robby Gordon Motorsports
No. 09 Kenny Wallace, RAB Racing
No. 9  Marcos Ambrose, Richard Petty Motorsports 
No. 10 Danica Patrick, Tommy Baldwin Racing
No. 11 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
No. 13 Casey Mears, Germain Racing
No. 14 Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing 
No. 15 Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing
No. 16 Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing 
No. 17 Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing 
No. 18 Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing 
No. 20 Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing 
No. 21 Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Racing
No. 22 AJ Allmendinger, Penske Racing
No. 23 Robert Richardson Jr., R3 Motorsports
No. 24 Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports
No. 26 Tony Raines, Front Row Motorsports
No. 27 Paul Menard, Richard Childress Racing 
No. 29 Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing
No. 30 David Stremme, Inception Motorsports,
No. 31 Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing
No. 32 Terry Labonte, FAS Lane Racing
No. 33 Elliott Sadler, Richard Childress Racing 
No. 34 David Ragan, Front Row Motorsports 
No. 36 Dave Blaney, Tommy Baldwin Racing
No. 37 Mike Wallace, MaxQ Motorsports
No. 38 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports
No. 39 Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing
No. 40 Michael Waltrip, Hillman Racing
No. 40 Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
No. 43 Aric Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports
No. 47 Bobby Labonte, JTG-Daugherty Racing
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports 
No. 49 JJ Yeley, Robinson-Blakeney Racing 
No. 51 Kurt Busch, Phoenix Racing
No. 55 Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing 
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing 
No. 78 Regan Smith, Furniture Row Racing
No. 83 Landon Cassill, BK Racing
No. 87 Joe Nemechek, NEMCO Motorsports
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports
No. 93 David Reutimann, BK Racing
No. 97 Bill Elliott, NEMCO Motorsports
No. 98 Michael McDowell, Phil Parsons Racing
No. 99 Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing 


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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Brad Keselowski a fan of social media

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - If you're a NASCAR fan that utilizes Twitter, chances are you'll run across the thoughts of Brad Keselowski.

The Penske Racing driver is very active on the social media front (@keselowski) and in fact has created a program that provides fans with an opportunity to have their Twitter handles displayed on his own team's Camping World Truck Series entry, that will be driven full-time by Parker Kilgerman this season.

“I was thinking about this the other day when I was around my dad," Keselowski said of his social media philosophy.  "I grew up with him and the race team in the Camping World Truck Series.  I was thinking about his approach and remember thinking about how that was so 1990’s.  I was thinking about how it’s a reflection on social media and how much from just five years ago the world has changed and social media is a large part of that.  It affects the sport of NASCAR and how we engage our fans and our sponsors.  I think those that are able to be leaders in that matter will come out on top.  This new age of NASCAR that’s coming where social media has so much power, I’m committed to being one of those guys, committed more than just in words.  I spent a pretty good chunk of money on the Twitter stuff that I have for the truck campaign.”

As for whether he tries to dial down his thoughts before Tweeting, Keselowski says what you read is from the hear.
“Absolutely not.  If I have to think about it twice, it’s not authentic," he said.  "If I have to stop and think, ‘If I should cut out this world not to make so and so mad’, I’m a big believer in authenticity.  I’ve had a few moments where I’ve had to explain myself.”

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:00 pm

Daytona repeat on Trevor Bayne's mind

By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne is under the spotlight this season as the young driver tries to follow-up his Cinderella win a year ago with a repeat trip to victory lane in "The Great American Race."

Bayne was one of the main attractions of Thursday's annual Daytona 500 Media Day and said the Wood Brothers team has its sights set squarely on a second straight 500 victory.

"That’s the plan," Bayne said. "We wouldn’t have come if we didn’t think we could win.  There’s a little bit more pressure this year.  We’re not exactly flying under the radar, but I think we can go for it, that’s for sure.” 

After his breakthrough season last year that also included his first career Nationwide Series win at Texas Motor Speedway, Bayne tries to take his career to the next level. He'll have the same basic Sprint Cup program with the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford and a limited schedule of approximately 15 races.

He has more confidence then he did this time twelve months ago and is still basking in what was accomplished in 2011.

“It’s hard to follow up, you know?  It’s crazy because last year when I came here I was so under the radar," Bayne said.  "I didn’t expect any of this.  I just came in as a guy that had been running Nationwide and had a great opportunity to run with an awesome team, so here I am at Daytona, driving in with my truck.  I qualified third and I remember looking at that podium in the center of the track all weekend long like, ‘How cool would that be to finish third,’ and they were talking about the winnings and just how awesome a top-three would be, and then we win the thing.

I’m driving out and I remember looking at that thing and seeing the 21 at the top of the board and the crazy feeling that was, but I don’t think it even sunk in – like the whole Victory Lane thing.  I’m just bouncing around everywhere and the next day I’m on the plane and I look down and I see that ring and I almost teared up because I’m like, ‘Man, this is real.’  It’s not something you wake up from and go on the next day, so I’m excited to be back here this year.  I’m trying to get back to that same mindset of just appreciating being here to begin with, but you do want to back that up and you do want to win and do all those things again, so, hopefully, we have a better insight of what our goal is.” 

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:05 am

Johnson the preseason favorite of NASCAR media

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

On Wednesday, Pete Pistone and I unleashed our 2012 NASCAR season predictions on the world.

Today, NASCAR released a poll it had been taking among NASCAR media members. Jimmie Johnson came out on top, just ahead of Carl Edwards.

In our picks, both Pistone and I felt Johnson would be in the thick of the title hunt yet again, with Pistone picking him to win it all, while I placed him second. We disagreed a bit about Edwards. I'm  pegging Edwards as my preseason favorite, while Pistone think it may take him a year to recover from last season's disappointment.

Here's the complete NASCAR press release:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2012) – Undoubtedly, Jimmie Johnson would like to forget that the 2011 season ever happened. Apparently, voters in NASCARMedia.com’s annual preseason poll already have.

Members of NASCARMedia.com picked Johnson to reign supreme once again – despite a career-low sixth-place finish in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points.

Johnson received 147 votes in the annual preseason poll, just two more than Carl Edwards, who finished second in last season’s championship points. Rounding out the top 12: defending champion Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

Voting among the top four was especially close, as Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon were separated by only seven votes. Stewart trailed Johnson by three votes.

“To be honest I'm stoked they did,” Johnson said. “They know racing and know how much last year will motivate us. Now, we need to go out and do our best to make them all look good.”

Media members were also tasked with predicting the final top 10 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

NASCAR reporters feel déjà vu in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, picking Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to become the first NASCAR Nationwide repeat champion since Martin Truex Jr. accomplished the rare feat in 2004-05.

Stenhouse, who tallied 74 votes, nabbed two more than Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon and last season’s runner up Elliott Sadler. Filling out the top 10: Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr., Danica Patrick, Kenny Wallace, Cole Whitt, Trevor Bayne and Michael Annett.

Johnny Sauter came a scant six points short of winning last season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Instead, Austin Dillon wore the 2011 crown. Dillon’s gone now, moving to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCARMedia.com prognosticators believe Sauter will take advantage of his absence.

In the closest vote among the three series, Sauter’s 62 votes barely edged Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ty Dillon (Austin’s little brother) for the top spot. The younger Dillon tallied 61 votes from the media.

Rounding out the top 10: Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Crafton, James Buescheer, Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman, Joey Coulter, Nelson Piquet Jr., Jason Leffler, Justin Lofton and David Starr.

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:29 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 5:33 pm

Daytona 500 ride for David Reutimann

By Pete Pistone

The Sprint Cup Series "mystery team" has struck again and David Reutimann is the beneficiary.

Reutimann will drive a Toyota for the organization - reportedly called BK Racing - that purchased the former Red Bull Racing team's assets and tam up with Landon Cassill for the Daytona 500.

Reutimann confirmed the story Tuesday afternoon with an appearance on SIRIUS/XM NASCAR Radio.

“They’re up there in Statesville thrashing away, getting things ready to go to the Daytona 500,” Reutimann told the "Sirius/XM Speedway" program. “Things came together pretty quickly on this deal. We talked a bit a few days ago, but it took a little longer (to finalize) than I would have liked, simply because they’re trying to do so much at once. We had talks back and forth, exchanged a few text messages, and it has finally gotten to the point where we can make a bit of an announcement.
“They’re a great bunch of people. They’re very serious about what they’re doing. They’ve invested a lot of time and money to get this far, and I’m pretty impressed with what they’ve done."

Reutimann has a 26 race schedule already in place for Tommy Baldwin Racing but Daytona was not part of that plan.

Brian Vickers and Travis Kvapil remain candidates to pair with Cassill at the new team for the balance of the 2012 season.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 8:06 pm

Michael Waltrip set for 26th Daytona 500

By Pete Pistone

Michael Waltrip has worked out a deal to drive for Hillman Racin gin this year's running of the Daytona 500.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner will pilot the No. 40 entry for the team owned by Mike Hillman with Aaron's sponsorship.

Hillman acquired the Camping World Truck Series assets of Germain Racing after the 2011 season and plans to expand his program to a Sprint Cup effort beginning with Waltrip at Daytona.

“I can’t think of a better way to start off the season than to have Michael Waltrip behind the wheel of our car at Daytona,” said Hillman, who credits longtime friend and co-owner Joe Falk for the inclusion of the Cup program under the Hillman Racing banner. “I’ve been in this sport a long time, but I’ve never been so excited to go to Daytona. To have two Daytona 500 champions at the start of the season – with Ward Burton in the truck and Michael in the Cup car – positions Hillman Racing for a strong debut and a chance to win both races.” 

Waltrip will now compete against the three teams he owns and drivers Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer in the biggest race of the year.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 4:41 pm

Points swap gives Mark Martin Daytona 500 start

By Pete Pistone

More points swapping and acquisition between race teams has landed veteran Mark Martin with a guaranteed starting position in this year's Daytona 500.

Michael Waltrip Racing has worked out an agreement to transfer points from the FasLane Racing team to the No. 55 Toyota that Martin will pilot in 25 races this season.

FasLane wound up inside the Top 35 of owner points last year and thus was guaranteed a starting spot in the first five events of the new year including the season-opening Daytona 500.

While Waltrip will drive the No. 55 entry in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, Martin will now not have to worry about qualifying for the Daytona 500 through time trials or the Gatorade Duel qualifying races.

FasLane is still expected to field a car this Sprint Cup Series season and veterans Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader remain part of the roster. Labonte brings a past champion's provisional with him that would guarantee a Daytona 500 start for the team if he is tabbed to drive in the season opener.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:10 pm

Unpredictable Daytona Speedweeks lies ahead

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Trevor Bayne's win in last year's Daytona 500 set the tone for a competitive and exciting 2011 season)

The new NASCAR season is about to dawn as it has since 1959 when “The World Center of Racing” hosts Speedweeks. 

Teams have been hard at work preparing for their 10 days in Florida that will no doubt produce surprises, frustration and excitement culminating with the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26.


Things are a week later than usual at Daytona as NASCAR pushed back the proceedings in advance of the NFL’s proposed move of the Super Bowl to President’s Day weekend in the near future. The separation of the Daytona 500 from the NFL shadow was a wise move to get in front of and has also helped whet the appetites for hungry race fans anxious for the start of the season. 

But before “The Great American Race” there will be much to watch at Daytona beginning later this week so we offer you a quick “Guide to Speedweeks 2012:” 

Thursday, February 16 – Media Day

After one of the busiest and most memorable offseasons in NASCAR history, drivers will officially gather to meet the media in a daylong gathering held in a mammoth tent just outside the speedway. Sure we heard from drivers during Preseason Thunder testing in January and during the annual Media Tour in Charlotte, but Daytona Media Day offers one more chance to hear how excited everyone is for the coming campaign. It’s also a chance to see some of the new sponsor and color combinations as well as who stayed on their workout plan during the winter and who strayed from the program. 

Saturday, February 18 – ARCA 200/Budweiser Shootout

The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) stock car series begins its 60<sup>th</sup> season of activity with its annual 200-mile Daytona event. Many of today’s NASCAR stars came through the ARCA Series over the years and young drivers like Brandon McReynolds, Chris Buescher, Mikey Kile and Max Gresham bear watching Saturday afternoon. 

The main event then comes with Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, an exhibition race open to the top 25 drivers in last year’s point standings as well as others who have won at Daytona in recent years, a criteria that should produce one of the race’s largest fields in history at more than 30. Although no points are on the line, there is a healthy payday to the winner of the event, which is broken into two segments of 25 and 50 laps. But more importantly, it's the first real opportunity for teams to see NASCAR’s new rule package in place after days of testing last month in Daytona. The bigger restrictor plates, smaller spoilers and cooling system modifications -– all designed to at the very least limit the two-car tandem draft that has been so poorly received by a majority of fans –- will get a workout in the Shootout and perhaps provide a sneak peak of what to expect later in the week. 

Sunday, February 19 – Daytona 500 Qualifying

Sprint Cup drivers will get two laps around the 2.5-mile speedway in Sunday’s qualifying session with the fastest of the pair the official mark. However, unlike the other 35 races of the season, this qualifying session is unique in only the front row for the Daytona 500 is locked in. The rest of the starting lineup will be determined through Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races with a combination of finishing positions, points and qualifying speeds deciding the 43-car field.

Thursday, February 23 – Gatorade Duel at Daytona

The two Thursday races have lost some of their luster from the days of the “go or go home” heat races they were before NASCAR instituted the Top 35 rule. Now drivers who finished inside the first 35 of last year’s point standings are guaranteed berths in the Daytona 500, so, for some, these two races don’t carry as much pressure as years past. Drivers who qualified in odd spots during Sunday’s time trials make up one race while the even qualifiers comprise the second race. It’s still imperative for some outside the Top 35 to finish high enough in their race to make the field, so although it’s limited, the day does carry a certain amount of drama.

Image Detail
(Michael Waltrip scored an emotional victory in last season's truck series opener at Daytona)

Friday, February 24 – Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy 250

The season opener for the NCWTS is usually a competitive and at times slam bang affair. Last year’s race saw Michael Waltrip score an emotional win 10 years to the day after his 2001 Daytona 500 victory. This year’s Truck Series features an eclectic mix of young drivers trying to make a name for themselves and veterans looking to add to their careers. Ty Dillon takes the championship-winning ride of his older brother Austin and will face a field that includes four-time champion Ron Hornaday, former champ Mike Skinner, 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, Jason Leffler in Kyle Busch’s truck and another former Daytona winner in Todd Bodine among others.

Saturday, February 25 – Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300

This race has been the Tony Stewart show for the last four years with “Smoke” winning the season-opening race every year since 2008 and victorious in six of the last seven seasons. He’ll try it again this year and as always will battle of stellar field of Sprint Cup drivers as well as Nationwide regulars. The race will mark the debut of Austin Dillon’s NWS effort for Richard Childress Racing while Danica Patrick begins her full-time assault on the series crown. Cole Whitt, Elliott Sadler and defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- back for another complete season for Roush Fenway Racing -- will be others to watch. 

Sunday, February 26 – Daytona 500

Last year’s Cinderella story of Trevor Bayne bringing the storied Wood Brothers to Victory Lane was the start of what turned out to be what I considered the best season in NASCAR history. The number of unknowns heading into this year’s race has even the most seasoned follower wondering what will transpire once the green flag flies. Will the new rules make an impact in the style of racing? Which news driver-crew chief combinations will prosper? What teammates will be able to work together in the draft and will anyone be left out in the cold ala the last restrictor plate race at Talladega? How will the new electronic fuel injection system function? Can either Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Danica Patrick pull off a victory that would send NASCAR into the stratosphere of publicity and exposure? 

It promises to be one of the most intriguing Speedweeks in recent history. We’ll all find out together when we roll into Daytona later this week. 

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @PPistone on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed      

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com