Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Field Is Set For ‘The Clash’ 2017 At Daytona

via press release

Recently crowned seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Jimmie Johnson will join a star-studded elite field as NASCAR kicks off its 2017 season with The Clash at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017.

The annual season-opening event will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 8 p.m. ET. The 75-lap race again will be split into two segments with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments.

“What better way to kick off the 2017 season than the sport’s brightest stars under the lights at Daytona International Speedway” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Coming off a thrilling season finale at Homestead-Miami, we’re looking forward to continuing that momentum into Daytona. With bragging rights and no points on the line, the Clash will set the tone for what should be a season full of great racing and tough competition.”

“We’re bringing back The Clash at Daytona,” said Chip Wile, Daytona International Speedway president. “The Clash was a race name that has always been popular among both the competitors and race fans. We’re looking forward to bringing it back and building on the rich history of this thrilling and always unpredictable event that kicks off the NASCAR season.”

Unlike previous years, the starting field for the 2017 Clash at Daytona will not be a predetermined number of cars; rather, the field is limited to drivers who meet more exclusive criteria. Only drivers who were 2016 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Clash race winners, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2016, and drivers who qualified for the 2016 Chase are eligible.

Eligible drivers are:

2016 Coors Light Pole Awards winners (14)
·         Greg Biffle, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr.

Former Clash Race Winners (2)
·         Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart

Former DAYTONA 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners (1)
·         Danica Patrick

2016 Chase drivers (3)
·         Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Is Now A Seven-Time Cup Champion

via press release

Jimmie Johnson Makes History, Wins Record-Tying Seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Ties Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for Most Premier Series Championships.


History has been made.

Jimmie Johnson captured his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with a stirring victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt atop the all-time list.

Sunday’s win was Johnson’s 80th career victory.

To win the 2016 championship, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet outdueled the other Championship 4 drivers Joey Logano (fourth), Kyle Busch (sixth) and Carl Edwards (34th) at Homestead.

It was a year of sevens for Johnson, who took over sole possession of seventh place on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series all-time wins list after his win at Auto Club Speedway earlier this season. His wins at Atlanta and Auto Club catapulted him into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Johnson breezed through the first round of the Chase, logging his two highest laps led totals of the season to that point at Chicagoland and Dover. When the Round of 12 rolled around, he added his all-time track-record eighth win at Charlotte, leading a race-high 155 laps on the way to a Round of 8 berth. Johnson was the first to lock up a spot in the Championship 4, winning at Martinsville Speedway for the ninth time.

At the age of 41, Johnson becomes the youngest seven-time champion. Petty was 42 when he captured his seventh title in 1979; Earnhardt was 43 in 1994.

All seven of Johnson’s championships were won under team owner Rick Hendrick and with crew chief Chad Knaus.

Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, captured his record-extending 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Along with Johnson’s seven titles, Hendrick has won championships with Jeff Gordon (four) and Terry Labonte (one).

Knaus cemented his legacy as one of the top crew chiefs in NASCAR history with his seventh title, one shy of the all-time record held by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman.

Also on Sunday, Chase Elliott was named Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

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Daniel Suárez Wins 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship

via press release

Daniel Suárez Wins 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship Becomes First Latin American And Drive For Diversity Graduate To Capture NASCAR National Series Title

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 19, 2016) – It’s been a rapid rise for Daniel Suárez, who captured the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway by winning the Ford EcoBoost 300 in only his second full-time season of NASCAR national series racing. The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the first Latin American, as well as the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program operated by Rev Racing, to win a NASCAR national series title.

To take home the crown in “The Series Where Names Are Made,” Suárez, 24, outlasted his Championship 4 competitors Elliott Sadler (third), Justin Allgaier (sixth) and Erik Jones (ninth).

It was a year of firsts for Suárez, who burst onto the NASCAR XFINITY Series scene last season by earning its Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and finishing fifth in the championship standings. In his sophomore campaign, Suárez became the first Mexico-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race (June at Michigan) and to lead the points standings in a NASCAR national series.

The Monterrey, Mexico, native dazzled from the outset of the season, racking up four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first 10 contests. Suárez led the points standings following 14 separate races in the regular season and made his way into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase with his win at Michigan.

Once the Chase started, Suárez upped his performance to another level. He breezed through the Round of 12 with a win at Dover, sandwiched between a runner-up result at Kentucky and a third-place finish at Charlotte. Then, Suárez registered finishes of third (Kansas), fifth (Texas) and fifth (Phoenix) to set up his championship-clinching victory at Homestead.

Suárez is the third member of the NASCAR Next program to win a NASCAR national series championship (Erik Jones, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 2015; Chase Elliott, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2014).

Also on Saturday, Erik Jones won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, a season after accomplishing the feat in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

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