NASCAR's 'unique' winners already altering playoff landscape
Christopher Bell celebrates at the finish line after winning the NASCAR Cup Series road course auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)HOMESTEAD, Fla. – NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races. “The number of unique winners is really going to change how many cars get in on points, right? Although Bell drives for powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, he was a rookie for that top team and in his second full season in the Cup series. The Cup Series opened on a superspeedway, then raced on a road course, and now heads to an intermediate track. Whether that’s different markets, different racetracks, it has to be different from year to year.
Cindric starts new season with big Xfinity win at Daytona
Austin Cindric celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Cindric launched his bid for a second consecutive Xfinity Series title with a victory in Saturday night's season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Cindric makes his Cup Series debut Sunday in the Daytona 500. “What a way to start the season,” Cindric said. Cindric won the Xfinity Series debut on Daytona’s road course last August as well as a rallycross event early in his career. The 22-year-old has this final season in Xfinity before moving next year to Cup to drive for Penske-supported Wood Brothers Racing.
Denny Hamlin seeks historic 3rd straight Daytona 500 victory
He instead points to a pair of Southern 500 trophies, a Bristol night race victory, three road course wins, six at Pocono and the big daddy of them all, the Daytona 500. AdWith only three practice sessions and the 150-mile Duel qualifying races, there is no clear indication who has cars capable of winning the Daytona 500. Chase Elliott is the reigning series champion but hasn't had enough time to show if he's a contender for his first Daytona 500 victory. Austin Dillon won the second duel, setting him up for a possible second Daytona 500 victory on the 20th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death. “I felt like a mouse trying to find the cheese,” Hamlin said of trying to get to to the traditional ring ceremony for last year's Daytona 500 victory.
Lasting legacy: Earnhardt’s death saved lives, forced change
But losing Earnhardt forced the stock car series to confront safety issues it had been slow to even acknowledge, let alone address. The dramatic upgrades since have saved multiple lives — NASCAR hasn't suffered a racing death in its three national series since — and are the hallmark of Earnhardt’s legacy. Earnhardt's death changed everything. But Earnhardt Jr. feuded with his father’s widow and moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. He realizes Earnhardt’s death saved his life.
AP Was There: Earnhardt killed in 2001 Daytona 500 crash
“I guess someone got into Dale because Dale got into me and then we went up,” Schrader said. We’ve lost Dale Earnhardt,” Helton said. The death of Earnhardt left NASCAR reeling in the wake of a 2000 season in which three of its young stars were killed in separate accidents. All three died of the same type of head injuries that apparently killed Earnhardt. “The only reason I won this race is Dale Earnhardt,” Waltrip said.
Jones lands iconic No. 43 with Richard Petty Motorsports
43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. 43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. The loss of Wallace could have crippled RPM, the cash-strapped team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Jones won rookie of the year in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series, as well as the Truck Series championship. Richard Petty took on a series of different investors beginning in 2009 for re-branded Richard Petty Motorsports, which last put the No.
NASCAR's upcoming economic model spurs interest in new teams
Without that charter, Marks had almost no chance to get his team on track in 2021. As NASCAR plans for the 2022 cost-cutting introduction of the “NextGen” new car, the demand for charters has soared. Denny Hamlin has also entered team ownership and explored several charter opportunities before he and Michael Jordan last month bought out Germain Racing. Hamlin, as Spire had done two years ago, studied the economics of NASCAR’s planned new car and determined team ownership will be more affordable in 2022. The NextGen car was supposed to debut next season but has been delayed a year by the pandemic.
Harvick takes Southern 500 after leaders Elliott, Truex bump
Harvick didnt dominate the Southern 500 in his series-best eighth victory of the season. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win, Harvick said. PLAYOFF PUSHAlmiorola is now squarely on the bubble ranked 12th among the 16 drivers after the first playoff race. BLANEY PENALTYBlaney's title chances took a hit just hours before the first playoff race began. UP NEXTThe second playoff race is at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
Dillon leads 1-2 RCR finish in Cup race before fans at Texas
Dillon raced to his third career win and first since Daytona at the start of the 2018 season. On the final restart, Dillon got a good jump and raced to the checkered flag ahead of his rookie teammate and some veteran drivers. After leading six times for 150 laps, both highs for the race, Blaney finished seventh. It was 30 degrees warmer than it was on March 29, when the race had been scheduled before the pandemic. The spectators were spread out along the frontstretch, which was fully shaded late in the race, and there were also people in about 40 suites.
Sports jumps on PPP bandwagon, but big leagues take a pass
However, none of the four major North American sports leagues the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were among the businesses that applied, according to the data. The data showed businesses that applied for and received loans, though some may not ultimately have taken the funds. An AP survey completed in May found 32 U.S. Olympic sports organizations about 70% of all federations had applied for PPP loans. With their seasons shut down, more than a dozen minor league baseball teams turned up on the PPP rolls. The Big South Conference, Conference USA, Southland Conference and Big Sky Conference all listed less than two dozen full-time employees, according to the data.
Keselowski wins 600 to extend Johnson's losing streak
Keselowski extended Jimmie Johnson's losing streak to 102 races by holding off the seven-time NASCAR champion in overtime early Monday to win the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule. It was the first win for Keselowski this season, his first Coca-Cola 600 victory and the first win at this event for Ford since 2002. I wanted to win the 600 my whole life and wanted to win in front of everybody, Keselowski said. But almost two hours after the race, NASCAR disqualified Johnson because his Chevrolet failed post-race inspection. I was a lap-and-a-half away from winning the 600, Elliott said.
Kevin Harvick looks to sweep NASCAR's return at Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. The win by Kevin Harvick in NASCAR's return to racing over the weekend was a bit predictable considering the enormous task teams are facing in a flurry of rescheduled events. Harvick, a former series champion and former winner at Darlington Raceway, was also the points leader through the first four events. He will try for the sweep when NASCAR returns to Darlington for its first Cup race on a Wednesday since 1984, when Richard Petty scored his 200th and final victory. This anticipated midweek race is just 300 miles 100 fewer than Sunday's return race, and the same distance as next week's junior series Xfinity Series race at Charlotte but still will start a test of stamina. The Cup Series will race for a third time in a week this Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the schedule.