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NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series at Daytona tonight

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 1

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET, NASCAR America Saturday, NBCSN, 5 p.m.

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on lap 160)

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Next Race: Coca-Cola Firecracker 250

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Friday, June 30

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 100)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225

The Place: Kentucky Speedway

The Date: Thursday, July 6

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 225 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 35),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Parity Party: 11 Different Winners In First 16 Races

Heading into Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), 11 different drivers have visited Victory Lane through the first 16 races of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

 

With a number of NASCAR’s current and upcoming stars still searching for wins, there’s a realistic chance 16 different drivers will have at least one win at the conclusion of the 26-race regular season. In the modern era, the record for the most different winners through the first 26 races is 16.
Previous winners still trying to visit Victory Lane in 2017 include: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and David Ragan.

 

Some young up-and-coming stars who have proven they’re not far from a win are Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.

 

Remember to never rule out a dark horse driver at restrictor-plate Daytona International Speedway or the road course at Watkins Glen International.

 

Past winners by remaining regular season tracks without capturing a checkered flag in 2017 are listed below:

 

Daytona: Kenseth, Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Ky. Busch, Bayne, Almirola, Ragan

Kentucky: Ky. Busch, Kenseth

New Hampshire: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Hamlin, Kahne

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Menard

Pocono: Hamlin, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, Buescher

Watkins Glen: Hamlin, Ky. Busch, Allmendinger

Michigan: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne

Bristol: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Darlington: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth

Richmond: Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Dale-Tona: Earnhardt Ready To Roll At Daytona, May Compete In Another Great American Race

With win totals of six and four at Talladega and Daytona, respectively, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR’s current restrictor-plate wins leader.

 

Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola was initially believed to be Earnhardt’s final race at “The Birthplace of Speed,” but Earnhardt did not rule out running another Daytona 500 during his media availability at Sonoma last week.

 

“I am just retiring from full-time racing,” Earnhardt said. “I am going to run some XFINITY races next year. I don’t know that I won’t ever run the Daytona 500 again if the right deal comes along. All these tracks you have memories at all of them, Daytona included.”

 

In addition to his four Daytona wins, Earnhardt claims 13 top fives and 19 top 10s in 35 starts at the 2.5-mile track. His 14.3 average finish and 94.2 driver rating rank second-best among active drivers there.

 

Positioned 22nd in the standings, Earnhardt sits 134 points behind Clint Bowyer for the final playoff spot and virtually must win to get into the postseason and make a run at his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

 

Click Here For A By The Numbers Look Of Earnhardt’s Career At Daytona International Speedway
Keselowski Goes For Daytona Summer Repeat

Last season’s summer Daytona winner Brad Keselowski will attempt to defend his 2016 win on Saturday. A skilled restrictor-plate racer, Keselowski has four wins at Talladega to go along with his one at Daytona.

 

He’ll try to join the back-to-back club of Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola winners that includes Fireball Roberts (1962-63), A.J. Foyt (1964-65), Cale Yarborough (1967-68), David Pearson (1972-75) and Tony Stewart (2005-06).

 

In 16 starts at the 2.5-mile track, the No. 2 Ford driver also owns three top fives and four top 10s.

 

At the moment, Keselowski ranks fifth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings (140 points behind leader Kyler Larson) on the strength of two race wins, two stage wins, nine top fives and 11 top 10s.

 

Busch Goes For First Daytona Sweep Since 2013

Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch will go for the first track sweep since Jimmie Johnson won twice at the 2.5-mile track in 2013.

 

In February, Busch led only the final lap to take the checkered flag in NASCAR’s crown jewel event.

 

Although he has only one Daytona win, Busch ranks third among active drivers there in driver rating (90.6) and average finish (15.2).

 

Four other drivers in addition to Johnson have swept the Daytona races: Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarborough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962).

 

Young Guns Prepared To Shine Again At Daytona

Many of the young guns in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series produced strong performances in the Daytona 500. They’ll try to put on a show again in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Presented by Coca-Cola.

 

Ryan Blaney, 23, headlined the effort with a runner-up showing, while Joey Logano, 27, placed in the top 10 with a sixth-place finish. Matt DiBenedetto, 26, came in ninth, while Trevor Bayne, 26, took 10th.

 

Kyle Larson, 24, placed 12th in “The Great American Race,” but led on the final lap before running out of fuel. Chase Elliott, 21, finished 14th, but led 39 laps until he ran out of fuel, as well.

Harvick Revved Up For Daytona After First Win

Kevin Harvick picked up his first win of the season, leading 24 laps on his way to Victory Lane at Sonoma. He’s now won at least one race in the last eight seasons.

 

A mainstay at the top of the standings the last few seasons, Harvick finds himself there again. He ranks third in points – 111 markers below leader Kyle Larson. For the year, he also claims three stage wins, eight playoff points, six top fives and 10 tops 10s.

 

In 32 Daytona starts, Harvick claims two wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s and a 16.3 average finish.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

NASCAR Returns To NBC: This weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the NBC family of networks for the rest of the season. Rick Allen serves as the lead race announcer and is joined in the booth by 21-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte.

 

The pre-race show is hosted by Krista Voda, three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett and auto racing icon Kyle Petty. Reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Parker Kligerman provide pre- and post-race coverage from pit road and the garages.

 

A new features reporter, four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon, joins the team. Rutledge Wood will continue to report features as well.

 

NBCSports.com lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan handles breaking news.

 

Saturday’s pre-race coverage will include a special essay on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his final race at Daytona, voiced by legendary broadcaster and member of 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ken Squier.

NASCAR Decades Premieres on NBCSN: NASCAR Productions and NBC are teaming up to celebrate the sport’s unique culture, moments and characters in two original documentaries highlighting some of NASCAR’s most iconic eras. Premiering this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN,NASCAR Decades: The 70s incorporates interviews and rare NASCAR archival material to feature everything from the hairstyles to the paint schemes that distinguished the time period.

 

Personalities including Ric Flair, Larry Webster and Tim Dugger are featured alongside current drivers and NBC talent, such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Steve Letarte and Rutledge Wood, among numerous others.

 

The second era-themed special, NASCAR Decades: The 80s, premieres on July 7 at 11 p.m. ET following the NASCAR XFINTY Series race on NBCSN.

 

Watch the trailer here.

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Taking The Stage: Stage Points Key To JR Motorsport’s Dominance

Stage racing has not only out brought out great action on the track through varying strategies, but it has also provided a new element in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings that allows the competitors to accumulate points by finishing in the top 10 at the end of each stage. Above all other contenders this season, JR Motorsports drivers Elliott Sadler (standings leader), Justin Allgaier (second in points) and William Byron (third in points) have taken advantage of the new system the best, and it is showing dividends.

Current standings leader Elliott Sadler has yet to win this season, but has been quite consistent, posting the series-most top fives (six) and top 10s (12) through 14 races. Sadler sits 25 points ahead of his teammate Justin Allgaier in the standings, but is second to him in stage points. This season, Sadler has amassed 113 stage points; which is 22.5% of his total driver standings points (502). Sadler also leads all championship challengers in stage wins with three, which translates to three playoffs points. Two of Sadler’s three stage wins were at Daytona in the season opener and the third was at Michigan.

You can call him the XFINITY series stage points master, as Justin Allgaier is second in the driver standings (-25 from the leader), but he is first in accumulation of stage points this season with 116; which is 24.3% of his total driver standings points total (477). Allgaier is having a career-best season; he has posted a win (Phoenix), four top fives and seven top 10s through 14 races. Allgaier also leads the series in playoff points with seven – five from the win at Phoenix and two from stage wins at Richmond and Talladega.

He might be third in the standings, 32 points back from second place, but he is the most recent winner of the JRM bunch, and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron is no slouch in stage points gathering either.  The 19-year-old from North Carolina, has accrued the third-most stage points this season with 82; which is 18.4% of his driver standings points total (445). Coming off his victory last weekend at Iowa and now locked into the playoffs, Byron is having a strong showing in his rookie campaign. In 14 starts this season he has a win, four top fives and eight top 10s – currently second-most in the series.

The JR Motorsports drivers have set themselves apart from their nearest competitors. In the driver standings, third-place William Bryon is 89 points ahead of fourth-place Daniel Hemric. Hemric also has the fourth-most stage points this season at 53; which is 29 points less than Byron.

At Daytona in the season opener in February, Sadler dominated the event early on, leading the most laps (40), but it was Byron with the best finish (ninth), as Sadler (24th) and Allgaier (30th) were caught in late-race incidents.

Break Out The Broom: Ryan Reed Looks For Sweep In Returns To The Sunshine State

Earlier this season, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed became the ninth different driver to post multiple wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at the ‘World Center of Racing’ Daytona International Speedway, and this weekend he is looking to join Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003) as just the second driver in series history to sweep both Daytona events in one season.

Back in February, Reed led just nine laps and won the 2017 season opener at Daytona and in the process grabbed his second Daytona win (2017, 2015) and joined Dale Earnhardt (seven), Tony Stewart (seven), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (six), Darrell Waltrip (three), Randy LaJoie (three), Geoff Bodine, Joe Nemechek and Matt Kenseth (two each) as a multiple series race winner at DIS.

Reed is currently fifth in the series driver standings, 155 points back from the leader Elliott Sadler. In 14 starts this season, he has posted a win, two top fives and four top 10s.

In seven starts at Daytona, Reed has posted the second-best driver rating (93.7) and average running position (11.6) among championship contenders.  Plus, two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 8.4 – series-best among title contenders.

Feeling The Squeeze: Ryan Sieg and Brendan Gaughan Outside The Playoff Bubble

The NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs are just 12 races away and the drivers outside the playoff cutoff line are starting to feel the heat as the regular season inches closer to its conclusion. Two drivers who made the playoffs last season, but are currently just outside the playoff threshold are Ryan Sieg (-24 points behind 12th) in 13th and Brendan Gaughan (-26 points back from 12th) in 14th.

RSS Racing’s driver Ryan Sieg is coming off his NASCAR XFINITY Series career-best finish after he posted a runner-up performance at Iowa Speedway last weekend. Three races ago, Sieg was 15th in points, but since then has posted a 15th-place finish at Michigan and a runner-up at Iowa, and now he is knocking on the door of playoff contention just 24 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch.

Sieg returns to Daytona this weekend riding a wave of momentum, which should continue this weekend as Sieg matched his previous best-career finish of third in this event last season. In seven starts at Daytona, Sieg has posted two top fives and three top 10s.

Richard Childress Racing’s Brendan Gaughan is just two points behind Sieg in 13th and 26 points behind 12th-place Blake Koch, but don’t count him and the No. 62 team out just yet. Gaughan won his first stage of the season this past weekend at Iowa, and in the process brought his stage points total to 38; which is 15.2% of his driver standing points total (249).

In Gaughan’s last three starts at Daytona, he has posted two top fives and three top 10s; including finishing fifth earlier this season. Plus, over the next several weeks, the series returns to some of Gaughan’s best tracks, specifically Kentucky and Road America where he has posted wins.

Can’t Stop The Youth: Average Age Of Drivers In The Top 10 In Points Has Dropped Over The Last Decade

The next generation of NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers is here, and the proof is in the stats.

Following this past weekend’s race at Iowa (13th race of the 2017 season), the average age of the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver inside the top 10 of the championship standings is a youthful 26.7 years old. When you compare that to the 2008 season, during the same timeframe a decade ago (following 13th race of the season), the average age was 31.7 years – an average age difference of 5.5 years.

Comparing the younger drivers inside the top 10 in points this season to the ones a decade ago – three drivers this season are 20 or younger (William Byron, 19; Cole Custer, 19; and Matt Tifft, 20), but in 2008, not one driver inside the top 10 in points was under the age of 23 (Kyle Busch was the youngest at 23).

NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.

Series Daytona Stats To Know: The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 51 series events at Daytona International Speedway. The very first NXS race at Daytona was on February 13, 1982 (inaugural series season), and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. The 51 series races have produced a total of 26 different winners and 38 different pole winners. The record for the fastest average speed of a NXS race at Daytona was set by Geoff Bodine on February 16, 1985 (157.137 mph). The fastest pole speed in the series at DIS was set by Tommy Houston (194.389 mph) on February 14, 1987. The most leaders in an NXS race at Daytona was 20 set in 2013, and the most lead changes was 41 set in 2012.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Points Update: William Byron continues to hold the point in the rookie standings this season: William Byron (184), Daniel Hemric (153), Cole Custer (150), Matt Tifft (129), Spencer Gallagher (105) and Ben Kennedy (49).

 

Owner Points Update: Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team currently is 82 points ahead of the second-place Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro team following Iowa last weekend. Roger Penske is looking for his fourth owner title in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.

 

Double Duty Drivers In Daytona: Five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers – Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie, Daniel Suárez, Erik Jones and Joey Logano – are entered this weekend in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race and will be pulling double duty at Daytona International Speedway.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Nemechek Goes Back-To-Back

NEMCO Motorsports driver John Hunter Nemechek scored his second-consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season when he won the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Stores at Iowa Speedway.

 

Nemechek maneuvered himself past reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter with six laps remaining following a late-race caution to win his second race this season.

 

The win was Nemecheck’s fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory and his first at Iowa Speedway. This marks the second-consecutive season that Nemechek has had at least two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins.

 

With two wins this season, Nemechek is positioning himself nicely for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. He is tied for the most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins this season with Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell at two wins each.

 

Sauter Remains Points Leader Through Front Nine

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter appears on track for another championship-worthy season through nine races this season.

 

Sauter has one win (Dover, spring), seven top fives and eight top 10s, with 290 laps led. He owns an average finish on the season of 4.2, which is impressive considering his average place differential on the year is +0.5.

 

The GMS Motorsports driver has finished top-three or better in seven races this season and currently leads Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell by 42 points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

 

Sauter also has the most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stage wins through nine races, collecting five so far. He has one more stage win than the next closest driver, which is Bell with four.

Enfinger Earns Sunoco Rookie Lead

ThorSport Racing driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Grant Enfinger took a slight lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points battle following last week’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway.

 

Heading into Iowa, Enfinger was tied with Brad Keselowski Racing driver Chase Briscoe in Sunoco Rookie of the Year points, 104-104.

 

After Enfinger finished fourth at Iowa – his fourth-consecutive top-five finish – he’s taken sole possession of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points lead, nudging Briscoe 122-117.

 

Following Enfinger (points leader) and Briscoe (-5), Noah Gragson (-24), Kaz Grala (-30) and Austin Cindric (-53) round out the top five in the series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Brad Keselowski Racing Rumbling

With the graduation of Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick to the NASCAR XFINITY Series this past off season, this left two openings at Brad Keselowski Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hemric went to Richard Childress Racing, where he’s racing full-time in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Reddick went to Chip Ganassi Racing, racing part-time in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

 

This opened the door for two young Sunoco Rookies.

 

Chase Briscoe (22) took over the No. 29 Ford F-150 and Austin Cindric (18) climbed into the No. 19 Ford F-150.

 

So far in 2017, both Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders are wheeling on all cylinders.

 

Briscoe is currently third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings and has yet to finish outside the top-25 all season. He has two top-two finishes in his last three races and has led 105 laps this season. He’s also won two Keystone Light Poles. He remains second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind ThorSport’s Grant Enfinger.

 

Prior to the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Cindric had limited experience in the series. He started four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in 2016 and two races in 2015. Through nine races this season, Cindric has finished top-25 or better in every race but one. He has one top five and three top 10s, with seven laps led on the year. Cindric is fifth in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and 11th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

Gragson Grabs Another Pole

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Noah Gragson is picking up speed… and he’s fast.

 

Gragson has earned two 21 Means 21 Poles in his last three races. He’s tied with fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Briscoe for second-most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series poles won this season with two. They both trail Christopher Bell, who has won three poles.

 

He’s also scored top-nine or better finishes in six of his last seven races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season.

 

Gragson has climbed all the way to third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and is currently right on the fringe of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs as he sits ninth in the points standings.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Next Stop: Kentucky Speedway

Following Iowa, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take a week off as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series head to Daytona International Speedway.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series picks back up at Kentucky Speedway for the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 on Thursday, July 6 (7:30 p.m. ET. on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year William Byron is the defending race winner, while John Hunter Nemechek (second), Christopher Bell (fourth) and Johnny Sauter (fifth) all scored in the top-five.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.

Burton Scores Best Finish: NASCAR Next driver Harrison Burton earned his best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish at Iowa Speedway when he finished 11th in the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Burton has competed in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season and has finishes of 13th (Martinsville), 13th (Dover) and 11th (Iowa).

 

2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Collects First NASCAR XFINITY Series Win: 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie champ William Byron won his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway. He’s had a strong rookie campaign in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, collecting one win, four top fives and eight top 10s.

 

Owner Standings Update: GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet remains in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings lead, edging out Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota by 42 points. Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford (-76) is in third, while ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Toyota (-95) and No. 27 Toyota (-123) are fourth and fifth, respectively.

Manufacturer Standings Update: Following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway, Chevrolet has taken the lead from Toyota in the manufacturer championship points standings. Chevrolet now leads Toyota by six points, with Chevrolet having five wins to Toyota’s four wins. Ford remains in third in the manufacturer championship points standings and has yet to win this season.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS