Turner Motorsports makes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Daytona International Speedway (DIS)... This weekend will mark a major milestone for Turner Motorsports, which fields three teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and three teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team will make its debut in the NSCS with veteran and legend, Bill Elliott. Elliott, who has accumulated 44 series wins over the course of his career, will drive the No. 50 Walmart Chevrolet in conjunction with the company's 50th birthday celebration. This will mark Elliott's 828th career NSCS start.
Elliott at Daytona International Speedway, by the numbers.... Bill Elliott has made 59 career NSCS starts at DIS, accumulating four wins, 15 top-fives, 24 top-10s and five poles. He has an average starting position of 17.4, coupled with an average finishing position of 15.6. His last win at Daytona came in 2001 after starting fifth while driving for Ray Evernham.
Other interesting stats:
Elliott is one of six drivers to win at Daytona from the Coors Light pole more than once - he did it in 1985 and 1987.
Elliott is tied with Dale Jarrett for the seventh-most all-time points race wins at Daytona in the NSCS with four.
Elliott is ninth overall in laps led in points-paying races at Daytona with 617 laps led.
Elliott has started 59 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races at Daytona, the fifth-most all-time behind Richard Petty (74), Dave Marcis (67), Buddy Baker (64) and Ricky Rudd (60).
Elliott holds the NSCS track qualifying record for Daytona with a speed of 210.364 mph (42.783 sec.) on Feb. 9, 1987 driving a Ford for Harry Melling.
Happy 50th Birthday Walmart!... Walmart's sponsorship of the No. 50 entry at DIS was announced in January as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. In honor of the occasion, Walmart's Race Time program was launched and it is the largest retail promotion in NASCAR history. Race Time 2012 gives customers more accessibility to discounted race tickets, driver appearances and fan events at Walmart stores. It also offers a greater selection of authentic NASCAR merchandise available at Walmart stores and www.Walmart.com/NASCAR.
Who's on the pit box? Trent Owens will call the shots for Elliott and the No. 50 Walmart team this weekend. Owens is typically atop the pit box for Turner Motorsports' No. 30 NASCAR NNS entry which currently sits fifth in owner points. The Owens-led team captured the victory in the 2012 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway with driver, James Buescher. Most recently, he led Nelson Piquet, Jr. to victory at Road America.
Elliott on this weekend's Pepsi 300
Any favorite Daytona memories? " Obviously the wins are pretty special, but for the most part, any time you can go down there and run well it's a good deal."
What makes Daytona different than any other race? "At Daytona, handling used to be the most important thing and what you spent most of your time working on. Then with the new surface, handling became less of an issue. Now, since they have changed the rear spolier, handling is back in and something you have to keep up with."
Expectations for this weekend? "I'm looking forward to being a part of Turner Motorsports Cup debut and to celebrating Walmart's 50th birthday. This has been a pretty cool deal to be a part of. I know we're going to have a good, competitive car. We just have run a smooth race and put ourselves in the right position at the right time."
Favorite statement about Daytona? "I think Tony Stewart said it best when he talked about what it's like to race at Daytona. He said 'Racing at Daytona is like a high speed chess game but I ain't smart enough to even play checkers.' I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us out there. (laughs)"
Owens on leading Turner Motorsports into their NSCS debut
"It's exciting to be part of Turner Motorsports first Cup race with Bill Elliott and support from Walmart. We've come a long way in just the last two years, so to take this step is really going to be a milestone for everyone who works so hard for this team every day."
Turner Motorsports PR