DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Daytona 500 pole sitter, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin won their Can-Am Duel and now hold 10 championship points heading into Sunday’s Daytona 500.

 

This is Elliott’s first career win in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, albeit in a non-points race.  This is Hamlin’s third career win in the Can-Am Duel.

 

“Oh, man we had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight. I didn’t think anybody was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple good pushes to get us out front and our spotter did a great job on the roof making sure he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back in front,” said Elliott.

 

“Yeah, it was great. Great car. Got a great push there for Austin (Dillon). We worked really well together that entire race. I’ll keep that in mind in the 500. It looked like our cars were really good together. I can’t thank this team enough for a great job by Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief). FedEx announced their renewal today so that’s a great sign of a great year hopefully to come,” said Hamlin.

 

For Elliott, he started the race from the pole position. After leading the first lap, Elliott was shuffled back, but stayed towards the front of the field.

 

When the field went back to green after the competition caution, Elliott was towards the front and was able to gain the lead after Brad Keselowski got loose, stacking the field on lap 37. Elliott was able to hold off the pack blocking both lanes to go towards victory. Jamie McMurray finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five.

 

Corey LaJoie was able to race his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500. LaJoie made contact with Reed Sorenson, who was also racing for a spot in the 500 in the tri-oval. Sorenson went high and LaJoie filled the spot as Sorenson went back down sending Sorenson hard into the inside wall, collecting Paul Menard.

 

“Every kid in a race car dreams of racing in a Daytona 500 and I get to do that on Sunday. I really do feel bad about Reed (Sorenson). I just tried to fill a hole and it was getting down to it and I probably did have position on him but man when I’m trying to get into the Daytona 500 if my mom was in that spot I’d probably wreck her too. I’m racing on Sunday. Chase (Elliott) is in victory lane – good job to him and I’ll see you guys on Sunday in the Dustless Blasting Camry,” said LaJoie.

 

In the second duel, Hamlin started in the third position and battled Dale Earnhardt Jr. early on to gain the lead.

 

When Hamlin tried to block Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin went for the block, but Jr. went the opposite to regain the lead from Hamlin. Hamlin attempted to regain the lead, but had no drafting partner and was shuffled backwards and the field went single file. Hamlin tried to get the bottom lane to work, but drivers continued to ride single-file, but as the competition caution approached, the field broke from single file formation.

 

When Hamlin went down pit road, he was busted for driving through too many pit stalls and had to start at the rear of the field.

 

Despite the penalty, Hamlin crept his way towards the front. Hamlin was able to get up to the second position in the closing moments of the race. With the help of Austin Dillon on the second to last lap, Hamlin was able to pass Jr. in turn three to score the victory. Bowyer finished second, Kurt Busch finished third, AJ Allmendinger finished fourth, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five.

 

DJ Kennington was able to race his way in by finishing ahead of Sadler by .039 seconds to race in the Daytona 500.

 

“Man does that sound good. Castrol and Lordco, everybody that’s made this happen for me, Dwight Kennedy’s done a lot in my racing career. My dad, my whole family, my wife, my kids. It’s a huge moment for us. Marty Gaunt, Gaunt Brothers Racing, Toyota, everybody that has helped us get here today, I don’t even know how to explain it. I feel like I won the Daytona 500. The 7 (Elliott Sadler) car there, it was locked in on time. I thought he was going to be a little more cautious than that. But we had to race him right to the line and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That was awesome,” said Kennington.


Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson were unable to make the 500 based on qualifying times and performance in the Can-Am Duel. Brendan Gaughan and Sadler will also join Kennington and LaJoie on Sunday in the Daytona 500.

 

The Daytona 500 will consist of drives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Daytona 500 pole sitter, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin won their Can-Am Duel and now hold 10 championship points heading into Sunday’s Daytona 500.

 

This is Elliott’s first career win in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, albeit in a non-points race.  This is Hamlin’s third career win in the Can-Am Duel.

 

“Oh, man we had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight. I didn’t think anybody was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple good pushes to get us out front and our spotter did a great job on the roof making sure he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back in front,” said Elliott.

 

“Yeah, it was great. Great car. Got a great push there for Austin (Dillon). We worked really well together that entire race. I’ll keep that in mind in the 500. It looked like our cars were really good together. I can’t thank this team enough for a great job by Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief). FedEx announced their renewal today so that’s a great sign of a great year hopefully to come,” said Hamlin.

 

For Elliott, he started the race from the pole position. After leading the first lap, Elliott was shuffled back, but stayed towards the front of the field.

 

When the field went back to green after the competition caution, Elliott was towards the front and was able to gain the lead after Brad Keselowski got loose, stacking the field on lap 37. Elliott was able to hold off the pack blocking both lanes to go towards victory. Jamie McMurray finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Keselowski finished fourth, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five.

 

Corey LaJoie was able to race his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500. LaJoie made contact with Reed Sorenson, who was also racing for a spot in the 500 in the tri-oval. Sorenson went high and LaJoie filled the spot as Sorenson went back down sending Sorenson hard into the inside wall, collecting Paul Menard.

 

“Every kid in a race car dreams of racing in a Daytona 500 and I get to do that on Sunday. I really do feel bad about Reed (Sorenson). I just tried to fill a hole and it was getting down to it and I probably did have position on him but man when I’m trying to get into the Daytona 500 if my mom was in that spot I’d probably wreck her too. I’m racing on Sunday. Chase (Elliott) is in victory lane – good job to him and I’ll see you guys on Sunday in the Dustless Blasting Camry,” said LaJoie.

 

In the second duel, Hamlin started in the third position and battled Dale Earnhardt Jr. early on to gain the lead.

 

When Hamlin tried to block Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin went for the block, but Jr. went the opposite to regain the lead from Hamlin. Hamlin attempted to regain the lead, but had no drafting partner and was shuffled backwards and the field went single file. Hamlin tried to get the bottom lane to work, but drivers continued to ride single-file, but as the competition caution approached, the field broke from single file formation.

 

When Hamlin went down pit road, he was busted for driving through too many pit stalls and had to start at the rear of the field.

 

Despite the penalty, Hamlin crept his way towards the front. Hamlin was able to get up to the second position in the closing moments of the race. With the help of Austin Dillon on the second to last lap, Hamlin was able to pass Jr. in turn three to score the victory. Bowyer finished second, Kurt Busch finished third, AJ Allmendinger finished fourth, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five.

 

DJ Kennington was able to race his way in by finishing ahead of Sadler by .039 seconds to race in the Daytona 500.

 

“Man does that sound good. Castrol and Lordco, everybody that’s made this happen for me, Dwight Kennedy’s done a lot in my racing career. My dad, my whole family, my wife, my kids. It’s a huge moment for us. Marty Gaunt, Gaunt Brothers Racing, Toyota, everybody that has helped us get here today, I don’t even know how to explain it. I feel like I won the Daytona 500. The 7 (Elliott Sadler) car there, it was locked in on time. I thought he was going to be a little more cautious than that. But we had to race him right to the line and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That was awesome,” said Kennington.


Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson were unable to make the 500 based on qualifying times and performance in the Can-Am Duel. Brendan Gaughan and Sadler will also join Kennington and LaJoie on Sunday in the Daytona 500.

 

The Daytona 500 will consist of drives from Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.

Chase Elliott scored the pole position in the 59th Daytona 500 for the second year in a row. Teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr, will start alongside Elliott leading the field to the green. This is Alan Gufstason’s third straight Daytona 500 pole as crew chief of the No. 24. Elliott had a speed of 192.872 mph. Earnhardt had a speed of 192.864 mph.

“Yeah, this is really cool. I’m just happy for our NAPA team and it’s great to have Napa on board this weekend; and a big thanks to the Hendrick engine shop and Chevrolet. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season. This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks,” said Elliott

“It feels good. I think the guys are a little bit disappointed. They really wanted to get the pole. I’m disappointed too, but am absolutely thrilled to have an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row. And we’ll work on the balance practice a lot this week and make sure it’s a good handling car for the race. But, it’s a good way to start the week,” said Earnhardt Jr.

In the first round of qualifying, Elliott was fastest at 192.308 mph. Earnhardt Jr. was second fastest at 192.267 mph, Brad Keselowski was third fastest at 192.226 mph, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth fastest at 192.201 mph, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five at 192.143 mph.

In the second round of qualifying, Keselowski was third fastest at 192.691 mph, Clint Bowyer was fourth fastest at 192.571 mph, and Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five at 192.308 mph.

Only four “open” cars will make the Daytona 500.  Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan will make the Daytona 500 based not their times in qualifying.  Timmy Hill, Corey LaJoie, DJ Kennington, and Reed Sorenson must race their way into the field in Thursday’s Can-Am Duel.

Drivers who qualified in odd positions will race in the first duel, while drivers who qualified in even positions will be in the second duel scheduled for Thursday.

The Can-Am Duels will be broadcasted at 7:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network on Thursday, February 23rd.

MARTINSVILLE, VA --  Chase Elliott will start from the pole in today’s Texas Roadhouse 200 from Martinsville Speedway. This is his second career pole in 10 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. Elliott was able to sweep all three rounds of qualifying.

 

The first round of qualifying was stopped after fluid was reported on the speedway in turns one and two. The caution flew again with less than two minutes remaining for a spin by Brad Foy. Once the track went green, there was a mad dash to get a fast lap in. However, Elliott was the fastest in the round at 95.767 mph, Christopher Bell was second fastest at 95.550 mph, Cameron Hayley was third fastest at 95.420 mph, Cole Custer was fourth at 95.280 mph, and Ben Kennedy rounds out the top-five at 95.170 mph. Four drivers will not have the chance to qualify include Foy, Kyle Soper, Casey Smith, and Donnie Levister. All Chase drivers were able to advance into the second round.

 

The second round of qualifying saw a mad dash onto the speedway to lay down a fast lap. This round went without accident. Elliott was the fastest in this round at 96.122 mph, Bell was second at 95.878 mph, Daniel Suarez was third at 95.874 mph, Custer was fourth at 95.733 mph, and William Byron rounded out the top-five at 95.685 mph. Chase drivers who did not advance to the final round were Ben Kennedy who will start 18th and Timothy Peters who will start 19th.

 

The third round of qualifying went without accident. Elliott was fastest at 96.254 mph, Suarez will start second at 95.922 mph, Custer will start third at 95.903 mph, Tyler Reddick will start fourth at 95.883 mph, and Sauter rounded out the top-five at 95.854 mph.

 

The Texas Roadhouse 200 from Martinsville will be on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1:41 p.m. EST.

A new era of NASCAR merchandising began on July 31, 2015. One year later and Fanatics has taken the fans of NASCAR by storm, introducing never before seen products, ultimately becoming part of the racing experience.

For years, fans were accustomed to the driver souvenir haulers, located around each and every race track. Many fans were sad to see their favorite drivers stand go away, but in the process adapted to Fanatics.

Chris Williams, Vice President of Trackside for Motorsports Authentic was one of the people in charge of setting up Fanatics. He had a vision of what he wanted to see at the track, and thought that this was the way of the future.

Williams has worked around for the sport for the past 30 years, and much like Fanatics celebrating it’s one year anniversary at Pocono Raceway, so is he. He once worked for Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and then became the man in charge of the 30 plus souvenir haulers.

Much like the fans, getting used to the 1.5-acre tent that Fanatics is made up of has been a transition process for him over the season.

“Fanatics had a great vision of what they wanted to do with Trackside,” Williams said of the merchandise. “A lot of people don’t realize that we were digressing away from trailers because there were really only five guys that were making a profit and we were reducing trailers as they went. What was happening is we didn’t have a full assortment of drivers. We didn’t have any Truck drivers, hardly any XFINITY drivers at all and the lower tier drivers weren’t having any coverage at all from a Trackside standpoint.”

The support of the XFINITY Series drivers has said to gone up over 100 percent and the Truck Series over 150 percent, simply because prior to Fanatics, Motorsport Authentic didn’t carry much product for those two series.

Not only did the value of product increase, but so has the support from NASCAR. The way to purchase NASCAR merchandise at the race track is unlike any other sport. For that Fanatics and NASCAR have had a great relationship in year one.

“They [NASCAR] saw the numbers go down from the trailers and they knew they needed to keep the environment as part of the show,” Williams said of the support from NASCAR. “Shopping is a part of the excitement. We have the displays, interactions and hospitality, so they wanted something to be created that was going to be fan friendly. Going up to the trailers and waiting 40 minutes to be serviced was difficult.”

While shopping at Fanatics, fans will get in and out as quickly or as slowly as one wants. Each team has its own individual pod with hundreds of products for that organization. 15-time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has five pods dedicated to him, which is upward of 100 feet of merchandising.

Over the past year brands such as Columbia, New Era and even Under Armor through Hendrick Motorsports have joined the sport. Fanatics is always trying to produce more and are hopeful that even more companies will join in the next calendar year.

Last weekend at Indianapolis was the last track that saw the new setup. Though the tent has been to every track, the company is not afraid to change.

“A year into this, we’ve gone to all the race tracks, we’ve changed them all a few times,
 Williams said. “We’ve even changed in dimension a few times. We’ve changed even location from a couple of the historical places that we set with the trailers. But when they find us, the shopping has been very good. All of the transactions are doing extremely well, compared to last year. Though we might have seen a declining in some of the race attendance, our sales are pretty much flat or better, which tells us we are giving the right things to the fans.”

Going into the new process, Motorsports Authentic wasn’t sure how the process would go. Most of the people are the same from the trailers, but this is said to be a unique experience that sets NASCAR apart.

Many of the products, including die-cast cars, t-shirts and fans are all merchandise that fans can see up close and even feel. Before, fans had to ask to see the product after waiting in a long line just to be serviced.

For years, there were over 30 trailers touring the United States, going from track-to-track. Now, full-time employees are given days off in-between races, something that hasn’t been done before.  

“Presentation wise, it looks very good and fans love the presentation part of it,” Williams said. “I think from an expectation standpoint everyone seems happy. I know from a process standpoint it’s really good.”

With 26 full-time employees, Fanatics goes into each region looking for help. The company hires over 100 people per region to help set up the process as well work at the track. Over the last 52 weeks, the company has hired 12 new people, but that doesn’t fill more than 60 cash registers.

“We do a deal online through our HR department, where they can go out and say that they would like to work in Fanatics,” Williams said. “We have a training deal that we do for different colleges that come out that’s kind of like an internship as well as a placement of positions. So far it’s turned out really well. Everyone that has come on board except for one is still here and they really like the job. They like being mobile and dealing with the consumer, they thrive on getting it done in a certain amount of timeframe because there is such a limited window.”

As year two is now in the making, Fanatics is trying to get bigger and better. With goals of expanding based on each race track, the company knows that there will be challenges.

Unlike other sports, the drivers are constantly changing colors due to sponsorship. It’s something that some fans enjoy and other fans despise, but it’s all part of the game.

“I think what we need to do is get a little bit thinner and deeper in product because we didn’t know what to expect,” Williams said of one of his main goals. “We probably enlarged our inventory 30 to 35 percent more than we ever had it. Our sport is a little different than any other sport, so we kind of learn through that.”

 Income is based solely off the market. There will always be that die-hard fan that comes in at whatever track they go to, but the money varies by different markets.

It was announced earlier this week that Earnhardt was the top driver in merchandise sales. Six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was second on the list. Defending Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was third in product sold, rookie Chase Elliott was fourth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

Since the beginning of the 2016 season at Daytona, Tony Stewart and Martin Truex, Jr. have seen their merchandise sales improve the most from last season.