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.

After a race dominated by Toyota and Denny Hamlin — who led 48 of 75 laps— and a last lap pass attempt by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano wound up with victory in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Season on a high note.

 

This is Logano’s first win in the Clash. Logano joins Kurt Busch and Rusty Wallace in the hall of Clash victories for Team Penske.

 

“It’s cool to win the Clash. We came so close last year and it’s really neat to be in Victory Lane and a good start to our day,” said Logano post race.

 

Logano started the race in the ninth position, but quickly saw his way to the front of the field quickly with Keselowski and Ford teammate, Kevin Harvick. The Ford contingent kept strong to hold off the Toyota contingent of Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Daniel Suarez.

 

Logano quickly lost his drafting partner when Keselowski was busted on pit road for driving through too many pit boxes.

 

When the race restarted, Logano held his own while trying to battle with the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent. With one lap remaining in the first segment, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates and Alex Bowman dived onto pit road leaving Logano with the lead as the first segment ended.

 

That move by Toyota gave them the upper hand when it came to the second segment as they lead the top-four positions for majority of the second segment.

 

Logano went quiet for most of the second segment awaiting Keselowski, but when the time was right Keselowski worked his way through the field to Logano. Logano began pushing Keselowski towards the lead, helping to side-draft the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent.

 

When the white flag flew, Logano and Keselowski made their way to the second and third position. Logano was third as Keselowski, made contact with Hamlin spinning him. Logano quickly moved to the outside of the turn to the lead gaining a huge advantage over Ky. Busch.

 

“I had to make the move.  I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again,” said Keselowski about the move he had to make.

 

“There’s really not much I can do differently at the end. Perhaps staying in the middle lane there through one and two and trying to side draft. He (Brad Keselowski) had help from the 22 (Joey Logano). I was in a bad spot there. He was just coming so much faster than what I was,” said Hamlin. “There’s not much that I could have done to defend. We lined up so well as Toyota teammates throughout the race that once those guys started breaking that up and leap frogging, he (Keselowski) had commitment from the 22 and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and when they were able to back up there that really put us at a speed differential.”

 

Hamlin ended up finishing 13th, while Keselowski finished sixth after their collision on the exit of turn two.

 

Logano scored Ford Performance’s first victory in the Clash since 2004 when Dale Jarrett won the race.

 

Ky. Busch finished second, Bowman finished third, Danica Patrick finishes fourth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.

he 2016 season for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was one for the record books. The team kicked of their 25th season with winning the Daytona 500 to winning a second consecutive championship. The team formed a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing, but that did not stop the success of the organization. Drivers for the organization were Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth.

 

Hamlin kicked off the season at Daytona with a close finish in the Daytona 500 edging out Martin Truex Jr. by .008 seconds. Hamlin’s season was plagued with numerous penalties on pit road. Hamlin was in contention to win numerous races over the season. Hamlin had four DNF’s throughout the season with three resulting from accidents and one engine issue. After winning the season opening race, Hamlin scored victory at Watkins Glen and Richmond, where he started on the pole. With his three wins, Hamlin was able to make the playoffs. Hamlin made it to the third round by the skin of his teeth edging out Austin Dillon by .006 seconds at Talladega. In the third round, Hamlin scored three top-10 finishes, but was able to advance to the final round at Homestead Miami Speedway.

 

Busch picked up in 2016 where he left off after his championship in 2015. His season started out with a third place finish at Daytona. In the following week, Busch won the pole but had to forfeit the pole after his time was disallowed due to failing post-qualifying inspection. Despite losing the pole, Busch captured the pole at Phoenix. Busch captured his first victory of the season and first victory at Martinsville leaving Charlotte and Pocono as the only tracks where he hasn’t won at.  He followed up the victory in Martinsville with a win at Texas Motor Speedway. However, Busch was in an accident at Bristol which resulted in his first DNF on the season. However, the rebound came quickly with second place finishes at Richmond and Talladega, and a victory at Kansas Speedway. However, that comeback was short lived with DNF’s at Dover and Charlotte, a 31st place finish at Pocono, and engine issues at Michigan. Busch stayed consistent over the next seven races with a victory at Indianapolis. Bristol was another DNF for Busch as he suffered a crash. Going into the playoffs, Busch started off strong with a win at Chicago that moved him into the next round. In the second round, Busch had strong finishes at Charlotte and Kansas, but was conservative with Kenseth and Edwards to secure a spot in the “Round of 8”. Busch made his way through that round with three top-five finishes in a move to return to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami. However, Busch came up short on a back-to-back championship, but left the season with strong momentum going into 2017.

 

For Edwards, 2016 would be his last as a driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition. His 2016 season started strong with two top-five finishes at Daytona and Atlanta. After an 18th place finish at Las Vegas, Edwards scored two poles at Texas and Bristol as well as two wins at Bristol and Richmond. His first DNF of the season came at Talladega. His second DNF came two weeks alter at Dover. Edwards was able to recover after Charlotte with three top-10 finishes and a pole at Sonoma. His third DNF came at Daytona, but came into Kentucky with a  second place finish. After terrible finishes at New Hampshire and Indianapolis, Edwards posted five top-20 finishes including two poles at Watkins Glen and Bristol. Going into the playoffs, Edwards did not have the momentum, but had the consistency. He scored the pole at New Hampshire in the first round, but no wins. He made it into the second round with finishes of 12th and second at Charlotte and Kansas, and went conservative at Talladega to keep his hopes going into the “Round of 8”. With a win at Texas, Edwards clinched his spot into the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami. Edwards was less than 10 laps away for clinching his first championshi, but greed for position ensued from behind leaving Edwards with a wrecked vehicle.

 

Kenseth rode in 2016 very quietly. In the first few races of 2016, he was without his veteran spotter, Chris Osborne, after he suffered injury from an accident in the offseason. Kenseth was about a half a mile away from winning another Daytona 500, but a gutsy move pushed him out of the draft and resulted in a 14th place finish. The season did not start off strong for Kenseth; His first top-10 finish in the first eight races came at Phoenix. His second top-10 came at Richmond. His first DNF came at Talladega after an accident on the backstretch. However, the next four races resulted in a top-10 finish including a win at Dover. His next run of top-10 finishes began at Kentuck with three top-10 finishes including a win at New Hampshire. After Indianapolis, Kenseth only had two top finishes before the playoff began. When the playoffs began, Kenseth became more consistent with his top-10 finishes. In the opening round of the playoffs, Kenseth had three top-10 finishes. In the second round, Kenseth won at Kansas to move to the third round. Kenseth came just short in the third round to move to the Championship Round. Kenseth ended the season at Homestead with a seventh place finish.

 

2017 will be a year of change at Joe Gibbs Racing. With Edwards going into retirement, Daniel Suarez will move on up and have his chance in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Despite not having Edwards, JGR will continue to be the dominate powerhouse in the Cup Series. It will be interesting to see how Hamlin, Busch, and Kenseth will lean on Suarez and vice versa. JGR is the team to watch going into 2017.

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season was full of magic and history breaking wins for champion, Daniel Suarez. 2016 was his second full-time season racing for Joe Gibbs in the Xfinity Series.

 

Suarez started the season at Daytona through starting on the outside of the front row. He ultimately finished eighth. As the season began to get going, Suarez kept qualifying within the top-three alongside Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. While his teammates kept grabbing poles, he was finally able to grab his first pole of the season at Auto Club Speedway. He went on to win three more poles at Iowa, Dover, and Homestead-Miami. Suarez qualified within the top-10 throughout the season.

 

Coming out of the 2015 season, it was not a matter of if, but when Suarez would win his first career race in the Xfinity Series. It took Suarez only 13 races to snag his first win and lock him into the Chase in the Xfinity Series at Michigan International Speedway.

 

The race was dominated by Kyle Busch, but Suarez was able to pass Busch at the start of the last lap. Suarez was able to hold off a charging to Busch to gain the victory. He suffered a speeding penalty earlier in the race. On that day, Suarez only led four laps to become the first driver from Mexico to win in NASCAR.

 

Suarez was able to finish all the races in 2016 except two. At Daytona in July, he was involved in an accident on lap 48. At Iowa, Suarez suffered an engine failure on lap 134 that resulted in a 30th place finish.

 

In the final 10 races of the season, Suarez did not post a finish outside of the top-10. When the Chase began, Suarez was able to win in the rain-delayed race at Dover. In the “Round of 8”, Suarez was consistent with two fifth place finishes and a third place finish to move on to Homestead.

 

Homestead was when the fire caught a flame. Suarez was able to start from the pole position. Suarez ran a flawless race in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead, where he scored a perfect driver rating of 150.0.

 

“It’s very hard to put into words,” said Suarez after making his title run. “I’m speechless right now. I’m just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have – my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn’t have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream.”

 

The victory at Homestead by Suarez allowed for Toyota to win the Manufacturer’s Championship in the Xfinity Series.

 

Suarez completed 5424 laps of the 5579 laps ran in the 2016 season. He lead  347 laps throughout the season. He had 19 top-fives and 27 top-10’s. On average, he started at 3.9. He had an average finish of 8.0 throughout the 33 races.

 

Suarez will continue to race for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017.