DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Team owners Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick talk prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress are rivals, friends and Hall of Famers

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They witnessed history and were a part of it. Even through their battles on and off the track over the years, they remained friends and will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame together.

There really isn’t any other way for Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress to be honored at 8 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN. They’ll join Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks in the eighth Hall of Fame Class.

Both Childress and Hendrick have had at least one Hall of Fame member drive for their teams. Childress and Hendrick drivers have combined to win 18 of the last 31 Cup championships (12 by Hendrick drivers and six by Childress drivers).

From 1990-98, Childress and Hendrick to combined to win eight of nine championships. The lone exception was Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 title. That was the only time in that period that a Childress or Hendrick driver did not finish in the top two in the points.

For all that they’ve overcome and accomplished, both cite a shared moment — not a victory — as among their most memorable in the sport.

They were both a part of the storied meeting NASCAR’s Bill France Jr. held in 1989 with Geoff Bodine and Dale Earnhardt.

Bodine, who drove for Hendrick, and Earnhardt, who drove for Childress, had several on-track incidents and neither owner could curtail their driver’s aggression. France, who ran the sport at the time, called both drivers and car owners to Daytona Beach, Florida, for a meeting that gained notoriety when a similar scene played out in the movie “Days of Thunder.’’

“I remember Rick and I sitting in with Bill Jr. and Bodine and Earnhardt at Daytona after the melees that we had then and Rick and I made a pact,’’ Childress said. “These guys are drivers. You and I are aren’t drivers. We’ll do our best to keep them straightened out. We’ve had a great relationship and still do.’’

Said Hendrick: “I remember one day they tore the cars all to pieces, (Childress) and I walked down pit road and we were both shaking our heads. What I know about Richard Childress is if you treat him with respect, he’s going to treat you with respect. We got to be friends and we understood each other. We wanted to beat each other, that’s no different than me and Roger Penske.’’

Hendrick became a car owner in NASCAR in 1984, two years before Childress won his first series title with Earnhardt. That was the first of six titles the duo won in nine years.

“He and Dale Earnhardt, they were the standard,’’ Hendrick said of Childress. “When I first started, I didn’t think anybody would ever beat them. When Jeff (Gordon) came along and started running really well, he was challenging them. It kind of got to be a little bit of a deal between Jeff and Dale. It was very, very, very competitive, but Richard and I … (remained) good friends.’’

Hendrick’s drivers have won seven of the last 11 championships, including Johnson’s record-tying seventh crown last season.

“Today, they’re the goal we’re all shooting for,’’ Childress said of Hendrick.

Tonight, they both will be on the same stage with many others looking to be in their place some day.

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NASCAR America: Recapping Kurt Busch’s ‘patient’ Daytona 500 win

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A day after his Daytona 500 win, the NASCAR America crew breaks down everything Busch had to do to win. Busch drove the final 30 laps without a rear-view mirror while worrying about how much gas he had left.

Tony Stewart, who owns the No. 41, called the win the most “patient” race of Busch’s career.

Check out the logo for the 60th Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Fans crowd the infield prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Sure, it’s been roughly 24 hours since Kurt Busch won the 59th Daytona 500.

But it’s not too early to start ramping up to the next entry of the “Great American Race.”

Daytona International Speedway has already unveiled the logo for the 60th Daytona 500, which is scheduled to be run on Feb. 18, 2018.

Check out it out below.

Denny Hamlin, girlfriend Jordan Fish expecting second child

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am Duel 2
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Denny Hamlin didn’t make it back-to-back wins in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but he still had a good day.

Hamlin’s longtime girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted just before the “Great American Race” that their first child, 4-year-old daughter Taylor, will soon have a brother or sister.

Fish tweeted a photo of Taylor wearing a “Big Sister In Training” shirt that told the whole story.

Congratulations to the couple and the soon-t0-be addition to their family.

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Matt DiBenedetto delivers Go Fas Racing best Cup Series result in team history

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the #32 EJ Wade Construction Ford, practices for the 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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It took 99 starts, a revolving door of drivers and the crash fest that was the 59th Daytona 500.

That’s all it took before Matt DiBenedetto was able to give his new NASCAR Cup Series team, Go Fas Racing, its best result in team history, finishing ninth in Sunday’s “Great American Race.”

DiBenedetto, driving the No. 32 Ford owned by Archie St. Hilaire, simply survived.

Despite being in the 17-car wreck on Lap 128, DiBenedetto’s car stayed in one piece and, after a last pit stop, had enough gas to take advantage of the misfortune of others. The result is his second top 10 in two seasons.

“That’s a heck of a way to start the year,” DiBenedetto said after the race. “Holy cow. We survived. We got in that one crash and we hit pretty hard. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be a long day,’ but the guys did a great job patching it up. It still ran fine. I had good speed. The motor ran great all day, so it was cool.”

Starting his third full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, DiBenedetto rolled off 25th in his second Daytona 500 start. The native of Grass Valley, California, had an average running spot of 21.35.

As the laps wound down, teams ahead of DiBenedetto began dropping off as their fuel tanks dried up. The 25-year-old driver had no idea what position he was in as he took the checkered flag.

“No, I didn’t honestly,” DiBenedetto said. “The whole race we were pitting multiple times just trying to make sure it was fixed properly and taking our time and we just kept picking them off one at a time and it turned out to be a great day.”

It was DiBenedetto’s best day since he earned an emotional sixth-place finish in last year’s spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Then, DiBenedetto was with BK Racing, which he decided to leave following the season.

“It was definitely different,” DiBenedetto said. “This one was a little bit more survival. … I would say they’re different feelings, but being in the Daytona 500 in the first place is unbelievable. So I’m gonna say this one does feel really good just because it’s the Daytona 500 and it’s been my dream since I was five to even be in it. So to get a top 10 in it, I’m just checking off all these dreams come true.”

Go Fas Racing made its Cup Series debut in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway with Scott Speed driving its No. 95 Ford.

DiBenedetto is the 23rd driver to take the reigns of a Go Fas Racing car, but the first to drive full-time.

“We’ve taken the team and brought in some really good people,” DiBenedetto said. “I’m so lucky to have my crew chief, Gene Nead, who came in and assembled some of the best guys we could possibly get, so we have some real quality people, some of the folks that were at BK with me. It’s amazing to have that tight of a group, where they are so dedicated to follow me and Gene wherever we go.

“That’s special. You don’t find that often, so we have such a great relationship and I think that’s where we’re gonna turn a lot of heads this year and surprise everybody. You’re only as good as the people around you and we have really good people. I’m fortunate to have them. We’re gonna turn some heads. We have 15 employees total versus some people who have 400-500, but we have 15 good, quality people and our goal is to over-achieve all year.”

It’s doesn’t hurt to start in the Daytona 500.

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