The defending Daytona 500 champion enters his 12th full-time Cup season looking to get his first title. NASCAR on NBC analysts Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty discuss what No. 11 team and Hamlin, who Petty calls a “championship-caliber driver.”
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 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.
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.
Today’s episode of NASCAR America recaps all the major stories that came out of the 59th Daytona 500, which was won for the first time by Kurt Busch.
The episode airs from 6 – 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Krista Voda hosts with Dale Jarrett from Stamford, Connecticut. Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty join them from Burton’s Garage.
Voda will interview Busch just under 24 hours after the biggest win of his NASCAR career.
If you can’t catch the show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http://nascarstream.nbcsports.com
If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you plug-in that information, you’ll have access to the stream.
Click here at 6 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.