Gray Gaulding

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Four Cup teams penalized practice time

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida —  Four cars, including those of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, will be docked 15 minutes of time in Saturday’s final Cup practice for inspection issues.

The teams of Busch, Johnson, AJ Allmendinger and Gray Gaulding each will miss the final 15 minutes for failing qualifying inspection twice.

Final Cup practice is from 12:05 – 12:55 p.m. ET today.

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BK Racing owner explains reason for filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — BK Racing owner Ron Devine said his team filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy to keep Union Bank & Trust from taking control of the team’s charter and selling it.

BK Racing filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday afternoon in Western District Court of North Carolina. In its bankruptcy filing, BK Racing estimated the number of its creditors as 50-99. The team estimated its assets as more than 10 million and estimated liabilities of more than $10 million.

The filing came shortly before a hearing was scheduled Thursday in Mecklenburg County Superior Court on Union Bank and Trust’s request to have a receiver to oversee BK Racing’s collateral. Union Bank & Trust claims that BK Racing owes it more than $8 million in outstanding loans. Among the most valuable pieces of BK Racing’s collateral is the charter it has for the No. 23 car that Gray Gaulding will drive in the Daytona 500.

“I filed (Chapter 11 bankruptcy) because the bank wouldn’t stop trying to get a receiver (to oversee the team’s collateral),’’ Devine said. “The only reason they wanted to get a receiver was to push the charter off to their third-party offer. That’s where the problem was.’’

Devine said he felt that he and the bank came close to resolving their issues before time ran out. He plans to meet with the bank next week and continue discussions.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy listed 20 creditors with the largest unsecured claims. The largest was to Race Engines Plus for $569,539.95. Devine said matters have been resolved for the team to use the company’s engine and race this weekend but more needs to be done.

“We’re either going to fix it or we’re going to have to change,’’ Devine said of the engine company. “I think the relationship is what has to be fixed between me and Joey (Arrington, founder of Race Engines Plus). Fixed or changed or something. I actually think (Chapter) 11 will help us be able to have a conversation.’’

So how does Devine, who has owned various businesses and been involved in commercial and residential real estate development for more than 30 years, find himself in a such a financial position with his race team?

“I think it’s a tough business,’’ he said. “I think it’s an expensive learning curve. You’ve got to decide where you are taking the company. I took it down a very independent route. Probably wasn’t the smartest. I think the right thing to do is get an alignment.

“If I had any inclination of getting out, I would have let them do the receiver and just gone quietly into the sunset. I still see in the last unpioneered sport in the country, that NASCAR is going to be one of the premier sports in this country and I want to be a part of that. I still believe that. I think it’s going to be spectacular. I think it’s going through a transition. It’s headed in the right direction.’’

How does he get his team to where he wants to be competitively?

“We got to stop the nonsense,’’ Devine said. “We’ve got to get this thing worked out with this bank. Then we’ve got to get ourself together and on a platform that we can run and race competitively.’’

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Seven Cup cars penalized practice time Friday

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Seven Cup teams, including Danica Patrick‘s team, will miss 15 minutes of the first practice session today, NASCAR confirmed.

NASCAR is penalizing the teams for being late to inspection.

Missing practice time will be the teams of Gray Gaulding, Michael McDowell, David Ragan, AJ Allmendinger, Brendan Gaughan, Mark Thompson and Patrick.

New this year is that teams will serve their timed penalties at the end of a practice session instead of the beginning of the session. Also drivers will be not forced to sit in their car at the end of pit road for the duration of the penalty. Instead, the car will be parked in the garage and the team will not be allowed near it.

Cup teams practice from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET and 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET today.

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Alex Bowman wins pole for 60th Daytona 500; Denny Hamlin second

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Alex Bowman won the pole for the 60th Daytona 500, laying down a top speed of 195.644 mph in Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet.

He will be joined on the front row of the Feb. 18 race by Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver posted a speed of 195.092 mph.

Bowman’s pole is his second in the Cup Series. The first came in the fall 2016 race at Phoenix, when he was a substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

MORE: Waiting is over for Alex Bowman who takes over the No. 88.

The pole is the fourth straight for Hendrick Motorsports in the “Great American Race.” Bowman follows Jeff Gordon (2015) and Chase Elliott (2016-17).

Team owner Rick Hendrick ties Harry Ranier (1979-82) for the record for most consecutive Daytona 500 poles. Hendrick has won seven of the last 11 Daytona 500 poles.

The No. 88 car has started on the front row for the last five restrictor-plate races and won the pole for the last three.

Bowman called his pole run “nerve-wracking.”

“We knew we were going for the pole,” Bowman told Fox. “That’s what we’re here to do. I thought we were at a little disadvantage letting the car cool down as long as we did (between rounds) since we went pretty early in that first round. Was a little nervous for that second round. Took off well from pit road, did everything I could do. This really comes down to the crew, all the guys back at the shop.”

At 24 years, nine months and 17 days old, Bowman is third youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 pole.

Hamlin, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner, will start from the front row in the Daytona 500 for the first time.

“I am literally so ecstatic,” Hamlin told Fox. “It was so out of the blue because honestly I thought today was going to be a tough day of qualifying because we focused so much on race trim yesterday. We stuck in a pack. I think we did one real mock run, which really wasn’t even a mock run. We were so far off that we just switched and made sure our car was going to run really good on Thursday and obviously next Sunday. This car is ready to race.”

The rest of the 40-car field for the Daytona 500 will be determined by Thursday’s Can-Am qualifying races.

Bowman and Hamlin were followed by Jimmie Johnson (194.734), Kyle Busch (194.704) and William Byron (194.548).

Kevin Harvick was the fastest Ford driver, posting the eighth best speed at 194.464 mph.

BK Racing’s No. 23 Toyota, driven by Gray Gaulding, did not make an attempt.

Gaulding will start from the rear of his qualifying race on Thursday.

David Ragan didn’t complete his qualifying run after his N0. 38 Ford experienced brake issues .

Click here for qualifying results.

Kyle Busch leads Joe Gibbs Racing sweep in first Daytona 500 practice

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Kyle Busch led a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top four spots in the first practice session for the 60th Daytona 500.

Busch’s No. 18 Toyota put up a top speed of 199.743 mph.

He was followed by Denny Hamlin (199.623), Daniel Suarez (199.610) and Erik Jones (199.517) and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon (197.278).

The JGR cars jumped to the top of the standings when they began drafting together late in the session.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest Ford driver at 195.389 mph. He was eighth on the speed chart.

A.J. Allmendinger recorded the most laps in the session with 16.

He and William Byron were the only driver to make 10-lap runs.

BK Racing’s No. 23 Toyota, which will be driven by Gray Gaulding, was the only car not to make a lap in the session.

The red flag was out for a lengthy stretch in the middle of the session to clean up fluids on the track. It was lifted with 13 minutes left in the session.

Saturday’s second Daytona 500 practice is scheduled for 3-3:55 p.m. ET

Click here for the speed chart.