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David Ragan to be honored by Georgia ahead of 400th Cup start

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Sunday will be a big day for David Ragan when he fires up the engine of his No. 38 Ford for the Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Front Row Motorsports driver will be making his 400th start in the series, a little more than 11 years after his first (a 42nd on Sept. 24, 2006 at Dover International Speedway).

Sunday’s race is made more significant with Ragan, 32, being a native of Unadilla, Georgia. The town is located roughly 95 miles south of the track in Hampton.

“Atlanta Motor Speedway is special to me because I grew up at that track,” Ragan said in a release. “I raced my Legends car there as a kid in the 90s and early 2000s. My dad still works there and has an office there. It’s just always has been a second home to me. So, we couldn’t have scripted it better to have my 400th start be in Atlanta.”

Front Row Motorsports

Ragan will start his race weekend festivities Thursday at the state capitol building in Atlanta. Ragan and track president Ed Clark will attend a ceremony in the General Assembly where the legislature will issue a proclamation honoring Ragan’s achievement.

Once Sunday arrives, Ragan won’t just have friends and family in attendance to celebrate his milestone.

Ragan recently reread fan letters he received during his 2006 season when he made two starts in the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing leading into his rookie 2007 season.

He then reached out to some of those fans to invite them to the race. As a result, two fans from the Atlanta area and two fans from Missouri will be Ragan’s VIP guests for the race. Ragan is paying for their travel to track.

“Pulling out those old fan letters and contacting those people to invite them to come was cool,” Ragan said. “They were pretty surprised but jumped at the opportunity.”

Ragan’s car will be sponsored by Atlanta-based auction company Fr8Auctions.

In his Cup career, Ragan has two wins, 15 top fives, 39 top 10s and two poles.

His wins came in the July 2011 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and the May 2013 race at Talladega.

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Entry lists for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series at Atlanta

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The 2018 season continues this weekend for all three of NASCAR’s national series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The weekend includes a double-header for the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series on Saturday.

It all leads up to the Cup Series and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday.

Here’s the entry lists for each race.

Cup Series

There are 36 cars on the entry list for the Cup race.

Harrison Rhodes will make his Cup debut, driving the No. 51 for Rick Ware Racing. Ross Chastain will drive the No. 15 Chevrolet owned by Premium Motorsports.

Gray Gaulding is slated to drive BK Racing’s No. 23 Toyota.

Last year, Brad Keselowski led the final seven laps to win his first race at Atlanta. He beat Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth.

Click here for Cup entry list

Xfinity Series

There are 43 cars entered for the Rinnai 250.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ty Dillon are the only full-time Cup drivers entered.

Tommy Joe Martins is entered in the No. 8 Chevrolet owned by B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

Austin Cindric will drive the No. 12 Ford owned by Team Penske.

Kyle Benjamin will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.

John Hunter Nemechek will make his first start in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet.

Chase Briscoe will make his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 60 Ford owned by Roush Fenway Racing.

Last year, Kyle Busch won this race over Keselowski and Harvick after leading 26 of 163 laps from the pole.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series

There are 34 entries for the Active Pest Control 200.

Kyle Busch will make his first start of the year in his No. 4 Toyota. Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon drive the No. 20 Chevrolet.

Joe Nemechek is entered in the No. 8 Chevrolet.

Joey Gase is listed as the driver for the No. 0 Chevrolet owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing.

No driver is yet listed for the No. 1 Chevrolet owned by TJL Motorsports.

Last year, Christopher Bell won this race from the pole after leading 99 of 130 laps. He beat Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.

Click here for Truck entry list

UPDATED: NASCAR Cup points standings after season-opening Daytona 500

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Austin Dillon won Sunday’s Daytona 500, but he didn’t leave Daytona International Speedway as the NASCAR Cup points leader.

Ryan Blaney finished seventh, but claimed enough points in the race to leave Daytona as No. 1 in the Cup standings. He has 58 points from the 500 and his qualifying race.

Joey Logano is second, eight points behind Blaney.

Dillon leaves Daytona in third, 11 points back from Blaney.

Completing the top five are Darrell Wallace Jr (-11) and Paul Menard (-12).

Click here for the points standings.

 

Daytona 500 start time, TV/Radio, starting lineup and more

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series officially begins its 2018 season today with the 60th Daytona 500.

Alex Bowman will start from the pole and Denny Hamlin starts second.

Danica Patrick starts 28th in her final NASCAR start.

Here’s all the information you need before the race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500 winner, will give the command to start engines at 2:53 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:05 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (500 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60. Stage 2 ends on Lap 120.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 8 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:14 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race beginning at 2:30 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for clear skies with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kurt Busch won the 2017 Daytona 500 for his first victory at Daytona International Speedway. Last July, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Coke Zero 400 for his first victory at Daytona.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Darrell Wallace Jr. fastest in final Daytona 500 practice

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Darrell Wallace Jr. topped the final Cup Series practice session for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The driver of Richard Petty Motorsport’s No. 43 Chevrolet led the session with a top speed of 196.954 mph.

Wallace will start his first Daytona 500 from seventh.

“We all know that means absolutely nothing, but it feels good,” Wallace said.  I didn’t know we were top of the board there. We were stuck in the back of the pack for a little bit there.  Started making moves late and the pack split up and we started doing pit road runs and the next thing you know we are on top of the board.  I’m like – cool!  I even missed pit road opening looking at the pylon.  That gives us a lot of confidence especially going into this week.  A lot of stories, a lot of headlines being talked about.  To win something is good.”

Wallace was followed by Daniel Suarez (196.528), Ryan Newman (196.464), rookie William Byron (196.382) and Jimmie Johnson (196.382).

Trevor Bayne recorded the most laps in the session with 18.

Only 25 cars made a lap in the session.

Suarez was the only Toyota driver to participate in the session.

Check back for more.