57th Daytona 500 NASCAR Talk content recap

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In case you missed any of NASCAR Talk’s extensive on-site coverage from Daytona Beach for the 2015 Speedweeks, we’ve compiled a post recap from Nate Ryan, Dustin Long, Jerry Bonkowski and Chris Estrada below following Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500:

POST-RACE
Secret to Joey Logano’s Daytona 500 victory? It was what he did off the track
After Daytona 500 win, Joey Logano has plenty of texts, emails to answer (SOCIAL)
Where you can find Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano on radio, TV this week
Ryan: A maturing Joey Logano brings the party to Team Penske at Daytona
The 57th Daytona 500 by the numbers; Unofficial Results, Winnings and Stats
Regan Smith finishes 16th in quiet fill-in role for Kurt Busch
Matt Crafton relishes Daytona 500 run filling in for Kyle Busch
Despite finishing second, Kevin Harvick happy with Daytona 500 effort
Denny Hamlin strong again in Daytona 500, but win proves elusive
Final Daytona 500 farewell isn’t what Jeff Gordon hoped for
“Real bad decision” costs Dale Earnhardt Jr. a shot at Daytona 500 repeat

DAYTONA 500 RACE REPORT
Joey Logano holds off Kevin Harvick to win 57th Daytona 500

IN-RACE UPDATES
Brad Keselowski blows engine with 40 laps to go; McMurray, Newman involved (VIDEO)
Tony Stewart’s Daytona 500 woes continue with 42nd place finish
Jeff Gordon dominant so far in expected final Daytona 500 (Halfway Update)
Stewart, Kenseth, Blaney in first wreck of Daytona 500

SUNDAY PRE-RACE POSTS
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s secret weapon on spotter’s stand: T.J. Majors
Drivers raring to go for 57th Daytona 500 (SOCIAL)
Matt Crafton on Daytona 500 start: “I’ve been waiting for this my entire life”
Harvick criticizes tracks for SAFER inaction
Daytona 500: Start time, lineup, TV info and more
Daytona International Speedway to cover walls with SAFER barriers

SELECTED OTHER PRE-RACE POSTS
Forbes: Hendrick most valuable NASCAR team, Dale Earnhardt Jr. highest earning driver
Danica Patrick adamant she’s not leaving NASCAR for F1: “I wouldn’t go anyway”
Hamlin, Kahne lead final Daytona 500 practice
Uniformity: Here’s how the Daytona 500 fire suits look
NASCAR announces 20 nominees for 2016 Hall of Fame class
Gentlemen, start your engineers: College educations increasingly calling the shots
Is your favorite driver heading for a crash in Daytona 500?

BUSCH BROTHERS UPDATES
Kyle Busch expected to remain hospitalized in Daytona Beach, Fla. for second consecutive night
Kyle and Samantha Busch show support from hospital for No. 18 team (PHOTO); Samantha also updates
Joe Gibbs provides update on Kyle Busch’s injuries
Kyle Busch’s Super Late Model driver wins at New Smyrna
Kurt Busch’s second appeal denied
Kyle Busch out indefinitely after suffering compound fracture of right leg in Daytona crash
Kyle Busch will not race in Daytona 500
Kyle Busch taken off racetrack on stretcher after horrific crash (VIDEO)
Panel denies Kurt Busch appeal
Questions and answers about appeal process
Regan Smith believes he can win in place of Kurt Busch
Regan Smith to drive for suspended Kurt Busch
Attorney: Kurt Busch to “immediately” appeal NASCAR suspension
NASCAR indefinitely suspends Kurt Busch (VIDEO)
Early report foretold Kurt Busch’s suspension from NASCAR
Commissioner finds Kurt Busch’s version less credible than Patricia Driscoll’s
Kurt Busch’s attorney files motion to reopen protective order hearing

SATURDAY XFINITY POSTS
Roush Fenway Racing young guns flex muscle in Xfinity opener
Ryan Reed scores first career Xfinity win with last-lap pass (VIDEO)
Kyle Busch taken off racetrack on stretcher after horrific crash (VIDEO)
Regan Smith flips in big Xfinity crash at Daytona
Austin Dillon wins pole for Xfinity opener
Kyle Busch criticizes group qualifying after six-car Xfinity crash
Title sponsor Xfinity reveals new series trophy

FRIDAY CAMPING WORLD TRUCK POSTS
Tyler Reddick wins Truck Series opener
Big One strikes in Truck Series opener
Ty Dillon wins pole for Truck opener

BUDWEISER DUEL POSTS
One day later, Danica Patrick still frustrated over Denny Hamlin and nearly missing Daytona 500
Budwieser Duel 150 wrecks affect nearly one third of Daytona 500 field
Danica on ride into field: “It felt dire”
Making Daytona 500 field emotional for some drivers
Starting lineup for 57th Daytona 500, courtesy of Duel results
Despite Duel win, Daytona 500 win won’t be easier for Dale Jr.
What Denny and Danica said to each other after Budweiser Duel
Johnson wins second Duel; Denny and Danica collide, but she still makes field
Four-car wreck brings out red flag in Budweiser Duel 2
Dale Jr. rallies to win Budweiser Duel 1
Start times, TV info and lineup for Budweiser Duel

Further posts from Daytona can be found by clicking here, for all posts compiled from Thursday and earlier in the week.

Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth to start at rear at Kentucky

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth each will start at the rear in Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway after their cars failed pre-race inspection twice.

Truex was to have started ninth. Kenseth was to have started 17th in the 38-car field.

Truex has won two of the last three races at Kentucky. Kenseth is coming off a runner-up finish last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky: Start time, lineup and more

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The final 10-race stretch of the regular season begins for the Cup Series Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

After years of mostly only racing under the lights there, the series will race in the daytime.

Can Kyle Busch, who starts from the pole, earn his first Cup win of 2020?

Here’s all the info you need for Sunday’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START:  The command to start engines is at 2:43 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:54 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 7:30 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments at 12:30 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 2:20 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:35 p.m by Darrell and Stevie Waltrip. The national anthem will be performed at 2:36 p.m. by Robert Randolph.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 25

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 79 degrees and a 58% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Kevin Harvick beat Matt Kenseth to win the Brickyard 400.

LAST RACE AT KENTUCKY: Kurt Busch defeated younger brother Kyle Busch for the win.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Catch up on NBC Sports’ coverage:

Front Row Motorsports reaching new heights without practice

NASCAR to team: Address “complacency” toward COVID-19 protocols

Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’m smarter, stronger’ after COVID-19 episode

Stage is set for Cup teams in race for points

Glow in the dark: Cup cars get new look for All-Star Race

Here is what upcoming NASCAR Cup races fans can attend

NASCAR reveals schedule through end of Cup regular season

Harvick takes hot streak to Kentucky, one of his last winless tracks

Power Rankings after Indianapolis: Kevin Harvick back to No. 1

Zach Price, Ryan Blaney’s injured tire changer, to miss Kentucky

 

Racing community mourns driver killed after crash at Langley Speedway

Photo: Mark Wertz
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Shawn Balluzzo, an 11-time track champion at Langley Speedway, died after a crash in a modified race Saturday night, the track confirmed. Balluzzo was 64.

Balluzzo, who won 16 of the Hampton, Virginia track’s 17 modified races in 2019, died after his car went over the hood of another and hit the Turn 2 wall at about 70 mph, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The newspaper reported that safety personnel cut the roof of Balluzzo’s car off to extricate him.

Saturday’s twin modified races were the first of the season for that series at the track. Belluzzo finished second in the opening race.

Balluzzo and his daughter Bryce were featured last year by WAVY TV 10, which chronicled Bryce’s battle with leukemia.

 

Tributes to Shawn Balluzzo were abundant Sunday morning and came from throughout the racing community.

 

Cole Custer ready for encore of first career Cup top-5 finish

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Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway will be a night and day difference.

In recent years, the Cup race at the 1.5-mile Sparta, Kentucky track has primarily been a nighttime affair. Teams have compiled big notebooks of data from racing under the lights.

That won’t be the case Sunday, as the green flag is slated to drop at 2:54 p.m. ET.

While this will be his first career Cup start at Kentucky, rookie Cole Custer is no stranger to the track, having won last summer’s Xfinity race there – and scored consecutive fifth-place finishes in the two preceding races in 2017 and 2018.

“It’s something that you definitely see a difference in the track, I feel like, when it’s day and when it goes to night,” Custer said in a media teleconference. “So trying to figure out how you want to adjust your car to kind of a slicker track is gonna be pretty important.

“And also the biggest difference is we don’t have all the practice sessions before the race to work in the track. You saw that Thursday night with the Xfinity race, there was dust all over. The bottom lane was not worked in very well, so it’s gonna take a little while for that bottom lane to work in. We’re gonna see how worked in it is by the time we get to our race.

“There’s a lot of differences, honestly, but, at the same time it’s still the same track. It’s a really edgy racetrack because it’s new pavement, it’s a repave, so the tires are a little bit harder. The track takes a little bit of time to get worked in and you have that PJ1 (traction compound), so you’re able to take things from the Xfinity car – what lines kind of worked there and how it changed throughout the weekend – so basic characteristics with the track you’re able to kind of carry over. But at the same time, the feel in the car is completely different and how you work traffic and things like that.”

Custer enters Sunday’s race ranked 25th in the Cup standings, the lowest position of the four major drivers in this year’s Cup rookie class (Tyler Reddick is 18th, John Hunter Nemechek is 22nd and Christopher Bell is 24th).

“There’s definitely been a lot of learning, for sure,” Custer said. “Obviously, these cars are a lot different than what the Xfinity cars were, so trying to wrap your head around that and figure out how to effect every little thing, whether it’s passing or restarts or how to work traffic or pit road, just anything about it, you’re trying to make sure you’re getting 100 percent out of it.

“It’s always going to be challenging being a rookie, but at the same time it’s probably been a little bit more challenging this year because you don’t have practice, we didn’t have rookie testing, and these cars are a big difference from the Xfinity Series. It’s hard to do that without the practice time.

“I think it pushes all of us to be better because we all want to compete against each other and make sure we’re not falling behind too much. I think it’s just a matter of you still have to focus on yourself most of the time. If you’re focused on other people, you’re not gonna be making yourself better and working on your own problems. But at the same time it does push you to make sure you’re pushing yourself as much as you can.”

Custer is coming off his first top-five finish of the season at Indianapolis last weekend. He  has just one other top 10 in the first 16 races.

Still, Custer’s finish at Indy, which included pushing Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick to the win, leaves Custer optimistic heading into this weekend.

“At that point, my best shot was to push Kevin and that might have got me in a better position to try and maybe make a move to try to win the race also,” Custer said. “It’s definitely nerve-wracking. I mean, you’re coming to that line and you’re like, ‘I’ve got to do this right. This is important right here. We need this.’

“So I’ve been in those situations before where you’ve got to push people if you’re running up front in the Xfinity cars or the Truck Series or whatever it is, so you have experience doing that kind of stuff, but doing it at this level puts that much more pressure on it and you’re at the Brickyard 400 so you want to make it happen. It was definitely nerve-wracking, but it was something that we were able to kind of control those nerves and make sure that we do our jobs right.

“Now I feel like we’re at a good point where we’re putting it all together and get close to affect all those little things. But you have to do it on a consistent basis and I think we’re gaining on that.”

The driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang has his work cut out for himself Sunday, starting 29th.

“I feel like I’ve already spent hours trying to figure that out,” Custer quipped. “It’s definitely gonna be a tough race.

“It looks like it’s gonna be a really dominant top lane kind of race, so that makes it a little bit tough to pass. But at the same time, the track is gonna be changing throughout the whole weekend, so it’s hard to tell exactly what our race is gonna be like yet.

“You’re trying to work through all the different possibilities in your mind of what our race might look like. But overall I feel like it’s gonna be a track position race. You’re gonna want to try to get towards the front on restarts and on pit road, and from there you’re just trying to run a solid race without having mistakes.”

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