Clint Bowyer snaps 190-race winless streak at Martinsville; first victory since October 2012

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Given that a grandfather clock went to the winner, it was about time for Clint Bowyer to win Monday’s rescheduled STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Postponed one day due to snow at the track on Sunday, Bowyer finally broke a 190-race winless streak, earning his first trip to victory lane since the fall race at Charlotte in October 2012.

It was also Bowyer’s ninth win in his 13-year Cup career in 439 starts.

Bowyer led a race-high 215 laps in the 500-lap event around the .526-mile bullring.

The 38-year-old Bowyer took the lead from Ryan Blaney on Lap 285 and after briefly losing the lead, led the final 114 laps. It was the 43rd career win for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Sixth through 10th were Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, A.J. Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.

“To have it come here, a place where I’ve gotten so close and wanted to win that grandfather clock … it was just time,” Bowyer told FS1. “I told my son this morning, ‘Damn it, we’ve got to get a picture in victory lane.”

MORE: Results of Martinsville Cup race

MORE: Kyle Busch leads Cup point standings after Martinsville

Stage 1 winner: Denny Hamlin

Stage 2 winner: Ryan Blaney

How Bowyer won: In his first career win at Martinsville, Bowyer took the lead for good on Lap 285, but it was getting a good jump on the final restart of the day (Lap 392), that iced it for Bowyer, holding off Kyle Busch and others who would stay close but could never pass Bowyer.

Who else had a good day: Kyle Busch earned his third runner-up and fourth overall top-three finish in the first six races. … A.J. Allmendinger once again had a good day at Martinsville. In his last five starts at the southern Virginia bullring, he’s finished 2nd (spring 2016), 10th (fall 2016), 6th (spring 2017), 40th (fall 2017) and 8th (today).

Who had a bad day: Darrell Wallace Jr. suffered mechanical problems early in the race and finished 34th, 14 laps down. … Jamie McMurray spun into the wall after being tapped by Austin Dillon on Lap 385, but was able to continue. Still, the damage was done, as McMurray finished 26th, followed by Dillon (30th), Trevor Bayne (33rd) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (37th).

Notable: Bowyer led more laps today (215) than in his last 159 starts combined. … Bowyer becomes the only driver in Cup history to win in all three active manufacturer rides (Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota). … Stewart-Haas Racing has now won four of the first six races of 2018 (the other three wins came from Kevin Harvick at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix). … The race had only 38 cars in the field, two short of the usual 40-car field.

Quote of the day: “You start to question if you can get it done or not. To have it come at this place meant a lot.” – Clint Bowyer

What’s Next: The Cup, Xfinity and Truck series all have the Easter weekend off. The next Cup race is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 8.

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Sam Bass, famed paint scheme and race program designer, dies

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Sam Bass, the artist known for designing many iconic NASCAR paint schemes and race programs, died Saturday.

His wife Denise confirmed Bass’ passing on Twitter. He was 57.

Bass, who designed Jeff Gordon’s striking “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme, had spent the last few years looking for a new kidney. That was a result of a sepsis infection that originated in a blister on his left foot in 2005 and led to a below-the-knee amputation in 2008. Bass also had Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29.

Bass was inspired to become a NASCAR artist when he was 7 after attending his first race at Southside Speedway in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

“I was so amazed that night not only by the excitement and watching those cars run around and beat and bang on each other, but also the color – how all the cars were painted so many different colors,” Bass told NBC Sports in 2017. “I was like, ‘How cool is this?’ I couldn’t wait to get home to pull out my markers.”

The first car Bass designed was Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life car in 1988. That car went on to win the Daytona 500.

He went on to design the first Cup schemes for Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bass first designed a race program for the 1985 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He designed programs for it and other Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks through 2018.

Marcus Smith, the CEO and President of SMI, issued the following statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Denise and her family today. Sam Bass has been a significant part of NASCAR’s history. He poured his heart, soul and talent into producing souvenir program covers at many speedways including Charlotte for more than 30 years. His work provided our fans a keepsake to treasure, and that was so appropriate, because Sam was always such a fan of our sport and he was such a treasure to the entire NASCAR family. His body of work will be a legacy that lives forever. We will miss Sam’s smile and positivity.”

NASCAR issued the following statement.

“Though he may have never turned a lap or a wrench, few captured the essence of our sport through his work more than Sam Bass. He was a consistent presence in the NASCAR garage, and his ever-present smile and endearing personality welcomed all. Though we have lost a member of the NASCAR family, his legend will continue in his art – all of which illustrated the greatness of our sport and the talent of a true friend.”

Michael McDowell leads final Daytona 500 practice

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Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell was fastest in the final practice session for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

McDowell and his No. 34 Ford recorded nine laps and a top speed of 191.440 mph.

The top five was completed by Ty Dillon (191.432 mph), pole-sitter William Byron (191.339), Alex Bowman (191.278) and Daniel Hemric (190.921).

Only 20 cars made at least one lap in the session.

Kurt Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 16 and was 11th on the speed chart at 189.741 mph.

Of four drivers to make a 10-lap run, Bowman had the best average at 190.334 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for the practice report.

Jeffrey Earnhardt honors grandfather Dale Earnhardt with helmet design

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Xfinity Series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is honoring the “GOAT” in his family with a helmet he’s debuting this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The “GOAT” – or “Greatest of All-Time” – is his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

The helmet, which you can see below, bears an image of the seven-time Cup champion riding a horse while shirtless and wearing a cowboy hat.

Next to the image is the text, “Just a goat on his horse!”

Earnhardt will have the helmet today as he starts on the front row of the Xfinity Series season opener (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).

It is the first of nine Xfinity races he’ll start for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

MORE: Jeffrey Earnhardt ready for challenge of winning in Xfinity

Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off the 2019 season today with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The 38-car field will feature defending series champion Tyler Reddick, who seeks to become the first driver to defend his Xfinity championship since Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won in 2011 and repeated in 2012.

Here’s how today’s pre-race schedule looks:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Drew Patey, VIP Partner of the NASCAR Racing Experience, at 2:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:49 p.m.

PRERACE CEREMONIES: Driver introductions begin at 2:10 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:30 p.m. by Sonny Gallman, Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. The National Anthem will be at 2:31 p.m. and sung by Gina Marie Incandela.

DISTANCE: The race is 120 laps (300 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

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

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for cloudy skies with a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won last year’s season-opening race. He started 11th and led 11 laps en route to the victory.

TO THE REAR: Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick will start from the rear after changing a tire with an air leak. Max Tullman also will start from the rear for a tire change. Jeremy Clements, unapproved adjustments.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.