Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman has been named as honorary starter for Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
The New England Patriots wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion, will wave the green flag to start The Great American Race.
“Julian Edelman is an incredible addition to the list of pre-race dignitaries for the Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said in a media release. “We’re honored to have such a superb athlete, who recently won on NFL’s biggest stage and was the Super Bowl MVP, wave the green flag for NASCAR’s premier event.”
Recent Daytona 500 Honorary Starters include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee LaDainian Tomlinson, actor Gary Sinise, actress Charlize Theron and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr.
FORT WORTH, Texas — The NASCAR garage is sharing its prayers for Stewart-Haas Racing engineer DJ VanderLey, who was injured Thursday night in a crash during a micro sprint Outlaw race at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track.
He suffered several fractured vertebrae and has a spinal cord injury, according to a post from his wife Jordan on her Facebook page.
Two GoFundMe accounts have been set up to help the family with medical costs.
VanderLey was Chase Briscoe’s engineer for four years, and they are good friends.
“I hate that it happened to anybody,” Briscoe said Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, “but for it to hit close to home has definitely been tough for me.”
Briscoe said he planned to visit VanderLey in the hospital on Saturday and that “I just hope that everybody continues to pray. That’s really all we can do at this point, trying to hope he gets better.”
Christopher Bell calls VanderLey among his best friends. VanderLey was Bell’s engineer at Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016.
Bell spent the night at the hospital and also picked up Jordan VanderLey at the airport when she arrived.
Stewart-Haas Racing had a decal for VanderLey on Riley Herbst‘s No. 98 Xfinity car for Saturday’s race.
Brad Keselowski will be at the front of the field to start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 pm ET, USA Network).
Keselowski, who is not a part of the 12-driver playoff group, won the pole Saturday afternoon with a speed of 188.990, edging Joey Logano‘s 188.805.
The race is the first of three in the second round of the Cup playoffs. Round of 12 races will follow at Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 2 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval Oct. 9.
Also starting in the top five Sunday will be William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell. It is McDowell’s best oval start of the season and his ninth top-10 start of the year.
Brad Keselowski, hoping to extend Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s turnaround, won the pole Saturday for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was the second piece of good news for RFK Racing in two weeks. Chris Buescher, Keselowski’s teammate, won last week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the first victory for the team under the RFK banner.
Keselowski, who ran 188.990 mph, is not a part of the 12-driver playoff group. Nine of the first 14 starting positions were filled by playoff drivers.
Following in the top five Saturday were Joey Logano, William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell. Playoff point leader Chase Elliott will start sixth.
“Texas is a really tough track,” Keselowski told NBC Sports. “As hot as it’s going to be, that will be even tougher.”
Race-time temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s Sunday.
The race (3:30 p.m. ET), the first event in the second round of the playoffs, will be televised by the USA Network.
The first race in the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is scheduled Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Twelve drivers are racing for eight spots in the next round. Chase Elliott leads the standings by 15 over Joey Logano entering Sunday’s 500-mile event, the only Cup points race at TMS this year. Ryan Blaney, who is in the playoff group, won the All-Star Race at the track in May.
Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric are below the cutline entering the 3:30 p.m. ET (USA Network) race.
The playoffs will continue at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 9).
Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway:
START: The command to start engines will be given by “Top Gun: Maverick” actors Jay Ellis and Lewis Pullman at 3:38 p.m. (ET) … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.
PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries at 3:30 p.m. … The 1st Cavalry Division Band will perform the anthem at 3:31 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 334 laps (501 miles) on the 1.5-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 105. Stage 2 ends at Lap 210.
TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 2:30 p.m. on USA Network. The post-race show will air on USA Network. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.
FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy skies. High of 96 with a 5% chance of rain.
LAST TIME: Kyle Larson won by .459 of a second over William Byron last October. Larson led 256 of the race’s 334 laps.
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