Daytona 500 more wreckers than checkers for Brad Keselowski


No driver has won more Cup points races since 2005 at Daytona and Talladega than Brad Keselowski. And no driver has failed to finish more Daytona 500s in the last four years because of accidents.

So when Keselowski is asked how excited he is about this year’s Daytona 500, his answer is tainted by his recent experience in the season-opening race.

“I’m as excited as I can be knowing that we’re going to go there and destroy a bunch of race cars,” Keselowski told NBC Sports.

MORE: Daytona Speedweek radio, TV schedule 

Keselowski — who has won six Cup points races at Daytona and Talladega since 2005 — has failed to finish three of the last four Daytona 500s because of accidents.

“I’m just so hopeful I can make it through that whole race without getting destroyed,” Keselowski said. “That would be a major accomplishment given the last five years there. I feel like we have been really competitive and in a spot to win and it hasn’t obviously worked out for us.

“I just want to be in position and have the opportunity to make the move. That’s all I can really ask for. If I can do that, then I’ll be excited, but it has not been the case the last five years.”

He was second in last year’s race when contact from behind turned him 17 laps from the scheduled distance.

His Speedweeks started with a crash in the Busch Clash. He was critical of teammate Joey Logano for a block on Kyle Busch that trigged the incident. Keselowski expressed his frustration with William Byron‘s blocking in the July 2018 Daytona race and hit Byron when blocked during practice before the July 2019 race at Daytona

Keselowski was third in the 2018 Daytona 500 when contact with Chase Elliott triggered a seven-car crash shortly past halfway. A crash with about a quarter of the race left in the 2017 Daytona 500 collected Keselowski.

His misfortune comes amid a significant increase in cars in wrecks during the Daytona 500. In the last four Daytona 500s, 81.3% of the cars were involved in crashes, based on NASCAR’s race reports. The four years before that saw 42.6% of the cars in the Daytona 500 involved in accidents.

Brad Keselowski’s 2020 Daytona 500 ended after a crash on the backstretch. (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Last year’s result is particularly frustrating for Keselowski. He led when Christopher Bell pushed Ryan Newman by late in the race.  Shortly after that, Keselowski was in a wreck and eliminated. He told Fox that he made “a mistake” by not blocking Newman and Bell on the inside.

A year later, the mistake remains with Keselowski.

“I think about it a lot,” he told NBC Sports. “I think about what I could have done differently, what I should have done differently. In retrospect, I don’t think there was anything I could have done differently.

“It was an incredibly impressive move because just getting into tactics, for whatever reason, the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars at the 500 are able to push in ways no one else is able to and it’s winning them races. I don’t think there was any other car outside of the Gibbs cars that could have pulled that move off. It became unblockable. It cost me control of the race and a lap or two later, I paid the penalty for that.”   

Keselowski is winless in 11 Daytona 500s. Others have had longer droughts before winning — Darrell Waltrip won his his 17th attempt and Dale Earnhardt won in his 20th.

Adding to the frustration for Keselowski is that the Daytona 500 is only race among the sport’s crown jewels he has yet to win. He won the Brickyard 400 in 2018. A week later, he won the Southern 500. He won the Coca-Cola 600 last year.

That the Daytona 500 is the one race is shocking considering Keselowski’s prowess on speedway track where horsepower is restricted. His first career Cup win came in 2009 at Talladega in a duel with Carl Edwards. Keselowski won four more times at Talladega from 2012-17. His lone Daytona Cup points win came in 2016.

As he searches to win again at a superspeedway, Keselowski looks at Denny Hamlin’s three Daytona 500 wins in the last five years in awe. But it isn’t the winning that impresses Keselowski the most.

“I don’t know how in the world,” Keselowski said, “he was able to survive all the wrecks.” 


6 — Brad Keselowski

5 — Denny Hamlin

5 — Tony Stewart

5 — Jimmie Johnson

4 — Jeff Gordon

4 — Joey Logano

4 — Jamie McMurray

Alpha Prime Racing’s road woes don’t keep team from competing


SONOMA, Calif. — Alpha Prime Racing owner Tommy Joe Martins laughs. He can. His Xfinity Series cars all are here at Sonoma Raceway.

At one point last week, it was not certain if his team’s cars would make it to Portland International Raceway.

“It was probably the toughest professional week I’ve had of my NASCAR career,” Martins told NBC Sports on Friday at Sonoma.

MORE: Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma

The Alpha Prime Racing team had both its trucks break down and one of its haulers have mechanical issues last week on the way to the Pacific Northwest.

“We basically sent four pieces of equipment on the road and three of them broke,” Martins said.

For a time, the car Sage Karam is driving this weekend at Sonoma was left in a hauler in Kansas City because there wasn’t room in the dually Martins sent. It had room only for the car that was needed at Portland and other equipment. Karam’s car, which was to be a backup at Portland, was left behind.

“It’s a very helpless feeling when you feel like your stuff is stuck on the side of the road,” Martins said.

He still has one truck still in St. Louis and another in Oregon. Martins estimates the mechanical issues will cost his team about $50,000 when everything is totaled.

Trouble started well before the team left its Mooresville, North Carolina, race shop for Portland.

The Xfinity Series race at Charlotte was scheduled to run May 27. Rain forced that event to be rescheduled to May 29. Martins said the team had planned to send its trucks to Portland on May 28. With the race pushed back to the 29th, the travel schedule tightened.

It got worse.

After the Xfinity race started, rain came. With the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for 3 p.m. ET that day – after being delayed by rain from Sunday – the rest of the Xfinity race was pushed back until after the 600. That further tightened the window on Xfinity teams to make it to Portland.

The Xfinity race ended around 11:30 p.m. ET on May 29. Alpha Prime Racing’s haulers left the shop around 6 a.m. ET on May 30.

The two trucks traveled together until issues in St. Louis.

The truck hauling the Nos. 44 and 45 cars had engine issues in St. Louis. The other truck kept going until it had mechanical issues with its hauler in Kansas City. The air bags on the hauler failed.

So, Alpha Prime Racing had a truck that worked in Kansas City with a hauler that didn’t and a truck that didn’t work in St. Louis with a hauler that did.

The truck in Kansas City went back to St. Louis to attach to the hauler and take those cars and equipment to Portland. Martins then had to find something to haul the stranded equipment in Kansas City and a driver. He eventually did. A dually left North Carolina for Kansas City. Once there, what fit in the dually was taken to Portland and what didn’t, including Karam’s Sonoma car stayed behind.

Yet, more trouble was headed for Martins and his team.

The truck that had gone back from Kansas City to St. Louis to take hauler that worked then broke down about 200 miles from Portland.

“I laugh knowing that we’re on the other side of it,” Martins said Friday of all the issues his team had transporting cars and equipment across the country.

“We’ve started to make plans and corrections for it not happening again,” he said.

That hauler that was left in Kansas City? It was repaired and transported to Sonoma, arriving earlier this week.

“Our guys are troopers,” Martins said. “Both of our (truck) drivers were just awesome about the whole thing. … They went through hell week as far as driving somewhere, fly back and pick something up, drive again and now are going to have to do the same thing getting back.”

When the garage opened Friday at Sonoma, Alpha Prime Racing had all its cars.

“I don’t think we had any major issues here, so that was good,” Martins said.

The focus is back on the track. Karam was 24th on the speed chart in Friday’s practice, leading Alpha Prime Racing’s effort. Dylan Lupton was 32nd. Jeffrey Earnhardt was last among 41 cars.

After Saturday night’s race, the team heads back to North Carolina for a well-earned weekend off.

Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Xfinity Series practice at Sonoma Raceway.

This is the first time the series has raced at the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California. Teams got 50 minutes of practice Friday.

Larson led the way with a lap of 90.392 mph. He was more than a second faster than the rest of the field.

MORE: Xfinity practice results Sonoma

Sheldon Creed was second on the speed chart with a lap of 89.066 mph. He was followed by AJ Allmendinger (89.052 mph), Cole Custer (89.020) and Ty Gibbs (88.989).

Larson, Allmendinger and Gibbs are among seven Cup drivers are entered in the Xfinity race. Aric Almirola was seventh on the speed chart with a lap of 88.750 mph. Ross Chastain was ninth with a lap of 88.625 mph. Daniel Suarez was 16th with a lap of 88.300 mph. Ty Dillon was 33rd with a lap of 86.828 mph.

Anthony Alfredo will go to a backup car after a crash in practice. He was uninjured in the incident that damaged the right side of his car.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Saturday. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

Anthony Alfredo’s car after a crash in Xfinity practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway. He was uninjured. (Photo: Dustin Long)

Saturday Sonoma Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


The Xfinity Series will compete for the first time at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. This is one of eight road course events on the Xfinity schedule this season.

Seven Cup drivers are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s race, including AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, who won last year’s Cup race at this track Allmendinger has won 11 of 25 career road course starts in the Xfinity Series.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Golden State Warrior Patrick Baldwin Jr. will give the command to start engines at 8:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. … Driver introductions begin at 7:35 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Earl Smith, team pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, at 8 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by 9-year-old Isis Mikayle Castillo at 8:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 79 laps (156.95 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 20. Stage 2 ends at Lap 45.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 8 p.m. ... Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on … SiriusXN NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mostly cloudy with a high of 72 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: This is the first time the Xfinity Series has raced at Sonoma.


NASCAR Friday schedule at Sonoma Raceway


The Xfinity Series makes its first appearance Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

Xfinity teams, coming off last weekend’s race at Portland International Raceway, get 50 minutes of practice Friday because Sonoma is a new venue for the series.

Seven Cup drivers, including Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, are among those entered in the Xfinity race. Suarez won the Cup race at Sonoma last year.

Xfinity teams will qualify and race Saturday at the 1.99-mile road course.

Sonoma Raceway


Friday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees.

Friday, June 9

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. — ARCA Menards Series West
  • 1 – 10 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 2 – 3 p.m. — ARCA West practice
  • 3:10 – 3:30 p.m. — ARCA West qualifying
  • 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 p.m. — ARCA West race (64 laps, 127.36 miles; live on FloRacing, will air on CNBC at 11:30 a.m. ET on June 18)