Two female pit crew members making history in Daytona Cup race

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Two close friends will make history tonight as the first two women to serve as pit crew members in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the modern era.

Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary will help service Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet driven by Ray Black Jr. in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC).

Daniels and O’Leary, both roommates in Charlotte, North Carolina, are the fifth and sixth female NASCAR Drive for Diversity crew members to reach the Cup Series.

They are among more than 50 graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development program currently working in the NASCAR industry. Twenty-five are pitting in the Cup Series.

Daniels, making her series debut, is a former Norfolk State University women’s basketball player and is believed to be the first female African-American crew member to compete in a NASCAR national series event.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve only been changing tires for two years and now I’m here at the Monster Energy Series level,” Daniels said in a press release. “What I’m doing in NASCAR is so much bigger than me. It’s been so rewarding to be part of history while at the same time inspiring others to take on challenges they thought might not be possible.”

O’Leary, who used to work in the strength and conditioning department at Alcorn State University, will be making her third appearance in the Cup Series and second in 2018. She also changed tires for the No. 51 last month at Michigan International Speedway.

“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is unlike any other series,” O’Leary said in a press release. “There’s a certain energy and hustle and bustle – both in the garage and on pit road. But as a tire changer, the mindset is still the same. Five lug nuts on and five off.”

Kyle Larson wins Xfinity race at Daytona in overtime

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Kyle Larson won the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 in a narrow finish over Elliott Sadler in overtime.

Larson was declared the winner after Justin Haley made a three-wide pass of Larson and Sadler coming to the line and beat them to the checkered flag. But Haley crossed the yellow line at the bottom of the track in the attempt, which is illegal.

Larson swept all three stages of the race and led 39 laps.

“I honestly didn’t even think I had a shot to win that until I pulled over here to the lug nut check and I could see (on) the big screen where he kind of went below the yellow line,” Larson told NBCSN. “A little bit of a shock for me.”

Haley, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, was making his second Xfinity start. He was credited with an 18th-place finish.

NASCAR ruled Larson the winner while Haley was celebrating on the frontstretch.

“I just wish NASCAR would … tell us how much of the car we can have below the yellow line,” Haley told NBCSN. “I don’t get this opportunity enough … Seeing the replay there was room for me to go up so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”

Haley competes full-time for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

MORE: Haley says “BS call”

Sadler earned his fourth runner-up finish at Daytona and his third in a row.

Without Haley’s bold move, the finish looked nearly identical to February’s race at Daytona when Sadler finished second to Tyler Reddick in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

“I just didn’t know (Haley) was coming,” Sadler told NBCSN. “Just miscommunication between my spotter and myself. I was just trying to really key in on (Larson) on when to side draft. I felt like it was Daytona in February all over again. I hate it for my guys. They work way too hard for me to keep finishing second here at Daytona.”

The final stretch of the race was set up by a 16-car wreck with 19 laps to go that eliminated February Daytona winner Tyler Reddick. Austin Cindric walked away after his No. 60 Ford flipped multiple times.

That wreck resulted in a 12 minute and 18 second red flag period.

The overtime finish was setup by a nine-car crash with three laps left in the original 100-lap distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kaz Grala finished fifth for his second top five of the year despite having to pit right before a restart with seven laps to go in the original distance for a tire going down … Christopher Bell placed third after spinning on pit road in Stage 1 and being called for a pit penalty … Shane Lee finish a career-best sixth in his fifth start … Timmy Hill placed seventh, matching his career-best finish (Daytona, February 2012).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Pole-sitter Ryan Preece finished 39th after suffering a radiator problem on Lap 52 … Ryan Reed finished 26th after being involved in three accidents, including the 16-car wreck … Chase Elliott placed 29th after going to the garage for a bad oil pump belt.

NOTABLE: Elliott Sadler is now tied with Michael Waltrip for most runner-up finishes at Daytona without a win (four).

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on July 13 on NBCSN.

 

Xfinity practice report at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —  Only 10 cars were on track for the final Xfinity practice Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Chad Finchum posted the fastest lap at 185.567 mph. He was followed by Timmy Hill (185.540 mph), Jeremy Clements (184.896), Alex Labbe (183.135) and Ray Black Jr. (193.016).

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for practice report.

First practice

Ryan Reed led opening Xfinity practice Friday at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 196.143 mph. He was followed by Justin Haley (195.869 mph), Ryan Truex (195.831), Austin Cindric (195.520) and Shane Lee (195.312).

Chase Elliott, driving in the No. 23 car for Spencer Gallagher, was sixth on the speed chart with a top lap of 194.801 mph. NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has reinstated Gallagher after he completed the sanctioning body’s Road to Recover program. NASCAR indefinitely suspended Gallagher on May 2 for violating its Substance Abuse Policy .

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for practice report

Christopher Bell ran the most laps in the session at 25. Tyler Reddick, who won at Daytona in February, was next with 23 laps run.

 

 

 

 

Updated entry lists for NASCAR at Daytona International Speedway

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NASCAR makes its second visit to Daytona International Speedway this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series.

Cup teams will hold the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday and the Xfinity Series precedes them Friday night.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBC)

There are 41 entries for the race. One car will not make the race.

Timothy Peters is entered in the No. 92 Ford owned by Ricky Benton Racing. It would be his second career Cup start.

Joey Gase is entered in StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet. Landon Cassill is in the team’s No. 99 Chevrolet.

Brendan Gaughan is entered in Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 Chevrolet.

Ray Black Jr. is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Ford. It would be Black’s fourth career Cup start and his first this season.

JJ Yeley is listed in the No. 23 for BK Racing. Gray Gaulding had run every race for the team this season.

Last year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won this race over Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard. In February, Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 over Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 (7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN)

There are 41 cars entered for the race, meaning one team will not qualifying.

Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson are the only full-time Cup drivers entered.

Ryan Preece is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota. Preece has not competed since his win at Bristol on April 14.

William Byron won this race last year over Elliott Sadler and Dakoda Armstrong. Tyler Reddick won at Daytona in February over Sadler in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

Click here for the entry list.

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

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For the fourth time in 2018 and the first time since Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early March, all three of NASCAR’s national series will be in action this week at Dover International Speedway.

The weekend will culminate in the Cup Series AAA 400 on Sunday.

Here’s the entry lists for each race.

Cup Series

There are 38 cars on the entry list for the Cup race.

Cole Custer is listed as the driver of the No. 51 for Rick Ware Racing, replacing Timmy Hill from Talladega.

Corey LaJoie will make his fourth start of the season behind the wheel of the No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet.

StarCom Racing will roll out a second Chevrolet this week for Derrike Cope.

Last year, Jimmie Johnson beat Saturday’s Xfinity Series winner Kyle Larson in a race that ended under caution.

Click here for the complete entry list.

Xfinity Series

There are 41 cars entered for the OneMain Financial 200.

This is the final Dash 4 Cash race, so no drivers earning Cup points are entered.

Noah Gragson will make his third Xfinity start in the No. 18 Toyota and will look to continue a streak of top fives. He finished second in his debut at Richmond and was fourth last week at Talladega.

Jeb Burton will pilot the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and make his second start of the season.

Ray Black Jr. is entered in the No. 8 Chevrolet owned by B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

Brandon Brown will make his third attempt of the season, driving the No. 90 DGM Racing Chevrolet.

Last year, Kyle Larson led 137 of 200 laps and defeated Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez in this race. The highest finishing Xfinity regular was Cole Custer in fourth.

Click here for the complete Xfinity entry list.

Truck Series

There are 34 trucks entered for the Jegs 200.

Bayley Currey will make his fourth Truck start in the No. 83 for Copp Motorsports. His career best finish to date is a 10th last fall at Phoenix.

Camden Murphy will make his first Truck start of 2018 for MB Motorsports; he ran in 11 races last year.

Reed Sorenson will do double duty for Premium Motorsports in the No. 15.

Click here for the complete Truck entry list.