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Overlooked stories from the Daytona 500

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The two defining stories coming out of the 60th Daytona 500 are Austin Dillon’s win and Darrell Wallace Jr.’s historic runner-up finish.

But there were 38 other drivers in the “Great American Race” with a few having career days at the 2.5-mile track.

Here’s a look at some of the overlooked stories of the race.

JTG-Daugherty Racing

The two-car team put both of its entries in the top 10 for the second year in a row.

A.J. Allmendinger brought his No. 47 Chevrolet home in 10th while Chris Buescher and his No. 37 Chevrolet finished fifth. It was Buescher’s seventh top 10 of his career.

Michael McDowell

In his first start with Front Row Motorsports, McDowell drove his No. 34 Ford to a ninth-place finish.

It is McDowell’s sixth top-10 finish in 250 Cup starts. It’s his second straight top 10 at Daytona after earning a career-best fourth-place finish last July.

It is FRM’s third top 10 at Daytona in 49 combined starts at the track.

Justin Marks

Though he didn’t finish on the lead lap, Marks still managed to earn the best finish of his four-race Cup career.

Driving the No. 51 for Rick Ware Racing and Premium Motorsports, Marks finished 12th. Previously he had finishes of 40th (Talladega, 2017) and 30th (Sonoma, 2013 and 2015).

Marks, 37, also led his first lap in Cup competition on Sunday.

Gray Gaulding

Driving BK Racing’s No. 23 Toyota, Gaulding made his first start in the Daytona 500 and finished 20th.

It capped off a week where Gaulding did not make a qualifying attempt for the race and BK Racing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the day of the qualifying duels.

Mark Thompson

A veteran of 100 ARCA Racing Series races, the 66-year-old driver from Cartersville, Georgia, made just his third Cup Series start on Sunday and his first in the Daytona 500. The race was also his final start in any racing series.

A Vietnam war veteran, Thompson drove the No. 66 for Carl Long to a 22nd-place finish.

Thanks to wrecks, Thompson finished ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, William Byron, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.

His previous two starts, in 1992 at Pocono and last year at Talladega, resulted in DNFs.

Thompson, who won the pole for the 2015 ARCA race at Daytona, failed to qualify for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 1993 and the 1994 Daytona 500.

D.J. Kennington

Making his second start in the Daytona 500, the Canadian driver earned his career-best result in six Cup starts when he placed 24th.

It topped his 26th-place finish last November at Phoenix.

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Seven Cup cars penalized practice time Friday

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Seven Cup teams, including Danica Patrick‘s team, will miss 15 minutes of the first practice session today, NASCAR confirmed.

NASCAR is penalizing the teams for being late to inspection.

Missing practice time will be the teams of Gray Gaulding, Michael McDowell, David Ragan, AJ Allmendinger, Brendan Gaughan, Mark Thompson and Patrick.

New this year is that teams will serve their timed penalties at the end of a practice session instead of the beginning of the session. Also drivers will be not forced to sit in their car at the end of pit road for the duration of the penalty. Instead, the car will be parked in the garage and the team will not be allowed near it.

Cup teams practice from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET and 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET today.

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40 cars on preliminary entry list for Daytona 500

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The preliminary entry list for the Daytona 500 has 40 cars and 39 drivers listed.

The entry list, released Thursday, includes the 36 charter teams and four non-charter teams.

Teams without a charter are the No. 62 of Brendan Gaughan, the No. 66 of Mark Thompson, the No. 92 of David Gilliland and the No. 96 of DJ Kennington. If no other non-charter teams enter, then all four of those teams will make the field.

The only team that didn’t have a driver listed was the No. 23 car from BK Racing. UPDATE: BK Racing announced Saturday that Gray Gaulding will drive the car for the Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 is Feb. 18. Single-car qualifying is Sunday and the qualifying races are Feb. 15.

Click here for preliminary entry list for Daytona 500

Jamie McMurray takes big hit to playoff advancement hopes in Talladega wreck

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Jamie McMurray came into today’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in the final transfer spot for the upcoming Round of 8.

Unfortunately, McMurray will likely leave Talladega below the transfer line heading to the cutoff race next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

McMurray was involved in a five-car wreck on Lap 27. He was attempting to come to pit road when he was pushed from behind by Erik Jones, turned hard right into the wall and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mark Thompson and Chris Buescher.

“It was my fault, I had assumed (Kyle Busch) was going to let me in, I didn’t even know where (Jones) was,” McMurray said. “We were all coming to pit road as a group and I’ll take the blame for that.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, right? It’s part of Talladega and we know you can come out of here with a lot of points and be a winner, or come out in the position we’re in now, go to Kansas and do our best.”

Added Erik Jones:  “(Kyle Busch) started checking up in front of me and swerved, and (McMurray) was basically stopped on the track, it looked like he was trying to get from the top of the racetrack to the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we could really do. It’s just one of those things that happens here.”

 

66-year-old Mark Thompson to make first Cup start in 25 years Sunday at Talladega

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Veteran race car driver Mark Thompson will make his first start in a NASCAR Cup race in more than a quarter-century in Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The 66-year-old Thompson, of Cartersville, Georgia, will drive the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet. Veteran crew chief Tommy Baldwin will be atop the pit box.

It will be Thompson’s second career Cup start. In his Cup debut, he finished 39th at Pocono in 1992

“Talladega is my most favorite track in all of NASCAR,” Thompson said. “It’s convenient to my home which is in Cartersville, Ga., and it’s only about 75 miles from my home.

“As a pilot, I can fly over there quite quickly and easily. I like the track, it’s just an enjoyable place to drive. I’ve driven about 20 to 30 races at Talladega over my career in the ARCA and Xfinity Series and I’m looking forward to getting in the 15 Cup car this weekend”.

The U.S. Army veteran and pilot will be sponsored by Phoenix Air, an international charter flight service, which is based in Cartersville.

Thompson, a veteran of the ARCA Series, became the oldest pole winner (63 years old) at Daytona International Speedway for the season-opening ARCA race there in 2015.

The Alabama 500 takes the green flag Sunday at 2 pm ET and will be televised on NBC.