Getty Images

What drivers said after Daytona 500

1 Comment

Here’s what drivers had to say about their performances in the season-opening Daytona 500:

Denny Hamlin – winner: “I think we take for granted sometimes how safe these cars are. We’re praying for Ryan (Newman). Worked really well with Ryan through this whole race. Obviously, he got turned right there. Proud of our whole FedEx team. I don’t even know what to say, so unexpected. I knew they were going to come with a big run there. My job was to just make sure I didn’t put a block up where they would wreck me so I could make it to another corner. We got to the 12 (Ryan Blaney’s) bumper and got the push from there. I knew I was going to give him a big run. The race wasn’t over and obviously it worked out well for us there at the end. Proud of this whole FedEx team, Toyota, Coke, the Jordan brand. It’s great to have my girls here and the team celebrating back-to-back. I can’t even tell you what it means to me. … We’ve definitely defied odds the last eight years or so to win the Daytona 500. I just trust my instincts and so far they’ve been good for me. I can’t do it without the car and  making it capable for me to make those winning moves.

“(Take us through the final two laps) I knew that I got out there a little too far on the backstretch. I didn’t want to check up and it was just going to increase the run that those guys had. I knew that I wanted to give them the bottom and  leave myself the top so I had some options. Great call by my spotter there, (Chris) Lambert to tuck in behind the 12 (Ryan Blaney). He told me to get behind the 12 and  entering Turn 3 I was able to link up on his bumper, similar to what I did with the 6 (Ryan Newman) and I knew I was  going to give him a shot or a run was going to be massive and he was going to do something with it. I knew it wasn’t over from my perspective. When they got together, I just wanted to get as far away as I could and then once I saw the 12 coming up, I wanted to get to his right-rear like I did with (Martin Truex Jr. in 2016) a few years ago and side draft to the line. Things really worked out perfectly there for me at the end. I’m very fortunate to be in this place, but we all have to bow our heads and pray for Ryan Newman. That’s the number one thing we should all be thinking about right now.

“(How concerned were you that you were the sole Toyota in the closing laps?) We’re defying odds. We’re obviously low on numbers there. There were just so many Fords, I knew that at the end of these races, people want to win for themselves. Alliances and all sound really, really good at the beginning, but in the end, it’s the Daytona 500 and we want to do everything we can to win. Everyone was battling for it there. We just ended up on the right side of it.”

Ryan Blaney – finished 2nd: “We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from (Hamlin). I kind of went low and he blocked that and so I was committed to pushing him to the win and have a Ford win it. I don’t know. We just got the bumpers hooked up wrong and I turned him. I hope he is alright. It looked pretty bad. I was trying to push him to the win. I don’t like saying that things just happen because I feel really bad about it. It was a close one. I just hope Ryan is alright.”

David Ragan – finished 4th: “That was the ugliest fourth-place finish I have ever had. I wasn’t disciplined enough in my strategy there with about 15 to go. I felt like things were getting a little hairy and we were 16th or 18th and that is no man’s land here at Daytona. I keyed the radio up going down the back straightaway and said I was going to back off a little. That is when they wrecked. I was pretty mad at myself for not seeing that earlier and getting that damage. Our Front Row Motorsports team with Rick Ware did a good job getting it fixed up. Those last few laps were exciting.”

Kevin Harvick – finished 5th: “We did exactly what we wanted to do. We just got a little bit of bumper damage and abandoned stage points to be around at the end to have a chance. We did at the end; we just ran out of pushers. I knew we needed to be fourth on that restart. The bottom wasn’t where we needed to be. We didn’t get a good shove and then everything jumbled up and we were able to get back close to the front. It was a solid night for the Busch Light Ford.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 6th: “That was my opportunity to win, being on the outside in fourth. I don’t know. It is just disappointing. I am frustrated because I felt like I should have been on the outside and not on the inside. That was a game winning decision there, or losing decision on our behalf, and unfortunately it didn’t transpire.”

Brendan Gaughan – finished 7th: “My last Daytona 500, my career-best finish, what an amazing finish. The Beard Oil Team, what a great job. I’m so proud of all the guys; we don’t quit. Right now, my thoughts are with Newman. Twenty-three or 24 years of this and finally a top 10 in the Daytona 500 and a chance to win. The guys didn’t quit, the pit crew didn’t quit. I love the Beard family and thank you for the opportunity. For us, this is a big deal. We’re a small team with one employee, a car chief that’s a plumber, and we come home with a top 10 in the Daytona 500. I had a shot there at the end to win. That’s Daytona, man! This stuff is wild. I do love this racing. We take this risk, love this risk and we do what we love. I still love what I do.”

Corey LaJoie – finished 8th: “The narrative kind of changed a little bit. I heard he (Newman) went straight to the hospital. That’s obviously scary. I got a big push there that last coming to the white.  I don’t know who was pushing me and I kind of stalled out and I don’t know who hooked Newman. I was hoping he would kind of bounce off the fence to the left, but he didn’t and I hit him. I don’t know exactly where I hit him. I haven’t seen a replay. It was some scary stuff. Don’t get me wrong. My car was on fire. My seat belts grabbed all sorts of areas, but it was a good day for us. I hope Ryan is OK.”

Kyle Larson – finished 10th: “I had a decent shot on some of those restarts. I couldn’t push Joey (Logano) as fast as I needed to. I felt like I was locked to him pretty well, we just weren’t making any speed. I fell way back and were able to miss some crashes there. I got shuffled out there on that last lap and just had to ride to the finish because I was so far behind the draft. A top 10 with no damage on the car is good. I just hope Newman is alright. It’s the first Daytona 500 that I haven’t gotten any damage, so that’s a good. We still got a top 10, so it’s not a bad points weekend. We finished third in the Clash and 10th here. We’ll take it and move onto Vegas. I’m excited to get on a 1.5-mile track with the new bodies.”

Austin Dillon — finished 12th: “We want to be in Victory Lane where Denny Hamlin is, but all in all, we’ve had a pretty good start to the season for this No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road/E-Z-Go Chevrolet Team. The Daytona 500 is one of those races where you want to finish towards the front because it takes a while to recover from a bad first race. To start the season in the top-13 in points is huge. We were riding around biding our time to make a run for it at the end when I saw a car swing across the field and I knew we were going to be in trouble. I got hit pretty good. I tried to keep it in the middle but ended up with some right-front damage. After that, our car was on the splitter and didn’t want to turn. Still, we survived several more wrecks to finish 12th. I was able to maintain at the end but I think we could have finished a few spots higher if we would have lined up on the outside for the final restart. I really needed other cars pushing me to help me along. We’re through Daytona and it’s a solid start to the year.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – finished 20th: “I was alright there; I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with the 12 (Ryan Blaney). I went low to not crash him and I got called for going below the yellow line. So, I don’t know. That’s the second one I’ve been called for when I felt like it was either crash the field or go below the line. I felt like I was blocked to go down there. When you’re going 200 mph, your momentum just carries you after they throw a block on you. I’m frustrated with that and coming to pit road, we got hit, which ultimately ruined our night. (What happened with the incident with William Byron?) I was going to go block (Aric Almirola) and then when I looked, (Byron) was going to follow me down and I didn’t think he was. So, I just got into his left rear. I hated that because I felt like the Hendrick and Chevy’s were working really well together.”

Alex Bowman – finished 24th: “Obviously not the night we wanted. This Valvoline team put together a great Chevy for Daytona. I hate it for the guys because they have worked so hard. We definitely didn’t give up and did everything we could to get more laps on the track. We learned a lot this week and definitely have a notebook for the next race.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 28th: “Honestly, I really don’t know what happened. I just saw he got loose. I really thought he had it saved and I was going to roll to the outside of him. Then, it’s like when the rear tires came back underneath him, it snapped and went back the other way, and I was there to catch him. Looking back, I really wish I would have dived to the inside with as fast as we were going there. Catching those cars in front of us, I probably would have got loose and wrecked myself. It’s just tough; it’s part of this racing. I’m glad we made it a little bit further this time around; I made it to Lap 199. We could have hung out in the back and probably got a little better finish. But I came here to win and that’s what this Caterpillar Chevy team is about.”

Ryan Preece – finished 29th: “We were in position to win the race right there. You really got no help, which is sad, but the only one that was helping me was Chris Buescher. It’s hard to commit to so many people when you know at the end of the race the only person you can trust is Chris. It’s frustrating. Obviously, I can trust the 47 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) when I need his help, but as far as anyone else goes, you’re going to get left out to dry. It’s frustrating. That was the best shot to win that race. We were in a phenomenal spot.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 33rd: “(What happened in the big wreck you were involved in?) There was just guys wrecking and the 21(Matt DiBenedetto) came back across, and we ended up knocking the oil cooler out of our No. 1 Monster Energy Chevy. The car was handling good; the guys put a lot of work into it. The random roulette wheel took our number today and we didn’t get to the end. Lady Luck was not on our side. There were a lot of cars on the lead-lap and there was a really big instability with side-drafting. With 15 laps to go, do you ride still or do you go for it? I went for it.

Kyle Busch – finished 34th: “No, right there coming out of (Turn) 4 – when we were leading and guys were kind of switching from the bottom to the top. That’s when I got warning that it was starting to go away and then through the tri-oval it let go more and that is when (Joey) Logano was all over me. I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Overall, it’s just a shame. I really hate it for all my guys. I really hate it for Joe Gibbs Racing. You come off pit road after the final pit stop and you are leading the thing – it’s kind of your shot to win. All you have to do is make sure that you can keep everyone else behind you. We’ve been in that spot I don’t know how many times, and I guess we will just keep going down in history of finding new ways to lose it. I know there is another guy who has done that before and he was pretty popular. I don’t know. It sucks to be in that conversation, but we will go on another year.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished 35th: “It’s been really a cool race to be a part of. You only dream of racing in races like this as a kid. That No. 22 car (Joey Logano) had been pretty aggressive all day long. I just felt like it was a matter of time before his pushes were a little much and it looks like that was the case there. But, our Ally Chevy was really strong. I hate that we were tore up in it. I’m really excited about the races ahead of us. Cliff Daniels (crew chief) did a great job leading this team, full support from Hendrick Motorsports, my family, my friends, my fans; I’m just very thankful for all of that. We didn’t get to Victory Lane today but I’m ready to get to Vegas and get to work out there.”

Brad Keselowski – finished 36th: “I just spun out. I had (Newman) in front of me, I was about to push him, just a lot of kinetic energy there. I felt we had a really good car. (Christopher Bell) was doing such a great job pushing (Newman). I didn’t think they’d have as strong of a run as they did. They just got by me on the bottom. I should have covered that better and I didn’t. It’s my fault, I kind of put myself in position for that. We led a lot laps, were certainly in position at the end and just not quite strong enough. … You definitely have to push each other and bump the heck out of each other. That is how this racing is.”

Cole Custer – finished 37th: “It looks like we had a problem with a gear. Those things are usually pretty bulletproof. I don’t know. It’s tough because we just rode around all day to position ourselves for the end and it just didn’t work out. We had a good car. I think we probably were gonna be in contention for a top 10 there, but it just doesn’t always work out sometimes.”

William Byron – finished 40th: “(Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) had given me a couple of bumps earlier before that and the car handled it fine. I think the fact that he was pushing me and sliding left across the bumper is what really got me slightly left. He moved to go out of line and misjudged that move it seemed like. Ultimately, he hit me in the left-rear quarter panel and turned me straight into the inside wall. I understand making moves and stuff. I think we were all in line to that point. It wasn’t like I was trying to block him or anything; I just don’t really know where that came from. It’s the ups and downs of racing. It goes up and down, and luckily, we got something points-wise out of this race or less we’d have one point. I guess we have 10 or 11 points going into Las Vegas. We’re going to have to rebound and rally there. I don’t know, I’m not really sure what I could have done differently.”

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Denny Hamlin wins the Daytona 500 for second consecutive year

1 Comment

Denny Hamlin won his second consecutive Daytona 500, which ended in a last-lap wreck that left Ryan Newman in serious condition at a Daytona Beach, Florida, hospital.

Hamlin, Newman and Ryan Blaney were battling for the victory off the final turn at Daytona International Speedway when Newman’s No. 6 Ford took a hard right into the outside wall after a push from Blaney’s No. 12 Ford.

Blaney finished just a few feet behind Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota as Newman turned hard into the outside wall in a crash off the last corner on a push from Blaney’s No. 12 Ford, which had ducked down the track after wiggling on a push by Hamlin.

Newman’s No. 6 Ford flipped upside down and was hit hard in the driver’s side door by Corey LaJoie‘s No. 32 Ford. Newman’s Musang slid a few hundred feet on its roof, coming to a stop at the exit of the pits as fuel appeared to be spilling from its rear end.

It took safety workers more than 10 minutes after the checkered flag to extricate Newman from his damaged Mustang.

Newman was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center and was in serious condition with injuries that weren’t life threatening, according to Roush Fenway Racing.

“No. 1 we’re praying for Ryan (Newman),” Hamlin said in a subdued victory lane celebration. “I worked really well with Ryan throughout the whole race. Obviously, he got turned right there.”

Hamlin outdueled the two Ford drivers in the second overtime restart Monday after Blaney and Newman briefly had teamed up to pass him on the backstretch of the final lap.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won by 0.014 seconds, the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history. He also won the closest finish in the 2016 Daytona 500 when he outdueled Martin Truex Jr.

Hamlin became the fourth back-to-back winner of the Daytona 500, joining Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95).

With his 38th career victory, Hamlin joined Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon as three-time Daytona 500 winners.

Multiple crashes in final laps

Several contenders were eliminated in a 19-car crash with 16 laps remaining. The chain-reaction wreck began when Joey Logano bumped Aric Almirola, who lost control and hit leader Brad Keselowski.

It was the second wreck of Speedweeks involving the Team Penske Fords, but unlike in the Busch Clash wreck, Keselowski put the blame on himself instead of Logano this time.

“I should have covered myself better and didn’t,” Keselowski, who remains winless in 11 attempts at the Daytona 500, told Fox. “It’s my fault. I kind of put myself in position for that.”

The wreck also eliminated Jimmie Johnson, who might have made his last start in the Daytona 500, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt DiBenedetto.

Logano scooted through the mess unscathed, and the race was stopped for just over 12 minutes for cleanup.

Defending Cup champion Kyle Busch was leading with 25 laps remaining but suffered a mechanical problem with 20 to go and remains winless in 15 tries at the Great American Race.

Pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the first 23 laps and was in contention for his first Daytona 500 victory before being penalized by NASCAR for dipping below the yellow line while advancing position with 40 laps remaining. The pole-sitter seemed to have been trying to avoid causing a major wreck when he swerved after contact with Ryan Blaney.

Stenhouse would crash about 15 laps later after contact with Erik Jones but managed to reach the pits without causing a yellow.

William Byron, who started fourth after winning the second qualifying race last Thursday, finished 40th after his No. 24 Chevrolet was the first car out of the race in a crash near the end of the 65-lap first stage. On Lap 59, Byron went for a ride through the grass after getting bumped by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. twice on the backstretch.

“I feel like there’s really no reason to be that aggressive moving across my bumper, but it is what it is,” Byron told Fox. “We’ll go on to Vegas and go try to win that one.”

The race restarted under caution at 4:05 p.m. Monday after only the second postponement in the 62-year history of the Daytona 500.

Trump honorary race starter

A series of mid-afternoon storms limited racing to only 20 laps Sunday. NASCAR was a half-lap from having honorary starter Dale Earnhardt Jr. wave the green flag for the start when the green flag initially was waved off at 3:29 p.m. Three minutes later, the skies opened up around the speedway, forcing a red flag for track drying from the passing shower.

The field was paced on its first lap by the motorcade of President Trump, who gave the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. and then was greeted by a group of NASCAR officials and team owners, including Richard Childress, Chip Ganassi, Joe Gibbs, Rick Hendrick, Richard Petty, Roger Penske and Jack Roush.

Air Force One landed at Daytona International Airport just behind the backstretch shortly after 1 p.m., and Trump addressed the crowd from a stage in victory lane about 90 minutes later. In prepared remarks, Trump described the Daytona 500 as “pure American glory” and a “legendary display of roaring engines, soaring spirits and the American skill, speed and power. The tens of thousands of patriots here today have come for the fast cars and the world-class motorsports. But NASCAR fans never forget that no matter who wins the race, what matters most is God, family and country.”

Trump’s visit marked the fourth time a sitting U.S. president has attended a NASCAR race at Daytona. President Ronald Reagan was the first in July 4, 1984, witnessing Richard Petty’s 200th career victory. President George H.W. Bush attended the July 4,1992 race, and his son, George W. Bush, became the first president to attend the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 2004.

Trump said this was the fifth time he’d attended the Daytona 500.

“It really is the great American race,” Trump told Fox Sports in an interview after his address. “I look at it as almost a patriotism kind of thing. We love NASCAR. We love the people of NASCAR.”

Trump departed the track about 15 minutes after the rain hit, and Air Force One took off at 4:10 p.m., about 10 minutes before the green flag fell for the first time Sunday.

Stage 1 winner: Chase Elliott

Stage 2 winner: Denny Hamlin

What’s next: The first 1.5-mile race of the season will take place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on February 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET (Fox).

Monday’s Daytona 500: Restart time, weather and more

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Let’s try this again.

After rain postponed Sunday’s race, Cup drivers will get back on track Monday at Daytona International Speedway to complete the Daytona 500. And the forecast looks very good for Monday’s race.

The race was halted after 20 of 180 laps with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leading.

Here are today’s details:

(All times are Eastern)

RESTART: Command to fire engines at 4:02 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:12 p.m. 

DISTANCE: 180 of the scheduled 200 laps remain to be run on the 2.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 65. Stage 2 ends on Lap 130.

TV/RADIO: Fox’s broadcast begins at 4 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 4 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 73 degrees and a 3% chance of rain when the race resumes.

RUNNING ORDER:

  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Aric Almirola
  4. Ryan Newman
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. William Byron
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Ty Dillon
  10. Timmy Hill
  11. David Ragan
  12. Chris Buescher
  13. Matt DiBenedetto
  14. Chase Elliott
  15. Ross Chastain
  16. Alex Bowman
  17. Kyle Larson
  18. Kurt Busch
  19. Austin Dillon
  20. Cole Custer
  21. Michael McDowell
  22. Tyler Reddick
  23. Ryan Blaney
  24. Bubba Wallace
  25. Reed Sorenson
  26. BJ McLeod
  27. Corey LaJoie
  28. Brendan Gaughan
  29. Ryan Preece
  30. Justin Haley
  31. Martin Truex Jr.
  32. Kyle Busch
  33. Erik Jones
  34. Christopher Bell
  35. Denny Hamlin
  36. Clint Bowyer
  37. John Hunter Nemechek
  38. Quin Houff
  39. Joey Gase
  40. Brennan Poole

The 2020 Daytona 500 viewer’s guide: Five things to watch over 500 miles

Leave a comment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Take a good look when the green flag falls for the 62nd running of the Daytona 500, because the Great American Race likely will appear quite different in 2021.

Next season will mark the debut of the NextGen car, a radical overhaul of the model that has been raced in NASCAR’s premier series for decades. The potential volatility of an unusually large group of stars in contract years could mean a dramatic reshuffling of the driver lineup for next season. And though next year’s Daytona 500 already has been announced its traditional mid-February slot (Feb. 14, 2021), the races that will follow it (or perhaps occur before) will form what’s expected to be an aggressive shake-up of the Cup schedule.

Those are three overarching topics in NASCAR entering the 2020 season that actually won’t be fully digested until well after the champion has been crowned.

But one thing remains static: The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the season, and Daytona International Speedway will have anyone’s full attention for roughly three hours today.

Here are five things to watch over the next 500 miles of Cup racing.


Jimmie Johnson’s last ride: Feting the seven-time series champion will be a weekly occurrence during his final full season of an illustrious 19 years in the Cup Series, and Daytona International Speedway will kick off the celebration by putting Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet at the front during warmup laps. A special video tribute and highlight montage will be played, honoring the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s career with accolades from peers and teammates, and there also will be an extended salute during driver introductions.

It’s fitting to heap as much praise on Johnson as possible, considering many in NASCAR believe proper credit was lacking for his accomplishments and during an unprecedented run of five consecutive championship (notably, Johnson will remain overshadowed slightly Sunday by a visit from President Trump).

Of course, the ultimate homage would be in victory lane. It’s been more than two seasons and 95 races since his last victory, but Johnson is a two-time Daytona 500 winner and showed speed in finishing second to teammate William Byron in Thursday’s second qualifying race. Though speedway races haven’t been his forte, if he can avoid being caught in the predictable rash of wrecks, he should have as good of a shot as anyone at earning a memorable win.

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson smiles during Daytona 500 Media Day (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Blocking and big crashes: Speaking of wrecks, expect more of the same at the Daytona 500, which has been an annual demolition derby since 2017. Though drivers understand insanely higher closing rates (because of a taller spoiler) greatly have diminished the effectiveness of blocking, it won’t preclude overly optimistic moves that invariably will result in massive pileups (as in Sunday’s Busch Clash).

It’s the Daytona 500, which means every risk can be rationalized no matter how absurd and futile it might seem in retrospect.

Expect the action to be relatively tame (much like the bulk of Thursday’s qualifiers) through the first 160 laps. But over the final 100 miles, the gloves will come off, and many contenders will be left staggering.

And keep an eye on whether any more flareups involve teammates after the contretemps between Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the Clash.


Manufacturer alliances: Because it should be easier to charge toward the front with these rules, strength in numbers will be less important than a year ago (when Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyotas cut a secret deal with Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolets to thwart the Ford armada). But the automakers have exuded their desire for cooperation among brands more strongly than ever over the past year at Daytona and Talladega, with Chevrolet finally getting its Camaros to work in line with the Camrys and Mustangs.

Those dynamics will change as the laps wind down, but at least through the first two stages, expect drafting partners to be chosen strictly across manufacturer lines.

However, within the last 40 laps, expect to see surges regardless of their brands by the drivers remaining who are most skilled at superspeedway racing (with Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Keselowski and Logano being among the first tier, and Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch being in the conversation after that).


(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The champ seeks another crown: NASCAR has been at Daytona International Speedway barely a week, but its resident champion has been making headlines here since the start of the year.

From the moment Kyle Busch climbed into a Lexus during a Jan. 3 test for his Rolex 24 debut, he has carried a noticeable spring in his step at the World Center of Racing.

Undoubtedly, he feels the confidence borne of emerging from one of his most frustrating seasons in Cup with a second title, which surely makes his first Daytona 500 win (in his 15th attempt) seem even more attainable.

His record at the 2.5-mile track is spotty – a lone victory in the July 2008 race – but he finished a career-best second in last year’s season opener. A stat buff who is aware of the many stock-car greats who never won here or needed double-digit tries, Busch has all the necessary motivation to marry with the swagger.


First timers and dark horses: This season’s vaunted trio of rookies (Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick) comprise the best freshman class in Cup since 2006 (Hamlin, Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.), and any of them could pull the biggest Daytona 500 stunner since Trevor Bayne’s 2011 victory.

The same is true for a familiar collection of youth and veterans who have a skillset well-suited for superspeedways. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher, Aric Almirola, Ryan Preece and Matt DiBenedetto (now driving for Wood Brothers Racing’s storied No. 21, which has a long history at Daytona and is on the cusp of its 100th victory) don’t get mentioned often as Cup contenders but can’t be overlooked at Daytona.

Michael McDowell, David Ragan and Bubba Wallace are driving for midpack teams but aren’t necessarily long shots in this race.

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Cup Series paint schemes for 2020

Getty Images
1 Comment

NASCAR’s Speedweeks has arrived and with it comes the first look at some of the paint schemes Cup Series teams will sport throughout the season.

Here’s a look at confirmed paint schemes for this year, including those that will be driven in Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

Quin Houff – StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet

StarCom Racing

Kurt Busch – Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

 

Chip Ganassi Racing

Brad Keselowski – Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford

Team Penske
Team Penske

Austin Dillon – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Ford

Richard Childress Racing

Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 Ford

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Newman – Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford

Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing

Tyler Reddick – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chase Elliott – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 9 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

 

Hendrick Motorsports

Aric Almirola – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 10 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney – Team Penske’s No. 12 Ford

Team Penske
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Ty Dillon – Germain Racing’s No. 13 Chevrolet

Germain Racing

Clint Bowyer – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 14 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brennan Poole – Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Justin Haley – Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet (Daytona 500 only)

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chris Buescher – Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 17 Ford

Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Lionel Racing

Martin Truex Jr. – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Toyota

 

Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing

Erik Jones – No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

Matt DiBenedetto – Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 Ford

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joey Logano – Team Penske’s No.  22 Ford

Team Penske

William Byron – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

Reed Sorenson – Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Corey LaJoie – Go Fas Racing’s No. 32 Ford

Go Fas Racing
Go Fas Racing
Go Fas Racing

Michael McDowell – Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford

Michael McDowell
Front Row Motorsports

Ryan Preece – JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

 

John Hunter Nemechek – Front Row Motorsport’s No. 38 Ford

John Hunter Nemechek
Front Row Motorsports
Front Row Motorsports
Front Row Motorsports

Cole Custer – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

Kyle Larson – Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Bubba Wallace – Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports
Richard Petty Motorsports

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

Chad Finchum – MBM Motorsports’ No. 49 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joey Gase – Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

JJ Yeley – Rick Ware Racing’s No. 54 Ford

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brendan Gaughan – Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Timmy Hill – MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Ford

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ross Chastain – Chip Ganassi Racing/Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Alex Bowman – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

Christopher Bell – Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Toyota

Leavine Family Racing
Leavine Family Racing

Daniel Suarez – Gaunt Bros Racing’s No. 96 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)