NASCAR XFINITY Series Salutes U.S. Military Units With Tribute at Daytona
In a show of appreciation for the United States Armed Forces, NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will bear the names of active military units and installations on their race car windshields during Friday’s Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR: An American Salute™ (#NASCARSalutes) is the industry’s collective expression of reverence, respect and gratitude for those who have served and continue to defend the United States today.
“NASCAR’s long-standing tradition of honoring the U.S. Armed Forces will never waver – it is woven into the fabric of our sport,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “We have a unique opportunity with the NASCAR XFINITY Series to pay tribute to the military units and bases integral to preserving our country’s freedom.”
50th Running at Daytona has XFINITY Series Excited to Return
The World Center of Racing is in Daytona Beach, Florida and the 2.5-miles of asphalt banked at 31 degrees in the turns welcomes the XFINITY Series for the 50th series race at Daytona — the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola.
The series has competed at Daytona International Speedway 49 times producing 36 different pole winners; led by Joe Nemechek with five. Also during those 49 races, the series has seen 25 different drivers enjoying the spoils of victory, led by Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart with seven wins each.
With 14 races in the books this season, the series has seen ten different winners and six different pole winners. Chase Elliott, the 2014 series champ, won the season-opener at Daytona, and will return to defend his win in the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro.
The series started racing two events per season at Daytona in 2002, and since then only one driver has been able to sweep both races – Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2003. Elliott is looking to become the second driver in the series to sweep both races at Daytona this weekend, joining his car owner.
Elliott has made five starts at Daytona, posting one win in the 2016 season opener, two top-fives and an average finish of 13.4.
Jet Setting: Suárez Visits South Florida on his Way to Daytona
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suárez is garnering a lot of attention lately, and rightfully so. The Monterrey, Mexico, native not only leads the XFINITY Series standings, but he also recently won his first career national series race, locking himself into the Chase. With all that is going for him, Suárez made time to visit with media in South Florida this week as he prepares for Daytona.
Suárez’s recent accolades are impressive by any standard. He graduated from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs before winning XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors last season. A few weeks ago, he became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race when he pulled into Victory Lane a Michigan International Speedway.
Heading into Daytona this weekend, Suárez holds a 21-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler and a 35-point advantage over third-place Ty Dillon in the series standings.
In 14 starts this season, Suárez has posted one pole, one win, six top-fives and 12 top-tens, which is tied with Sadler for series-most. In three starts at Daytona he has posted one pole and one top-ten – an eighth-place finish earlier this season.
Sadler’s Restrictor-Plate Skills Could Bring him Second Win of the Season
JR Motorsports’ Elliott Sadler now sits second in the standings with a gap of 21 points between he and standings leader Daniel Suárez. Sadler can close that points gap this weekend with a win at Daytona.
The JRM veteran captured his lone win this season at Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway. Not to mention, his teammate Chase Elliott won at Daytona earlier this season, proving the JR Motorsports Chevrolet power plant has some steam.
But it’s been Sadler’s skills in the draft that has his 14 starts at Daytona yielding five top-fives and seven top-tens. His average finish at Daytona is 14.5 which is fifth-best among active drivers. He finished runner-up in this event last season.
Dillon Brothers Both have a Chance at the Checkered
Richard Childress Racing has the second-most series wins with six at Daytona International Speedway, and this weekend the Dillon brothers look to add to the total.
The elder of the two Dillon brothers, Austin, won this event last season by taking the lead with eight laps to go and never relinquishing it. This weekend, Austin can make it back-to-back July race victories as he will be wheeling the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro. It won’t be easy for Dillon to accomplish though; the last nine series July races at Daytona have seen nine different winners.
Austin Dillon has made seven series starts at Daytona, posting two poles, one win in 2015, six top-fives and an average finish of 6.4, the series-best.
The younger of the two Dillon brothers, Ty, now sits third in the series standings – 35 points behind the series lead. Ty Dillon is hungry for his first win of the season; it’s been 61 races since his last victory at Indianapolis, 2014.
In 14 starts this season, Dillon has posted five top-fives and nine top-tens. He has made six starts at Daytona, posting one top five and two top-tens.
Earlier this season at Daytona, Ty Dillon sat on the pole and ran in the top five for the majority of the race, but was shuffled back on the last restart, ultimately finishing 13th.
Former Champ Joe Nemechek Returns – Back in the saddle of the NEMCO Motorsports No. 87 Toyota Camry will sit 1992 series champion Joe Nemechek for his second start of the season. ‘Front Row’ Joe made his lone start in the series season-opener at Daytona, starting 28th and finishing 19th. Nemechek, a Lakeland, Florida native, has made 33 series starts at Daytona International Speedway, posting five poles, including three-straight, two wins in 1998, 2002, four top-fives, seven top-tens and an average finish of 20.9.
Doubling Their Duty: Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will compete in the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola on Friday night – Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Josh Wise, Aric Almirola and Chase Elliott. All, except Wise, have won at least one race in a NASCAR national series at Daytona.
NASCAR in Florida – A total of 360 NASCAR national series races have been run in the state of Florida (NSCS, 181; NXS, 74; NCWTS 39). The XFINITY Series has held 74 races among three tracks in the state of Florida (Daytona International Speedway, 49; Homestead-Miami Speedway, 21; Volusia County Speedway, four). The first NASCAR XFINITY Series race held in the state of Florida was at Daytona International Speedway in 1982 and won by Dale Earnhardt (Pontiac).
Florida Drivers In NASCAR – A total of 177 drivers who have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race have their home state recorded as Florida. Of the 177 Florida drivers, 47 have competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Of the 47 Florida drivers who have competed in the XFINITY Series, only four have won: Joe Nemechek (16), Rick Wilson (two), David Reutimann (one) and Aric Almirola (one). Almirola (Tampa), Nemechek (Lakeland), Ross Chastain (Alva), BJ McLeod (Wauchula), Ray Black Jr. (Palm Coast) and Blake Koch (West Palm Beach) are the six Florida natives entered this weekend at Daytona. Nemechek is the only Floridian to win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Daytona (1998, 2002).