"4 Wide" Notes: Daytona 500 Edition
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a spirited and emotional Daytona 500 Sunday. It marked his second victory in the season opener – his first came in 2004. Here are notes from the weekend:
Daytona 500 (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
- Since 1970, seven drivers have won the season opener and then driven to Victory Lane in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The last to accomplish the feat? Jimmie Johnson in 2006. Others include: Jeff Gordon (2005), Davey Allison (1992), Bill Elliott (1985), Cale Yarborough (1984), Buddy Baker (1980) and Pete Hamilton (1970).
- Earnhardt Jr. is the only driver in the history of Talladega Superspeedway to win four straight Sprint Cup races (2001-2003). He has a total of five triumphs at the 2.66-mile venue – the last in 2004 (incidentally the last year he won the Daytona 500 before Sunday’s finish).
- After finishing second in the last Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega in October of 2013, Earnhardt Jr., will be among the favorites when the series returns on May 4 for the Aaron’s 499.
- In addition to Earnhardt Jr., the remaining top-six finishes at Daytona Sunday will also be favorites in May. All have had considerable success at Talladega. Denny Hamlin (2nd) has a third- and fourth-place at TSS while Brad Keselowski (3rd) has two Sprint Cup wins at TSS and Jeff Gordon (4th) has gone to Victory Lane at Talladega six times. Jimmie Johnson (5th) has two triumphs at Talladega while Matt Kenseth has one trip to the TSS winners circle.
- Talladega’s 2013 winners - David Ragan and Jamie McMurray - finished 14th and 34th respectively Sunday.
NASCAR Nationwide Series
- Regan Smith outdueled Keselowski in a side-by-side battle to win Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona by .013 seconds.
- Smith is the defending champion of the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2014 edition is set for Saturday, May 3.
- Driving for JR Motorsports, Smith finished third in the championship standings in 2013.
- Trevor Bayne was third at Daytona, followed by Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
- Busch edged Timothy Peters by .016 seconds to win Friday’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
- Busch will be among the favorites for the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega on Saturday, Oct. 18.
- Busch is a former winner at Talladega in the trucks, going to Victory lane in 2009.
- Last year’s winner in the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega - Johnny Sauter – finished third at Daytona followed by Ryan Truex and Ron Hornaday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be in action again this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to the track on March 29 at Martinsville Speedway.
NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 with the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, which is set for May 2-4. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will take to the track on Saturday, May 3 while NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series machines take the green flag on Sunday, May 4. For ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
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