Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Hendrick Motorsports rolls into Daytona 500 with new look

Hendrick Motorsports rolls into Daytona 500 with new look

The longtime driver and one of NASCAR's last active legends was, well, less than pleased watching all those season-in-review videos in 2017 - the ones chock full of his peers' achievements.

Ryan Blaney. After coming so close to winning the Daytona 500 with a runner-up finish past year, Blaney has showcased some serious muscle throughout Speedweeks in his new Team Penske ride.

While Penske teammate Brad Keselowski is installed as the Daytona 500 betting odds favorite at +700, he wrecked his vehicle with two laps remaining in Thursday's qualifying race.

But give them credit. Yet Bayne has not won a race since. He put the Penske No. 12 in Victory Lane, potentially showing what could be done when he is part of Penske's primary stable. He won a duel race Thursday night and will start fourth in Sunday's Daytona 500. The final lap took over an hour to run because of back to back major crashes. Chase Elliott (9) hanging on the left rear fender of Erik Jones (20) caused last year's Rookie of the Year to spin just like Byron and Gilliland did in the first race. "We want to be aggressive and make sure that we're doing everything we can to stay up front and see who will work with us".

Can a fresh-faced driver win the Great American Race?

Blaney worked with teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski until it was time to make a move. The 37-year-old will drive the No. 95 Chevy for Leavine Family Racing and will start 26th off the grid Sunday.

"I'm talking about data, Dartfish [video that overlaps drivers' laps], a lot of different tools that can help to learn quicker about the series and about the competition". "I feel like that's the best way for me to get acclimated quickly, but that's really my job to go out there and make sure that I'm prepared and make sure that I can get acclimated to the auto quickly".

"I think the big thing with pit stops is even though teams have practiced this, they have not made stops in the heat of battle with four crewmen". I think you just kind of absorb all that knowledge over the years.

"Every year presents different challenges and different storylines", he said.

Waltrip: It got down to the end of the race, I said, 'Who's leading?' (Crew chief Jeff Hammond) said, 'Dale.' I said, 'Well, he won't win.' He never had. 68 cars raced in the 1960 Daytona 500, and it resulted in 25 failing to finish.

But it doesn't appear Elliott is obsessed with making up for a lost opportunity. He starts 11th this Sunday but is driving Ford equipment that has held up well in the draft. There's no other sporting event like it, and it only happens once a year. "So I'd tend to concentrate more on the field that we have, the quality of field that we have, and the incredible drivers and story lines". "But at the same time, I thought it was super cool for all of the Eagles fans". The last thing we wanted is to go out there and get involved in a wreck, which would have forced us to a backup auto. "But at the same token, I feel like we played our cards the best we could". Johnson also had just one race stage win last season compared to the 19 authored by Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr.

Seeing the Duels actually makes me wish they had heat races every weekend just so we would get more racing, even if it was all for nothing.

"There's no reason in my mind for us to compete so frequently with National Football League in the fall months". For the first time in 72 years, NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner/driver Glen Wood will miss the Daytona tradition. "Our fans recognize there is nothing like the experience of attending a DAYTONA 500 in the world's only motorsports stadium".

Like this: