Weekly Preview: Feb. 4-10

Blow off the dust, fluff up those seat cushions, change the batteries in your remote, we’ve got racing at Daytona this week! While we may be an extra week away from the Daytona 500, Speedweeks begins this weekend with the Advance Auto Parts Clash and Daytona 500 Qualifying. The Auto Racing Club of America (ARCA) will also be on track at Daytona with their season opener, the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire. As if starting out the year with superspeedway racing wasn’t good enough, we also have short track racing in the mix with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series east racing at New Smyrna Speedway 20 minutes down the road from Daytona.  It headlines the World Series of Racing at New Smyrna that kicks off with practices and a BBQ party on Thursday followed by 9 straight days of classic short track racing with all different types of cars. You can find the full schedule for the event at the track website here.

Before we go into all of the notes and stories to watch, here is the full schedule for the week (all times ET):

Thursday, February 7
4:00-6:00p ARCA Practice

Friday, February 8
9:30-10:30a ARCA Practice
3:30p ARCA Qualifying

Saturday, February 9
10:00a-2:00p KNPSE Test (New Smyrna)
10:35-11:55a Clash Practice – FS1
1:05-1:55p Cup Practice – FS1
3:05-3:55p Cup Practice – FS1
4:45p Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire (ARCA) – FS1
6:30p Clash Drawing

Sunday, February 10
12:10p Cup Qualifying – FS1
1:00-1:45p KNPSE Practice (New Smyrna)
2:45-3:30p KNPSE Practice (New Smyrna)
3:00p Advance Auto Parts Clash – FS1
5:30p KNPSE Qualifying (New Smyrna)
7:30p New Smyrna 175 (KNPSE – New Smyrna) – Fanschoice.tv

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES NOTES:

The Advance Auto Parts Clash is right around the corner and has long been the ceremonial preseason event to help fans crave the Daytona 500 even more. Sometimes it’s a mere practice race for the teams, sometimes it’s a crashfest, but no matter what it’s NASCAR racing at Daytona so what’s not to love? The field for the Clash may be limited to about half of a normal field, but the entire Cup Series field will hit the track this weekend as they all qualify for the Daytona 500.

The Clash is a 75-lap race that headlines the first of two weekends at Daytona. The drivers who won the Pole Award (fastest qualifier in a race) in 2018, past winners of the Clash, past Daytona 500 champions, past Daytona 500 polesitters, and 2018 playoff drivers, were all eligible for the race as long as they competed full-time in 2018.

Thirteen drivers won a Pole Award in 2018 and punched their ticket to the Clash. They are: Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Paul Menard, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano. Leading those drivers was Kurt Busch with 5 Poles on the year, but the “Big 3” (Ky. Busch, Harvick, Truex) weren’t far behind with 4 Poles each. Denny Hamlin, who went winless in a season for the first time in his career, also had 4 Poles. Young guns Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney had considerable speed, each winning 3 Poles, but no other driver had more than one.

Jamie McMurray will be making one of his final starts in NASCAR competition in the Clash with a new team in Spire Motorsports. McMurray, who won the Daytona 500 in 2010, will be transitioning to a TV analyst role after the Daytona 500. He spends Speedweeks with Spire in the #40, the same number he started his Cup career with as a substitute to the injured Sterling Marlin in 2002. Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon are the other drivers who are eligible for the Clash by being a former Daytona 500 champion. Newman and Dillon won in 2008 and 2018, respectively.

7-time Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson has a new look and a new voice in his helmet. Since his rookie season in 2002, Johnson had Lowe’s on his Chevrolet and Chad Knaus making the calls on the pit box. Lowe’s ended their NASCAR sponsorship amicably and Chad Knaus was moved over to 2018 Rookie of the Year William Byron’s team. Ally Financial joins the Hendrick Motorsports #48 team as a primary sponsor with a new crew chief in Kevin Meendering. Meendering moves up from the Xfinity Series after working with veteran driver and regular championship threat Elliott Sadler. Sadler’s retirement left JR Motorsports shuffling their personnel around, and Meendering got the promotion to work with the driver tied for most championships in the sport’s history and the leader in wins among active drivers.

Johnson didn’t win a race in 2018, and hasn’t won since June 2017, and the Clash isn’t exactly his best race. For 7 straight years, as many times as he’s had championships, Jimmie Johnson has wrecked out of the Clash. Technically, he’s not credited with a DNF in last year’s race, but he was involved in a last lap crash as Brad Keselowski raced to the line for the win ahead of his two Team Penske teammates. The defending winner of the race, Keselowski, is also in the Clash along with playoff drivers and Stewart-Haas teammates Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.

Here’s the entry list for the Clash and the Daytona 500:

#DriverTeamMakeSponsor
1Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevyMonster Energy
2Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFordMiller Lite
3Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevyBass Pro Shops/Tracker Boots
4Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFordBusch Beer Car2Can
6Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFordWyndham Rewards
9Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevyMountain Dew
10Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFordSmithfield Prime Fresh
11Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaFedEx Express
12Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFordMenards/Peak
14Clint BowyerStewart Haas RacingFordMobil 1
18Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaM&M’s Tablet
19Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyotaBass Pro Shops/Tracker ATV’s
20Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaSport Clips
21Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFordMotorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
22Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFordShell/Pennzoil
40Jamie McMurraySpire MotorsportsChevyAdvent Health
41Daniel SuarezStewart Haas RacingFordHaas Automation
42Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevyCredit One Bank
48Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevyAlly
88Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevyNationwide

DAYTONA 500 ENTRY LIST:
* – not points eligible

#DriverTeamMakeSponsor
00Landon CassillStarCom RacingChevyPERMATEX
1Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevyMonster Energy
2Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFordDiscount Tire
3Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevyDow
4Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFordBusch Beer Car2Can
6Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFordOscar Meyer Deli Fresh
8Daniel HemricRichard Childress RacingChevyBass Pro Shops/Caterpillar
9Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevyNAPA AUTO PARTS
10Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFordSmithfield
11Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaFedex Express
12Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFordMenards/Peak
13Ty DillonGermain RacingChevyGEICO
14Clint BowyerStewart Haas RacingFordRush Truck Centers/Mobil 1
15Ross Chastain*Premium MotorsportsChevyTBD
17Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFordFastenal
18Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaM&M’s Chocolate Bar
19Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyotaBass Pro Shops
20Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaSport Clips
21Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFordMotorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
22Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFordShell Pennzoil
24William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevyAxalta
27Casey MearsGermain RacingChevyTBD
31Tyler Reddick*Richard Childress RacingChevySymbicort
32Corey LaJoieGO FAS RacingFordOld Spice
34Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFordLove’s Travel Stops
36Matt TifftFront Row MotorsportsFordTBD
37Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty RacingChevyKleenex Wet Wipes
38David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFordSelect Blinds
40Jamie McMurraySpire MotorsportsChevyMcDonalds/Cessna/Bass Pro Shops
41Daniel SuarezStewart Haas RacingFordHaas Automation
42Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevyCredit One Bank
43Bubba WallaceRichard Petty MotorsportsChevyAftershokz
47Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevyKroger.com
48Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevyAlly
51B.J. McLeod*Rick Ware RacingChevyJACOB COMPANIES
52Cody WareRick Ware RacingChevyWinn Dixie
62Brendan Gaughan*Beard MotorsportsChevyBeard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino
66Joey Gase*Motorsports Business ManagementToyotaMedic Air Systems Inc./Fan Memories
71Ryan Truex*Tommy Baldwin RacingChevyAccell Construction, Inc.
88Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevyNationwide
95Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family RacingToyotaProcore
96Parker Kligerman*Gaunt Brothers RacingToyotaGaunt Brothers Racing/Toyota

ARCA NOTES:

As you can see, there are three races this weekend in Central Florida and it all starts with ARCA racing at Daytona. The 35th running of the Lucas Oil 200 takes place on Saturday, February 9 and serves as the season opener for the series. Michael Self enters the year as the defending winner of the race at Daytona and he will return with Venturini Motorsports and Sinclair Oil. Venturini is going all in for Daytona as they also have drivers Harrison Burton, Christian Eckes, and Leilani Munter piloting their Toyota’s. The 2017 K&N Pro Series East Champion Harrison Burton will run the #20 Toyota for Venturini for 5 races in 2019 in addition to running full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Christian Eckes, who won 3 ARCA races in 2018 and will run 7 Truck Series races with KBM, returns for a full ARCA championship campaign in 2019 . Completing the Venturini Motorsports lineup, Leilani Munter, who has made many headlines as an environmental activist and by setting several female driving records in Indy Lights, will be making her final start in racing. Last year at Daytona, Munter qualified 5th and scored a career-best 8th place finish.

Leilani Munter won’t be the only female sporting girl power, as last year’s polesitter Natalie Decker will be racing for DGR-Crosley. Decker’s year ahead with DGR-Crosley is the next big step in her young career that consists of a split schedule between ARCA, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Decker ran the full ARCA season with Venturini where she scored 9 Top-10’s, 2 Top-5’s including Daytona, and a 7th place finish in the championship standings.

Of course, when going to Daytona for an ARCA race, you have to talk about the great Bobby Gerhart. The 60-year old driver will be making his 32nd straight start at Daytona and is searching for his 9th win! His most recent victory came in 2012 where he finished out his 2nd “threepeat”. Since then, he’s only had one Top-10 finish and has crashed out twice.

Some other notable entries in the race include Todd Gilliland, Riley Herbst, Tyler Dippel, and Brandon McReynolds. Here’s the full entry list as it stands, will be updated as necessary:

#DriverOwnerMakeSponsor
1Chick HiersMichelle HillenburgToyotaAshley Homes/Gleckler Lumber
02Andy SeussChris OurChevyRobert B. Our Company
2Eric CaudellEric CaudellFordCaudell Consulting & Marketing
3Willie MullinsWayne HixsonFordCounty Waste/Crow Wing Recycling
4Todd GillilandBo LeMastusToyotaFrontline Enterprises
5Bobby GerhartBill GerhartChevyLucas Oil
06Con NicolopoulosWayne PetersonChevyWayne Peterson Racing
7Codie RohrbaughCodie RohrbaughChevyGrant County Mulch
09C.J. McLaughlinChris OurChevyOur Motorsports
10Tommy Vigh Jr.Andy HillenburgFordExtreme Energy Cleaner
11Jason WhiteAndy HillenburgChevyPowder Ventures Excavating
15Christian EckesBill VenturiniToyotaVenturini Motorsports
18Riley HerbstCoy GibbsToyotaMonster/Terrible Herbst/ORCA Coolers/Advance Auto Parts
20Harrison BurtonBilly VenturiniToyotaDEX Imaging
22Connor HallChad BryantFordChad Bryant Racing
23Bret HolmesStacy HolmesChevyBret Holmes Racing
25Michael SelfCathy VenturiniToyotaSinclair Oil
27Travis BradenDon FikeFordMatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village
28Brandon McReynoldsMike BursleyToyotaKBR Development
29Derrick LancasterSteven LaneToyotaTotal Car & Truck Service/GRM Erectors
30Grant QuinlanMark RetteFordJones Demolition & Abatement
32Gus DeanKevin CywinskiChevyWin-Tron Racing
36Paul WilliamsonJennifer BrownToyotaVizion Motorsports
43Sean CorrJohn CorrChevyNesco
44John FerrierMike CheekChevyGrumpy’s
46Thad MoffittJohn CorrChevyPerformance Plus Motor Oil
48Brad SmithBrad SmithFordCopraya.com
52Tyler DippelKen SchraderFordKen Schrader Racing
54Natalie DeckerDavid GillilandToyotaN29 Technologies
55Leilani MunterBilly VenturiniToyotaWhat The Health
61J.J. PackJ.J. PackToyotaIceboxx Customs
63Dave Mader IIIParis WixonFordDiamond C Ranch/American Apparel
69Scott MeltonBill KimmelFordMelton McFadden Insurance Agency
77Joe Graf Jr.Chad BryantFordChad Bryant Racing

NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST NOTES:

There’s been a lot of media attention on the Pro Series East at New Smyrna and not exactly for the right reasons. Last week, DGR-Crosley was penalized heavily for an unauthorized test. The defending championship winning team will be behind by 100 owner championship points, pending an appeal of the penalty. Tanner Gray will be the driver for the #17 DGR-Crosley Toyota and will be looking for Rookie of the Year honors and has no affiliation to the testing penalty and therefore is not behind in the points.

Coming off of a NASCAR Truck Series Championship, Hattori Racing Enterprises enters the foray in the K&N Pro Series with driver Max McLaughlin, son of former NASCAR driver Mike McLaughlin. Other standouts in the series include Hailie Deegan, who became the first woman to win a race in the K&N Pro Series last year in a West Series race, and Ruben Garcia Jr. who has 2 Mexico Series championships.

Entry List:

#DriverTeamMakeSponsor
1Max McLaughlinHattori Racing EnterprisesToyotaTBA
4Chase CabreRev RacingToyotaHonda Generators
5TBAVizion MotorsportsToyotaTBA
6Ruben Garcia Jr.Rev RacingToyotaUTI-NTI
15Tanner GrayDGR-CrosleyToyotaGray Motorsports
16Derek KrausBill McAnally RacingToyotaNAPA Auto Parts
17Ty GibbsDGR-CrosleyToyotaJoe Gibbs Racing
18Colin GarrettHunt-Sellers RacingToyotaEmrys
19Hailie DeeganBill McAnally RacingToyotaMonster Energy
20Anthony SergiBen Kennedy RacingToyotaMJS Concrete
21Sam MayerGMS RacingChevyChevy Accessories
22Brandon OakleyThomas OakleyChevyOakley Blacktop
24Mason DiazMichael DiazFordFriends of Jaclyn Foundation
31TBAMarsh RacingChevyViking Yachts
54Drew DollarDGR-CrosleyToyotaSRI Performance
74Brandon McReynoldsVisconti MotorsportsChevyThe Riechert Group
82Spencer DavisRette Jones RacingFordALLPRO Corporation
87Charles BuchananCharles Buchanan RacingFordSpring Drug
99Brittney ZamoraBill McAnally RacingToyotaNAPA Filters

Author: Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey (@TomBaileyScoop) grew up in the backyard of Chicagoland Speedway, making a passion for all motorsports inevitable. Tom is entering his first full year of racing coverage in 2020 as the owner and founder of InfieldScoop.com. You can contact him at [email protected]

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