Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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The Super Troopers will be in full comedic force at the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 race. Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva have been promoted to Grand Marshals and will give the command “Drivers, start your engines,” on March 18, 2018 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

NASCAR fans who have pre-race pit passes will be able to see the Super Troopers 2 stars in full uniform during the pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions. The event will also be televised on FOX at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Everyone's favorite law enforcement team is back by popular demand with the long anticipated follow up to the cult comedy classic…SUPER TROOPERS.  When an international border dispute arises between the U.S. and Canada, the Super Troopers - Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit and Farva, are called in to set up a new Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. Unconventional police work follows, and the result is…SUPER TROOPERS 2 opening nationwide April 20, 2018.

The time is “meow” to get tickets to the NASCAR Auto Club 400 to see all the five Super Troopers and other honorary race officials.  To purchase tickets, call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com, or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office at 9300 Cherry Avenue, Fontana.

Follow @AutoClubSpeedway on Facebook/Instagram and @ACSUpdates on Twitter and tag photos using #FastestSunday and #AutoClub400

ACS PR

Korbin Forrister, piloting the No. 7 TruClear Global All Out Motorsports Toyota Tundra, posted a 16th place finish in the season opening NEXTEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race Friday night after starting in the 19th place position.

Forrister led two laps on the famed 2.5 mile superspeedway early in the race and finished eighth in the second stage on lap 40. A huge crash occurred in front of Forrister on lap 83 and Forrister spun the truck to avoid the incident. The Goodyear tires were flat spotted. The All Out Motorsports team, lead by veteran NASCAR crew chief, Doug George, was able to get him in and out of the pits without issue.

Korbin Forrister: “Overall, we are very happy about our first race out. It was pretty cool to lead a couple laps at Daytona! Being a new team we had a few bumps along the way and we will work through them. Doug (George) put a fast truck together for us and I was disappointed I wasn’t able to bring home a top-10 finish for TruClear Global. This week we head to my hometown track, Atlanta and we hope to have a solid run there. I can’t TruClear Global enough for their support!”

The NCWTS returns to action Saturday, February 24th at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Active Pest Control 200 Benefiting Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

For more information on All Out Motorsports follow Korbin Forrister on Facebook and Twitter.

All Out Motorsports PR

As the 2018 NASCAR season begins, one of the sport’s top medical providers is emphasizing the need for teams to focus on minimizing the number of injuries on pit road. Bill Heisel, PA-C, Director of Motorsports with OrthoCarolina, suggests that recent NASCAR rule changes mean teams should carefully consider their strategies and injury prevention plans over the course of the season.

Orthopedic injuries in NASCAR vary between positions and can be linked to the demands of each role. With only five pit crew members allowed over the wall instead of six this year, Heisel expects to see different biomechanical patterns evolve among these athletes, some of whom will be performing multiple jobs they aren’t accustomed to. With the weight of pit guns and the subsequent torque forces generated, Heisel and his team have already noticed an upward trend in forearm and elbow injuries in 2018. Heisel sees a strong need for teams to focus on core strength and flexibility in an attempt to prevent injury over the course of a 38-week season.

“Being on a NASCAR pit crew has always required a high level of athleticism, but fewer crew over the wall means tire carriers may be jacking cars and jack men may be hanging tires,” says Heisel, who oversees the OrthoCarolina Motorsports medical program, athlete care and works with many NASCAR teams and drivers on a daily basis. “It’s important to be vigilant about potential unanticipated physical demands that can place unwanted stress on the body.”

Over several years Heisel and a team of doctors have been collecting data and developing the Motorsports Injury Database as a way to track injuries specific to pit crews and mechanics. The database, which initially began as an upper extremity-only database developed by OrthoCarolina Chief Hand Surgeon Dr. Glenn Gaston, has now been expanded to include all body parts. While NASCAR has a driver injury database, the Motorsports Injury Database is the only existing resource that tracks epidemiological trends in pit crew injuries. In recent years it has shown a sharp increase in upper extremity injuries overall in pit crew members as well as hip injuries in tire changers. The majority of pit crew positions are at risk for epicondylitis (pain in the lateral tendons of the forearm, also known as tennis elbow). Changers sustain the most hand-related injuries (42 percent) of all pit crew team members, while carriers are susceptible to finger issues (29 percent).

“We had a mass of data that we were collecting as we cared for these Motorsports athletes at all levels and it made sense to create a convenient, efficient way to look at that data for research purposes to observe injury trends within the sport,” says Heisel. “Leagues like the NFL have a database on all their injuries; NASCAR likewise is a spectator sport with a large global presence that can benefit from information that will help teams find ways to develop pit road strategies that will prevent injuries.”

During the 2017-2018 NASCAR offseason, the OrthoCarolina Motorsports program oversaw 78 total surgical procedures on 75 individuals affiliated with Motorsports.

OrthoCarolina Motorsports provides care in team race shops during the week and trackside at races during the NASCAR season, including management of chronic, acute and major injuries, athletic training and physical therapy services, and specialist and primary care referrals. In its entirety the service line oversees medical care for NASCAR pit crews, drivers, team employees and officials as well as many of their family members. OrthoCarolina Motorsports has formal relationships with Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, JTG Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and XCalibur Pit School.

OrthoCarolina PR

Armed with a new crew chief in veteran Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner, Matt Borland, Ty Dillon's optimism was overflowing when he arrived at the World Center of Racing. After a solid 11th place finish in Thursday night's Can-Am Duel race, Germain Racing had productive practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, leaving the GEICO team energized heading into the 60th running of the Daytona 500.
 
Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 rolled off of the starting grid from the 23rd position when the green flag signaled the start of the season's premier event. The super soph immediately broke into the top-20 on the opening lap and was up to 16th place when the day's first caution flag waved on lap nine. Crew Chief Matt Borland ordered his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. Dillon would visit pit road one additional time before the green flag restarted the race in order to top off the fuel tank in a strategic move that could have potentially paid off later in stage one.
 
Dillon and his GEICO Camaro ZL1 took off from the 35th position when racing action got back underway on lap 13. Seemingly undaunted, Dillon promptly returned to the top-20 and was riding in the 16th position by the close of lap 20. As he continued what appeared to be an almost effortless charge to the front, Dillon gathered up another four positions and was scored in the 12th position on lap 29. The No. 13 GEICO machine was running 11th with just five laps remaining in the event's opening stage.
 
The hard-charging Dillon looked poised to enter the top-10 and earn a point in the standings as he hurriedly made his way around the 2.5-mile superspeedway on the final lap of the opening stage. Unfortunately, as the field made it's way to the finish of stage one, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. attempted to block Ryan Blaney, triggering a nine-car crash that collected Dillon, along with Jimmie Johnson and other top drivers. The damage to Dillon's GEICO Camaro ZL1 was significant and his day would be over. He was credited with a 39th place finish.
 
"Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 was running pretty good," Dillon said after exiting the Infield Care Center. "I was trying to get some stage points.  It's really important for us to come out with a good start and I was wanting to be aggressive in the first stage, get some points so we could do whatever we wanted to later on in the race. I saw them crossing lanes up there in the front and I was kind of pinned to the top, and once they started crashing I was just stuck in the oil and didn't really have anywhere to go.  I hate it for our guys because they really put in a lot of work to be out so early in the 500, but we have a long season ahead of us, so I can't wait to get to Atlanta and get past all this."
 
The Germain Racing team will now head to Atlanta, GA, for the second race of the 2018 Cup Series season.
 
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, February 23rd, at 11:35 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:15 PM (ET).
                                                     
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, February 25th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
 
PMI PR

Paul Menard had a bird’s-eye view of most of the big wrecks in the 60th annual Daytona 500, but he steered through them all and came away with a sixth-place finish in his 400th career Cup start.

His finishing points, coupled with his Stage points earned, put him in third place in the championship standings, six markers behind leader Ryan Blaney and tied for second place with Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon.

Menard, in his first official drive in the No. 21 Omnicraft Ford, started 16th in the Great American Race but soon raced his way into the top 10, steering clear of the race’s first big wreck and finishing the first 60-lap Stage in ninth place, earning two bonus points.

He spent most of Stage Two in second place, but after a pit stop just before the race’s halfway point he restarted eighth, which put him just behind another multi-car crash, which he also avoided.

On the ensuing restart, he went from fourth place to second at the end of Stage Two, earning nine more points.

Due to a lack of drafting help at times, Menard dropped back to midpack, but soon worked his way back into the lead group.

On a restart with seven of the scheduled 200 laps remaining, Menard lined up 14th and was working his way forward only to see the leaders wreck in front of him again.

When the smoke cleared, he was in fifth place for the start of an overtime run to the checkered flag. After yet another wreck ahead of him, Menard crossed the finish line in sixth place.

“We had a really fast Omnicraft Ford,” Menard said. “These guys are awesome. Great race car. I ran upfront the first-half of the race. I got shuffled out. Denny (Hamlin) bumped me in Turn Three, and I got loose and lost all my track position. I just kept fighting from there to get my track position back.  
 
“Great run for us. We had shot to win the Daytona 500 at the end of the race. We just came up short. The Omnicraft Ford Fusion was a rocket ship. It was really fun. I’m so proud of this team. The car was fast all day. We survived and were able to bring it back home in one piece.”
 
And in the bigger picture, Menard was able to score 15 Stage points, including four for a seventh-place finish in his Can-Am Duel.
 
“It was huge,” he said. “To score points in all three stages is awesome. That’s good for the overall picture. I had a shot at a Stage win. It was a good points day for sure.”
 
Menard and his Wood Brothers team return to the track next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

WBR PR

Trevor Bayne drove his No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion to a 13th-place finish in the Daytona 500.  Bayne was a contender in the top 10 a majority of the race until an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel put him a lap down to the field.

“That was a hard-fought race and kind of heartbreaking,” said Bayne.  “We had a few times we had to recover and were able to do that.  We’ve got to clean stuff up and not have mistakes.  The guys on the team did a great job and I am happy with how we performed today.  A lot of times you leave thinking you should have done 20 things differently, but today I felt like I did all I could do.  That is a great feeling.  We made a day out of it.  I look forward to getting to Talladega and then back here to Daytona in the summer when handling is a big deal.  We will go to work for Atlanta.”

Bayne started the Daytona 500 from the 18th position and drafted his way up to 11th by the time the first caution was display just nine laps into the 200-lap race.  Bayne pitted for fuel only, but received a penalty for a crew member over the wall too soon.  NASCAR issued a tail end of the longest line penalty and Bayne took the ensuing restart from the back of the pack.

Bayne made steady gains throughout the course of the race and by the midway point was up in the top five.  The field took the green for the final Stage on lap 126 with Bayne in the fifth position.  Just a few laps later Bayne reported back to his crew he felt a vibration.  The vibration resulted in an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel.  The green flag pit stop put Bayne one lap down to the field.

While in the “lucky dog” position a caution never fell the way the No. 6 AdvoCare team needed, but with some help from his spotter, Bayne was able to avoid multiple incidents on track and emerge unscathed.  Despite being trapped one lap down, Bayne was able earn a 13th-place finish to kick off the 2018 season.

RFR PR

After leading 11 laps and finishing fourth in stage one, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled back to 16th despite an unscheduled pit-stop before being collected in a multi-car accident resulting in a 29th- place finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

“It’s a bummer,” Stenhouse said. “I made a huge save there on the back straightaway and I felt like we were doing everything we needed to do. We missed some of the big wrecks and it was just unfortunate there at the end.

“It didn’t really matter because we were a lap down already, so we weren’t really going to make up any more positions, but, all in all, it was a fun Speedweeks. I felt like our cars were really good and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta.”

The Olive Branch, Miss. native took the green flag in the ninth position and quickly maneuvered his Fastenal Ford up into the third position within five laps where he remained until the first caution flag waved on lap eight. After a pit strategy call for fuel only, Stenhouse restarted on the outside of the front row.

After falling back a few positions due to typical superspeedway racing, the Fastenal Ford bullied its way to lead the pack by lap 33 where Stenhouse stayed on point for the next 11 laps. When the caution flag waved with 10 laps remaining in stage one, crew chief Brian Pattie told Stenhouse to stay out in hopes to gain valuable stage points. When the green checkered waved, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was scored in the fourth position and picked up seven valuable stage points.

Just before half way, a multi-car incident broke out at the front of the field but Stenhouse was able to maneuver his Ford through the melee suffering some nose damage as he was trying to avoid the wreck. Once the race went back green, the Fastenal Ford was overheating in the pack forcing Stenhouse to hit pit-road for an unscheduled pit-stop and causing him to lose a lap to the leaders.

With two laps remaining in the 200-lap race, another multi-car accident occured collecting Stenhouse and forcing him to settle with a 29th-place finish.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. The race will be Sunday, February 25 with coverage beginning at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on FOX.

RFR PR

Race Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Started 11th, finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

● Busch pitted on lap 10 under caution for fuel only. He entered the pits in fourth place and came out first.

● The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion led laps 12-14 and laps 52-62.

The team came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment at the conclusion of Stage 1, one lap after Busch had overshot his pit box.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Started 17th, finished 12th.

● Busch pitted under caution on lap 94 for right-side tires and fuel as he ran in 10th. The crew discovered a small cut in the right-front tire.

The team came to pit road for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 2.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

Started 16th, finished 26th.

● Busch pitted on lap 172 for right-side tires and fuel. He was in ninth place.

● Busch was in third for much of the last part of the race and moved to the front to lead laps 195 and 196.

● He was running in the top-three on lap 199 but was involved in a multicar accident in turn two.

 

Notes:

● Busch led three times for 16 laps to bring his laps-led total at Daytona to 307.

● Busch finished first in Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point. He finished 12th in Stage 2.

● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Ten of the 40 drivers in the Daytona 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over second-place Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. was .26 of a second.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I was feeling the magic. I thought we could do it again back-to-back and win the Daytona 500. We found the right drafting lanes, and I was making good moves. I just got caught in a Bermuda Triangle it seemed like when Hamlin blocked us. I hit him pretty hard, and that killed a lot of my momentum. Maybe I should have just flung the 11, but you have to treat guys with respect and you’ve also got to throw your elbows out and you have to hold the hits when you get hit. We were close to going back-to-back in the Daytona 500, but I don’t have anything to show for it. I have to thank (Aric) Almirola for the help he gave me on the bottom lane.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX TV, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.

 

TSC PR

A historic day for the DAYTONA 500 produced an emotion-filled result that will stand tall alongside the many other epic finishes that have built the tradition of “The Great American Race.”

Twenty years after Dale Earnhardt ended a career-long drought by winning the DAYTONA 500 in the famed No. 3 Chevrolet of Richard Childress, Austin Dillon – Childress’ grandson – returned the No. 3 to Gatorade Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. And he did it with a last-lap, bump-and-run move that was absolutely Earnhardt-like, to boot – in the 60th running of the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

A Lap 199 late-race incident took out a number of front-running contenders and forced two extra laps of “NASCAR Overtime.” On the first OT lap, Tampa native Aric Almirola (No. 10 Smithfield Ford) assumed the lead and as the final lap transpired, he appeared headed toward the victory.

As the lead pack approached Turn 3, Dillion – with a considerable aerodynamic push from the No. 43 Click n’ Close Chevrolet of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – made a run in his Dow-sponsored car for the front but was blocked by Almirola. Dillon kept going, tapping the rear bumper of Almirola, which sent the Ford into the wall. Dillon and Wallace continued on to the finish line, with Dillon winning by 0.260 seconds. Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota), the 2016 DAYTONA 500 champion, finished third.

“I did what I had to do,” Dillon said. “He was trying to block me and I just turned him. We had a run and I stayed in the gas. It’s so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to victory lane. This one is for Dale Earnhardt and all those Earnhardt fans. We’re going to keep kicking butt for the rest of the year.”

Wallace lived his own emotional experience Sunday. His presence was steeped in storylines. Series rookie … returning a Richard Petty Motorsports car to DAYTONA 500 contention ... first African-American in the DAYTONA 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. And now, a runner-up in NASCAR’s biggest race. That is the best finish in the DAYTONA 500 by an African-American, besting the 13th-place finish by Scott in 1966. And there’s more to Wallace’s story: he got a surprise pre-race vote of confidence via a phone call from baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron.

“I have so many emotions going on right now,” Wallace said. “Thank you to ‘The King’ (Petty) for giving me this opportunity.”

Attrition was the name of this DAYTONA 500 game, with a series of incidents that took out high-profile contenders. As those drivers were dropping out with stunning regularity during the sun-splashed afternoon, Dillon hung around – and hung tough.

At day’s end, the 27-year-old who was a wide-eyed seven-year-old in Gatorade Victory Lane when Earnhardt won, had his own piece of DAYTONA 500 history.

And Richard Childress had a second, as far as the No. 3 is concerned.

“The emotions are just flowing,” a tearful Childress said. “This is just so special.”

The DAYTONA 500 was run in three stages over its 200-lap/500-mile distance on the 2.5-mile, high-banked DIS tri-oval. In NASCAR’s stage-racing format, valuable extra points that count in the season-long series championship battle are awarded to the top-10 finishers in each of the first two stages. The first two stages were each 60 laps while the third was 80 laps.

Defending DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford) won the first stage which was bookended by significant developments. During the race’s first caution period, Hamlin was penalized one lap for pitting outside his box, giving him a hill to climb the rest of the day. On the stage’s final lap a nine-car backstretch incident ruined the hopes of several contenders including two-time race champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet). Also, former Monster Energy champion Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) crashed on Lap 51 in Turn 3, necessitating an extensive pit shop for repairs.

Stage 2 was won by Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Menards/Peak Ford), Blaney led 48 of the stage’s 60 laps, including the last 22 laps. He was among the drivers involved in the Lap 199 mishap, but rebounded to finish seventh.

Racing in NASCAR for the final time, Danica Patrick (No. 7 GoDaddy Chevrolet) started strongly but ended up 35th after her involvement in a dramatic Turn 3 crash on Lap 102. The accident started when Chase Elliott (No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet), one of the pre-race favorites, slammed into the Turn 4 wall after contact with Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Discount Tire Ford). The incident also ended the day for 2007 DAYTONA 500 champion Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford).

“It just wasn’t meant to be today,” Patrick said. “I’m grateful for everything … thank you to all the fans.”

Motorsports action resumes at Daytona International Speedway on March 10 with the Daytona Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship. That event will open the 77th annual Bike Week At DAYTONA which also includes the DAYTONA TT on March 15 and the historic, 77th annual DAYTONA 200 on March 17.

Tickets for Bike Week at DAYTONA and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.

DIS PR

It was another predictably wild and raucous Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon as the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season officially got underway. After untimely crashes knocked out a number of notable hopefuls early in the race, Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon eventually snared the win, closing out the season-opener and shifting the NASCAR focus to Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Weekend in Week 2 of the season Feb. 23-25.

If it weren’t evident before how important Playoff points are to drivers, especially early in the season, the chaotic final laps of each stage on Sunday night revealed exactly to what lengths drivers are willing to go to set themselves up for a shot at the 2018 post season. And that can only mean more of the same next week, when drivers will undoubtedly be pushing the limits in a crowded field of 40 cars to capture a favorable finish, all while battling the slippery, tire-devouring 21-year-old surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Those wild, end-of-stage frenzies spelled disaster for Stewart-Haas Racing newcomer Aric Almirola, who was leading on the final lap with victory in sight Sunday night until disaster struck with less than a mile to the checkered flag.

“My heart is broken,” said Almirola after the race. “I thought I was going to win the Daytona 500. I did everything I could, but unfortunately, I ended up in the infield care center. I’m definitely devastated, but the beauty of it is there’s always next week. We’ll go to Atlanta and try to go win there.”

For Dawsonville, Georgia native Chase Elliott, who saw his day come to an end after a wreck with several other drivers just past the halfway point of the race, it was a disappointing way to close out what began as a promising day. 

“I had such a fast Camaro ZL1 today, and I just wanted a shot there at the end. Tough circumstances,” said Elliott. “It was really aggressive all day, and I think the safest place to be is out front, and everybody wants to be there, that is the problem.”

For his part, the 22-year-old, who enters his third full-time season at the Cup Series level this year, did run near the front for most of his race and even led four laps before being caught up in a wreck. And despite the letdown of Sunday afternoon, he’s already looking ahead to the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his home track, in less than a week.

“Disappointing way to end the 500 this afternoon, but we will move on down the road and try to get ‘em in Atlanta.”

Fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson suffered a similar fate after leaving the race following a crash near the end of the race's first stage. He echoed Elliott’s sentiments about the surprising level of urgency so early in such a long race.

“There was some great racing throughout. But unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag (on lap 60),” Johnson said. “We will go to work and go to Atlanta next week.”

One thing Johnson can look forward to after the letdown in Daytona is his repeated success at Atlanta Motor Speedway. With five victories there over the course of his career, he’s the winningest active driver at Atlanta and has won two of the past three races there.

Alex Bowman, teammates of both Elliott and Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports, was already looking forward to the second race of the season even before the Daytona 500 got underway. He knows Atlanta will be the first true test to determine exactly where both drivers and engine manufactures will stack up as 2018 kicks in to high gear after tonight’s season-opener.

“I’m really excited, especially with the Camaro ZL1, to get to Atlanta, unload and see what we have,” Bowman said. “Speedway racing is its own beast and completely unlike anything else we do, so it doesn’t really give us a good judge of how we’re going to be for the rest of the year. When we unload off the truck in Atlanta, it’s a good idea how we’re going to be the remaining part of the year.”

With near record-setting temperatures in the forecast for the Atlanta area next weekend, the 2018 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is shaping up to be three days of incredible NASCAR action and a lasting memory-making experience for race fans arriving from across the country. 

For more information or purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.

AMS PR