Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Kasey Kahne and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) finished 13th in the second Can-Am Duel at Daytona International Speedway, resulting in a 26th place starting position for the 60th running of the Daytona 500.

Kahne started ninth in the second Duel, which would set the outside row for Sunday’s Daytona 500. He quickly moved up two spots into the seventh position before the field went entirely into single file.

By lap nine, Kahne was shuffled back toward the end of the lead pack. The first and only caution on lap 12 saw Kahne narrowly avoiding being hit.

While under caution, Crew Chief, Travis Mack, made the call for Kahne to make his only pit stop for four tires and fuel. Kahne reported that his No. 95 Procore Camaro ZL1 was handling well and was much faster than Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash car.

Kahne restarted 10th on lap 15 and ran single file for the majority of the race, making a few moves to the inside lane, but having no luck. He went on to finish 13th, sustaining minor front end damage while avoiding contact with another car.

Although the Can-Am Duel did not provide LFR with the finish they wanted, it did provide a good test for the team as they prepare for Sunday’s 500-mile race.

“The car was pretty fast tonight,” said Kahne. “I expect the track is going to be very tricky and the cars to be out of control a little bit on Sunday from what I saw and felt tonight. Everyone will be working on the cars the next few days to try to get the most grip that you can and not crush your speed. Hopefully we can get a good feel for the car in practice over the next few days.”

The 60th running of the Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 18th at 2:30pm ET. Race fans can tune in to FOX For coverage and follow @LFR95 on Twitter for race updates.


Click n' CloseTM, the "Official Mortgage Provider of NASCAR®" and Richard Petty Motorsports, in partnership with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN), announced today a joint partnership with Victory Junction, establishing the "Fastest Lap" Award at the completion of each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2018 on both radio networks.
For the fastest lap in each race, Click n' Close will make a donation to Victory Junction, a medically-safe camping facility that provides a life-changing experience for children, ages six to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses, at the conclusion of each race that corresponds with the fastest lap of the race in speed.  MRN and PRN will then match that donation after each race.
In addition, to celebrate its partnership with driver Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. and Richard Petty Motorsports, Click n' Close is introducing the "Double Bubba" bonus.  If Wallace and the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team turns the fastest lap during a 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, Click n' Close, MRN and PRN will double its donation to Victory Junction for that event.
"Click n' Close is thrilled and honored to support Victory Junction this season," said Wayne Arute, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Click n' Close.  "Their mission is an impactful one and means a great deal to the NASCAR community, which has welcomed our Click n' Close brand with open arms. We look forward to building our relationship with Victory Junction, starting this weekend."
NASCAR fans are also challenged to join Click n' Close to give back to Victory Junction by going to and make a donation of $43 or more to the camp.  For every donation of $43 or more, Click n' Close will donate a NASCAR officially-licensed Lionel Racing 1:64 Bubba Wallace Click n' Close Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 die-cast car to the children who attend Victory Junction.
"We are thankful to have Click n' Close, the Motor Racing Network and the Performance Racing Network support Victory Junction this race season," said Chad Coltrane, Chief Executive Officer, Victory Junction.  "We've seen Click n' Close get involved with Richard Petty Motorsports, NASCAR, our media partners, and now camp.  They have shown their commitment to the sport, and we couldn't be more thrilled they chose to support Victory Junction during each race season with this special award. We also want to thank MRN and PRN for their commitment to this program, too."
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season begins this Sunday with the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, February 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

At the NASCAR Marketing & Communications Awards in Daytona Beach, Florida on Friday, Homestead-Miami Speedway Sr. Director of Communications Neal Gulkis was recognized for his efforts during the 2017 NASCAR season. Gulkis was awarded the Track PR Rep of the Year award for his work as a liaison between Homestead-Miami Speedway and the South Florida community, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and NASCAR.

Gulkis joined the Homestead-Miami Speedway staff in 2014. He plays a pivotal role in the execution of a number of media-related events throughout the year. Gulkis is also representative of the track, and in 2017, became the public voice of Homestead-Miami Speedway following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. As a part of the community, Gulkis facilitates the track’s relationship with the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, which won the Institution Award at the 2018 NASCAR Diversity Awards in Daytona earlier this week. In addition, Gulkis supports many other ISC tracks and events as it pertains to public relations and communications.

“Neal has been instrumental in the growth and success of Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he is a major reason why our facility continues to receive the accolades that it does,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “Neal’s remarkable aptitude and experience as a PR Rep extends throughout many key areas of the industry, and this award is a true testament of that.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway PR

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Omnicraft Ford Fusion came away with a seventh-place finish in the second of Thursday’s two Can-Am Duel qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. And along the way they showed that they are capable of contending for victory in Sunday’s 60th annual Daytona 500.
Menard, who will make his 400th career Cup start on Sunday, drove aggressively and made smart moves, with the assistance from his veteran spotter, former driver Stevie Reeves.

He started the race from the sixth position but had raced his way into second place before 10 of the race’s 60 laps had been completed.

He made a pit stop for fuel only on Lap 14, returned to the track and lined up in third place for the ensuing restart.
Menard soon drifted to the rear of the lead pack after an close call with Denny Hamlin but passed his way back into the top five, one car at a time.
As the laps wound down, Menard was poised to team up with his fellow Ford drivers Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick and make a run for the checkered flag – or at least a top-three finish - but didn’t get the drafting help he needed and wound up seventh, which means he’ll start the Daytona 500 from the 16th starting position.
“Our Omnicraft Ford is really fast,” Menard said. “We can make some moves. We got shuffled back and could drive back through the field.

 “I was riding behind Clint and Kevin trying to make my move, and I might have pulled out too soon on Clint into (Turn) Three and just didn’t have anyone come with me.”
Even though he came a little short of his expectations on Thursday night, Menard said he feels good about his chances in the 500.

 “We had a really fast car,” he said. “I thought that we had a shot [at the win] if we could get some cars lined up.
“We have a really good car. The Fords worked really well together. Kevin and Clint do a good job just staying in line and biding their time. We just never got all in line.”
Menard also said that his veteran crew chief Greg Erwin and the Omnicraft crew have done a great job of tuning his car for Daytona.
“The balance is really good,” he said. “It was a little loose, not bad at all.”
Team co-owner Len Wood echoed Menard’s comments about the No. 21 Ford and its strong run in the Duel.

  “I was really happy with the performance,” Wood said, adding that he was especially impressed with Menard’s comeback after the incident with Hamlin that led to him dropping back to 14th place. “He drove back to fifth place on his own, without any drafting help. Not many people can do that.”
Wood said Menard was hampered at the finish by a fender crumpled a bit from a brush with the wall, but that damage can be easily repaired.

 “A lot of people are going to back-up cars,” he said. “All in all, we’re in good shape.”
Wood also said he was happy for Edsel Ford and John Menard, Paul’s father, both of whom got to see Menard’s strong run from atop the Wood Brothers pit box and also visit Victory Circle with Team Penske’s No. 12 Menards team and their driver Ryan Blaney.

 “Congratulations to all of them,” Wood said. “I’m glad they got to go to Victory Circle.”
The Daytona 500 is set to start around 3 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.


Three-time Atlanta winner, three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Darrell Waltrip will be officially inducted into the City of Hampton, Georgia’s Speedway Lane Hall of Fame in a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22 at downtown Hampton’s Depot Park, as the city, home to Atlanta Motor Speedway, honors the racing legend to kick off its 2018 NASCAR weekend.

Established in 2013, Hampton’s Speedway Lane Hall of Fame honors influential members of the NASCAR community with strong ties to Georgia and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Its current members include Fayetteville, Georgia’s Rex White, Dawsonville, Georgia’s Bill Elliott, six-time Atlanta winner Richard Petty, five-time Atlanta winner Jeff Gordon, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. chairman Bruton Smith and Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark.

Born in Franklin, Tennessee, Waltrip’s storied racing career began in 1972 and today is one of the most recognizable names in stock car racing history. In 29 years of racing and more than 800 starts at NASCAR’s top level, Waltrip racked up 84 wins, including the 1989 Daytona 500, 59 poles, 390 top-10 finishes and was a two-time Winston Cup Series most popular driver.

Currently, Waltrip serves as a color analyst for Fox Sports, alongside industry veterans Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon. In 56 career races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Waltrip notched 18 top-5s and 28 top-10 finishes and won once each in 1977, 1982 and 1989.

Following Waltrip’s induction ceremony, the 6th annual hauler parade will kick off beginning at 6:30 p.m., as Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series transporters cruise through downtown Hampton and back again prior to parking in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s infield for the weekend. The parade route will enter from Highway 20 and proceed northbound up East Main Street towards Highway 81 before retracing its route back through Hampton. It will then enter AMS property via Gate G and roll down the perimeter road past the unreserved campground, Legends Premium Camping, the Blue Parking Lot, the AMS Fan Zone and the family camping areas for fans on property to enjoy.

Fans of all ages are invited to attend the parade and experience the charm of downtown Hampton in celebration of the arrival of Atlanta’s annual NASCAR weekend. Hampton is easily accessible from Interstate 75 via Highway 19/41 by taking Exit 235 or via Highway 20 by taking Exit 218.

The Atlanta NASCAR Weekend features Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 23, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250 and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 Benefiting Children's Healthcare of Atlanta doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24, and culminates with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 25.

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


The Oval World Challenge is shaping up as a true unique world-championship caliber event. The French round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, taking place in Tours on June 30 and July 1st will not just be the only NASCAR oval race held outside North America, but it will also feature a spectacular star-studded lineup, a unique format inspired from the Daytona 500 and a 10.000,00 € prize for the winner.

“What better place to prepare this very unique event than Daytona in occasion of the Daytona 500 week? This is amazingly inspirational and we continue to learn a lot from the best in the world at organizing motorsport events ! The Oval World Challenge in Tours is designed to become one of the best racing show in Europe for the coming years ! A true taste of american style racing and a must see for every motorsport fan,” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin from Daytona, Florida.

The 0.4-mile banked short track built in downtown Tours will see drivers coming from all over the world and from many different motorsport disciplines challenge the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series stars to determine the Oval World Challenge Champion.

Tickets for the Oval World Challenge in the Tours Exhibition Center are now available online at with a special offer valid through February 28th and prices starting from 12€ for adults and 8€ for kids.

The event’s format will be inspired by the qualifying system used for the legendary Daytona 500 and will be valid for both NWES divisions, for a total of six Euro NASCAR races per day. After a timed session will determine the pole position on Friday, the field will be split in two groups. Each day the two groups will race separate Semi Finals and the top finishing drivers of each race will qualify for the day’s Final, which will feature the best 22 cars on track for a spectacular door-to-door battle. 

It will be all or nothing in the OWC Finals: the best driver of the overall event will not only bring home a trophy especially designed to celebrate the Oval World Winner, but also, for the first time in Europe, a special prize of 10.000,00 €.

A provisional system will grant that the top-10 drivers of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series points standings will be able to compete in the finals.

The event’s on-track program will also include spectacular races : some of the best European drifters will compete the International Drift GP and over 30 cars from the French Legends Car Cup will make their debut in their first ever oval race, making it an action-packed weekend with over 8 hours of racing per day.

Race fans, their families and kids will also find plenty of trackside activities to make the Oval World Challenge an unforgettable weekend: they will be able to meet drivers and teams in Tour’s unique indoor paddock, walk on the grid minutes before the green flag waves and enjoy plenty of american-themed attractions. The list of trackside attractions will be revealed at a later date.

NASCAR Euro Series PR

Cole Anderson and the No. 97 Toyota team found Victory Lane at New Smyrna Speedway once again on Thursday evening. Recording his fourth-straight Pro Late Model victory, Anderson continues to lead the points in the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Anderson's teammate, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, Mike Skinner finished second.

"I can't thank everyone at ATF & Gunslinger enough," said Anderson. "Mike and I have been running really well all week. To have four wins in a row is pretty incredible, but we still have work to do for the rest of the week. We've been tweaking on the car every day during practice trying to make it better, but Mike's been gaining on us a little bit, so we still have work to do."

Anderson started the 35-lap feature in the fourth position. Wasting no time, the 20-year-old Minnesota native overtook the leader by the fourth lap. With a clean race to the finish, Anderson continued the pace the field all the way to the checkered flag.

Anderson will return to the wheel of the No. 97 TimberwolfProducts.comToyota for the Pro Late Model divisions 100-lap feature on Friday evening. For more information about Cole Anderson, visit
Cole Anderson RP

With the green flag on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season set to wave, it’s evident that Young’s Motorsports plans to be a contender from Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 to the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in November.

During the off-season, Austin Hill completed his transition for his family-owned team to the flagship No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado. With crew chief Chad Kendrick turning the wrenches, building new trucks and scoping out the new NT1 optional engine, Hill, a native of Canton, Ga. heads to the “World Center of Racing” eyeing his career-best finish in the 100-lap race.

“I’m ready to go at Daytona,” said Hill, a NASCAR Next alumnus. “I can’t thank the guys enough on the Young’s Motorsports team for putting a lot of effort into our Daytona truck program. It’s important for us to have a good run on Friday night to propel towards building some early season momentum that we can carry to Atlanta and Las Vegas.

“Young’s Motorsports has proven over the last two years or so – that their restrictor plate program is very solid. No matter who was driving it. I think the addition of the NT1 spec motor is going to level the playing field for the most part and that should be the boost that we need to have a shot at the Playoffs come September.

“That’s not for a long while, so we just need to do what we can to get this No. 02 Chevrolet near the front on a permanent basis.

For Daytona, GoShare which connects truck and van owners with people and businesses who need with moving, hauling or delivering cargo will serve as the other primary marketing partner.

Overkill Motorsports, a Jacksonville Beach, Fla. company will serve as a major partner for the season-opening race. Established in 2009, Overkill Motorsports has quickly become one of the most trusted and successful Motorcoach, Trailer and Golf Cart dealers in the United States.

In addition to two new marketing partners, Hill will have a teammate for Friday night’s anticipated thriller. Something that the 23-year-old isn’t accustomed too during his NASCAR career.

At Daytona, however, Hill believes the addition of Scott Lagasse Jr. to the team’s program could be a benefit not only to himself, but the Young’s Motorsports team.

“Teammates have never been more important in competition, especially at places like Daytona and Talladega,” sounded Hill. “I know that Tyler (Young, general manager and co-owner) has been vastly working on putting together a strong second truck not only for Daytona but for a majority of the season.

“Scott hasn’t raced the trucks a whole lot, but he is stout when it comes to restrictor plate racing. He could be the glue that takes Young’s Motorsports to a whole new level, especially on a plate track. I’m looking forward to leaning on him for his knowledge, but his craft on plate racing too.

“I really think we can surprise a few people Friday night.”

Lagasse, a native of St. Augustine, Fla. will make his 28th career start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway and eyes his second consecutive finish at Daytona after finishing seventh last Feb.

The veteran driver made his Young’s Motorsports debut at Iowa Speedway last summer earning a solid 13th place finish after qualifying 20th at the 0.875-mile short track.

His efforts will be backed by the American Cancer Society and

“I’m very excited to be back racing in the Truck Series and apart of the Young’s Motorsports program,” said Lagasse who has four top-10 finishes in Trucks. “We didn’t have a whole lot of time to put this deal together for Daytona, but the guys at Young’s Motorsports I feel have gone above and beyond to make sure that both Austin and I have competitive trucks at Daytona.

“I’m also eager to see how this new spec motor performs, especially at a place like Daytona. Tyler has assured us we’ll have some good trucks this weekend. I hope we can repay him and the team for their endless efforts with two worthy performances on Friday night.”

For Young, also a part-time competitor in Trucks, he’s glad the stars aligned allowing his team to take two competitive trucks to Daytona.

“Man, we’ve been looking forward to this,” added Young. “Both Austin and Scott are going to have trucks that we feel like contend for strong finishes at Daytona. “Of course, I’d be biased and say that I’d like a Young’s Motorsports 1-2 finish, but we’re also keeping our expectations realistic, hoping that something will develop that will not only keep them out of trouble but make them contenders when push comes to shove, and that payday window opens.”

In practice on Thursday, Hill produced the 21st and 23rd quickest laps in practice respectively, while Lagasse maneuvered the 20th, 16th and 11th fastest laps overall.

The NextEra Energy Resources 250 (100 laps / 250 miles) is the first of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Qualifying is set for race day, Fri., Feb. 16 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90).

For more on Young’s Motorsports, please visit or tweet @youngsmtrsports.

Young Motorsports PR

After starting Thursday night’s qualifying Duel race in 10th, Trevor Bayne shuffled through the field and gained six positions in the last two laps to finish eighth. The driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion takes the green flag in Sunday’s 60th Annual Daytona 500 from 18th.

Bayne’s 2018 debut at Daytona International Speedway came in a 60-lap race with only one caution. The yellow flag waved at Lap 11, just after the driver adjusted his track bar with reports of a free car. Bayne and the No. 6 team pitted for fuel only with the caution and restarted sixth. For the duration of the race, he toggled between lanes, ultimately settling on the bottom lane. After dropping as low as 14th and even losing the draft, Bayne was able to catch the field with 34 to go. He ultimately finished the race in eighth, inside the top-10.

“We were trying, but we just couldn’t go anywhere,” Bayne said.  “I tried working the bottom, we just didn’t have the help or the momentum. Early on we kind of got there and after the pit stop we were there, but once we got rooted to the middle we just dropped and it’s hard to get your track position back.”

Bayne looks to add a second Daytona 500 victory to his achievements on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2:30 p.m. EST.