Team Penske stakes claim as Daytona 500 favorites


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Roger Penske has a automotive able to successful the Daytona 500.

Possibly even three of them.

Penske once more went 1-2 at Daytona Worldwide Speedway for its second sweep of Speedweeks. This time, Ryan Blaney went to victory lane after successful the primary of two Thursday night time qualifying races which are used to set the Daytona 500 discipline.

Chase Elliott received the second race in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to place a brief halt on the Staff Penske dominance.

Joey Logano completed second to Penske teammate Blaney for the Ford sweep within the first race. Kevin Harvick was second to Elliott within the second race and Harvick was additionally in a Ford — proving the automaker has the identical velocity it did a 12 months in the past when it swept all 4 restrictor-plate races.

“I positively suppose we’ve got the quickest vehicles down right here,” Harvick mentioned. “Clearly, the Penske guys have finished effectively in each races they’ve run this week. We’ll have the velocity.”


Logano has completed second now twice in Speedweeks. He was crushed final week by teammate Brad Keselowski in an all-star race that opened exercise at Daytona Worldwide Speedway.

Keselowski is the Las Vegas favourite to win Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500, however he wrecked with two laps remaining within the qualifier and he’ll want a backup for the primary occasion.

Regardless of, it appeared, as a result of the Penske vehicles thus far have the Daytona discipline lined.

“We will make it occur,” Logano mentioned in regards to the Penske effort Sunday.

The three Penske drivers dominated the all-star race and had been on the entrance of the sphere for your entire Thursday night time race. Blaney received it in additional time after Keselowski’s accident introduced out the warning.


Blaney did it with a cross that did not work final week. When he tried to cross Keselowski within the all-star race, he pulled out of site visitors and did not get the assistance he wanted to finish the transfer. This time he was in a position to get previous chief Logano, then the Keselowski accident introduced out the warning.

“I did not make a superb transfer and I form of misplaced that (all-star) race,” Blaney mentioned. “I realized a bit of bit and I thought of that ceaselessly. I believed we realized a bit of bit from our errors. Hopefully we will make it one other one right here on Sunday. That will be the one which counts.”

On the restart in additional time, Blaney bought an enormous push from greatest buddy Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and pulled away for the win.

“I noticed (he) was third and I would determine he’d give me a superb push,” Blaney mentioned about Wallace.

Wallace completed third and was congratulated with an enormous hug from workforce proprietor Richard Petty, the seven-time NASCAR champion.

“That’s in all probability the spotlight of the night time, higher than ending third, simply seeing how pumped he was,” Wallace mentioned.

Jimmie Johnson was in his second accident of Speedweeks. The seven-time NASCAR champion dropped out of line simply minutes after his race started with an obvious tire downside, and his automotive took an surprising onerous proper into site visitors. The contact wrecked Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola, and despatched Johnson and Almirola to backup vehicles. He additionally wrecked on Sunday within the all-star exhibition race.

“Robust method to begin Speedweeks,” Johnson mentioned.

It wasn’t all dangerous for Hendrick Motorsports, although, as Elliott received his qualifying race for the second consecutive 12 months. He may need received the Daytona 500, too, had he not run out of fuel final 12 months.

“We now have the large one on Sunday — that’s the essential factor,” Elliott mentioned.

Hendrick has one victory at Speedweeks and the pole for the Daytona 500. Each are firsts for Chevrolet’s new Cup effort, the Camaro.

The second qualifying race started with Inexperienced Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watching from the highest of girlfriend Danica Patrick’s pit field. The Daytona 500 is her remaining NASCAR race and Rodgers arrived in Daytona on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, to help her effort.

He ignored questions from media as he climbed off the pit field following her 14th-place end in her race. Patrick’s plan for the qualifier was merely to remain out of hassle and hold her Premium Motorsports entry clear for her remaining Daytona 500.

“I used to be simply taking part in it secure,” she mentioned.

Alex Bowman has the pole for the Daytona 500 based mostly on final weeks’ time trials, and very similar to Patrick, his purpose was merely to make it by means of the qualifying race unscathed. So Bowman dropped to the again of the pack and simply made laps, a transfer that was criticized by veteran Harvick, a sequence champion and former Daytona 500 winner.

“Alex Bowman did not be taught something right this moment, for my part,” Harvick mentioned. “Using round beginning on the pole is nice, however not realizing what your automotive goes to do is an entire waste of time.”

Bowman mentioned it was apparent his Hendrick entry was set to contend for the pole and wishes changes earlier than will probably be robust in race trim.

“We got here down right here to take a seat on the pole,” Bowman mentioned. “We now have a whole completely different setup that we will simply make it drive higher for the 500.”

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