DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt "wobbly" and didnít know why.
In his motor coach last July at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt felt the first hint of the concussion symptoms that would keep him out of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the last half of the 2016 season.
He voiced his concerns to fiancťe Amy Reimann.
"I told Amy, ĎI feel wobbly,í" Earnhardt recalled on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. "Iím just in the bus, and it was like, ĎSomething ainít quite right.í
2017 Daytona 500: Chevrolet NASCAR Monster Energy Qualifying Quotes
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS - Daytona 500 Pole Sitter TALK ABOUT WINNING THE POLE FOR THE DAYTONA 500 FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR: "It is awesome. I am just really proud of everybody at our shop - the Hendrick Engine Shop; the Hendrick Chassis Shop; Hendrick Motorsports as a whole and the No. 24 team for sure. I appreciate all of their hard work. It is great to have NAPA on board this weekend. As I said on TV, the No. 24 team here in the past - with Jeff before and with us here and at Talladega has proved they are really good at qualifying at these tracks. They are always trying to find new things with the body, or with the engine and that is proof that they are keeping up with the competition and taking that next step too. Like I said, it is a testament to them, and I am really proud of what they have done. Excited to get started this season and hopefully we can have a good run next week."
2017 Daytona 500: Ford NASCAR Monster Energy Qualifying Quotes
CLINT BOWYER - No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion - "Itís a great effort, considering everything these guys have gone through all season long, switching manufacturers and everything that goes with that. Thatís a lot. Thatís a huge undertaking and these guys did it without fail. I mean, it was right where they left off and we gained on it. The Ford bunch and the Roush Yates horsepower I knew was gonna be something we could lean on, it was gonna be an exception for us, and it was. Mobil 1 and all of our partners helping us with the technical side of the oil and everything that goes into a fast lap here, so everything was on point. We just came up a little bit short, but thatís two of our cars in the top seven. I watched Kevin in that Clash. I liked what I saw there. He could push and move the 2 and the 22. On a track like this those are your teammates and weíre gonna work together and win this damn thing. Thatís what weíre here for." WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY TO HAVE AN EFFORT LIKE THIS? "Itís Daytona. I know itís no big deal, but it feels good to be competitive again. I was down here last year and we were way off the pace. It was crushing because you know deep down you donít even have a chance, and when youíve got a car like this - a hot rod like this and a team like this - Iíve got a chance."
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Ė Mr. Hendrick, we have a problem.
Twice during Sundayís rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, Johnson spun without provocation off Turn 4.
The first time, on Lap 17, he took out the No. 41 Ford of Kurt Busch. The second time, Johnson nosed into the inside wall near the entrance to pit road crashed out of the 75-lap exhibition race.
Forget that Johnson failed to finish the Clash for the sixth straight year. More important is the observation that the balance of the Hendrick Motorsports cars has been problematic at restrictor-plate tracks.
2017 Daytona 500 (Clash): Ford NASCAR Monster Energy Race Quotes
KURT BUSCH - No. 41 Monster Energy Ford Fusion - WHAT HAPPENED? "I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right-rear. Itís kind of a shame. All of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season - Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas - all of the effort put towards building a car and we didnít even make it to the first pit stop, so itís kind of a bummer."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW CLOSE IT IS OUT THERE AND WHEN THIS HAPPENS THERE ISNíT MUCH YOU CAN DO. "No, weíre all just kind of thrown into the draft and itís tough. Youíre gonna have to work out the bugs and some guys were loose, some guys were tight and thatís just the way it is. We just ended up on the wrong side of the coin."
2017 Daytona 500 (Clash): Chevrolet NASCAR Monster Energy Race Quotes
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED 3RD HOW MUCH FUN DID YOU HAVE? "It was frustrating. We kind of struggled all day, a little bit. We couldn't get the track position we needed. To come home third is solid, and not bad by any means. We will learn from it and hopefully give Greg (Ives, crew chief) and Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) some information for the Daytona 500. It is a day race. I am just happy to be a part of the Clash.
"It wasn't a bad day by any means. It was all we could hope for. To come home third is really gold. Just thankful for the opportunity to drive this thing. Had a lot of fast Chevrolet's out there for Hendrick these 12 races. Just very thankful for the opportunity."
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Ė Persistent rain on Saturday night forced postponement of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona.
The race has been rescheduled for Sunday morning, with green flag at 11:35 a.m., broadcast on FS1. The Clash will precede Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the Daytona 500, which will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.
With starting positions drawn by lot, Brad Keselowski will lead the field to the green flag in the Clash. Denny Hamlin, the defending winner of the exhibition race that signals the start of the NASCAR season, will start on the outside of the front row.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Ė Christmas comes but once a year. The same is true of the unique qualifying format for the Daytona 500.
Unlike Christmas, however, the setting and ordering of the field for the Great American Race takes five days, from single-car qualifying on Sunday through the Can-Am Duel at Daytona twin 150-mile races on Thursday.
2017 Daytona 500 (Clash): NASCAR Monster Energy - Courtney Force
COURTNEY FORCE, DRIVER OF THE ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS IN THE NHRA DRAG RACING FUNNY CAR DIVISION, will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. Prior to fulfilling her duties as pace car driver, she met with members of the media. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT SERVING AS THE PACE CAR DRIVER: "Iím so thrilled to be here, this is amazing to be here in Daytona. I got to take a couple of laps in the pace car. A little nerve racking obviously, Iím used to a flat, straight track that goes 0-1000 feet in just four seconds. Totally different type of racing for me, but obviously, Iím going a lot slower. Itís really cool. Iím totally not used to the banking here. Itís a lot steeper than it looks for the people that see it from the outside. It was really cool to kind of be on the track and experience that. Iím obviously hoping to not screw up and be able to follow the lines. I got a little advice from (Dale Earnhardt) Junior. He said some people might bump me, so Iím going to watch and make sure I donít get into too much trouble. Iím really excited to be here. This will probably be the only time I can ever say that there are all those legends of NASCAR in my rear-view mirror. Iím really excited to say that. Just honored to be here with Advance Auto Parts. This is an honor for me and a little bit different from what I do. Hopefully, everything goes well."
Ford Fusions took seven of the top 10 spots in todayís Daytona 500 qualifying practice session, led by Team Penske driver Joey Logano, who claimed the top spot. Aric Almirola was second and Brad Keselowski third. Other Ford Top 10 drivers included Ryan Blaney (5th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (8th), Trevor Bayne (9th) and Clint Bowyer (10th).
JOEY LOGANO - No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion - "So far itís been a couple good practices for Penske and Ford, and now weíll see how the races go. Practice is really just practice. Thereís really nothing to it there. Weíll just have to keep tuning it in to make sure weíre good in the races." WERE YOU ABLE TO GET TO EVERYTHING ON YOUR CHECK LIST? "Yeah, we ended early which is the first time ever. I asked Todd if I had a new crew chief and no one told me. Thatís not normal." WHAT CAN YOU TELL ABOUT THE FIELD FOR QUALIFYING? "I donít know. In all honesty, Iíve never been that fast in qualifying here in Daytona in my whole career. I feel like Iíve never had a shot at it, but now I feel like Iím closer than ever. I feel like Iím kind of in new territory, plus I think some of these other guys sandbag a lot , so tomorrow will be the telltale sign."
A prime-time, prime opportunity awaits two young drivers who are atypical entrants in Saturday nightís Advance Auto Parts Clash, the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series all-star style event at Daytona International Speedway.
After picking up one win and three top-five finishes in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts for Red Horse Racing in 2016, Brett Moffitt will pilot the No. 7 Toyota Tundra at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, joining series veteran Timothy Peters at Red Horse Racing. Both teams are continuing to look for sponsorship to fill out the year.
2017 Daytona 500 (Clash): NASCAR Monster Energy Practice Quotes - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS, finished the first practice session back behind the wheel of his Chevrolet SS after missing much of the 2017 season due to injury. The No. 88 team finished the first practice session for the Daytona 500 11th on the speed chart.
DAYTONA IS A PLACE THAT HAS HAD A LOT OF EMOTION FOR YOU DALE, COMING BACK UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HOW DID IT FEEL TODAY? "It felt good to just get out there and get to work a little bit and be with the guys and see all the familiar faces in the garage, other drivers and team members and so forth. Yeah, just trying to put as many laps as I can behind me and get further and further into this deal to where the events from last year become more of a distant memory and donít define me as who I am so much anymore. It will be good to get in the car and get some good wins and good finishes under our belt this season. That is our plan."
Saturday nightís Advance Auto Parts Clash will return an iconic race name Ė the Clash Ė to Daytona International Speedwayís NASCAR competition. Five days later on Feb. 23, the Can-Am Duel, the two 150-mile qualifying races for the DAYTONA 500, will also revisit a past tradition as for the first time since 1971 those races will award points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
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