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2016 Daytona 500: NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying - Sunday Notebook
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 14, 2016 - 05:50 PM
Feature Articles
2016 Daytona 500: NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying - Sunday Notebook


By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

Clock runs out on Furniture Row car at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Speedweeks at Daytona havenít gone the way Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Furniture Row team would have expected or preferred.

In Saturday nightís Sprint Unlimited, Truex fell victim to a late wreck and finished 13th.

On Sunday afternoon, he didnít even get to make a qualifying run during time trials for the Daytona 500.

As Truexís car sat on pit road before qualifying, NASCAR inspectors noticed that a roof flap on the No. 78 Toyota failed to comply with specifications. By then, the 78 was on the five-minute clock, and the team didnít have time to correct the issue in time to qualify after NASCAR ordered the car back to the garage.

As a consequence, Truex will start the second Can-Am Duel qualifying race on Thursday night from the back of the field.

 

"They didnít like the way it was landing when it went down," crew chief Cole Pearn said of the roof flap. "I donít know - it was that way the whole way down pit road. Iím not sure what the problem was. It could have been easily fixed, but either way they decided to put it on the five-minute clock when we were down there at the end, and I donít know why we had to run it back here, because there was no way we were going to get back here and get back out in time.

"But, whatever, we will roll on and see what they decide to do. Too bad. I thought we had a really good car and good speed in it, so it wouldíve been nice to see what we couldíve run at least. But either way, weíll move on and hopefully have a good rest of Speedweeks."

NASCAR will discuss the issue at its weekly competition meeting on Tuesday and will determine if further action is warranted.

SIGH OF RELIEF FOR BLANEY

Since Woods Brothers Racing did not compete full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the 2013, 2014 or 2015 seasons, the organization did not receive a charter under the new agreement between the sanctioning body and team owners.

That left Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Blaney driving a No. 21 Ford in the "open" category, required to qualify on speed for the Daytona 500.

But Blaney brushed that issue aside forcefully on Sunday afternoon, charging into the top 12 in the first round of time trials and posting the seventh-fastest lap in the final round. With a position in the Great American Race assured, Blaney will start fourth in the first of two Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday.

"It is nice to be locked into the race," Blaney said. "The biggest relief for us is to know you are locked in and are good to be able to race in the 500. That kind of lets us go race on Thursday a little bit more than we would have instead of playing it conservative if we werenít locked in.

"Itís nice to have such a fast car and be locked into the race. Itís a load off our shoulders, for sure. I think anytime you can make it to the last round you feel good about the speed of your race car. I think our speed is pretty good. We definitely arenít the fastest, but we have good speed, and I think we will dial it in and be good for the 500."

STENHOUSE HAS FASTEST FORD IN DAYTONA QUALIFYING

After watching the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night, few would have guessed Roush Fenway Racing driver would have had the fastest Ford in Daytona 500 qualifying.

Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski would have been the logical choices, but Stenhouse was fifth fastest in the final round on Sunday and earned the third starting spot in Thursdayís first Can-Am Duel.

"The Fastenal Ford Fusion has been good all weekend," said Stenhouse, who drove a different car in the Sprint Unlimited and spun on Lap 13 to cause the first caution of the race. "I knew we would have a decent shot today, but there are still some things the guys are writing notes down for things to work on for when we go to Talladega.

"Hopefully, this is a sign to come for everything this year. You always want to start off with a fast race car. Everyone at Roush Yates engine shop, Doug Yates and everyone did a great job with our horsepower, and everyone at the Roush body shop gave us a good body on this thing. Iím really proud of their effort."

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