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A look at drivers competing in 2013 Daytona 500

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • February 22, 2013 - 8:38 AM

No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing

DRIVER: Danica Patrick

BORN: March 25, 1982

HOMETOWN: Roscoe, Ill.

CREW CHIEF: Tony Gibson

SPONSOR: GoDaddy.com

TWITTER: (at)DanicaPatrick

NOTES: Became first woman to win the pole for any race in NASCAR's top series when she turned the fastest lap during qualifying for the Daytona 500. ... Even before her achievement, Patrick was the talk of Speedweeks. The former IndyCar star known more for sexy photos and Super Bowl commercials than on-track success is racing a full season in the Sprint Cup Series and is dating fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

DRIVER: Jeff Gordon

BORN: Aug. 4, 1971

HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Ind.

CREW CHIEF: Alan Gustafson

SPONSOR: Drive To End Hunger

TWITTER: (at)JeffGordonWeb

NOTES: Finished 10th in points last season, his worst since 2005 and second worst since his rookie year in 1993. ... Has been fast during Speedweeks and will start on the outside of the front row, next to Patrick. Or as Gordon said of qualifying, "At least I was the fastest guy."

No. 29 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing

DRIVER: Kevin Harvick

BORN: Dec. 8, 1975

HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Gil Martin

SPONSOR: Budweiser

TWITTER: (at)KevinHarvick

NOTES: The 2007 Daytona 500 winner has two victories in Speedweeks, positioning himself as the favorite for the season opener. He claimed his third Sprint Unlimited (formerly the Budweiser Shootout) exhibition race last week and won one of the twin qualifiers Thursday. ... Finished eighth in points last season. ... In his final season with RCR and has been rumored to be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing

DRIVER: Kyle Busch

BORN: May 2, 1985

HOMETOWN: Las Vegas

CREW CHIEF: Dave Rogers

SPONSOR: M&M's

TWITTER: (at)KyleBusch

NOTES: Coming off a disappointing 2012 season. Finished 13th in points and won just one race. That's a huge drop-off for a driver who won 19 times in the Sprint Cup series the previous four years. ... Has a new teammate in 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth. ... Finished 16th in the exhibition Sprint Unlimited after being involved in an early crash, but rebounded to win a Daytona 500 qualifying race Thursday.

No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

DRIVER: Greg Biffle

BORN: Dec. 23, 1969

HOMETOWN: Vancouver, Wash.

CREW CHIEF: Matt Puccia

SPONSOR: 3M

TWITTER: (at)gbiffle

NOTES: Finished fifth in points last season, with two wins and 12 top-five showings. Was atop the standings for nearly four months of the season. Had some of his best runs at superspeedways, finishing third in the 2012 Daytona 500 and fifth and sixth in races at Talladega. ... Has two second-place finishes in Speedweeks: one in the exhibition Sprint Unlimited and another in a Daytona 500 qualifying race.

No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

DRIVER: Kasey Kahne

BORN: April 10, 1980

HOMETOWN: Enumclaw, Wash.

CREW CHIEF: Kenny Francis

SPONSOR: Farmers Insurance

TWITTER: (at)kaseykahne

NOTES: Beginning second season at Hendrick Motorsports. ... Finished fourth in points in 2012, highlighted by two wins and 12 top-fives. ... One of four drivers who ran half marathon before qualifying. Was the highest finisher of the bunch, edging Johnson by about a minute.

No. 42 Chevrolet, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

DRIVER: Juan Pablo Montoya

BORN: Sept. 20, 1975

HOMETOWN: Bogota, Colombia

CREW CHIEF: Chris Heroy

SPONSOR: Target

TWITTER: (at)jpmontoya

NOTES: Following a breakthrough season in 2009, missed the Chase the last three years. Finished 22nd in points last season. ... If he doesn't show improvement, his future at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing could be in jeopardy. ... Won the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month and finished 10th in the exhibition Sprint Unlimited last week. ... Infamously slammed into a jet dryer during last year's Daytona 500.

No. 33 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing

DRIVER: Austin Dillon

BORN: April 27, 1990

HOMETOWN: Lewisville, N.C.

CREW CHIEF: Scott Naset

SPONSOR: Honey Nut Cheerios

TWITTER: (at)austindillon3

NOTES: Making his third Cup start, first at Daytona. ... After winning the NASCAR Truck Series championship in 2011, the grandson of longtime team owner Richard Childress jumped to the Nationwide Series last season and finished third in his first full season. He's still racing for a championship in Nationwide in 2013, but it won't be long before he's driving full time in Cup.

No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson

BORN: Sept. 17, 1975

HOMETOWN: El Cajon, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus

SPONSOR: Lowe's

TWITTER: (at)JimmieJohnson

NOTES: After five consecutive Sprint Cup championships, Johnson "slipped" to sixth and third, respectively, the last two seasons. ... Was the only driver with a chance to beat Brad Keselowski for the title at the season finale in Homestead. Instead, Johnson's car had a gear issue and he ended up behind Keselowski and Clint Bowyer in the final standings. ... One of four drivers who ran half marathon before pole qualifying.

No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing

DRIVER: Clint Bowyer

BORN: May 30, 1979

HOMETOWN: Emporia, Kan.

CREW CHIEF: Brian Pattie

SPONSOR: 5-hour Energy

TWITTER: (at)ClintBowyer

NOTES: Sprint Cup runner-up in 2012, finishing just 39 points behind Brad Keselowski. ... Had three victories and 23 top-10 finishes. ... May have been best known for tangling with Jeff Gordon on the track at Phoenix and then chasing after him in the garage. The melee triggered a fight between the drivers' crews.

No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Motorsports

DRIVER: Kurt Busch

BORN: Aug. 4, 1978

HOMETOWN: Las Vegas

CREW CHIEF: Todd Berrier

SPONSOR: Furniture Row

TWITTER: (at)KurtBusch

NOTES: Speedweeks got off to a rough start for Busch, who was involved in two wrecks in as many days last week. He crashed during practice for the Sprint Unlimited and totaled another car in the exhibition race. It was a bad start for a guy criticized last year for tearing up equipment while driving for second-tier Phoenix Racing.

No. 20 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing

DRIVER: Matt Kenseth

BORN: March 10, 1972

HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.

CREW CHIEF: Jason Ratcliff

SPONSOR: Dollar General

TWITTER: (at)mattkenseth

NOTES: Defending Daytona 500 champion. Also won "The Great American Race" in 2009. ... First season at Joe Gibbs Racing after 13 years with Jack Roush. ... Finished seventh in points in 2012. ... Had the dominant car in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race last week, but finished fifth after getting shuffled back late in the 75-lap event.

No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing

DRIVER: Tony Stewart

BORN: May 20, 1971

HOMETOWN: Columbus, Ind.

CREW CHIEF: Steve Addington

SPONSOR: Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1

TWITTER: None

NOTES: The only full-time driver/owner in the Sprint Cup Series. ... Won 2011 championship and finished ninth in points last season. ... Has fallen short 14 times in the Daytona 500. He's won 18 career races at Daytona, including four in the July race, but never in the biggest race of them all. ... Team had three of the fastest five cars in pole qualifying.

No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing

DRIVER: Mark Martin

BORN: Jan. 9, 1959

HOMETOWN: Batesville, Ark.

CREW CHIEF: Rodney Childers

SPONSOR: Aaron's

TWITTER: (at)55MarkMartin

NOTES: Has a 105-race winless streak in NASCAR's top series. ... Winless in 54 Cup races at Daytona. Came oh-so-close in the 2007 Daytona 500, losing by inches to Kevin Harvick. ... Ran 24 of 36 races in 2012 and finished 26th in points. ... Martin will compete in 24 races this season, sharing the ride with Brian Vickers and team co-owner Michael Waltrip.

No. 2 Ford, Penske Racing

DRIVER: Brad Keselowski

BORN: Feb. 12, 1984

HOMETOWN: Rochester Hills, Mich.

CREW CHIEF: Paul Wolfe

SPONSOR: Miller Lite

TWITTER: (at)keselowski

NOTES: Defending Sprint Cup champion. The 29-year-old driver had a coming out party of sorts in 2012. First, he made headlines by texting during a red flag at the Daytona 500. Then he won the championship, the first for legendary car owner Roger Penske. Keselowski celebrated in Homestead by swigging beer in Victory Lane.

No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing

DRIVER: Paul Menard

BORN: Aug. 21, 1980

HOMETOWN: Eau Claire, Wis.

CREW CHIEF: Richard "Slugger" Labbe

SPONSOR: Menard's

TWITTER: (at)RCR27PMenard

NOTES: Finished a career-best 16th in points last season, not bad for a driver with no wins and just one top-five. ... Could be his final year at Richard Childress Racing. His contract is up at the end of 2013. "I hope by middle of summer we will have an answer for everybody."

No. 13 Ford, Germain Racing

DRIVER: Casey Mears

BORN: March 12, 1978

HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Robert "Bootie" Barker

SPONSOR: Geico

TWITTER: (at)CaseyMears13

NOTES: Has one win in 344 Cup starts, none since 2007. ... Finished 29th in points last season. ... Beginning his third full season at Germain Racing. ... Looking for considerably better results this season, especially after showing decent speed during tests at Daytona and Charlotte in January.

No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing

DRIVER: Jeff Burton

BORN: June 29, 1967

HOMETOWN: South Boston, Va.

CREW CHIEF: Lucas Lambert

SPONSOR: Caterpillar

TWITTER: None

NOTES: Winless since 2008 — his streak's at 149 races and counting — Burton enters 2013 desperate to get back into the Chase for the championship for the second time in five years. He finished 19th in points last season. ... Teammates Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick are set to become free agents after this season, so RCR could be in for huge changes.

No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

DRIVER: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

BORN: Oct. 10, 1974

HOMETOWN: Kannapolis, N.C.

CREW CHIEF: Steve Letarte

SPONSOR: National Guard

TWITTER: None

NOTES: NASCAR's most popular driver should be a contender again in 2013. ... Finished 12th in points last season, but was running considerably better before a concussion slowed him down. ... Loves NASCAR's redesigned car. ... Was down on power in the exhibition Sprint Unlimited, where he finished eighth, but knowing how to get around Daytona International Speedway could serve him well in the opener.

No. 1 Chevrolet, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

DRIVER: Jamie McMurray

BORN: June 3, 1976

HOMETOWN: Joplin, Mo.

CREW CHIEF: Kevin "Bono" Manion

SPONSOR: McDonald's

TWITTER: (at)jamiemcmurray

NOTES: Doesn't have a win since winning the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and at Charlotte in the same season (2010). ... Finished 21st in points last season. ... Along with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, McMurray is looking for better results this season with NASCAR's redesigned "Generation 6" car.

No. 22 Ford, Penske Racing

DRIVER: Joey Logano

BORN: May 24, 1990

HOMETOWN: Middletown, Conn.

CREW CHIEF: Todd Gordon

SPONSOR: Shell Pennzoil

TWITTER: (at)joeylogano

NOTES: Starting over at Penske Racing after four mediocre seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing. The can't-miss kid nicknamed "Sliced Bread" won twice in 144 starts with JGR. ... Now teamed with defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski, Logano takes over a car recently driven by Kurt Busch (fired) and AJ Allmendinger (suspended).

No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports

DRIVER: David Ragan

BORN: Dec. 24, 1985

HOMETOWN: Unadilla, Ga.

CREW CHIEF: Jay Guy

SPONSOR: Detail Doctor

TWITTER: (at)DavidRagan

NOTES: Second season driving for Front Row Motorsports after getting cut loose by Roush Fenway Racing. Finished 28th in points last year, highlighted by two top-10s at Talladega. ... Crashed on the second lap of the 2012 Daytona 500.

No. 47 Toyota, JTG Daugherty Racing

DRIVER: Bobby Labonte

BORN: May 8, 1964

HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas

CREW CHIEF: Brian Burns

SPONSOR: Kroger

TWITTER: (at)Bobby_Labonte

NOTES: The 2000 Cup champion hasn't won a race in NASCAR's top series since 2003. ... Finished 23rd in points last season, his second with JTG Daugherty Racing. ... Hasn't won a Cup race at Daytona, an 0-for-40 streak that's unlikely to end in 2013.

No. 9 Toyota, Richard Petty Motorsports

DRIVER: Marcos Ambrose

BORN: Sept. 1, 1976

HOMETOWN: Launceston, Tasmania

CREW CHIEF: Drew Blickensderfer

SPONSOR: Stanley

TWITTER: (at)MarcosAmbrose

NOTES: Finished 18th in points last season, with the highlight being a win at Watkins Glen. ... Is working with his third crew chief in the last six months. He started 2012 with Todd Parrott, switched to Mike Ford in the middle of the season and ended the year with Drew Blickensderfer.

No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports

DRIVER: David Gilliland

BORN: April 1, 1976

HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Frank Kerr

SPONSOR: Love's Travel Stops

TWITTER: (at)DavidGilliland

NOTES: Finished 30th in points the last two seasons. ... Has no wins, three top-fives and six top-10s in 222 career Sprint Cup starts. ... Started on the pole and finished eighth in the 2007 Daytona 500.

No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports

DRIVER: Aric Almirola

BORN: March 14, 1984

HOMETOWN: Tampa, Fla.

CREW CHIEF: Todd Parrott

SPONSOR: Smithfield

TWITTER: (at)aric_almirola

NOTES: Finished 20th in points last season while driving his first season in the famed No. 43 for seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. ... Has bounced around NASCAR's top three circuits, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. before landing at RPM. ... Of Cuban decent, was one of the first in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.

No. 87 Toyota, NEMCO Motorsports

DRIVER: Joe Nemechek

BORN: Sept. 26, 1963

HOMETOWN: Lakeland, Fla.

CREW CHIEF: Scott Eggleston

SPONSOR: MaddiesPlaceRocks.com/D.A.B. Constructors

TWITTER: (at)FrontRowJoe87

NOTES: Predominantly a start-and-park entry because of financial concerns in recent years, "Front Row Joe" finished 40th or worse 18 times in 31 starts. Was running at the end of just two races in 2012, including the Daytona 500. ... Hasn't actually been on the front row since 2008.

No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

DRIVER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

BORN: Oct. 2, 1987

HOMETOWN: Olive Branch, Miss.

CREW CHIEF: Scott Graves

SPONSOR: Best Buy

TWITTER: (at)StenhouseJr

NOTES: Made headlines last month and during Speedweeks when he and former IndyCar star Danica Patrick confirmed their romantic relationship. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion who is vying with Patrick for Rookie of the Year honors. ... Replaced former series champion Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 car.

No. 26 Toyota, Swan Racing

DRIVER: Michael Waltrip

BORN: April 30, 1963

HOMETOWN: Owensboro, Ky.

CREW CHIEF: Tony Eury Jr.

SPONSOR: Sandy Hook School Support Fund

TWITTER: (at)mwr55

NOTES: Part-time driver and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. ... Two-time Daytona 500 winner who is driving this one for Sandy Hook Elementary School. Switched car number to honor the victims. Sandy Hook is the school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed by a gunman on Dec. 14.

No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing

DRIVER: Dave Blaney

BORN: Oct. 24, 1962

HOMETOWN: Hartford, Ohio

CREW CHIEF: Tommy Baldwin

SPONSOR: Florida Lottery

TWITTER: (at)Dave_Blaney

NOTES: Has no wins in 431 Cup starts across 15 seasons. ... Finished 33rd in points last season. His best showings came at Daytona, where he was 15th in the February race and 22nd in the July race. ... Is wearing a pink fire suit, a primary color of his Florida Lottery sponsor.

No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing

DRIVER: Scott Speed

BORN: Jan. 24, 1983

HOMETOWN: Manteca, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Wally Rogers

SPONSOR: TBD

TWITTER: (at)scottspeed

NOTES: Started 17 races last season with Leavine Family Racing, finishing 42nd in points. ... Has no wins and one top-five in 106 career Cup races, including two full seasons with Red Bull Racing. ... Former Formula One driver who failed to land a podium finish in 28 starts over two seasons (2006-07).

No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports

DRIVER: Josh Wise

BORN: Feb. 7, 1983

HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.

CREW CHIEF: Steven Lane

SPONSOR: MDS Transport

TWITTER: (at)Josh_Wise

NOTES: Driving second season for Front Row Motorsports. It's unclear how much funding the team has, meaning the car could be a start-and-park entry and not attempt every race. ... Finished 39th as a rookie in 2013. Made 30 starts. Best finish was 30th at Sonoma.

No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing

DRIVER: Trevor Bayne

BORN: Feb. 19, 1991

HOMETOWN: Knoxville, Tenn.

CREW CHIEF: Donnie Wingo

SPONSOR: Motorcraft

TWITTER: (at)Tbayne21

NOTES: The 2011 Daytona 500 winner will run full time in the Nationwide Series in 2013, taking over the No. 6 Ford driven by two-time champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Bayne has a long-term deal with Roush Fenway Racing, so it's likely he will end up running a full Sprint Cup season one day. Just not this year.

No. 39 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing

DRIVER: Ryan Newman

BORN: Dec. 8, 1977

HOMETOWN: South Bend, Ind.

CREW CHIEF: Matt Borland

SPONSOR: Quicken Loans

TWITTER: (at)RyanNewman39

NOTES: Had one victory for the third consecutive year in 2012, finishing 14th in points. ... Nicknamed "Rocket Man" because of his penchant for strong qualifying runs, Newman didn't win a pole last season for the first time since his Cup debut in 2000. ... Has a new teammate in Danica Patrick.

No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing

DRIVER: Denny Hamlin

BORN: Nov. 18, 1980

HOMETOWN: Chesterfield, Va.

CREW CHIEF: Darian Grubb

SPONSOR: FedEx Express

TWITTER: (at)dennyhamlin

NOTES: Has made the Chase for the championship every year since his first, full Cup season in 2006. ... Finished sixth last season. ... Became a father last month when longtime girlfriend Jordan Fish gave birth to their daughter, Taylor James Hamlin. ... Also is excited about new teammate Matt Kenseth: "He's won a championship and he's got the great resume, but in my mind, he's going to be a guy that I'm really going to rely on to raise my game."

No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing

DRIVER: Carl Edwards

BORN: Aug. 15, 1979

HOMETOWN: Columbia, Mo.

CREW CHIEF: Jimmy Fennig

SPONSOR: Fastenal

TWITTER: None

NOTES: Trying to rebound from his worst Sprint Cup finish (15th) in eight seasons. Had no wins and just three top-fives in 2013. ... Long-time crew chief Bob Osborne left the team last July because of unspecified medical reasons. Chad Norris took over for the rest of 2012, and now Edwards has his third crew chief in the last seven months.

No. 56 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing

DRIVER: Martin Truex Jr.

BORN: June 29, 1980

HOMETOWN: Mayetta, N.J.

CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston

SPONSOR: NAPA Auto Parts

TWITTER: (at)MartinTruexJr56

NOTES: Made solid strides in three seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing, finishing 22nd in points in 2010, 18th in 2011 and a Chase-making 11th last season. Had 19 top-10s and seven top-fives in 2013. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion has one victory (Dover in 2007) in 261 career starts in the Cup series.

No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing

DRIVER: Michael McDowell

BORN: Dec. 21, 1984

HOMETOWN: Glendale, Ariz.

CREW CHIEF: Gene Nead

SPONSOR: K-Love/Curb Records

TWITTER: (at)Mc_Driver

NOTES: Likely will be a start-and-park car for most of the season, but could get a huge payday in the Daytona 500. Last place paid $267,637 in 2012. NASCAR, however, tweaked payout rules this season and reduced money given to the last five positions about $4,000 each. That money will be redistributed throughout positions 1-38.

No. 32 Ford, FAS Lane Racing

DRIVER: Terry Labonte

BORN: Nov. 16, 1956

HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas

CREW CHIEF: Frank Stoddard

SPONSOR: C&J Energy Services

TWITTER: None

NOTES: A two-time Sprint Cup champion, Labonte is driving in his 31st Daytona 500. His best finish was second. He did that three times (1986, `90 and `97). ... Hasn't won a NASCAR race since 2003. ... Only made four starts last season, driving in all four restrictor-plate races. He finished 18th, 29th, 20th and 16th.

No. 51 Chevrolet, Phoenix Racing

DRIVER: Regan Smith

BORN: Sept. 23, 1983

HOMETOWN: Cato, N.Y.

CREW CHIEF: Nicholas Harrison

SPONSOR: Phoenix Construction

TWITTER: (at)ReganSmith

NOTES: Moved from Furniture Row Racing to Phoenix Racing this season, replacing Kurt Busch. ... Driving full time in the Nationwide Series JR Motorsports and running for the championship in the second-tier series.

No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing

DRIVER: J.J. Yeley

BORN: Oct. 5, 1976

HOMETOWN: Phoenix, Ariz.

CREW CHIEF: Joe Lax

SPONSOR: Golden Corral

TWITTER: (at)jjyeley1

NOTES: Winless in 320 career races across NASCAR's top three series. No wins and two top-fives in 167 career Cup starts. ... Made 24 starts for three teams in 2012. ... Driving full time for Tommy Baldwin Racing this season. Yeley drove for the team three times in 2012 — at Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Dover.

No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing

DRIVER: David Reutimann

BORN: March 2, 1970

HOMETOWN: Zephyrhills, Fla.

CREW CHIEF: Pat Tryson

SPONSOR: Burger King

TWITTER: (at)DavidReutimann

NOTES: Finished 34th in points last season without leading a single lap in 25 races. ... Lost his ride with Michael Waltrip Racing late in 2011 season. ... Shared a ride with part-time Cup driver Danica Patrick last season.

No. 93 Toyota, BK Racing

DRIVER: Travis Kvapil

BORN: March 1, 1976

HOMETOWN: Janesville, Wis.

CREW CHIEF: Todd Anderson

SPONSOR: Burger King

TWITTER: (at)TravisKvapil

NOTES: Has no wins and no top-fives in 210 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series. ... Finished 27th in points in 2012, with some of his best showings coming at the four restrictor-plate races. Was 19th in the Daytona 500, 16th at Talladega, 16th at Daytona in July and eighth at Talladega in October.

 

 

 

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