Austin Dillon will begin from the pole for the Advance Auto Elements Conflict. (Photograph: Getty Pictures)
The Monster Power NASCAR Cup Sequence season’s first aggressive occasion takes place on Sunday with the Advance Auto Elements Conflict at Daytona Worldwide Speedway.
The annual non-points occasion will see a area of 17 drivers participate within the 75-lap race, which can embrace a contest warning on lap 25.
This 12 months’s area was decided by the next standards:
2017 Pole Award winners: Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr.
Former Daytona 500 Pole Award Winners: Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson.
2017 Playoff Drivers: Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman.
Dillon will begin from the pole within the race after a blind draw was held on Saturday night.
“It’s a fan’s race,” Dillon stated. “It’s a race that’s enjoyable for the followers to observe and enjoyable for the drivers to race in. I’m grateful that I’ve an opportunity to compete in it. Our expectations are to exit and attempt to win it. It’s a very cool race with lots of status and to win it will assist set the tone for the remainder of Speedweeks.
“Our complete group has labored actually laborious throughout the off season to make features, and I’m actually excited concerning the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that we’re working.”
Dillon is certainly one of seven Chevrolet drivers piloting the brand new Camaro physique model. For Elliott, it’s a possibility to debut the brand new automotive in competitors in addition to bringing again the No. 9, which can adorn his Hendrick Motorsports journey this 12 months.
“It’s particular to me simply due to the historical past I’ve had with it,” Elliott stated of the quantity. “Clearly, I’d have by no means chosen that quantity to begin racing if it wasn’t for my dad. I’ve lots of historical past with it myself, with our championship in ’14, all my brief monitor races, have been all in that quantity. There’s lots of time I’ve spent with the quantity, lots of images and races and issues that I’ve run with it. It’s simply sort of dwelling to me and at all times has been my favourite quantity.”
Elliott’s Hendrick teammate Johnson leads all lively drivers along with his 15th look. His group may even have a special look because it begins the 12 months with out long-time automotive chief Ron Malec.
“Ron Malec will likely be missed, however he nonetheless touches our vehicles again on the store,” Johnson stated. “Jesse (Saunders) is greater than able to the job, I’ve a ton of confidence in his expertise and talent, so the choice was a great one. He has been on our group since 2014 and labored underneath (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and Ron that complete time, so he has had a great mentor and I do know he will likely be nice.”
Harvick (2009, 2010 and 2013) and Hamlin (2006, 2014 and 2016) every have three Conflict wins.
“After a pair months off the monitor, I’m wanting ahead to heading again to Daytona to get our 2018 season rolling,” stated Hamlin, who has JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Jones additionally within the race. “There’s clearly lots of issues that occurred within the off season between crew and teammate modifications that we’ll have to contemplate as we get the season began, however I’m assured our FedEx Racing group is returning able to win. We’ve had nice success throughout previous Speedweeks, and after a robust 2017 season, we’re extra motivated than ever to carry out on the highest degree.”
The race may even be the primary alternative to see groups adapt to the brand new pit highway personnel limitations. 5 crew members down from the earlier six will now service the vehicles on pit highway including a brand new wrinkle to stops.
“I just like the transfer,” stated final 12 months’s Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. “It’s going to create a safer surroundings with one much less man per group out on pit highway. What it does now’s put extra duty on the jack man and tire service.
“But it’s simply the evolution. We used to have seven guys on pit highway and we thought taking the catch can man away was going to be massive, but it surely didn’t change the sport a lot. Now, we’re down to 5 guys. Will it change it a lot, I don’t suppose so. What I love to do is at all times change it up (throughout apply). The automotive doesn’t cease in the identical spot every time. I’ll are available there nosed-in, nosed-out and juke up lots of our sequences to allow them to adapt.”
Motor Racing Community – “The Voice of NASCAR” could have stay protection of the Advance Auto Elements Conflict on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. (ET).