New Daytona 500 promo with The Simpsons (video)

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Daytona 500 Speed Week is almost here. That wasn’t a long offseason was it? The so-called “silly season” won’t be long now as another year of NASCAR racing is about to commence. The sport’s signature event, the 58th Annual Daytona 500 is Sunday, Feb. 21st, just 11 days away.

In order to promote the “Great American Race,” broadcast partner FOX went full on Lindsey Nagle with The Simpsons.

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Jimmie Johnson Daytona 500 winner in 400th start

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Jimmie Johnson Daytona 500 favorite is now Jimmie Johnson Daytona 500 winner. Today at Daytona International Speedway was his 400th start. In 399 starts the 37-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver has tallied 60 wins to go along with five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. Only NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have more championships (seven).

The NASCAR voted Jimmie Johnson the favorite to be this season’s Cup champion, so he was much of a Daytona 500 favorite as anyone. [Read more…]

Danica Patrick pole position at Daytona 500

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Danica Patrick pole position at the Daytona 500, sounds great to her fans doesn’t it. This is historic so I’ll say it again- Danica Patrick pole position. She became the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race, let alone the season-opening Daytona 500. So she’ll lead the field at the “The Great American Race” and NASCAR season opener. Yesterday, Patrick was nearly a second faster than the other driver in time trials.

The front row for the Feb. 24 Daytona 500 was set today. The rest of the field will be set next Thursday after a pair of qualifying races.

Patrick went out eighth in the qualifying session Sunday and covered the 2½-mile superspeedway in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph.

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Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth comes to Chicago (video)

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This season’s Daytona 500 champion and Cambridge, Wisc. native, Matt Kenseth, stopped by the W Hotel Lakeshore for a fan event and Q&A hosted by Chicagoland Speedway.

Kenseth, currently second in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, will return to Chicagoland Speedway this September for the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (think Stanley Cup playoffs, but NASCAR, this is the second year in a row Chicagoland has kicked it off)– the GEICO 400, September 15-16. Kenseth was last year’s pole winner at Chicagoland Speedway.

The fan event was limited to just 25 spaces and took place in the “Altitude” Lounge on the 33th floor of the hotel. It was rescheduled from February, when the crazy weather delays in Daytona postponed Kenseth’s arrival in Chicago.

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Danica Patrick’s first NASCAR race, race week a major dud

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Danica Patrick was caught in a multi-car accident not of her making on the third lap of Monday night’s rain-delayed 54th Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and finished a disappointing 38th. It was a fitting end to a less-than-inspirational week.

Patrick qualified 29th but dropped to the rear of the field at the start of the event per NASCAR rules as a crash in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel Qualifying race forced her to a back-up car. She also crashed in the Nationwide series race on Saturday, bringing her total of wrecks to three for the week; not the best way to begin her NASCAR career.

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Twitter takes over NASCAR; Brad Keselowski tweets from car during Daytona 500

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Anything that could go wrong did go wrong with the Daytona 500. Postponed to the next day because of rain, and then postponed again to the evening due to more storms, the great American race also had a nearly two hour delay due to a collision that caused a massive fireball.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s car hit a large jet dryer vehicle and the explosion brought the race to a stop. Montoya and the driver of the truck were OK. And repairing/cleaning the track from the fire took a mighty long time.

NASCAR officials had the rest of the drivers stop their cars, and Brad Keselowski took advantage of the break to post photos and answer questions from fans on his Twitter account, @keselowski.

Obviously, he had his mobile phone with him in his race car.

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Danica Patrick to make NASCAR debut Sunday at Daytona 500: interview

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In 2005, Danica Patrick made her IZOD IndyCar Series debut driving for three-time IndyCar Series champion Bobby Rahal in a 300-mile event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Slightly less than seven years later, this Sunday, Patrick will make her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut 296 miles to the north of Homestead when she takes part in the 54th Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Here’s an in-depth interview of Danica Patrick, as she prepares for her transition to NASCAR.

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Danica Patrick having some issues with her street car

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(UPDATE: Danica totals her car #10 Impala GoDaddy.com car during the Gatorade duel qualifying race at Daytona)

As Danica Patrick prepares for the Daytona 500, and her NASCAR debut, she’s no doubt much more concerned about her racecar than her street car. Especially now that she’ll have to race her backup car on Sunday. If you’d like to hear what Danica thinks about her first race since switching over go here. ( To see pictures of Danica’s lower back tattoo go here)

Danica’s $202,000 Lamborghini Gallardo has no cup-holders, and trunk space the size of a brief case. It’s not her only car by the way, or premium luxury car by the way, but it’s what’s stuck in her craw right now, according to an interview by Dan Wetzel on Yahoo

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Tony Stewart part of massive race-ending crash at Daytona

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Tony Stewart was poised to notch his fifth straight win in the season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, but a last-lap crash while vying for the lead jettisoned those plans.

Nonetheless, Stewart was able to nurse his No. 33 Oreo 100th Birthday Chevrolet Impala across the finish line in eighth place while unheralded James Buescher scored a surprise win in the DRIVE4COPD 300.

“The hole that we had all of a sudden not only closed up, it shut – pretty quickly. It got slammed on us. We just ran out of real estate,” said Stewart, who had won six of the last seven season-opening Nationwide Series races at Daytona, including the past four.

Stewart started seventh in the 120-lap race around the 2.5-mile oval and quickly asserted his familiar position at the front of the field. He took the lead on lap five and went on to lead four more times for a total of 22 laps.

As the field took the white flag for the final lap, Stewart hooked up with his Richard Childress Racing (RCR) teammate Elliott Sadler and rode the high line around turns three and four in a bid for the win.

“Elliott (Sadler) did a great job,” Stewart said. “Once we got going we got a big, big, big run down the backstretch. We got on the outside – we had that lane and then all of a sudden someone turned right, right in front of us. I don’t know how they got there or why they got there, but it was a pretty abrupt right-hand turn in front of us. Just all of a sudden the door got slammed on us. I don’t know why whoever it was turned right, but it wasn’t a very good time to either try blocking or moving.”

Eleven cars were collected in the last-lap melee, with Stewart and his No. 33 Oreo 100th Birthday Chevrolet getting pinned against the outside wall. Smoke and debris filled the tri-oval, but Stewart kept his foot in the gas and willed his smoldering, smoking and sparking remnant of a racecar across the finish line in eighth.

“Richard Childress brought us an awesome Oreo Chevrolet today. Their whole crew just did a great job,” Stewart said. “It’s always so much fun to come here because I just sit in the car, I go run about a dozen laps and then they get it ready for qualifying. We ran around by ourselves most of the day when guys were in a two-car tandem and we could run with them. It showed how good a car we had.”

The loss didn’t deter Stewart’s spirits. The Nationwide Series race proved to be another solid outing in what has become an impressive Speedweeks for Stewart. He finished second in the Budweiser Shootout last Saturday night and won his Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Thursday. He starts third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ season opener – the 54th Daytona 500 on Sunday. He has a total of 17 Daytona victories, but none in the coveted Daytona 500.

“I think we still have a pretty good batting average here, and we were a factor in it again today,” said Stewart after being asked if he was disappointed that he didn’t win the Nationwide Series season opener for the seventh time in the last eight years. “A lot can happen here at Daytona. The big prize is Sunday.”

His RCR teammates – Sadler, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet Impala, and Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet Impala – finished third and fifth, respectively.

Buescher’s win was his first career Nationwide Series victory. Brad Keselowski finished second, while Sadler, Cole Whitt and Dillon rounded out the top-five. Tayler Malsam, Timmy Hill, Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were eight caution periods for 35 laps, with 18 drivers failing to finish the 120-lap race.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

Danica wrecks her car AGAIN at Daytona (video)

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Danica Patrick got off to a nice start in today’s Nationwide series race at Daytona. She led the first two laps. Then lap 49 of the 120-lap race hit her hard. She found herself in the Turn 3 wall and knocked off-track by her very own JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt.

Patrick’s #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet (not her main car, the #10 Impala) spent a half hour in the garage while the team made massive repairs to the front end. She returned to the track with 25 laps left and collected points toward the Nationwide championship in her first Nascar season.

You can watch the video of the wreck and hear the censored version of Patrick’s f-bomb tirade after the jump.

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Danica Patrick achieves pole for Nationwide race at Daytona

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What a difference a day makes. On Thursday, Danica Patrick crashed her car and got her starting position demoted for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. On Friday, Patrick earned the pole position for the Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

She’s on the pole! If you’ve seen her GoDaddy ads and lad mag photo shoots, you can insert your own jokes here. With most of my NASCAR posts, I often include or lead with a picture of their racecar. Yet with Danica, there seems to be other pics related to the story I’d rather be posting for some reason.

On to business. From the AP:

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