Connect with us

Auto

Bell Snags First Cup Victory in Another Surprise Gibbs Win

Published

on

Christopher Bell celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series road course auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Christopher Bell chased down Joey Logano on the winding Daytona road course Sunday for his first career Cup victory and a coveted spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.

Bell won in his second race driving for Joe Gibbs Racing to give the team a pair of surprising victories at Daytona International Speedway. Ty Gibbs, the 18-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, won the Xfinity Series race Saturday night in his first career national series start.

Bell’s victory wasn’t quite as stunning, but he still delivered far earlier than expected in his return to JGR. He was loaned to Leavine Family Racing last year for his rookie season, but Gibbs pulled him back to JGR this year.

It gave Bell a competitive Toyota but a victory, this soon, was a big ask.

“This is one of the highlights of my life,” Bell said. “I’ve prepared my whole life for this moment to race in the Cup Series, last year was such a learning curve for me. I’m very grateful that I got the opportunity to run in Cup and it definitely prepared me to go to Joe Gibbs Racing.”

Bell had an underwhelming rookie season driving for Leavine with just seven top-10 finishes in Toyotas not quite as strong as Gibbs’ four-car fleet. Now driving some of the best cars in NASCAR, Bell joined Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell as surprise first-time winners to start the season.

It’s just the third time in NASCAR history the first two races of the season were won by first-time winners. It was previously done in 1949 and 1950 — NASCAR’s first two seasons.

Bell and McDowell now have two of the coveted 16 playoff berths, a troubling trend for mid-pack teams that need all 26 regular-season races to point their way in to the championship picture. Race winners earn automatic berths and the remaining spots are decided by the point standings.

“To have Christopher in the playoffs, that’s a big deal,” Joe Gibbs said. “We don’t take that for granted.”

McDowell, meanwhile, backed up his Daytona 500 win with a career-best road course finish of eighth.

Bell, had to chase down Logano, who had built a decent lead on the field but couldn’t fend off Bell once he’d caught him. Logano finished second; last week he and teammate Brad Keselowski crashed each other racing for the Daytona 500 win.

“I hate being that close,” Logano said.

Denny Hamlin was third to give Gibbs two cars in the top three. Kurt Busch finished fourth and Keselowski wound up fifth for a decent Team Penske rebound.

Keselowski and Logano before the race had their first interaction since they crashed on the final lap racing each other for the Daytona 500 win one week ago.

“We’re as good as we can be,” Keselowski said.

Kevin Harvick finished sixth and AJ Allmendinger, in his first Cup race since the 2018 season finale, finished seventh. It was the highest finish in three Cup races for Kaulig Racing, an Xfinity Series team formed in 2016 that wants to be full-time Cup next season.

Ryan Preece was ninth for a pair of top-10 finishes at Daytona. JTG-Daugherty Racing no longer has a charter to guarantee Preece a spot in the field every week, and without it the team can’t promise it will race every week this season. With this start, Preece is currently seventh in the points standings.

Chase Elliott again had the most dominant car but his streak of four consecutive victories in points-paying road races was snapped. He led a race-high 45 laps and was out front when caution for rain 15 laps from the finish forced Hendrick Motorsports to make a strategic call.

Elliott traded track position for new tires, pitted from the lead and fell to 15th. He worked his way up to to fifth but spun when he ran into the back of Kurt Busch. Elliott finished 21st.

“Cautions like that kind of makes for a mixed bag, who stays and who goes, it’s a bit of a gamble,” Elliott said. “I thought tires was the right move. But you get back into traffic and it just gets to be so chaotic and just depending on who who gets through (traffic) and who doesn’t and it determines how it shakes out.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Auto

Monster Jam World Finals® Returns to Orlando This Weekend, Celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary

Published

on

Monster Jam World Finals is premiering a first-ever figure-eight over-under track that allows trucks to simultaneously jump over each other while racing. Image: Feld Entertainment.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® returns to Orlando May 21 and 22, 2022. This two-day championship is the biggest event of the season and showcases the best trucks and drivers in Racing, Freestyle, High Jump and Skills competitions. This year’s World Finals XXI celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary and Grave Digger’s 40th Anniversary. It offers the largest Pit Party of the year, where fans can meet the drivers, see the trucks up close and enjoy many other family-friendly activities–all included in the ticket price. Fans can purchase tickets for both days through Ticketmaster.com.

Fans get to watch jaw-dropping stunts from the drivers’ 1,500 horsepower, 12-feet tall, 12,000-pound monster trucks, including 12-time world champion Tom Meents, driver of the Max-D truck. World record holder Bari Musawwir, driver of the Zombie truck, also returns to compete in the Skills Competition.

In just in 7.5 days, Camping World Stadium’s gridiron field transformed into the World Finals dirt track with 7,500 yards and 22.5 million pounds of dirt. This year’s track includes a first-ever figure-eight over-under track that allows trucks to simultaneously jump over each other while racing. Fans not only get to enjoy over-the-top stunts, and thrilling fireworks, but they’ll be the very ones choosing the winner.

______________________________________________

Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

Continue Reading

Auto

Representative Duran’s HB 91 Passes in Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee

Published

on

State Representative Nicholas X. Duran. Photo via Florida Politics.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Source: Florida House of Representatives // Earlier today, HB 91 passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee. HB 91 provides DHSMV authority relating to the display & use of digital license plates and specifies requirements for digital license plates, digital license plate providers, & digital license plate consumers.

“Bringing digital license plates to Florida helps to pave the way into a more connected future. Florida has always been on the cutting-edge of technology and allowing the use of this technology can bring large-scale efficiency and savings to the over 17 million registered vehicles in our state. I am happy this bill was able to make it out of committee and is on its way to becoming law,” said Representative Nicholas X. Duran (D- Miami).

Having passed favorably, the bill has been referred to the Commerce Committee.

Continue Reading

Auto

Tesla on Part-Automated Drive System Slams into Police Car

Published

on

FILE - This Feb. 9, 2019, file photo shows a sign bearing the company logo outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. A Tesla using its partially automated driving system slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 on an interstate near downtown Orlando and narrowly missed its driver, who had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — A Tesla using its partially automated driving system slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday on an interstate near downtown Orlando and narrowly missed its driver, who had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system after a series of similar collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

The trooper whose cruiser was hit shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday had activated his emergency lights and was on the way to the disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit the cruiser’s left side and then collided with the other vehicle, highway patrol spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes told The Orlando Sentinel.

The report said the 27-year-old man in the Tesla and the driver of the disabled vehicle suffered minor injuries and the trooper was unhurt.

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email sent to its press address.

Autopilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers, who have been caught driving drunk or even riding in the back seat while a car rolled down a California highway.

The electric vehicle maker uses a camera-based system, a lot of computing power, and sometimes radar to spot obstacles, determine what they are, and then decide what the vehicles should do. But researchers say it has had trouble with parked emergency vehicles and perpendicular trucks in its path.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla probe after tallying 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on autopilot or cruise control have hit vehicles where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards.

In those crashes, 17 people were injured and one was killed, the NHTSA said. An investigation could lead to a recall or other enforcement action.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which also has investigated Tesla crashes, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate. It also recommended that Tesla be required to improve its system to ensure drivers pay attention.

Last year the NTSB blamed Tesla, drivers and lax regulation by NHTSA for two collisions in which Teslas crashed beneath crossing tractor-trailers.

The crashes into emergency vehicles cited by NHTSA began on Jan. 22, 2018, in Culver City, California, near Los Angeles when a Tesla using autopilot struck a parked firetruck with flashing lights. No one was injured in that accident.

Continue Reading

Trending