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Chip Ganassi Racing Looking To Add A 2nd Daytona 500 Win In Their 30th Season

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Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s trophy’s are all on display at the team’s race shops in Indianapolis, Indiana and Concord, North Carolina.  One trophy Ganassi and company would like to add to the display case is another Harley J. Earl trophy, which goes to the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500.

Team Ganassi won the Daytona 500 a decade ago when Jamie McMurray took the No. 1 to Gatorade Victory lane.  2010 was a magical season for the team as they won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.

Three drivers out of the Ganassi stable will try to add to the team’s history by trying to win this year’s Daytona 500.  2004 Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch is driving Ganassi’s No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet (pictured above).  Busch won The Great American Race in 2017 and says there are a victory is not only prestigious but a key to starting a championship run.

“When you win the most iconic race in your series, for us in NASCAR it’s the Daytona 500, Sports Cars it’s the 24-Hours at Daytona or 24 Hours of Le Mans, in IndyCar if you win the Indianapolis 500 it’s a Championship all on its own,” Busch told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.  “It’s so powerful because of the prestige, the history and the value of what the race means.  It elevates you to championship status immediately before the season even really gets underway.”

Kyle Larson is in the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet.  Larson had a shots at winning, ironically in 2017 when Busch took the win driving for Stewart Haas Racing.

“Hopefully we can do it,” Larson told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.  “I’ve been close one other time and ran out of fuel leading on the last lap.  It would be cool to win with Chip and Credit One Bank and add my name to the list of guys who’ve won this race.”

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 09: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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Ganassi’s third driver in this year’s Daytona 500 is Ross Chastain.  Chastain is driving the No. 77 Advent Health Camaro.  It’s a Ganassi-prepared car that is being fielded in partnership with Spire Motorsports.  Chastain will start 20th in the field.

“This is a lifetime opportunity,” said Chastain.  “If I have a car with somewhat clean fenders at the end, we’re going to have a bullet and you just point and shoot at the end and hope you make it.  Making it to the end is a big deal.  That’s what we did last year, we attrition-raced.  It’s not pretty when you are doing it but man we were there at the end with 10 or 11-cars left and had a shot.”

The No. 77 Advent Health Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Camaro and driver Ross Chastain.

The former driver-turned-owner, who has 19-Championships in his tenure, still knows what it takes to win.

“In NASCAR you have to get your car running on old tires because you’re on old tires more than anything,” Ganassi told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.  “When you put on a new set of stickers on you go out and rip off a fast lap that’s great and it looks good on the sheet, but I don’t know what it means for the race, because so often you’re going 40, 50, 60-laps without a stop time after time after time so you have to get car working on old tires to have any chance.”

There are only seven active Daytona 500 winners set to hit the track for Sunday’s 62nd running of the historic race. Denny Hamlin (2016, 2019) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013) are the only drivers in the field with multiple checkered flags.  The other past winners include Austin Dillon (2018), Joey Logano (2015), Kevin Harvick (2007), Ryan Newman (2008) and Busch (2017).

Hamlin and seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion Johnson are the only active drivers to have won two Daytona 500 races. Three drivers in series history have won back-to-back Daytona 500 events (Sterling Marlin – 1994, 1995; Cale Yarborough – 1983, 1984; Richard Petty – 1973, 1974).

JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will lead the field to the green flag. Hendrick Motorsports Alex Bowman will start on the outside of the front row.

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Racing Notebook – Ohio Racing Gets Red Flagged; New Series from Stewart and Evernham plus Weekend Winner Recap

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Steve Skarupa Photography

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Monday’s Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details on new restrictions placed on events in Ohio plus Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham are teaming up to start a new series and we look back at the winners on track this past weekend.

New Restrictions On Events In Ohio:

  • The Ohio Department of Health has mandated activities to be limited in the state of Ohio due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions are forcing Sharon Speedway to cancel this Saturday’s events, including the RUSH Late Model Series “Bill Forney Memorial”.  Sharon Speedway plans on resuming their 2020 schedule of events when the restrictions are lifted.

Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham Starting New Series:

  • NASCAR Hall of Famers Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham are teaming up to start a new racing series.  The Sports Business Journal first reported the deal, which includes former NASCAR executive George Pyne and sports agent Sandy Montag.  The Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) will feature six races on short tracks and will include top drivers from a variety of backgrounds.  The SRX will be similar in scope the defunct IROC Series and is set to debut in 2021 and will be televised by CBS Sports.

Cole Custer Gets 1st Career Cup Win At Kentucky:

  • Stewart Haas Racing’s Cole Custer picked up his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday at Kentucky Speedway winning a thrilling battle on the last lap with saw Custer four-wide with Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Blaney.  Truex held on for second and Matt DiBenedetto finished third.

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Chip Ganassi Racing Sweeps Road America:

Larson and Conley Take Sharon Speedway wins:

Saturday Winners At Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway:

  • Chas Wolbert picked up his second straight win taking the RUSH Sportsman Modified 15-lap main event. Keith Barbara picked up his first win of the season in the RUSH Late Model Dirt Series 20-lap feature.  Jason Fosnaught was victorious in the PPMS Pro Stock division.  Stephen Shelpman continued to dominate the Keystone Coach Works Hobby Stock division with another victory. Philip and Noah Bubeck were each victorious in the Four Cylinder and Young Guns divisions respectively.

Saturday Winners At Jennerstown Speedway:

  • Defending Track Champion, Teddy Gibala won for the first time this season in the Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model division of racing, becoming the fourth different winner in four events. Also celebrating in Stoney’s Beer Victory Lane were R.J. Dallape (Stoystown Auto Wreckers Modifieds), Aaron Van Fleet (Ron’s Collision Center Street Stocks), Dale Kimberly (Farmers Union Co-Op Chargers), and Evan Nibert (Somerset Trust Company Fast ‘n Furious 4-Cylinders).

Matt Kenseth’s New Colors For All-Star Race:

  • Wednesday’s NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race at Bristol Motor Speedway is going to feature a different style paint scheme that fans are not used to seeing on race cars.  The number and some sponsor placement is moving.  Here is a look at the McDonald’s Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 of Matt Kenseth:

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Larson Caps Ohio Sprint Speedweek With A Win At Sharon Speedway

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Paul Arch

HARTFORD, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson capped off Ohio Sprint Speedweek by winning the Ollies Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions feature at Sharon Speedway on Sunday.

The victory was Larson’s third Ohio Speedweek victory and seventh All Star victory of 2020.

“This place is awesome,” said Larson. “Especially when it gets glass slick to the fence. I really enjoy coming to Ohio and running Ohio Speedweek. A big thanks to all of the fans for coming out and supporting your local dirt track racing.”

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Skylar Gee started on the pole and led the first nine laps before hitting the wall and ending his night, which gave Larson the lead for good.

Two time defending All Star Champion Aaron Reutzel was Larson’s biggest challenger. Reutzel chipped away at Larson’s near-two second lead as lap traffic and a tap of the wall by Larson helped Reutzel’s cause.  A last minute slider by Larson on lap 29 to put a lapped car between himself and Reutzel sealed the deal for the Paul Silva-owned No. 57.

“To watch him run that close to the wall and make contact and keep going is just crazy,” said Reutzel.  “I think I needed a caution-free run and additional traffic if I was going to get by Larson. I think I was a little better than he was in those long runs.”

Next up for the All Stars is a three race sweep through the Keystone State starting Friday night at Williams Grove.

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Cale Conley Wins Lou Blaney Memorial At Sharon Speedway

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Sharon Speedway

HARTFORD, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Cale Conley led wire-to-wire to win Saturday’s Ollies Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions “Lou Blaney Memorial” at Sharon Speedway.

The victory was a family affair as Conley is married to Blaney’s granddaughter Emma.  The win was also Conley’s first All Star victory.

“It took us a while, but I’m so happy to win here during the Lou Blaney Memorial,” said Conley.  “It’s such a special night for my wife’s family. Our little boy’s name is Louie, so this is really cool. To get my first All Star win in front of such an awesome crowd is cool.”

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Cory Eliason finished second followed by Rico Abreu and Aliquippa’s Tim Shaffer.  Danny Dietrich rounded out the Top 5.

Erick Rudolph picked up third straight BRP Modified Tour win.  Rudolph started 11th and held off challenges from Garrett Krummert and Brian Swartzlander.  Rex King Jr. finished fourth and Brad Rapp completed the Top 5.

Sharon will return to action tonight with Justin Snyder’s “Salute to the Troops” paying $6,000 to-win for the All Star Sprints in the finale of Ohio Speedweek. The non-wing RUSH Sprint Cars will also be on the card racing for $600 to-win.

Gates open at 3 p.m. with warm-ups at 6 followed by qualifying and racing at 7. General admission for those 14 and over is $25, which includes the infield fan zone. All veterans of war receive $10 off general admission. Kids 13 and under are free. Pit passes are $35.

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