This Week in Motorsports: February 10-16, 2020
· NCS/NXS/NGROTS: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Florida) – February 13-16
PLANO, Texas (February 12, 2020) – NASCAR officially starts its season at Daytona International Speedway with the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Trucks all taking to the track.
NASCAR National Series – NCS| NXS| NGROTS
Hamlin Returns as Defending Daytona 500 Winner… Last year, Denny Hamlin drove to his – and Toyota’s – second Daytona 500 win. He took the lead from his teammate, Kyle Busch, with nine laps to go and drove to the victory with Busch and Erik Jones in tow. That was the first of a record-breaking 19 points-paying victories for Toyota in 2019. It was also the second 1-2-3 finish for Toyota in the Daytona 500 (also in 2016).
Jones Starts the Season Strong… Perseverance was the word of the day for Jones last Sunday at The Clash exhibition race. At one point, Jones was a lap down and involved in three wrecks, but due to his team’s effort, he remained on the track on the lead lap in an overtime restart. The Toyota teammates prevailed as Jones was pushed by Hamlin past the leaders to victory lane. It was Jones’ second win at Daytona International Speedway after he scored his first career-series win in the July 2018 race.
New Faces in Xfinity… Harrison Burton and Riley Herbst join veteran Brandon Jones in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2020. Burton and Herbst impressed in limited starts in 2019, while Jones earned his first win at Kansas Speedway in October and started the season with a strong third-place finish at Daytona last year. Burton will make his first NXS start at Daytona while Herbst will visit the superspeedway for a second time in his Toyota Supra.
Hill Back at Site of First Win… One year after scoring his first Gander Trucks victory, Austin Hill returns to Daytona as the defending race winner. Hill – in his first race with Hattori Racing Enterprises – led the most laps (39 of 111) and survived multiple wrecks to drive to the 2019 victory. It was the first of four wins for Hill, who had a breakthrough season and made his first Playoffs appearance. In six superspeedway starts at Daytona and Talladega, Hill has three top-10 finishes, including last year’s win.
Eckes Reigning Pole Winner… Nineteen-year-old Christian Eckes is in a full-time seat in the Truck Series for the first time as he wheels the No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2020. Last season, Eckes earned the pole position in nearly half of his limited starts, including at the season opener at Daytona. Eckes ultimately finished 22nd, but looks for redemption in only his second appearance at the superspeedway. History is on his side as Toyota Tundras have collected nearly half (nine wins) of all Gander Trucks victories at Daytona – most of any manufacturer.
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