Coming Up: Speedweeks 2017 and a New Era Begins

"NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 - Practice"

It seems just like yesterday that the 2016 season was wrapping up in dramatic fashion in Homestead, and it also seems just like yesterday that Dale Jr. officially announced his return to Cup racing after a successful test session at Darlington Raceway in December. It’s been a busy off season as Monster Energy was announced as the new sponsor for the NASCAR Cup Series, major changes were announced to the race and points formats, and the question of whether or not Dale Jr. would return to racing were all major talking points.

Now the teams of NASCAR are heading to Daytona International Speedway for the start of 2017 and it all kicks off with the ‘Advance Auto Parts Clash’ on Saturday night!

Track activity officially begins on Friday night with two practice sessions for The Clash and also the debut of the all new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Saturday morning will feature the first two practice sessions for the Daytona 500 where teams will more than likely be focusing only on mock qualifying runs. After that, ARCA begins its 2017 season with their annual 80 lap wreck fest that preludes The Clash on Saturday night. Daytona 500 qualifying takes place Sunday afternoon.

The first Race Chat Room of 2017 will go live Thursday night!

Below is the TV schedule with all action taking place on FS1 while Daytona 500 qualifying will be aired on your local FOX network.

Friday, Feb. 17
5 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1
6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
6:30 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, FS1

Saturday, Feb. 1
8
12:30 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1
3:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
5 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
6 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
8 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash, FS1

Sunday, Feb. 1
9
3 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX

 

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Dale Jr. Tops Yesterday’s Test Session at Phoenix International Raceway

 

How about this!? Earnhardt Jr. topped the Phoenix test session after running 69 laps with a top speed of 135.568 and best lap time of 26.555.

Dale had this to say about returning to Cup racing after 7 months out of the car:

“I’m a little nervous if there’ll be any kind of learning curve. I hope there isn’t. Sometimes you see guys in sports that are away for a while have to adjust to how much has changed since they’ve taken time off, and then there’s some guys who come back and it’s like they’ve never missed a day. I don’t know. I hope there is no rust to shake off. I’m really anxious to get out there and have some success, go out there and run well and check that box and know we’re right where we need to be.”

Jeffrey Earnhardt to Make Daytona 500 Debut

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Jeffrey Earnhardt. 27 years old. Nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale won’t be the only Earnhardt in this years Daytona 500. Nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt (27 years old), will be making his first ever start in the Great American Race with sponsorship from Starter. Circle Sport with The Motorsports Group will be fielding the NO. 33 Chevrolet in not just the Daytona 500, but all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events as they have acquired a charter from NASCAR.

Jeffrey Earnhardt had a total of 22 starts in last years Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and recorded four finishes inside of the top 30.

 

Dale Jr. to Join the FOX Broadcast Booth for the Clash at Daytona

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Exciting news! It was announced this evening that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be joining Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. This will be Dale’s second race in the FOX Sports booth, his first appearance being in an Xfinity Series race at Michigan last June with Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip.

Dale Jr. and Rick Hendrick both agreed to let Alex Bowman have the opportunity to drive the NO. 88 in the Clash because of his strong performances last season when filling in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Anyone else sense a future broadcasting career for Dale Jr. once he retires? . . . We can only hope.

The Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona kicks off the NASCAR racing season on Saturday, February 18th at 8:00 PM EST on FS1.