Ford Performance NASCAR – 2024 Daytona 500 Advance

DAYTONA 500

Thursday, Feb. 15 — NASCAR Cup Series Duel Races, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Friday, Feb. 16 — NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Saturday, Feb. 17 — NASCAR Xfinity Series, 5 p.m. ET (FS1)
Sunday, Feb. 18 — NASCAR Cup Series, 2:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

NASCAR’s biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500, kicks off the 2024 Cup Series season on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway with Ford Performance looking for its third win in the last four seasons. The Blue Oval has won “The Great American Race” a total of 17 times with current drivers Joey Logano, Michael McDowell and Austin Cindric having one victory each.

FORD GOING FOR THIRD DAYTONA 500 WIN IN FOUR YEARS

As noted above, Ford has won the Daytona 500 17 times by 14 different drivers with Michael McDowell (2021) and Austin Cindric (2022) being the most recent. Ford has won “The Great American Race” four times in the last nine years with Joey Logano (2015) and Kurt Busch (2017) joining the aforementioned duo. That being said, only three Ford drivers have won the Daytona 500 more than once. Bill Elliott was the first to do it (1985 and 1987) with Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) and Matt Kenseth (2009 and 2012) following.

DAYTONA 500 DEBUT

This year’s Daytona 500 will be the first for Josh Berry, who joined Ford Performance and Stewart-Haas Racing as driver of the No. 4 Ford Mustang Dark Horse following the retirement of Kevin Harvick. Berry goes into Sunday’s 500 with 12 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, including one at Daytona International Speedway. In that start, which came in last August’s Coke Zero Sugar 400, he started 29th and finished 22nd behind the wheel of the No. 42 for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB. Berry’s best career Cup finish is second, which came at Richmond Raceway last year.

RAGAN’S RETURN

David Ragan will be looking to make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series by attempting to qualify a third Roush Fenway Keselowski Mustang Dark Horse for the Daytona 500.

This will mark the first attempt to make an event in what the organization calls its Stage 60 project. Ragan, who competed in the Cup Series with RFK from 2006-11, will drive the No. 60 and serve as a teammate to Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher.

Ragan has competed in the Daytona 500 16 times during his career and has four top-10 finishes, including a career-best 4th in 2020 driving for Rick Ware Racing.

CINDRIC KICKS OFF ROOKIE SEASON IN STYLE

Austin Cindric started off his first full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series with Team Penske with a bang by winning the 2022 Daytona 500 in only his second attempt. Cindric got a push and then had to fend off his teammate, Ryan Blaney, coming to the checkered flag to become the first rookie to win the Great American Race. Blaney made contact with Cindric and hit the outside wall, sealing the No. 2 driver’s fate to claim his first career Cup Series victory. It was a stellar day for Ford overall, claiming four of the top-five and seven of the top-10 finishing positions. Chase Briscoe came home 3rd, Blaney 4th and Aric Almirola 5th to complete the top five.

MCDOWELL MAKES DAYTONA 500 FIRST CUP WIN

Michael McDowell scored his first victory in a Monday morning finish to the 63rd running of the Daytona 500, missing a final-lap crash to kick off the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season with a triumph in stock-car racing’s most prestigious race. McDowell only led the last of the 200 laps, avoiding a collision between Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowsk, who were battling for the lead going into turn three. It marked the first win of the Front Row Motorsports driver’s Cup Series career, after a span of 357 winless starts.

LOGANO GIVES FORD FIRST SWEEP OF DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS

Joey Logano survived an intense final 10 laps, including a green-white-checkered finish, to give Ford a sweep of Daytona Speedweeks by winning the 57th running of the Daytona 500 in 2015. The win came on the heels of Tyler Reddick winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Ryan Reed taking the checkered flag for the first time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event. It also capped an undefeated month of racing at Daytona for Ford, which also won the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours.

KURT BUSCH WINS DAYTONA 500 IN SHR FORD DEBUT

Ford won the Daytona 500 for the 15th time after Kurt Busch took the checkered flag for Stewart-Haas Racing in its debut event with the manufacturer in 2017. That Cinderella story marked Ford’s fourth Daytona 500 win in a seven-year period, a streak that started with another Disney-type story when Trevor Bayne became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011. The victory was even more memorable because it came one day after his 20th birthday and in only his second career NASCAR Cup Series start for the Wood Brothers.

KENSETH WINS EXPLOSIVE DAYTONA 500

When Ford won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 27, 2012 with Matt Kenseth, it marked his second victory in four years. But while Kenseth will be recognized for becoming the ninth multiple winner of the race, the weekend will forever be remembered for a series of unforeseen events. For the first time in its 54-year history, the race had to be postponed until Monday due to rain. As lingering showers persisted the next day, NASCAR officials decided to make it a primetime event for the first time. The race was building to a climax when caution came out on lap 157. During the ensuing caution, something broke on Juan Pablo Montoya’s car and sent it careening into a jet dryer that was working on the track. An explosion ensued and resulted in a red flag that lasted more than two hours as officials repaired the track. There were no major injuries, but the incident resulted in one of the more memorable photos ever taken as driver Brad Keselowski used his cell phone to post a shot from his vantage point on the backstretch. Kenseth eventually held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle on a green-white-checker finish to win.

TINY LUND DRIVES FORD AND WOOD BROTHERS TO FIRST 500 WIN

Ford won the Daytona 500 for the first time on Feb. 24, 1963 when Tiny Lund took the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane and completed a script that would have made Hollywood envious. Lund didn’t have a ride for the 500, but was at the track watching Marvin Panch test a Maserati when the car went out of control, flipped upside-down and started on fire. Lund, along with four others, rushed to the scene and eventually pulled Panch to safety. Panch, who was the primary driver for the Wood Brothers, was unable to race in the 500 due to his injuries, so the team tabbed Lund as a substitute. Lund defied the odds by winning the race on one set of tires to give For and the Wood Brothers their first win in “The Great American Race.”

CUSTER READY TO BEGIN TITLE DEFENSE

Cole Custer, fresh off winning last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, is back behind the wheel of the No. 00 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, where he’s teaming up once again with Riley Herbst. Custer, who had three wins and six poles in 2023, finished ninth in last year’s series opener while Herbst was sixth in the Xfinity race and 10th in the Daytona 500, which represented his Cup Series debut.

DEEGAN MAKING FULL-TIME NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DEBUT

Hailie Deegan will be running a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for the first time as she pilots the No. 25 AM Racing Ford Mustang. Deegan, who has been competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series the past three seasons, has one career NXS start on her resume with that coming in 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when she finished 13th.

DEFENDING CHAMPION RHODES BACK AT THORSPORT

Ben Rhodes, who claimed his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship last season, will look to join a select list of drivers who have won three or more as he begins his ninth year driving for ThorSport Racing. Rhodes has seven career victories during that time, including the 2021 season-opening event at Daytona. He’s trying to join ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton (3), Jack Sprague (3) and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (4) as drivers who have won at least three series titles.

FORD’S DAYTONA 500 WINNERS

1963 – Tiny Lund (Wood Brothers)

1965 – Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody)

1967 – Mario Andretti (Holman-Moody)

1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough (Junior Johnson)

1978 – Bobby Allison (Bud Moore)

1985 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)

1987 – Bill Elliott (Harry Melling)

1992 – Davey Allison (Robert Yates)

1996 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)

2000 – Dale Jarrett (Robert Yates)

2009 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)

2011 – Trevor Bayne (Wood Brothers)

2012 – Matt Kenseth (Jack Roush)

2015 – Joey Logano (Roger Penske)

2017 – Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas)

2021 – Michael McDowell (Bob Jenkins)

2022 – Austin Cindric (Roger Penske)

FORD’S NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

DAYTONA WINNERS

1995 – Chad Little (1)

2004 – Mike Wallace (2)

2015 – Ryan Reed (1)

2016 – Aric Almirola (2)

2017 – Ryan Reed (1)

2021 – Austin Cindric (1)

FORD’S NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES DAYTONA WINNERS

2000 – Mike Wallace

2003 – Rick Crawford

2004 – Carl Edwards

2006 – Mark Martin

2015 – Tyler Reddick

2020 – Grant Enfinger

2022 – Zane Smith

2023 – Zane Smith

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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