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December 18, 2014
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Posted: Thursday, July 3rd 2014 at 2:00pm

NASCAR Preview: Junior has sweep dreams at Daytona

By NASCAR Media
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr. celebrates in victory lane after winning February's Daytona 500. He hopes to sweep this year's Daytona Sprint Cup races with a win in the Coke Zero 400 Saturday night. / Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Bobby Allisonís name stood with a few other NASCAR legends in the Daytona record books for decades. His 1982 season sweep of Daytona International Speedway put him on a list with Fireball Roberts, Cale Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough, and for more than 30 years, the feat went unmatched.

Then, Jimmie Johnson finally joined the exclusive group last year. And this Saturday night, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looks to do the same, as he hits the high banks for the first time since his memorable Daytona 500 victory to open the 2014 season.

Junior has good reason to step onto the superspeedway with an enviable amount of confidence; his win at Pocono in June all-but-secured him a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, and his 12 top-10 finishes are second only to points leader (and Hendrick Motorsports teammate) Jeff Gordon. Hendrick, by the way, became the first four-car team in NASCAR history to place all four of its cars in the top 10 in three consecutive races after accomplishing the feat again at Kentucky.

But back to Earnhardt. This win would mean much more than just a third victory in 2014. Daytona is full of memories for NASCARís most popular driver. His first victory at the track came in 2001, less than five months after his fatherís passing.

This Saturday night, he looks to add a new memory Ė a sweep, which would only be the second of his career. The first came back in 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway, part of Earnhardtís four-in-a-row win streak at the Alabama restrictor plate track.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 6:30 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sadler Rides Points Lead Wave Into Daytona
In the last three to four years a lot has happened to Elliott Sadler.

He finished runner-up in the series standings in back-to-back seasons (2011 and í12); he changed teams and car makes in the off-season before 2013 (from Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing to Toyota with Joe Gibbs Racing); and after all that, he has finally raced his way back to the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings lead.

Sadler is back in championship form after taking over the points for the first time since the fall of 2012 at Phoenix International Raceway.

For the first half of this season JR Motorsports looked almost untouchable in the points, but for the first time this season the JRM teammates of Regan Smith and Chase Elliott have relinquished the standings lead. Now, JGRís Elliott Sadler is in command; four points ahead of Chase Elliott in second and eight points over Smith in third.

Statistically speaking, Sadler could very well expand on that lead this weekend. Not only does he have a win at a restrictor plate track this year (Talladega), but of the top three drivers in points, he has the best pre-race driver rating (98.6) and average finish (13.3) at Daytona.

But itís not all doom and gloom for the JR Motorsports squad, Kevin Harvick did win the race at Kentucky in the No. 5 Chevrolet last weekend and with the series heading to Daytona International Speedway, Smith has the chance to defend his season-opening win.

For some, restrictor-plate racing is like an undecipherable code, but some have cracked it Ė and Smith undoubtedly is one of them. Smith won at Talladega last season, won the season opener at Daytona this season and finished third at Talladega just a few months ago.

Smith will be Sadlerís biggest threat to the points lead this weekend. Throughout Smithís career, he has progressively improved at Daytona. In his last three starts he has combined to lead 59 laps, and finished inside the top-10 in his last two starts at Daytona.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 7 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Kyle Busch Motorsports Rolls Into Iowa

Six wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes. In eight races.

Those are Kyle Busch Motorsportsí otherworldly statistics in this still young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Whether itís Kyle Busch, Darrell Wallace, Jr. or Erik Jones behind the wheel, the No. 51 and No. 54 teams have been dominant Ė and record-breaking. The team has helped Toyota to a series record 10 consecutive wins, eight of those by KBM.

Coming off its first 1-2 finish in team history at Kentucky Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsports moves on to Iowa Speedway on July 11, showcasing its rising stars ĖWallace and Jones. With an average age of 19 years, the two have combined for three wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Wallace, a former NASCAR Next member and Drive for Diversity graduate, and Jones, a current NASCAR Next member, both own a pair of top-10 finishes in two starts at Iowa Speedway. The drivers earned career-best finishes in last Septemberís race with Jones finishing runner-up and Wallace close behind in fifth.


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