NASCAR »

Elliott, Speed and Nemechek to race in 500

Joe Nemechek, Bill Elliott and Scott Speed secure slots on the grid for the Daytona 500
Joe Nemechek and Bill Elliott know what it's like to miss the Daytona 500, so it was no surprise how happy they were on Saturday after making the field for next Sunday's Great American Race.

Elliott, Nemechek and Scott Speed were the three fastest drivers not already guaranteed a starting spot in Saturday's qualifying, and thus they will take the green flag Feb. 14 at Daytona International Speedway.

With 35 drivers locked in based on 2009 owner points, the 43-car field is filled by two spots from each of the two 150-mile qualifying races next Thursday and then three spots from the time trials, with a final spot available to a past champion or the next fastest on speed.

Bobby Labonte can use a past champion's provisional, if needed. That meant that three drivers could breathe easier after qualifying on Saturday. Elliott, and Nemechek were fast enough that if they don't run well Thursday in the qualifying races, they can rely on their time-trial speeds for spots in the 500.

Elliott, who was fourth-fastest at 190.573 mph, wasn't much of a surprise. He did the same thing a year ago after missing the 2008 race.

"It's still always nerve-wracking because when you roll in here it's one thing, but once you do everything you've got to do (through inspection) and then you leave pit road on your qualifying run, it's a whole different world," Elliott said. "Two years ago there's no comparison (in this programme). Last year, (crew chief David) Hyder started turning things around about this time and I feel like last season was a tribute to the Wood Brothers and the way their team should be."

Speed, who qualified 13th out of 54 drivers, said that knowing he is in the race will allow him to be less conservative on Thursday than he would be if he had to try to race his way into the Daytona 500 field.

He said he wasn't too nervous for his qualifying lap, especially compared to his crew chief Jimmy Elledge.

"Jimmy Elledge and my guys were a lot more nervous than me," Speed said. "This is one of the only qualifyings of the year where a lot of the weight is off my shoulders. It's a chance for the guys to show what they can do."

Nemechek, who qualified 16th, was nervous, in part, because he owns his car. He is trying to run both the Nationwide and Cup series this year in his own equipment.

"It's definitely huge," Nemechek said. "To come down here and be so close and to miss it by a few thousandths (from time trials last year) was really disheartening. To come back and make it and be locked in the week before the 500 means a lot."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centre Ford - Bill Elliott [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #51 ARRIS Toyota, and John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, lead a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, wins his second 2015 Texas victory Sunday, November 8, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion delivered another Chevrolet SS milestone with it`s 50th win today at Texas Motor Speedway in 106 starts. Johnson delivered the 6th Gen race car`s first win in it`s 2013 Daytona 500 debut. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS finished in third place and Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finished in seventh place.  The second round of the Eliminator 8 continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his second 2015 Texas victory with a burnout Sunday, November 8, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion delivered another Chevrolet SS milestone with it`s 50th win today at Texas Motor Speedway in 106 starts. Johnson delivered the 6th Gen race car`s first win in it`s 2013 Daytona 500 debut. The second round of the Eliminator 8 continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to his second 2015 Texas victory Sunday, November 8, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion delivered another Chevrolet SS milestone with it`s 50th win today at Texas Motor Speedway in 106 starts. Johnson delivered the 6th Gen race car`s first win in it`s 2013 Daytona 500 debut. The second round of the Eliminator 8 continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his second 2015 Texas victory Sunday, November 8, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion delivered another Chevrolet SS milestone with it`s 50th win today at Texas Motor Speedway in 106 starts. Johnson delivered the 6th Gen race car`s first win in its 2013 Daytona 500 début. The second round of the Eliminator 8 continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 WESCO Chevrolet, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Visitmyrtlebeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway on September 26, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 19, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 19, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 Chevrolet, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 19, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images))
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, will start in ninth position Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Due to rain, positions were determined by Friday`s practice speeds. Busch joins eight other Chevy drivers in the Challenger 16 round which begins Sunday. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, will start in sixth position Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Due to rain, positions were determined by Friday`s practice speeds. Newman joins eight other Chevy drivers in the Challenger 16 round which begins Sunday. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, will start in fourth position Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Due to rain, positions were determined by Friday`s practice speeds. Truex, Jr.joins eight other Chevy drivers in the Challenger 16 round which begins Sunday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, will start on the Pole position Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Due to rain, positions were determined by Friday`s practice speeds. Harvick joins eight other Chevy drivers in the Challenger 16 round which begins Sunday. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.