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]
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship following his fifth place finish in the DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship following his fifth place finish in the DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with his father Bill after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship following his fifth place finish in the DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship following his fifth place finish in the DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. July 12, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott at Richmond International Raceway. September 4, 2014. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott in action at Texas Motor Speedway. November 1 2014. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Matt Kenseth in qualifying. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeb Burton, driver of the #13 Estes-Carolina Nut Company Toyota, and John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #8 SWM Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, and Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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