NASCAR & Auto Racing

Daytona 500 buzz: NASCAR alters qualifying

NASCAR alters qualifying

NASCAR announced Wednesday it will revise the procedure for this week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying at Daytona.

The qualifying fields will be broken into four groups with a quarter of the field in each group. Each group will have two minutes and 30 seconds — half the previous allotted time — to complete a lap in each of the three rounds.

The rules update comes three days after Daytona 500 qualifying, which saw a wreck that collected Clint Bowyer, among others, in Round 1 and drivers waiting until the last possible second to cross the start/finish line to complete a lap.

Edwards talks tires

Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards of Columbia will be featured on “Tire Talk,” a series of videos produced by Goodyear Tire.

The three new Tire Talk videos highlight a range of Goodyear technologies and can be viewed on the company’s website or seen in a 60-second commercial version during the telecast of Sunday’s Daytona 500. The videos combine technological information with a touch of humor from Edwards.

Cobb nears 100th start

Jennifer Jo Cobb will begin her fifth season in the Truck Series on Friday night at Daytona.

Cobb, a native of Kansas City, Kan., will mark her 100th series race on June 5 at Texas. She is honoring female military members through her foundation, Driven2Honor, with fundraisers and events tied to the historic start.

“People told me my dream to race in the big leagues of NASCAR was impossible and over these past five years we have overcome some pretty improbable odds, yet we are still here to race every week,” said Cobb, a single-truck owner who holds the record for highest finish by a female in NASCAR at Daytona with her sixth-place finish in 2011.

Remembering Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt Jr. remembered, by posting a tweet, the anniversary of the death of his father, who suffered fatal injuries in a crash on Feb. 18, 2001, during the last lap of the Daytona 500.

“His loss affected a lot of people, not just myself,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “You’re fortunate to have known him and fortunate to have learned and have the experiences that you had with him. So you think about those and be glad that was an opportunity you got to experience.

“I’ve just seen a lot of people tweeting and talking, and I just felt like pitching in and let people know where my mind was at. Instead of being sad about it, I think about all the awesome times we had and good things we did and stuff that I think he’s be proud of today.”

Playing Powerball

Earnhardt is NASCAR’s highest-paid driver, earning about $15 million in salary/winnings and $11 million in endorsements, but that didn’t stop him from playing the Powerball while making promotional appearances in New York earlier this week.

“Amy (Reimann) got mad at me,” he said of his girlfriend. “She’s like, ‘What the heck are you buying a Powerball ticket for? You don’t need to be winning it.’ And I promised her right then I would split half with a charity.”

Earnhardt said he utilized the Quick Pick and won $12 because he hit the Powerball number.

Asked what number he would use if he were to choose one number, the answer was easy.

“One number? Three,” he said of his father’s hallowed number. “Three today. Why not?”

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.