Gaughan, Sadler will race in the Daytona 500
By Dominic Aragon
February 20, 2017
Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler are guaranteed to have a starting spot in the 59th annual Daytona 500 next Sunday.
Gaughan and Sadler, both full-time drivers in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, snagged two of the four open positions for the Daytona 500 with their qualifying times Sunday during pole day qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.
Gaughan’s lap time of 47.545 ranked the highest of the six drivers not locked into the field, 33rd overall.
Driving the No. 75 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports, the team will make its debut in NASCAR’s premiere series in the Daytona 500.
“We’ve run three laps, that’s it,” Gaughan said to FOX Sports. “We did two laps [Saturday] and one lap [Sunday], and we’re in the Daytona 500.”
The team has previously fielded entries in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and attempted to qualify for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2014.
Gaughan has run in the Daytona 500 once, placing 19th in 2004. He has 50 overall starts in the series and next Sunday’s race will be his first start in the series since 2015.
A lap time of 47.730 for Sadler was enough to claim the second best time among the open teams by .313 seconds, placing him 36th overall.
Sadler will make his 14th start in the Daytona 500 and first since 2012.
This will mark the eighth time Tommy Baldwin Racing will have at least one entry in the Daytona 500.
Team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr., who did not have the luxury of being guaranteed a starting spot in the field like 2016, told The Racing Experts the plan is different for his single-car operation for the rest of Speedweeks.
“It’s a nice relief,” he said. “Now you can just plan on what you’re going to be prepared for for the 500 instead of worry what you’ve got to do for the 150s, so that’s a big relief.
“So, it’s a good feeling for sure and we’ll just concentrate on making the car as good as we possibly can for the 500.”
Sadler’s best finish in the Daytona 500 was a second place effort in 2002. This year’s Daytona 500 will mark Sadler’s 436th start in the series and first since 2013.
Reed Sorenson, D.J. Kennington, Corey Lajoie and Timmy Hill are the four drivers vying for the two remaining open spots in the Daytona 500 and will have the chance to race their way in via the Can-Am Duels Thursday.
Thanks to: NASCAR Media Racing-Reference.info