At the conclusion of nearly a week of action, NASCAR’s most prestigious race has come to a close. The 2022 Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s season opener and the first step to visiting Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6 with a chance to win a championship. Sports360AZ was there all week to cover Arizona’s three NASCAR drivers: Alex Bowman from Tucson, J.J. Yeley from Phoenix, and last year’s Daytona 500 champion, Michael McDowell from Glendale.
Sunday – NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500
The 64th running of The Great American Race the third straight event won by a driver with a new team. 2020 Xfinity Series champion, by virtue of his win at Phoenix Raceway in the Championship 4, Austin Cindric, opened up his rookie season with a bang, solidifying his place in NASCAR history for all time. Michael McDowell flexed his muscle in his championship defense after claiming the 2021 Daytona 500 but settled for 7th at the checkered flag. Alex Bowman was tackled by a flying Harrison Burton machine and was forced to conclude the race in the 24th position.
What an incredible weekend as the next generation of NASCAR hit center stage at the World Center of Racing.
One final wrap-up for @Sports360AZ on our @santanford road trip from #DAYTONA500 weekend & congratulations to @AustinCindric & @Team_Penske! pic.twitter.com/xtCND4FzRo
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) February 22, 2022
Saturday – NASCAR Xfinity Series
A rookie found the checkered flag in Saturday’s Xfinity Series action. After many successful seasons in the Truck Series, Austin Hill found himself in victory lane to begin his rookie campaign with Richard Childress Racing. Phoenix’s J.J. Yeley concluded the night in the 13th position.
Another wild day of action capped off with the NASCAR Xfinity Series #Beef300 ahead of the #DAYTONA500.
Phoenix's @jjyeley1 came home in 13th while @_AustinHill earned his first career Xfinity win in his rookie debut. pic.twitter.com/pMOQTEH3j5
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) February 20, 2022
Friday – NASCAR Truck Series
Following back-to-back seasons falling short of winning the championship at Phoenix Raceway, Zane Smith joined a young Front Row Motorsports team for their single-truck effort. After a chaotic closing sequence of laps, Smith earned his fourth career NASCAR win, doing so in the Love’s Travel Stop colors that Michael McDowell did for FRM in the Cup Series one year before.
As racing action prepares to go green on this Saturday #DAYTONA500 race weekend, let's take a look back at our @santanford Friday recap from a wild ending in the @NASCAR_Trucks #NextEraEnergy250. pic.twitter.com/wV0PdtnXzp
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) February 19, 2022
Thursday – NASCAR Cup Series Duels
NASCAR split the field in half to determine starting positions 3-40 and decided which drivers were going home, unfortunately including Phoenix’s J.J. Yeley. Bowman was guaranteed his second starting position from qualifying while Michael McDowell placed 2nd in his duel, earning him the 6th starting position in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Two drivers will represent Arizona in the 64th running of the #DAYTONA500
Starting 2nd: Tucson's @Alex_Bowman
Starting 6th: Glendale's @Mc_Driver
Here's a @Sports360AZ recap from Lake Lloyd & the @DAYTONA duels to set the grid for Sunday's Great American Race. pic.twitter.com/plMH0TC9lA
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) February 18, 2022
Wednesday – NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying
Tucson’s Alex Bowman made Daytona 500 history by qualifying on the front row of the 500 for the fifth straight season.
Make it five straight front-row starts in the Great American Race for Tucson's @Alex_Bowman. The @TeamHendrick driver starts alongside his teammate, @KyleLarsonRacin Sunday.
We're at @DAYTONA on our @santanford road trip for the #DAYTONA500. Here's how the 3 AZ drivers faired. pic.twitter.com/vTWWOX8UmE
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) February 17, 2022