It took him 15 tries, but Brad Keselowski finally raced his way into Daytona's Gatorade Victory Lane in Saturday's Coke Zero 400. The No. 2 Penske Ford driver managed to avoid "The Big One" on Lap 90, which saw over half the field (22 cars) suffer damage, and scored the 100th win for Team Penske. “We had two great cars here with Team Penske and worked together really well,” Keselowski said. “Joey (Logano) has won here and he’s really a pro, especially on that restart. He gave me that push I need to get to the front and here we are at Daytona in Victory Lane. I don’t care if it’s not the 500. It’s Daytona. This is huge. I love this place and here we are in Victory Lane.” Brad's 19 wins for Team Penske trail only Rusty Wallace's 37 for most in the team's history, and his 2014 win in Richmond's Federated Auto Parts 400 marked the most dominating win in Sprint Cup Series competition for the team.

Keselowski wasn't the only one making headlines in Central Florida. We went to the "World Center of Racing" to announce our Fan Appreciation Weekend program for September. It's an entire weekend devoted to showing our gratitude to race fans near and far for the enthusiastic support they have given our sport throughout the regular season, and the NASCAR industry jumped on board the hype train.

Our friends over at Sprint helped kick off the announcement by sending one lucky fan from Daytona to the Federated Auto Parts 400 in September! Orlando native Ashley Miller, will experience Fan Appreciation Weekend firsthand and in style, with all expenses paid, a view from the TORQUE Club and “the works” of passes and credentials for an unforgettable weekend. "I’ve been attending the Daytona races with my Mom for the last eleven years, and I’ve never been to a short track so I’m very excited to go to Richmond," said Miller. "I’ve been a Tony Stewart fan for close to 15 years, and I’m ecstatic to go to the track where he got his first win.”

Through 17 Sprint Cup races, we've seen 11 different drivers in Victory Lane. If history is any indicator, that number might not grow after this weekend's Quaker State 400. Through five Sprint Cup Series events at Kentucky Speedway, only three drivers have won at the 1.5-mile tri-oval: Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (2) and Matt Kenseth (1). But the speedway underwent a facelift earlier this year - with a repave and reconfiguration in Turns 1 & 2 (increased banking and narrower track), and this weekend marks NASCAR's first crack at the new-look track. Maybe this weekend is the chance for someone like Chase Elliott or Austin Dillon to earn the first win of their promising young careers.
Tony Stewart wins in Sonoma

Smoke rises again, y'all. For the first time in 84 races, three-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart finds himself back in Victory Lane after a thrilling finish at Sonoma over the weekend.  "It's been a tough three years not just for him but everyone that's close to him," his father, Nelson Stewart, said. "I don't know what to say. We all needed that bad. He really needed that bad." After missing the first eight races with a back issue, Stewart is hoping to channel his inner Kyle Busch and race his way into the Chase picture. Sunday's W helps that a great deal. "With about eight to go it was the first time I thought, 'hey, we might actually have a shot to hold onto this,' and I actually got a little bit emotional thinking about it while I was driving," Stewart said. "You didn't have time to think about wine and flowers and ponies and all that stuff. I had to get back to business. But it was nice." Now his attention turns to racing his way back into the top-30 by the season's end in Richmond. Considering he's only 10 points back from Brian Scott, we think the odds are good.

Denny Hamlin finishes Second

Stewart's first win in three years certainly didn't come easy. Denny Hamlin, who finished second on Sunday, battled the No. 14 up to the finish. It was just the Chesterfield, VA native's third top-10 at Sonoma. "I didn’t even think I’d have an opportunity, honestly," Hamlin said. "He made one mistake in Turn 7 and allowed us to get closer to him. He made mistakes that allowed me to get there and get position...Still a pretty good day. This is definitely a step in the right direction on the road course, but man... utterly disappointed." The finish was Hamlin's best since his victory in the season opener in Daytona.

FOX hands baton to NBC

From Hamlin's record finish in the Daytona 500, to the return of day racing at RIR, to Smoke's triumphant return to Victory Lane, the team at FOX has brought NASCAR fans a historic start to the 2016 season. Now it's NBC's turn to take the baton to the season's finish in Homestead - and they take over with things in a really good place. Through 16 races we've seen 11 different winners, and only 31 points separate 12th place Dale Earnhardt Jr from 17th place Ryan Blaney. We hope you're as excited as we are for the second half stretch, culminating at the regular season finale at Richmond on September 10.

Join us in Daytona

Ready for Daytona round two? We are, and we'll be on hand to bring you the action from our perspective. As the sport returns to the World Center of racing for the Coke Zero 400, RIR will be in the thick of it all - and you can come along for the ride. Click here to follow us on Snapchat and get and insider's look at everything going on this weekend in Central Florida.
Happy belated Father’s Day to all you dads of children, dogs, cats, Jedi…we’re not picky. Hopefully you were too busy hanging out with your father, or kids, to keep up with social media on Sunday, so we’ve put together a roundup of posts to highlight how your favorite drivers spent their Father’s Day.


Joey Logano

After six wins in 2015, we thought Joey Logano’s first Cup win of 2016  would have come much sooner than the 15th race of the season. (We can’t get enough of those sweet burnouts, to be honest…) You can’t say Logano was “struggling” prior to winning from the Pole on Sunday – eight top-10s in 14 races is no easy task – but after sweeping the Contender round in last year’s Chase, even he seemed concerned with his lack of wins this season. “We've been knocking on the door for a win all season. It's nice to get this win and lock ourselves into the Chase. Having a perfect weekend like this, starting on the pole, being able to have good pit stops and staying in the top two the whole race, it says a lot about this whole team.”

Ford wins 50th

Team Penske couldn’t have written a better scenario for capturing their 50th win with Ford and their 100th Sprint Cup win for Roush Yates engines this weekend in Michigan. MIS is located just 85 miles away from the manufacturer’s headquarters in Dearborn, but the ties all three have to the state go far beyond the close proximity. “Obviously racing is hugely important to us at Ford; it's part of our DNA,” says Dave Pericak, Global Director, Ford Performance. “So to be able to win in our backyard means a lot to us…and obviously to be able to do all of this and celebrate Roush Yates’ 100th win in Cup is just absolutely phenomenal.  It just means the world to us.” Said Doug Yates, who runs Roush Yates Engines, “To achieve [this] at Michigan, just couldn't happen at a better place, and really all the credit goes to Ford Motor Co. and all the great employees at Roush Yates. I've never been more excited about racing.  I'm so proud to be with Ford Motor Company and part of their team.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr

After being taken out early in the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed some frustration in the garage when asked about the performance of the new aero package at Michigan. “It’s not a whole lot different than the other package. I think we talk about packages too much,” he said. While the low downforce on-track action was the top story of the weekend, Earnhardt Jr. was much more focused on capturing that elusive checkered flag. After leaving three of the last six races early due to wrecks, he has been slipping in points – and Chase chances – while Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray are knocking on the door. “I’m angry, but I won’t be too upset about it later. It’s frustrating right now because we had a good car and I was happy with the way the car drove. We won’t get a chance to get the finish I think we could have got today.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heading in to one of only three off weekends this season, you may find yourself with a little more time on your hands. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to fill the Junior-sized hole in your weekend:
  1. Hang out with your dad – it IS Father’s Day, after all
  2. Watch the American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon. (Duh.)
  3. Take a page out of the drivers’ books and go on a sweet vacation. (See: Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson)
  4. Train for American Ninja Warrior. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and several IndyCar drivers beasted the course on last night’s episode. We wouldn’t have made it past the first obstacle, but go on – give it a shot!
  5. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend in Richmond – if you’re here, go outside! Visit one of our state parks, restaurants, breweries, or wineries for a sure-fire good time.

Kurt Busch

With 33 laps to go, substitute crew chief John Klausemeier told Kurt Busch was told that he'd be two laps short on fuel in Monday's rain-delayed Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 at Pocono Raceway. Turns out he had enough to pick up his first win of 2016 and even throw in a burnout to celebrate. "We just had to balance everything," said Busch, who got to the stripe 1.126 seconds ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We had a fast car, a (suspended) crew chief, and the way the fuel mileage played out, I didn't know if we would have enough fuel. It's a wonderful win for us. We have been so close all year. It was just a matter of putting it all together." It was the 2004 Cup Champion's first win since the 2015 TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway, and the third of his career at the Tricky Triangle.

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott's phenomenal rookie season continued yesterday, scoring his fifth consecutive top-10 finish with a fourth-place showing (including a race-high 51 laps led) at Pocono Raceway. "We certainly had, I feel like, one of our best days of the year personally," Elliott said. "I thought for us to be able to contend and lead laps all day and have a car that could fight for the lead the majority of the day... I thought was great." It certainly was, and the finish put him in the company of NASCAR royalty. It was the rookie's fifth top-5 of the year, which ties Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 1979 rookie mark through the first 14 races in a season.

Kyle Busch

We're used to seeing borderline historic stretches of success out of Kyle Busch and the No. 18 car. Remember last Spring when he went on a tear that saw him win four races in a five week stretch? Or when he turned it on during last year's Eliminator Round, scoring three consecutive top-5 finishes before claiming the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship? Or how about earlier this season when we saw him finish either first or second in five of six races - starting with a win at the STP 500 in Martinsville? Well Monday's race saw the continuation of a not-so familiar streak for the defending Series Champ. After smacking the wall with 51 laps to go, Busch was forced to the garage and sent to his third consecutive finish of 30th or worse. With three wins on the year, his Chase dreams are secure - but no doubt he'd like to see some luck come his way sooner than later.

Michigan International Speedway

Drivers have already raved about the success of NASCAR's new aerodynamics package at the likes of Auto Club, Richmond, Charlotte, and more. But now we'll see how it performs at one of NASCAR's fastest tracks - Michigan International Speedway. "The collaboration between NASCAR and the other stakeholders to improve the racing has produced tremendous results this season. I look forward to a continuation of that when we get to Michigan," said Brad Keselowski. "The racing is more in the hands of the drivers than it has been in quite some time and I think we are just scratching the surface as to what this package can become." And the Michigan-native isn't the only driver who's anxious to see how the package will perform this weekend. "I expect the racing to be really good," said Kyle Larson. "I think with you lifting the groove will move up some. It’s just going to be really exciting racing."
Kyle Busch has two tracks o complete a premier series sweep