Preview: Daytona 500

Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes

Event: Daytona 500
Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Daytona International Speedway ... Ryan Newman will make his 548th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the sport's season opener. Newman is the proud owner of a Harley J. Earl trophy by winning the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. In total, the South Bend, Ind. native has 30 starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, earning four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. His average start is 20.7 and finish is 20.1. He's led 103 laps in competition.

Age of Smart Iron ... Caterpillar has spent over 90 years committed to innovation and technology that helps customers succeed. What was important then is even more important now, in an age when advancements come faster and more frequently than ever before. An age where connectivity drives productivity and industry evolves. This is the Age of Smart Iron. Watch this video. For more information about Caterpillar, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

Featured Caterpillar Dealer ... Ring Power is the featured Cat dealer for the Daytona 500.

Ring Power is the Central and Northeast Florida Caterpillar dealer, headquartered in St. Augustine, FL. Ring Power is comprised of eight divisions and has over 55 years of experience selling, servicing and supporting Caterpillar and allied equipment. Additional information about the Ring Power organization, its products, services and employment opportunities can be found on the Internet at ringpower.com.

Meet Newman ... On Sunday, Newman is scheduled to participate in a fan question and answer session at the Team Chevy stage located in the DIS midway starting at 10:20 a.m. EST. At 10:45 a.m. EST, he is scheduled to stop by the Alert Florida stage in the Fan Zone courtesy of Coca-Cola for a fan Q&A.

Richard Childress Racing's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history at Daytona International Speedway ... Dating back to 1976, Richard Childress Racing has won 11 poles and collected five points-paying victories at the most-storied race track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit. RCR owns two Daytona 500 wins (Dale Earnhardt - 1998, Kevin Harvick - 2007), three Coke Zero 400 trophies (Earnhardt - 1990, 1993 and Harvick - 2010) and 14 qualifying races, including 10-consecutive victories with Earnhardt (1990 - 1999). In addition, RCR has earned the Advance Auto Parts Clash a total of eight times, with drivers Harvick (2009, 2010, 2013) and Earnhardt (1986, '88, '91, '93, and '95).

RCR in the MENCS ... In 2,736 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts dating back to 1969, RCR has amassed 48 pole awards,105 wins, 474 top-five finishes and 1,030 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 17.7 and an average finishing position of 16.0. RCR has earned 15 total championships (six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Earnhardt in 1986, '87, '90, '91, '93 and '94, six NASCAR XFINITY Series titles, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards title) and was the first organization to win titles in NASCAR's three national series. 

Time to Duel ... The Can-Am Duels at Daytona feature two 150-mile races from which the majority of the final starting grid for the Daytona 500 will be set. Menard starts 11th in the first Duel after qualifying 21st on Sunday. By virtue of qualifying 10th and 26th, respectively, in last Sunday's qualifying session, Newman and Dillon will start fifth and 13th in the second of the two qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Discover and Share ... Thanks to the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Richard Childress and his family, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma discovers and shares the best ways to prevent and treat severe injuries in children. The Institute funds research, education and advocacy to improve the care and treatment injured kids receive across the U.S., including sending five athletic trainers to NYU Langone Medical Center's Concussion Conference for free on Feb. 24. Learn more about our work at SaveInjuredKids.org.

Interactive RCR ... For up-to-date news and exclusive content, visit RCR's corporate Twitter page - @RCRracing - along with the RCR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team Twitter page - @RCRCup, and driver Twitter pages @austindillon3 and @RyanJNewman. Information about the 15-time championship winning organization can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardChildressRacing and at www.RCRracing.com along with official driver pages - http://www.facebook.com/austindillon3, www.facebook.com/PaulMenard27 and www.facebook.com/RyanNewmanNASCAR.

Catch the Action ... The 59th running of the Daytona 500 will be televised live Sunday, Feb. 26 beginning at 2 p.m. EST on FOX and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The Can-Am Duels at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races will take the green flag Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

RYAN NEWMAN QUOTES

What makes you excited to go to Daytona and start a new season?

"Just the opportunity to win another Daytona 500 crown, be a champion and start the season off right for our team and our organization. We fought pretty hard for the last three years and quite honestly don't have a whole lot to show for it, but we are still fighting. The next race is the Daytona 500 and it's the biggest race of the season, maybe aside from Homestead."

What does it mean to you to be called a Daytona 500 champion?

"It's an honor to be called a Daytona 500 champion. I never thought about it until after it happened and people put it in perspective for me and said 'hey, you win Daytona, you win the Brickyard, those races you become a champion' any other race you are just a race winner. It just carries a little bit of extra glory I guess you could say. It doesn't change the way the cash gets deposited into the bank. It doesn't change the appearance of the trophy, but the glory and the honor that goes along with that race win is really special."

Do you think the racing at Daytona is going to be different from the tweaks NASCAR has made to the aero package or do you see the racing being different at the 1.5-mile tracks?

"I think the 1.5-mile tracks are going to be a bigger change. Mostly because of the aero package, engine wise everything is pretty much the same. They have changed the restrictor plates, made them smaller for our restrictor plate tracks, so that is going to slow it down a little bit, but we have made more power in the off-season and since the last restrictor plate race, so that kind of off sets it. We just want to make sure the cars stay on the ground, make it safe for the drivers and the fans and put on a good show."