- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
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- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
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- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Drivers competing in the 2014 Daytona 500
Question of the Day
The 43 drivers competing in the 2014 Daytona 500, in order of starting position:
No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Austin Dillon
BORN: April 27, 1990
HOMETOWN: Welcome, N.C.
CREW CHIEF: Gil Martin
NOTES: Starting on the pole with the famed No. 3, which is making its return to the Sprint Cup Series for the first time since Dale Earnhardt's death following a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. ... Despite making 11 starts in the Cup series last season, Dillon is still considered a rookie. ... Won 2011 Truck Series championship and 2013 Nationwide Series title.
No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing
DRIVER: Martin Truex Jr.
BORN: June 29, 1980
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, N.J.
CREW CHIEF: Todd Berrier
SPONSOR: Furniture Row
NOTES: Qualified on the outside pole for the Daytona 500, but will have to start at the back of the field after getting caught in a crash in a qualifying race Thursday night. ... Left Michael Waltrip Racing after four seasons and moved to Furniture Row Racing, a single-car team that helped revive Kurt Busch's career in 2013. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion has two wins (Dover in 2007, Sonoma in 2013) in 297 career starts in the Cup series.
No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
BORN: March 10, 1972
HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.
CREW CHIEF: Jason Ratcliff
SPONSOR: Dollar General
NOTES: Won second of two Daytona 500 qualifying races. ... Kenseth made it clear very early last season that his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing was going to be good: He led 86 laps and was out front when his engine blew. ... It was still a tremendous year for Kenseth, who won a career-best seven races and battled Jimmie Johnson for the championship. .... Was in the title hunt until a poor showing at Phoenix put him in a deep hole for the season finale.
No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
BORN: Nov. 18, 1980
HOMETOWN: Chesterfield, Va.
CREW CHIEF: Darian Grubb
SPONSOR: FedEx Express
NOTES: Won the exhibition Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. ... Won Daytona 500 qualifying race. ... Won Cup race for eighth straight year. ... Broke a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap crash at California in March, sat out the next four races. ... Missed the Chase and finished 23rd in points.
No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
BORN: April 10, 1980
HOMETOWN: Enumclaw, Wash.
CREW CHIEF: Kenny Francis
SPONSOR: Farmers Insurance
NOTES: Beginning third season at Hendrick Motorsports. ... Won at Bristol and Pocono last season. ... Had a disappointing Chase - by crashing at New Hampshire in the second round he dropped to 13th in points and never recovered. ... Wound up 12th in final standings.
No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Jeff Gordon
BORN: Aug. 4, 1971
HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Alan Gustafson
SPONSOR: Drive To End Hunger
NOTES: Was added to the Chase by NASCAR Chairman Brian France as an unprecedented 13th driver to the 12-driver field when it was found other teams manipulated the outcome of the final qualifying race. ... Had just one win on the season, at Martinsville in October, and one pole, at Charlotte two weeks earlier. ... Started on the outside front row in the Daytona 500 last year. ... Finished sixth in the final standings.
No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Marcos Ambrose
BORN: Sept. 1, 1976
HOMETOWN: Launceston, Tasmania
CREW CHIEF: Drew Blickensderfer
NOTES: Finished 22nd in points last season, with the highlight a pole at Watkins Glen. ... Still seeking first win on oval track. ... Failed to have a top-five finish last year. ... Likely a make-or-break year in NASCAR for Ambrose.
No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Kurt Busch
BORN: Aug. 4, 1978
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Daniel Knost
SPONSOR: Haas Automation
NOTES: Has a new lease on his career two years after his firing from Penske Racing. ... Was signed by Gene Haas to drive a new fourth team at SHR that will be funded by Haas. ... Helped Furniture Row Racing become the first single-car team to make the Chase since the format began in 2004. ... Although he finished 10th in the final standings, Busch had 11 top-five finishes, his highest tally since 2002. ... Started on the front row 10 times last season.
No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
BORN: Oct. 10, 1974
HOMETOWN: Kannapolis, N.C.
CREW CHIEF: Steve Letarte
SPONSOR: National Guard
NOTES: Won NASCAR's most popular driver award for the 11th consecutive year last season. ... Was announced at January testing that crew chief Letarte will step down at the end of the season to join NBC's broadcast booth. ... Failed to win a race last season, but finished fifth in the final standings. ... Came charging through the field in the closing laps of the Daytona 500 to finish second.
No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Paul Menard
BORN: Aug. 21, 1980
HOMETOWN: Eau Claire, Wis.
CREW CHIEF: Richard "Slugger" Labbe
NOTES: Finished 17th in points last season, his third straight season outside the Chase at RCR. ... Has been strong in practice and qualifying for the 500.
No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing
DRIVER: Josh Wise
BORN: Feb. 7, 1983
HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Gene Nead
SPONSOR: Curb Records
NOTES: Raced his way into the Daytona 500. .... Left Front Row Motorsports to join Phil Parsons Racing. ... Has 69 career Sprint Cup Series starts. ... Made his Daytona 500 debut last season with Front Row, finishing 40th.
No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing
DRIVER: Brian Scott
BORN: Jan. 12, 1988
HOMETOWN: Boise, Idaho
CREW CHIEF: Nicholas Harrison
SPONSOR: Whitetail Chevrolet
NOTES: Made only other Cup star last season at Charlotte. ... Driving for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series. ... Winless in 142 Nationwide races.
No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Aric Almirola
BORN: March 14, 1984
HOMETOWN: Tampa, Fla.
CREW CHIEF: Trent Owens
NOTES: Finished a career-best 18th in points last season while driving his second season in the famed No. 43 for seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. ... Has bounced around NASCAR's top three circuits, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. before landing at RPM. ... Of Cuban decent, was one of the first in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.
No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing
DRIVER: Trevor Bayne
BORN: Feb. 19, 1991
HOMETOWN: Knoxville, Tenn.
CREW CHIEF: Donnie Wingo
NOTES: The 2011 Daytona winner will run full time in the Nationwide Series in 2014. ... Announced in November he has multiple sclerosis. ... Runs a partial Cup schedule for the Wood Brothers. ... Ran 12 Cup races last year with a best finish of 15th of Michigan. ... Won the Nationwide race at Iowa the same week he was married.
No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing
DRIVER: AJ Allmendinger
BORN: Dec. 16, 1981
HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Brian Burns
NOTES: Had only one top-10 last season. ... Was 35th in the standings after running only a partial season as he came back from a drug suspension. Ran Indianapolis 500 last year for Roger Penske and was leading when had to make unscheduled pit stop because his seatbelt came loose. ... Winless with only five top-5s in 191 career starts. ... Hasn't competed in a full 36 races since 2011.
No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Kyle Larson
BORN: July 31, 1992
HOMETOWN: Elk Grove, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Chris Heroy
NOTES: Making his Daytona 500 debut. ... Replacing Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 after just one season in the Nationwide Series. ... Has only one full year in stock cars, and his background is in sprint cars. ... Is highly respected by many of the top names in NASCAR, including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne. ... Grew up a Gordon fan. ... His grandparents were among the thousands of Japanese-Americans sent to an internment camp during World War II.
No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports
DRIVER: David Gilliland
BORN: April 1, 1976
HOMETOWN: Riverside, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Brad Jenkins
SPONSOR: Love's Travel Stops
NOTES: Finished 26th in points. ... Has no wins, four top-5s and eight top-10s in 258 career Sprint Cup starts. ... Had his first top-five since 2011 and posted a career-best finish after he was 30th for consecutive years in the standings.
No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing
DRIVER: Landon Cassill
BORN: July, 9, 1989
HOMETOWN: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
CREW CHIEF: Mike Abner
SPONSOR: Hillman Racing
NOTES: Made Daytona 500 by finishing ninth in the second qualifying race. Did it just days after getting hit by a car while riding his bike in Daytona. Cassill had road rash on his chin, arm and both legs, as well as a black eye and some bad bruising. He was T-boned by a woman who ran a stop sign Saturday and ended up in the hospital. ... Has no wins and no top-10s in 117 career Cup starts.
No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Ryan Newman
BORN: Dec. 8, 1977
HOMETOWN: South Bend, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Luke Lambert
NOTES: Made the Chase last season when NASCAR put him in the field because it found Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the finish at Richmond to prevent Newman from earning the final Chase berth. ... Won the Brickyard last year at home track Indianapolis Motor Speedway one race after team co-owner Tony Stewart said Newman would not return to Stewart-Haas Racing. ... Has replaced Jeff Burton at RCR.
No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
BORN: May 30, 1979
HOMETOWN: Emporia, Kan.
CREW CHIEF: Brian Pattie
SPONSOR: 5-hour Energy
NOTES: Flipped his car in a wreck in Thursday's qualifying race. ... Spent eight weeks leading into the Chase ranked second in the standings. ... Entire season fell apart in closing laps of regular season finale when he deliberately spun to bring out a caution to help then-teammate Martin Truex Jr. ... The action set in motion a series of events that led to severe sanctions against MWR and caused Bowyer to have a horrible start to the Chase. ... He rallied to a third-place finish at Martinsville and a fifth-place finish in the finale at Homestead, but was a disappointing seventh in the final standings.
No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Tony Stewart
BORN: May 20, 1971
HOMETOWN: Columbus, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Chad Johnston
SPONSOR: Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1
NOTES: Will have to drop to back of field at start of Daytona 500 because of an unapproved engine change. ... The only full-time driver/owner in the Sprint Cup Series. ... Won 2011 championship and finished 29th in points last season. ... Has fallen short 15 times in the Daytona 500. He's won 18 career races at Daytona, including four in the July race, but never in the biggest of them all. ... Hasn't raced since breaking his right leg in an Aug. 5 sprint car crash. ... On his third crew chief in six seasons.
No. 1 Chevrolet, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Jamie McMurray
BORN: June 3, 1976
HOMETOWN: Joplin, Mo.
CREW CHIEF: Kevin Rodden
NOTES: Won at Talladega last season, his first victory since winning the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and at Charlotte in the same season (2010). ... Finished 15th in points last season. ... After losing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya to IndyCar, he's now working with rookie Kyle Larson.
No. 26 Toyota, Swann Racing
DRIVER: Cole Whitt
BORN: June 22, 1991
HOMETOWN: Alpine, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Randy Cox
SPONSOR: Speed Stick GEAR
NOTES: Raced his way into the Daytona 500 after his team rebuilt his car following a wreck in Wednesday's practice. ... Has run 14 Cup races over three years. ... Has yet to record a top-10 finish. ... Rookie after declaring for Nationwide Series points in 2013. ... Raced his way into the Daytona 500 with strong run in qualifying race.
No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing
DRIVER: Terry Labonte
BORN: Nov. 16, 1956
HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas
CREW CHIEF: Daniel Stillman
SPONSOR: C&J Energy Services
NOTES: Has 22 wins in 886 career Cups races. ... Hasn't won a Cup race since 2003. ... Hasn't raced a full schedule since 2004. ... Expects this to be his final Daytona 500.
No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Greg Biffle
BORN: Dec. 23, 1969
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, Wash.
CREW CHIEF: Matt Puccia
NOTES: Is in a contract year with Roush, but says he wants to remain with the organization. ... Had a disappointing year by Biffle and Roush's standards. ... Won at Michigan in June and made the Chase, but had only four top-five finishes and failed to win a pole for the first time since 2010. ... His 124 laps led in 2013 was the fewest since 2007. ... His ninth-place finish in the final standings was his lowest finish since 2007.
No. 52 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports
Driver: Bobby Labonte
BORN: May 8, 1964
HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas
CREW CHIEF: Jimmy Elledge
SPONSOR: Phoenix Construction
NOTES: The 2000 Cup champion hasn't won a race in NASCAR's top series since 2003. ... Made only 28 starts and was 34th in points last season ... Hasn't won a Cup race at Daytona, an 0-for-41 skid that's unlikely to end in 2013. ... Drives the second car for Phoenix. ... Has 21 wins in 718 career starts.
No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Danica Patrick
BORN: March 25, 1982
HOMETOWN: Roscoe, Ill.
CREW CHIEF: Tony Gibson
NOTES: Will have to drop to back of the field at start of the race because of unapproved engine change. ... Became first woman to win the pole for any race in NASCAR's top series when she turned the fastest lap during qualifying for last year's Daytona 500. ... Is dating fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ... Was 27th in her first full season in NASCAR. ... More famous for her Super Bowl commercials and photo spreads than track results.
No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing
DRIVER: Casey Mears
BORN: March 12, 1978
HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Robert "Bootie" Barker
NOTES: Has one win in 380 Cup starts, none since 2007. ... Finished 24th in points last season. ... Looking for considerably better results this season, coming off his best finish since he was 21st in 2009. ... Nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.
No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing
DRIVER: Alex Bowman
BORN: April 25, 1993
HOMETOWN: Tucson, Ariz.
CREW CHIEF: Dave Winston
SPONSOR: Dr. Pepper
NOTES: Makes his Sprint Cup debut. ... Winless in 36 Nationwide Series starts. ... His favorite movie is "Ted." ... Was 2012 ARCA Series rookie of the year.
No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Carl Edwards
BORN: Aug. 15, 1979
HOMETOWN: Columbia, Mo.
CREW CHIEF: Jimmy Fennig
NOTES: Although he rebounded from a miserable 2012 season to make the Chase, Edwards was not a title threat. ... Finished last in the 13-driver field. ... Came back from a winless 2012 season to score victories at Phoenix and Richmond.
No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
Driver: Brian Vickers
BORN: Oct. 24, 1983
HOMETOWN: Thomasville, N.C.
CREW CHIEF: Billy Scott
SPONSOR: Aaron's Dream Machine
NOTES: Missed final five races of season because of blood clots. ... Missed 25 races in 2010 when blood clots were discovered in his legs. ... Snapped a 75-race winless streak at New Hampshire.
No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
BORN: Sept. 17, 1975
HOMETOWN: El Cajon, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus
NOTES: Johnson opened the 2013 season by winning the Daytona 500 for the second time in his career. It set the tone for the season and he ended a two-year drought without a championship by capturing Sprint Cup title No. 6 in November. ... This year becomes the quest to join Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt in the record books with seven Cup championships. ... Has wrecked two cars this week at Daytona, in the Sprint Unlimited and in Daytona 500 qualifying race.
No. 2 Ford, Penske Racing
DRIVER: Brad Keselowski
BORN: Feb. 12, 1984
HOMETOWN: Rochester Hills, Mich.
CREW CHIEF: Paul Wolfe
SPONSOR: Miller Lite
NOTES: 2012 Sprint Cup champion. The 30-year-old driver had a coming out party in 2012, delivering legendary car owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship. Switched from Dodge to Ford last season and finished 14th in points.
No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
BORN: Oct. 2, 1987
HOMETOWN: Olive Branch, Miss.
CREW CHIEF: Michael Kelley
SPONSOR: Nationwide Insurance
NOTES: Finished 19th last season and earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Sprint Cup Series. ... Still dating Danica Patrick, a budding romance that dominated headlines at Daytona last year. ... Two-time Nationwide Series champion. ... Replaced former series champion Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 car.
No. 22 Ford, Team Penske
DRIVER: Joey Logano
BORN: May 24, 1990
HOMETOWN: Middletown, Conn.
CREW CHIEF: Todd Gordon
SPONSOR: Shell Pennzoil
NOTES: Has been involved in two wrecks in Speedweeks, although he had fault in only one. ... Made the Chase for the first time in his career in his first season driving for Penske Racing. ... Won at Michigan, and had career bests in top-5s, top-10s and laps led. ... Feuded through the first few months of the season with former teammate Denny Hamlin because of the way the two raced each other in the closing laps of the Daytona 500. It culminated in frantic race to the finish at California that led to them both wrecking and Hamlin breaking a vertebra in his back. ... Finished eighth in the final standings.
No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER: Michael Annett
BORN: June 23, 1986
HOMETOWN: Des Moines, Iowa
CREW CHIEF: Kevin Manion
SPONSOR: Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers
NOTES: Finished fifth in Nationwide Series in 2013. ... Signed with TBR in November and will make Sprint Cup debut at Daytona. ... Missed eight races last season after wrecking in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona and bruising his sternum.
No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Kyle Busch
BORN: May 2, 1985
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Dave Rogers
NOTES: Bounced back from a disappointing 2012 season to win four Cup races and finish fourth in the final standings. ... Saw his overall program come back as Busch also won 12 of 25 Nationwide races and five of 11 Truck Series events. ... Was running right behind teammate Matt Kenseth at the front of the Daytona 500 field when their engines expired within minutes of each other last year.
No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
BORN: Dec. 8, 1975
HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Rodney Childers
NOTES: Finished second in the first of two Daytona 500 qualifying races. ... The 2007 Daytona 500 winner has left Richard Childress Racing after 13 seasons to drive for good friend Tony Stewart. .... Believes he can win a championship driving for SHR. ... Has developed a reputation as a closer for being in the right place at the end of races to capitalize for a victory. ... Won four races and finished third in points last year.
No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER: Reed Sorenson
BORN: Feb. 5, 1986
HOMETOWN: Peachtree City, Ga.
CREW CHIEF: Todd Parrott
SPONSOR: Golden Corral
NOTES: No wins and five top-5s in 189 career Cup starts. ... Has bounced around in part-time rides since completing three full seasons (2006-08) for Chip Ganassi Racing and another for Richard Petty Motorsports (2009). ... Best career finish was third at Atlanta in 2007.
No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports
DRIVER: Justin Allgaier
BORN: June 6, 1986
HOMETOWN: Riverton, Ill.
CREW CHIEF: Steve Addington
SPONSOR: Brandt Professional Agriculture
NOTES: Made four starts for HScott last season, racing at Chicago, Kansas, Talladega and Phoenix. Best finish was 24th at Talladega. ... Ran the last five seasons in Nationwide, two for Penske Racing and the last three for Turner Motorsports. Has three wins and 84 top-10s in 174 career starts in the second-tier series.
No. 30 Toyota, Swan Racing
Driver: Parker Kligerman
BORN: Aug. 8, 1990
HOMETOWN: Westport, Conn.
CREW CHIEF: Steven Lane
NOTES: Has two career Cup starts. ... Finished 9th in Nationwide Series in 2013. ... Went airborne in seven-car accident in first full Daytona 500 practice. Car landed on its roof down the front-stretch at Daytona.
No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing
DRIVER: Michael Waltrip
BORN: April 30, 1963
HOMETOWN: Owensboro, Ky.
CREW CHIEF: Chad Walter
NOTES: Part-time driver and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. ... Two-time Daytona 500 winner who is driving this one for Jay Robinson Racing. ... Will start in back of field after crashing hard in qualifying race Thursday night.
No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports
DRIVER: David Ragan
BORN: Dec. 24, 1985
HOMETOWN: Unadilla, Ga.
CREW CHIEF: Jay Guy
SPONSOR: CSX-Play it Safe
NOTES: Third season driving for Front Row Motorsports after getting cut loose by Roush Fenway Racing. Finished 28th in points for the second consecutive season, highlighted by a win at Talladega.
By Michael Widlanski
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