Michael Self edged 18-year-old Hailie Deegan by 0.125 seconds to win the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. In the process, Self also kept some potential DIS history at bay.
Deegan, from Temecula, California, was attempting to become the first woman to win a stock car race at the “World Center of Racing.” The only other female driver to post a runner-up finish in a stock car at DIS is Shawna Robinson in the 1999 ARCA Menards Series race.
Self, from Salt Lake City, Utah, also won the Lucas Oil 200 – the season-opening race for the ARCA Menards Series – in 2018. On Saturday he started from the pole and dominated the 200-mile/80-lap event.
“This is like nothing else,” said Self, driver of the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota. “The second time is just as sweet as the first time was. It’s just unbelievable to do it in the fashion we did today.”
Deegan (No. 4 Monster Energy Ford), one of the most heralded young drivers in recent years, was making her first start at Daytona International Speedway.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be any happier,” said Deegan. “I don’t think it could’ve been much better [other] than winning. The first race sets the tone for the season. I think this is definitely going to help for the rest of the year.”
Following the Lucas Oil 200, a random draw determined the starting grid for Sunday’s 42nd annual Busch Clash At DAYTONA, a preseason all-star style event for NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Ryan Newman (No. 6 Koch Industries Ford), a former DAYTONA 500 champion, got the pole after his crew chief Scott Graves drew the definitive lucky number. Brad Keselowski (No. 2 MoneyLion Ford) will start alongside Newman in the 75-lap sprint featuring 18 drivers.
Earlier Saturday, there were three rounds of NASCAR Cup Series practice – the sole session for the Busch Clash plus the first two practices for the Feb. 16 DAYTONA 500. (Teams typically have different cars for the two events.)
Erik Jones led a Joe Gibbs Racing/Toyota sweep of the top four speeds in the Busch Clash practice. Jones (No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota) posted a fast lap of 199.756 mph. Reigning and two-time DAYTONA 500 champion Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) was next at 199.734, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and reigning series champion Kyle Busch. Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Menards/Peak Ford) of Team Penske rounded out the top five at 198.667.
The DAYTONA 500 practices produced 200 mph-plus speeds. Ty Dillon (No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet) led the first practice at 203.592 mph; he was one of 13 drivers in the session to exceed 200 mph. Bubba Wallace (No. 43 United States Air Force Chevrolet) led the second practice at 196.172.
Sunday showcases a recently returned Speedweeks tradition, a premium doubleheader featuring DAYTONA 500 Qualifying presented by Kroger at 12:30 p.m. (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), followed at 3 p.m. by the Busch Clash (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The qualifying session locks in the front row for the DAYTONA 500 while establishing starting grids for the Thursday, Feb. 13 Bluegreen Vacations Duel At DAYTONA, the two 150-mile qualifying races for the DAYTONA 500.
Also this weekend at the “World Center of Racing,” the USAC National .25 Midget Series is opening its season, featuring aspiring young open-wheel drivers competing through Sunday on a paved oval in the DIS infield.
Sunday will have two additional, different types of races in store. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon consists of a 13.1-mile course starting at 7 a.m. on the famed race track, heading east to the Atlantic shoreline and then returning west for a finish at the ONE DAYTONA complex across from the speedway. At 7:30 a.m., the Lap the Track 5K starts on the track and finishes at ONE DAYTONA
Tickets for the 42nd annual Busch Clash At DAYTONA, the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 and all other DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.