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NASCAR veteran Casey Mears and sponsor GEICO will partner with Biagi-DenBeste Racing for 12 races in the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Mears will pilot the No. 98 GEICO Military Ford Mustang, pmifirm.com reports.

Impact

If Mears couldn't compete in NASCAR's top division, this situation was about the next-best scenario for the veteran driver. The No. 98 team of Biagi-DenBeste Racing is a part-time team, but a very good one. They won a race last season with Aric Almirola behind the wheel. Mears will get 12 starts with the team in the Xfinity Series and split the ride with Almirola. This will be a way for Mears to stay engaged in competitive racing and keep his name in front of any Cup teams with potential openings.

Kyle Larson's car was parked with 14 laps remaining in the Clash at Daytona exhibition Sunday when his team had more than six crewmen over the wall to work on the car. NASCAR's new damaged vehicle policy states that the penalty for "too many men over the wall" is the car can't continue in the race, ESPN.com reports.

Impact

With new rules often comes confusion, and to make it more confusing, NASCAR only enforced parts of this new rule in the Clash. Both Larson and his crew chief, Chad Johnston, will seek further explanation and clarification on what happened with NASCAR. Hopefully, this will be a learning experience and won't be repeated when the races start counting for the No. 42 team.

Jimmie Johnson crashed and finished 16th in Sunday afternoon's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, hendrickmotorsports.com reports.

Impact

It was not the way the defending champion wanted to kickoff his title defense. The No. 48 Chevrolet rolled off sixth on the starting grid, but found himself in the middle of three-wide racing early-on. A loose-handling race car was a bear for Johnson to handle and it broke loose and spun on turn 4 and slammed into the inside wall. The damage would retire him for the day. Johnson will hope to rebound in next weekend's Daytona 500.

Kevin Harvick raced as high as second-place and skillfully avoided a last lap crash to finish fifth in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon, stewarthaasracing.com reports.

Impact

The driver of the No. 4 Ford had pretty good speed, but he battled a loose handling condition throughout the 75-lap exhibition race. He would battle late to push forward and avoid the last-lap accident to cross the stripe fifth overall. It was Harvick's seventh Top-5 finish in the Clash, and a good tuneup for next Sunday's Daytona 500.

Danica Patrick surged from 10th-place on the final lap to finish fourth in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, stewarthaasracing.com reports.

Impact

The last lap melee in turn 2 kicked open the door for Patrick to make a big move in the last lap. She surged from 10th to fourth-place over those closing seconds. "I will say that I got a little lucky, but there's a lot of that in speedway racing. It was a nice way to start things off in the TaxAct Ford today," Patrick said. "These Fords seem pretty fast. Roush Yates (Engines) does a great job. I got dropped back in the very back for a little bit, but once they started shuffling around, I got a big run. I felt fast, but it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and having the right help behind you, too. It got harder and harder toward the end of the race with fewer cars out there, but we were in the right place at the right time."

Chase Elliott won the pole for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon. He turned a fast lap of 192.872 mph.

Impact

The Hendrick Motorsports teams upstaged the Penske Fords and Gibbs Toyotas in pole qualifying Sunday afternoon. Elliott would roll out last in the second round of qualifying and knock teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. from the top of the scoring pylon. It makes for an all-Hendrick front row for next Sunday's Daytona 500. This is the second-consecutive Daytona 500 pole position for Elliott.

Kyle Busch finished second in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Impact

Busch and the other Gibbs Toyotas worked together for most of the event. They set the pace as a foursome, mostly in single-file line. When the closing laps rolled around Busch would find himself in the tail-end of the four-car line and trying to fend off the challengers. The mayhem would shuffle him out at one point, but Busch would rally on the last lap and avoid the spin of teammate Denny Hamlin. He would cross the stripe second, just inches ahead of the No. 88 of Alex Bowman. It was a good kickoff to Speedweeks for the Joe Gibbs Racing star.

Joey Logano won the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Impact

Rain postponed the running of the Clash from Saturday night until Sunday morning. It would be the Joe Gibbs Racing show for most of the 75-lap event, but the Penske Racing duo of Logano and Brad Keselowski would push their way forward with 3 laps to go and break up the JGR Toyotas. Keselowski and Denny Hamlin would make contact on the final lap and throw the door wide open for Logano to capitalize. After the mayhem he would cruise to the finish for his first-ever win in the Clash.

Joey Logano was fastest in opening practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday afternoon. He turned a fast lap of 193.116 mph.

Impact

The full field rolled out for this massive, marathon four-hour practice for the Daytona 500. Teams worked exclusively on qualifying trim for Sunday's pole-qualifying session. Logano showed the way by beating out Aric Almirola late in the session. The Penske Racing Fords have looked good in both qualifying and race trim, so Logano should be a top pick to win the pole position Sunday for next weekend's Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin was fastest in Happy Hour practice for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. He turned a fast lap of 196.528 mph.

Impact

Speeds picked up considerably in final practice as teams worked more in multi-car drafts. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas worked together exclusively as a foursome. They set the pace and held off the fast Fords of Penske Racing. Hamlin would jump to the top of the scoring pylon by session's end and record a very strong lap. He looks like a good bet to defend his event title from one year ago this Saturday night.

Brad Keselowski was fastest in opening practice for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona. He turned a fast lap of 191.604 mph.

Impact

It was no surprise to see the two teams of Penske Racing dominate the top of the scoring pylon after the season they had on the restrictor-plate tracks last season. Keselowski edged Kyle Larson for the fastest lap of this hour-long session. The entire practice was single-car runs, but we'll likely see how well Keselowski and his teammate, Joey Logano, do in the draft as final practice is expected to be a drafting session.

It will be Truex Jr., who will ring in Furniture Row Racing's new sponsor - 5-hour Energy – with the primary paint scheme of the company on his No. 78 Toyota in Saturday night's NASCAR season kick off - the invitational Clash at Daytona International Speedway, furniturerowracing.com reports.

Impact

5-Hour Energy had been a longtime sponsor of Clint Bowyer, however, with his move to Stewart Haas Racing they found a new team to sponsor. Truex will get to show their colors Saturday night in the Clash at Daytona. After that, the company will switch their sponsorship to Truex's teammate Erik Jones for the remainder of Speedweeks.

Tide will return to Joe Gibbs Racing this season in a three-race deal. Tide will sponsor Matt Kenseth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix in March, Indy in July and Charlotte in October, sportsbusinessdaily.com reports.

Impact

The sponsorship picture is beginning to take focus on the No. 20 Toyota car. Kenseth had some gaps to fill after Dollar General left at the end of last season. Tide will get three dates spread throughout the season, and help fund Kenseth's efforts.

The iconic McDonald's Big Mac will be joined by two new burgers that will be featured on the Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy, driven by 2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray, at the season-opening, "The Clash at Daytona", Chip Ganassi Racing PR reports.

Impact

The Clash always brings out some of the special paint schemes and sponsors on the driver's cars. McMurray will roll with the well-known Big Mac scheme on his No. 1 Chevrolet this Saturday night. The veteran driver has finished as high as second-place twice in this exhibition event, but he's never won it in 10 attempts.

Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in the United States, has expanded its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing to become the lead sponsor of Danica Patrick and the No. 10 team during the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, stewarthaasracing.com reports.

Impact

This company has come to the rescue in a lot of ways for Patrick and the No. 10 team. They've recently lost Nature's Bakery due to legal issues and non-payment. That cast a huge funding cloud on Patrick's upcoming season. Aspen Dental will now take the lead on the team's No. 10 Ford and pick up the Daytona 500 and more events that originally planned this season.

Interstate Batteries will kick off its 26th season with Joe Gibbs Racing as part of Saturday night's Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. It will be the first time in 12 years that the brand will be part of the event that serves as the unofficial season opener to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And the company is doing it in a big way, serving as the primary sponsor of the No. 20 JGR Toyota Camry entry and driver Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing PR reports.

Impact

Interstate Batteries has been with Joe Gibbs Racing from nearly the beginning. They'll venture back into the season-opening Clash with the team and pick up sponsorship on Kenseth's Toyota. The veteran driver is a one-time winner of this exhibition event, and will give the company good exposure on prime time television.

As Kurt Busch embarks on his 17th full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and his fourth with Stewart-Haas Racing, he has a good reason to feel right at home as the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, as the 2017 marks a homecoming for Busch to Ford Motor Company, the manufacturer with whom he won the 2004 Cup Series championship, Stewart Haas Racing PR reports.

Impact

Busch will not only change back into racing a Ford this season, he will also have a few crew changes. SHR is really gearing up the effort behind this veteran driver in 2017. While a championship would seem unlikely, Busch has a good shot at winning races and finishing in the Top 10 most weeks.

Sport Clips Haircuts announced its continued partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin for the 2017 season, and the addition of Furniture Row Racing and driver Erik Jones, prnewswire.com reports.

Impact

Hamlin will enjoy two races of primary sponsorship from Sport Clips, and they'll also pick up four events on Jones' car. This will mark the ninth season that the company has been involved with Joe Gibbs Racing. Given the success that Hamlin has had in both the Cup and Xfinity Series, Sport Clips gets a good deal of exposure.

If you thought Regan Smith might not find a ride in any of NASCAR's national series this year, think again. The journeyman driver has landed a 12-race deal with Ricky Benton Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, which puts him on the track while also helps keep his options open to drive in the Cup Series should something come along, jeffgluck.com reports.

Impact

Smith will run a half-schedule in the truck series for this race team in 2017. It's a good way for him to remain active and competing in one of NASCAR's top three touring series. This team competed last season with a similar schedule and three different drivers, netting three Top 10's in 12 starts. Smith should elevate this small team's level of performance.

Regan Smith told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Friday that he's looking for a ride for the upcoming NASCAR season and didn't rule out running in any of the top three national series, NBC Sports reports.

Impact

Tommy Baldwin Racing shut down Smith's ride at the end of last season. That left the veteran driver high and dry going into the off-season. Smith is now knocking on doors and searching for opportunities to race in any of NASCAR's top three touring series. He stressed that it would take the right opportunity for him to race again in the Cup Series and would wait if necessary to find the right, competitive team.