NASCAR at Dover notebook: Eagles to descend on race at Dover

Jordan Hicks

DOVER — Race fans at Dover International Speedway will likely be ready to bust into an impromptu version of “Fly, Eagles Fly” — the Philadelphia Eagles’ fight song — before the start of Sunday’s AAA Drive for Autism 400 race.

The pre-race festivities will surely have a green tint to them as Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks and announcers Merrill Reese and Mike Quick have been named dignitaries for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the “Monster Mile.”

Reese and Quick will be the race’s co-grand marshals, imploring the drivers to “Start your engines!” before Hicks will be waving the green flag to get the race underway as the event’s honorary starter.

Merrill Reese

Hicks, Reese and Quick will also appear on the AAA Stage at Victory Plaza at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday morning to participate in a celebration of the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship this year, along with team mascot Swoop and members of the Eagles cheerleader squad.

The Eagles drumline will also be a part of pre-race activities on the race track’s frontstretch, along with race dignitaries, Swoop and the cheerleaders.

“Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, yet it has been historically misunderstood and under-researched,” said Ryan Hammond, executive director for Eagles Autism Challenge. “We

Mike Quick

are proud to join NASCAR and Dover International Speedway in their collective efforts to turn autism awareness into action on Sunday.”

The Eagles Autism Challenge logo will be featured on Austin Dillon’s No. 3 paint scheme in Sunday’s race to provide awareness and support for those with autism.

Truck Series drivers enjoy their day in the spotlight

Drivers from NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had the spotlight all to themselves Thursday as they were the only ones on the track at Dover. The will be joined by the Monster Cup Energy Series and Xfinity drivers on track today.

The 33 drivers entered in today’s Jegs 200 Truck Series race (5 p.m. on FS1) participated in a pair of practice sessions during the heat of the afternoon at the “Monster Mile” on Thursday.

Today will mark the first race for the Truck Series after a four-week long break.

Johnny Sauter appeared to pick up where he left off after winning his first race at Dover last season in the No. 21 Chevrolet, when he led the last 33 laps of the race.

While Stewart Friesen was quickest in the opening practice session after turning a lap of 155.797 mph around the high-banked, one-mile overall, Sauter was second fastest at 153.407 mph.

“I love going to Dover,” said Sauter, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Tuesday. “You’re on the verge of wide-open at a mile racetrack, clipping around there at a 23-second lap. That’s cooking. You can feel it; you know you’re cooking. I like going there.

“I like the atmosphere, the people, the fans, everybody in that part of the country. It’s just a place where you can stab and steer – as much as you can give it, it can take it.”

Sauter, who started this season with a victory at Daytona International Speedway, currently leads the Truck Series driver standings with 181 points and is followed by Grant Enfinger (152 points) and Brett Moffitt (150 points).

Drivers support Autism Delaware’s mission

More than 40 drivers from NASCAR’s three premier national touring series will be showing their support for Autism Delaware’s mission throughout the racing tripleheader at Dover this weekend by displaying a special decal on their cars and trucks.

Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and defending champion Martin Truex Jr. will be among 13 drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series who will display the Autism Delaware logo.

There were also be 14 drivers from the Xfinity Series and 19 drivers from the Camping World Truck Series who will display the decal on their respective cars and trucks.

This marks the 12th consecutive year that Dover’s spring Cup Series race has had a tie-in with the autism community.

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