Daytona 500 – Daytona Speedway

Daytona 500 – Daytona Speedway

Winning the Daytona 500 is an accomplishment like no other. Not only must you have a fast car, a coordinated pit crew with quick stops, and a cunning crew chief, you must also have the mental determination to survive 500 gruelling miles with multi-car wrecks at every turn. The strongest remain and win one of the most prestigious races in all of motorsports, ‘The Great American Race’. This year, for the 61st running of the 500, it was no different.

PACE LAPS: Before the green flag dropped, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, and Casey Mears dropped to the back of the field for unapproved modifications. Larson and Mears both had to make a transmission change, while Larson’s teammate, McMurray, had a gear change.

LAP 3: Ricky Stenhouse Jr took the lead from pole-sitter William Byron on the inside lane.

LAP 5: After starting on the front row beside Byron, Alex Bowman lost the draft in Turn 2 and fell from 2nd to 10th. Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Matt DiBenedetto battled for the lead.

CAUTIONLAP 21: Corey Lajoie sustained significant damage on his #32 Ford after a flat tire ripped a line through the right side of the hood. The caution was thrown for the debris Lajoie dropped in Turn 2. Lajoie returned to the track 3 laps down.

CAUTION – LAP 49: Kurt Busch in the #1 darted to the outside lane to pass Stenhouse Jr in the #17. Busch turned down without fully clearing the nose of the #17 and spun towards the apron.  Behind them, Bubba Wallace checked up to avoid Busch but got tapped from behind by Tyler Reddick. Wallace collided with Busch.

STAGE 1 END –  LAP 60: Kyle Busch won the first stage after charging to the front from his 31st place starting position.

During pit stops, Chase Elliott’s rear airgun hose got hooked around one of Denny Hamlin’s crew members. The rear tire on Elliott’s #9 was not on the car securely, requiring the #9 to return to pit road to tighten lug nuts. Elliott returned to track in the 34th position, but quickly made up for the blunder and raced his way to 6th within 10 laps.

LAP 89: Kurt Busch had to come back down pit road to make more repairs to his #1 Chevrolet. He returned to the track in 40th, 7 laps down.

CAUTION – LAP 106: Casey Mears made contact with Parker Kligerman to bring out the 4th caution of the day. The incident happened just in front of the lead pack.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 120: Ryan Blaney held off his teammate Brad Keselowski to win stage 2. Blaney won stage 2 in last year’s race as well.

LAP 143: William Byron was back in the lead after a tough restart and encountered a several-lap battle against Aric Almirola.

CAUTION – LAP 158: While coming to pit road under green, BJ McLeod decided at the last minute that he was going to pit. McLeod made an abrupt right turn back onto the track directly in front of Cody Ware. Ware ended up turning McLeod and both slid down pit road collecting Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse, and Jimmie Johnson. Reddick slid sideways across the left side of Johnson’s #48, which ripped off the entire left-rear quarter panel, leaving the fueling tube exposed. NASCAR then penalized Johnson for improper fueling.

CAUTION – LAP 173: Debris in Turn 3 caused the yellow flag to come out. Successfully ending the intense 3-wide racing that was taking place.

LAP 178: Erik Jones dropped to the apron and headed to pit road with no fuel pressure.

CAUTION – LAP 180: Kyle Larson had the left-rear tire go down on the backstretch. Larson was running 18th when he turned down out of the draft and spun on the apron. Larson then spun up the track and slammed the SAFER wall. Luckily, no one else was collected.

CAUTION – LAP 186: Brad Keselowski blew the left-rear tire on the front stretch and stopped on the entrance to pit road as the car stalled. After cycling the system, Keselowski was able to get his #2 Ford refired.

CAUTION – LAP 190: Paul Menard made an overly aggressive push to the back of DiBenedetto in the #95, who was running 4th. The push was not square with the back of the #95 and turned DiBenedetto in front of the entire field. Within seconds, 19 cars were collected in a pile of sparks, metal, and smoke. At one point, Aric Almirola’s rear end was lifted in the air and landed on the hood of David Ragan’s #38. Those involved were Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Daniel Hemric, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Stenhouse Jr, Truex Jr, Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft, Chris Buescher, David Ragan, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, and Jimmie Johnson. It was “The Big One”.

RED FLAG – LAP 190: The red flag was displayed to clear up the massive amount of debris. The red was displayed for 25 minutes.

CAUTION – LAP 194: The yellow came out again for a multi-car wreck, although much smaller than the last. Ricky Stenhouse Jr got into the side of Kyle Larson. This caused Stenhouse to spin and collect Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon, and Brad Keselowski.

CAUTION – LAP 199: Clint Bowyer made an overzealous move to the bottom of the track to pass Michael McDowell, but didn’t clear McDowell before pulling back into line. Bowyer was turned sideways in front of Elliott and pinned the #9 against the wall. Also involved were Landon Cassill, Jamie McMurray, William Byron, and others

RED FLAG – LAP 199: The red flag was displayed as crews cleaned up the track. Bowyer’s and Elliott’s cars were pushed to the garage. The red flag was displayed for 14 minutes.

LAP 207: In an emotional and meaningful finish, Denny Hamlin won his 2nd Daytona 500. Hamlin’s team owner, Joe Gibbs, lost his son, JD, just a month prior to the 500. JD noticed Hamlin’s talent 15 years ago and was the person who signed Hamlin to Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny’s #11 was also the car number that JD has once driven.  The win seemed fitting.

RESULTS: 

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Erik Jones
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Michael McDowell
  6. Ty Dillon
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Ryan Preece
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Ross Chastain
  11. Alex Bowman
  12. Brad Keselowski
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  14. Ryan Newman
  15. Parker Kligerman
  16. Austin Dillon
  17. Chase Elliott
  18. Corey LaJoie
  19. BJ McLeod
  20. Clint Bowyer
  21. William Byron
  22. Jamie McMurray
  23. Brendan Gaughan
  24. Landon Cassill
  25. Kurt Busch
  26. Kevin Harvick
  27. Tyler Reddick
  28. Matt DiBenedetto
  29. Paul Menard
  30. David Ragan
  31. Ryan Blaney
  32. Aric Almirola
  33. Daniel Suarez
  34. Daniela Hemric
  35. Martin Truex Jr
  36. Matt Tifft
  37. Chris Buescher
  38. Bubba Wallace
  39. Cody Ware
  40. Casey Mears
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