Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The 53rd running of the Daytona 500 took place at the Daytona International Speedway for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. captured the Coors Light Pole Award last Sunday with a speed of 186.089. 24 Jeff Gordon starts next to him on the front row. 88 is in a back-up car after crashing in practice and will have to start from the rear. That puts 22 Kurt Busch on the pole.
21 Trevor Bayne turned 20 yesterday, on Saturday. He had to race his way into the Daytona 500. His 21 Wood Brothers car has been in NASCAR the longest of any team. 14 Tony Stewart won the NASCAR Nationwide race on Saturday. Can he win the Daytona 500? He won his fourth in a row, but has never won the 500. Jr. has to start from the rear. Can he race his way to the front and win the Daytona 500? Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Shootout and his Gatorade Duel. Can he be the first to win all three races at Daytona?
00 David Reutimann, 6 David Ragan and 29 Joey Logano are also in back up cars and will start from the rear. There will be a silent 3rd lap to honor the 10th anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
So, here we go! 22 leads the first lap with help from 78 Regan Smith. 5 Mark Martin pushes 43 A. J. Allmendinger into the lead. The first caution come out when 15 Michael Waltrip shoves 18 Kyle Busch who spins the car. 29 Kevin Harvick takes the lead with help from 17 Matt Kenseth. 4 Kasey Kahne pushes 24 Jeff Gordon.
The second caution come out when 46 J. J. Yeley blows the engine and leaves oil on the track. The top fifteen stay out as they pitted during the first caution. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. nearly wrecks 88 when the caution comes out. 32 Terry Labonte leads for the restart. 21 pushes 24 through the middle. 14 Tony Stewart pushes 27 Paul Menard into the lead.
The third caution comes out during the commercial when 29 blows the engine. He heads for the garage. 24 didn’t let off and got into 7 Robby Gordon. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya leads. 33 Clint Bowyer takes the lead. 88 pushes 22 into the lead.
The fourth caution is the seventeen car pile-up. 15 turns team mate 00 and they pile up behind them. Twelve cars head for the garage. The first six cars do not pit. Double file restarts bunch the field up, but they quickly find a partner. 33 pushes 27 into the lead. 78 pushes 2 Brad Keselowski into the lead.
The fifth caution comes out for 37 Robert Richardson, Jr. With 36 Dave Blaney leading, 38 Travis Kvapil spins 37. 17 Matt Kenseth gets back on the lead lap. 78 pushes 27 into the lead. 31 Jeff Burton pushes 33 into the lead. The sixth caution comes out when 83 Brian Vickers comes back onto the track after repairs and can’t make it back to the garage. 5 Mark Martin gets one of his laps back. 33 pushes 31 into the lead. 22 pushes 78 into the lead. 4 Kasey Kahne pushes 88 into the lead and the crowd roars. 31 pushes 33 back into the lead.
The seventh caution comes out during the commercial. 38 had a tire going down and gets into the wall. 17 again gets back on the lead lap. They go Green on lap 79, with 88 leading. 20 Joey Logano pushes 39 Ryan Newman into the lead. 31 pushes 33 back into the lead. 78 pushes 22 back into the lead. 31 blows the engine but gets onto the apron and there is no caution. 21 pushes 7 into the lead. 20 pushes 39 back into the lead.
The eighth caution comes out during the commercial. 1 Jamie McMurray pushes 42 into a spin. He doesn’t hit anything. 77 Steve Wallace gets back on the lead lap. 78 pushes 22 into the lead. The ninth caution comes out during the commercial. 26 cars are on the lead lap. 34 David Gilliland gets his lap back. 27 pushes 33 into the lead.
The tenth caution comes out during the commercial. 16 Greg Biffle clips 17 and he gets into the wall. The first thirteen cars do not pit. They go Green with 60 laps to go. 33 jumps in front of 27 to keep the lead. 21 pushes 36 Dave Blaney into the lead. The eleventh caution comes out for 42 and 16 spinning together. 20 blocked 17 and he had to check up, which caused the chain reaction. 42 catches it and goes down pit road. 16 slides into the infield. Thirteen cars stay on the track. 20 and 18 push 88 into the lead, then drop him and hook up together. 78 pushes 88 back into the lead. 11 Denny Hamlin pushes 39 on the outside to take the lead. 88 and 78 swap places.
The twelfth caution comes out when 38 gets into the wall. There is much chaos in the pits with everyone only pitting for fuel and coming back out before others get to their stall. They go Green with 37 laps to go. 39 pushes 11 into the lead. The thirteenth caution comes out for 7 getting into 2 who slides into 20 and 78. The Green Flag comes back out with 30 laps to go. 88 takes the lead with no one helping him and quickly looses it. 21 pushes 6 David Ragan into the lead. 56 gets sideways and slides down pit road rather than trying to get back onto the track. 18 pushes 33 into the lead. (18 has rear end damage and no one can push him without getting stuck to him. He has to do the pushing.)
The fourteenth caution comes out when 4 gets a flat tire and gets into the wall. 1 is down a cylinder and is limping around the track. 99 Carl Edwards pits before pit road is open. He ran over the rotor, dropped by 4. The Green Flag flies with fifteen laps to go. 11 pushes 39 into the lead. 18 pushes 33. 88 pushes 14. 18 pushes 33 into the lead. Six pairs are racing for the lead. 22 pushes 78 into the lead.
The fifteenth caution comes out with four laps to go. 22 falls off 78, 14 catches 22 and 22 slams into 78 turning him into 39 and 33, all into the wall. 88 manages to get by but 11 gets a flat tire. 88 also has to pit for a flat tire. This will be a Green, White Checker Finish. At the restart, 6 leading on the outside pulls in front of 21 before the Line. 14 gets caught in the middle 7 almost saves it. 43 A. J. Allmendinger gets into 39 and 39 gets into 56. 88 has nowhere to go and bounces off the wall. And the sixteenth caution comes out when 7 tries to get back onto the track and everyone has to check up. (The driver pushing cannot see where he is going, so that when the leading car checks up he doesn’t know to check up also.) 34 pushed 7 into 14. 21 becomes the leader.
5 gets behind 14. 47 Bobby Labonte gets behind 21. 42 pushes 22. 34 pushes 99 past 42 and 22. 5 and 14 fall back. 99 moves 47 out of the way for second, but can’t get by 21.
And 21 Trevor Bayne becomes the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500. This was his second Cup start and his first Daytona 500. He is driving a retro paint scheme that David Pearson won with back in the day. The race had two Green, White Checker restarts and went over the scheduled 200 laps by eight. Trevor didn’t know where Victory Lane was. There were 74 lead changes among 22 drivers.
NASCAR started a new points system this year. 43 points to win, 1 point to finish last. With an extra point for leading, and another point to lead the most laps. Trevor gets no points, as he is racing for points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Trevor Bayne wins the Great American race and gets no points! And the top ten are in the chase!
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.