Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Navigate / search

Daytona 500 Recap & Photos

[imagebrowser id=12]
 


The Daytona 500 took on a new look thanks to the newly paved surface at Daytona International Speedway, but high speed excitement remained the primary characteristic of the Great American Race.

Although all three Joe Gibbs Racing entries were able to avoid the big accident for the majority of the race, misfortune would ultimately find the trio before the end of the race and spoil any opportunity for the team to kickoff its 20th Anniversary season with a victory. Kyle Busch would finish the race in eighth, while Denny Hamlin came home 21st and Joey Logano ended in 23rd.

Throughout speed weeks it became evident that the fastest way around the track would be having two cars partner to race in pairs. While the style of racing created high speeds it also created a very slim margin of error as the slightest wrong bump could send cars spinning across the track.

Kyle Busch would have that experience on just the fourth lap of today’s Daytona 500 as contact with Michael Waltrip sent the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota across the track. Busch did a fantastic job however of staying off the wall to minimize the damage to the Camry. On lap 29 a large accident took out several contenders, but fortunately all three Joe Gibbs Racing entries were able to avoid the wreckage. From that point on Busch and teammate Denny Hamlin made a decision to take their time toward the back of the field in hopes of avoiding the potential wreckage of others.  With about 50 laps to go Busch made his way toward the front of the field and spent the rest of the day running inside the top 10 despite having to change drafting partners multiple times. Unfortunately for the M&Ms team he would radio in as the field prepared for a green-white-checkered finish that he had a tire going down. Busch brought the No. 18 Camry down pit road for fresh tires and restarted for the final time in 16th position. He was able to race his way back into the top 10 over the final two laps to finish the day in eighth place. He did manage to lead a lap on three different occasions.

Watching so many others get caught up in accidents through the first half of the race, Denny Hamlin seemed relatively content keeping his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota toward the back of the field through much of today’s race. Once Hamlin decided it was time to go to the front however, it didn’t take long for him to get there. Hamlin got on the bumper of the No. 39 car and the FedEx Camry pushed the duo to the front of the field. He would take the top spot on lap 165 and spent the rest of the day among the leaders at the front of the field. Unfortunately for Hamlin he would be unable to avoid contact when several cars field wrecked in front of him with just four laps to go in the race. The resulting trip down pit road would force him to fall a lap off the pace and the FedEx team would have to settle for a disappointing 21st-place finish.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota toward the back of the field but was able to find the partners to push his way toward the front. Logano proved strong enough to get to the front of the field when desired as he pushed Ryan Newman and Robby Gordon to the front of the field during separate runs. Misfortune would find Logano on lap 167 however, when Brad Keselowski lost control of his car and spun down into him. At first the damage appeared minimal but when The Home Depot Toyota came to pit road the right rear of the car needed more extensive repairs. Logano would lose two laps to field and ultimately finished 23rd.

Rookie Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in only his second Sprint Cup Series start of his career. Carl Edwards was second, followed by David Gilliland, Bobby LaBonte, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were 74 total lead changes among 22 different drivers and 16 cautions for 60 laps. The race was extended eight laps for two green-white-checkered attempts.

Nationwide Quotes from Daytona

Kyle Busch: 7th

What happened at the end of the race with Joey Logano?

“It was just unfortunate with Joey (Logano) there.  We had two great race cars all day.  We worked together the whole time.  All we wanted to do was bring it home in one piece and unfortunately we didn’t make it — just circumstances.  I saw the 4 (Tony Stewart) coming up in my mirror really, really quick so I tried to block the middle and come down just a little bit.  Obviously that off-centered me from Joey’s rear bumper and turned him sideways — completely my fault.  Unintentional, but just trying to make it to where the 4 didn’t have room to shoot up through the middle of us there and make us all three-wide all pushing each other.  I hate it for those guys and Joey and everybody on the GameStop team.  Our Z-Line Camry was good and worked well with them all day.  Just unfortunate at the end there.”

Did you have fun drafting with Joey Logano in the race?

“Yeah, we did a great job today.  All day we worked really, really well together.  It was just due to circumstances.  Joey wanted to run the top and try to stay separate from those guys, but I wanted to block the middle so (Tony) Stewart couldn’t come up there.  We just weren’t on the same page at that moment in time and obviously we got a little disengaged there.  Overall though, we worked really well on the radio and things were great.  We did it in practice today on the Cup side.  We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow and should be fine.”

What were you able to learn today for tomorrow’s race?

“That communication over the radio is a big deal I think.  Having guys that you can click over and talk to — that’s going to be really, really key.  That was good and just being able to talk and have that dialogue back and forth on what we could do, what we could strategize on and all that.”

Were you optimistic when you were back with Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last restart?

“I felt pretty optimistic about it.  I just wanted to block the middle so that would have made the 4 (Tony Stewart) and the 1 (Landon Cassill) pick a lane — who are you going to push?  Are you going to push the outside or are you going to push the inside?  They probably would have pushed the inside being as though they were Chevrolets too.  That was my whole goal was to make it a race between us four and once the 4 kind of showed his nose there in the middle I tried to block it.”

Will there be an added risk now of getting off-center in the closing laps and spinning the car in front of you?

“I thought the 4 (Tony Stewart) was going to come up and push me and just try to get our row past, but then when he tried going through the middle — that’s obviously when I tried to block the middle.  It got Joey (Logano) and I off-center andcost him to wreck.  Luckily it wasn’t a big pile.  I say Joey did a good job over-correcting.  Normally you don’t say that you want to over-correct, but instead of spinning out in front of all of us and collecting all five or whatever there was left behind there — he did a nice job getting it out of the way.”

Do you feel better prepared for tomorrow following this race?

“Nope.  It’s all circumstances.  It just comes down to where you are at the end of the race and try to make the most of it.  Tony Stewart must be the luckiest guy around Daytona every February — besides Sunday.  He uses it all up on Saturday –that’s his deal.  I’m trying to save a little bit of mine for tomorrow.”

Joey Logano: 12th

What happened at the end of the race?

“Kyle (Busch) and I were just pushing each other trying to win the race and I can’t even tell you what happened because it happened so quick.  We were just pushing each other hard and just talking to Kyle.  He was trying to block the center group coming up and I think he just moved a little bit too quick and it just sent me going.  I almost had a save and then it came back and slapped the wall so that was the end of that.”

Did you think you and Kyle (Busch) had a chance to win the race?

“Of course we had something for them.  Kyle (Busch) and I were working with each other and we drove each other up there and we worked good as teammates all day.  It’s not his fault.  It’s just a product of this racing we’ve got.  It sucks because you can’t do nothing about it.  There’s nothing else we can do to make us stop doing it and unfortunately it’s just ridiculously stupid at the end of the day, and we were wrecking each other so that’s the hard part.”

Do you expect the same type of racing in tomorrow’s Daytona 500?

“Oh yeah, the same thing.  The good thing is we did a good job as teammates working with each other and learning how to do this better.  We did a good job with it all day.  Our Toyota’s can’t push as long as the Chevy’s and Ford’s can so we had to switch a whole lot of times compared to everybody else.  I don’t know what to do about a finish like that.  That’s going to be part of our racing here at Daytona and at Talladega.”

Brian Scott: 34th

What happened to take you out of the race?

“I don’t know — we could’ve been the cause of it.  I had the 31 of Justin Allgaier pushing me.  He just had me out of control so I tried to radio my spotter to tell him to back off.  We came out of (turn) 1 and the 60 (Carl Edwards) came down and things started happened.  I know a wreck started, but I kind of got loose and then saved it and had it going straight and was just trying to miss everything and I didn’t see the 12 (Sam Hornish Jr.) coming through the grass back on the race track and ended up centering him.  It’s just really unfortunate.  These guys obviously put a lot of work in over the offseason on our Shore Lodge Toyota and it’s not the way that anybody wants to start off the season.  Right now, we’ll just salvage whatever we can.  These guys are going to get us back out there and we’ll get finished.”

Hamlin [Almost] Wins Shootout; Kyle & Joey Wreck Out

The new surface at Daytona International Speedway might have changed the style of racing slightly, but tonight’s Budweiser Shootout certainly proved that heart stopping excitement will remain the primary attribute of the famed racetrack.

On a night that saw a record number of lead changes and lap speeds well over 200 mph much of the night, all three Joe Gibbs Racing entries proved strong and worth of victory, but with the strategy favoring two-car drafts it came down to picking the right moment to make a run to the front of the field and of course, having enough good fortune to avoid the wrecks. Denny Hamlin appeared to have it done it all correctly to earn the victory, but unfortunately a drive below the double yellow lines to the checkered flag was ruled illegal by NASCAR and took the victory away from Hamlin. Meanwhile his two teammates were unable the wrecks, with Joey Logano falling victim to an accident on lap 27 and teammate Kyle Busch getting taken out on lap 36.

The Budweiser Shootout is a non-points event that has become a pre-season tradition in NASCAR since 1979. The 75-lap event is run in two segments this year. First a 25-lap run that is followed by a 10-minute trip to pit road for teams to make adjustments to the cars. Once restarted it is a 50-lap run to the finish that has become famous for exciting racing and tonight was no exception.

Hamlin proved to have the best luck of the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers when it came to selecting his starting position for tonight’s Shootout as he pulled the fourth spot for No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota. That allowed Hamlin to team up with Tony Stewart in a two-car draft that spent much of the first 25-lap segment at the front of the field. With car shuffling in and out of the lead thanks to two-car draft runs, Hamlin would end the first segment back in the 14th position. Hamlin would deftly avoid the accidents that captured both Logano and Busch and would wait until about 20 to go to make his move to the front in a two-car draft with Ryan Newman. Hamlin would keep Newman in the lead for several laps as the race neared its conclusion. As they came around turn four for the final time Hamlin pulled down below Newman and passed him on the inside for what appeared to a photo finish victory just edging out Kurt Busch who had closed on the leaders from the outside. Unfortunately NASCAR ruled that Hamlin had driven below the track’s double yellow lines in an effort to win the race without wrecking Newman. The ruling penalized Hamlin back to the rear of the lead lap cars and a 12th-place finish, while handing the victory to Kurt Busch.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in 21st position but found his way to the front of the field midway through the opening segment of racing. Busch would take the lead on lap 18 after pairing up with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on a run to the front, but as the cars swapped position quickly he would find himself in the eighth position following the first 25-lap segment. Ten laps into the second segment Busch would get bumped from behind by Mark Martin and the two would spin across the track into the grass making contact with each other. The No. 18 M&Ms crew worked to make repairs, but ultimately Busch would be forced to take his Camry back to the garage and end his night early in 16th place.

Meanwhile Joey Logano started the night in the 22nd position in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, but quickly proved to have a car capable of running to the front of the field. Logano would partner with five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson during the first 25-lap segment and the two flirted with the lead but ended the opening portion of the race in the fifth spot. Unfortunately Logano would not receive the opportunity to go for the win in the end as his night ended early when he was an innocent victim

in a wreck started just in front of him on lap 27 by Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He would end the night in 18th place.

Kurt Busch of Penske Racing captured the victory.

The starting front row for the Daytona 500 will be decided Sunday during a qualifying session at 1 PM. The rest of the line up for the Daytona 500 will be decided by a pair of Duel races on Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow’s qualifying session will be broadcast live on Fox at 1 PM, while the Duel races can be seen starting at 2 PM on Thursday.

The Great American Race will once again provide the official start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Fox broadcast the Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway next Sunday, February 20 at 1 PM. The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 128.