It’s one of the most anticipated days in all of NASCAR – Daytona Day! It’s the Great American Race known as the Daytona 500.
While most sports have their biggest events at the end of the season, for NASCAR it’s the start of the season and the Daytona 500.
The 200 lap race is now a three segment race with stages one and two being 60 laps and the final segment is 80 laps. The leader after segments one and two will get 10 championship points and one playoff point. As the Truck and Xfinity races showed, a driver can get a good start on the points by winning both of the first two segments. If a driver can win all three stages they will earn a total of seven playoff points and a spot in “The Chase”.
Grammy Award winning Country music trio Lady Antebellum entertains the sold out crowd at Daytona prior to the race.
Racing star Mario Andretti is the Daytona 500 honourary race official.
Season six “American Idol” winner Jordan Sparks performs the National Anthem.
Four time NASCAR champion and FOX race broadcaster Jeff Gordon will drive the pace car to start the Daytona 500.
Actor and the voice of Lightining McQueen in the “Cars” franchise will give the command to start the engines and gave it all he had for a great command.
NFL Hall of Famer Ladanian Tomlinson will wave the flag to start the race.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Chase Elliott is the pole sitter for the 500 and will bring the field down for the green flag.
The starting lineup for the Daytona 500:
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Jimmie Johnson – moved to the back in a backup car
Paul Menard – moved to the back in a backup car
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Blaney – moved to the back in a backup car
There was a short delay in getting the race started due to some scoring and timing issues.
Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag and holds on to the lead as the 59th annual Daytona 500 is underway!
Lap six Jamie McMurray passes Chase Elliott to take over the lead of the race as the two drivers swap the lead for a couple of laps with McMurray coming out on top.
In 10 laps Ryan Blaney has moved up 24 spots in the field.
After eleven laps Jamie McMurray holds on to the lead with just over a tenth of a second on Kevin Harvick.
On lap 15 Joey Logano comes down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop. He gives up fourth place and loses the draft. Logano had a loose wheel.
Lap 17 Jamie McMurray is still the leader of the race.
All of the Toyota’s come down pit road together for service. Daniel Suarez missed his pit box and was caught speeding on pit road. He then reports a tire issues and has to make a second trip down pit road. Erik Jones also missed his pit stall.
Matt Kenseth comes down pit road on lap 21 with a tire issue. Goodyear is checking on the tires.
Lap 22 Kevin Harvick takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 23 Chase Elliott challenges Harvick for the lead with the two swapping the lead before Elliott reclaims the lead.
Lap 25 Harvick is back in the lead.
Entering pit road Corey LaJoie hits the wall briging out the first caution flag of the day on lap 27. Joey Logano was the “lucky dog”.
In a new car repair policy the teams can no longer take a car to the garage to make repairs, they have five minutes to repair the car on pit road and make minimum speed – 160mph at Daytona – or they will be listed as out of the race. NASCAR noted that allowing teams to make repairs in the garage seldom was of any benefit to the drivers in gaining positions and often caused more on track issues with debris on the track.
Kurt Busch was caught speeding on pit road during his green flag pit stop.
Taking the inside lane, Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 35. Harvick holds on to the lead.
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kyle Busch were heard relaying helpful messages to younger drivers via the radio and spotters.
There is another timing and scoring issue and laps are not being listed.
On lap 40 Harvick is still in the lead of the race with a tenth of a second over Kule Busch.
Lpa 42 Kyle Busch takes the lead with Martin Truex Jr coming up on the outside and on lap 43 Truex takes over the lead of the race.
After starting at the back of the field, Ryan Blany is in the top three.
Lap 44 Ryan Blaney takes the lead of the race and battles with Kyle Busch as the pair swap the lead for several laps with Kyle Busch eventually coming out in front.
David Ragan hit the wall hard but the track stays green.
The Wood Brothers have the only female lead engineer on their team.
Lap 55 Ricky Stenhouse Jr comes down pit road with a tire issue.
Martin Truex Jr and Erik Jones come down pit road just before pit road closes prior to the end of stage one. Truex’s team is having issues getting the tire off.
At the end of stage one Kyle Busch wins the first stage, the 10 championship points, and the one playoff point.
The top 10 drivers at the end of stage one:
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Once pit road is open all of the drivers brngs their cars down for service.
Taking only two tires, Kyle Larson leads the race off of pit road.
Austin Dillon was caught speeding on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.
With all 40 drivers still on the track, Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 68 and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead.
On lap 69 Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson begin swapping the lead with Harvick coming out in front.
Lap 74 Harvick gets a challenge from Kyle Larson but holds on to the lead. There are 35 cars on the lead lap with only David Ragan more than one lap down.
Lap 80 Kevin Harvick is still holding on to the lead with a lead of just over a tenth of a second on Ryan Blaney.
Lap 81 Kyle Busch comes down pit road with fellow Toyota drivers.
Lap 88 Kevin Harvick holds on to the lead with a tenth of a second lead on Ryan Blaney.
Most of the Fords come down pit road for seivice at lap 90. Jimmie Johnson takes over the lead of the race.
After 95 laps Jimmie Johnson is still out in front followed by teammate Dale Jr.
On lap 97 Dale Jr takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 101 Dale Jr holds on to the lead with just over a tenth of a second on Elliott Sadler.
Just over halfway all 40 drivers are still on the track with 33 cars on the lead lap.
About 10 drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.
Big crash on lap 105 involving lead Dale Jr. Kyle Busch got loose when a tire went down and hits Erik Jones. Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, and Ty Dillon were also involved in the crash.
Kyle Busch is the first car out of the race. The remaining drivers are on the five minute clock.
Elliott Sadler is the leader of the race.
NASCAR has red flagged the race on lap 108 to get the track cleaned up.
Erik Jones has taken his car to the garage and is out of the race.
NASCAR has pulled the red flag and displayed the caution flag after 16 and half minutes. Denny Hamlin is the “lucky dog”.
Pit road is open and drivers bring their cars down pit road.
Dale Jr has taken his car to the garage and is out of the race.
Another new rule this year isthat even drivers who take their car to the garage have to make a trip to the infield care center.
Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 53 of stage two.
Pit road is closed as the end of stage two approaches.
The winner of stage two is Kevin Harvick; he will get the 10 championship points and a playoff point.
Just as stage two ended the caution flag came out. Martin Truex Jr was the “lucky dog”.
Chris Buescher took only two tires and leads the race off of pit road.
The top 10 after stage tow:
Kyle Larson brings the field down for ther green flag restart on lap 126 and shortly gets challenged by pole sitter Chase Elliott who takes the lead. The cars get three wide all the way through the field.
Lap 128 big pile up on the backk stretch when the cars get four wide bringing out the fifth caution flag of the day. Heavy damage to Jimmie Johnson’s car. DJ Kennington takes his car to the garage. Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Deny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Joey Gase, Matt DiBenedetto, Landon Cassill, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Lrson Jimmie Johnson, Brendan Gaughan, Martin Truex, Jf, and DJ Kennington were all involed in the crash.
Danica Patrick is in the garage.
Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart with 67 laps remaining in the race. Elliott is out in front of the field followed by Jamie McMurray.
The sixth caution flag of he race comes out for a wreck involving Ryan Blaney, Trevor Bayne, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Kasey Kahne brings the field down for the green flag restart with 59 laps remaining in the race. Big crash involving several of the field bringing out the seventh caution flag of the race when Jamie McMurray tries to make it three wide. McMurray makes contact with Chase Elliott causing a chain reaction.
Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Daniel Suarez were all involved in the crash.
At this point oly Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Aric Almirola, and AJ Allendinger do not have any crash damage.
Austin Dillon brings the field down for the green flag restart with 52 laps remaining in the race. Joey Logano takes over the lead of the race. Joey Gase brings out the eighth caution flag of the race. Brendan Gaughan was also involved.
Cole Whitt brings the field down for the green flag restart with 47 laps remaining in the race.
With 46 laps to go Aric Almirola passes Whitt for the lead.
With 44 laps to go Kyle Larson takes over the lead of the race.
With 36 laps to go Joey Lognao passes Kyle Larson to take over the lead of the race. Logano and Larson are swapping the lead for several laps in double file racing.
There are only 25 cars remaining in the race.
With 32 laps to go Joey Logano finally gets out in front after a push from Chase Elliott.
Chase Elliott basses Logano for the lead with less than 30 laps remaining in the race and battles with Joey Logano for the lead as they swap back and forth.
Fuel is becoming an issue for some of the drivers.
Chase Elliott has finally taken over the lead of the race with 24 laps to go.
Seventeen to go and Chase Elliott is out in front of the field.
Ten to go and Chase Elliot is in the lead as the drivers are single file.
Five to go and Chase Elliott is still out in front of thei field.
The las time a driver won the pole, his duel racell Elliott.
Martin Trux Jr takes over the lead of the race with three to go after Elliott has fuel issues.
Kyle Larson takes the lead.
Kyle Larson takes the white flag and is passed Kurt Busch on the last lap. Drivers behind him are running out of fuel.
Kurt Busch wins the Daytona 500!!! It’s Kurt’s first 500 win and his 29th Monster Energy Cup win. Car owner Tony Stewart tried 17 times to win the 500; today he goes to victory lane as the winning owner.
The unofficial results of the 2017 Daytona 500:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr
photos courtesy of By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42749256
By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41404908
By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41289915
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