The 2016 Daytona 500, the 58th running of the event, was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held on February 21, 2016, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Contested over 200 laps on the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) asphalt superspeedway, it was the first race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Denny Hamlin won the race in a photo finish over Martin Truex Jr.. The top-five was rounded out by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.

2016 Daytona 500
Race details[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]
Race 1 of 36 in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2016 Daytona 500 logo.png
Date February 21, 2016 (2016-02-21)
Location Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (800 km)
Weather Mostly sunny skies with a temperature of 74 °F (23 °C); wind out of the east/southeast at 5 mph (8.0 km/h)
Average speed 157.549 mph (253.551 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Hendrick Motorsports
Time 45.845
Qualifying race winners
Duel 1 Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports
Duel 2 Winner Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
Most laps led
Driver Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
Laps 95
Winner
No. 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
Television in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip
Nielsen Ratings 6.1/11 (Overnight)[17]
6.6/12 (Final)[18]
11.4 million viewers[18]
Radio in the United States
Radio MRN
Booth Announcers Joe Moore, Jeff Striegle and Rusty Wallace
Turn Announcers Dave Moody (1 & 2), Mike Bagley (Backstretch) and Kyle Rickey (3 & 4)

Chase Elliott won the pole for the race and led three laps before crashing out early in the race and finished 37th. Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch won the Duel races. Unlike Busch, Earnhardt Jr. crashed out with 29 laps to go and finished 36th.

Hamlin led a race high of 95 laps on his way to winning the race. There were six caution flag periods for 31 laps and 20 lead changes among 15 different drivers.

This was the 27th career victory for Hamlin, first of the season, first at Daytona International Speedway and fifth win at the track for Joe Gibbs Racing. He left Daytona Beach with a five-point lead over Truex Jr. Toyota left with an eight-point lead over Chevrolet in the manufacturer standings.

The Daytona 500 was carried by Fox Sports on the broadcast Fox network for the American television audience. The radio broadcast for the race was carried by the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

This event featured guest star WWE wrestler John Cena as a pace car driver.

This was the first Daytona 500 since 1992 and 1998 in not featuring Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Gordon retired at the end of 2015 and called the 2016 race from the commentators stand, and Stewart was injured his back while riding a dune buggy outside of San Diego.

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

 
Daytona International Speedway, the track where the race was held.

Daytona International Speedway is a race track in Daytona Beach, Florida, that is one of six superspeedways to hold NASCAR races, the others being Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway.[19] The standard track at Daytona is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long. The track also features two other layouts that utilize portions of the primary high speed tri-oval, such as a 3.56-mile (5.73 km) sports car course and a 2.95-mile (4.75 km) motorcycle course.[20] The track's 180-acre (73 ha) infield includes the 29-acre (12 ha) Lake Lloyd, which has hosted powerboat racing. The speedway is owned and operated by International Speedway Corporation.

The track was built by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. to host racing that was being held at the former Daytona Beach Road Course and opened with the first Daytona 500 in 1959.[21] The speedway has been renovated three times, with the infield renovated in 2004,[22] and the track repaved in 1978 and 2010.[23]

The Daytona 500 is regarded as the most important and prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar.[24] It is also the series' first race of the year; this phenomenon is virtually unique in sports, which tend to have championships or other major events at the end of the season rather than the start. Since 1995, U.S. television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, surpassing the traditional leader, the Indianapolis 500 which in turn greatly surpasses the Daytona 500 in in-track attendance and international viewing. The 2006 Daytona 500 attracted the sixth largest average live global TV audience of any sporting event that year with 20 million viewers.[25]

ChangesEdit

Restrictor plateEdit

For the events of Speedweeks, the size of the holes in the restrictor plates was reduced from 29/32nd of an inch to 57/64th of an inch.[26]

Race procedureEdit

Changes were made to the green-white-checker procedure for this race and all races in 2016 with an "overtime line."[27] The location of this line will vary from track to track, but it'll be located near the middle of the backstretch at most tracks.[28] If the leader passes the line before a caution comes out, the race will end under caution.[29] If a caution comes out before the leader passes the line, the field will be reset to their original spots and another restart will be attempted until a "clean restart" is achieved.[30] These changes are in response to the botched final restart attempt in last October's 2015 CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega at Talladega Superspeedway.[31]

Entry listEdit

The entry list for the Daytona 500 was released on Friday, February 12, at 12:05 p.m. Eastern time. Forty-four cars were entered for the race.

Following the 2015 Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a number of drivers attempted to run for a different team than they did in 2015. Chase Elliott, 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and son of 1988 Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, took over the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet from the retired Jeff Gordon.[32] Clint Bowyer took over the No. 15 (renumbered from No. 51) from Justin Allgaier.[33] Brian Scott took over the No. 44 (renumbered from No. 9) from Sam Hornish Jr.[34] Chris Buescher, reigning Xfinity Series champion, took over the No. 34 from Brett Moffitt and various of drivers.[35] Landon Cassill took over the No. 38 from David Gilliland.[36] David Ragan took over the No. 23 from Jeb Burton, and J. J. Yeley. Regan Smith took over the No. 7 from Alex Bowman. Brian Vickers drove the No. 14 in place of the injured Tony Stewart.[37]

No. Driver Team Manufacturer
1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford
7 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet
14 Brian Vickers Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
15 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford
22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
23 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota
24 Chase Elliott (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
26 Robert Richardson Jr. BK Racing Toyota
27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
30 Josh Wise The Motorsports Group Chevrolet
31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford
34 Chris Buescher (R) Front Row Motorsports Ford
35 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
38 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford
40 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
44 Brian Scott (R) Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
59 Michael McDowell Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota
83 Michael Waltrip BK Racing Toyota
88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
93 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota
95 Ty Dillon (i) Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
98 Cole Whitt Premium Motorsports Toyota
Official initial entry list
Official final entry list

PracticeEdit

First practice (February 13)Edit

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest in the first practice session with a time of 46.364 seconds and a speed of 194.116 mph (312.399 km/h).[38]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.364 194.116
2 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 46.427 193.853
3 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.444 193.782
Official first practice results

Second practice (February 13)Edit

Joey Logano was the fastest in the second practice session with a time of 45.934 seconds and a speed of 195.933 mph (315.324 km/h).[39]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 45.934 195.933
2 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 45.954 195.848
3 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford 45.966 195.797
Official second practice results

QualifyingEdit

 
Chase Elliott, seen here at Road America, scored the pole for the Daytona 500.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is different from any other race weekend because the starting lineup for the race – except for the two drivers that post the two fastest timed laps in the final round of qualifying – isn't set on qualifying day. It sets the lineup for the two duel races the following Thursday.

Unlike qualifying at non-restrictor plate races, qualifying at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway consists of two rounds of cars being sent out one at a time to make a single timed lap. The fastest 12 advance to the final round to run for the pole position.

Chase Elliott scored the pole for the race with a time of 45.845 and a speed of 196.314 mph (315.937 km/h).[40] He said that today was "a very, very cool day. I don’t know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it’s nothing special I did, it’s really what kind of work they did this off-season to make it happen."[41]

After qualifying seventh and being all but guaranteed into the Daytona 500 based on speed, Ryan Blaney said that he "wasn't really too nervous going into today. I knew we had a really fast race car. We just had to do our job and we did it and we just had to lock ourselves in. I really wasn't feeling any different than I do any other day."[42]

Likewise, Matt DiBenedetto – who was also all but guaranteed in on his speed after qualifying 24th – said that he could "sleep well, finally. I was really nervous all night. This is just a testament to the hard work from the guys on my team. Two-hundredths of a second. I'm really thankful, thankful to be racing in my first Daytona 500, most importantly. I'm really thankful and blessed to be here."[43]

Martin Truex Jr. was unable to post a time over a roof flap issue.[44] The Stewart Haas Racing cars of Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers had their times disqualified after their track bars failed inspection.

Qualifying resultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer R(1) R(2)
1 24 Chase Elliott (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.031 45.845
2 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 45.994 45.910
3 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 45.968 45.993
4 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.127 46.105
5 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46.191 46.126
6 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.215 46.192
7 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford 46.257 46.214
8 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.201 46.231
9 19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.269 46.234
10 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.266 46.267
11 41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 46.330 46.270
12 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 46.331 46.282
13 13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 46.332
14 5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.367
15 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.368
16 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46.407
17 95 Ty Dillon (i) Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 46.407
18 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 46.421
19 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 46.451
20 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 46.472
21 1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 46.536
22 44 Brian Scott (R) Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 46.552
23 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 46.647
24 93 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 46.708
25 59 Michael McDowell Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 46.728
26 7 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 46.743
27 83 Michael Waltrip BK Racing Toyota 46.776
28 34 Chris Buescher (R) Front Row Motorsports Ford 46.786
29 10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 46.804
30 32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford 46.922
31 47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 46.977
32 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 47.013
33 46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 47.046
34 15 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 47.059
35 38 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.073
36 26 Robert Richardson Jr. BK Racing Toyota 47.245
37 98 Cole Whitt Premium Motorsports Toyota 47.275
38 35 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.531
39 23 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota 47.602
40 30 Josh Wise The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 48.056
41 40 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 49.679
42 14 Brian Vickers Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 0.000 -
43 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 0.000 -
44 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 0.000 -
Official qualifying results
Key Meaning
(1) Round 1
(2) Round 2

Practice (post-qualifying)Edit

Third practice (February 17)Edit

Michael McDowell was the fastest in the third practice session with a time of 44.961 and a speed of 200.173 mph (322.147 km/h).[45]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 59 Michael McDowell Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 44.961 200.173
2 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 45.019 199.916
3 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 45.086 199.619
Official third practice results

Fourth practice (February 17)Edit

Brian Scott was the fastest in the fourth practice session with a time of 45.045 and a speed of 199.800 mph (321.547 km/h).[46] Kyle Larson and Michael Waltrip will start from the rear of the field in their respective Duel races after being involved in a four-car crash in turn 1.[47]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 44 Brian Scott (R) Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 45.045 199.800
2 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 45.052 199.762
3 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 45.061 199.729
Official fourth practice results

Fifth practice (February 18)Edit

Jimmie Johnson was the fastest in the fifth practice session with a time of 46.619 and a speed of 193.054 mph (310.690 km/h).[48]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.619 193.054
2 44 Brian Scott (R) Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 47.394 189.897
3 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 47.394 189.897
Official fifth practice results

Can-Am DuelEdit

The Can-Am Duels are a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held in conjunction with the Daytona 500 annually in February at Daytona International Speedway. They consist of two races 60 laps and 150 miles (240 km) in length, which serve as heat races that set the lineup for the Daytona 500. Both races sets the lineup for positions 3–32. The first race sets the lineup for cars that qualified in odd-numbered positions on pole qualifying day. The second race sets the lineup for cars that qualified in even-numbered positions. Positions 33–36 are filled by the four drivers that posted the fastest lap in pole qualifying that didn't lock in a position in the Duel's. Positions 37–40 are set by the four cars highest in the 2015 owner's points that didn't lock in a position in the Duels and weren't among the cars that posted the four fastest timed laps in pole qualifying.

Race 1Edit

Dale Earnhardt Jr. put on a clinic leading 43 of 60 laps on his way to scoring his fifth Can-Am Duel race victory.[49] He said that it was "real special. I try not to make too big a deal, but I was thinking about that. I'm guilty of daydreaming a bit about winning this race tonight because of the date. That's very special to me, and I was glad that nothing bad happened, we didn't tear our car up, because that would have been embarrassing on a day like this."[50] Michael McDowell raced his way into the Daytona 500 while Cole Whitt failed to make the race.[51] He said that there was indeed "a lot going on in the off-season. Obviously there was a lot of unknowns with the charter, what was going to happen with that. There was a time where we felt like we were going to be in a tough spot, you know, that we weren't sure if we were going to be able to compete this year at all, whether an open car or charter car. Luckily we were able to put together the partnership with RCR, that alliance. Switching over to Chevy helped strengthen our position there. With Thrivent Financial and KLOVE and all our partners coming onboard, all our sponsors coming onboard, really partnering with Joe Falk at Circle Sport, allowed us to say…”[51]

Race 2Edit

Kyle Busch led 35 of 60 laps to score his third career Can-Am Duel win.[52] He joked that his "plan was just to have everybody stay single-file and we take the checkered flag, but they didn’t see things the way I did."[53] The race ended under caution after a multi-car wreck on the final lap in turn 1 that collected Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr.[54] Jamie McMurray said he "was trying to block the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I had stalled out right when I got to the 18 car (Kyle Busch), and I didn’t think the 48 had much of a run either. It felt like our momentum was about the same. I saw the replay and I still don’t know if he was up to my rear bumper or if it was the air that made his car turn. I’m just not sure.”[55] Johnson said that McMurray "was trying to get underneath the 18 and that didn’t work out, and I creeped up to his outside. He moved up quickly to defend that. I could tell I was going to be taken up into the wall. I tried getting out of there but kind of got into the fence, skipped off the wall and spun out in front of everybody. It was a lot gone wrong, I guess. It’s not like anything was intentional. It’s just a bummer to tear up a car after taking the white flag in a car that we tried so hard to protect and make so fast. There was just a lot gone wrong.”[55] Robert Richardson, Jr. transferred into the Daytona 500 while David Gilliland and Reed Sorenson failed to make the race.[56] He said that he was "very, very honored to be a part of BK Racing, having another opportunity to run here at the Daytona 500. I’ve been in it once before, but this one is very, very special to me. My wife and I welcomed our brand-new baby boy who was born in early December. Every bit of earnings we get from this race is going to go into a college fund for him. It’s just the good Lord looking down on us and blessing us. Got to give all the glory to Him.”[56]

Starting lineupEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Notes
1 24 Chase Elliott (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Fastest in pole qualifying
2 20 Matt Kenseth[N 1] Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Second fastest in pole qualifying
3 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Duel race #1 winner
4 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Duel race #2 winner
5 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford Second in Duel 1
6 1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Second in Duel 2
7 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford Third in Duel 1
8 41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Third in Duel 2
9 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Fourth in Duel 1
10 19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Fourth in Duel 2
11 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Fifth in Duel 1
12 95 Ty Dillon (i) Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet Fifth in Duel 2
13 5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Seventh in Duel 1
14 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Sixth in Duel 2
15 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford Eighth in Duel 1
16 10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Seventh in Duel 2
17 34 Chris Buescher (R) Front Row Motorsports Ford Ninth in Duel 1
18 14 Brian Vickers Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Eighth in Duel 2
19 17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 10th in Duel 1
20 93 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota Ninth in Duel 2
21 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 11th in Duel 1
22 46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 10th in Duel 2
23 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 12th in Duel 1
24 38 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 11th in Duel 2
25 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 13th in Duel 1
26 48 Jimmie Johnson[N 1] Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 13th in Duel 2
27 7 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 15th in Duel 1
28 78 Martin Truex, Jr.[N 1] Furniture Row Racing Toyota 14th in Duel 2
29 23 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota 16th in Duel 1
30 47 A. J. Allmendinger[N 1] JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 15th in Duel 2
31 15 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 18th in Duel 1
32 13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 17th in Duel 2
33 32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford 19th in Duel 1
34 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 19th in Duel 2
35 44 Brian Scott (R)[N 1] Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 20th in Duel 1
36 83 Michael Waltrip BK Racing Toyota 20th in Duel 2
37 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 21st in Duel 1
38 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 22nd in Duel 2
39 59 Michael McDowell Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet Qualifying speed
40 26 Robert Richardson, Jr. BK Racing Toyota Qualifying speed
Did not qualify
41 35 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
42 30 Josh Wise The Motorsports Group Chevrolet
43 40 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
44 98 Cole Whitt Premium Motorsports Toyota
Official starting lineup

Practice (post-Duel)Edit

Sixth practice (February 19)Edit

Jimmie Johnson was the fastest in the sixth practice session with a time of 46.372 seconds and a speed of 194.083 mph (312.346 km/h).[58]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.372 194.083
2 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46.425 193.861
3 24 Chase Elliott (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 46.580 193.216
Official sixth practice results

Seventh practice (February 19)Edit

Denny Hamlin was the fastest in the seventh practice session with a time of 45.077 seconds and a speed of 199.658 mph (321.318 km/h).[59]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 45.077 199.658
2 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 45.308 198.640
3 78 Martin Truex, Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 45.308 198.640
Official seventh practice results

Final practice (February 20)Edit

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the fastest in the final practice session with a time of 45.655 seconds and a speed of 197.131 mph (317.252 km/h).[60]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Time Speed
1 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 45.655 197.131
2 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 45.832 196.369
3 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford 45.851 196.288
Official final practice results

RaceEdit

First halfEdit

StartEdit

Under clear Florida skies, Chase Elliott led the field to the green flag at 1:33 p.m. He and teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. jumped ahead of Joey Logano to control the field. Earnhardt drove underneath teammate Elliott to take the lead on lap 5. He took to blocking the advance of Logano and Denny Hamlin to hold the lead. Kyle Busch dove underneath Earnhardt going into turn 3 to take the lead on lap 19. The first caution of the race flew the same lap for a two-car wreck on the front stretch. Exiting turn 4, Elliott got loose, came down across the nose of Carl Edwards, slid down into the grass and destroyed the front of his car.[61] He said that he "got in middle there a couple of laps before and got loose off of (turn) four and just lost it. I hate it. It had been such a fun week and you hate to end the race before it even got started. Just disappointed for everybody. We will just have to look past it and get on for Atlanta. That is the most important thing now. Can't get caught up in what happened today, it is irrelevant now. We'll try and get it fixed and make some laps. Then its on to Atlanta and if we can make some laps we will and move forward from here."[61] Regan Smith also got turned in the tri-oval. Hamlin exited pit road with the race lead. Michael Waltrip was tagged for his crew being over the wall too soon and restarted the race from the rear of the field.[62]

The race restarted at lap 26. After five laps, Hamlin pulled ahead of Kurt Busch and held the lead unopposed. Jimmie Johnson tried to lead the outside line up towards the front, but it began losing steam and fell back. Eventually, the field jumped to the bottom and ran single-file. The second caution of the race flew on lap 57 for a multi-car wreck on the front stretch. Exiting turn 4, Brian Vickers got loose, overcorrected, spun up the track, spun back down the track and came to a rest at the entrance of pit road. Trying to avoid hitting Vickers, Edwards got turned into the wall by Trevor Bayne who was trying to avoid hitting him as well. Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr. swapped the lead on pit road. Johnson exited pit road with the lead after taking just right-side tires.[63]

Second quarterEdit

The race restarted on lap 62. Johnson and Hamlin ran side-by-side for a number of laps. Eventually, the outside line stalled out and Johnson pulled ahead. It started to regain momentum after Johnson jumped to the top. Kyle Busch drove underneath Johnson in turn 2 to take the lead on lap 79. The third caution of the race flew on lap 92 for a multi-car wreck in turn 2. The wreck involved Matt DiBenedetto and Chris Buescher, who slammed the wall.[64] Buescher said it was "exponentially the hardest hit I’ve ever taken. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to be taken to the infield care center. That’s a bummer, but we’re fine.”[64] DiBenedetto said he had "no excuse other than I messed up. It happens. We were clean last year, only involved in one accident in 35 races. I hate to start the year that way, but we’re going to be fine.”[64] He would go on to finish 40th.[65] Hamlin exited pit road with the race lead after taking just right-side tires.[66] Michael Annett was tagged for his crew being over the wall too soon and restarted the race from the rear of the field.[62]

Second halfEdit

HalfwayEdit

The race restarted on lap 100. The field started to form into three separate lines of racing. But just as quickly as it formed, it disappeared. Debris in turn 3 brought out the fourth caution of the race on lap 119. The debris came from Greg Biffle's car. Hamlin exited pit road with the race lead. Aric Almirola was tagged for an uncontrolled tire and restarted the race from the rear of the field.[63]

The race restarted on lap 124. After making headway towards the front, the outside line fizzled out. It reformed and began moving back up towards the front. Denny Hamlin and the first five cars hit pit road to kick off a cycle of green flag stops. This handed the lead to Austin Dillon. He pitted the next lap and handed the lead to Brad Keselowski. He pitted the next lap and handed the lead to Annett. He pitted the next lap and the lead cycled to Kenseth. Johnson and Patrick were tagged for their crews being over the wall too soon and Waltrip was tagged for an uncontrolled tire. All three were forced to serve a pass-through penalty. Waltrip was black-flagged for not serving the penalty within three laps.[63]

Fourth quarterEdit

 
Denny Hamlin scored his 27th career victory in Sprint Cup, his first in the Daytona 500.

The fifth caution of the race flew with 29 laps to go for a single-car wreck in turn 4. Exiting the turn, Earnhardt got loose, turned down the track and slammed the inside wall.[67] He said that he got caught "by surprise there. I was trying to sidedraft the guy beside me. We’ve been working on the balance all day. That was our problem. We underestimated how important handling was going to be today. We had a rocket all week. But in two-car runs and in night races the car handled great. We’ve got to do a little more drafting next time when we come back we’ll be ready for the balance. We were starting to move forward, getting aggressive. Just lost it.”[68]

The race restarted with 25 laps to go. The sixth caution of the race flew with 18 laps to go for a two-car spin on the backstretch. Heading towards turn 3, Greg Biffle got into the left-rear corner panel of Patrick and sent her spinning through the grass.[69] Her car hopped once through the air and the splitter dug into the ground.[69] Biffle then overcorrected and side-slammed the wall.[69] Patrick said that she was in a position that she "shouldn’t have been in. There is some confusion about whether there actually was a man over the wall too early. We shouldn’t have been racing for the lucky dog.”[69]

The race restarted with 12 laps to go. Kenseth remained comfortably in the lead as the outside line continued to lose momentum. Kenseth had asked over the team radio that, since Toyota drivers occupied the top 5 places, they should work as a team until the final lap, at which point they would start racing each other so as to get a team victory and avoid wrecks. When the white flag waved for the final lap, Kevin Harvick in his Chevy drafted up the outside, overtaking the Toyota of Carl Edwards. Denny Hamlin saw the advancing Harvick and jumped to the outside line from 4th to block his advance, was bumped by Harvick on the back straight and drafted all the way to the front past Kyle Busch and Martin Truex and drew alongside his teammate Kenseth. Kenseth came down on Hamlin, got himself loose and fell back to finish 14th. Hamlin and Truex drag raced to the finish line and Hamlin prevailed by 0.010 seconds, the closest in Daytona 500 history.[70]

Post-raceEdit

Hamlin said in victory lane that this win "is the best. I mean, it’s just the best. It’s the biggest race of my life. The Daytona 500 is – as a kid what you – this is the pinnacle of our sport and I’m just proud to be here. The last thing I wanted to do was wreck off turn four with my Toyota teammates and none of us win. We had talked about a plan overnight to just work together, work together and I’ve never seen it executed so flawlessly as what we did today.”[71]

After coming up just short, Truex said he "did all I thought I could do. I had the lead. I probably should have run him up a little more, just lost in the last second. … Really proud of everybody. Really proud of the teamwork with the JGR guys. We're team players, and we're in it for the long haul with them. Congrats to Denny. He beat me by a couple of feet.”[72]

After an injury kept Kyle Busch out of the previous year's Daytona 500, he said of his third-place finish that it was "definitely a lot better to be in the race where I’m supposed to be than standing on the sidelines watching across the street. It played out real well. We ran up front most of the day. We were probably the top (Joe Gibbs Racing) running car most of the day, but you have to lead the last laps and I didn’t get a chance to.”[73]

After finishing sixth in his quest to repeat as Daytona 500 champion, Logano said that Harvick "got in front of me and we started moving and then the 11 (Hamlin) saw that and jumped up there and got the push from both of us and then it was a heck of a finish. I don’t like being behind watching it. I want to be involved with it. Overall it is a great start for our Shell Pennzoil team and we kicked off the season with a bunch of great finishes down here in Daytona and we are looking forward to getting to Atlanta."[74]

After going from the lead to 14th on the final lap, Kenseth said that he "wouldn't trade that position for anybody in the whole field. I didn't really think the outside was going to muster up enough run to get it to be honest with you. Somehow, (Hamlin) just got a massive run. Hindsight I probably should have stayed in front of Martin and tried to race him back to the line. It looked like he was going so fast I could get in front of him and get a little boost and I just couldn't."[75]

Race resultsEdit

Pos Grid No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Points
1 11 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 45
2 28 78 Martin Truex, Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 200 40
3 4 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 39
4 9 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 200 37
5 10 19 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 36
6 5 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 200 35
7 14 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200 34
8 27 7 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 200 33
9 21 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 33
10 8 41 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 200 31
11 38 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 31
12 34 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 200 29
13 13 5 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 28
14 2 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200 28
15 39 59 Michael McDowell Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 200 26
16 26 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200 26
17 6 1 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200 24
18 37 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200 23
19 7 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Wood Brothers Racing Ford 200 22
20 25 2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 200 22
21 30 47 A. J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 200 20
22 19 17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 200 19
23 24 38 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 200 18
24 35 44 Brian Scott (R) Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 200 18
25 12 95 Ty Dillon (i) Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 200 0
26 18 14 Brian Vickers Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 200 15
27 22 46 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 200 15
28 23 6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 200 13
29 29 23 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota 200 13
30 36 83 Michael Waltrip BK Racing Toyota 200 12
31 33 32 Bobby Labonte Go FAS Racing Ford 200 11
32 32 13 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 199 9
33 31 15 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 199 8
34 15 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 198 7
35 16 10 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 184 6
36 3 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 169 6
37 1 24 Chase Elliott (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 160 5
38 40 26 Robert Richardson, Jr. BK Racing Toyota 135 3
39 17 34 Chris Buescher (R) Front Row Motorsports Ford 91 2
40 20 93 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 91 1
Official Daytona 500 results

Race statisticsEdit

  • 20 lead changes among 15 different drivers
  • 6 cautions for 31 laps
  • Time of race: 3 hours, 10 minutes, 25 seconds
  • Average speed: 157.549 mph (253.551 km/h)
  • Difference between 1st and 2nd: 0.01 seconds
Lap leaders
Laps Leader
1-3 Chase Elliott (R)
4-17 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
18-21 Kyle Busch
22 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
23 Ryan Newman
24-57 Denny Hamlin
58 Martin Truex, Jr.
59 Bobby Labonte
60-77 Jimmie Johnson
78-92 Kyle Busch
93 David Ragan
94 Michael Waltrip
95-119 Denny Hamlin
120 Martin Truex, Jr.
121-155 Denny Hamlin
156 Austin Dillon
157 Brad Keselowski
158 Michael Annett
159 Brian Scott (R)
160-199 Matt Kenseth
200 Denny Hamlin
Total laps led
Leader Laps
Denny Hamlin 95
Matt Kenseth 40
Kyle Busch 19
Jimmie Johnson 18
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 15
Chase Elliott (R) 3
Martin Truex, Jr. 2
Austin Dillon 1
Ryan Newman 1
Brad Keselowski 1
Brian Scott (R) 1
Michael Annett 1
David Ragan 1
Michael Waltrip 1
Bobby Labonte 1

Race awardsEdit

MediaEdit

TelevisionEdit

Since 2001 – with the exception of 2002, 2004 and 2006 – the Daytona 500 has been carried by Fox in the United States. The booth crew consisted of longtime NASCAR lap-by-lap announcer Mike Joy, three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon, and 1989 race winner Darrell Waltrip. Pit road was manned by Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum.

Fox Television
Booth announcers Pit reporters
Lap-by-lap: Mike Joy
Color-commentator: Jeff Gordon
Color commentator: Darrell Waltrip
Jamie Little
Chris Neville
Vince Welch
Matt Yocum

RadioEdit

The race was broadcast on radio by the Motor Racing Network – which has covered the Daytona 500 since 1970 – and simulcast on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. The booth crew consisted of longtime announcer Joe Moore, Jeff Striegle and 1989 Sprint Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace. Longtime turn announcer – and prodigy of MRN co-founder Ken Squier – Dave Moody was the lead turn announcer. He called the Daytona 500 from atop the Sunoco tower outside the exit of turn 2 when the field was racing through turns 1 and 2. Mike Bagley worked the backstretch for the Daytona 500 from a spotter's stand on the inside of the track. Kyle Rickey called the Daytona 500 when the field was racing through turns 3 and 4 from the Sunoco tower outside the exit of turn 4. On pit road, MRN was manned by lead pit reporter and NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley. He was joined on pit road by Steve Post and Alex Hayden.

MRN Radio
Booth announcers Turn announcers Pit reporters
Lead announcer: Joe Moore
Announcer: Jeff Striegle
Announcer: Rusty Wallace
Turns 1 & 2: Dave Moody
Backstretch: Mike Bagley
Turns 3 & 4: Kyle Rickey
Alex Hayden
Winston Kelley
Steve Post

Standings after the raceEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr., A. J. Allmendinger and Brian Scott started from the rear of the field after going to a backup car post-qualifying.[57]

ReferencesEdit

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