In a photo finish, Denny Hamlin edged Ryan Blaney to win his third Daytona 500 on Monday night. 

The remaining 180 laps of the Daytona 500 was delayed to Monday due to inclement on Sunday. The green flag waved and the race resumed on Lap 21. Chevy and Ford immediately took to pit road to top off on fuel and get fresher tires to race for the first stage win of the season. Chase Elliott lead the way for Chevrolet and remained up front to win Stage 1. 

Typically, drivers will hang in the back in an effort to avoid any wrecks that occur up front. Toyota remained in the back and made there way to the front of the pack shortly after the second stage began. Hamlin raced his way to the front to win Stage 2. 

The intensity ramped up as the laps winded down. On Lap 184, Joey Logano bumped Aric Almirola into Brad Keselowski causing a chain-reaction accident that collected 19 cars. Unfortunately, that accident collected seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who likely made his last Daytona 500 appearance. 

With one lap to go, the race was forced into overtime after another multi-car wreck occurred. Before the first lap of overtime was complete, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell spun through the tri-oval to send the race into a second overtime. 

When the green flag waved on the second overtime, Hamlin pushed his way to the front. Hamlin was able to pass Blaney for the win after a wreck broke out behind them. Denny Hamlin is the fourth driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s, joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Sterling Marlin. 

Blaney finished behind Hamlin in the second closest Daytona 500 finish in history followed by, Chris Buescher, David Ragan and Kevin Harvick. 

The wreck that occurred on the last lap collected Roush Fenway Racing's, Ryan Newman. Newman was taken to a local hospital and is being treated. According to a statement from Roush Fenway, Newman is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated that his injuries are not life threatening. 

The NASCAR Cup Series heads out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday, February 23 at 3:30 p.m. on FOX. 

Busch Rips Goodyear

Sunday, Feb 26

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch had some strong words for Goodyear following his accident on lap 129 that collected 17 cars.

Busch had a tire going down when he went towards the wall going into the third turn. There was no indication that the tire was going down:

“No. I wished I would’ve. If I would’ve, I would’ve tried to wave off as many guys behind me as I could, but it happened just as soon as we started picking up load into turn three. Just spun around and you know it actually felt like I hung onto it for a long ways and then finally it went. I don’t know if it was a left rear that went down or the right that went down but man, tore up three JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in one hit and also Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.),” said Busch.

As Goodyear enters into the final year of their current contract as NASCAR’s Tire Supplier, Busch talked about the frustration caused by the tires.

“You know obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air. It’s very frustrating when we have that down here every single year we’ve been here. Last year we had it as well too. It wrecked us in practice and tore up a car – a few cars actually were in that as well.”

In response, Goodyear was adamant that their tires do hold air. Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Racing Director, saw that there was evidence of impact on the right rear tire, which they will investigate.

"There's also damage on the left rear, which we feel could have contributed, but again, until you know exactly what it looks like inside [the tire], it's tough to say for sure," Stucker said. "But certainly, both tires were completely intact with regard to components or any obvious issues that we feel could have led to any sort of premature air loss. It was obviously an outside impact or source that created it; we just don't know exactly what yet and which tire."

Goodyear did not see any tire issues throughout Daytona Speedweeks, and believes that Busch reacted in the heat of the moment.

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—  Kurt Busch scored his first Daytona 500 victory due to the many of his fellow competitors losing fuel. This is Stewart-Haas Racings first win in a Ford. This is Busch’s first restrictor plate win since entering into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2001. Busch led the most important lap, the last lap.

 

"My mirror fell off with 30 laps to go and I couldn’t even see out the back. And I thought that was an omen. Throw caution to the wind. The more unpredictability that keeps unfolding at the Daytona 500, I predicted it. It just got crazy and wild and I am so proud of all the drivers at the end. We put on a show for a full fuel run and nobody took each other out and it was one of the smartest chess games I have seen out there. All the hard work that Ford and SHR put into this -- this Ford Fusion is in Daytona’s victory lane,” said Busch in victory lane.

 

Ryan Blaney finished second, AJ Allmendinger finished third, Aric Almirola finished fourth, and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five.

 

At Daytona 500 Media Day on Wednesday, Busch stated, “It owns me.  It doesn’t owe me anything, it’s just owned me over the years.” Now, he will go down in history as a Daytona 500 champion.

 

Busch started the race from the eighth position. Busch was a darkhorse throughout much of the first stage. Busch and his Stewart-Haas teammates attempted to stay together throughout much of the race. Busch and his teammates were hitting pit road during the first segment at lap 32 when Corey LaJoie wrecked coming onto pit road. However, that did not effect their performance when the race restarted. Busch went back down pit road shortly after, and was quiet until the second stage. Kyle Busch won the first stage with Kevin Harvick in second, Blaney in third, Brad Keselowski in fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at the end of the first stage.

 

The second stage was saw a six car pileup in turn three that brought out the red flag for 17 minutes. Busch was the silent sleeper in the second stage. When the field was going back to green, Busch joined his teammates to have the top-three positions while Ford had the top-seven. The end of the segment saw Joey Logano attempt to make a pass on Harvick in the tri-oval, but was unsuccessful. Harvick won the stage, Logano was second, Ku. Busch was third, Keselowski was fourth, and Danica Patrick rounded out the top-five.

 

The third stage was wild and crazy. The field began to get ansy. The caution flew four times during the stage. The day almost ended for Ku. Busch on lap 129. Jimmie Johnson spun going into the third turn with help from Jamie McMurray. The wreck left Busch as the lone survivor of the Stewart-Haas camp to contend for the win.  Despite the damage, Ku. Busch was able to contend with the leaders. As the race began to wind down, Ku. Busch and others were being told to conserve fuel. The field ran single file for numerous laps as drivers contended to save fuel. However, drivers began to drop out of the pack because they were running out of fuel. On the final lap, Ku. Busch was running second coming off of turn two chasing Kyle Larson. Larson ran out of fuel which allowed Ku. Busch to score the victory.

 

Despite not winning the Daytona 500 as a driver, Tony Stewart was ecstatic to win the race as an owner.

 

“It’s probably the most patient race I’ve watched Kurt Busch run. He definitely deserved that one for sure. I’m really proud of everybody . Great day for Ford Performance and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. I think this finally gets Gene Haas all the crown jewels. This is awesome, man.”

 

The race saw 37 lead changes among 18 different drivers. The race was slowed eight times for 40 laps by caution.

 

Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Coverage from Atlanta will be on FOX and Performance Racing Network on March. 5 beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—  With the sport’s marquee event set for tomorrow, NASCAR has stepped up its social media game for the 59th Daytona 500. NASCAR’s Digital Media team, lead by Scott Warfield, hopes to increase their footprint in 2017, beginning this weekend.

NASACR saw a huge increase in social media numbers in 2016 over 2015. NASCAR saw 4.3 billion social impressions in 2016; 287 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter, 209 million social video views. NASCAR saw a social audience of 11.4 million people, up 15 percent from 2016. On raceday, NASCAR saw 12 million people reached on Facebook and 2 million Twitter users reached. 53 percent of NASCAR Facebook followers range from 13 to 24 years old with 66 percent on Twitter of the same demographic.

NASCAR hopes to increase that social footprint even more in 2017.

NASCAR has already begun their work in partnership with FOX through the “Daytona 500 Hour Countdown” campaign. This campaign showcases original Daytona 500 content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

NASCAR will use Snapchat and its Live Story feature for the first time in 2017 for the Daytona 500. Darrell Wallace Jr. will take over the “NASCAR” Snapchat bringing to dans the sights and sounds of Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR purchased Snapchat Spectacles to be used throughout the season. NASCAR will incorporate stop motion technology to be used for the entire 2017 season.

Earlier in the week, NASCAR and Twitter launched an emoji using the colorful, waving flags in the Daytona 500 logo. The emoji will be featured when users use the hashtag, #Daytona500.

Throughout the weekend, fans will be able to go behind-the-scenes with unique content across Facebook and Instagram.

During Daytona 500 Media Day, Facebook created a presence with Riki Rachtman using Facebook Live all day. Facebook dedicated a footprint within the Daytona 500 Club.

NASCAR also launched the 2017 “Ready. Set. Race” marketing campaign using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This spot will be aired on the FOX broadcast during Sunday’s race.

NASCAR will begin a new relationship with GIPHY. Fans will be able to obtain and use NASCAR reaction-focused GIF’s to use on their personal social media accounts. Fans can access this at giphy.com/nascar.

Denny Hamlin had the dominant car in the Daytona 500, leading a race-high 95 laps. The Sprint Unlimited winner last Saturday evening was victorious of Martin Truex, Jr. in the closest finish in the race’s 58-year history.

The No. 11 car margin of victory was .011 seconds. All day long it was Toyota’s in the front of the field, led by the foursome of Joe Gibbs Racing and contributed by Furniture Row Racing in its first race in a Camry.

Hamlin was running fourth as the field passed the finish line with one to go. Going into Turn 1 he made a bold move to the outside getting a push from Kevin Harvick, drafting him all the way to third when race leader Matt Kenseth went to block the No. 11 car, the two made contact sending the No. 20 team to the back.

It was then a dog fight down the front stretch to see who was going to claim victory, but in the end it was Hamlin who just edged Truex by inches.

“It’s storybook,” Hamlin said. “You want to win the close ones, it’s what makes it exciting. You make a pass on the last lap to win the Daytona 500. We all want to win for the Gibbs family because that is what they do. It’s good to see a family organization like this win the biggest race of the year.”

This marks Toyota’s first Daytona 500 win as an organization and its Joe Gibbs Racing’s first Daytona 500 win since 1993 when Dale Jarrett took the No. 18 team to victory.

In his first race back in a Toyota, Truex finished in a disappointing second and came up just short of writing his name in the history books as a Daytona 500 champion.

Though, he only led two laps on the afternoon, he was in a backup car after crashing in Thursday’s Can-Am Duels. He believes that the only shot he had at the victory was Kenseth’s move to block Hamlin.

“I felt like Matt (Kenseth) moving up to block that run, it gave us the best opportunity to win,” Truex said. “Without that we weren’t going to have that opportunity. I was really planning on trying to push Matt till off of four.”

365 days following his vicious crash in the XFINITY Series race at Daytona, Kyle Busch finished third in his first race back in the Great American Race since 2014.

There were stints in the race that the No. 18 car was the car out front pacing the field for 19 laps. This is his best career finish in a Daytona 500.

The first non-Toyota finisher was Kevin Harvick, whom finished fourth. The No. 4 car was near the front for the majority of the first run of the race, until the car wiggled off Turn 4, causing him to have an incredible save.

“The problem for us started early in the race when I got spun out and lost track position and never really got the track position back until the very end of the race,” Harvick said. “We were really in a good spot there as we were coming to the checkered flag. I just wanted to be that first car in the outside line and Denny wounded up popping out in front of us and winning the race.”

Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. He had to overcome an incident on Lap 56 where his No. 19 Camry got turned into the outside wall costing him to lose a couple of laps. After getting back on the lead lap, he methodically worked his way up to run with his teammates and evidently found them on the last restart with 12 laps to go.

The right front of the car was torn off following the checkered flag, causing Edwards to wonder how he was able to stay up in the lead pack, drafting and having a shot at the victory.

Last year’s Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano finished just outside the top five in sixth. He was very aggressive throughout the entirety of the event, but could never get his Fusion out front. With a couple of laps to go he made a move trying to gain track position and go to the front, but had no help.

Regan Smith placed eighth in the 500, one position short of his career best in this event. However, for a deal that got signed one month ago to the day, putting him back full-time in a Cup car with Tommy Baldwin Racing, he considered this experience as an “awesome race.”

After leading going into Turn 3 on the final lap Kenseth came home in a disappointing 14th. He was roughly 1000 yards from cementing his legacy has a three-time Daytona 500 winner, but dropped 13 positions in the time back to the checkered flag.

The No. 20 car was out front for 40 laps, second most of all drivers, but knows that the restrictor plate tracks fill the minority of the schedule.

The complex of the race changed on Lap 170 when pre-race favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spun into the inside wall. After having a big run on the outside he overcorrected his car in Turn 4 and lost control.

The disappointing 36th-place finish is not how the 13-time most popular driver wanted to start off his year. This put an end to his four consecutive top five-streak in the Daytona 500.

Pole-sitter Chase Elliott had an eventful day from the very first lap. After being out front for the opening three circuits, the No. 24 lost control of his car out of Turn 4 much like his teammate did later in the race.  A 37th-place result is not the way that the Cup rookie wanted to start off his campaign.

After one of the more exciting Daytona 500 in recent years, the Cup Series takes its circus to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend to truly start off the new season.

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