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.
After a fierce battle with Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.
Like some of his race wins in the past, Denny faced a few setbacks early on in the race and had to fight his way back to the front.
Hamlin received damage after an incident in Stage 1 when a car spun in front of him leaving him with bad tire rub. He raced his way back in to the top-15 before the end of the stage and finished p.11.
The issues did not stop there. The FedEx Toyota had to make unscheduled pit stop under green because of a loose wheel. As he pulled off of pit road, Almirola tagged the wall to bring out the caution, putting Hamlin a lap down.
With a handful of laps to go in Stage 2, the caution flag waved again when Clint Bowyer spun coming out of the turn. Hamlin received the free pass and finished the stage in p.18
The No. 11 FedEx Toyota made his way to the front. He cracked the top ten within 100 laps and began knocking on the doors of the top five.
Denny drove up to second and set his sights on the No.95 of Matt DiBenedetto. As Hamlin inched closer to DiBenedetto, the laps winded down. Lapped traffic slowed the No.95 just enough for Hamlin to make a run for the lead. With 12 laps to go, Denny Hamlin took the lead and never looked back.
Hamlin took the checkered flag for the fourth time this season.
“It’s on a roll like I’ve never seen before. It hasn’t been this good in a long time,” Hamlin said.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back in action on Sunday, September 1 at 6 PM for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on NBCSN.
Kyle Busch will start from the pole in Sunday’s Axalta Presents the Pocono 400 from Pocono Raceway. This is Busch’s second pole in a row in 2017 and his 21st career pole. This was Busch’s third pole from Pocono.
The car was really good,” Busch said. It’s showed good speed since we unloaded here. It’s going to be a tricky race at the tricky triangle as it heats up throughout the weekend.”
Martin Truex, Jr. will start second, Matt Kenseth will start third, Ryan Blaney will start fourth, and Kurt Busch round out the top-five.
The first round of qualifying saw Kyle Larson go to the top of the board at 178.625 mph. Ky. Busch was second fastest at 178.056 mph. Kevin Harvick was third fastest at 177.285 mph. Joey Logano was fourth fastest at 177.176 mph. Keselowski rounded out the top-five at a speed of 176.796 mph. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. qualified 28th, but will start at the rear of the field due to changing his engine in the only practice session of the day. Notable drivers who did not advance to the second round include Chase Elliott (P25), Kasey Kahne (P26), and Ty Dillon (P27). There will be no drivers sent home as 39 drivers arrived at Pocono.
The second round saw Ky. Busch at the top of the board at 178.483 mph. Logano was second fastest at 178.313 mph. Blaney was third fastest at 178.295 mph. Kenseth was fourth fastest at 178.087 mph. Harvick rounded out the top-five with a speed of 178.006 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the final round include Daniel Suarez (P14), Austin Dillon (P17), Denny Hamlin (P18), Jimmie Johnson (P19), Clint Bowyer (p20), and Danica Patrick (P24)
In the final round, Ky. Busch posted a speed of 179.151 mph. Truex Jr. posted the second fastest speed at 178.543 mph. Kenseth posted the third fastest speed at 178.108 mph. Blaney posted the fourth fastest speed at 177.897 mph. Kurt Busch posted the fifth fastest speed at 177.799. Keselowski, Larson, Jamie McMurray, Logano, and Ryan Newman round out the top-10.
Teams will have only one practice session on Saturday beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT to prepare for Sunday’s race that will go green shortly after 3:00 p.m. EDT. Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network will have practice and race coverage.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.
When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.
Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.
“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.
Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”
Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.
“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know. But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes. I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”
Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.
“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”
TALLADEGA, Al— For the first time of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was victorious in the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway after a late race charge to the front in a green, white, checkered scenario. Stenhouse Jr. was able to hold off Kyle Busch in the final two laps to head towards victory. This is Roush-Fenway’s first victory since Carl Edwards went to victory lane in 2014 at Sonoma. This is Ford’s fifth win in a row on restrictor plate tracks.
“This is for all the guys at the shop. We’ve been terrible for a long time. This year, every race we’re getting better and better. We knew that Talladega was a good race track for us. It’s been a good one in the past and I’m just glad we parked it for my buddy, Bryan Clauson,” Stenhouse Jr. stated. “He was with us on that last lap. This Fifth Third Bank Ford was so fast today – qualified on the pole and got the win. I can’t say enough about the guys. It’s cool to have Jack Roush back in Victory Lane, Ford Performance, Fastenal, Sunny D. I’m gonna have a Sunny D in the morning, maybe a little later. This is cool. The closest race track to my hometown and the fans were out here this weekend.”
Jamie McMurray finished in the second position. McMurray was quiet throughout much of the day at Talladega, despite a few spotters complaining in the early stages of the race about his driving style and potentially causing a wreck.
“I mean it’s really circumstantial as to what the guys do in front of you and what is happening behind you. I just got a run at the right time. I thought the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.) was going to get a little bit further out, but when we were coming to the line it just seemed like his car wasn’t going at that point, so it was a good finish. It was a great race,” said McMurray I’m glad everybody is okay, that was a really scary wreck on the backstretch, but really good day for our McDonald’s Chevrolet. We had good pit stops and the guys did a great job.”
Ky. Busch was leading the race at the advertised distance of 188 laps, but a late race caution sent the race in overtime ultimately sending him to a third place finish. Busch was not a happy camper when it came to the GEICO 500.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it. (Ricky) Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together. I just can’t say enough about this Skittles American Mix Camry – it was really fast,” said Ky. Busch. “The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing did a great job and TRD with everyone on this motor, it was awesome. We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things. Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”
Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard, and David Ragan rounded out the top-10.
Kyle Larson still holds the points lead over Martin Truex, Jr by 54 points. Keselowski is 61 points back in third, Chase Elliott is 75 points back in fourth, and McMurray rounds out the top-five in points only 110 back from Larson.
The GEICO 500 was slowed eight times for 33 laps. There was one red flag period for a total of 26 minutes and 51 seconds. There were 26 different lead changes amongst 14 different drivers with Ky. Busch leading the most at 48 laps. The first two stages were one by Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. The time of the race was three hours, 29 minutes, and 16 seconds.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a Saturday night trip to Kansas Speedway for the Go Bowling 400.