Well race fans, Daytona Day has come and gone and the 2017 race season is now in full swing.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series began their inaugural season in Daytona Beach, Florida this weekend.

With the new points format, that awards drivers who are constantly running up front and the new 5 minute crash clock, 59th annual Daytona 500 was shaping up to be quite the event.

Owen Wilson, who plays Lightening McQueen in the upcoming “Cars 3” movie delivered the most famous words in racing while Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

645629202Pole sitter Chase Elliott (No. 24) and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88) led the field to the green flag.

The first stage of the race was fairly quiet with most drivers and teams testing out their race day strategies.

On the 27th lap, Corey LaJoie’s Toyota (No. 83) was entering pit road way too fast and turned hard right to avoid the other cars. This caused him to drive straight into the frontstretch wall. This brought out the first caution of the day.

Kurt Busch (No. 41) was penalized for speeding on pit road but teammate Kevin Harvick (No. 4) was the one to lead the drivers back to green.

Lap 44, Kyle Busch (No. 18) jumps to the front of the pack and led the field to the end of Stage 1 and earning 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

Stage One

  1. Kyle Busch (No. 18)
  2. Kevin Harvick (No. 4)
  3. Ryan Blaney (No. 21)
  4. Brad Keselowski (No. 2)
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88)
  6. Kyle Larson (No. 42)
  7. Jamie McMurray (No. 1)
  8. Denny Hamlin (No. 11)
  9. Jimmie Johnson (No. 48)
  10. Danica Patrick (No. 10)

Jumping to lap 106 the first “Big One” of the day happened.

Kyle Busch (No. 18) blew a tire causing a pill-up which took out teammates Matt Kenseth (No. 20) and Erik Jones (No. 77). 645612872

It also took out Dale Jr. (No. 88) who missed the last half of the 2016 season due to a concussion.

The wreck caused the red flag while officials clean the track of debris.

Kevin Harvick (No. 4) led drivers to the restart afterwards ultimately winning the second stage.

Stage Two

  1. Kevin Harvick (No. 4)
  2. Joey Logano (No. 22)
  3. Kurt Busch (No. 41)
  4. Brad Keselowski (No. 2)
  5. Danica Patrick (No. 10)
  6. AJ Allmendinger (No. 47)
  7. Kyle Larson (No. 42)
  8. Clint Bowyer (No. 14)
  9. Ryan Newman (No. 31)
  10. Ryan Blaney (No. 21)

Kyle Larson, reining cup champion Jimmie Johnson and pole sitter Chase Elliott brought the field back to green but that lead didn’t last long.

645630446The next “Big One” happened on lap 127 after contact between Trevor Bayne (No. 6) and Jimmie Johnson that sent the No. 48 spinning.

The wreck ended the day for Johnson, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.

Ten laps later, as Ryan Blaney signaled, Elliott Sadler (No. 7) moved up the track to avoid the No.21. This moved caused a wreck between Sadler, Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17).

Now to lap 143 and the caution is out yet again.

This time Jamie McMurray got into the back of Chase Elliott taking out himself, Brad Keselowski and rookies Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon.

The new format really shook the leaders up with a total of 37 lead changes, which included other driver like Cole Whitt (No. 72), Aric Almirola (No. 43) and Kasey Kahne (No. 5).

Jumping to less than five to go and with pole sitter Chase Elliott leading, things got a little interesting.

With a lap and a half to go, Elliott ran out of fuel, falling to the back of the pack, and finished 14th.

Kyle Larson than shot to the front and led the field to the white flag.

But if anything is to be learned from the new race format, its that “it ain’t over till its over.”645637658

Suddenly Larson ran out of gas as well sending him back and 2004 champion Kurt Busch from Stewart-Haas Racing, forward to win his first Daytona 500.

Ryan Blaney came in second, .228 behind Kurt Busch. AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and Paul Menard rounded out the top five.

 

 

 

 

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