Photo via Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
For a third time in five years, Denny Hamlin is the winner of the Daytona 500. It came after one of the most horrific crashes in NASCAR history occurred after Ryan Blaney made contact with Ryan Newman that sent hard into the wall. Newman, then, went upside down and was hit in the drivers’ side door by Corey LaJoie.
Before the recap begins, Roush Fenway Racing released a statement saying that Newman is in serious condition, but doctors have said that his injuries are non-life threatening. On behalf of The Rich Report, I’d like to send our thoughts and prayers to Ryan Newman, his wife, kids, and Roush Fenway Racing.
Following a postponement after a hyped opening ceremony on Sunday featuring a sold-out crowd of 110,000 fans and United States President Donald Trump, the Daytona 500 resumed Monday afternoon and would end under-the-lights.
The first two stages saw little to no action as drivers were playing the waiting game and emphasized fuel strategy over racing to the front. All the Toyotas from Joe Gibbs Racing and Christopher Bell would hang out in a pack of their own in the back as others would race for stage points. William Byron was the first caution of the race as he was turned by pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. late in the first stage and slammed the infield wall. Byron would finish dead-last in 40th. His Hendrick teammate, Chase Elliott would go on to win the first stage.
The second stage would see the Toyotas at the front this time and they would claim four of the top five spots as Hamlin would take stage two. Ross Chastain was having a good, underdog run and finished fifth in that stage. Two more cars would hit the garage as rookie Quin Houff and BJ McLeod would crash out during the stage
The final stage saw more of the same single-file racing as drivers were waiting on final pit stops. Once we completed final pit stops, all hell broke loose. Stenhouse went for a spin after being ran in from behind by Erik Jones with 28 to go. The pushes were getting harder and harder as drivers tried setting themselves up at the front of the field, but with 17 to go, Joey Logano would push Aric Almirola too hard into Brad Keselowski, turning him and causing the ‘Big One’. The wreck would take out drivers such Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch. At the same time, Kyle Busch blew the engine and would also be taken out of the race. The race would be red-flagged for around 20 minutes.
When they went back to green, Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson would take each other out and crash with 8 laps to go.
NASCAR would restart with three laps to go, now with Hamlin and Joey Logano racing for the win. With two to go, Chastain would make an aggressive move on Ryan Preece going into turn one, but there was no room left and Chastain turned himself, taking out Logano, Tyler Reddick, Preece, Ty Dillon and Christopher Bell. On the restart, multiple drivers would spin their tires and Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell would take each other into the grass to bring out another caution before the racing even began.
On the second overtime attempt, it looked like Hamlin would take it, but Ryan Blaney gave Newman a great push by Hamlin down the backstretch. Newman would lead off of turn four until Blaney got into the back of Newman, thus, culminating in the horrifying hours after the race.
Some notable results from the race include Chris Buescher finishing third in his first race with Roush Fenway Racing. In their final Daytona 500s, David Ragan picked up a top-five finish and Brendan Gaughan finished seventh. Underdog Corey Lajoie, of GoFas Racing, would claim an eighth-place finish.
This upcoming weekend, NASCAR will have a cross-country trip to Las Vegas for the Pennzoil 400 weekend. The Rich Report will be on-site to provide great coverage all weekend long.
Standings after Daytona: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/02/18/2020-01cup-points.pdf