DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. – Months of excitement led up to Sunday’s sold-out race at Daytona International Speedway.
In a race that saw six cautions, the excitement followed the drivers to the checkered flag in a photo-finish end to the 58th running of the Daytona 500.
Kasey Kahne led his teammates to the checkered flag in 13th, followed by Jimmie Johnson in 16th. A spin mid-race ended Dale Earnhard Jr.’s day that resulted in a 36th-place result. Rounding out the brigade, Chase Elliott returned to the track from an early-race incident, taking home a 37th-place finish in his first Daytona 500.
Denny Hamlin took home the win.
Take a look below at how all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared in the 2016 Daytona 500.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid 13th, Kahne fell outside the top 25 within the first 10 laps of the race. He remained at the back of the pack through two cautions and pit stops, working his way toward the front. On Lap 79, the driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS entered the top 10. At the halfway mark, Kahne was running within the top five and maintained a top-10 position until he made a green-flag pit stop on Lap 158 for four tires and fuel. With less than 50 laps to go, Kahne led his teammates and ran inside the top 20 for the remainder of the race, logging a 13th-place finish.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: As the youngest pole-winner in Daytona 500 history, Elliott led the field to the green flag just one day after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener. The rookie led the first three laps before succumbing to advances from teammate, Earnhardt. Elliott maintained a top-five position before he was involved in a Lap 20 incident in Turn Four. After the No. 24 team made repairs to the Chevrolet, Elliott rejoined the field 40-laps down on Lap 61. He continued to log laps in order to gain valuable experience and finished 37th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Because Johnson took the green flag in his backup car, he began the race from the rear of the field, but quickly led an impressive charge to the front. He picked off cars as he moved up through the field, breaking into the top five by Lap 20. A quick pit stop after a Lap 57 caution gave Johnson the lead when the field took the green. Losing his position and the draft on Lap 78, Johnson dropped back outside the top 10 quickly. However, he held steady and after the third caution of the race on Lap 92, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS restarted inside the top 10, where he maintained his position for about 40 laps. A penalty under a green-flag pit stop sent Johnson to the rear of the field where he regrouped and pushed forward for a 16th-place finish.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting directly behind teammate Elliott in third, Earnhardt took the lead from the rookie on Lap 4 and held point for 15 laps until he lost his grip on the No. 1 position before the first of six caution flags waved. After a quick pit stop by the No. 88 Nationwide team, Earnhardt restarted up front but later found himself racing inside the top 10 after the restart. He continued to fall back in the pack until regaining positions throughout four more cautions, finding himself in the top 15 at the midway point. He continued to climb through traffic and was making a pass for a top-five position when he was caught up in an incident with 30 laps to go. Earnhardt’s Chevrolet retired to the garage for the remainder of the race and was scored with a 36th-place finish.