DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday evening at Daytona International Speedway, Kasey Kahne led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the checkered flag with a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500.
Kahne crossed the finish line seventh after a stressful final five laps that saw teammate Chase Elliott leading “The Great American Race.”
After taking the lead with 26 laps remaining, Elliott held off all competitors until the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS ran out of fuel with less than three laps remaining. The car’s reserve fuel kicked in but Elliott had fallen out of the lead and recovered to finish 14th.
Both Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were caught in multiple-car incidents and had their days end prematurely due to damage. Johnson was scored 34th and Earnhardt was scored 37th.
At various points in the race, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers led laps, but Kurt Busch ultimately took home the win.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid 28th, Kahne finished Stage 1 in 31st. He got to work in Stage 2, getting as high as the top five after avoiding a multiple-car incident. After heading to pit road, he finished the second 60-lap segment in 14th. When the final stage began, it did not take Kahne long to find the front of the pack, moving into second by Lap 128. He proceeded to take the lead, avoiding more multiple-car incidents in the process to lead nine laps before falling back but remaining inside the top five. After heading to pit road during a caution, he returned to the track in 15th, but he found the top 10 with 35 laps remaining. He moved into the top five with 19 laps to go and crossed the finish line in seventh after beginning to run out of fuel.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Leading the field to the green flag on the pole, Elliott led the first five laps of the event before getting caught in traffic and falling back in the pack. He finished Stage 1 in 15th and rounded out Stage 2 in 13th. When the final stage began, Elliott quickly worked his way toward the front, moving back to the point on Lap 126. With less than 60 laps remaining, he was involved in a multiple-car incident, though the No. 24 team was able to repair the damage on pit road within the five-minute limit and Elliott returned to the track on the lead lap in 15th. He made quick work of finding the leaders once again, moving into the runner-up position on Lap 158. With 26 laps to go, he raced back into the lead and held off all competitors until there were less than three laps remaining, when a lack of fuel caused the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS to lose the lead. Elliott recovered to finish 14th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: After moving to the rear of the field due to driving a backup car, Johnson raced all the way into the top 10 by the end of Stage 1, earning two extra points in the process. He continued that progress in Stage 2, quickly moving into the top three and taking the lead midway through the second 60-lap segment. He finished the stage outside the top 10, but once again got to work as the third stage commenced, running third before he was involved in a multiple-car incident. The damage forced the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS to the garage and ended Johnson’s day prematurely. He was scored 34th.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting the race as the outside pole-sitter, Earnhardt got caught in the middle of three-wide racing and lost position on Lap 4, but bounced back to finish Stage 1 inside the top five. In Stage 2, he continued to push forward and ultimately took the lead on Lap 97. Less than 10 laps later, however, he was involved in a multiple-car incident. The No. 88 team attempted to repair the damage of the Nationwide Chevrolet SS, but it ultimately forced Earnhardt to drive into the garage, ending his day prematurely. He was scored 37th.