CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Elliott led the Hendrick Motorsports brigade to the checkered flag in the 64th running of the DAYTONA 500.
After being involved in a multi-car accident with less than 10 laps remaining in the “Great American Race,” the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet escaped undamaged and went to battle in the closing laps after placing fresh tires on the Camaro ZL1.
The Dawsonville, Georgia, native crossed the finish line in 10th, earning his second consecutive top-10 DAYTONA 500 finish.
Alex Bowman, who started on the front row for the fifth consecutive DAYTONA 500, got collected in the race’s third caution at lap 64. Despite receiving damage to the right-front fender of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet, Bowman was able to continue in the race even though he went four laps down. He finished 24th.
Kyle Larson and William Byron were also involved in multi-car incidents that ended their strong runs early. Reigning champ Larson left Daytona International Speedway with a 32nd-place result while Byron was scored 38th.
Austin Cindric won the DATYONA 500.
Below is a closer look at how the Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared in the season opener.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- DAYTONA 500 pole sitter Larson led the field to green but quickly dropped to 13th by lap four. He raced between the seventh and 14th positions before making a scheduled green-flag pit stop at lap 39. He returned to the action 22nd and used the draft to start advancing his positions. He was racing in 17th at lap 48 a15th at lap 60 before taking the green-white-checkered flag in ninth to finish the first stage.
- After pitting during the stage break, Larson returned to green in six before moving to 13th by lap 81, where he ran single file until pitting at lap 109 for fuel only. He cycled through to 15th and set his sights toward the front. He was ninth at lap 119, seventh at lap 120 and took the lead with six laps remaining in the second stage. The reigning champ lost the draft one lap later and quickly fell to ninth, which is where he closed out the second stage.
- Despite having a speedy pit stop under caution, Larson had to make a second trip to pit road to top his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet off with fuel. Therefore, he restarted 16th at lap 131. He raced between the 13th and 17th spots through lap 170 and broke the top 10 with 26 laps to go. As the laps were winding down, he set his focus forward and leapfrogged to third with 19 laps remaining. The Elk Grove, California, native got shuffled back ninth six circuits later and five laps later, he was collected in a multi-car accident that halted the No. 5 team from continuing. Larson finished 32nd.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTOPARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott rolled off the DAYTONA 500 starting grid in 11th and raced mid-field for the first 25 laps. He advanced from 16th to seventh at lap 36 before pitting under green at lap 39, cycling through to 11th. He cracked the top 10 at lap 48 and advanced to seventh before closing out stage one in 10th.
- The opening laps of the second stage saw Elliott race between the 16th and 23rd positions before pitting for right-side tires and fuel at lap 109. Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy stalled upon exiting, which cycled him through to 22nd. He advanced two spots to finish 20th in stage two.
- After pitting during the final stage break, Elliott returned to action in 20th and was 18th when a caution flag with 49 laps to go slowed the field. He pitted for four tires and fuel but was penalized for driving through too many pit boxes and had to restart at the tail end of the field. Elliott flexed his muscle and was 20th at lap 160, 14th at lap 163 and ninth two laps later. The 2020 Cup Series champion lost as many as seven positions before reclaiming all but one of those positions with 11 laps to go. Three laps later, a multi-car accident broke out that saw Elliott spinning to avoid being collecting. His Camaro ZL1 didn’t receive any damage so the team placed fresh tires on the No. 9 Chevy and sent him back on track ninth for the closing laps. He finished 10th.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron started the race from the 23rd position and was riding in 20th at lap 20, 18th at lap 25 and 17th at the halfway point of stage one. He leapfrogged to ninth six laps later before making a scheduled green-flag pit stop with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates where the No. 24 pit crew replaced right-side tires and added fuel to his No. 24 Chevrolet. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native continued his ascent to the lead, racing in sixth at lap 48, fourth at lap 49 and took control of the race with eight laps to go in stage one. However, with two laps remaining in the stage, Byron was collected in a multi-car accident on the backstretch where contact with the wall ended his day early.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After takin the green flag from the front row for the fifth consecutive DAYTONA 500, Bowman dropped back to 15th at lap three and raced between the ninth and 16th positions until the first stage’s halfway mark. He pitted with his teammates at lap 39 for right-side tires and fuel before returning to the track in 27th. He began his march through the field running 21st at lap 49, 18th at lap 52 and eighth with six laps to go in stage one. With two laps remaining in the stage, Bowman received right-front fender damage from a multi-car incident that broke out in front of him and finished stage one in 35th.
- After making multiple trips to pit road for repairs and fresh tires, he returned to the track and began stage two four laps down. He moved to 34th and remained in that position during the duration of the 65-lap stage.
- Bowman started the final stage 34th and was up to 32nd by the time a caution flag slowed the field with 49 laps to go. The Greg Ives-led crew kept Bowman on track to gain one of their laps back and he restarted 31st when the race returned to green. The Tucson, Arizona, native made a scheduled green-flag pit stop with 19 laps remaining, which put him down another lap, despite moving to 30th with 11 laps to go. A multi-car accident broke out three circuits later that allowed Bowman to climb the leaderboard in the closing laps due to competitors exiting the race early. He finished 24th.