After two weeks of preparation, practice, and prayer the drivers will finally have their day for some fast racing when the 2020 NASCAR season opens with the Great American Race – the Daytona 500.
After a round of qualifying and two Duel races, the 40 drivers are ready to take to the track for 500 miles.
After failing pre-race inspection Denny Hamlin will have to start the race from the back of the field.
The starting lineup for the Daytona 500:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlinj – moved to the back of the field
John Hunter Nemechek
After giving the command to start the engines, the President of the United States becomes the first sitting president to make a lap around the track as he paces the field.
Waving the green flag for today’s race is former Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Six rookies will start the race for their first Daytona 500.
Retiring at the end of the season, Jimmie Johnson moves to the front of the field for a lap of honour.
Stages one and two of the race are 65 laps each with stage three lasting 70 laps for a total of 200 laps around the two and a half mile track. With a fuel load of 38 to 42 laps, the drivers cannot complete a stage without making a pit stop.
The race was red flagged even before it began after a brief rain shower soaked the track and has to be dried before the drivers can get going.
The track is finally dry and ready for racing; Ricky Stenhouse brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and gets out in front for the lead.
Ricky Stenhouse leads lap one with Joey Logano in second.
Lap three, the top five are Ricky Stenhouse, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman.
Lap five, the front pack are single file with the second pack two and three wide.
Ricky Stenhouse continues to lead the race with Joey Logano on his bumper; Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Lap 10, Ricky Stenhouse leads the way with Joey Logano holding on to the second spot; Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Lap 15, Ricky Stenhouse continues to lead the race; Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick continue to hold their spots in the top five.
The drivers have gotten single file in a 200 mile freight train.
NASCAR has thrown the caution flag on lap 20 because of more rain showers.
And after 21 laps, NASCAR has again thrown the red flag and stopped the race due to the weather.
With heavy rain showers in the area, NASCAR has postponed the race until Monday afternoon.
After a delay of over 24 hours, the drivers are ready to take to the track once more and get the race underway once again.
The race will restart on lap 21 under sunny skies and warmer temperatures.
The drivers are moving once again and are under the caution flag.
Once NASCAR opens pit road most of the field comes down for fresh tires and a full load of fuel.
Jimmie Johnson’s team was charged with having too many crew members over the wall. Johnson will have to restart the race from the back of the field.
Corey LaJoie’s team was charged with coming over the wall too soon.
After staying out on the track, Michael McDowell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 26.
Brad Keselowski leads the race with Ryan Newman in second; Aric Alrimola, Kevin Harvick, and Ricky Stenhouse round out the top five.
Lap 29 Aric Almirola passes Brad Keselowski for the lead; Kevin Harvick, Ryan Bewman, and Ricky Stenhouse round out the top five.
Lap 30, Brad Keselowski retakes the lead.
Lap 31, Aric Almirola takes the lead.
Lap 32, Brad Keselowski retakes the lead.
Lap 33, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse, and Kevin Harvick.
Lap 38, Brad Keselowski holds on to the lead with nine of the top 10 cars a Ford; Ricky Stenhouse in fourth is the only Chevrolet in the top 10.
With 25 laps remaining in the stage, many of the drivers are in fuel conservation mode.
Lap 39 Ryan Newman takes the lead.
Lap 40 Aric Almirola takes the lead with Ryan Newman in second; Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher rounding out the top five.
Lap 44, Chase Elliot gets past Aric Almirola and takes the lead with Jimmie Johnson right behind him.
Lap 46, Hendrick Motorsports lead the way with Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron; Ricky Stenhouse rounds out the top five.
Lap 49, the top six cars are all Chevrolets. The Toyotas are still at the back of the field in fuel conservation mode.
Lap 50, 15 to go in stage one, Chase Elliott is in the lead; followed by Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Ricky Stenhouse.
Lap 53, the drivers are in two packs with 15 cars in the lead pack.
Lap 56, Chase Elliott continues to lead the rce with Jimmie Johnson in second; team mates Alex Bowman and William Byron are right behind with Ricky Stenhouse rounding out the top five.
With only eight laps remaining in stage one, drivers are beginning to make their move for position and the first stage points of the season.
William Byron brings out the caution flag when he sails across the infield and hits the inside wall after getting hit from behind by Ricky Stenhouse. Byron is out of the car and ok but must make the mandatory trip to the infield car center.
Many of the drivers come down pit road for service. Christopher Bell misses his pit stop and has to back it up.
William Byron becomes the first driver out of the race.
After the leaders stayed out on the track, Chase Elliott will lead the field down for the green flag restart and a shootout to the end of stage one on lap 63 and edges out team mate Jimmie Johnson for the lead.
Always looking to enhance a broadcast, FOX Sports has a new drone at Daytona with speeds of 80mph that offers some interesting and unique shots of the field.
Chase Elliott wins stage one.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the inside lane and holds on to the lead with Martin Truex Jr in second; Cole Custer, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Lap 75, Denny Hamlin leads the pack; Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.
There are only five Toyotas in the race; and they occupy the first five positons of the track.
The 39 cars on the track are in single file for a 200 mile an hour freight train.
Lap 78, several of the drivers have dropped to the bottom lane and are looking to move forward.
Lap 80, Denny Hamlin leads the race but other drivers are chasing him down as the outside lane is forming up and moving forward.
Denny Hamlin has attracted some debris on his grille.
Lap 85, the inside lane is moving quickly and leaving the outside lane behind.
Denny Hamlin is looking to get the debris off of his grille.
Third place driver Kyle Busch is concerned about how second place driver Martin Truex Jr’s car is handling; saying that it doesn’t look right and is affecting his car.
Rookie Quin Houff brings out the caution flag on lap 90 with a crash that also involves BJ McLeod after making contact with Aric Almirola.
Kevin Harvick is on pit road with some right rear bumper damage. He stopped before pit road was open and will have to restar the race from the back of the field.
Quin Houff becomes the second car out of the race.
Once pit road opens, the drivers come down for fuel and fresh tires.
The air hose got caught under Erik Jones’ car and cost him a lot of time on pit road.
Reed Sorenson was charged with an uncontrolled tire on pit road and will have to restart the race from the back of the field.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 96 and edges out Martin Truex Jr for the lead but Trux is getting a push from Chase Elliott.
Lap 100, halfway, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Ricky Stenhouse in second; Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.
Lap 105, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Ricky Stenhouse in second; Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.
The sun is beginning to set on the track; parts of the track are in shadow, while other parts are in full sun which is causing some serious glare issues for the drivers.
Lap 110, leading the most laps so far, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Ricky Stenhouse in second; Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Melon Man Ross Chastain round out the top five.
Ten laps remain in stage two with Denny Hamlin in the lead; Ricky Stenhouse, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Ross Chastain round out the top five.
Five laps remain in stage two with Denny Hamlin continuing to lead the way.
After being involved in an on track crash, BJ McLeod is out of the race. There are 37 cars still on the track with 35 of them on the lead lap.
Denny Hamlin wins stage two.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Martin Truex Jr
Once pit road is open, the drivers stop for service with Timmy Hill winning the race off of pit road after taking fuel only. Martin Truex Jr runs over a gas can on his way out of pit road. The gas can belonged to Chase Elliott’s team; as a result, Elliott will have to serve a penalty for taking equipment out of the pit box.
Kevin Harvick will have to start from the back of the field after pitting before pit road was open.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three from the outside lane on lap136. Ryan Blaney takes the lead after getting a push from Joey Logano.
Lap 136, the top five are Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse, Denny Hamlin, and Ross Chastain.
There are still over 60 laps remaining in the race but the drivers are already getting aggressive as they battle for position.
Lap 137, Ricky Stenhouse takes the lead.
Lap 138, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead with Joey Logano in second as the drivers get single file.
Lap 140, Ricky Stenhouse takes the lead with Ryan Blaney is second. Ryan Blaney retakes the lead.
Lap 141, Denny Hamlin makes is three wide with Kyle Busch in the lead
Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney battle for the lead with Kyle holding on to the top spot.
With 58 laps remaining in the race, Kyle Busch leads the race with Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, and Matt DiBenedetto rounding out the top five.
Lap 149, Brad Keselowski takes the lead from Kyle Busch with Ryan Blaney in second; Ricky Stenhouse, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano round out the top five.
Lap 155, Kyle Busch retakes the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Ricky Stenhouse round out the top five.
Lap 156, Brad Keselowski retakes the lead with Joey Logano in second.
Forty to go, Brad Keselowski holds on to the lead with team mate Joey Logano in second.
Ricky Stenhouse went below the yellow line and has been posted by NASCAR and will have to serve a pass through penalty. Going below the yellow line and advancing your position is against the rules; the only exception is if a driver is forced below that line.
With 37 laps remaining in the race Joey Logano is the new leader with Brad Keselowski in second.
Lap 165, the pit window for the final green flag pit stop is open. Joey Logano leads the pack with Brad Keselowski in second; Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.
As the skies darken and the sun goes down, the lights have come on.
With 31 laps remaining in the race the drivers make a massive run for pit road and service. All of the drivers need fuel with some of them taking only two tires.
Jimmie Johnson is in the lead with team mate Alex Bowman in second; Kurt Busch, Ty Dillon, and Ryan Preece round out the top five.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr crashes after making contact with Erik Jones, but the track stays green when he gets on pit road.
Several drivers have yet to make their pit stops.
As pit stops continue, Alex Bowman takes the lead.
With 26 laps to go, Kyle Busch leads the race; Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.
Twenty to go, running single file, Kyle Busch leads the way with Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.
The top 15 drivers took only two tires and are running a second slower than the drivers 16th and back who took four tires.
Brad Keselowski takes the lead as Kyle Busch drops back in the field with a tire issue. Busch is trying to make his way to pit road. Kyle Busch’s tire issue may be more involved with smoke coming from the exhaust pipe.
With 18 laps to go, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski battle for the lead, swapping it back and forth.
Big crash with 17 laps to go involving several cars including Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Justin Haley, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr, Matt DiBenedetto, Joey Logano, David Ragan, John Hunter Nemechek, Bubba Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Brendan Gaughan, Ross Chastain, and Alex Bowman. The crash began with a push from Joey Logano.
Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick stlipped through the
NASCAR has put out the red flag to get the track cleared. All drivers are out of their cars and walking around.
Once the race restarts, Ryan Newman will be in the lead.
After a 10 minute delay the yellow flag is displayed and the drivers are again moving, most heading for pit road and service.
Kevin Harvick leads the race off of pit road.
Kyle Busch’s car is smoking heavily.
Kyle Busch takes his car to the garage with a blown engine.
Twenty two cars remain on the lead lap and 13 laps remaining in the race.
Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr’s teams could not repair the car under the vehicle repair policy and are out of the race.
With only 10 laps remaining in the race, Ryan Newman brings the field down for the green flag restart and holds on to the lead with Christopher Bell in second; Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.
Crash with eight laps to go involving Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson bringing out the caution flag.
Ryan Newman brings the field down for the green flag restart from the inside lane with only four laps remaining in the race and edges out Joey Logano for the lead. The drivers gets thee and four wide across the track.
Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin hook and get a big lead on the field.
Denny Hamlin gets around Ryan New For the lead.
Another big crash brings out the caution flag with only two laps to go. Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Ryan Preece, Christopher Bell, and Ty Dillon were all involved in the crash.
The red flag has been displayed again to get the track cleaned up. Once the cars start moving again, the race will go into overtime.
Even after all the crashed cars, there are still 18 cars on the lead lap.
Once the cars get going again, Denny Hamlin will be in the lead with Chris Buescher starting alongside on the front row.
A great deal of fluid on the track has caused a lengthy delay, but the cars are moving once again with many heading for pit road.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green/white/checker overtime start from the outside lane and edges out for the lead.
Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell get into the infield on the restart after contact and bring out the caution flag. Justin Haley was also involved in the altercation.
Caution laps count but the race will be completed under the overtime policy.
In the second overtime start, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the restart with Ryan Newman starting alongside on the front row. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman go side by side before Denny Hamlin gets out in front.
Denny Hamlin takes the white flag as cars crash behind him. With a push from Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman takes the lead. Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin cross the finish line as a big crash happens that puts Ryan Newman in the air and on his roof.
NASCAR has determined that Denny Hamlin is the winner of the race. This is Hamlin’s second win in a row; making him only the fourth driver to have a back to back win joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Sterling Marlin.
Unofficially it is the second closest finish in Daytona 500 history and officially the longest 500 in the history of the race.
Safety officials see to Ryan Newman and get him out of the car and transfer him immediately to the hospital.
2020 Daytona 500 unofficial results:
John Hunter Nemechek
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr