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Sunday, February 17
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Ryan Newman (12) leads Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch (2) to the Daytona 500 checkered flag...
Newman Leads Penske Punch to Win Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 17, 2008) - Ryan Newman got a shove from his teammate Kurt Busch on the last lap to give car owner Roger Penske his first Daytona 500 win.
And what a win it was. It was the 50th running of "the Great American Race" and Penske's Dodges held off a spine-tingling, last-lap challenge by Joe Gibbs Toyota teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch.
The race, one of the most competitive in Daytona's storied history with 42 lead changes at the start/finish line, went right down to the wire.
The last restart with three laps to go saw a tight pack of cars led by Tony Stewart challenging for the win...
Any one of 10 to 15 drivers could have won when the green flag waved for the final three-lap showdown. Three caution flags in the final 25 laps kept re-arranging the lineup.
At one point, Jeff Burton was the leader on a restart and wound up 13th. On another restart, Juan Pablo Montoya was second on a restart and wound up out of the top 20.
Ryan Newman (12) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88)...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled with his Chevrolet most of the day and finished ninth but he brought the crowd of 200,000 to its feet several times trying to work his way to the front. He made it a couple of times but couldn't stay there.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers behind winner Newman, Busch, Stewart and the younger Busch were Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Earnhardt and Greg Biffle.
Bobby Labonte was 11th, trailed by Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and former Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr.
Jeff Gordon dropped out of the race after 189 laps, finishing 39th...
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon was a contender but fell out of the race with suspension problems. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson had problems most of the day and was involved in an accident near the end that ended his chances.
In fact, it was not a good day for Hendrick Motorsports as Casey Mears, who ran a steady race all day, was also involved in an accident near the end.
Ryan Newman celebrates his first Daytona 500 win - breaking a two-year absence from Victory Lane...
It was Newman's first Daytona 500 victory also.
After a sensational pre-race show that would have put Cecil B. DeMille to shame, the best drivers in the world took the green flag on a splendidly-sunny Sunday afternoon. Daytona International Speedway spared no expense for the 50th anniversary running of the Daytona 500.
Entertainers from several decades, including Chubby Checker, Kool and the Gang, Michael McDonald and Brooks and Dunn, played for the sellout crowd of 200,000 as replica rebuilds of past winner's cars rolled around the track.
The crowd also included former winners such as Fred Lorenzen, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Junior Johnson.
By the time the cars rolled off for parade laps, goose bumps ran up arms while the Air Force Thunderbirds zoomed over the track. It was certainly one of those magic moments in sport.
Front-row starters Johnson and Michael Waltrip quickly gave way to Joe Gibbs teammates Stewart and Denny Hamlin.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Tony Stewart (left) and Kyle Busch (right) during pre-race ceremonies...The two led a combined 102 laps of the 200 that comprise the Daytona 500..
From the first lap to the first green-flag pit stop around lap 35, Hamlin swapped the lead with Stewart, Gordon, Kyle Busch and Dave Blaney. Earnhardt reported a vibration on his Chevy but stayed within striking distance of the lead anyway.
Johnson also drafted with the leaders, as did Hornish, who was particularly impressive hanging on to the lead draft inside the top 10. Hornish has very limited experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, having run only a handful of races.
Former champion Matt Kenseth and hard-charging Carl Edwards also put their Roush Fords in the lead pack.
Sadler slapped the wall near the 70-lap mark and had to make an unscheduled stop.
Joe Nemechek dropped out of contention before the halfway point with mechanical problems.
The first caution flag of the day fell on lap 79 for debris on the track. Most of the field pitted with Kurt Busch, his younger brother, Kyle, and Kenseth leading the field on the restart.
At the halfway point, it was Kyle Busch leading the field with Ryan Newman in tow. Greg Biffle was third with Gordon next, followed by Hamlin, Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, David Ragan, Martin Truex Jr., Casey Mears and Kahne.
Daytona 500 Race Report & Rundown - click here
Driver Point Standings - click here
Dodge Awards $1 Million Bonus To Penske Racing - click here
NASCAR Newscast: Daytona 500 - click here
Watch the story of the second-most competitive Great American Race as Roger Penske and Ryan Newman snapped long winless streaks.
Practice: Friday, February 15 (SPEED at 2:30 p.m./AT)
Final Practice: Saturday, February 16 (SPEED at 11:30 a.m./AT)
RaceDay Pre-Race Show: Sunday, February 17 (SPEED at Noon/AT)
Race: Saturday, February 17 (FOX & TSN-HD at 3 p.m./AT)
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: Daytona 500
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Feb. 17
The Green Flag: 4:40 p.m./AT 3:30 p.m./ET
The Track: 2.5-mile tri-oval
The Distance: 500 miles/200 laps
TV: FOX, 3 p.m./AT, 2 p.m./ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS Satellite Radio
2007 Winner: Kevin Harvick
2007 Polesitter: David Gilliland
Pre-Race Schedule (local track time/ET): Wednesday—Practice, 12-12:55 p.m. and 2:05-2:55 p.m. Thursday—Gatorade Duel at Daytona races, 2 p.m. Friday—Practice, 1:40-2:40 p.m. Saturday—Practice, 10:35-11:55 a.m.
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Sunday Time Trial Coverage - to set front row starting spots for 500 and starting lineups for Duels
Gatorade Duel Coverage - qualifying races to determine starting lineup for Daytona 500
Daytona 500 Starting Lineup - click here
Friday Practice - click here Sorenson fastest on Friday
Veteran broadcaster Ken Squier has picked Reed Sorenson (pictured above) as the underdog favourite to win the Daytona 500...
With good reason - Sorenson has been quick all week at Daytona - indeed quickest in Friday's practice session. See Friday's practice speed chart here...
Pre-Race Pit Stops
- History – homage to the past and anticipation of what might be – is the theme as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams prepare for the 50th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.
Three wide: The finish of the first Daytona 500, won by Lee Petty, in February 1959.
As NASCAR also celebrates its 60th season, begin at the top: Reigning and two-time series champion Jimmie Johnson pursues his third consecutive title, a feat accomplished by only one other driver, Cale Yarborough from 1976-78.
NASCAR’s new car, which incorporates safety innovations, is set for its first fulltime season and its first event at Daytona. It’s also expected to offer teams cost savings and to boost competition.
Fresh off last Saturday’s victory in the non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, the sport’s most popular driver – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Amp Energy-National Guard Chevrolet) – begins his first season with Hendrick Motorsports.
And an unprecedented quartet of former open-wheel stars begin their NASCAR Sprint Cup careers – Dario Franchitti (No. 40 Dodge Journey Dodge, Jacques Villeneuve (No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota) , Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge) and Patrick Carpentier (No. 10 Valvoline Dodge).
- NASCAR’s New Race Car Ready For Fulltime Campaign...A key storyline, NASCAR’s new car — the now-generation race car — begins its first fulltime season in 2008.
Sunday’s 50th Daytona 500 marks both the new car’s first event of the new year, and its first event at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR Sprint Cup teams prepared for the new car’s fulltime debut by running it in 16 of 36 events in 2007.
Series officials announced in May 2007 that the new car would debut fulltime one year earlier than originally scheduled (2009).
Last season, teams used the new car at all tracks less than 1.5 miles, along with the two road courses (California’s Infineon Raceway and New York’s Watkins Glen International), and the October event at 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.
This season, they’ll race the new car for the first time at Daytona, California Speedway (2 miles), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5 miles), Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.5 miles), Texas Motor Speedway (1.5 miles), Lowe’s Motor Speedway (1.5 miles), Pocono Raceway (2.5 miles), Michigan International Speedway (2 miles), Chicagoland Speedway (1.5 miles), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5 miles) and Kansas Speedway (1.5 miles).
The culmination of a seven-year project by NASCAR’s Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., the new car offers important safety improvements, competition initiatives and cost-containment measures for teams.
The R&D Center also certifies all new-car chassis.
Teams tested new cars earlier this year at Daytona, Las Vegas and California as part of the annual preseason test schedule.
- NASCAR’S 60th Anniversary...In a season launch filled with anniversary celebrations, note Friday’s special significance — the exact 60th anniversary of NASCAR’s first official race.
On Feb. 15, 1948, drivers competed on the beach road course at Daytona, an event won by Red Byron in a Ford.
This Friday, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will open its 2008 season at Daytona International Speedway, followed by the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, and, of course, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Sunday’s 50th Daytona 500.
A little more than a decade after the sport’s official beach debut, competitors christened the then-new Daytona International Speedway with the first Daytona 500 in February 1959. Lee Petty won that event in a photo finish.
Competitors ran eight races in that inaugural season of 1948; Byron won two and also collected two poles, all in six starts.
Of the tracks that hosted the 1948 events, only Martinsville Speedway remains on the series schedule. The shortest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule (at .526-mile), Martinsville — in Martinsville, Va., — hosts two events.
- Special Events, Entertainment Abound for 50th Daytona 500...Always a magnet for celebrities and high-profile NASCAR fans, Daytona 500 pre-race activities are especially star-studded this year.
Behind the wheel, 1960 Daytona 500 champion Junior Johnson will lead Sunday’s 50th Daytona 500 field to the green flag, driving the pace car during warm-up laps.
The 24 living Daytona 500 champions will serve as Grand Marshals, delivering the famous “Gentlemen, start your engines” command en masse Sunday.
Seven-time series champion and seven-time Daytona 500 champion Richard Petty is the honorary starter. He’ll wave the green flag to start Sunday’s race.
The award-winning country-music duo Brooks & Dunn will headline Sunday’s pre-race show. Chubby Checker, Michael McDonald and Kool & The Gang are other musical icons scheduled for performances.
Each will perform one or more of their most memorable songs to commemorate musical eras spanned by the 50th Daytona 500.
They’ll be accompanied by nearly 4,000 cast members on the track’s tri-oval grass, along the frontstretch.
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the “Thunderbirds” will perform the traditional flyover during Sunday’s rendition of the National Anthem.
Prior to Sunday, three-time series champion and 1989 Daytona 500 champion Darrell Waltrip will serve as Grand Marshal for Thursday’s two 150-mile qualifying races — the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.
- Raybestos Rookie Lineup … Six NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will contend for the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. They are Patrick Carpentier, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr., Michael McDowell, Regan Smith and Jacques Villeneuve.
Carpentier, Franchitti, Hornish and Villeneuve all are former open-wheel stars transitioning to stock cars.
Franchitti, the reigning Indy Racing League champion, Hornish and Villeneuve are former Indianapolis 500 champions.
McDowell, 24, will take over the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota following the season’s fifth race, when Michael Waltrip Racing teammate David Reutimann steps out of it to replace the retiring Dale Jarrett in the No. 44 UPS Toyota.
Smith, 25, begins his first fulltime season in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 01 Principal Financial Group Chevrolet. He ran seven races on a part-time basis last season.
IMPORTANT: All information, schedules and/or scheduled events is/are subject to change without notice. Please
check with the source to confirm.
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