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Daytona 500


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500 full of newcomers, past victors and cheats

 

By Jarrod Breeze, NASCAR.COM

February 17, 2007

10:14 AM EST

 

The time for the Daytona 500 finally has come, the 49th running of NASCAR's season-opening gala in which the starting lineup has as many past winners as drivers who have been caught trying to circumvent the rules -- six.

 

Rookie David Gilliland, a bright spot in an otherwise bleak beginning to the 2007 season, will lead the grid to green Sunday some two hours after FOX comes on the air at 1 p.m. ET for pre-race pomp and circumstance.

Racer's Edge

 

Gilliland spotlights an all-Robert Yates Racing front row, with freshly unretired Ricky Rudd starting on the outside.

 

A pair of former Cup champions looking for redemption in '07 start on Row 2. Tony Stewart, who has won everything but the Florida state lottery in the year's early going, is third alongside Kurt Busch, who begins his second season in the No. 2 Dodge. Neither has ever won the Daytona 500.

 

Jeff Gordon has, but a fourth victory might be hard to come by after his car failed inspection following his win Thursday in the second Gatorade Duel. Gordon will start next-to-last in the 43-car field.

 

Seems Gordon had the misfortune to get caught with a violation at the worst time. Another former 500 winner, Michael Waltrip, whose team committed the most serious of infractions among the six offenders, raced his way into the field in the first twin qualifier -- in the backup car of Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Reutimann.

 

Despite having his qualifying time disallowed, Matt Kenseth will start 10th.

 

One driver void of car ill-tampering has been Dale Earnhardt Jr., a former winner who will start fifth.

 

"I couldn't be happier with my crew," Earnhardt said. "I really like all of the guys around me and we're all really focused on the racecar and motivated to go out and win another of these [Daytona 500s].

It's a race we all look forward to for months and months, and I'll be glad to get in the racecar and let it all hang out. We won the 500 in 2004, and it really set the tone and the attitude for the rest of the season."

 

Jimmie Johnson overcame a cheating scandal at last year's Daytona 500 to win the race, then cooly proceded to win the Cup championship.

 

"Our chances are good but this year's 500 is a lot different than last year's," said Johnson, who will start 21st. "The car that I would really like to have is sitting over in Daytona USA right now.

 

"We have been working on trying to get our car to handle but we lost too much straight-away speed in the process. So we have to find a happy medium."

 

Newcomer Toyota will have four cars in the Daytona 500, three of which belong to Michael Waltrip Racing. The other is the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 Camry, with driver Dave Blaney putting up the manufacturer's most consistent times in preseason tests.

 

"Our Toyota Camrys were fast, and we feel very confident in what we'll be able to do not only in Daytona, but for the entire season," Blaney said. "We're excited about this year, and we think we have the chance to really improve the performance of this race team right from the start of the year."

 

Four drivers will be making their first Daytona 500 start: Gilliland, Reutimann, Juan Montoya and David Ragan, who replaces Mark Martin after 19 years in the No. 6 Ford.

 

"I think we are ready for Daytona. I have mentally and physically prepared myself for this race," said Ragan, who will start 35th. "This is one of the biggest races of the season if not the biggest and I want to finish every lap and improve every lap.

 

"I know I have the resources to get the job done so I am going to take advantage of that and do the very best I can."

 

 

 

Track Details

 

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, FL

 

COMPLETED: 1959

DISTANCE: 2.5 miles

SHAPE: Tri-oval

 

BANKING: 31?

TURNS: 3?

FRONTSTRETCH: 3,800 feet

BACKSTRETCH: 3,000 feet

SEATING: 168,000

 

WEATHER: Partly Sunny 51?

 

 

Media Coverage

 

NASCAR RaceDay 12:00 PM SPEED

Daytona 500 2:00 PM FOX

NASCAR HotPass on DirecTV Free Preview Mix Channel 3:29 PM Channel 794

NASCAR HotPass on DirecTV Free Preview Stewart Channel 3:29 PM Channel 795

NASCAR HotPass on DirecTV Free Preview Johnson Channel 3:29 PM Channel 796

NASCAR HotPasson DirecTV Free Preview Harvick Channel 3:29 PM Channel 797

NASCAR HotPass on DirecTV Free Preview Waltrip Channel 3:29 PM Channel 798

NASCAR HotPass on DirecTV Free Preview Earnhardt Jr. Channel 3:29 PM Channel 799

NASCAR TrackPass Free Preview 3:30 PM NASCAR.com

NASCAR Victory Lane 8:00 PM SPEED

NASCAR Now 9:00 PM ESPN

 

(all times ET)

 

 

 

 

Race Lineup

1	 38	David Gilliland	Ford	   M&M's   		 186.320	48.304	Leader
2	 88	Ricky Rudd		 Ford	   Snickers		 185.609	48.489	-0.185
3	 20	Tony Stewart	   Chevrolet  The Home Depot 	
4	 2	 Kurt Busch		 Dodge	  Miller Lite 	
5	 8	 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet  Budweiser 	
6	 40	David Stremme	  Dodge	  Coors Light 	
7	 31	Jeff Burton		Chevrolet  Cingular Wireless 	
8	 5	 Kyle Busch		 Chevrolet  Kellogg's / CARQUEST 	
9	 11	Denny Hamlin	   Chevrolet  FedEx Express 	
10	17	Matt Kenseth	   Ford	   DEWALT 	
11	07	Clint Bowyer	   Chevrolet  Jack Daniel's 	
12	18	J.J. Yeley		 Chevrolet  Interstate Batteries 	
13	1	 Martin Truex Jr.   Chevrolet  Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 	
14	99	Carl Edwards	   Ford	   Office Depot 	
15	55	Michael Waltrip	Toyota	 NAPA Auto Parts 	
16	12	Ryan Newman		Dodge	  ALLTEL 	
17	25	Casey Mears		Chevrolet  National Guard / GMAC 	
18	13	Joe Nemechek	   Chevrolet  CertainTeed 	
19	21	Ken Schrader	   Ford	   Little Debbie 	
20	96	Tony Raines		Chevrolet  DLP HDTV 	
21	48	Jimmie Johnson	 Chevrolet  Lowe's 
22	109   Mike Wallace	   Chevrolet  Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts 	
23	160   Boris Said		 Ford	   SOBE - No Fear 	
24	26	Jamie McMurray	 Ford	   Crown Royal 	
25	16	Greg Biffle		Ford	   Ameriquest 	
26	01	Mark Martin		Chevrolet  U.S. Army
27	43	Bobby Labonte	  Dodge	  Cheerios / Betty Crocker
28	9	 Kasey Kahne		Dodge	  Dodge Dealers / UAW
29	45	Kyle Petty		 Dodge	  Wells Fargo
30	19	Elliott Sadler	 Dodge	  Dodge Dealers / UAW
31	66	Jeff Green		 Chevrolet  Best Buy
32	10	Scott Riggs		Dodge	  Valvoline / Stanley Tools
33	41	Reed Sorenson	  Dodge	  Target
34	29	Kevin Harvick	  Chevrolet  Shell / Pennzoil
35	6	 David Ragan*	   Ford	   AAA
36	42	Juan Montoya*	  Dodge	  Texaco / Havoline
37	22	Dave Blaney		Toyota	 Caterpillar
38	14	Sterling Marlin	Chevrolet  Waste Management
39	7	 Robby Gordon	   Ford	   Jim Beam
40	00	David Reutimann*   Toyota 	Domino's Pizza
41	70	Johnny Sauter	  Chevrolet  Yellow Trans.
42	24	Jeff Gordon		Chevrolet  DuPont 
43	44	Dale Jarrett	   Toyota	 UPS 				   Champion's Provisional -

(*) Denotes Rookie

 

Did Not Qualify

44	36	Jeremy Mayfield	Toyota	  360 OTC
45	23	Mike Skinner	   Toyota	  Bill Davis Racing
46	139   Regan Smith		Chevrolet   Ginn Resorts
47	4	 Ward Burton		Chevrolet   State Water Heaters
48	15	Paul Menard*	   Chevrolet   PEAK / Menards
49	84	A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota	  Red Bull
50	34	Kevin Lepage	   Dodge	   Detoxify Brand / Makoto Sauces
51	37	Bill Elliott	   Dodge	   Huddle House
52	83	Brian Vickers	  Toyota	  Red Bull
53	78	Kenny Wallace	  Chevrolet   Furniture Row Racing
54	171   Frank Kimmel	   Ford		Fast Track Driving School
55	49	Mike Bliss		 Dodge	   BAM Racing
56	104   Eric McClure	   Chevrolet   Hefty
57	130   Stanton Barrett	Chevrolet   Bad Boy Power Drink
58	27	Kirk Shelmerdine   Chevrolet   Lilly Trucking of Virginia
59	172   Brandon Whitt*	 Chevrolet   Dutch Quality Stone
60	74	Derrike Cope	   Dodge	   Royal Admin.
61	158   James Hylton	   Chevrolet   Retirement Living TV

(*) Denotes Rookie

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A prerace musical act that is actually good. Amazing. But Kelly is hotter with shorter hair. And it looks like she put on weight.

 

Green Flag at 3:30ish...first time the 500 will end after sunset

 

Pretty excited for this...

 

My pick to win it...Mark Martin (Or at least I'll be cheering for him along with Jr, but I'd like to see Mark win the big one.)

God that would be so awesome for I am a lifelong Mark Martin fan. But it's hard for me to pick against Stewart. He has had the fastest car all week long. If it's not Stewart, it'll be a Roush car. Probalby Matt Kenseth. Which would also be awesome for I am a life long Roush fan. :thumbup

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i hate fox. they just like to hype things up for no reason expect to put on their american idols and to promote music as the main event instead of the actual event.

Kelly Clarkson signed a year long contract with NASCAR to be their official musical sponsor. The contract has nothing to do with FOX but I do know where you're coming from since half of the races are on FOX. Blatant product placement.

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30 laps in and the top five are Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and polesitter David Gilliland. David Stremme, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out the top ten. Surprised there has only been one caution thus far.

 

Wow, Kurt Busch really doesn't want Stewart to lead.

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30 laps in and the top five are Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and polesitter David Gilliland. David Stremme, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out the top ten. Surprised there has only been one caution thus far.

 

Wow, Kurt Busch really doesn't want Stewart to lead.

Awesome blockage.

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Seems pretty difficult to pass the leader under green...Considering just had the first green lead change in 50 laps/125 miles.

 

Stewart has a damn good car...I'm impressed Gilliland has been hanging up there...

How's this for impressive: Johnny Sauter was fastest last time by. He's getting close to cracking the top ten after starting well back in the field.

 

Green flag pit stops coming up in about three laps.

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Tony Stewart is the most talented driver out there. It's just a fact, even though I don't like him.

 

I'm becoming a fan of Kurt Busch (especially b/c he took over the 2), but I'd really like to see JJ pull it out.

 

And I'd love to see Montoya break into the top somehow.

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Tony Stewart is the most talented driver out there. It's just a fact, even though I don't like him.

 

I'm becoming a fan of Kurt Busch (especially b/c he took over the 2), but I'd really like to see JJ pull it out.

 

And I'd love to see Montoya break into the top somehow.

Stewart has the fastest car, no doubt. Talent wise, he's damn good but I wouldn't say he has the most. Just my opinion. There might be a little bias involved in my opinion though because he is my most hated driver.

 

Kurt Busch has always been awesome. I really like him when he drove the 97. I really don't understand why people boo him.

 

Montoya has had problems all week in both series. He will win a race this year, though. He has a lot of talent.

 

Caution is out! Looks like Kyle Petty had a problem. Stewart stalls the car, Robby Gordon wrecks on pit road. Chaotic pit stops. Stewart, the race leader is reporting a possible oil pressure problem. And he ran right through Petty's field of debris. He makes a second trip down pit road and the 20 car is currently shown in the 40th position.

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Wow, Stewart and Busch get knocked out... that's a shame for them even though I'd rather see somebody in victory lane besides them. I would LOVE to see Mark Martin win!

 

I cant see why people get into this, it is like watching traffic on I95

 

That's an ignorant comment, just stay off this thread.

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I cant see why people get into this, it is like watching traffic on I95

i agree...but then again...traffic in massachusetts is woeful...as are the roads...so i watch traffic all day, everyday...cant imagine paying or being excited about it...but then again...to each his/her own...on the bright side...the ancestors of this crazy event(because im sorry, its not a sport) did help to bring booze to our ancestors...and that...is something i can be thankful for

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