Menard finishes 21st in season opener after suffering damage in Last-Lap Incident at Daytona. Paul Menard started the "Great American Race" from the 16th position on Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway and salvaged a 21st-place finish despite incurring damage during a last-lap incident.
During the beginning stages of the race, the field began to spread out single file and the Wisconsin native relayed to crew chief "Slugger" Labbe that the car was loose on entry and tight on exit in the corners.
Once the remainder of the field cycled through pit stops, the driver of the No. 27 Chevrolet found himself running back inside the top 15. As the race continued, the No. 27 pit crew made several pit stops for fresh Goodyear tires and fuel.
Menard ran as high as 11th at lap 140, before getting shuffled to the inside line and slipping back to 22nd on lap 160. Utilizing the middle and inside racing grooves, Menard made his way back inside the top 15 with just five laps remaining.
He was a strong contender in the closing laps, but a last-lap incident in turn one caused significant damage to the front end of the No. 27 machine, relegating Menard to a 21st-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Paul Menard (Start - 16, Finish - 21, Laps Led - 1, Points - 20): "Our PEAK/Menards Chevrolet was pretty good in the early part of today's race. We were able to run inside the top 15 for the majority of the day.
When the field got stung out single file, it was difficult to pass and toward the end we got shuffled back several positions. We just couldn't make up any ground and then we got caught up in an accident on the final lap.
It was a tough way to end the day, but we'll keep our heads up and look for a better result in Phoenix next Sunday."
Multi-Car Accident Relegates Kevin Harvick to a 42nd-Place Finish in the Daytona 500
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS team lined up third for the 55th-running of the Daytona 500 and looked to collect their third victory during Budweiser Speedweeks, but instead brought home a disappointing 42nd-place result.
Harvick maintained a running position within the top 10 during the early laps of the "Great American Race", until his red and white machine was collected in a multi-car accident on lap 33.
Suffering severe damage from the incident, the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team went to the garage to make repairs to the wrecked Chevrolet SS.
The Bakersfield, Calif., native returned to the track on lap 127 and immediately reported the car wasn't handling properly and pulled down pit road for additional repairs.
Harvick returned to the racing surface again and completed enough laps to collect a 42nd-place finishing position in the 200-lap affair.
Kevin Harvick (Start - 3, Finish - 42, Laps Led - 0, Points - 38): "I let off a little bit to miss the wreck. It looked like the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) hooked the No. 5 (Kasey Kahne) and that kind of just started a chain reaction. I don't know who was behind me, but it's just one of those deals.
The Budweiser crew worked really hard to get me back on track and gain a little ground, so I've got to thank them for all of their efforts today."
Late-Race Accident Relegates Jeff Burton to 30th-Place Finish in the Daytona 500
Contact with another competitor late in Sunday's Daytona 500 sent Jeff Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet spinning into the outside retaining wall and relegated the team to a 30th-place finish in the 55th running of "The Great American Race."
The South Boston Va., native started the 200-lap race from the 18th position after a top-10 finish in Thursday's Budweiser Duel 150-mile qualifying race. From the start of event, the No. 31 Chevrolet showcased speed while Burton managed to avoid a nine-car melee on lap 34 and climbed into the top 10 just before the halfway mark.
The Richard Childress Racing driver maintained his seventh-place running position for a majority of the next 80 laps until he ran over a piece of debris under caution-flag conditions which, forcing the team to make an unscheduled pit stop just before green-flag racing resumed on lap 147.
While climbing back to the front of the field, bad luck struck on lap 178 when hard contact from another competitor sent the No. 31 machine spinning into the outside retaining wall, causing significant damage to the right-front fender.
The damage to the black and gold machine was significant enough to force the team to retire to the garage, and Burton was credited with a 30th-place result.
Jeff Burton (Start-18, Finish-30, Laps Led-0, Points-28): "We had a Caterpillar Chevrolet that was pretty good today. We lost track position just before the accident because we had that cut tire.
We were going around one of those cars and he just hung a right on me on the straightaway. It was a hard hit, but I'm ok. We appreciate all the support from our partners like Caterpillar and Cheerios. It was a tough way to end the Daytona 500."
Austin Dillon and the No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Team Post Disappointing Finish Following On-Track Incident in the Daytona 500
Austin Dillon started Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet from the eighth position in Sunday's Daytona 500 but posted an undesirable 31st-place finish following a multi-car incident on lap 137 of 200.
Dillon was a mainstay in the top 10 throughout the early stages of the race as the 43-car field formed a single file line around the high side of the racing surface.
He worked with his RCR team to make routine trips down pit road under both green-flag and yellow-flag conditions for tires and fuel over the course of the event.
While racing around the 2.5-mile superspeedway in the 24th spot, several cars directly in front of Dillon collided on lap 137 and the Welcome, N.C., driver was collected in a multi-car incident that resulted in significant damage to the front of the No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet.
The RCR team immediately went to work, exhibiting their never-give-up attitude as Dillon nursed the battered machine to the garage area.
Following a series of repairs to the front-end and rear of the car, Dillon rejoined the field in the 33rd position, 33 laps down, and ultimately posted a 31st-place finish in "The Great American Race."
Austin Dilllon (Start - 8, Finish - 31, Laps Led - 0, Points - N/A): "I want to thank General Mills, their Honey Nut Cheerios brand and Kroger for giving us this opportunity. It wasn't the day we were hoping for, but luck was not on our side this weekend at Daytona International Speedway."
Richard Childress Racing