Wood Brothers finish 23rd in Rain Shortened Daytona 500 With light rain greeting the fans and teams as they arrived for the 51st running of the Daytona 500, the big story of the morning was the weather. The forecast called for clearing skies...
Wood Brothers finish 23rd in Rain Shortened Daytona 500
With light rain greeting the fans and teams as they arrived for the 51st running of the Daytona 500, the big story of the morning was the weather. The forecast called for clearing skies early in the afternoon with rain returning at some point later in the evening. As if following a script, the early showers stopped and the sun broke through the clouds for the start of the "Great American Race."
The #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion took the green flag in 34th position. Experience had taught both the Wood Brothers and driver Bill Elliott that success at Daytona meant being around at the end and avoiding the inevitable "Big One" -- a term used for the one big wreck involving a number of cars that usually occurred during a restrictor plate race. Bill spent a majority of the race sorting through traffic and making adjustments to the car to make it handle better.
While there were a few minor incidents during the first 120 laps, no real excitement occurred until lap 124. While battling for the "Lucky Dog" position, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made contact - when it was all said and done, 10 cars were involved in the "Big One."
Fortunately for Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers, their strategy paid off allowing them to avoid the melee. The mishap moved Bill into 15th place. The race restarted on lap 133. But just five laps later, another caution flag flew because of an incident involving Jeff Burton and Paul Menard. Under this caution, the team brought the #21 car into the pits for tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 143 with Bill taking the green flag in 24th position.
Bill moved up one spot to 23rd when Aric Almirola went spinning down the back stretch after contact from Kasey Kahne -- once again bringing out the caution flag. At the time, few realized that this caution meant the end of green flag racing. While under caution, the clouds opened and the rain again fell -- so much so that NASCAR called the race. Matt Kenseth was declared the race winner. Bill Elliott was officially scored in 23rd place.
The Wood Brothers will race again in Atlanta on March 8, 2009.