Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pepsi 400 (Race No. 18 of 36) Daytona Beach, Fla. Weather: Partly cloudy and hot (night race) Winner: Jamie McMurray, driver of the ...
Event: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pepsi 400 (Race No. 18 of 36)
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Weather: Partly cloudy and hot (night race)
Winner: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Ford from Roush-Fenway Racing
Top-five finishers: McMurray, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon
Race recap: After earlier being penalized for an illegal, on-track pass, Jamie McMurray rallied to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. After an intense, late-race battle, McMurray edged Kyle Busch by about five inches at the checkered flag, with the margin of victory being 0.005 seconds, one of the closest victories in NASCAR history and a record for this race.
McMurray's second career Nextel Cup victory ended a 166-race winless drought. His only other win came in his third race ever, at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October 2002.
Kyle Busch almost pulled off a bit of history also. After winning the NASCAR Busch Series race at the track earlier in the day (the event was postponed from Friday due to rain), he was looking to win two NASCAR races in the same day.
Clint Bowyer continued his great season in the Cup Series by leading the most laps of any driver with 55 out of 160. Like McMurray, he also had mid-race problems, suffering an ignition malfunction that dropped him from the lead back to 19th place. He worked his way through the pack and to the front, but just couldn't negotiate traffic on the final sprint and wound up seventh.
In all there were 28 lead changes among 12 drivers and eight caution flags for a total of 32 laps.
Goodyear quote -- Rick Heinrich, sales manager for Nextel Cup: "We ran the same combination of Goodyear Eagles that we used at Daytona in February. Teams saw a wide range of conditions over the weekend with rain, hot sun and varying track temperatures. These factors created a very big challenge for crew chiefs trying to optimize car handling. Our tires worked well throughout the weekend, performing reliably in both events."
Championship leader Jeff Gordon finished the race in the fifth position to pad his overall lead. He is now in front of second-place Denny Hamlin by 277 points after 18 of 26 points races.
The Nextel Cup Series visits Chicagoland Speedway for race No. 19 next Sunday.
-credit: goodyear racing