By: Becca Cottingham
Photo Credit: NASCAR Twitter Page
We head to Daytona under the lights for the last race before the chase. They are three wide in certain areas of the track. This is a slightly different package so all drivers are getting used to the different setup. William Bryon held the lead for the first several laps. Then Kevin Harvick took over and then we see Denny Hamlin get his chance to lead. We go into the competition caution where a lot of the drivers just decided fuel only. Michael McDowell also had engine issues and they ended up going an extra lap. We head back to green and the drivers settle back down into a single file race until almost the end of stage one. When Chase Elliott ended up debris on his grill and distrusted the whole line to get it removed. This generated two lines once again to finish stage one. Austin Dillion pulls out of line at the last minute to attempt to get around Chase Elliott. He does not have help with Denny Hamlin so he starts falling backward. Chase Elliott will win stage one.
We head back to green with Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr battling for the lead. Several drivers have been provided directly to try to save as much fuel as possible. Chase Elliot is one of those drivers and he has fallen behind Corey LaJoie. Most everyone will need to stop for fuel due to the fuel window. This issue is truly taken care of as drivers check-up and cause a crash a little bit further behind them. This will allow drivers to come to grab fuel and maybe tires under caution. Things will start heating up as we go back racing now that most have the fuel needed. We will see the bump drafting and pushing by drivers. Kyle Larson has finally made his way towards the front trying to offset some of Denny Hamlin’s moves. We see multiple drivers going back and forth once again for the lead. Joey Logano blocks and holds everyone off to win stage two.
We have some interesting calls going into stage three with fuel only for Denny Hamlin. This gained him thirteen spots on pit road. Fuel will probably be another issue unless we see cautions. Everyone is all over the track. The Ford makes the call to come down pit road together while everyone else stays out. Rick Ware Racing had multiple drivers wreck and bring out the caution. This leaves team Chevy and team Toyota still out without pitting. There is a mix with this caution on some with fuel only, and a mixture of tires and fuel. This will lead to a multitude of cautiousness and wrecks. Drivers were blocking and Ryan Blaney just did made it through the final big crash to become the unofficial winner at Daytona.