By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Courtesy: WZTV
After only accomplishing twenty laps at Daytona yesterday before the rain starting falling at The Great American Race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr started as the leader after to changing to a new team. He then kept the lead for those first twenty laps. The drivers are going to be racing on a very green track. NASCAR let them warm up and they were allowed to fuel. Most of the drivers came back through to make sure they had enough fuel. However, two drivers were hit with penalties Jimmie Johnson with to many men over the wall. Then Brad Keselowski also got hit with to fast over the wall. William Byron and Ricky Stenhouse Jr make contact and turned William Byron around to the inside wall. This will change a lot of things for the end of stage one. However, Chase Elliott was able to keep the lead and win stage one.
The Toyota’s played a huge strategy and saved all their gas by staying in the back of the pack and they did not make a pit stop. This allowed them to take a different pit strategy and come to the front in a different fashion. In stage two we see several Fords try that same strategy but they also seem to have a bigger window than the Toyota’s did for their part in the back. Minus a minor incident stage two stayed fairly calm.
We go into the pits prior to stage three and someone pulled a gas can out of the pit and Martin Truex Jr hit it with his front end. Chase Elliott’s car was the car who had equipment removed from the pit box and will have a penalty. Kevin Harvick pitted too soon and will join Chase Elliott in the back. Things will heat up now that we are in stage three. We had three wide for a run for the lead. Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Ryan Blaney battled it out and Ricky goes below the yellow and passed Ryan Blaney. NASCAR then makes the call and he has to serve the pass through penalty plus make a fuel stop. Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr got into each other. But this did not bring out a caution. We go four wide with less than twenty laps to go in the 500. Kyle Busch blew a tire but also looks like he blew an engine. Joey Logano had a huge push into Aric Amarillo that triggered the big wreck. This collected a lot of drivers. Some were not able to make the required repairs within the six minutes they are allotted. Drivers went three wide again causing another mini wreck that collected several more cars. We went into overtime had another wreck. The second overtime the white flag came out, Chase Elliott wrecked behind the leader but did not cause the caution to come out. The rest of the final lap truly was beating and banging. Ryan Newman was sent flying and landed on his roof. After the accident, Ryan Newman was taken to a local hospital. Our prayers go out to him and his family.
Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney battled it out that the finish was so close that the scoring technology that it was literally a photo/video finish. Denny Hamlin was declared the winner as along as he passes post race inspection.