CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Daytona 500 Race Report

Event: 62nd Daytona 500
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (65 laps/65 laps/70 laps)
Note I: Rain 20 laps into the Daytona 500 postponed the remainder of the race to Monday.
Note II: Race extended nine laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 29th/6th (Running, completed 209 of 209 laps)
Point Standing: 7th with 31 points, 19 out of first

Race Winner:      Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-65):

Started 29th, finished 38th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang avoided potential early race trouble by staying at the back of the field until the race was red flagged for rain on lap 20.
● The race resumed Monday under the late-afternoon Florida sun, and Bowyer continued his strategy of running at the back to avoid damage in case of an accident.
● Accidents on lap 59 eliminated a few cars, and Bowyer was able to dodge the calamity.
● In the closing laps of the stage, Bowyer reported his side mirror had broken off, so the team used the stage break to make repairs.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 65-130):

Started 38th, finished 27th.
● Bowyer started at the back of the field, continuing his conservative strategy and knowing “we can catch up to the front pack when we need to.”
● The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Fords joined up midway through the stage and safely ran together.
● No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang stayed clear of a lap-90 accident that eliminated two more cars.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 131-209):

Started 30th, finished sixth.
● Bowyer told his crew to expect to ride until about lap 150, when he would make his move toward the front of the field.
● Business began picking up at the front of the field as the leading cars ran three-by-three with 60 laps remaining in the race.
● The SHR teammates continued to run together in a safe area with 40 laps remaining as the laps wound down and tensions built.
● Bowyer and the SHR Fords pitted under green for two tires each and returned to the track with 30 laps remaining.
● The strategy moved Bowyer into the top-five.
● Bowyer stayed at the front for the remainder of the race, dodging several more massive wrecks.
● His chance for victory ended on a restart in overtime when contact from behind sent him to the grass, damaging the Ford.

Notes:

● Bowyer earned his 13th top-10 in 29 career, points-paying NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona.
● Denny Hamlin won his second-straight Daytona 500. It was his third victory in the Great American Race and his 38th career NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● Hamlin’s margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was .014 of a second, the second-closest victory in Daytona 500 history.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the Daytona 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Hamlin leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a seven-point advantage over second-place Blaney.

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Las Vegas 400 on Sunday, Feb. 23, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.