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)
Start/Finish: 12th/37th (Mechanical, completed 174 of 209 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.
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
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):
● Cole Custer started his first Daytona 500 from the 12th position and ended it in 22nd.
● On lap 12 the Haas Automation driver reported his Mustang was tight while he ran in the 20th position.
● The Haas Automation driver reported his Ford was starting to get snappy loose on lap 17 while he remained in the top-20.
● After the race was postponed due to rain, Custer restarted in 20th on Monday and visited pit road for fuel and four tires before the green flag.
● On lap 43, he took over the third spot.
● Just before lap 50 the California native remained in the top-20.
● Under caution on lap 60 the Ford driver pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments, then restarted 15th.
● Custer ended Stage 1 in 22nd and did not pit.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 66-130):
● Custer started Stage 2 in the second position and completed it 28th.
● Caution was called on lap 91 after Custer narrowly missed the No. 00 spinning in front of him.
● He pitted twice under caution on lap 91 and restarted 30th with four fresh tires and fuel.
● On lap 100, Custer reported the Mustang felt like it was on and off the racetrack really hard.
● The Haas Automation driver reported the car was “feeling pretty good” on lap 123.
● The No. 41 pitted during the Stage 2 break for fuel and four tires before coming back down to top off with fuel.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 131-209):
● Custer began final stage from 21st and ended the race 37th.
● On lap 145, the Ford driver was in the 30th position working with his teammates in a secondary pack.
● “It’s getting a little tight, but not bad,” Custer relayed to the crew on lap 151.
● The Haas Automation driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 169 for two right-side tires and fuel.
● Custer reported smoke in the cockpit on lap 171. Shortly thereafter, he came down pit road for the Haas crew to assess the issue.
● The crew lifted the hood and sent the No. 41 machine to the garage with an irreparable issue to end his day prematurely.
● 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 is now tied with Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon for third-most on the all-time Daytona 500 win list.
● 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.
Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It looks like we had a problem with a gear. Those things are usually pretty bulletproof. I don’t know. It’s tough because we just rode around all day to position ourselves for the end and it just didn’t work out. We had a good car. I think we probably were going to be in contention for a top 10 there, but it just doesn’t always work out sometimes.”
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.