Bayne makes history with Daytona 500 victory
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
When Jeff Gordon agreed to work with rookie Trevor Bayne during the Gatorade Duels on Thursday, he seemed impressed with the then-19-year-old's (Bayne just turned 20 on Saturday) control and drafting ability. But he probably wasn't so impressed that he expected Bayne to collect the big prize -- the Daytona 500 winner's trophy -- on Sunday.
Bayne did just that, though, and broke Gordon's record of being the youngest winner ever of NASCAR's biggest race. He also became the second-youngest driver to ever win a race at the Sprint Cup level (Joey Logano still holds that honor), and tied Jamie McMurray's record for first-career Sprint Cup win in the least number of starts (second).
"I keep thinking I'm dreaming," Bayne said after the race.
While the race was the second at the Sprint Cup level for Bayne, it was his first, not only at Daytona, but at a restrictor plate track.
"Our first 500! Are you kidding me?" a jubilent Bayne said in victory lane.
The win was the 600th for Ford and the 98th for Wood Brothers Racing, one of the oldest teams in NASCAR. It was the first win for the Wood Brothers organization since Elliott Sadler captured his first-career Cup win while driving for the team in 2001 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bayne wasn't the only record-breaker at Daytona on Sunday. The race, itself, also broke several records. Sunday's Daytona 500 saw 22 leaders and 74 lead changes -- both new records. A new record was also set for number of cautions, with 16, making it the second-slowest Daytona 500 in NASCAR history.
A lot of those 16 cautions were blamed on communication and vision issues. With the two car draft -- a product of the new Daytona pavement -- drivers and spotters spent much of the day talking to and listening in on other drivers (even ones from other teams. Often times, spotters were actually spotting for two drivers, and that communication became difficult when drafting partners were lost and/or changed.
Drivers caught up in cautions throughout the race included Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, David Reutimann, Greg Biffle, A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Brian Vickers, Brian Keselowski, Brad Keselowski, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Travis Kvapil, Matt Kenseth and Juan Montoya, among several others. And several of the aforementioned drivers were players in multiple cautions.
One driver who sustained damage under a caution also involving Kasey Kahne was Carl Edwards. That particular caution was the 14th of the day and came out with just under 20 laps to go when Kahne had a tire issue that sent him into the wall, knocking off a brake rotor. According to Edwards, the rotor hit the front of his car.
The damage, if any, was minimal, and Edwards was around at the end to push Bayne to the win and claim a runner-up finish for himself. Bayne had most recently worked with Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing teammate, David Ragan, but Ragan was black flagged on a restart with just a few laps to go after he failed to maintain his position prior to crossing the start/finish line.
Finishing third and fourth behind the duo of Bayne and Edwards was the tandem of David Gilliland and Bobby Labonte. With Gillilands' third-place finish, Ford not only captured win 600, but also a one-two-three finish.
Rounding out the top-five was Kurt Busch.