Joey Logano holds off Kevin Harvick to win 57th Daytona 500


Joey Logano outlasted both a green-white-checkered finish and a strong last-lap challenge from runner-up Kevin Harvick to win Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500 under caution.

Logano, whose previous best finish in the 500 was ninth, took the lead on Lap 191 and held on for the final 13 laps to earn his first career 500 win. The race finished under caution after a multi-car last lap wreck on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

At 24, Logano becomes the second-youngest driver to win the 500 (Trevor Bayne was the youngest at 20 years old in 2011).

“I can’t believe it, this is absolutely amazing,” Logano said. “This is awesome. The Daytona 500! Oh my God! Are you kidding me? Unbelievable.”

MORE: Unofficial Results, Winnings, and Race Stats – 57th Daytona 500

Logano tried to maintain his calm and focus on what he had to do during the red flag period to clean up debris from the wreck between Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon on Lap 197, which set up the GWC and resulting last-lap caution.

“Everything,” Logano said when asked what he was thinking while waiting. “I was trying to stay relaxed. You had a red flag and that gave you the opportunity to think of everything. I’m like still in complete awe. I can’t believe this.”

source: AP
Joey Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500. (AP photo)

It was the ninth — and obviously the biggest — win of the Connecticut native’s 220-race Sprint Cup career.

Harvick finished second, followed by last year’s 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.

“I really thought everything was lined up pretty well coming down the backstretch,” Harvick said. “I was trying to back up to Junior and get a run so we were lined up with a little distance coming off Turn 4.”

Added Earnhardt, “We had a really fast car, maybe the best car here. I had a lot of confidence to keep digging and get some spots back. I’m just a little disappointed I let the guys down because we should have won the race.”

Sixth through 10th were Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

There were 27 lead changes with 12 different leaders.

Thirty-three cars finished on the lead lap.

The race appeared headed to one of the tightest finishes seen in years, with a pack of more than 15 cars all in tight, three-wide tandem starting about Lap 189.

Then with three laps left in the scheduled 200-lap event, Allgaier and Dillon got together. That brought out a caution and then a nearly seven-minute red flag stoppage to complete cleanup of debris, setting up three extra laps for a 203-lap outcome.

Making the 23rd and final Daytona 500 start of his career, pole-sitter Jeff Gordon led at the halfway point of the race, having paced the field for 77 of the first 100 laps.

source: Getty Images
Jeff Gordon acknowledges cheers of the crowd prior to the 23rd and last Daytona 500 of his career. (Getty Images)

Even though he eventually led 87 laps, the most of any driver, Gordon finished 33rd after being one of several cars involved in a last-lap wreck.

“For some reason, I’m still like smiling and enjoying every moment,” Gordon said. “Obviously, I enjoyed the first half (of the race) a lot more than the second half. What an amazing car we had. We were out there in the front, controlling the race.

“This was an amazing week, an amazing day and I’m just in this different place that’s so foreign to me but so incredible, me taking it all in and enjoying every moment. Right now, I’m a little bit sad, this is my final Daytona 500, but I’m more upset that we didn’t have a shot at winning there at the end.”

As for how the two replacement drivers in the field fared:

* Two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton, filling in for the injured Kyle Busch, finished 18th in his first career Sprint Cup race.

* Regan Smith, replacing the suspended Kurt Busch, finished 16th. It marked the first time a Busch brother has not appeared in a Sprint Cup race since late 2001.

On Lap 160, Brad Keselowski’s hopes for a first Daytona 500 win went up in smoke when he became the second of three drivers to suffer engine failure in the race.

“I guess (it was) an oil containment issue, something in the oil pan, broke something important,” Keselowski, who finished 41st, told Fox Sports. “We were just starting to get position for the last run. Had just got to the top five, and it broke.”

Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman tangled after going through oil that was laid down on the track by Keselowski’s Ford.

While McMurray was able to continue on, Newman suffered damage to the right side of his Chevrolet, taking his car to the garage for repairs.

The third engine to expire came on Lap 175, when Ryan Blaney’s Wood Brothers Racing Ford also went up in smoke.

Two of the top names and potential favorites to win Sunday’s race were involved in an early wreck on Lap 41.

source: AP
Tony Stewart’s hopes of finally getting his first Daytona 500 win ended early in this wreck with Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip. (AP photo)

Tony Stewart and two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth were part of a four-car scrum that collected Blaney and two-time 500 winner Michael Waltrip.

Stewart, who hoped to finally win his first Daytona 500 in his 17th career start in The Great American Race, suffered significant right front end damage, particularly around the fender.

Stewart’s car was taken to the garage for repairs, but was officially ruled out of the race on Lap 140, finishing 42nd.

Kenseth had right side damage, as well, but it was less extensive as Stewart’s, and fell one lap down while repairs were made.

Kenseth eventually finished one lap down in 35th place.

Blaney’s and Waltrip’s cars suffered minor damage. All three drivers were able to get back into the race.

From a TV replay, it appeared Stewart got loose, was tapped by Blaney and Kenseth hit the wall trying to avoid the wreck in front of him.

Stewart said on his team radio, “I’ll take the blame for that one. One hundred percent my fault. It started getting tighter, but we didn’t have a problem elsewhere.”

Landon Cassill was the first driver to exit the race with engine failure on Lap 19.

“It was sudden, just a typical engine failure where you never see it coming,” Cassill said, per a Chevrolet media release. “The most important thing is that we raced our way into the Daytona 500 and we would have liked to have scored a few more points than what we are going to end up scoring today.”

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North Wilkesboro’s worn surface will prove challenging to drivers


NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — Three Cup drivers got their first chance to experience North Wilkesboro Speedway’s worn racing surface Tuesday and said tires will play a key role in the NASCAR All-Star Race there on May 21.

Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick took part in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday. That test was to continue Wednesday.

The verdict was unanimous about how important tire wear will be.

“This place has got a lot of character to it,” Reddick said. “Not a lot of grip and it’s pretty unforgiving. It’s a really fun place.”

Dillon said: “If you use up your tire too early, you’re going to really be in trouble. You really got to try to make those four tires live.”

Buescher said: “The surface here was so worn out already that we expect to be all over the place. The speeds are fairly slow just because of the amount of grip here. It’s hard to get wide open until you’re straight.”

Reddick noted the drop in speed over a short run during Tuesday’s test. That will mean a lot of off-throttle time.

“I think we were seeing a second-and-a-half falloff or so over even 50 laps and that was kind of surprising for me we didn’t have more falloff,” he said. “But, one little miscue, misstep into Turn 1 or Turn 3, you lose a second sliding up out of the groove and losing control of your car.”

“That’s with no traffic. Maybe with more traffic and everything, the falloff will be more, but certainly we’re out of control from I’d say Lap 10 on. You have to really take care of your car. … It’s really hard 30-40 laps into a run to even get wide open.”

Chris Buescher runs laps during a Goodyear tire test at North Wilkesboro Speedway, while Austin Dillon is on pit road. (Photo: Dustin Long)

One thing that stood out to Dillon was how the facility looks.

While the .625-mile racing surface remains the same since Cup last raced there in 1996, most everything else has changed.

In some cases, it is fresh red paint applied to structures but other work has been more extensive, including repaving the infield and pit road, adding lights for night racing, adding SAFER barriers, the construction of new suites in Turn 4 and new stands along the backstretch.

“It’s cool to see how much they’ve done to the track, the suites, the stands that they’re putting in,” Dillon said. “To me, the work that is going in here, we’re not just coming for one race. We’re coming here for a while. I’m excited about that.”

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup race at COTA


Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has attracted an entry list that includes talent beyond that of the tour regulars.

Jordan Taylor, who is substituting in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet for injured Chase Elliott, brings a resume that includes 31 IMSA class wins, two 24 Hours of Daytona overall wins and two IMSA wins at COTA.

MORE: NBC Driver Rankings: Christopher Bell is No. 1

Jenson Button won the Formula One championship in 2009 and has five F1 starts at COTA. He is scheduled to be a driver for the NASCAR entry in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kimi Raikkonen, entered by Trackhouse Racing as part of its Project 91 program, won the 2007 F1 championship and has eight F1 starts at the Austin track.

They will draw attention at COTA this weekend, along with these other drivers to watch:


Brad Keselowski

  • Points position: 5th
  • Best seasonal finish: 2nd (Atlanta I)
  • Past at COTA: 19th and 14th in two career starts

Keselowski hasn’t been a star in road course racing, but his 2023 season has started well, and he figures to be in the mix at the front Sunday. He led the white-flag lap at Atlanta last Sunday before Joey Logano passed him for the win.

AJ Allmendinger

  • Points position: 17th
  • Best seasonal finish: 6th (Daytona 500)
  • Past at COTA: 5th and 33rd in two starts

The Dinger is a road course expert. Last year at COTA, he was involved in tight racing on the final lap with Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman before Chastain emerged with the victory.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Auto Club)
  • Past at COTA: Two straight top fours, including a win

Chastain lifted Trackhouse Racing’s profile by scoring his — and the team’s — first Cup victory at COTA last season. He’s not shy about participating in the last-lap bumping and thumping that often mark road course races.


Chris Buescher

  • Points position: 13th
  • Best seasonal finish: 4th (Daytona 500)
  • Past at COTA: 13th and 21st in two starts

Buescher has never led a lap at COTA and is coming off a 35th-place finish at Atlanta after being swept up in a Lap 190 crash. Although he has shown the power to run near the front this year, he has four consecutive finishes of 13th or worse.

Alex Bowman

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Las Vegas I)
  • Past at COTA: Two straight top 10s

Bowman’s four-race run of consistent excellence (finishes of fifth, eighth, third and ninth) ended at Atlanta as he came home 14th and failed to lead a lap. At COTA, he is one of only four drivers with top-10 finishes in both races.

William Byron

  • Points position: 28th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I)
  • Past at COTA: 11th and 12th in two starts

Involvement in an accident at Atlanta ended Byron’s two-race winning streak. He’ll be looking to lead a lap at COTA for the first time.



Three Reaume Brothers Racing team members suspended by NASCAR


Three members of the Reaume Brothers Racing No. 33 Craftsman Truck Series team have been suspended for three races by NASCAR after a piece of tungsten ballast came off their truck during last Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The suspensions were announced Tuesday.

Crew chief Gregory Rayl and crew members Matthew Crossman and Travis Armstrong were suspended because of the safety violation. Mason Massey is the team’s driver.

MORE: Xfinity driver Josh Williams suspended for one race

In a tweet following the announcement of the penalty, the team said it will not file an appeal. “The ballast became dislodged only after the left side ballast container had significant contact with the racing surface,” according to the statement. “We would like to be clear that there was no negligence on the part of RBR personnel.”

NASCAR also announced Tuesday that Truck Series owner/driver Cory Roper, who had been suspended indefinitely for violating the substance abuse policy, has been reinstated.

The Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series are scheduled to race this weekend at Circuit of the Americas.


Josh Williams suspended for one race after Atlanta infraction


NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Josh Williams has been suspended for one race because of his actions during last Saturday’s Xfinity race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Williams will be ineligible to participate in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He would be able to return for the April 1 race at Richmond, Virginia.

Williams was penalized for a “behavioral” infraction, specifically disobeying a NASCAR request.

In a tweet after the suspension was announced, Williams said: “I stand behind what I did and I don’t regret any decisions I made. I stand behind NASCAR for these decisions and will continue and always support them.” He said Alex Labbe will drive the team’s No. 92 car at Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

MORE: Three Reaume Brothers Racing team members suspended

NASCAR officials ordered Williams off the track during Saturday’s race after his car was involved in an accident. Debris falling from his car prompted a caution flag, leading NASCAR to order him to park.

Instead of going to the garage area, Williams parked his car at the start-finish line and walked to pit road.

Williams was escorted to the NASCAR hauler office at the track. He waited there until the conclusion of the race and then met with officials for about 20 minutes.

MORE: NBC Power Rankings: Christopher Bell rises to the top

Section 8.8.9.I of the Xfinity Series Rule Book states that with the Damaged Vehicle Policy, NASCAR can order a car off the track: “At the discretion of the Series Managing Director, if a damaged vehicle elects not to enter pit road on the first opportunity or if a damaged vehicle exits pit road before sufficient repairs had been made and thereafter causes or extends a caution (e.g. leaking fluid, debris, etc.), then said vehicle may incur a lap(s) or time penalty or may not be permitted to return to the Race.”

Williams later admitted he had violated a rule but said he was frustrated by the NASCAR decision.

“We all work really hard and to only run ‘X’ amount of laps and then to have something like a piece of Bear Bond and put us out of the race, it’s really frustrating,” Williams said after his meeting with series officials. “Small team. We work really hard. We’ve got to make our sponsors happy, right? It doesn’t do any good sitting in the garage. It is what it is. We’ll learn from it and move on.

“I told them I was a little bit frustrated,” Williams said of NASCAR’s call, “but it was in the rule book.”