Friday 5: Corey LaJoie’s personal reset included hair cut

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The long curly hair made Corey LaJoie stand out, but the 31-year-old driver decided in January that it was time for a change. He wanted to attract attention for what he did in a Cup car instead of how he looked outside it.

As part of a personal reset, LaJoie’s hair was cut shortly before the start of this season. 

“The flo is no mo,” he said.

Cutting his hair was a symbolic change for a driver who has had to rely on other ways of gaining attention at times than what happens on the track. 

Much work remains, but starting this season with a 16th-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a 14th-place result at Auto Club Speedway — his best at that track — shows the progress LaJoie and his Spire Motorsports team have made heading into Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Viewed as one of the sport’s potential stars more than a decade ago — LaJoie was selected to the NASCAR Next Class twice, joining Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez in the 2012 Class — lack of funding stymied LaJoie’s progress. 

He didn’t run any races in 2015 in Cup, Xfinity or Trucks. Instead, he served as a crew chief for a team in what is now the ARCA West Series. He talked to Chad Knaus that year about a role that could lead him to being a crew chief in Xfinity or Cup someday before LaJoie decided to resume his driving career.

Five years later, LaJoie gave car owner Rick Hendrick a hand-written letter seeking to be considered to fill Jimmie Johnson’s ride after he retired that season. Hendrick called the letter “heartfelt” and said he had never received anything like that from a driver before. 

While it didn’t get LaJoie the ride, he continued to find other ways to stay relevant when the only reasons he was on TV during a race was “because either I crashed or I was in the way of the leaders,” he said. LaJoie started a podcast and also began co-hosting duties on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio shows.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, LaJoie grew his hair and kept the long, flowing mane until a few weeks ago. He had his hair cut at the same time he was staying off social media for a month.

The goal was to “get rid of that outside noise … and hit the reset,” LaJoie said. “Focus on the things that matter. Focus on trying to get better behind the wheel. Be more of a leader at the shop. One of the easiest things to change was get a haircut, so I did that and kind of got that ball rolling.”

LaJoie knows a haircut doesn’t impact a car’s performance — although he jokes that with less hair he’s got the low drag package — but it’s an approach and attitude that can make a difference at a smaller team as it competes against the sport’s biggest teams. He says additional help from Chevrolet this season has helped. 

The West Coast swing of races at Auto Club, Las Vegas and Phoenix in consecutive weekends can be daunting for small teams such as Spire Motorsports, which has 37 employees in its Cup shop. It’s important to get through the Daytona 500 without a wrecked car and then carry through the three races in the West. Be collected in wrecks or have other issues and it can make it hard to climb back. 

That’s what makes the first two results of the season so important for LaJoie and his team. 

“My stats are getting better every year,” said LaJoie, who had a career-best average finish of 24.3 and scored his first career top-five Cup finish last season. “The group around me is continuing to get better every year.”

While LaJoie has made 202 Cup starts, he’s often faced long odds to finish in the top half of the field. That’s starting to change. 

He has four top-15 finishes in the last 10 races, dating back at to last season. He has six top-20 finishes during that same time. LaJoie had an average finish of 19.6 over the final five playoff races last year (his average finish in the first five playoff races last year was 24.2).

LaJoie was not bequeathed a top-15 finish at the Fontana, California, track last weekend due to a multitude of incidents that eliminated his competition. He earned his finish. LaJoie ranked 11th in average running position for the race and scored a stage point — only the fourth time in the last 47 points races he scored a stage point.

“I think we have shown glimpses of what we’re capable of,” LaJoie said. “It’s hard to be consistent with that because everybody else is good, they’re all pros, they all get paid a lot of money to make race cars to go fast, but I think that I’m as capable as a lot of the guys out there to be able to do that. I think our team is capable of running in the top 20, when we execute, pretty regularly.”

2. How long will Kyle Busch hold Cup record? 

What stands out about Kyle Busch’s record of 19 consecutive Cup seasons with at least a win is that he did it at age 37, meaning he’s won in Cup for more than half his life. 

The question is how long will he hold the mark. It’s possible that rival Joey Logano could take it from Busch before Busch turns 50. Busch’s record is one of a few Cup career marks within reach of active drivers — unlike Richard Petty’s 200 career series wins. 

Busch’s victory last weekend at Auto Club Speedway broke the tie he had with Petty for most consecutive seasons with a win.

“There’s not very many records that you can beat that Richard Petty has, and certainly that was one that I set early on a long, long time ago that I always wanted to achieve and get,” Busch said. “So I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to set that bar and would love to continue to keep raising it.”

The active driver next in line behind Busch is Logano, who has had at least one Cup victory in 11 consecutive seasons. He is tied for 14th on the list with Dale Jarrett (1993-2003), Kevin Harvick (2010-2020) and Brad Keselowski (2011-2021).

Should Busch not win another Cup race after this season — highly unlikely — it would take Logano until the 2031 season to break the mark. Logano would turn 41 that year. Busch would be 46 that year. 

Even if Busch wins races for a couple more Cup seasons, Logano still would be young enough to have a good chance of topping Busch’s total.

If not Logano, who could be next to challenge Busch’s mark?

Chase Elliott has won at least one race for five consecutive seasons. It would take him until 2037 to reach 20 consecutive years with a win. Elliott would turn 42 after that season.

Denny Hamlin has won at least one race in four consecutive seasons, but he’s 42 years old. Hamlin would have to race until 2038 to break Busch’s mark and would turn 58 just after the season.

Alex Bowman also has won at least one race four years in a row. He turns 30 in April. He would be 45 years old in 2038 when he could break Busch’s current mark.

Then there are others further behind.

  • Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would have to win in each of the next 19 seasons to top Busch’s current mark. That would be in 2042 and Stenhouse would turn 55 that season.
  • Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Bubba Wallace would need to win each year through 2040 to top Busch’s record. Larson would be 48, Wallace 47 and Bell 45 (he’d turn 46 after the season) that year.
  • Trackhouse Racing teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez each would need to win every year through 2041 to top Busch’s record. Suarez would turn 49 before the season and Chastain would turn 49 after the season.
  • Ty Gibbs, the Cup rookie who is taking over Busch’s spot at Joe Gibbs Racing this season, could top Busch’s mark in 2042 if he won a race in every season beginning this year. Gibbs, who is 20 years old, would turn 40 that season.

Another career mark that could eventually be passed by an active driver is consecutive starts. 

Kevin Harvick made his 750th consecutive start last weekend at Auto Club Speedway and ranks third on the all-time list in that category.

Harvick will not climb any higher since this is his final Cup season. Jeff Gordon holds the record at 797 consecutive starts. Ricky Rudd is next at 788 consecutive starts.

The next highest active driver behind Harvick on that list is Martin Truex Jr., who has made 614 consecutive starts. Assuming Cup will continue to have 36 points races a season beyond this year, Truex won’t pass Gordon’s mark until early in the 2028 season. Truex would be 47 at the time.

After Truex is Logano. He’s made 506 consecutive starts. Again, assuming Cup remains at 36 points races a season, Logano would not top Gordon’s mark until early in the 2031 season when Logano would be 40 years old.

What about some others?

  • Brad Keselowski is at 474 consecutive starts. The 39-year-old would not top Gordon’s mark until the 2032 season opener around Keselowski’s 48th birthday (Feb. 12).
  • Hamlin (321 consecutive starts) would become the record holder during the 2036 season. He would be 55 at the time.
  • Elliott (254 starts in a row) would need to go into the 2038 season to top Gordon’s mark. Elliott would be 42 at the time.
  • William Byron (182 consecutive starts) could surpass Gordon in 2040. Byron would be 42 at the time. 
  • Cup rookie Noah Gragson (two consecutive starts) would top Gordon’s streak early in the 2045 season, a few months before turning 47 years old.

3. RCR’s rise

Kyle Busch’s win last weekend marked the fifth win for Richard Childress Racing in the last 21 races.

RCR has more wins in that stretch than it had in the 306 previous races. It won only four times over that period. 

Tyler Reddick, now with 23XI Racing, won three times for RCR last year. Austin Dillon won the Daytona regular-season finale and then there’s Busch’s victory.

Here’s a look at the teams with the most Cup wins in the last 21 races:

5 — Richard Childress Racing

5 — Hendrick Motorsports 

3 — Joe Gibbs Racing

2 — Stewart-Haas Racing

2 — Team Penske 

4. Honoring his brother

Max Gutiérrez is scheduled to compete in tonight’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas after missing the season opener in Daytona to mourn his brother’s passing.

He and his younger brother Fico were in an automobile crash in late January in Mexico City. Fico died.

“This race is totally dedicated to my brother, Fico, who I’m sure will be with me all the time,” Max Gutiérrez said in the AM Racing team’s release. 

Max Gutiérrez will be making his fifth series start tonight. In his third career series start, he started 36th and finished eighth at Nashville last year and Fico was there for him that day.

“Racing is the best medicine for me and Fico was one of the first to congratulate me after our success at Nashville,” Max Gutiérrez said in the team’s release. “I will cherish that moment forever.”

To honor his brother, the team’s No. 22 truck will have Fico’s logo on the hood. 

5. Deal done 

The completed sale of Phase 1 of 433 acres that was owned by Auto Club Speedway was done Wednesday. Dallas-based Hillwood Investment Properties and CBRE Investment Management purchased the land. Phase 1 included 364.2 acres. The remaining 68 acres is scheduled to close on or before Dec. 31, 2026. Transaction price is $559 million.

Auto Club Speedway sold the land as part of NASCAR’s plans to reconfigure the 2-mile track into a short track. Last weekend’s race was the final event for the track in its current configuration. A timeline for the work making the speedway into a short track has not been revealed by NASCAR. Dave Allen, track president, said last month that Auto Club would not host a NASCAR race weekend in 2024 and that the track’s status for the 2025 schedule was uncertain at this time.

The deal leaves Auto Club Speedway with about 90 acres. As part of the deal, the buyers must allow parking use rights for 106 acres of parking for the short track.

NASCAR Cup Series results: Kyle Busch wins at Auto Club Speedway


Kyle Busch notched his 61st NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday, and it was one of his biggest.

Busch joined Richard Childress Racing in the offseason after a long run with Joe Gibbs Racing, and a win in only the second points race of the season confirmed their new partnership is a solid one. The win marked the 19th straight season — a record — Busch has won at least one Cup race.

Following in the top five were Chase Elliott, who rallied late; Ross Chastain, winner of the first two stages; Daniel Suarez and Kevin Harvick.

Auto Club Cup results

Auto Club Cup driver points

MORE: What drivers said at Auto Club Speedway

What drivers said about the 65th Daytona 500


What NASCAR Cup Series drivers said after Sunday’s 65th running of the Daytona 500, which opened the 2023 season Sunday at Daytona International Speedway and was won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished first: “They left me a note in the car that said they believe in me and to go get the job done tonight. I made a few mistakes. We were able to battle back. This team worked really, really hard in the offseason, great pit stops, Hendrick engines. Man, this is unbelievable. This was the site of my last win back in 2017. We’ve worked really hard. We had a couple shots last year to get a win and fell short. It was a tough season, but man, we got it done. Daytona 500.

“When (Kyle Busch) went to the bottom there, I was able to push (Joey Logano) and (Kyle Larson). We had a huge run. I was hoping we were going to get to the white there, and we didn’t, so I knew I was going to take the top. I was hoping (Logano) was going to follow, and he did. He was able to push us out. I went to the bottom,(Busch) and (Logano) got a huge run. (Larson) split me in the middle, but another fellow dirt racer with (Christopher) Bell gave me a good shot down the little short chute into 1, and we were out front when the caution came out. We were out of fuel so the fuel light was going crazy. I hope y’all had fun. That was a heck of a race.”

JOEY LOGANO — Finished second: “Second is the worst, man. You’re so close. Leading the white flag lap there, I was up front. Kyle gave me a good push and, yeah, you’re watching in the mirror and you’re three wide across there. I felt like the three wide was going a hurt a lane; looked like Kyle was getting pushed ahead, and then Ricky started getting pushed ahead.

“I knew if I went to the bottom, my car didn’t handle good enough. I already got pushed off the bottom once, and I thought, ‘If I go down there, I’m probably going to get wrecked, and I don’t know if I can get down there in time to throw the block and so I didn’t want to wreck my car either.’ Then you don’t expect them to wreck either. You think you’re racing to the checkered flag, and you put yourself in the best position to try to win at the start-finish line, and just caution came out. You wish you could race to the end. Obviously, you can’t when they wreck that much. Congratulations to Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it stings so much finishing second. Still proud of the team, still proud of the effort coming off the championship last year and bringing this Mustang back toward the front and getting a Ford close to the front. Wish it was in victory lane, though.”

Christopher Bell — Finished third: “If you would have told me prerace that I was going to run third, I would have jumped up and down and been smiling ear-to-ear. I’m very happy. I’m very, very thankful that I could get this Toyota Camry a good solid finish but just so close to a crown jewel. I feel like if it would have stayed green, I would have been on offense, but who knows. I’m very proud and thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing. I’m happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). That’s really cool. I’m very happy for him. … I hate superspeedway racing. It has been my Achilles heel for a number of years now, so just running third at the Daytona 500 is a really big deal, and I’m sure tomorrow I will be really happy – but right now, I’m just bummed because I feel like we were in position there, but overall – I’m really happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). He’s won multiple speedway races and been very close at others. Happy for him and can’t wait to go to Auto Club.”

Chris Buescher — Finished fourth: “Yeah, at the end of the day, yeah. We were up front a lot of the day between both of our cars and there is a ton to be proud of. I can’t thank everyone back at RFK enough. The Mustang was quick, and I love that. Just got a little behind there in the first overtime and survived the next one. Somehow we made it through all of that and picked up all kinds of spots. Ultimately even getting back to fourth, it should feel good, but I feel like we had more in us today and just weren’t able to hoist that trophy up.”

Alex Bowman — Finished fifth: “It’s the Daytona 500, and we know how to crash some stuff.  It was just super aggressive and a lot of pushing. You know you have to do it and sometimes they go wrong and crashes happen.  Just proud of my team and glad we were able to make it out clean. Just starting the year off strong on the right foot. Not only here but at the Coliseum as well. I enjoy California. It’s been hit or miss for me, but looking forward to getting back there.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished seventh: “It was a little bit crazy, but I told the team they did a hell of a job. We lacked track position most of the day, and when it mattered the most, we had it. We just spun out there, and I was just struggling with loose balance when people would get to the rear bumper for some reason. That one, (Austin Cindric) came very close to me, very tight and the car behind me came very close as well and got me loose. We recovered and we are getting better at this kind of racing and we are going to get one of these one day.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished eighth: “You know, unfortunately getting tore up in the second stage and I thought we did a good job fixing it and staying in it and got a couple of laps back and were able to get it driving decent enough to where we lined up in the top-15 and were able to miss some wrecks and finish okay. I am really proud of the effort to fix it and make it driveable and get a finish. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t race for a win.”

Riley Herbst — Finished 10th: “It was long and a lot of riding, not really racing. I was kind of biding my time and trying to get experience. To finish top-10 was really cool. I am thankful for the opportunity to be here in the Cup Series and really happy with the finish in our first 500.”

TRAVIS PASTRANA — Finish 11th: “Just to be in the hunt at the end. We weren’t in the hunt for the win but to be in the top 10 on that last restart, this exceeded all my expectations. Obviously, it’s disappointing now because you want to do the best you can. I was really trying not to crash and unfortunately, when things got tight in there, I wasn’t able to control it on the top with the push. I led a lap, but it was by mistake. They said, ‘Come in, no stay out.’ I’m like, ‘I’m already out.’ I led a lap at the Daytona 500 and finished top 20. The car is not a complete write off, so the kid’s college fund is intact. It was a win, and it was awesome.

“This exceeded all of my expectations as far as results. These are the best drivers in the world. I’m not a great rear-wheel driver, I’m not a great pavement driver. Restrictor plate racing is a little different. We had a great team with this 23XI Toyota team, and it was an honor to be on the track with these guys. It was amazing that we were able to put it in the top 20. I’m proud of everyone involved and so thankful to be here.”

“As excited as I am right now, I might sleep for the next week. I am mentally and physically completely drained. … This was one of the greatest if not the greatest weeks or couple of weeks of my life.”

KYLE LARSON — Finished 18th: “I’m OK. It was definitely a huge hit. It was my first time wearing that mouthpiece (that helps record the forces during a crash impact), so I’m curious to see what that reads, but it was definitely one of the bigger ones I’ve ever had. But thankfully, the car held up, I guess, and all my safety equipment was fine, and I’m fine. Just a bummer.

“Everybody in the top four to six has an opportunity to win there. I had such a run from (Christopher Bell). I didn’t know what to do with it. I felt like where I was going to get to (Stenhouse), I wanted to stay committed to him at least through (turns) 1 and 2 and down the backstretch and then have things work out. I definitely didn’t want to try and go for the lead as early as I did. I just had such a run. I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought if I got to him where I was going to get to him, it was going to choke us up or cause a crash, and then we weren’t going to win. I wish I could play that over again, but (I’m) happy that Ricky won. That’s all I could think about it after I crashed was waiting to get out to hear that he won. Super happy for his team and Chevrolet but wish I could have at least finished it.”

KYLE BUSCH — Finished 19th: “I just tried to keep it straight as much as I can and wait for when its going to happen and eventually it does, and it did again today. So, I tried, and I don’t know what else to do.  Come up short. Led Lap 200 and wish it was still 1998 rules. Yeah, definitely excited for the start of the season and getting to the real racetracks.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 24th: “I thought we had a decent run until the end. We put ourselves in position in the top 10 and then made a couple of mistakes and got caught up in the big wreck at the end with the last caution. Thankful for the opportunity. We’re going to continue to work hard and grow as a team. Really proud of (crew chief) Luke Lambert and the boys for the adversity we had. Never quit. We’re not going to quit. Just very thankful.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 26th: “I am just disappointed. We were leading with 18 to go and I feel like we had a shot. It just didn’t go our way. The outside just didn’t really get rolling and we didn’t get organized very well and by the time we did it was just a little too late. I feel like when the 22 pulled up in front of me I tried to slow down to engage him and I got hit by the 8 really hard and send the 22 three-wide and we lost momentum again. I don’t know why I got out of shape off of four but I about wrecked off of four. Then you’re buried in the back trying to make moves to get back up and when they wreck you are just right in the way. It is frustrating. I felt like we executed our race well. Just sucks not to win for sure.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON — Finished 31st: “All in all, just a great day. I hate that we didn’t get to the finish line, but we got a lot closer than I thought. If I would have taken a bet before the race started, I would have thought some issues earlier than that, but we had a great day. The Carvana car was awesome. Very, very proud of this race team. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the finish line.”

Justin Haley — Finished 32nd: “We had a great run going there for a while. We were unfortunately just caught up in what was ultimately just one of those green-white-checkered deals that are inevitable at superspeedways. We struggled a little bit all weekend. This package is pretty tough to pass with, but it was fun to be up there battling in the top 10 there for a bit.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 33rd: “We had a strategy there, and it just didn’t play out. We weren’t as good as some of the Fords to be able to tandem and get hooked up. (Brad Keselowski) just drove through (William Byron), and that is just what he does. His car is just good enough to where he can just drive through who he needs to and push them out of the way, or wreck them. That is the desperation that they are in right now. I hate it because I was wanting to get Kyle Busch in victory lane here at Daytona. Looking back I should have been a little more selfish at that point. I wish we would have just tried to block both lanes, truthfully. It was one of those deals that is a hard position to be in. I also wish it had gone to the white flag in the position we were in.  Unfortunately not, and hopefully Kyle (Busch) can still make something happen from sixth. RCR as a whole, it was pretty cool to get to where we got there and be 1-2 at the Daytona 500 with two laps to go.  It sucks because you are so close to winning a second Daytona 500 and your teammate was really close to winning his first ever.  We will take it and move on and we did it with not the fastest cars truthfully. It was just execution and we didn’t finish off the last part.”

WILLIAM BYRON — Finished 34th: “I got into (Kyle Busch), and we just got off center somehow and I wrecked him. Once he got off center, I tried to back up but I had (Brad Keselowski) in the back of me trying to push as well. Yeah, unfortunate because we were trying to put ourselves in the right position and we were in a really good spot there with about two to go and running third before that caution.  It seemed like when they did the teammate restart it really checked up the bottom lane and I had made my bed of trying to take that lane to have momentum off of turn two. That was unfortunate.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 35th: “We were coming off that pit sequence and everybody was such different speeds and you could definitely tell the intensity was ratcheting up. Everybody was just making really aggressive blocks trying to position themselves for the end. I don’t know. We just all checked up into one and it was a bad wreck for Stewart-Haas because all four of us were stuck in that. I just hate it. It felt like we were in position. We talked about what our plan was going into it and felt like we were executing that, but we just needed a little luck at the end to go with it. We’ll move on to California and see if we can improve. Obviously, we need to improve. We finished 34th again, so that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Ryan Preece — Finished 36th: ““Everybody was on green0flag cycles. People trying to block the rows are trying to cycle in and I just want to focus on the fact that we had such a fast Ford Mustang. This opportunity is exactly what I wanted, so it’s unfortunate because I felt like we were gonna put ourselves in position to give ourselves an opportunity to be in contention to win this race, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully, we keep unloading fast Ford Mustangs like we did this weekend and we’ll have some fun.”

Erik Jones — Finished 37th: “It looked like (Tyler Reddick) got turned around, but I couldn’t see how it happened. Regardless, we spun out there on the bottom when I was trying to get around it, and then I got hit on the left side hard enough to take out the left rear and end our day. It is what it is. We were up there; we were racing and we were doing all we could. We were just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I wish we could have been a little ahead of him. Everybody was racing hard, but everybody was doing a good job of just keeping in line and doing what they needed to do. There were a couple of moments.. a couple of aggressive and bad pushes, but nothing that was too crazy. I don’t know what sprung that one off, but I thought everybody was doing a good job at that point. It started to get pretty aggressive up until that wreck and I was getting antsy about being up there and getting into something. We were kind of in a bad spot in the pack to get caught up in something. Obviously, it’s a superspeedway, so there’s not a ton you can take from this weekend. I thought our No. 43 Guns N’ Roses Chevy was good, it just needed some more speed.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 38th: “It looked like some guys got tangled up, upfront. Those of us in the back were just scattering to kind of miss it. It looked like (Kyle Larson) and (Erik Jones) kind of went to the apron. By the time we got slowed up, they were coming back across the track and I was the lucky winner to get there first. It’s a bummer. Long ways to go. Hate to end the day, but it is what it is.”

TYLER REDDICK — Finished 39th: “I really felt like we could push really well and make progress through the pack. I just had been not really in the lead much at all today. That was the first time I was getting any pushes in the lead. The car seemed a little unstable down the back straightaway. Kevin was trying to push me, and I just lost it. If I’d have known that earlier in the day, I probably would have been more careful about that. But that was really the first experience I had with that all day long. I was kind of caught off guard by what happened in the corner there, unfortunately. That was the first time I’d been put in that situation, got loose, and unfortunately took out some other good cars.”

Results of the 65th Daytona 500, NASCAR Cup points standings


The results of the 65th Daytona 500 came down to the last lap yet again as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. opened the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season with his first victory in the Great American Race.

In his No. 47 Chevrolet, Stenhouse, 35, barely nipped Joey Logano‘s No. 22 Ford as the caution flag flew for a multicar crash on the final lap at Daytona International Speedway. Christopher Bell finished third, followed by Chris Buescher and pole-sitter Alex Bowman.

It was the third career victory in NASCAR’s premier series for Stenhouse, whose last victory came at Daytona in July 2017.

In his 12th Daytona 500 start, the Olive Branch, Mississippi, native became the 42nd driver to win the crown jewel of stock-car racing. Stenhouse’s previous best finish was seventh (2014) in the season opener.

Stenhouse, who rebounded from a speeding penalty on Lap 179, led only the final nine laps to deliver the second career victory in Cup to JTG Daugherty Racing. It’s the team’s first win in 302 starts since AJ Allmendinger won at Watkins Glen International in August 2014.

BOX SCORE: Click here for full results from the 65th Daytona 500 l Race rundown

PENALTY REPORTClick here for infractions during the race

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Notable quotes from the Daytona 500 field

Allmendinger, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and Riley Herbst rounded out the top 10.

The race went a record 12 laps (30 miles) beyond the scheduled 500-mile distance when multiple cautions sent the race to overtime and two green-white-checkered finishes.

There were 52 lead changes among 21 drivers. Brad Keselowski led a race-high 42 laps but finished outside the top 20 after being involved in the final wreck.

The yellow flag flew eight times, including four times in the final 30 laps.


By virtue of winning the Daytona 500, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has earned a provisional berth in the 2023 Cup Series playoffs.

With his runner-up finish, Joey Logano took the lead in the championship standings by two points over Chris Buescher and four points over Stenhouse.

Click here for driver points standings l Click here for owner points standings

Joey Logano wins first Daytona 500 qualifying race


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano won a drag race to the finish line with Christopher Bell to win Thursday’s first Daytona 500 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway.

Logano led a four-car Ford draft over the closing miles, with Bell, in a Toyota, riding along in the fifth position.

MORE: Daytona 500 starting lineup

The pack broke up on the final lap in search of the race win. Bell charged toward the front to the outside and challenged Logano in the final turn and through the trioval. Logano won by .018 of a second.

“We knew most likely there wouldn’t be a caution, so we had to do a good job on pit road,” Logano told Fox Sports. “Then there I was as the leader and a sitting duck. It’s not where you want to be. The 20 (Bell) made a run on the outside, but the 12 (Ryan Blaney, Logano’s Team Penske teammate) was there to push me.”

MORE: Qualifying race 1 results

Bell was second, Blaney third, Chris Buescher fourth and Michael McDowell fifth.

Bell said he was “ultimately thrilled with second, to get nine points. Speedway racing has been a really big struggle for us, and it’s been a focus to try and execute a little bit better.”

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson did not race in the front group, finishing 14th. He qualified for the 500 on speed Wednesday night and was happy to protect his car in Thursday’s qualifier. Similarly, pole winner Alex Bowman, locked into the first starting position Sunday, did not race at the front and finished 17th.

Zane Smith, the 2022 Craftsman Truck Series champion, finished eighth and qualified for the 500.

Pit road speeding penalties dampened the chances of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ty Gibbs and Chandler Smith. Smith, who finished 18th, failed to make the 500 field.