NASCAR drivers were rolling over the green and getting loose around turns during the Xfinity and Trucks Series races at the Daytona road course earlier this weekend as a peek of what’s likely to come for the Cup Series race, the Go Bowling 235, at the same track Sunday afternoon. The race starts at 3 p.m. on NBC.
Even though the road course is new for most of the field, the lower-level series races had relatively few cautions, as many drivers were able to correct and adjust before bringing out a yellow flag.
“It’s new now, but by the final stage of Daytona, the new will be gone and these drivers will be back to full-on aggression to try to race for a trophy,” former Hendrick crew chief and “NASCAR on NBC” analyst Steve Letarte told the Observer this week.
It remains to be seen how the Cup lineup fairs on the track, but The Observer’s got you covered for all 65 laps, 235 miles and 910 turns of the race. Follow along here for lap-by-lap updates from the Go Bowling 235. Refresh this page for the latest updates. Full results will be published here shortly after the race.
FINAL: Elliott wins
Chase Elliott held off Denny Hamlin in the last few laps for the win. Here are the final race results:
|Pos.||Driver||Car No.||Time Behind|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||19||2.36|
|16||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||12.416|
|33||Quin Houff||0||1 lap|
|34||JJ Yeley||27||1 lap|
|35||John Hunter Nemechek||38||3 laps|
|36||Garrett Smithley||53||5 laps|
|37||Kyle Busch||18||12 laps|
|38||Stanton Barrett||77||16 laps|
|39||Brendan Gaughan||62||19 laps|
6:22 p.m., Lap 61: Caution with 4 laps to go
There is a caution with four laps to go, which is good news for Denny Hamlin, who is in second place, Michael McDowell in third, Erick Jones in fourth and Jimmie Johnson in fifth. That is becaue leader Chase Elliott had a big lead before the caution and looked unbeatable. Can somebody catch him now?
FINAL: Elliott wins the race
Chase Elliott was pushed by Denny Hamlin at the end but still pulled out the victory.
6:03 p.m., Lap 54: Elliott back out front
All of the drivers have taken their final pit. Elliott is in the lead followed by Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. Elliott has a 10 second lead.
5:52 p.m., Lap 49: Truex takes lead
Chase Elliott dropped out of the lead by heading to pit road early. Martin Truex Jr. did not pit and took over the top spot. Kyle Bush appears to be out of the race with an apparent brake problem.
5:35 p.m., Lap 40: Back racing
The cars are back on the track with Chase Elliott in the lead.
5:13 p.m., Lap 37: Drivers are called to their cars
NASCAR gives the all-clear. Rain/storm cells are expected to weaken over the hour, and even if rain hits, it should be light, according to the radar.
4:48 p.m., Lap 37: Red flag
NASCAR throws the red flag to wait out the weather. The running order at the time of the red flag is Elliott, Ku. Busch, McDowell, Johnson, Keselowski, Ky. Busch, Logano, Bell, Hamlin and Buescher. There are 28 laps left in the race at the flag. NASCAR also says that the second stage ended with LaJoie in 11th, so he should be bumped to 10th place when Truex is bumped down for stage points.
The radar shows storm sells moving over the area through 6:15 p.m. so the delay could last longer than the 30 minutes if more strikes are reported.
4:43 p.m., Lap 35: Caution for lightning
NASCAR throws the yellow flag for lightning in the area. The delay will last at least 30 minutes. Teams head to pit road to check their cars, but NASCAR tells crew members who are not needed to cover cars to seek shelter. NBC reports that J.J. Yeley exited his car overheated earlier, and was replaced by Baley Currey in the No. 27. The network also reports that a pit crew member and a mechanic on Daniel Suárez’s No. 96 team visited the care center earlier for heat exhaustion.
4:38 p.m., Lap 33: Harvick spins, drops to last
After the restart, Cup rookie Bell gets in the side of Harvick and the No. 4 car spins running in the top-10. He then sits stopped as the field passes him. Harvick then pits, reporting vibration, the next time around. Meanwhile, Michael McDowell has raced his way up to third place as NASCAR tries to finish the final stage before approaching storms, which are reported six miles away.
4:28 p.m., Lap 30: Hamlin wins Stage 2
Denny Hamlin notches his fifth stage win of the season with over nine seconds on second place stage finisher Clint Bowyer. The rest of the top-10 for the stage finish is Blaney, Byron, Stenhouse Jr., Preece, Truex, Elliott, Harvick and Kurt Busch. The leaders pit at the end of the stage, and Clint Bowyer gets the lead on the restart, followed by Hamlin and Blaney in the top-three off pit road. NASCAR announces that Truex, who received a speeding penalty at the end of the stage, will not get points for his stage finish and will restart at the rear.
4:22 p.m., Lap 27: Hamlin gets the lead after green flag pit stops
The NBC broadcast shows Kyle Busch getting loose around Turn 6, then spins into the grass, but recovers quickly and only drops to 13th place. Green flag pit stops starting coming out around Lap 26. With three laps left, Truex pits from the lead to give Hamlin the top spot. Bowyer, Blaney, Byron and Stenhouse stay out for the top-five. Truex then drives too fast exiting pit road on Lap 29, and gets a penalty, which will put him in the rear of the field on the next restart. That’s a tough blow to Truex’s top track position.
4:06 p.m., Lap 23: Hamlin, Truex battle and Truex prevails
On the Stage 2 restart, Logano jumped to a brief lead only to fall behind to Hamlin, Harvick and Kurt Busch. By the end of the lap, Hamlin and Harvick commanded the lead. Truex, meanwhile, raced up to fourth then, second to chase Hamlin down for two laps before finally making an inside pass of the No. 11 for the lead.
3:53 p.m., Lap 15: Chase Elliott wins Stage 1 at Daytona road course
Between Laps 12 and 13, drivers pit under green flag conditions. That includes leader Truex, as well as Kurt Busch, Bell, Blaney, Keselowski, Almirola, Reddick, Grala and others. Elliott, Logano and Johnson do not pit until the stage end and Elliott keeps the lead through the green-and-white checkered flag. The rest of the finishing order for the stage after Johnson is Bowyer, DiBenedetto, Jones, Byron, Truex, Custer and Preece. Hendrick drivers are racing a similar setup, Byron said before the race, so it’s not surprising to see them pit at the same time. The No. 88 of Alex Bowman, however, earlier had a flat rear left tire and he misses points at the stage finish. Kyle Busch also made a second pit stop under green flag conditions.
3:43 p.m., Lap 12: Truex leads while Hamlin, Harvick pit
On Lap 9, Truex makes a pass of Hamlin for the lead. Hamlin contacts Truex on Hamlin’s left front bumper and Truex’s back right. Truex then puts distance over Hamlin on the straightaway and Hamlin pits a lap later for tire run. Harvick also pits to change all four tires on Lap 12.
3:33 p.m., Lap 5: Kyle Busch to pit road for early tire wear
Kyle Busch goes a lap down after pitting for left-side tire wear. “That tire was all the way through,” Busch’s No. 18 crew chief Adam Stevens says on the radio. “We wouldn’t have made it another lap.” The top-five running order is Hamlin, Truex, Elliott, Logano and Harvick. Jimmie Johnson is up to sixth place. “We’ll be OK here. Settle in,” Stevens tells Busch as he exits pit road. “A lot of racing left.”
3:23 p.m., Lap 2: Race goes green and it’s OK early
Denny Hamlin, starting in second place, jumps out to an early lead off the start. He leads the first lap of the race. Kyle Busch, who started fourth, makes a pass of Harvick rounding a turn on the first lap. The field runs two-wide off the start, but no early incidents are reported. On the radios, there is a lot of chatter happening guiding drivers’ positions around the track. It’s constant talk from spotters and crew chiefs. Kyle Busch makes it to P1 on the second lap and leads the race, but then reports a flat right front tire after sliding and relinquishes the lead to Hamlin.
3:01 p.m.: Pre-race ceremonies get rolling, engines fired
Limited fans stand at Daytona International Speedway for the invocation delivered by AdventHealth chaplain Joel Rivera-Mercado and the live performance of the national anthem by singer Catina Mack. Ryan Newman comes on over the car radio and thanks NASCAR officials and track workers. This is Newman’s first race back at the superspeedway since his Daytona 500 accident in February. After Newman’s “thank-you,” comes the command to start engines and cars roll off the grid for the start of the race.
2:40 p.m.: Drivers to the rear
Four drivers will drop to the rear at the start of the race. Grala in the No. 3 and due to the driver change for Dillon, who was previously slated to start 10th. Stanton Barrett in the No. 77 replacing Reed Sorrenson will also move to the back for a driver change. The No. 32 car of Corey LaJoie failed pre-race inspection track and the No. 66 of Timmy Hill will also drop back for an unapproved adjustment. The green flag is scheduled for 3:19 p.m.
2:30 p.m.: Storms holding off but NASCAR moves up start time
Before the race, NASCAR announces it is adjusting its schedule slighting, moving up pre-race ceremonies and start time by five minutes. The invocation and national anthem are scheduled for 3 p.m. followed by the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. and the green flag at 3:19 p.m. The race will be 65 laps, with stages ending on laps 15, 30 and 65.
The race is expected to last roughly two and a half hours, but storms are likely to hit the area around 5 p.m., which could impact the finish of the race. Saturday’s Xfinity race was delayed due to lightning strikes.
2:25 p.m.: Austin Dillon tests positive for COVID-19, will have a replacement driver
On Saturday, Richard Childress Racing announced its No. 3 Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss Sunday’s race at the Daytona road course. Dillon won a race earlier this season at Texas to guarantee his spot in the playoffs. He is the fourth NASCAR driver to test positive for the virus and second full-time Cup driver to test positive after Jimmie Johnson.
Dillon will be replaced by part-time RCR Xfinity driver Kaz Grala in the No. 3 Chevy for the race. Although Grala’s best finish in the last five oval races was 13th, he’s had more success on road courses with two top-five finishes at Road America over the last two seasons.
NASCAR AT THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE LINEUP
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||19|
|25||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47|
|28||John Hunter Nemechek||38|
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