2005 Daytona 500

2005 Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 was held on February 20 at the Daytona International Speedway. The Grand Marshall was Matthew McConaughey. Dale Jarrett started on pole, but lost the first lap to Jimmie Johnson, and fell back down the field after a small bump from behind from Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The first caution flag came out on the fifteenth lap, halfway through the first fuel run, when Bobby Labonte's engine blew up. Tony Stewart had been leading for 11 laps. Scott Wimmer, who had only changed two tires, led after the caution.

The second caution came out on lap 28 when Ricky Rudd spun in the middle of the field while Michael Waltrip was leading, collecting five cars. On lap 36, Matt Kenseth, one of the pre-race favorites, in trouble with a smoking exhaust, pitted under green.

On lap 61 was the start of a series of green flag pitstops, with the Dodges coming in first as they did not get as good fuel mileage as others. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was pushed by Jeff Burton coming into his pitstop, and had to back up to get out after his tires were changed, causing him to drop down the field. There were about 7 speeding violations on pit road during this round of pit stops, most notably Jimmie Johnson. Once the green flag pitstops cycled through on lap 64, Jeff Gordon had the lead.

Debris on the racetrack saw the third caution come out on lap 86, with Jeff Gordon still in the lead. Tony Stewart led on the restart, and was also leading at halfway and at the point of the fourth caution, for debris, on lap 105.

Around lap 137 there was another cycle of green flag pitstops, with Tony Stewart retaining the lead, before the fifth caution came out on lap 144 and the sixth caution on lap 155. Michael Waltrip caused the seventh caution, which caused him to leave the race and led to another round of pitstops on lap 164. Jason Leffler and Kyle Busch came together on pit road, dropping them both well down the field.

With 32 laps to go John Andretti, running three wide, and following a group of cars going four wide, crashed and turned into Jason Leffler, putting Leffler out of the race and bringing up the eighth caution, with Tony Stewart still in the lead.

Tony Stewart is the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1981/2 to lead the most laps in two consecutive Daytona 500s.

The "Big One" occurred on lap 184, when Greg Biffle turned in to Scott Riggs, collecting 11 cars total and which saw Scott Wimmer's car roll 4 times and spin on its nose, brought out the ninth caution. Only some cars chose to pit, with Stewart and others remaining out. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had languished in midfield for the earlier part of the race, was now up to third.

On the restart on lap 187, John Andretti drove straight into Mike Skinner as part of a chain reaction crash involving eight or so cars to bring out an immediate tenth caution. This accident was likely due to somebody ahead of them (or Skinner himself) missing a shift on the restart.

The race restarted with 6 laps to go. With 5 laps to go, Earnhardt briefly took the lead. Tony Stewart retook the lead on the next lap; Earnhardt and Stewart raced side-by-side until Earnhardt regained the lead. Jeff Gordon took the lead before the eleventh caution came out with 3 laps to go.

The race length of 500 miles (200 laps) was completed under yellow, so a green-white-checker finish was in order. The race restarted on lap 202 with 2 to go. Despite much activity behind him, Jeff Gordon was able to hold on to win in front of Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Top Ten Results

# Jeff Gordon
# Kurt Busch
# Dale Earnhardt Jr.
# Scott Riggs
# Jimmie Johnson
# Mark Martin
# Tony Stewart
# Sterling Marlin
# Kevin Lepage
# Rusty Wallace

Failed to qualify: Kerry Earnhardt (#33), Robby Gordon (#7), Johnny Sauter (#09), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), Hermie Sadler (#66), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Eric McClure (#73), Greg Sacks (#13), Stanton Barrett (#92), Derrike Cope (#55), Randy LaJoie (#34), Larry Gunselman (#52), Andy Belmont (#80)

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