2007 Daytona 500: Wikis

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49th Daytona 500
Daytona5002007.jpg
Location Daytona International Speedway
Date February 18, 2007
Laps 200
Daytona 500 Champion Kevin Harvick
Average speed 149.333
Pole Sitter David Gilliland
Most Laps Led Tony Stewart
Qualifying Race Winners Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon*
(NOTE: Gordon won the race, but Kurt Busch started 4th where Gordon would have start. Due to failing post race inspection, thus Gordon had to start 42nd.)
Television
Network FOX
Announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds
2007 Nextel Cup Series
Chase for the Cup

The 2007 Daytona 500 was the first race of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, taking place on February 18, 2007 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kevin Harvick won the race by .02 second over Mark Martin in the closest finish since the first race at Daytona International Speedway when it took three days to declare Lee Petty the winner in 1959. Jeff Burton finished third, the first survivor of the massive wreck (commonly known as "The Big One").

Contents

Pole Qualifying

As is the custom, qualifying for the race is unique.

The qualifying only places the fastest two cars in the front row for the race the following week. The rest of the field (based on the 2006 owners' points top 35 teams, not drivers) is already locked in, then followed by two 150-mile (240 km) races called the Gatorade Duel. From those, the top two cars not locked in by either owners points or the front row positions automatically qualify, then the next four fastest cars based on the pole qualifying speed, followed by the past champions' provisional, used by Dale Jarrett, who was the most recent past champion. Had Jarrett locked into a spot during the first Duel race, Bill Elliott would have made the field.

When all was said and done, Robert Yates Racing swept the top two positions, with David Gilliland driving the #38 M&Ms Ford Fusion to the pole at 186.320 mph (299.853 km/h), with his teammate, Ricky Rudd in the #88 Snickers Fusion alongside a mere 0.185 seconds behind.

Tony Stewart, driving the Home Depot #20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the first Duel race, while Jeff Gordon drove the Hendrick Motorsports DuPont Chevrolet to the checker flag in the nightcap. Elliott wasn't the only past Daytona 500 champion to miss the race, as 35 other cars attempted to battle for those seven spots. Ward Burton (who won in 2002) and Derrike Cope (the 1990 winner) did not qualify from their respective races.

Qualifying Scandal

The week that led up to the annual "Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing" saw widespread rules infractions that affected five teams - the #17 Roush Fenway Racing DeWalt Tools Ford Fusion team of Matt Kenseth, the three Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger teams of Kasey Kahne (#9 UAW/Dodge), Scott Riggs (#10 Valvoline) and Elliott Sadler (#19 UAW/Dodge) - during the Pole Qualifying on February 11. But, a sixth team - the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry from Michael Waltrip Racing driven by the teams' owner - suffered the most severe punishment handed out by the motorsports sanctioning body since 2000, as it was docked 100 driver and owner points, causing it to leave Daytona with negative owner and championship points (-27 points). In addition, Jeff Gordon was penalized with the loss of his starting position after the #24 DuPont Chevrolet failed a post-race inspection because of an improper spoiler height. His starting position was changed from fourth to 42nd. There were no other penalties assessed against himself or the team and he is still listed as the winner of the second duel race.

The Pre-Race

Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of American Idol and spokesperson for the 2007 edition of "NASCAR Day", performed in the pre-race "Salute to America" concert, with her set consisting of Since U Been Gone, One Minute (from her upcoming album) and Miss Independent. Big and Rich sang the National Anthem, while Academy Award winning actor Nicolas Cage served as the grand marshall of the event, giving the command to have the drivers start their engines in a low key manner. Baseball ironman and 2007 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame Cal Ripken, Jr. drove the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pace car for the pre-race laps, and Phil Parsons, the brother of Benny Parsons, who had died of complications from lung cancer prior to the season, was given the honor of dropping the green flag for the race.

Results

Cars that completed the final lap, despite being involved in the last-lap wreck, were scored as running. The race went 202 laps/505 miles due to the green-white-checker finish rule.[1]

Pos Start Car # Laps Status Driver Sponsor / Car Make Money won
(in US Dollars)
1 34 29 202 Running Kevin Harvick* Shell / Pennzoil Chevrolet $1,510,469
2 26 01 202 Running Mark Martin* U.S. Army Chevrolet $1,102,250
3 7 31 202 Running Jeff Burton Cingular Wireless Chevrolet $ 819,216
4 22 09 202 Running Mike Wallace Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts Chevrolet $ 615,658
5 35 6 202 Running David Ragan AAA Ford $ 529,350
6 30 19 202 Running Elliott Sadler Dodge Dealers / UAW Dodge $ 407,193
7 29 9 202 Running Kasey Kahne Dodge Dealers / UAW Dodge $ 386,074
8 1 38 202 Running David Gilliland* M&Ms Ford $ 374,376
9 18 13 202 Running Joe Nemechek CertainTeed Chevrolet $ 302,088
10 42 24 202 Running Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet $ 371,679
11 6 40 202 Running David Stremme Coors Light Dodge $ 294,758
12 12 18 202 Running J.J. Yeley Interstate Batteries Chevrolet $ 308,541
13 33 41 202 Running Reed Sorenson Target Dodge $ 280,657
14 23 60 202 Running Boris Said SoBe No Fear Ford $ 265,385
15 39 7 202 Running Robby Gordon Jim Beam Ford $ 268,475
16 41 70 202 Running Johnny Sauter Yellow Transportation Chevrolet $ 262,675
17 38 14 202 Running Sterling Marlin Waste Management Chevrolet $ 266,483
18 11 07 202 Running Clint Bowyer Jack Daniel's Chevrolet $ 275,520
19 36 42 202 Running Juan Pablo Montoya Texaco / Havoline Dodge $ 299,483
20 17 25 202 Running Casey Mears National Guard / GMAC Chevrolet $ 275,225
21 27 43 202 Running Bobby Labonte Cheerios Dodge $ 300,436
22 43 44 202 Running Dale Jarrett UPS Toyota $ 259,575
23 14 99 202 Running Carl Edwards Office Depot Ford $ 273,383
24 8 5 202 Running Kyle Busch* Kellogg's / CARQUEST Chevrolet $ 276,858
25 25 16 202 Running Greg Biffle Ameriquest Ford $ 276,075
26 2 88 202 Running Ricky Rudd Snickers Ford $ 293,031
27 10 17 202 Running Matt Kenseth* DeWalt Ford $ 309,099
28 9 11 201 Running Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Chevrolet $ 279,175
29 13 1 201 Running Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet $ 290,820
30 15 55 200 Running Michael Waltrip NAPA Auto Parts Toyota $ 258,050
31 26 26 195 Accident Jamie McMurray Crown Royal Ford $ 265,058
32 5 8 195 Accident Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser Chevrolet $ 315,773
33 20 96 195 Running Tony Raines Texas Instruments DLP HDTV Chevrolet $ 262, 583
34 37 22 186 Parked Dave Blaney Caterpillar Toyota $ 259,900
35 19 21 185 Accident Ken Schrader Little Debbie Ford $ 271,189
36 31 66 181 Running Jeff Green Best Buy Chevrolet $ 259,025
37 32 10 179 Running Scott Riggs Valvoline / Stanley Tools Dodge $ 259,158
38 12 12 175 Engine Ryan Newman* Alltel Dodge $ 283,233
39 21 48 173 Accident Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet $ 298,886
40 40 00 173 Accident David Reutimann Domino's Pizza Toyota $ 249,583
41 4 2 166 Running Kurt Busch** Miller Lite Dodge $ 300,816
42 29 45 160 Running Kyle Petty Wells Fargo Dodge $ 248,050
43 3 20 153 Accident Tony Stewart* Home Depot Chevrolet $ 334,931

Time of Race: 3 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds.
Average Speed: 149.335 mph (240.331 km/h).
Margin of Victory: 0.020 seconds.
Lead Changes: 13 among nine drivers.
Cautions: 6 for 26 laps.
Attendance: 185,000 (not including infield, where the actual total would be boosted to 250,000.)

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Key

* Led one lap
** Led most laps
† Rookie of the Year Candidate

Finish

With two laps to go, an outside line began to form, with Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Burton. Mark Martin came to the white flag looking for a victory. On the backstretch, second-place Kyle Busch tried both ways to get around Martin. At this time, Kenseth began bump-drafting Harvick, with Burton in tow. Harvick flew by David Stremme, David Gilliland, Mike Wallace, David Ragan, and Greg Biffle. Kyle Busch's shifting around, trying to get around Martin and block Harvick at the same, causes him to get loose. Harvick zips by Busch. Harvick and Martin, Busch and Kenseth, and Biffle and Burton are side-by-side out of turn 4. Kyle Busch hits the apron, getting him loose. He spins out and starts a chain reaction collecting many cars, also putting Clint Bowyer on his roof. Harvick beats Martin by .02 of a second to claim the victory. After being 6th place out of turn 4, Jeff Burton finished 3rd. Mike Wallace and David Ragan were surprises, rounding out the top-5.

Failed to qualify

The following 18 drivers did not make the Daytona 500: 36-Jeremy Mayfield, 23-Mike Skinner, 39-Regan Smith, 4-Ward Burton, 15-Paul Menard, 84-A.J. Allmendinger, 34-Kevin Lepage, 37-Bill Elliott, 83-Brian Vickers, 78-Kenny Wallace, 71-Frank Kimmel, 49-Mike Bliss, 04-Eric McClure, 30-Stanton Barrett, 27-Kirk Shelmerdine, 72-Brandon Whitt, 74-Derrike Cope, and 58-James Hylton.

Race Recap

To the Back

Before the green flag the following drivers dropped to the rear of the field for the reasons indicated: #00 - David Reutimann (transmission change), #18 - J.J. Yeley (transmission change), #41 - Reed Sorenson (transmission change). #24 - Jeff Gordon (failed post race inspection after winning the Gatorade Duel race #2, Gordon was suppose to start 4th).

Cautions

Caution Laps of caution Cars causing the caution Description
18 3 00, 60 Boris Said moves up the track coming off of Turn 2, most likely unaware that David Reutimann was there, and spins. He had very minor damage and continued the race from there.
80 4 45 Kyle Petty hits the wall after rear tire blew. He goes behind the wall for repairs. David Reutimann obtains the free pass to return to the lead lap.
154 6 2, 20 Tony Stewart gets on the apron in Turn 4, gets loose, and spins himself into Kurt Busch. Stewart spun to a halt, while Kurt kept the engine going and went to the garage area for repairs. However, with 46 laps to go, he was unable to continue and did not finish the race.
175 5 00, 11, 48, 66, 96 Jimmie Johnson hits the wall on the backstretch, and Denny Hamlin, Jeff Green, Tony Raines, and Reutimann are collected. Hamlin falls a lap down, Raines falls seven laps down, Green goes behind the wall, and Johnson and Reutimann are done, finish 39th and 40th, respectively. Clint Bowyer receives the free pass to return to the lead lap.
187 4 07, 09, 21, 22, 25, 26, 41, 99 Carl Edwards and Reed Sorenson hit the wall entering the trioval, which bunches up the rest of the cars behind them. Dave Blaney gets shoved out of line by Mike Wallace, and races down pit road at 150+ mph. When he gets back onto the racing surface, he makes contact with Ken Schrader, who shoves the wall coming out of the trioval, and spins. Afterwards, Blaney shoves Clint Bowyer into the wall. Bowyer was able to continue, but Blaney was disqualified and Schrader failed to finish the race. A notable reason that Blaney was sent down pit road, was because his rub with Mike Wallace gave him a flat right front tire, although he was probably unaware at the time.
197 4 1, 8, 17, 26, 88 Matt Kenseth runs into his teammate McMurray, who hits the wall and collects Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with him. Ricky Rudd and Martin Truex Jr. are also collected. Rudd remains on the lead lap, but Truex falls a lap down. McMurray and Earnhardt, Jr. are done, finishing 31st and 32nd, respectively. The race is delayed for approximately 12 minutes for cleanup under the red flag. This sets up a green-white-checkered finish. No free pass available when fewer than ten laps remain in a race.
202 End of race 5, 7, 9, 07, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 24, 25, 38, 40, 42, 60, 88, 99 At the finish, Kyle Busch messes up his entry into turn 3 as a result of the field shifting around on the backstretch, and came spinning out of turn 4, as Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick race to the checkers, collecting Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin, Greg Biffle, Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Gordon, Casey Mears, David Gilliland, David Stremme, Juan Pablo Montoya, Boris Said, Ricky Rudd, and Carl Edwards. Bowyer's car is flipped upside down and then catches fire before flipping back right side up past the start-finish line. All cars were scored as finishing on the lead lap, as all cars crossed the start-finish line either on the track or on pit road. The race remained under green until after the leaders crossed the line.[2]

Controversy over finish

Because of an incident between Casey Mears and Dale Jarrett at the 2003 Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire International Speedway, NASCAR has ordered the "freezing of the field" whenever a caution flag is thrown. Such a flag did not fly after the last-lap crash. There is some disputed visual evidence that suggests that, if the caution had flown strictly according to NASCAR rules, Martin may have won.[3]

The issue was especially passionate because Martin was in his 23rd Daytona 500 start; he has never won. Such a win, arguably, would have been as popular with fans as Dale Earnhardt's 1998 victory (in his 20th start) or Darrell Waltrip's 1989 triumph (in his 17th). With Martin no longer competing for the season-long NEXTEL Cup championship due to a reduction in his schedule, the Daytona 500 is one of the few honors he can still win as a driver (the #01 team is racing for the owners (team) championship, with Regan Smith driving the other 14 races). To add further irony, Martin and his family have chosen to live full-time in the Daytona Beach area, whereas most drivers live in the Lake Norman area north of Charlotte, North Carolina.

However, it should be noted in some races, NASCAR has permitted the cars to run to the finish in case of more "minor" spins on the last lap. However many speculate that this crash was far too large and too dangerous not to throw the yellow and give Martin the win.

Trivia

  • The win was symbolic for Richard Childress Racing. The number 29 car was originally the fabled number 3 driven by Dale Earnhardt, who was killed six years to the exact day in a crash during the final lap of the 2001 race, won by Michael Waltrip in a car that Earnhardt owned. His son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second in that race, also in a car owned by his father. The car's longtime sponsor, GM Goodwrench, was replaced by Shell/Pennzoil at the start of the 2007 season.
  • NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco was outraged by the size of the Shell logos on the car and uniform that the car design and uniform were banned shortly afterwards. This race was also the last to run on leaded fuel as beginning with the Auto Club 500, the Sunoco fuel was changed to an unleaded blend.
  • It was the first NASCAR Nextel Cup race to utilise the new 17¾-gallon fuel cell. Previously, NASCAR had used a 22-gallon fuel cell.
  • It was the first Daytona 500 to finish in prime-time television, with the race finishing at 7:12 p.m. EST. The last 30 minutes of coverage (7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.) finished eighth for the week ending February 18 in the Nielsen ratings.
  • It was the closest finish in the Daytona 500 since the inaugural race in 1959, which took three days to determine the winner.
  • Harvick's win came from the 34th position, the second deepest a Daytona 500 winner has come from; second to Matt Kenseth's win in 2009 from the 43rd starting position.
  • The 2007 race was the last to use the 1986 specification cars (NASCAR standardised roof heights at the present height in 1986). Starting with the 2008 race, NASCAR will use the next-generation car, known as the Car of Tomorrow.
  • The race was televised in 99 countries.

References


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