DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Latest on the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway (all times local):
“The Big One” happened early in the Cup Series race at Daytona, and it involved half the field.
Pole-sitter Chase Elliott, former series champions Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch, and former Daytona 500 winners Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano were involved in a 20-car crash on Lap 54 Saturday night.
Defending race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started the melee when he tapped and turned Keselowski, who was running third. Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford slammed into the side of Busch, and more than a dozen cars were unable to slow down.
Keselowski called it a “bad block.”
“The 2 got wrecked and so did everyone else,” Hamlin said. “It usually happens much later in the night.”
Added Logano: “When one car sits sideways in front of the field at 200 mph, you can’t get through it.”
Defending race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has won the first stage of the Cup Series race at Daytona.
Stenhouse took the lead from Chase Elliott after 11 laps and then held off a late run from Kyle Busch to take the checkered flag and earn some bonus points. It was Stenhouse’s first stage win of the year.
Busch was second after starting 15th, followed by Kyle Larson, William Byron and pole-sitter Elliott.
Michael McDowell, who finished ninth in the season-opening Daytona 500, was running second much of the stage before making a mental error and falling way back.
Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. was penalized during pit stops for having an uncontrolled tire on pit road.
Chase Elliott is on the pole and the green flag has dropped for the start of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman are on the front row at Daytona, a needed boost for both the team and manufacturer Chevrolet.
Chevy is trying to snap a 0-for-17 streak. It’s the longest losing winless stretch for the American manufacturer since a 31-race drought in 1981-82.
Austin Dillon gave Chevy its lone win of the season at the season-opening Daytona 500. The American automaker hasn’t been to victory lane since and hadn’t really gotten close to a checkered. Toyota and Ford have pulled away in the standings.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson starts fourth in the No. 48 Chevrolet, giving Hendrick three of the top four spots.
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