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Last Updated Friday, May 7, 2010 2:06 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Daytona International Speedway
  • What:

    Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL

  • When:

    February 11, 2010 2:19 pm EST

  • Laps:

    60

  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    150.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $675,000

Drivers to Watch

Mark Martin Martin has never won a Cup race at Daytona and has just nine top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 49 starts. Martin's last top-10 finish there was 10th in July 2008. He was 16th in last year's Daytona 500 and 38th last July. Martin won his first Daytona pole Saturday and at 51 became the oldest Daytona pole winner in history. "It's just incredible to be behind the wheel of that 5 car," Martin said. "This is something that I've stood and watched for, I don't know, 26 years or so, with envy of the guys who sit on the front row. Last year was my first experience to do that with Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) in the 5 car. We were really close last year. The guys, you know, they just stepped up their game some more for this year."
Jimmie Johnson The defending Sprint Cup champion is attempting to win the Daytona 500 for the second time in his career. He won NASCAR's biggest race in 2006 for his only Cup win at Daytona International Speedway. He has six top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 16 Daytona starts, but a closer look shows just one top-10 finish -- a second place last July -- since his 2006 Daytona 500 win. That covers seven starts. He finished 31st in last year's Daytona 500, which ended after 152 of 200 laps because of rain. A second Daytona 500 win could help cement Johnson's legacy. "For me, the second win is probably the toughest thing to count on people helping you, and no one really wants to help me right now ..." Johnson said. "You just can't put your head down and look out the windshield and focus on a good handling race car to drive away from people. It takes everything around you and people around you to create the opportunities. To win a plate race is a pretty big feat in itself. The 500 was amazing for us and really helped us mature as a race team ... and grow so that we could win that first championship. ... A large majority of my desire to win is to have Chad Knaus here. The guy has put his heart and soul into this race team. One thing he's missing is that Daytona 500 photo from Victory Lane." Knaus was suspended because of a rules violation when Johnson won the Daytona 500 in 2006.
Kyle Busch Busch has one win (July 2008) and four top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Daytona. "We had the opportunity to win both of the races (at Daytona) last year," said Busch. "In the 500, I was minding my own business, riding on the top side, and a wreck came flying across the racetrack right in front of me."
Jeff Gordon Gordon has won at Daytona six times -- in the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999 and 2005 and three times in the 400-mile race in July. But he has just one top-five finish -- fifth place in the 400-mile race in 2007 -- in his last eight Daytona races. He was 13th in last year's 500 and 28th last July. That was better than his 2008 record, which included a 39th in the 500 and 30th in the 400. He has 11 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 34 Daytona starts. "Daytona is a great track, and the Daytona 500 is a great race," Gordon said. "And while the game has changed over the years as it relates to the draft, aerodynamics and horsepower changes, it's still an event that I enjoy at a track that stands out. This event truly is our Super Bowl. The history behind the race, what it takes to win here and what it means to win here makes a victory so special. I've been fortunate to win it three times. But I want to be really fortunate and win it again. I like that our season begins with our Super Bowl and the Daytona 500. It should always be an event that stands out, and I think the date, location and exciting racing allows it to. The Daytona 500 is the ultimate spectacle of NASCAR racing."
Jamie McMurray McMurray has one win and three top-10 finishes in 14 starts at Daytona. His victory came in the July race of 2007. McMurray finished third in the Budweiser Shootout and because of that has high expectations for the 500. "I know our other car (that he will race in the 500) has a little more speed to it," said McMurray. "And obviously we have a good setup for this track."
Carl Edwards Edwards has three top-five finishes in 10 starts at Daytona, but all of them have come in the July event. His best finish in the Daytona 500 is 12th, which came in his first start in the 500. Edwards started from the pole in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night and led 42 of the 76 laps, but he was caught up in the last-lap wreck and finished 17th.
Denny Hamlin Hamlin has just one top-10 finish in eight Daytona starts -- a third-place last July -- in his eight Daytona starts. He was 26th in last year's Daytona 500. Hamlin believes the earlier starting time Sunday (1 p.m. Eastern) will change the nature of this year's race. "I think the early start times play into guys like Tony Stewart," Hamlin said. "When we talk about making runs during the summer and how good the stats are during the summer, a lot of it has to do with the race track being hot. Myself, I think it's great that we're running during the day. I think you see it all of the time -- it's like you have different competitors running up toward the front when the track starts cooling down and starts getting into the night. I think that's a very honest statement and an underrated thing that people haven't really paid attention to is the start time and what it's going to affect and who's going to perform best during the day because it is a different race track."
Kevin Harvick Harvick won the 2007 Daytona 500 and finished second in the 500 last year. His victory in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night was his second straight in the special event. Harvick led five times for 21 laps in becoming the fourth driver to win the non-points race back-to-back. It was the seventh win for RCR, the most of any team.
Jeff Burton Burton has one win and eight top-10 finishes in 32 starts at Daytona. His victory came in July 2000. His best finish in the 500 was a second, also in 2000. Burton ran well early in the Budweiser Shootout but struggled during the second half of the race after running into tire problems. "If we can get the car to handle like it did early in the Shootout, we will be in good shape for the 500," said Burton.
Greg Biffle Biffle won the July 2003 race at Daytona, but that is his only top-five finish there and one of his three top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He was 20th in last year's 500 and 18th in the 400. He has just one top-10 finish in his last four Daytona starts and only two top-10 finishes in his last 12 starts at DIS. But Biffle always remembers his first Daytona race. "I remember going, 'This is huge. This is my opportunity,'" Biffle recalled. "Actually, the very first time I came here I had a really fast car and my engine blew up in the 150 and I didn't make it, so that was disappointing because I had a good car. The second time I came here I made it and ever since then I've been in the points, but that's my first memory of it. And then coming here (in) my second full year ... we sat on the pole for the 500, so that was pretty neat."