The 55th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 produced some disappointing results. Whether it was the nine-car wreck, engine problems or just poor driving, some of the top names in the sport fell behind and out of contention at the Great American Race.
On the flip side, some drivers performed remarkably well, surprising all of us by finishing in the Top 10 at the kickoff event to the 2013 season.
Danica Patrick, who won the pole and set history, set more history by finishing in eighth place. Her finish is the best ever by a woman at the Daytona 500.
Enough of the feel good stories, let’s get back to the letdowns. The following three drivers, for one reason or another fell significantly short of expectations coming into this race.
No one is more disappointed with his showing at the Daytona 500 than Tony Stewart. The prominent veteran has never won at NASCAR’s biggest race and was looking forward to finally adding the accomplishment to his trophy case.
"To hell with the season, I wanted to win the Daytona 500,” Stewart said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Stewart’s day wasn’t a disappointment for anything of his own doing, though. He was sidelined after being a part of the nine-car wreck that seemed to be a result of a lock-up between Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch.
Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, has already won the Daytona 500 three times. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to add another to his resume this year.
Gordon finished second to Danica Patrick during the previous week’s qualifying race, putting himself in a good position to kick off 2013 with a bang. He hoped to get off to a good start to begin the season but ended up finishing in 20th place.
Matt Kenseth led for 86 laps and was looking like the driver to beat at Daytona. However, an engine problem sent him to the pit, and there he stayed while Jimmie Johnson cruised his way to victory.
While his performance was remarkable, it is very disappointing that he wasn’t able to finish what he started by taking the checkered flag.