2014 Daytona 500: Report Card for NASCAR'S Top Stars

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2014 Daytona 500: Report Card for NASCAR'S Top Stars
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The 56th running of the Daytona 500 kicked off the 2014 NASCAR season in full on a day in which rain threatened to fall in the Sunshine State. That threat was realized, as the rain fell and lightning cracked across the sky, precipitating a six-and-a-half hour rain delay. The Air Titans got some exercise 38 laps into the race.

On this first day of school for NASCAR, report cards will be issued.

For instance, Luke Bryan, a country star, played to a crowded infield at Daytona. While he sung such wistful lyrics like "Pour some sugar in her Dixie cup," he earned an F. So as not to hear him again, perhaps it'd be best to give him a marginally passing score so as not to repeat a grade.

The Air Titans got an A+, while Mother Nature dropped out of school and took an incomplete.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing's newest hood ornament, said in the pre-race broadcast that the Daytona 500 can make a driver's year. Very true. A win, or at least a strong showing, can set the tone for the rest of the season.  

And after finishing second in three of the past four Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second Daytona 500 10 years after his first.

Grades are based on pre-race expectations, what happened during the 500 and a driver's defining moment.

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