In a Daytona 500 that saw numerous records fall, the most impressive was the fact that we had a new youngest Daytona 500 champion, Trevor Bayne.
Bayne spent most of his day helping others get to the front of the field. Whether it was Jeff Gordon early or David Ragan late, Bayne was more comfortable being the pusher than the puller in a two car tandem. Bayne then took advantage of a Ragan mistake to take the lead.
On the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Ragan changed his lane before making it to the green flag. That resulted in him getting the black flag. As a result, Bayne inherited the lead. After another caution, a second attempt at a green-white-checker ensued.
On taking the green flag, Bayne got a terrific push from 2000 Sprint Cup champion, Bobby Labonte. The duo shot out to a four car lead over the rest of the field, while Tony Stewart, who had restarted second, and Mark Martin began to drop back.
As they took the white flag, Kurt Busch and Juan Montoya had caught back up to the lead two, but they couldn't get any closer than the back of Labonte's No. 47 car. It then appeared that it was a two-car battle between Bayne and Labonte.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the tandem of Carl Edwards and David Gilliland jumped right into the fray. They charged past Busch and Montoya and then set their sights on the front two.
Seeing the two Fords closing fast in his rear view mirror, Labonte pulled out from behind Bayne and attempted to pass him on the side. Bayne held his line while Edwards and Gilliland were able to get underneath Labonte.
As they approached the start finish line, it appeared that Edwards may have had enough of a run to duck underneath the No. 21 of Bayne, but he just couldn't make the move.
In a last ditch effort, Gilliland tried to jump to the high side to get around both drivers, but like Edwards, came up just a bit short.
In the end, Trevor Bayne crossed the line as the winner. It is just his second career Sprint Cup start, and first career win. The win is made all the more impressive by the fact that he has yet to even win a Nationwide Series race.
The win was such a surprise to even Bayne himself, that after doing his victory burnouts through the infield, he admitted on the radio that he didn't even know how to get to victory lane.
The race was marred by a record 16 cautions, including the big one, which occurred at lap 29. That crash took out top contenders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. The race also saw a record with 22 different leaders, and a record 74 lead changes.
The Wood Brothers scored their 98th win with Bayne's victory. It also gives them a win in six different decades.
Carl Edwards who spent most of the day running in the middle of the pack finished second. Gilliland scored his third career top five finish, by finishing third. Labonte and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
Unofficially, the rest of the top ten was Juan Montoya, Regan Smith, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Mark Martin.
For Bayne, the only possible disappointment that could come out of this, is the fact that he is running for the Nationwide championship and not the Sprint Cup championship, so while he would be the current points leader, under the new championship rules, he is not eligible to collect points.
But, I think it's safe to assume that for Trevor Bayne, winning the Daytona 500 is well worth sacrificing the points lead for.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!