The 2019 Daytona 500 started off in grand style with Lucas Racing teammates John Battista and Alex Crapser starting on the front-row. Race favorite Rick Jackson qualified outside of the top-10, with Rocket Ryan Heuser directly behind the teammates looking to become the lap-1 leader.
The lead-swapping commenced early, as Johnny Reed Foley, Tim McDonnell and Ken Pettit all began their eventual double-digit laps-led totals. The three-wide racing would ensue even after the first round of pit-stops.
Ryan Heuser would lead the field down to the pits on lap 69, with only teammate Dan Johnston receiving damage after contact from Johnny Reed Foley coming into his stall. The leaders would come out in a pack of 8, with a huge pack behind ready to chase them down.
Huge crash on lap 102 after Tony Pizzaro takes out the field! Pizzaro was on the front-stretch apron and merged into Cristian Torres, sending Jimmie Stevens, Scott Deutsch, David Butterworth and Jonathan Skrabacz into a frenzy for the ages. Stevens would make hard side-contact with Torres in the infield trying to avoid the wreck, as Pizzaro flew through the deep-infield grass at 190 mph, merging into turn one violently.
Walt Flowers and Glenn Kaufmann make contact on lap 166, sending both cars hard into the outside turn 1 wall. Kaufmann received heavy front end damage, nearly putting his car into the garage area while Flowers and Dan Johnston race on with moderate aerodynamic issues.
Alex Crapser and Zakk Miller are out! The outside-pole sitter had a handling issue, while the ignition box on Zakk Miller's car blew to smithereens with only 2 laps to go. What a horrible way to go!
To the finish, after diving past the lapped traffic of Glenn Kaufmann and Scott Deutsch, the race went on. Tim McDonnel led the last lap before Ken Pettit made a move on the inside heading into turn 2. John Tharp, who had severely benefited from the traffic, came out of practically nowhere to follow Pettit and make his move on the back-straightaway. The #14 would clear him, and never look back. Our Champion of the 2019 N.O.R.L. Daytona 500 is Mr. Zig-Zag himself, John Tharp. Congratulations to John, crew chief King Joe Dawkins and the entire PHR team for an excellent victory!
It was a very competitive Shootout with just about everybody in line for a chance to lead the field. It happened exactly that way, as there was enough slipstream for even the slowest of engines to stay with the pack towards the end. Granted, there were no slow engines in The Shootout.
It was a 50-lap dash to the finish and were three-wide nearly throughout, sending many cars flipping, ripping, and into the garage. Zach Michael and Ben Geer glued together between turns 3 and 4, sending Ben up the racetrack and into Ryan Heuser. Ben went for a ride, as Ryan spectated the disaster with minimal front-end damage. Tony Pizzaro was sandwiched three-wide battling for second and hooked Craig Lee into the field. Rick Jackson and Johnny Reed Foley slammed into them hard, destroying Foley's radiator and sending Jackson flipping over the roofs of the former two. The final wreck mimicked the first one, with John Tharp and Dave Miller tangling out of turn 4 and into John Battista on the outside. Miller would flip, and only Battista would have enough horsepower after the crash to stay competitive. Tim McDonnell managed to avoid the wreck in style, saying to his spotter "The damage is minimal, I can still win".
The Final laps closed down as Zach Michael and Scott Jackson took the point. Zach's day almost ended in disaster with turn 3 contact from John Battista. The field spread out for a couple of laps, as the #20 Home Depot chevrolet was able to use the draft to fly by the field and take second place behind Scott. Zach and Scott were neck-and-neck coming onto the backstraightaway on the final lap. Tim McDonnell was pushing Zach on the inside, but was forced to drift high as Jimmie Stevens made a move to the inside of Tim for third. Speedy was pushing Zach, and Tim was now helping Scott to the finish. In the end, the high-line momentum prevailed as Scott Jackson took the checkered flag. Congratulations Scott on winning the 2019 Big Bud Shootout @ Daytona!
ARCA veteran Bink Lucas flipped wildly on lap 52 of today's Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona, just hours after telling reporters that he was confident in getting his second career victory at the facility. #18 Adam Beresford blew a tire and sent the field into a tailspin for the ages, leaving notable drivers like Bink and Spooner "My Man" Spencer into the garage area. Fortunately, nobody was injured as we continue speedweeks 2019.
Without a ride for the Daytona 500, Philip Parker joined up with veteran Tyler Scott and Tricky Ricky in the GTS Corvette entry for the 24 Hours of Daytona. Team owner Dan Johnston put all of his chips into trying to beat the immortal Frank Womack Mosler's, with driver Rod Weston and the Cowgill's at the top of the heap coming in. They are currently 9th in the class of 14 so far, wishing to persist while the classes ahead endure some trouble. Hopefully, it won't be at their expense.