2003 Daytona 500

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2003 Daytona 500
Race details
Race 1 of 36 in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway
Date February 16, 2003 (2003-02-16)
Location Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
Distance 109 laps, 272.5 mi (438.546 km)
Scheduled Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds approaching 22.9 miles per hour (36.9 km/h)[1]
Average speed 133.870 miles per hour (215.443 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Jeff Green Richard Childress Racing
Qualifying race winners
Duel 1 Winner Robby Gordon Richard Childress Racing
Duel 2 Winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Most laps led
Driver Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Laps 68
Winner
No. 15
Michael Waltrip
Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Television in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds
Nielsen Ratings 16.8
(9.8/21 million viewers)

The 2003 Daytona 500, the 45th running of the event, was held on February 16 at Daytona International Speedway. 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green won his second career Winston Cup pole (his first was at Bristol in 2001). Prior to the race, the drivers paid tribute by having decals in their cars in honor of the astronauts who were killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster two weeks earlier, similar to the 1986 Daytona 500 in which they paid tribute to the fallen crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

The race ended after 109 laps when rain had begun pouring on the track. Michael Waltrip won the race for the second time in three years, giving him his third NASCAR Winston Cup win; all of his wins to that point had been in races held at Daytona. It was the first of Waltrip's two wins in 2003, both coming in restrictor plate races (he later won the EA Sports 500 at Talladega in October for his fourth- and to date, last- Cup win). For the first time since 1966, the race was stopped due to rain; at 272.5 miles, this was the shortest ever Daytona 500 race.

During the race, Ryan Newman had a wild accident in the tri-oval, his #12 Dodge tumbling end over end. Fortunately, he was not injured in the crash. Following the incident, both Penske Racing and new manufacturer Dodge were investigated because of the quality of the car.

Race summary[edit]

The green flag came nearly half an hour earlier than planned, due to the impending rain showers which officials feared would lead to the race having to be completed on another day. Jeff Green was out in front at the start of the race, but he was quickly passed by Michael Waltrip, who led the first 34 laps. On lap 42, the race's first caution came out after Bobby Labonte spun out entering the backstretch. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the lead from Tony Stewart as the field raced back to the caution. The first round of green flag pit stops came on lap 50.

The most significant incident of the race came on lap 58. Ryan Newman was running solidly in the top-15, but defending Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton hit Ken Schrader and both Schrader and Newman hit the wall. The rear tire fixture underneath Newman's car detached from the car as he went sliding into the infield. Newman became airborne and when the car landed, the right-rear wheel dug into the dirt which caused Newman to flip several times and the car landed on its roof. Most of the car came apart in the infield, but Newman was uninjured and was able to walk away from the crash under his own power. Following Newman's flip, there were six caution laps, during which a light rain began to fall, and the race was red-flagged when the rain became heavier.

Following a rain delay which lasted over an hour, the race restarted with Michael Waltrip back in front. The race remained under the green flag until lap 95, when Jeff Green and Jimmy Spencer collided entering turn 4 and brought out a third caution. Spencer ended up hitting the frontstretch wall and coming to rest just past the start-finish line. Spencer had a very similar crash in the 2000 Daytona 500. A debris caution came on lap 103, and then Ward Burton hit the turn 4 wall on lap 106. There were three yellow flag laps after Burton's crash, and then the race was once again red-flagged due to rain. Although it briefly looked as if the race would get back underway, the race was eventually called due to the forecast of more rain and Michael Waltrip was declared the winner. It was his third career Winston Cup win both overall and at Daytona, and his second career Daytona 500 win. Coincidentally, Waltrip's first three wins came in the first three Daytona races broadcast by Fox.

This was only the third Daytona 500 to have been shortened by rain, with previous instances being in 1965 and 1966.

Results[edit]

Pos Grid Car Driver Sponsor Team Manufacturer Laps Laps Led Status
1 4 15 Michael Waltrip (W) NAPA Auto Parts Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 109 68 Running
2 36 97 Kurt Busch Rubbermaid Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
3 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
4 31 29 Kevin Harvick GM Goodwrench Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
5 26 6 Mark Martin Pfizer/Viagra Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
6 3 31 Robby Gordon Cingular Wireless Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
7 8 20 Tony Stewart Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 109 6 Running
8 20 19 Jeremy Mayfield Dodge Dealers Evernham Motorsports Dodge 109 0 Running
9 18 09 Mike Wallace Miccosukee Resort Phoenix Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
10 11 88 Dale Jarrett (W) UPS Robert Yates Racing Ford 109 0 Running
11 9 99 Jeff Burton Citgo Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
12 13 24 Jeff Gordon (W) DuPont Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
13 30 45 Kyle Petty Georgia-Pacific Petty Enterprises Dodge 109 0 Engine
14 24 0 Jack Sprague (R) NetZero Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
15 5 21 Ricky Rudd Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing Ford 109 0 Running
16 21 23 Kenny Wallace Stacker 2 Bill Davis Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
17 7 40 Sterling Marlin (W) Coors Light Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
18 6 54 Todd Bodine National Guard BelCar Motorsports Ford 109 1 Running
19 40 10 Johnny Benson Valvoline MBV Motorsports Pontiac 109 0 Running
20 35 17 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Power Tools Roush Racing Ford 109 2 Running
21 27 16 Greg Biffle (R) Grainger Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
22 15 25 Joe Nemechek UAW-Delphi Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
23 16 38 Elliott Sadler M&M's Robert Yates Racing Ford 109 0 Running
24 39 77 Dave Blaney Jasper Engines & Transmissions Jasper Motorsports Ford 109 0 Flagged
25 38 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Penske Racing Ford 109 0 Running
26 25 32 Ricky Craven Tide PPI Motorsports Pontiac 109 1 Running
27 29 41 Casey Mears (R) Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 1 Running
28 42 01 Jerry Nadeau U.S. Army MBV Motorsports Pontiac 109 0 Running
29 32 1 Steve Park Pennzoil Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 109 0 Running
30 41 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's/got milk? Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
31 19 42 Jamie McMurray (R) Havoline Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
32 14 9 Bill Elliott (W) Dodge Dealers Evernham Motorsports Dodge 109 0 Running
33 33 74 Tony Raines (R) Staff America BACE Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
34 12 43 John Andretti Cheerios Petty Enterprises Dodge 108 0 Flagged
35 34 33 Christian Fittipaldi (R) Monaco Coaches Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Flagged
36 2 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Budweiser Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 108 22 Flagged
37 43 4 Mike Skinner Kodak Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 108 0 Flagged
38 17 22 Ward Burton (W) Caterpillar Bill Davis Racing Dodge 105 0 Contact T4
39 1 30 Jeff Green America Online Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 94 0 Contact T4
40 23 7 Jimmy Spencer Sirius Satellite Radio Ultra Motorsports Dodge 94 0 Contact T4
41 22 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Batteries Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet 81 0 Flagged
42 28 49 Ken Schrader 1-800-Call-ATT BAM Racing Dodge 57 0 Contact TO
43 37 12 Ryan Newman Alltel Penske Racing Dodge 56 0 Contact TO
Failed to Qualify
14 Larry Foyt (R) Harrah's A. J. Foyt Racing Dodge
11 Brett Bodine Hooters Brett Bodine Racing Ford
02 Hermie Sadler (R) n/a SCORE Motorsports Pontiac
60 David Green (R) Haas Automation Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
90 Kirk Shelmerdine (R) Freddie B's Donlavey Racing Ford
37 Derrike Cope (W) Friendly's Ice Cream Qwest Motor Racing Chevrolet
78 Mike Harmon (R) CARB-R-ALL BC Motorsports Chevrolet
"2003 Daytona 500 - Racing-Reference.info". Archived from the original on 2003-02-16. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weather of the 2003 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-06-19.