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 Warm with 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)
Attendance 200,000[2]
Pole position
Driver 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 the first race of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season, having been held on February 16 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green won his second career Winston Cup pole.

Prior to the race, the drivers paid tribute by having decals on 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 last Cup win). For the first time since 1966, the race was stopped due to rain; at 272.5 miles, this was the shortest Daytona 500 ever.

In the race, Ryan Newman had a wild accident in the tri-oval, where his #12 Dodge tumbled 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 he and Newman hit the wall. The rear tire fixture underneath Newman's car detached from the car as he went sliding into the infield grass, and the No.12 went airborne and when it landed, its right-rear wheel dug into the dirt, causing Newman to flip several times before landing 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 6 caution laps, during which a light rain began to fall, so 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, bringing out a 3rd caution. Spencer ended up hitting the frontstretch retaining wall and coming to rest just past the start-finish line. Spencer had a very similar crash in the 2000 race. A caution came on lap 103 for debris, and then Ward Burton hit the turn 4 wall on lap 106, bringing out another. There were 3 yellow flag laps after Burton's crash, and then the race was once red-flagged again due to more rain. Although it briefly looked as if the race would get back underway, the race was eventually called off due to the forecast of more rain and Michael Waltrip was declared as the winner. It was his 3rd career Winston Cup win both overall and at Daytona, and his 2nd career Daytona 500 win. Coincidentally, Waltrip's first three wins came in the first 3 Daytona races broadcast by Fox.

This was the 3rd Daytona 500 to have been shortened by rain, following the races held in 1965 and 1966. This race was also the shortest Daytona 500 ever.

Results[edit]

Pos Grid Car No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Laps Led Status
1 4 15 Michael Waltrip (W) Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 109 68 Running
2 36 97 Kurt Busch Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
3 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
4 31 29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
5 26 6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
6 3 31 Robby Gordon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
7 8 20 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 109 6 Running
8 20 19 Jeremy Mayfield Evernham Motorsports Dodge 109 0 Running
9 18 09 Mike Wallace Phoenix Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
10 11 88 Dale Jarrett (W) Robert Yates Racing Ford 109 0 Running
11 9 99 Jeff Burton Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
12 13 24 Jeff Gordon (W) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
13 30 45 Kyle Petty Petty Enterprises Dodge 109 0 Running
14 24 0 Jack Sprague (R) Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet 109 0 Running
15 5 21 Ricky Rudd Wood Brothers Racing Ford 109 0 Running
16 21 23 Kenny Wallace Bill Davis Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
17 7 40 Sterling Marlin (W) Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
18 6 54 Todd Bodine BelCar Motorsports Ford 109 1 Running
19 40 10 Johnny Benson MBV Motorsports Pontiac 109 0 Running
20 35 17 Matt Kenseth Roush Racing Ford 109 2 Running
21 27 16 Greg Biffle (R) Roush Racing Ford 109 0 Running
22 15 25 Joe Nemechek Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
23 16 38 Elliott Sadler Robert Yates Racing Ford 109 0 Running
24 39 77 Dave Blaney Jasper Motorsports Ford 109 0 Running
25 38 2 Rusty Wallace Penske Racing Ford 109 0 Running
26 25 32 Ricky Craven PPI Motorsports Pontiac 109 1 Running
27 29 41 Casey Mears (R) Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 1 Running
28 42 01 Jerry Nadeau MBV Motorsports Pontiac 109 0 Running
29 32 1 Steve Park Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 109 0 Running
30 41 5 Terry Labonte Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
31 19 42 Jamie McMurray (R) Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge 109 0 Running
32 14 9 Bill Elliott (W) Evernham Motorsports Dodge 109 0 Running
33 33 74 Tony Raines (R) BACE Motorsports Chevrolet 109 0 Running
34 12 43 John Andretti Petty Enterprises Dodge 108 0 Flagged
35 34 33 Christian Fittipaldi (R) Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet 108 0 Flagged
36 2 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 108 22 Flagged
37 43 4 Mike Skinner Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet 108 0 Flagged
38 17 22 Ward Burton (W) Bill Davis Racing Dodge 105 0 Contact T4
39 1 30 Jeff Green Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 94 0 Contact T4
40 23 7 Jimmy Spencer Ultra Motorsports Dodge 94 0 Contact T4
41 22 18 Bobby Labonte Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet 81 0 Flagged
42 28 49 Ken Schrader BAM Racing Dodge 57 0 Contact TO
43 37 12 Ryan Newman Penske Racing Dodge 56 0 Contact TO
Failed to Qualify
14 Larry Foyt (R) A. J. Foyt Racing Dodge
11 Brett Bodine Brett Bodine Racing Ford
02 Hermie Sadler (R) SCORE Motorsports Pontiac
60 David Green (R) Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
90 Kirk Shelmerdine (R) Donlavey Racing Ford
37 Derrike Cope (W) Qwest Motor Racing Chevrolet
78 Mike Harmon (R) BC Motorsports Chevrolet
Source:[2]

Withdrew: #84-Norm Benning.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weather of the 2003 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  2. ^ a b "2003 Daytona 500 - Racing-Reference.info". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 


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2002 Ford 400
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