2005 Daytona 500
|Race 1 of 36 in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season|
Daytona International Speedway
|Date||February 20, 2005|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Course||Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
|Distance||203 laps, 507.5 mi (816.742 km)|
|Scheduled Distance||200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 72 °F (22 °C); wind speeds approaching 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||135.173 miles per hour (217.540 km/h)|
|Driver||Robert Yates Racing|
|Qualifying race winners|
|Duel 1 Winner||Michael Waltrip||Dale Earnhardt, Inc.|
|Duel 2 Winner||Tony Stewart||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Tony Stewart||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|No. 24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds|
(18.7 million viewers)
The 2005 Daytona 500 was the 47th running of the "Great American Race". It was held on February 20, 2005 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida as the first race of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Dale Jarrett won the pole and Jeff Gordon won the race, making this his third Daytona 500 win. Kurt Busch finished second and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished third. This was the first Daytona 500 to go longer than 500 miles.
As the result of NASCAR's implementation of the green-white-checker finish rule the previous season, the race had three extra laps due to a caution with three laps to go, reaching a total distance of 203 laps and 507.5 miles (816.7 km). It was also the first Daytona 500 to end at sunset, around 6:18 Pm EST.
A crowd of 200,000 people were estimated to have attended this race.
The green flag waved with Dale Jarrett leading the field, but he lost the first lap to Jimmie Johnson and fell back down the field after a small bump from behind from defending Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The 1st caution came out on lap 15, halfway through the first fuel run, when Bobby Labonte's engine blew up. Tony Stewart had been leading 11 laps. Scott Wimmer, who had only changed two tires, led when the race restarted.
The second caution flew on lap 28 when Ricky Rudd spun out in the middle of the field while Michael Waltrip had the lead, collecting five cars. On lap 36, Matt Kenseth, one of the pre-race favorites who was in trouble with a smoking exhaust, pitted under green.
On lap 61, there came to the start of green-flag pit stops, with the Dodges coming in first, as they did not get as good fuel mileage as others. Earnhardt, Jr. was pushed by Jeff Burton coming into his pit stop, and had to back up to get out after his tires were changed, causing him to drop down through the field. There was a total of seven speeding violations on pit road during these pit stops, most notably Johnson. Once the green flag pit stops cycled through on lap 64, Jeff Gordon had the lead.
Debris on the racetrack brought out the third caution on lap 86, with Gordon still out in front. Stewart led the race at the restart, and he was still leading at halfway and when the fourth caution came out on lap 105 for debris.
On lap 137, there came another round of green-flag pit stops, with Stewart still taking the lead. The fifth caution came out on lap 144 and the sixth one came on lap 155. Waltrip brought out the seventh caution, allowing him to leave the race and led to another round of pit stops on lap 164. Jason Leffler and Kyle Busch came together on pit road, dropping them both down the field.
With 32 laps to go, John Andretti, running three-wide and following a group of cars going four-wide, crashed and turned into Leffler, taking that driver out of the race. This would bring up the eight caution, with Stewart still out in front.
Stewart became the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1981 and 1982 to lead the most laps in two consecutive Daytona 500's.
The "Big One" occurred on lap 184. This began when Greg Biffle ran into Scott Riggs, collecting 11 cars in turn 3. Scott Wimmer's car took the worst of it, as his car went onto the apron, flipped over four times, spun on its nose, and crashed hard on its wheels. This crash brought out the ninth caution. Only some cars chose to pit, and Stewart and the others stayed out. Earnhardt, Jr., who had languished in midfield for the earlier part of the race, was now up to third place.
When the race restarted on lap 187, Andretti drove straight into Mike Skinner, starting a chain reaction crash involving at least eight cars, bringing out the immediate 10th caution. This crash was the result of someone (possibly Skinner) missing a gear at the restart.
The race restarted with six laps to go. With five to go, Earnhardt, Jr. briefly took the lead, but Stewart retook it on the next lap. The two drivers raced side-by-side until Earnhardt, Jr. retook the lead. Gordon took the lead before the 11th caution came out with three laps to go.
The race length of 200 laps and 500 miles (800 km) was completed under yellow, so a green-white-checker finish would take place. The race restarted on lap 202 with two laps to go. Despite much activity behind him, Gordon was able to hold off Kurt Busch and Earnhardt, Jr. to win his third Daytona 500 victory.
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