Kyle Larson then took over the lead, only to lose it to Kurt Busch after his tank ran dry as well. For instance, viewership was up by nine percent over a year ago among men aged 18-49, with a household increase from 3.4 to 3.7 percent. But in NASCAR, as in life, just sticking around can go a long way.
Larson finally pulled one off last season in his third year at MI, but no other driver to start in the last six years has collected a regulation win. Of course, that year NBC used the race as an appetizer to the winter Olympics, which helped bolster viewership. Actor Keanu Reeves, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, comedian Bill Burr, four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and 1967 Daytona 500 victor and racing icon Mario Andretti were among the others in attendance, but when Gronkowski walked in, the tent was abuzz. That, along with the repair rule that was meant to create more of a do or die feel to every race weekend, was supposed to fix the problem of leaders running away from the field and nabbing an easy win, but only served to create a high risk environment for drivers.
"His vehicle was really, really good", Blaney said.
Stewart gave Busch a big hug, whispered words to him during the lengthy embrace, and patted the driver on his back. Download podcast Tuesday, the No. 88 Chevrolet driver took a couple minutes to explain the in-car eye test - something he's done with a doctor in the past - he was doing to himself while the cars were stopped under a red flag after the wreck.
The last hope was Busch.
Hendrick Motorsports is the most valuable team at $350 million with more than $200 in revenue during 2016, the financial magazine reported. He could be late for practice, or skip it completely and no one would care.
"He definitely had the vehicle to beat", Kurt Busch said of Elliott.
Gronkowski also was wearing a Monster Energy T-shirt.
It was just an added bonus to win in SHR's first race with Ford.
Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski deadlocked atop Daytona 500 odds
Pagenaud, who won the championship last season, will have his hands full, as almost every team has made some strong improvements. Similar to Hamlin, Logano also announced he will have Shell-Pennzoil serving as his primary sponsor for 30 races a year.
The end result was Denny Hamlin's JGR Toyota crossed the start-finish line 0.010 seconds ahead of Truex in the closest Daytona 500 finish since the advent of electronic timing and scoring. "He's going to win a lot this year".
"I'd say overall really pleased", O'Donnell said of NASCAR's review of the stages. "Wins are hard to come by...but to win the Daytona 500, it's hard to put into words". It was during those two years that Busch went winless for the first time since his rookie year of 2001. "He just got turned around. It's time to race?' I guess it was still too early". I tried to make a move with 10 to go and I didn't go anywhere.
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality of 2015 Cup champion and Sunday's first-stage victor Kyle Busch resurfaced again Sunday. It then backfired as Kyle spun out, collecting Jones and Matt Kenseth in his wake. When you've got more competitive cars up front racing for the same real estate, you're generally going to see more wrecks, more so at tracks like Daytona or Talladega.
"It was a good way to start off the year", Blaney said.
Additionally, the Daytona 500 was the second-most talked-about event on social media Sunday, trailing only the Academy Awards, with 443,000 people posting about the race on Twitter or Facebook.
The stages served their objective, but it was far from ideal on Sunday. Elliott was seeking to become the first driver to win the pole, a qualifying race and the 500 since his father accomplished the feat in 1985.
Montoya's best lap time was 121.414 seconds (110.893 mph), almost three seconds off the best GTLM times of the weekend. I think it's really cool.
The only part of the format O'Donnell said the sport might look at is the number of caution laps following a stage.
The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages.