Daytona

 

  1. Ross Chastain – It’s hard to find many faults in Chastain’s three races at Daytona. With the exception of a tight squeeze late in the Xfinity race which kicked him out of the top-10 resulting in 13th place finish, Chastain’s 3rd place on Friday in the Truck series, stage win and 23 laps led in the Xfinity series followed by a top-10 in the Daytona 500 set him apart from all other drivers.
  2. Michael McDowell – Following a late penalty and a series of close calls, McDowell pushed back on expectations by not pushing Joey Logano on the last restart of the race. The decision to fight for his chance at a win rather than submissively roll over and help the larger team didn’t necessarily gain him any positions on track but certainly drew a clear line in the sand regarding the way he wants to be treated by front-runners. It is his second career Cup top-5.
  3.  Matt DiBenedetto – DiBenedetto excelled in his first race with Leavine Family Racing, leading 49 laps, more than doubling his previous career total. Each time it seemed he was going to get mired back in mid-pack he would find his way back to the top-10, then top-5, then be competing for the lead. Atlanta will be the first peak at what this team’s expectations should truly be this year.
  4. Ryan Sieg – Sieg finished in 4th place for his 4th career top-5, recording the 8th best driver rating of the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. His average running position was 9.3, running in the top-15 for 100 laps. Despite a lack of intrigue late in the Xfinity race, the quiet affair may have provided the perfect launchpad for his second shot at the playoffs.
  5. Ryan Preece – Dodging and weaving his way to the finish, Preece picks up his first career top-10 with his 8th place finish. Running mid-pack for much of race, Preece spent only 53 laps running inside of the top-15, deciding it was time to make his move with 25 laps left, quickly moving up toward the top-10. The only driver to have a lower driver rating in the top-10 was Ross Chastain, yet both had career days.
  6. Ty Dillon – It took Dillon 72 races to capture his first top-10, it only took a trip back to Daytona to capture his second. Running as high as 4th place, Dillon, much like Preece, spent the majority of race running mid-pack, his average running position during the Daytona 500 was 21.5. Despite getting a piece of two of the late crashes, the damage was minimal enough as allow him to collect his second 6th-place Daytona finish in a row
  7. Josh Reaume – After 33 starts in the Xfinity series and 28 starts in the Gander Outdoor Truck series, Reaume captured his first top-10 and led his first lap in NASCAR competition. In his own equipment, nonetheless. In a race where merely taking care of your equipment was enough, Reaume was one of nine trucks still running on the lead lap at the finish. Hands down one of the best stories of Speedweeks.
  8. Spencer Boyd – After a full season in the Xfinity series in 2018 Boyd moved back to the Truck series with Young’s Motorsports. Wearing the rookie stripes again, he managed to make keep the truck intact for his first-ever top-5 in NASCAR competition. His 4th place finish was just the third ever top-5 for the team in 165 combined starts.
  9. Jeff Green – Green had the lowest average running position (16.8) of all the top-10 finishers in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. Only running 52 laps inside the top-15. Which means on a day when passing was limited the veteran of 29 years still had what it takes to school the younger generation in better funded equipment.
  10. Parker Kligerman – Despite getting turned by Casey Mears on the frontstretch and falling two laps down, Kligerman picked up his career-best Cup series finish. His 15th-place finish in the Daytona 500 was also the second top-15 for Gaunt Brothers Racing. All of this came on a day when the team had the third-lowest number of quality passes in the field, spending the majority of the race 2 laps down.
  11. Timothy Peters – Finishes in 7th-place for his 127th top-10 in the NGOTS/CWTS/CTS.
  12. Clay Greenfield –  Ran consistently in top-10 and as high as p2 before getting caught up in the late truck race sheet metal jamboree. Ends up in p12 after having to blindly park it.
  13. Austin Wayne Self – Collects 5th career top-10 finish, finishing p9.
  14. BJ McLeod – Would have been in great shape for a top-15 in the Daytona 500 had he not been collected at pit road entrance mid-race. Finishes p19, his career-best finish in Cup. Also had the most green flag passes (157) of any driver in the Xfinity race on the way to 27th-place finish.
  15. Angela Ruch – First-ever top-10 (p8) in second Truck start, leading 2 laps in the process.
  16. David Ragan – Was running around the top-5 in the Daytona 500 before getting swept up in the big one.
  17. Timmy Hill – Made up into top-10 late until contact on pit road relegated them to a 19th-place finish.
  18. Corey Lajoie – After an early flat tire, managed car and damage to an 18th-place finish.
  19. Joey Gase – Finishes p16, made way up into the top-15 late after running outside the top-20 for much of race.
  20. Bobby Gerhart– Oh so close to his first-ever NASCAR top-10, finishes in 11th-place.

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