Daytona Beach, Fla – With three laps to go in Sunday’s Daytona 500, the youth movement was well on their way to showing they’re here to belong in NASCAR’s top level. 21-year old Chase Elliott who was the pole sitter for today’s Daytona 500 and won his Duel on Thursday night, was leading the race. He was three laps away from his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
24-year old Kyle Larson was running in third at the time while 23-year old Ryan Blaney was fifth. Unfortunately for them, a veteran prevailed, with 38-year old Kurt Busch winning Sunday’s 59th annual Daytona 500.
Also, with the way they lost, it was a heartbreaker.
Elliott, was forced out of the lead when it appeared he was going to run out of gas. No one drafted with him as he dropped like an anchor. He would finish a disappointing 14th after leading 39 laps today.
Same thing happened to Larson. Coming to the white flag, Martin Truex Jr. blew by him as it appeared entering Turn 3 his No. 42 Chevrolet had run out of fuel. He would gain no drafting help and finish 12th. He’d lead 16 laps on Sunday too.
Blaney meanwhile, nearly won but he finished just 0.228-seconds behind Busch for the win. Yes, it was pure joy for his best career Cup finish, but also frustrating to be just 0.228-seconds from winning the year’s biggest race.
It’s a good sign for NASCAR that despite all those big melee’s caused by veterans, three 24-year old and younger drivers escaped it all and were there in the end battling for a win in the Daytona 500.