AP Photo/Glenn Smith
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It's just one race, but a top-35 spot in the rankings already has good implications for some and bad signs for others.
Finishing dead last in his first Daytona 500 doesn't help rookie Joey Logano keep that coveted top-35 spot he's going to need after five races.
It's just one race, but 43rd on the points list will place added pressure on the teenage phenom for Joe Gibbs Racing.
"I don't think I should say what I'm feeling inside," Logano said afterward. "I'm not very happy, that's for sure."
The good news for Logano is that Daytona 500 results rarely tell us anything about how the racing will go the rest of the season. However, he was running near the front early in the race.
But teams that didn't finish in the top 35 for the rain-shortened season opener know they need to pick it up this weekend for the Auto Club 500 at Fontana, Calif.
Six of the eight cars that finished below 35th have a guaranteed spot for the first five races, based on points from last season. One who doesn't is driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield, who finished 40th in the No. 41 Toyota.
But Mayfield can't feel too bad after earning $265,338 on Sunday. Now he can pay his 15 employees and hope for better results next week.
Travis Kvapil, who finished 42nd, also doesn't have a guaranteed spot for the first five races. Team owner Doug Yates said they hope to run Kvapil the full season, and earning $263,963 should help them keep trying for now.
New team owner Tommy Baldwin has to feel good about his small operation after watching driver Scott Riggs finish 25th on Sunday in the No. 36 Toyota.
The team still must qualify on speed for the next four events, but they are in good position to earn a top-35 guaranteed spot if they continue to perform at this level.
And a third-place showing for AJ Allmendinger has to improve his chances of finding the funding to race a full season for Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger, who doesn't have top-35 points, is down to run a partial schedule. A top-three showing in the Daytona 500 could change that plan.
But all this could become a moot point. The economy could keep entries down as the season progresses, so we could see races where only 43 cars show up.
Nationwide Series: Cup drivers dominate at Daytona
Cup regulars were the top eight finishers and 11 of the top 12 in the season-opening Camping World 200 at Daytona, including winner Tony Stewart.
Only Nationwide veteran Jason Keller broke up the Cup dominance with his ninth-place showing.
Teammate Steve Wallace, Rusty's son, didn't fare so well. Wallace was dumped from behind by Jason Leffler, causing Wallace to crash into the outside wall. Leffler was penalized five laps for aggressive driving.
NASCAR officials found violations on both cars in the postrace inspection. O'Quinn's car, which is owned by JD Motorsports, had a problem with the front springs.
Harmon's car, which he owns, had a weight distribution problem with ballast outside the frame rail.
O'Quinn finished 23rd and Harmon was 29th.
Camping World Truck Series: Young guns show well in opener
If the opener is a good barometer, the 2009 season has some talented young rookies to watch.
None of them has reached his 21st birthday. Fitzpatrick and Malsam are 20; Austin is 19.
Fitzpatrick, a Canadian from Cambridge, Ontario, got everyone's attention Friday night with a fourth-place finish, leading 17 laps in his third Truck Series start and his first restrictor-plate race.
"I still am trying to bite the nervousness running with these guys," Fitzgerald said. "When I came [to Daytona], the biggest track I had raced on was a three-eighths of a mile. This is just unbelievable."
Malsam, a Seattle native, probably felt the same way after finishing 10th in his third start. Malsam is driving for Randy Moss Motorsports and teaming with veteran Mike Skinner.
Austin finished 13th, quite an effort for a teen who never had raced in a Truck Series event. He's driving for the new team of Trail Motorsports owned by Art Shelton.
Monday's SportsNation Chat
Ryan McGee has his finger on the pulse of NASCAR, and he stopped by to answer your questions. Didn't agree with his Power Rankings? Have a burning question? McGee will be back next week to mix it up with SportsNation at 2 p.m. ET.
Racing Resources SaysSprint Cup Series
- Matt Kenseth won the 51st running of the Daytona 500.
- This was the fourth rain-shortened Daytona 500. The previous rain-shortened 500s: 1965,133 laps; 1966, 198 laps; and 2003, 109 laps. Sunday's race ran 152 laps. The last rain-shortened Cup race was at Loudon last June.
- Kenseth became the 33rd different winner of the Daytona 500, scoring his first victory in 10 starts in this prestigious race. It was his first restrictor-plate victory. His previous best finish at Daytona was a third-place finish in July 2008. That third-place was also his previous best restrictor-plate finish in 36 restrictor-plate races.
- Kenseth posted his 17th career Sprint Cup victory in his 329th career start. Roush Fenway's previous best finish in the 500 was second three times: Jeff Burton (2000) and Kurt Busch (2003 and 2005).
- Kenseth was winless in 2008, with his last Sprint Cup win coming at Homestead in November 2007. He led once in Sunday's 500 for the final seven laps.
- Kyle Busch led the most laps in the race, leading twice for 88 laps.
- Kevin Harvick finished second.
- Ford posted its 11th victory in 51 Daytona 500s. Chevrolet has 20 500 victories, while Dodge has four.
- Scott Speed (35th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the two rookies who raced. Speed started 38th.
- Michael Waltrip (seventh) was the highest-finishing Toyota.
- There were five first-time starters in this year's 500: AJ Allmendinger (third), Marcos Ambrose (17th), Aric Almirola (30th), Speed (35th) and Joey Logano (43rd).
- The top 10 consisted of four Dodges, three Chevrolets, two Fords and one Toyota.
- Tony Stewart won the Camping World 300 at Daytona International Speedway. It was his eighth Nationwide victory in his 87th career start.
- Stewart has won his past three Nationwide restrictor-plate starts, and six of his past 10 NNS starts.
- Stewart posted his fourth Nationwide Daytona win, all in February. Only Dale Earnhardt Jr. has more February Nationwide wins. Stewart's four wins at Daytona rank him third all-time in Nationwide Daytona wins. Dale Earnhardt Sr. has seven and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five.
- Stewart led four times for 23 laps, including the final seven laps.
- Clint Bowyer led the most laps in the race, leading four times for 33 laps
- Hendrick Motorsports posted its second Nationwide win at Daytona.
- Stewart has won with four different owners in NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing, Kevin Harvick Inc., Andy Petree Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.
- Carl Edwards finished second.
- Chevrolet posted its 25th Nationwide victory in 35 races at Daytona.
- Michael McDowell (14th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the six rookies in the race. McDowell started 41st.
- Jason Keller (ninth) made his series-leading 459th Nationwide start.
- NASCAR penalized Jason Leffler for five laps for "aggressive driving" when it appeared that he caused Stephen Wallace, Justin Allgaier and Scott Lagasse Jr. to wreck on Lap 71. All three drivers were out of the race due to accident damage.
- D.J. Kennington (17th) was the highest-finishing Dodge.
- The top 10 consisted of five Fords, three Chevrolets, and two Toyotas.
- Todd Bodine won the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
- Bodine posted his 16th Truck Series victory in his 116th start. The 16 wins ties him with Greg Biffle for sixth all-time.
- Bodine won the last four Superspeedway races (Talladega '07, Daytona, Talladega '08 and Daytona '09). It was his second consecutive NCWTS victory at Daytona, the first repeat winner at Daytona.
- Bodine was penalized on Lap 10 for passing for the lead below the double yellow line, and he never went a lap down.
- Bodine has finished in the top 5 for the seventh consecutive Truck race, the longest current streak.
- Germain Racing posted its 17th career win, which includes all of Todd Bodine's wins.
- Bodine's truck was unsponsored. The last time an unsponsored truck won a race was 62 races ago at Kentucky, when Ron Hornaday won in July 2006.
- Bodine became the ninth Daytona race winner over the age of 40. Carl Edwards was 24 years, 5 months, 29 days when he won at Daytona in 2004, the only Daytona winner under the age of 40.
- Kyle Busch finished second to Todd Bodine for the second consecutive year.
- J.R. Fitzpatrick finished fourth, the highest finisher of the six rookie of the year contenders in the race. Fitzpatrick's previous best finish was 21st at Martinsville (October 2008).
- Ricky Carmichael, 24th, and Chase Austin, 13th, made their Trucks debut.
- Rick Crawford is now the all-time leader with 298 series starts. Crawford was tied with Jack Sprague going into this race.
- The top 10 consisted of six Toyotas, three Chevrolets and one Ford. The highest-finishing Dodge was Dennis Setzer in 18th.