No. 5 NationsGuard Chevrolet Race Results: Daytona 500
Date: February 14, 2021
Race: DAYTONA 500
Track Specs: 2.5-mile oval / 200 laps / 500 miles
Points (behind leader): 7th (-17)
Kyle Larson scored a top-10 finish in his Hendrick Motorsports debut on Sunday in the DAYTONA 500. The driver of the No.5 NationsGuard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was battling in the top five on the final lap before being collected in a multi-car on-track incident. He limped across the finish line 10th in the season-opening event.
After starting 13th in the 200-lap event, Larson quickly moved up to 10th before the day’s first caution waved at lap 3. After restarting from that same position, the California native moved up to seventh on lap 12 before narrowly missing “the big one” – the multi-car incidents commonplace at superspeedway events – that collected 16 cars including two immediately in front of the No. 5 Chevrolet. Before the race was restarted, rain hit the circuit causing a nearly six-hour delay due to precipitation in the area.
Once the race restarted in the evening hours, Larson battled in the top-10 for much of stage 1 before moving from sixth to fourth on lap 65 to collect valuable championship points at the end of the stage.
After stopping for four tires and fuel during the break, the driver of the No. 5 Chevy restarted fifth and stayed in the top-10 as the tight pack synonymous with superspeedway racing ran the high line around the 2.5-mile track. With Larson running seventh, green flag pit stops began on lap 104. He stopped for fuel only on lap 109 and led lap 110.
But as the large drafting pack caught him one lap later, Larson’s Camaro suffered minor damage when the Toyota driven by Christopher Bell spun and collected the cars driven by Ricky Stenhouse and Larson.
After repairs during the caution, Larson restarted 16th and gained eight positions before the end of stage 2 to again score points toward the championship. Only drivers that finish in the top 10 at the end of a stage are awarded points.
Crew chief Cliff Daniels called for additional repairs during the ensuing break, and Larson restarted 17th with 64 laps remaining in the event. The field quickly settled into a single-file run with Larson scored 12th. He remained there until green-flag pit stops began at lap 170. Once stops were complete, Larson found himself in 14th position.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver methodically worked his way up to eighth with 10 laps to go and made a run inside the top-five on the final lap before being collected in the day’s final incident.
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series again visits DAYTONA International Speedway. But the event will consist of 70 laps on the road course instead of the superspeedway and will be broadcast on FOX and MRN at 3 p.m. EST February 21.
Comments From Kyle Larson: “All-in-all a good day. I thought we were in an okay spot there at the end to get a top-five or maybe even a win if things worked out down the backstretch and through (turns) 3 and 4. They all started crashing in front of me and I almost made it through but I barely clipped the 2 car (driven by Brad Keselowski), I think. I slid all the way through the corner thinking I could save it before I started spinning.
“I lost some spots but was able to cross the finish line with a top-10. I finished top 10 in the Duel (qualifying race) and got some points there, and scored points with top-10s in both stages tonight. I would have liked to have finished a little bit better, but anytime you see the checkered flag at Daytona it’s a good day.”