Track: Daytona International Speedway
Race: Daytona 500
Date: February 15, 2021
No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Brad Keselowski
Stage 2: 10th
Laps Completed: 199/200
Laps Led: 0
Driver Point Standings (behind first): 16th (-33)
- Brad Keselowski's chances to win the Daytona 500 were derailed by an accident within sight of the checkered flag Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway. Keselowski was scored with a 13th-place finish after the incident on the final lap of the race.
- The No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang qualified with a 24th-place starting position, but Keselowski started from the rear of the field when he was forced to a backup car following Thursday night's Duel qualifying race at Daytona.
- Sunday's Daytona 500 was red flagged after just 15 laps following a multi-car accident and then heavy rain that moved through the area. When the race resumed after a nearly six-hour delay, Keselowski ran inside the top 10 for much of Stage 1 and finished 11th when the segment concluded on lap 65. Keselowski pitted during the stage caution for four tires and restarted eighth when the green flag resumed racing action on lap 71.
- In Stage 2, Keselowski moved in and out of the lead draft before rallying into contention late in the segment. After falling outside the top 10 midway through the stage, Keselowski worked his way up the leaderboard and was running 10th when the stage concluded on lap 130. The Discount Tire Ford Mustang made a four-tire stop during the stage caution on lap 132 and Keselowski restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 136.
- The third and final stage didn't start or end the way the way the No. 2 Ford team had hoped for. Keselowski battled in traffic and he ran in 14th place when he made his final stop of the night on lap 170. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins made the call for right-side tires and speedy service by the Discount Tire crew put Keselowski back on the track in fourth position. Keselowski prevented several Chevrolet drivers from moving past him and he advanced to third place with 10 laps remaining. With the Daytona 500 drawing to a close, Keselowski moved into position to win the race. He drove the Discount Tire Mustang into second place on the final lap, behind leader and teammate Joey Logano. As the lead pack entered Turn 3, Keselowski moved to the inside of Logano for the race lead and the two cars made contact. The accident collected multiple cars as Keselowski wound up finishing 13th in the running order.
Quotes: "I had a big run down the backstretch and wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500 and it ended up really bad. I don't feel like I made a mistake, but I can't drive everybody else's car, so it's frustrating. The Discount Tire Ford was not the fastest, but Jeremy Bullins and the whole team did a great job of keeping us in position and right then we were in position. It's exactly where I wanted to be running second on the last lap at Daytona with this package and had the run, made the move and it didn't work out."
No. 12 Menards/BlueDEF/PEAK Ford Mustang – Ryan Blaney
Stage 1: 30th
Stage 2: 30th
Laps Completed: 14/200
Laps Led: 0
Final Point Standings (behind first): 25th (-46)
- Ryan Blaney's Daytona 500 lasted only 14 laps on Sunday after the No. 12 Menards/BlueDEF/PEAK Ford Mustang was collected in an early-race multi-car accident. After his race ended early, Blaney was credited with a 30th-place finish.
- Blaney started 14th and was racing in the lead pack in the early going. He reported to crew chief Todd Gordon that the Menards Ford was riding on the splitter.
- Blaney nearly made it through the crash on lap 15 that involved 16 cars. With persistent rain over the weekend at Daytona International Speedway, however, the nose of the Menards/BlueDEF/PEAK Ford Mustang dug deep into the wet grass after contact forced the car off the track, effectively ending the race for the No. 12.
Quote: "It was an unfortunate day for our Menards/BlueDEF/PEAK Ford Mustang. We were just riding and thought we had the wreck missed. Unfortunately, the damage to the nose ended our day. Hate it for everybody on this No. 12 Ford team at Team Penske and our partners. We're looking forward to heading back to Daytona next week."
No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang – Joey Logano
Stage 1: 8th
Stage 2: 6th
Laps Completed: 199/200
Laps Led: 26
Point Standings (Behind First): 9th (-13)
- Joey Logano started Sunday's Daytona 500 from the ninth position and finished 12th in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang following a last-lap incident on the backstretch while leading the race. Logano led 24 of the final 25 laps and nearly earned his second Daytona 500 victory before it was derailed by contact in turn 3. Logano and the Shell-Pennzoil Ford team spent the majority of the race, which was delayed for nearly six hours due to rain, running inside the top five.
- As Logano worked his way to the front of the field from his ninth-place starting spot, the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang sustained only minor damage during a multi-vehicle accident on lap 14. A red flag put the race on pause on lap 15 when lighting and rain descended on Daytona. When racing finally resumed shortly after 9 p.m. ET Sunday, the team repaired the earlier damage to the No. 22 Ford and added four tires with a trackbar adjustment. Logano finished the second stage of the race in the eighth position and on the ensuing pit stop, the Shell-Pennzoil team installed four new tires and made an air pressure adjustment.
- As the second stage began, Logano continued to improve his position as he worked with teammate Austin Cindric on the high lane around Daytona International Speedway. Logano finished the second stage in the sixth position. On the stage-ending stop, the Shell-Pennzoil crew continued to adjust the chassis and the air pressure on the No. 22 Mustang as temperatures continued to fall later into the evening.
- Logano ran inside in the top three until the top Ford Performance competitors visited pit road on lap 170. The Shell-Pennzoil Mustang took on two tires and fuel as the team positioned itself for the end of the race. On lap 175, Logano and the No. 22 Ford moved into the race lead with four other Ford competitors filling out the top five.
- On the final lap, Logano maintained his lead before contact with the No. 2 Ford in turn 3 sent both cars spinning. The incident triggered a multi-car crash as the field approached the finish line. The Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang team saw its bid for a second Daytona 500 win fall short as Logano and the team were credited with a 12th-place result.
Quote: "I hate that we didn't win with the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang, but at least we had a Ford in victory lane tonight. I'm really happy for (race winner) Michael McDowell – he's a great guy, a great person and a good leader in life. He's helped me a lot in my life, so it's very cool to see him win the Daytona 500."
No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang – Austin Cindric
Stage 1: 5th
Stage 2: 12th
Laps Completed: 199/200
Laps Led: 2
Point Standings: N/A
- Austin Cindric had an impressive NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) debut in Sunday's Daytona 500, despite a 15th-place finish after the No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford Mustang was collected in a multi-car accident on the last lap of the race.
- Cindric raced his way into "The Great American Race" and he started from the 39th position. Following an early multi-car accident, rain began to fall at Daytona International Speedway. The race was delayed by a five-hour and 40-minute red flag on lap 15 and Cindric was scored in the 22nd position. Once the race resumed, the reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champ found himself racing inside the top 10 and he finished the first 60-lap stage in fifth place. Crew chief Miles Stanley called the Verizon 5G Mustang to pit road during the stage caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments as Cindric restarted the race running fourth on lap 71.
- During Stage 2, the NCS rookie continued to run strong as he claimed the race lead on lap 72, before the No. 33 Verizon 5G Ford settled back into fifth place. Cindric came to pit road under the green flag for a scheduled pit stop on lap 104 as the No. 33 crew made slight adjustments to the car. At the conclusion of the second stage Cindric was scored in 12th place.
- During the stage caution, Stanley called the Verizon 5G Mustang to pit road for service and Cindric took the green flag to begin the final stage racing in the 10th position. Cindric worked his way back up to fifth place by lap 143. The Verizon 5G Mustang visited pit road one final time under green on lap 169 for right side tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a miscommunication added time to the stop and Cindric lost some track position to the leaders. He ran in the 15th position with 20 laps to go and the No. 33 Ford improved to 12th before the final lap of the race. On the way to the checkered flag, the two lead cars made contact and the Verizon 5G Mustang was one of several cars that were collected in the ensuing incident. Cindric's damaged car was not able to make it to the finish line and he was credited with a solid 15th-place finish in his series debut.
Quote: "We had a fast Verizon 5G Ford Mustang. I learned a lot. We were running in the top five and led a lap or two. It was just unfortunate we had the miscommunication on pit road, and we lost all that track position and ended up where we did not want to be. I have to thank my guys and everyone that worked on this Verizon 5G Mustang. I'm looking forward to my next Cup start and learning more."