Rankings are updated every Monday of the NASCAR season.
Harvick laid back for much of the rain-delayed race after starting 34th. He worked his way forward, avoided trouble and ended up fourth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt had the fastest car all weekend, starting when he led the first practice session on Friday. That spot would earn him a pole position when qualifying was rained out. On Monday, that trend continued as Earnhardt led a race-high 96 laps in route to his 25th career victory.
Johnson led the second most laps Sunday into Monday, 35, and was dueling with Earnhardt for the win coming to the start-finish line. Johnson just wasn’t fast enough and settled for second.
Logano’s troubles started on lap three, when he was swept up in a crash. The crew was able to repair some of the damage, but Logano could only hold on for 22nd.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex looked very strong early on, running in second for a time. However, his hopes came to a crashing end on lap 105 when he was swept up in a multi-car crash. Truex ended his night in the garage in 38th place.
McMurray was another driver who looked strong early on; he was also swept up in a crash, but was able to continue and salvage a 15th place finish.
Keselowski didn’t have a car to win, but was hunting for at least a top 10 finish. Those hopes ended on lap 105 when he was caught up in one of four major crashes on the night. He was able to continue, but lost two laps and finished 29th.
Busch started 28th and spent the first half of the race deep in the pack and out of harm’s way. He charged forward in the closing laps, threading through the mayhem erupting all around him to secure a fifth place finish.
Kenseth was involved in several incidents sustaining damage that kept stacking up all race long. He fell down a lap at one point and was able to make that lap up, but could make it no further than 23rd.
Gordon never had enough speed to stay inside the top five. In his final race at Daytona, Gordon did make it as high as third, but at the end came home sixth.
Kahne looked strong for a time, running as high as third at one point. But he, like many others, was swept up in an accident. On lap 105 he got together with Matt Kenseth and spun, suffering heavy damage. The crew tried to effect repairs, but Kahne fell 12 laps down and never recovered, finishing a disappointing 32.
Hamlin was one of the few to lead laps. He led a total of 10 and was contesting for the win, coming across the start-finish line. A nudge from Harvick, however, sent Hamlin spinning just past the line and he set off a spectacular multi-car crash. Hamlin was scored third by virtue of just crossing the line before the accident.
Menard was a definite contender in the closing stages, running inside the top five in the closing laps. But a late race restart saw him get shuffled out of line and back in the pack, and Menard finished 16.
Newman ran a race befitting his style of quietly lurking and avoiding trouble until the late stages. Newman never had the car to win, but did secure a nice eighth place finish.
Bowyer is a strong plate racer and he proved that again at Daytona by suddenly appearing in the top five with under 20 laps to go. However, he was kicked back on a final restart with three laps to go, and could only hold on to finish 10th.
About The Ranker:
Greg Engle is an Examiner.com writer and an award-winning columnist who has worked full time for the Sporting News and the NASCAR Wire Service—if you wanted to get any more inside the sport of NASCAR you’d have to wear a crash helmet. He has received bylines in hundreds of newspapers across the country on auto sports and has also been featured on NASCAR.com, ThatsRacin.com, ESPN and Fox Sports. His work can be found at Examiner.com.