DAYTONA, FL – At 20 years old and one day, Knoxville, TN native, Trevor Bayne, became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500. "If I tried to put it into words, I wouldn't be doing it any justice," said Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne. "Roush Yates and Wood Brothers Racing gave me a rocket ship that definitely did me a lot of justice today. Anybody I hooked up with was headed to the front. To get this win in our second-ever race, that's setting a standard." Bayne won the race in the #21 car painted like the Woods Brothers race winning car that carried David Pearson to victory circle 35 years ago – before Trevor was born!
Lap 3 was a tribute to Dale Earnhardt, who died in a final lap accident at Daytona in 2001. The silent lap was run with the announcers not saying a word and the 180,000 fans all holding up three fingers in honor of the Intimidator. “We felt the appropriate way to honor Dale Earnhardt was in the actual racing,” said track president Joie Chitwood. “The best way to appreciate the things Dale did — he was about racing — and how we respect him should be on the track. That to us was a real racing tribute and more appropriate than anything we could have done in the pre-race show.”
The final laps of the race were grueling. With 18 laps to go, Kasey Kahne blew a tire sending him into the wall and causing the 14th yellow-flag of the race. With 4 laps remaining, another accident on the backstretch resulted in a yellow flag setting up the green-white-checkered finish, Unfortunately, Roush driver David Ragan was black-flagged on the restart trying to get ahead of Bayne. Minutes later, Allmendinger was hit by Ryan Newman causing a multi-car wreck and the second green-white checkered finsh.
Trevor Bayne, with a push by Bobby Labonte, stayed out in front at the end barely holding off fellow Ford drivers Carl Edwards and California native David Gilliland. Edwards and Gilliland seemed to come out of nowhere to nose out Labonte. Edwards second place finish was impressive as after running over Kahne’s brake rotor late in the race.
Hendrick Motorsports had a tough race with Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson involved in “The Big One” on lap 29. The ever-impressive, 52-year-old Mark Martin was able to rejoin the race three laps down. Martin worked hard running as high as second place and finishing 10th on the lead lap. Junior was faring best of all the HMS cars before he was forced to pit road with a tire going down on lap 199 prior to the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. His day went from disappointing to disastrous on the second attempt when he was collected in a wreck not of his own doing. He finished 24th.
The 2011 Daytona race set records with 16 cautions and 74 lead changes. The “Big One” occurred on lap 29 when Reutteman was tapped by his boss, Michael Waltrip, causing a 14 car pileup. Waltrip also caused a wreck and the first caution tapping Kyle Busch in heavy traffic. Neither driver accused Michael of wrongdoing.
All three podium finishing cars were equipped with Burns Stainless collectors. Roush Yates Engines is a long-standing customer of Burns Stainless. We are proud working with RYE.