2011 Daytona 500: Rookie Trevor Bayne Wins

We take a look at the Bay Area and Central Valley drivers taking part in today's Daytona 500. For more coverage, check out SB Nation's NASCAR hub.

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6 Total Updates since February 20, 2011
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2011 Daytona 500 Results: Rookie Trevor Bayne Wins Daytona 500; Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon Struggle

The 2011 Daytona 500 ended with a Cinderella finish as 20-year old rookie Trevor Bayne took advantage of a final restart to win this year’s running of the Daytona 500. In a race marred by numerous accidents, the race finished with a green-white-checkered restart after the 16th yellow flag of the race. Sixteen yellow flags easily exceeded the previous Daytona 500 record of 11 yellow flags. In a day of perfect weather, the cars were packed in so tight that accidents were virtually inevitable.

There were a mix of individual accidents and multi-car wrecks, with the biggest coming on Lap 29. That accident knocked the likes of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to the back of the pack. While they were able to return to the race, they were double digit laps behind and were just racing for any points at that point.

Bay Area and Central Valley racers struggled throughout the race. Bakersfield-native and race favorite Kevin Harvick was knocked out early on with a blown engine. Harvick was an 8 to 1 favorite to win the race but lap 24 was his undoing. Vallejo-native Jeff Gordon was sitting at 12 to 1 odds to win the race, but a Lap 29 accident involving Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann sent Gordon to the garage. He eventually made his way back onto the track, but by that point he was 30+ laps down.

The high finished for the Bay Area was A.J. Allmendinger. The fifth-year driver actually benefited from all the accidents in today’s race as he finished 11th. He seemed settled in around 20th to 25th place for a vast majority of the race, occasionally popping up above the top 20. But every time he’d gain some ground, a poor pit stop or generally weak driving would drop him back down to the high 20s. However, as each accident knocked out a driver or two (or five or six) Allmendinger took advantage and climbed up the leaderboard as drivers feel by the wayside. By the end of the day he had finished with a respectable 11th place showing.

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2011 Daytona 500: 10th Yellow Caution Flag Helps A.J. Allmendinger Make Up Some Ground

Los-Gatos native A.J. Allmendinger has been stuck in the middle of the pack for much of the 2011 Daytona 500, but as we roll through the final third of the race, Allmendinger is quietly making up ground. After spending much of the race between 16th and 24th, Allmendinger has climbed into the top 13. During Lap 134 Matt Kenseth was bumped by Greg Biffle, causing him to slam into the wall and then roll off into the grass.

Of course, just as quickly as I started typing this update, Allmendinger has fallen to 19th due to a relatively poor pit performance. Every time he’s climbed up into the top 15 he’s fallen back again after pit stops. Of course, given how many accidents we’ve had thus far, if he can just stay on the track the war of attrition might get him into the top ten or top fifteen.

There are currently 61 laps to go as the race continues under caution. Your top five as the cars prepare to get the restart are 1) Clint Bowyer, 2) Paul Menard, 3) Tony Stewart, 4) Kyle Busch, and 5) Martin Truex Jr.

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2011 Daytona 500 Results: Robby Gordon Leads After 100 Laps; Kevin Harvick Out, Jeff Gordon Way Back

The 2011 Daytona 500 has reached the midway point and Robby Gordon is your current leader (subject to a whole lot of change). In fact, as I type Ryan Newman has captured the lead and Gordon has dropped back to third.

The big story thus far would have to be the sizable accident on Lap 29 that knocked out a lot of big names. Jeff Gordon was one of the victims of this accident. While he was able to get his car fixed up, he is 30 laps back and is just looking to finish with some additional points. The change in the point scoring system provides some value to him finishing the race.

Race favorite Kevin Harvick was knocked out early on as he blew out his engine after only 23 laps. With Harvick and guys like Jimmie Johnson, Michael Waltrip and others knocked out of contention early on, the front of the race has been constantly changing. Clint Bowyer has led the most laps but is currently in 17th place. Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray have led the next most laps but they still remain in the top ten. Los Gatos-native A.J. Allmendinger has been bouncing consistently between 16th and 24th for much of the race.

We’ve got coverage of Bay Area drivers, and you can get full Daytona 500 coverage at SBNation.com.

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2011 Daytona 500: Kevin Harvick Blows Out Engine; Jeff Gordon, Others In Big Wreck On Lap 29

2011 Daytona 500 favorite Kevin Harvick blew out his engine on turn 2 of Lap 24 and is finished for the day. Harvick had briefly led the race but he won’t get a chance to build on that. Harvick was the betting favorite of the race and is one of the top favorites to win the 2011 Sprint Cup Series title. He’ll get a point or two based on this performance, which leaves him in a bit of a hole right out of the gate.

A few laps later, there was a sizable crash resulting in the fourth caution flag of the day. There was a small pack of drivers racing tightly and a couple nudges resulted in five or six cars rolling around the infield of the track. The wreck began when Michael Waltrip bumped David Reutimann. The accident involved the following cars: 17, 87, 43, 38, 71, 5, 83, 00, 48, 16, 9, 24.

Bay Area-native racers Jeff Gordon and A.J. Allmendinger both were involved. Gordon has gone to the garage along with a good five or six cars and is apparently in need of some serious repairs. Allmendinger appears to still be going in the race and sitting around 24th place right now.

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