Race 1 of 33: Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile superspeedway / 120 laps
Weather: Sunny/windy; 61 deg.
Race Winner: James Buescher
Cole Whitt finished fourth in the Hellmann’s Chevrolet to lead the JR Motorsports campaign in Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Whitt shuffled through the field looking for drafting help for most of the race, but found the top-10 in the closing laps. After a massive crash within sight of the checkered flag, Whitt slammed off the outside barrier and held a steady wheel through the carnage to earn a top-five finish in his first start with JRM. Driving the TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a frontrunner for the race’s entirety, leading five times for eight laps. He was caught in a late crash on lap 115, which caused minor cosmetic damage and left the team to finish 15th. Starting on the pole in the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, Danica Patrick received extensive damage after an incident with teammate Cole Whitt. The pair was looking to advance in the tandem draft when contact from the nose of the 88 machine sent the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet spinning into the outside retaining wall on lap 50. Patrick finished 38th.
Cole Whitt, driver No. 88 Hellmann’s team (finished 4th)
“The last thing I want to do is take out a teammate. So to Danica and her whole crew, I’m sorry. It’s just part of this type of racing. I was trying to get hooked up with the 7 car in the tandem draft and I just made contact getting into the corner, completely my fault.
“I’ve got to thank Pops and the entire Hellmann’s crew for putting together such a good car. It was tough out there at times. This tandem draft is new to me and being a rookie sometimes it’s hard to get drafting help from the veterans. But we survived and now we have a top-five finish to show for it.”