Jarrett enjoys final run

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. --- Dale Jarrett finished 16th in his final Daytona 500. The significance of the day, however, may take days to sink in.


"That will probably happen later on as soon as I get home and think about it," he said. "This has been a good place for me. We stayed out of trouble and had a good enough car to make some passes at times and had some fun. That is all you can ask for."

Jarrett, a three-time winner of the Daytona 500, will make four more starts in the No. 44 Toyota before retiring to ESPN's television booth.

Before the race, the other 42 drivers stopped by his car and signed the hood to leave him with a souvenir.

BY A NOSE: Unlike seasons past, when NASCAR had a laundry list of violations, the only team to get busted in the inspection process was Robby Gordon .

NASCAR took away his front nose before qualifying because it hasn't been approved for competition.

Dodge teams announced during the off-season it was switching from the Avenger back to the Charger for 2008. Until a new Charger nose is approved, teams are still using the Avenger nose with a Charger decal.

Gordon announced two weeks ago he was aligning himself with Dodge and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. GEM sent him all the parts and pieces to convert his fleet of Fords to Dodges, and it apparently sent him the new Charger nose.

Penalties, if any, will be announced on Tuesday.

TOYOTA TURNAROUND: Toyota's strong opening was a dramatic reversal from its 2007 performance.

None of the Japanese automaker's four entries were factors in last year's Daytona 500. Two of the drivers -- David Reutimann and Dave Blaney -- failed to finish.

But on Sunday, Kyle Busch led a dominant performance for Toyota early in the race. All three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers led at least one lap in the early going, with Busch leading 37 of the first 100 laps. JGR set the pace for 77 of the first 100 laps.

YEARWOOD SINGS NATIONAL ANTHEM: Country music singer Trisha Yearwood didn't need any extra pressure before singing the national anthem before Sunday's Daytona 500.

But the number of fans in attendance at Daytona International Speedway put her even more on edge.

"I didn't really know that over 200,000 number until morning," she said.

"I've sung at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. That was big. This is bigger. This is huge."

PIT STOPS: Joe Nemechek was supposed to start 41st, but he was bumped back to 43rd after he missed driver introductions. There were so many people in the infield, Nemechek couldn't get from chapel service to pre-race ceremonies in time.


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