DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Greg Biffle still can’t figure out what to do on the final lap of a restrictor plate race.
He was running in second place on the final lap of the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at the Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16. He also took the white flag in second place during last Thursday’s 150-mile Budweiser Duels.
He left the speedway without a single win.
In fact, he finished sixth in Sunday’s Daytona 500 after getting shuffled back on a final-lap charge.
“They figured the 48 (race winner Jimmie Johnson) and the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) would side draft each other and I’d have a chance to pass them both,” Biffle said. “That’s what I was thinking would happen. That was my plan. I had it figured out, but my plan didn’t quite come together.”
MEDICAL UPDATES: Two fans remained hospitalized in stable condition late Sunday after a pair of crashes during the DRIVE4COPD 300 at the Daytona International Speedway, according to Halifax Health spokesman Byron Cogdell.
Fourteen fans were sent to area hospitals after a 13-car accident coming to the checkered flag Saturday sent debris – including the engine and front wheel assemblies for Kyle Larson – into the Campbell grandstands.
STAR POWER: The stars of music, TV and the NFL helped get Sunday’s Daytona 500 started.
The A-list included former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who was the honorary starter for the race and waved the green flag.
“I’m going to be a little nervous,” Lewis said before the race. “They told me they have one rule – don’t drop the flag.”
Also participating were actor James Franco of the Spider-Man movies, who gave the command for the racers to start their engines; and the Zac Brown Band. They performed a concert before the race, and Clay Cook, a member of the band, performed the national anthem.
GROUNDED: The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds were grounded for pre-race ceremonies by low clouds.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires a cloud ceiling of at least 1,500 feet. The ceilings over the speedway were 1,200 feet before the race.
Things cleared up enough to allow the Direct TV and Goodyear blimps to hover over the track.
PIT STOPS: By leading two laps Sunday, Danica Patrick became the 13th person to lead at least one lap at the two biggest races in America – the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Others notable drivers to do it included: Tony Stewart, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Juan Pablo Montoya, John Andretti, Bobby Allison, Bobby Unser, Jim Hurtubise, Robby Gordon and Tim Richmond … The best quote of the day came when Mark Martin met rapper 50 Cent before the race. “I told him if I won, he’d have to change his name to 55 Cent” in honor of Martin’s car number.