Take 5: Five Takeaways From The Daytona 500

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Big Names Struggle While Unexpected Faces Rise  

The Daytona 500 is one of those tracks where the cream with either rise to the top or it will head back to the garage with a busted up racecar. On Sunday NASCAR fans got to witness both of those things happen. While there was indeed a handful of cars that rose to the occasion, there was also a lot of big names that finished their day at the bottom of the running order.

Here is a quick look at some of the drivers who struggled this past weekend.

  • Carl Edwards – 24th place
  • Jeff Gordon – 33rd place
  • Kyle Larson – 34th place
  • Matt Kenseth – 35th place
  • Ryan Newman – 38th place
  • Brad Keselowski – 41st place
  • Tony Stewart – 42nd place

Conversely, there were also some pleasant surprises on Sunday during the Daytona 500. With some of the sports biggest names running into trouble it opened the door for some unexpected faces to have good days and finishes.

  • Casey Mears – 6th place
  • Martin Truex Jr. – 8th place
  • David Gilliland – 11th place
  • Sam Hornish Jr. – 12th place
  • Michael Annett – 13th place
  • Regan Smith – 16th place
  • Johnny Sauter – 18th place
  • Matt Crafton – 19th place

While the top-20 finishes are a great story for some of these drivers many will chalk it up to Daytona being Daytona. The real test will come in the coming weeks to see if some of these drivers can continue their momentum. On the flip side, the drivers that struggled might not be worried now but if they have a few bad weeks in a row it might become a concern.