Take 5: Five Takeaways From The Daytona 500

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gordon Doesn’t Finish The Fairy Tale

Everything was in place for Jeff Gordon to write a story that many predicted would have been too good to be true. In the end those many were correct as Gordon was not able to cap off his Daytona 500 with a victory.

Gordon took the pole for the race earlier during Speedweeks. After winning the pole for what would be his last Daytona 500, Gordon showed good speed in his duel race on his way to a 2nd-place finish. The story seemed to be writing itself just past halfway in the Daytona 500 when Gordon was leading the race and at that point had led more than 80 laps. Unfortunately things went south from there for Gordon and the No. 24 team.

Late in the race Gordon’s car didn’t appear to have the same amount of gusto that it had earlier. With less than 30 laps to go Gordon was hovering around the top-five during that epic stretch of three-wide racing for the lead but he was never able to break through the middle of the pack. As the laps wound down Gordon faded out of the top-10 and ultimately was caught up in a wreck on the last lap.

After the race Gordon was in good spirits seemingly relieved that they race was over and that he could shift his focus to the rest of the season. Winning Daytona would have been a great story but the real fairy-tale ending would be him winning his fifth championship in November.