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HOW THE RACE UNFOLDED

AT THE START

POLE-SITTER: JEFF BURTON

SECOND: JEFF GORDON

THIRD: ELLIOTT SADLER

FOURTH: KYLE BUSCH

FIFTH: CARL EDWARDS

TAKE TWO ACTION: The green flag is delayed for a lap because a plastic bag is caught in the camera well atop Kevin Harvick's car and he has to stop in the pits to remove it.

RIGHT START: Jeff Burton leads the first 18 laps, breaking a streak of four years in which the pole-sitter never led a lap in the 500.

BROTHERS IN BACK: Terry Labonte, who started 43rd and last, and brother Bobby, who started in back because of an engine change in practice, run together early, several seconds behind most of the field.

ROOKIE SLIP: Martin Truex brings out the first caution on Lap 18 after brushing the outside wall. He keeps running but loses a lap.

CAUGHT YA: Dale Jarrett and Kirk Shelmerdine are sent to back of the field for pit violations.

FIRST CHANGE: Elliott Sadler takes the lead off first the pit stop, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is second. On the restart the top eight break away slightly in single file.

NUMEROLOGY: Jeff Gordon takes the lead on Lap 24, matching his car number. It's the only lap he leads.

CHAMP FOR A REASON: Tony Stewart saves his car when it goes sideways, then takes the lead about two laps later.

ONE SHOT, TWO SHOTS: Jeremy Mayfield slows after making contact with the wall, then Biffle, and makes a green flag stop. The damage to his left side (where he hit Biffle) is bad, and he has to make another stop to pull the body work away from the tires.

NOT ENOUGH SPACE: Gordon, running just ahead of Stewart, brushes the wall in Turn 2 and takes Stewart with him, bringing out the caution.

AFTER 50 LAPS

LEADER: RYAN NEWMAN

SECOND: MATT KENSETH

THIRD: KURT BUSCH

FOURTH: TRAVIS KVAPIL

FIFTH: JIMMIE JOHNSON

CONTENDERS FALL BACK: Tony Stewart falls back to 36th, Jeff Gordon to about 40th after the pit stops. Both run near the back with Jamie McMurray, who led just a few laps earlier. Ryan Newman, who started 18th, takes the lead during the pit sequence.

WEATHER WATCH: The day is overcast and weather seems to be a worry when moisture began showing up on NBC's cameras on the outside walls. The weather never looks any better during the race, but the rain holds off.

HARD CHARGER: Stewart works his way back up to 15th about 15 laps after the restart.

BACK TO FRONT: Bobby Labonte works his way into the top 10 by Lap 75.

FIRST MAJOR METAL CRUNCHING: A multicar wreck on Lap 79 starts when Jeff Green spins toward the infield, then back up the track. He collects J.J. Yeley, Kyle Petty and Joe Nemechek, then Carl Edwards slams into Petty. Ken Schrader goes through the grass as does Gordon.

SNEAKY QUICK: Matt Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, leads before the wreck and stays out front through the ensuing pit stops.

UNSTABLE AT TOP: Continuing a pattern of numerous lead changes after a restart, Kevin Harvick takes over from Kenseth, then is passed a couple of laps later by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DEFENSE GOES SOUR: Gordon, who has to make multiple stops after the wreck because of a flat tire, says he had transmission problems and has lost third gear.

AFTER 100 LAPS

LEADER: DALE EARNHARDT JR.

SECOND: MATT KENSETH

THIRD: KURT BUSCH

FOURTH: MARK MARTIN

FIFTH: JIMMIE JOHNSON

LAST 500 GOING WELL: Mark Martin takes the lead, shooting past the pack on the outside on Lap 104 with Tony Stewart, who was 36th just 50 laps earlier, making his way into second. Martin, in his 22nd Daytona 500, is retiring at the end of the season.

SWERVE: Stewart takes a hard left into Matt Kenseth near the front of the pack, causing Kenseth to slide through the grass then back up the track. Kenseth hits the wall but no other cars.

PENALIZED: Stewart is sent to the end of the longest line because of what NASCAR called aggressive driving after the incident with Kenseth. Kenseth, in turn, is penalized for bumping Stewart before the restart.

DON'T FORGET ME: Martin Truex, who lost a lap early then got it back on NASCAR's "Lucky Dog" rule, makes the top five by Lap 116.

TAG TEAM, BACK AGAIN: Kyle Busch and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, take their first turns in the lead on the day after about 300 miles.

NEXT SLOWDOWN: Robby Gordon has a flat tire after brushing the outside wall, bringing out a caution.

NOT AGAIN: For the third time in the race, Stewart falls toward the back of the pack - this time because he runs over a jack during a pit stop, drawing a penalty. He restarted 36th.

TIGHT FIELD: There are still 36 cars on the lead lap after 135 laps - most of the ones that weren't were caught up in the Lap 79 wreck.

PATIENT DEBUT: Rookie Reed Sorenson, who turned 20 on Feb. 5, works his way into the top 10 by Lap 145.

AFTER 150 LAPS

LEADER: BRIAN VICKERS

SECOND: JIMMIE JOHNSON

THIRD: KURT BUSCH

FOURTH: RYAN NEWMAN

FIFTH: DALE EARNHART JR.

TWO ON TWO: For a few laps in the final quarter of the race, two Hendrick Motorsports teammates (Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch) and two Penske Racing South teammates (Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman) run in the top four.

VETERAN MOVE: Sterling Marlin, who started at the back because of an engine change, runs in the top 20 much of the day.

BROTHER ACT: Kurt Busch and his younger brother Kyle are second and third behind Newman with 27 laps to go.

NEVER COUNT HIM OUT: Jeff Gordon, who was in the back half of the field for most of the middle part of the race, is in the top 10 with 26 laps to go.

WHAT A PACK: With 20 laps to go, 36 cars are still on the lead lap. Also, the race has 18 different leaders, setting a record for the 500.

TIME'S UP: Kurt Busch hits the wall with with 14 laps to go after a tap from Jamie McMurray. His damaged car bounces off of Gordon and Marlin is caught up, sustaining damage to his right front. The field restarts with 10 to go.

BLACK FLAG: Kyle Busch, who drew scrutiny for his tactics in the Bud Shootout, gets a black flag for aggressive driving after making contact with Stewart.

ONE MORE TIME: McMurray and Jeff Burton make contact and tap the wall with four laps left, then McMurray bounces off of Bobby Labonte and slams back into the wall, ending his race. The accident sets up a green-white-checkered finish.

SUB STEPS UP: Jimmie Johnson, with substitute crew chief Darian Grubb, wins the 48th Daytona 500 as the caution flag comes out just before the checkered. Greg Biffle's spin freezes the field but Johnson beats the field to the finish line anyway. Casey Mears comes in second, his best career Nextel Cup finish.

AT THE FINISH

WINNER: JIMMIE JOHNSON

SECOND: CASEY MEARS

THIRD: RYAN NEWMAN

FOURTH: ELLIOTT SADLER

FIFTH: TONY STEWART

Up next:OBITUARIES

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