It’s early in the Daytona 500, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. is flying through the pack already after starting all the way in the back after wrecking the car he qualified in on Wednesday. Earnhardt Jr. is all the way up to 12th already with just a few laps in the books, navigating through the treacherous field at Daytona International Speedway with ease. With 11 laps in the books, we’ve already had our first caution, as Kyle Busch was forced to head into the pits to get some work done early after getting a little loose.
Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne is holding steady, as well, hanging onto a top-10 spot as he floats right around 10th place. Kahne started on the fifth row after finishing strong in his Gatorade Duels race earlier in the week.
AJ Allmendinger currently sits at first, leading the long drafting line early at Daytona. Mark Martin is in second, Kevin Harvick is third, Matt Kenseth sits fourth and Jeff Gordon rounds out the top-5. Gordon qualified second in the fastest-lap qualifier last Sunday, just behind Earnhardt Jr.
Keep an eye on Earnhardt Jr. as he continues to move up. Though it’s early, he appears to have one of the best, if not the best, cars in the field, as evidenced by his quick move through the draft early. If he can stay out of trouble — the goal of every driver at Daytona — it’s looking like he’ll be around at the end.
For more on the race, check out our Daytona 500 StoryStream.