Daytona 500 ends badly for several favorites

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, sits in the grass after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, sits in the grass after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH Fla. – While Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrated his second Daytona 500 win late Sunday night at Daytona International Speedway, several drivers who were expected to be top contenders could only think of what could have been.

Martin Truex Jr. started Speedweeks on a high note; in his first race with a new team, Truex put the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy on the front row. During Thursday’s second Duel qualifying race Truex was able to avoid trouble, until the very end when he was swept up in an accident not of his own making. Despite being forced to a backup car, and forced to drop to the rear of the field Sunday, Truex was optimistic that he could win. That optimism ended on lap 31 when the engine in his back-up Chevy expired after an oil pump belt came loose.

“Super disappointing,” said Truex.MORE>>>

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