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Cole Whitt Leads JRM at Daytona

By Heath White, JR Motorsports | Race Report Published 2/25/2012

Race 1 of 33: Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile superspeedway / 120 laps
Weather: Sunny/windy; 61 deg.
Race Winner: James Buescher

Cole Whitt finished fourth in the Hellmann’s Chevrolet to lead the JR Motorsports campaign in Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.  Whitt shuffled through the field looking for drafting help for most of the race, but found the top-10 in the closing laps.  After a massive crash within sight of the checkered flag, Whitt slammed off the outside barrier and held a steady wheel through the carnage to earn a top-five finish in his first start with JRM.   Driving the Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a frontrunner for the race’s entirety, leading five times for eight laps.  He was caught in a late crash on lap 115, which caused minor cosmetic damage and left the team  to finish 15th.  Starting on the pole in the Chevrolet, Danica Patrick received extensive damage after an incident with teammate Cole Whitt.  The pair was looking to advance in the tandem draft when contact from the nose of the 88 machine sent the Chevrolet spinning into the outside retaining wall on lap 50.  Patrick finished 38th.

Cole Whitt, driver No. 88 Hellmann’s team
“The last thing I want to do is take out a teammate.  So to Danica and her whole crew, I’m sorry.   It’s just part of this type of racing.  I was trying to get hooked up with the 7 car in the tandem draft and I just made contact getting into the corner, completely my fault. 

“I’ve got to thank Pops and the entire Hellmann’s crew for putting together such a good car.  It was tough out there at times.  This tandem draft is new to me and being a rookie sometimes it’s hard to get drafting help from the veterans.  But we survived and now we have a top-five finish to show for it.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 5 team
“The TaxSlayer car was really good, and I had a lot of fun driving it.  I didn’t need a drafting partner.  I could pretty much go where I wanted, when I wanted.  When I went to the back, I could go straight up to the front, no problem.  I told Bruce (Cook) that if he builds a car like this at Talladega, we’ll go out and win the thing.  He built a great car, and it’s unfortunate that we got collected there at the end, but that’s part of it.  I have to thank the 88 Cup crew for pitting the car today.  It means a lot to me when they do that, I really appreciate it.”

Danica Patrick, driver No. 7 team
"I got a little tap from my teammate, got a little bit sideways, saved it, and then just got hit again and couldn't save it.  I don't think it's ever great when teammates come together.  (Cole and I) we'll have to figure it out and move on from there.

“My Go Daddy car was really, really fast.  I mean, even when guys were tandem racing right in front of me, I was able to hang right with them.  There are so many other days where your car isn't perfect, and nothing happens to you. And you think, 'Why, on the days when I have a really fast car, does it have to happen today?' But it did, and we'll move on."

JRM Race Report: Drive4COPD 300
  Cole Whitt Danica Patrick Dale Jr.
Start 8th 1st 4th
Finish 4th 38th 15th
Laps Completed (Led) 120 (0) 72 (2) 120 (8)
Points (Bonus) 40 (0) 7 (1) N/A
Standings (From Leader) 2nd (-2) 26th (-35) N/A
Condition (Status) Minor Damage (Running) Major Damage (Repair, Running) Minor Damage (Running)
Key Moments Took final restart in 13th, advanced nine positions to finish fourth. Earned first pole of stock car career.
Ran up front until an accident on lap 50 resulted in garage repairs.
Led five times for eight laps.


Ford EcoBoost 300
Fin st Car Driver
1 3 20 Matt Kenseth(i)
2 6 54 Kyle Busch(i)
3 2 42 Kyle Larson(i)
4 5 12 Ryan Blaney(i)
5 10 60 Chris Buescher #
6 15 7 Regan Smith
7 21 3 Ty Dillon #
17 14 9 Chase Elliott #
25 12 5 Josh Berry
Race Results