DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tony Stewart's attempt to win his first Daytona 500 fell short Sunday as the three-time NASCAR champion drove his first race since suffering a broken right leg in August.
After starting 21st, Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet developed a mechanical problem near the halfway point of the race that forced him to the garage.
He returned after repairs but finished 35th and more than 20 laps behind the leaders.
Stewart also co-owns his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, and another of his drivers, Danica Patrick, finished 40th after being collected ¿in a multi-car crash on Lap 146.
"I felt like everything was going pretty well, so it's just upsetting," Patrick said. "It was unfortunate that I was on the short end of the accident."
Truex's short day
What started as a promising Daytona 500 for Martin Truex Jr. ended badly with a plume of smoke.
Truex, the new driver for the one-car team Furniture Row Racing, posted the second-fastest qualifying speed behind pole-sitter Austin Dillon.
But a crash in another qualifying race forced Truex to drive a backup car Sunday and, under NASCAR rules, that meant he had to start at the back.
Then, on Lap 31, the engine blew up on Truex's No. 78 Chevrolet because of a broken oil-pump belt.
"It's definitely a tough break for the team," Truex said. "The car was super fast today."
Johnson's confusing 'win'
During Sunday's rain delay, Fox re-aired the 2013 Daytona 500 won by Jimmie Johnson. Trouble is, a lot of fans didn't realize they were watching a year-old race.
Twitter was filled with people commenting about last year's race, and Johnson's victory, as though it had just happened.
Johnson himself later tweeted: "I hear I won the #Daytona500? Haha! I also have friends confused and texting congratulations to me."
Fellow driver Clint Bowyer, tongue clearly in his cheek, also sent out this tweet: "Congrats to @JimmieJohnson."
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