Winners and losers after Daytona regular-season finale
A look at the winners and losers from Saturday’s night’s Cup regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway.
William Byron — Scores his first career Cup points win and does it at Daytona in the regular-season finale to advance to the playoffs. He joins Jeff Gordon as the only drivers to win a Cup race in the No. 24 car.
Brendan Gaughan — Finishes eighth for Beard Motorsports in what is expected to be his final Cup start at Daytona. He finished seventh in the Daytona 500 so he’ll go out with top 10s in both races there this season.
Bubba Wallace — His fifth-place finish is his third career top five in Cup. He has two such finishes at Daytona and the other at Indianapolis.
Matt DiBenedetto — He seemed to be in a safe spot to make the playoffs a couple of weeks ago before his team struggled. He overcame challenges Saturday to earn his first playoff bid and the first playoff bid for Wood Brothers Racing since 2017 with Ryan Blaney.
Tyler Reddick — His failed slide job led to a 10-car crash late in the race. Reddick took the blame. Some drivers were not happy with Reddick. Kyle Busch said: “Slide job gone bad. … I saw him coming and even checked up and we still ran into each other.” Ryan Newman said: “The 8 car obviously just ran out of talent.”
Jimmie Johnson — He won’t get a chance to race for a record eighth Cup title. Johnson finished six points behind Matt DiBenedetto for the final playoff spot. He fells short in a season where his runner-up car was disqualified after the Coke 600, and he missed the Brickyard 400 because of a positive COVID-19 test. He was collected in a late crash Saturday ending his title hopes. That leaves Johnson focused not on a championship but trying to win a race before the season ends.