Daytona on pace for lead change record

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:05 PM ET

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Thirty nine lead changes have occurred after 110 laps in Sunday's Daytona 500.

The record for most lead changes in the 200-lap, 500-mile race is 60, which was set in the 1974 running of NASCAR's most prestigious event of the season.

Eight cautions have already occurred in the race, with the fourth one coming on lap 29 for a 14-car pile up between turns three and four.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin were among those caught up in the melee.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had to start from the rear of the field, took the lead at the crowd's delight just shortly before the halfway point.

Earnhardt Jr. is attempting to win his second Daytona 500 on the tenth anniversary of his father's tragic death in an accident in this race. Earnhardt Jr.'s first Daytona 500 win came in 2004.

Richard Childress Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton suffered engine failure and were knocked out of the race in the first half. Harvick's blown engine came early on lap 22, while Burton's mishap occurred on lap 94.

"It's a tough way to start the season," Harvick said.

Burton won the second of the twin-qualifying races for the Daytona 500 last Thursday.

Kurt Busch, winner of the Budweiser Shootout and the first qualifying event, has led the most laps with 18.


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