Kevin Harvick, the Las Vegas favorite to win the 2011 Daytona 500, is out of the race. On Lap 22, Harvick suddenly went up in smoke exiting Turn 2 – a catastrophic engine failure – and sent him to the garage early.
Harvick's blown motor was the second of the race already, as JJ Yeley lost his engine just 11 laps into the race. But Harvick's incident was much more surprising, given his Earnhardt Childress Racing engine was considered one of the strongest in the field.
ECR motors won every race last season, and Harvick was SB Nation's pre-race pick to win the race.
"They're suspecting a broken block or a broken head," Harvick told MRN. "We had a little (high) temp, but nothing out of the ordinary."
Shortly thereafter, Harvick told FOX: "I hate it for everyone. Tough way to start the year. We never blow motors."
Other ECR-powered cars in the race include Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and Regan Smith.