But this breach was the only one NASCAR officials deemed “unintentional.” Inspectors discovered Gordon’s car was an inch too low to the ground, but they determined the infraction a result of part failure, not an attempt to circumvent the rules. They did not take away his victory. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But there was little celebration at the finish line, where Waltrip sat stone-faced inside his car as he battled a wave of conflicting emotions. “I’m probably the most depressed guy you have ever seen make the Daytona 500,” he said with a sigh. Gordon fails test The entire week leading up to NASCAR’s Super Bowl has been marred and upstaged by cheating scandals, so it only was appropriate that NASCAR penalized yet another driver. After Daytona 500 qualifying, Jeff Gordon’s winning car – from the second of two 150-mile qualifying duels – failed postrace inspection, and NASCAR ruled he will start the Daytona 500 42nd. Michael Waltrip cheated, apologized and then vindicated himself the only way he knew how: He drove his way into the Daytona 500. The two-time Daytona winner – almost too embarrassed to get behind the wheel after his team was caught in NASCAR’s biggest cheating scandal – capped a roller-coaster week Thursday by earning a spot in the Great American Race. “I know I am good enough to do it without having any cheating on my car,” he said. “I don’t need it. I think we proved that today.” Waltrip’s eighth-place finish in the first qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway was good enough to get him in the field.