The 64th annual Daytona 500 has come and passed, and to say the least, it as expected did not disappoint.
The race started just a little after 2:30 PM, with last season’s champion Kyle Larson leading them to the green flag. The first lap however would not be led by Larson, instead, the six-car of Brad Keselowski would edge him for the lead before losing the lead as well a mere two laps later to the #18 of Kyle Busch. The first caution would come out about mid-way through stage one after Chase Briscoe took a spin trying to avoid a tire that came off the #50 car of Kaz Grala. Who ran the first race for legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather’s team. The #31 of Justin Haley had the same issue on the other end of the track with a loose wheel as well. The race would go green until 3 laps left in stage one where we saw our first big wreck of the day at the front of the field. This happened due to Brad Keselowski putting a bad push on rookie Harrison Burton in the #21 car in which he slid into the #24 of William Byron and Kyle Busch, then flipping over next to them effectively ending his day. This crash took out many contenders in the process as many more were caught up in the incident. The #19 of Martin Truex Jr. would cross the line first under caution to win stage one.
Stage two would see a fairly long run until the first batch of green-flag pit stops of the day occurred. Pit stops came and went cleanly and stage two was nearly to a close, on the final lap of the stage it came down to the #22 of Joey Logano and Truex Jr… It came down to the wire but Truex just barely beat Logano out to win stage two as well, going back to back in the race. The final stage began and all was well till with 50 to go when the eight of Tyler Reddick got loose off turn four, spinning and collecting multiple cars including Logano and older brother of Kyle in the #45 Kurt Busch. The only car that got detrimental damage was Reddick who was done for the day after the incident. The intensity from this point on picked up with daylight fading into night and the final stretch of the race upon us. With nearly 10 to go in the race however the four of Kevin Harvick would get a bad shove from Larson sending him around into traffic taking out another flurry of cars. After clean up, racing would get back going with six laps to go, but it wouldn’t take long for another incident as while battling for the lead the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was hooked by Keselowski, killing his car and the #17 car of Chris Buescher as well, who is a teammate of Keselowski. This would make the race come down to an overtime finish, a two-lap shootout to decide who would win the biggest prize in NASCAR. Rookie Austin Cindric in the two-car led the field to green, Cindric would hold the lead past the white flag, and coming around turn 4 he continued to command. But a late run by Ryan Blaney in the #12 would put him at risk, but Cindric made contact with Blaney slowing him down and with him being able to just beat Darrell Wallace Jr. in the #23 car. Cindric would win the Daytona 500 while it also being his first career win. This was a great race and a fantastic start to a new era of NASCAR racing as well.