Late Wreck Leads to McDowell’s First Career Cup Win at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Michael McDowell couldn’t have picked a better time, place or venue in which to get his first victory in 358 career Cup Series starts.
McDowell pulled ahead and won the Daytona 500 after Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski wrecked on the final lap.
McDowell was running third when Keselowski got a huge run on Logano. Keselowski tried to pass Logano on the low side, but Logano tried to block him and ended up crashing both of them. That gave McDowell the lead for the only time in the season-opening NASCAR race.
Chase Elliott was second, followed by Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin was trying to become the first in NASCAR history to win three consecutive Daytona 500s.
A major pileup and a thunderstorm put the race on hold for nearly six hours and led some drivers to head across the street for some food while the event remained red-flagged with just 15 laps completed.
The big wreck occurred 14 laps into NASCAR’s marquee event, triggered when Aric Almirola turned into pole-winner Alex Bowman and started a 16-car pileup. Christopher Bell started the melee when he pushed Almirola too hard near the front of the field and forced the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to bobble as he tried to avoid a slide.