DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Dillon won the 60th running of the Daytona 500 to put the No. 3 back in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway, 20 years after Dale Earnhardt scored his one and only victory in “The Great American Race.”
Dillon took the lead on the final lap of overtime after making contact with the No 10 Ford of Aric Almirola and stayed ahead of the field to take the checkered flag.
“I did what I had to do at the end. I hate it for the 10 guys,” Dillon said. “We just had a run and I just stayed in that gas. It is what it is here at Daytona. It is so awesome to take the 3 car back to victory lane … This is for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and all those Senior fans. I love you guys. We’re going to keep kicking but the rest of the year.”
It was Dillon’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. He led only one lap all afternoon.
“I said that my first, I couldn’t beat it, but this does,” Dillon said. “My grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There’s a lot of pressure on me to preform, because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No. 3. There’s a lot of pressure behind it, but I’m willing to take and go with it.”
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.
Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger completed the first 10 finishers.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Dillon Won: The race went into overtime after a multi-car crash set up the extra laps. Dillon worked his way through the pack and got a run as the field raced down the backstretch into turn three. Aric Almirola was ahead and Dillon made contact to get by, sending the No. 10 car into the wall (Read More).
“It was the last lap of the biggest race of our lives and everyone was trying to win,” Almirola said. The green flag remained out and Dillon was able to outrace the remaining competitors to take the historic win.
Who Had a Good Day: Wallace Jr. had his best career finish in his first Daytona 500, only his fifth ever race (Read More)…Hamlin has finished top four in four of the last five Daytona 500s…Logano has finished in the top-six in the last four Daytona 500s…Buescher scored only his third career top-five finish…Menard has finished top 10 in four of the last five races on plate races…Blaney led 118 laps, the most since Davey Allison led 127 in 1992 (Read More).
Who Had a Bad Day: The first stage ended the day for a number of drivers including Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones. In all seven cars were caught up in the melee…Near the end of the second stage another violent accident swept up Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Michael McDowell, David Ragan and Kasey Kahne…Then only a lap and a half away from the finish after a frenetic dash to the checkered flag another huge accident took out potential winner Kurt Busch along with front-runners Brendan Gaughan, Matt DiBenedetto, Alex Bowman and Martin Truex Jr…After leading 11 laps and finishing fourth in stage one, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled back to 16th despite an unscheduled pitstop before being collected in a multi-car accident resulting in a 29th.
What Else Happened: The 60th running of the Daytona 500 will be remembered for stretches of incredible racing but also by the number of drivers eliminated by accidents. The three huge crashes thinned the field out as the 500 miles wore on. But in between drivers were not afraid to drive aggressively and mix it up for position. The new superspeedway rules package made handling tough as it did all week long and threw a new variable into this year’s 500.
Quotable: “Unfortunately, many thought that was the black and white checkered flag, not the green and white checkered flag. Lap 59, to be throwing blocks like that, there’s going to be a lot of wrecked race cars,” Jimmie Johnson after the multi-car accident to end the first stage (Read More).
Notable: Dillon is the 39th driver to win the Daytona 500…It was the third RCR win in the 500…This was the third straight Daytona 500 to end with a last lap pass.