Tag Archives: Daytona 500

Austin Dillon ‘Did What He Had To Do’ to Win Daytona 500

Courtesy: NASCAR Media)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Austin Dillon prevailed in a game of Survivor played at 200 miles per hour, winning the Sunday’s Daytona 500 fiercely and unapologetically after turning race leader Aric Almirola in the third corner of the final lap. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 18: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, races Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 60th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Ten of the 40 drivers who started the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ season-opening event finished on the lead lap in a race that featured eight cautions and three massive wrecks that eliminated many of the strongest cars in the field. 

After a huge push from Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. down the backstretch on the second and final lap of overtime, Dillon tagged Almirola’s rear bumper when Almirola moved up the track to block him near the entrance to Turn 3. 

Almirola’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford turned sideways and tagged the wall as Dillon sped past in the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet bearing the No. 3, the car number that carried the late Dale Earnhardt to his only victory in the Great American Race 20 years ago. 

“I did what I had to do there at the end,” Dillon said. “I hate it for the No. 10 (Almirola’s) guys. We had a run, and I stayed in the gas. It is what it is here at Daytona. 

“This is so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to Victory Lane. This one is for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and all those (Dale) Sr. fans. I love you guys. We are going to keep kicking butt the rest of the year!” 

Racing for his grandfather, Richard Childress, Dillon got his first victory in last year’s Coca-Cola 600. That was a fuel-mileage win. Sunday’s quest for the Harley J. Earl trophy was a rough-and-tumble affair. Dillon said before the race that he liked his chances. He liked them better when he lined up fourth for the final restart and reacted when the race came to him. 

“I knew we were in a good spot,” Dillon said. “And I have to thank Darrell Wallace, Jr.—he did a great job. Finishing one-two with ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) engines. What a day. Thanks, Darrell, for that push. I had to make it happen in the end. 

“I said (after) my first win I couldn’t beat it, but this does. My grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There is a lot of pressure on me to perform, because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No. 3. There is a lot of pressure behind that. 

“But I’m willing to take that and go with it. I’m just thankful for all the people that support us along the way—Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family for letting us bring this number back. It comes full circle. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for this opportunity.” 

Wallace ran second, 0.260 seconds behind Dillon and .002 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Denny Hamlin, who led the field to green to start the overtime but, as the only Toyota driver on the lead lap, couldn’t find a drafting partner in the two-lap shootout that decided the race. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 18: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, races Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 60th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Wallace posted the best finish ever by an African-American driver in the Daytona 500, surpassing the 13th-place result of NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in 1966. 

Joey Logano overcame a myriad of issues to come home fourth, and Chris Buescher secured a fifth-place finish in his No. 37 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet. 

The finishing order, however, did little to reflect the bulk of the race. Seventh-place finisher Ryan Blaney led 118 of the 207 laps but suffered damage to the nose of his No. 12 Ford in a 13-car pileup on Lap 199, the wreck that sent the race to overtime. 

That accident also ended the winning chances of 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch, who was jousting for the top spot as the end of regulation approached; pole winner Alex Bowman, who ran patiently in the top five for most of the event; and Martin Truex Jr., the defending series champion. 

Notes: Dillon’s victory was the first for Chevrolet’s new Camaro ZL1 race car, which was introduced into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season… A six-car wreck on Lap 102 knocked Danica Patrick out of the race. She ended her NASCAR career with a 35th-place finish. Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and pre-race favorite Brad Keselowski were eliminated in the same incident… Jimmie Johnson’s lost his third No. 48 Chevrolet during Speedweeks in a nine-car collision on Lap 60 that also KO’d the strong Joe Gibbs Racing cars of Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez… Kurt Busch won the first 60-lap stage and Blaney the second. Blaney leads the series standings by six points over Dillon and sixth-place finisher Paul Menard.

William Byron Leads The Pack Practice at Daytona in Final Practice before the 2018 Clash

William Byron leads the way in his #24  Axalta sponsored Chevrolet the final practice  before Sundays Advanced Auto Parts Clash.

Like last season, the starting field for the 2018 Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona will not be a predetermined number of cars; rather, the field is limited to drivers who meet more exclusive criteria.

A total of 20 drivers are eligible to participate in the annual preseason, 75 lap, two segments, non-points race. A competition caution on Lap 25 will separate the two segments. The event will be broadcast live on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

3 drivers will not expected to race are  Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth and Danica Patrick making it a 17 car field.

The Clash had become a traditional night race is now moved back to the day time. Driver intros are scheduled for 2:30  on Sunday and they will go green at 3:00PM.

Eligible Drivers

2017 Coors Light Pole Winners

Ryan Blaney

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chase Elliott

Denny Hamlin

Kevin Harvick

Erik Jones

Matt Kenseth

Brad Keselowski

Kyle Larson

Joey Logano

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.

Former Daytona 500 Pole Winners

Austin Dillon

Jimmie Johnson

Danica Patrick

2017 Monster Energy Playoff Participants

Kasey Kahne

Jamie McMurray

Ryan Newman