DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Front Row Motorsports Michael McDowell avoided a last lap crash to win the 63rd running of the Daytona 500. The victory was the first for McDowell in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“1st career win at the Daytona 500, can you believe it,” exclaimed McDowell on the front stretch after climbing from the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang. “So many years grinding it out, I’m so thankful. Such a great way to get a first victory, at the Daytona 500, are you kidding me?”.
McDowell was trailing the Ford’s of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski on the final lap as the field entered turn three, where Logano tried the block the run of Keselowski who attempted to go to the low side, triggering a multi-car crash.
“We had our Ford partners lined up there at the end and they all crashed,” said McDowell. “Luckily I was able to make it through.”
“I had a big run down the backstretch and went to make the pass to win the Daytona 500 and it ended up really bad,” said Keselowski. “I don’t feel I made a mistake but I can’t drive everybody else’s car. I had a run, I made a move. It didn’t work out.”
“He (Keselowski) backed up to the 34 (McDowell) and had a really big run coming at me and it seemed like we all just collided at one spot,” said Logano.
NASCAR had to review their digital scoring loops as well as video evidence before declaring McDowell the winner because Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott, who was running fourth, also escaped the mayhem and appeared to pass McDowell but the caution flag had already been thrown.
“I don’t think it was very close,” said Elliott about whether he was ahead of McDowell when the caution came out. “I kind of got next to him and I saw the (caution) lights came on and I knew it was over. I felt like we had a fast car. We stayed out of trouble, which is not something I have done a good job of here in this race, so we at least finished this one. I’m pretty pleased with that.”
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon finished third followed by Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 5.
The race featured 22 lead changes among 13-drivers and was slowed by 7-caution flags for 40-laps and a red flag weather delay of 5-hours, 40-minutes.
Kevin Harvick and William Byron On NASCAR Cup Series Front Row At Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will start first and Hendrick Motorsports will start along side in second for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The starting lineup was set by NASCAR’s ‘performance matrix’.
Kyle Larson has another Hendrick Chevy up front as he’ll start in the third position with the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr in fourth.
A pair of Daytona 500 winners will make up the third row with Michael McDowell and Denny Hamlin fifth and sixth respectively.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch will start seventh with defending Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott alongside in the eighth starting spot.
Busch’s CGR teammate Ross Chastain will start 21st in the No. 42 Clover Chevrolet and Latrobe PA favorite-son Garrett Smithley will start 31st.
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— Pittsburgh Racing Now (@PghRacingNow) March 7, 2021
AJ Allmendinger Beats Daniel Hemric To Win NASCAR Xfinity Alsco Uniforms 300
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – AJ Allmendinger held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric to win Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hemric was the leader on the final restart with 13-laps remaining. Hemric chose the outside with Allmendinger on the inside. Brandon Jones lined up in third behind his JGR teammate. JR Motorsports Noah Gragson was on the inside on row two.
Allmendinger cleared Hemric coming off of turn two and led the field into turn three and four. Allmendinger ran low in turn one on the next lap coming off on the high side as he pulled out to a .37-second lead and slowly pulled away from the field.
“The victory is very important but I take more pride with how we’ve run as an organization,” said Allmendinger of his Kauling Racing team. “I’d rather run like this and get win than kind of run mediocre and maybe steal one somehow, that does us no good in the long run.”
The victory was the sixth career Xfinity Series victory for Allmendinger and locks him into the NASCAR Playoffs later in the year. Allmendinger led three times for 44-laps including the final 12-circuits to win the race. Allmendinger traded in a partial schedule to run full-time for Kaulig Racing and was fired up after the race to pick up with win.
“When I launched I actually got too far out,” lamented Hemric, who chose the top lane on the final restart. “The bottom lane got linked up and had so much momentum when I turned down to side-draft I was on the splitter.”
Brandon Jones finished third followed by Austin Cindric in fourth and Noah Gragson in fifth.
John Hunter Nemechek Wins NASCAR Truck Series Bucked Up 400 At Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – John Hunter Nemechek held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Bucked Up 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The victory was the first truck series win in four seasons for Nemechek, who returned to the series to compete full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“It’s great to be back in victory lane,” said Nemechek. “Everyone at KBM, they gave us one heck of truck tonight. Kyle’s truck was really fast as well. Luckily we were able to execute on that restart at the end and put ourselves in position to be leading and win this thing.”
“It’s perfect, it’s all you can ask for, it’s everything,” said Busch of his team after the race. “It’s cool to see the four-truck in Victory Lane and see John Hunter have a shot and get back in Victory Lane.”
Austin Hill finished third followed by Stewart Friesen in fourth and Matt Crafton in fifth.
Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Parker Kligerman, Christian Eckes and Ben Rhodes – a two-time winner already this season – rounded out the top 10.
The series next race is the Fr8Auctions 200 on March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.