Michael McDowell And Front Row Motorsports Wins Daytona 500
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.
Kyle Busch takes NASCAR Cup Series win in California
FONTANA, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The pairing of Kyle Busch and Richard Childress Racing is paying dividends as two races into their partnership, they were celebrating victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch beat Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott by ?.?-seconds to pick up his ??-career Cup Series victory and the ?? of his NASCAR career.
“I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience, a little bit of a growth pattern, but also on the flipside of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their results and success that they had last year with Austin,” explained Busch. “He ran second here last year, and Reddick was super, super fast. They were fast at the Clash before they broke, the 8 car was.”
Busch said the transition to a new team has been good.
“It’s just been really, really cool, and it’s been a great piece of — we’re making history, right, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins.”
Elliott was happy for his manufacturer teammate and former Champ and to get a finish after getting crashed out of the Daytona 500.
“Congratulations to Kyle,” said Elliott. “For him to leave and then to go get the job done like that is pretty cool. He’s always been really good to me, so happy for them. Obviously I think we still have some work to do, but it was really nice to just see a lot of that hard work pay off and have the car driving like we were wanting it to do. So that’s always a good thing. Appreciate everybody on our NAPA team, Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet for just sticking with it and sticking with each other. Looking forward to getting to Vegas and hopefully competing for some more wins.”
Ross Chastain, who led a race high 92-laps, finished third in the No. 1 Kubota Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing.
“Our balance was building loose most of the day, so I thought we did everything right,” said Chatain. “We kept up with it. It would just feel pretty loose late in the runs, and at times it was enough, and at times they got way better.”
The NASCAR Cup Series moves on to Las Vegas for the Pennzoil 400 March 5th.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins Daytona 500 in two overtimes
DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr was leading NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano when a spinning Kyle Larson brought out the final caution of the day, giving Stenhouse the Daytona 500 win in double-overtime.
Stenhouse and Logano were battling for the lead on Lap 212 when contact from Aric Almirola’s Ford started Travis Pastrana’s Toyota spinning in Turn 2. Pastrana’s Camry clipped Larson Chevrolet and set it rocketing into the outside wall. NASCAR officials reviewed the timing and scoring loops to verify Stenhouse was the winner.
“The 22 had a huge run,” explained Stenhouse. “Got to my outside. Kyle had a huge run and he kind of shipped the middle, and then I looked in my mirror and here comes Christopher and gave me a big shot down the short chute there into 1 caution and got out front enough for when the caution came out.
So everything played out perfectly for us at the end of that.”
“Second is the worst, man,” lamented Logano. “You’re so close. Leading the white flag lap there, I was up front. Kyle gave me a good push and, yeah, you’re watching in the mirror and you’re three wide across there. I felt like the three wide was going a hurt a lane; looked like Kyle was getting pushed ahead, and then Ricky started getting pushed ahead.”
“If you would have told me pre-race I was going to run third, I would have jumped up and down and been smiling ear to ear, which I am very happy and very, very thankful that I could get this Rheem and DeWalt Camry a good solid finish,” said Bell. “But man, just so close to a crown jewel. I feel like if it would have stayed green I would have been on offense, and obviously who knows. But very proud and thankful to be here and Joe Gibbs Racing, and happy for Ricky. That’s really cool. Very, very happy for Ricky.”
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is Sunday, February 26 at Auto Club Raceway in Fontana, California.
Austin Hill wins his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona
DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Austin Hill won his second-straight NASCAR Xfinity Series season-opening race on Saturday, narrowly beating John Hunter Nemechek and Justin Allgaier after NASCAR officials reviewed the tape following Sam Mayer’s caution.
“As soon as the caution lights came on, I thought I had it, but it was so close,” said Hill. “To get back-to-back here at Daytona, it’s really special. That’s three wins for me now, two in the Xfinity, one in the truck here. We came from the back two different times. I hope everyone enjoyed it. It was such a blast. I had so much fun.”
“I’ve been short my whole life, so I guess it’s just fitting,” joked Allgaier. “But really proud of everybody at JR Motorsports. Our Chevy Camaros tonight were absolutely blazing fast. Obviously, I’m glad Sam is OK. He had a heck of a run there at the end.”