Austin Dillon Wins 60th Annual Daytona 500

Austin Dillon won the 60th running of the Daytona 500. It’s Dillon’s second Cup win, and first at Daytona. The race featured eight cautions, 24 lead changes, and an overtime finish.

 

 

Early on, Denny Hamlin received a one lap penalty for pitting outside his pit box after leading early on. Not long after, Kyle Busch had a pair of rear tires go down one after another. The second time, it sent Busch spinning and collecting DJ Kennington. As the laps wound down in stage one, Kyle Larson got loose and up into Logano, who pitted two laps before the stage break for stage one with a tire rub. A nine-car pileup ended stage one. The collision started when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was blocking aggressively on Ryan Blaney, got sideways. Stenhouse saved it, but others wadded it up behind him. Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Ty Dillon, and Erik Jones were involved. Kurt Busch won stage one under caution.

Stage two was rather quiet, but halfway through, William Byron cut a tire down, bringing out the first caution of the stage. The next wreck happened when Chase Elliott spun, pounding the wall and collecting Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kevin Harvick and others. Seven cars were involved in all. The crash marked the end of Patrick’s NASCAR career. With only a few laps left in stage two, Ricky Stenhouse’s engine began to overheat. He came in to pit, but continued one lap down. Ryan Blaney led most of stage two and won it decisively.

For much of the final stage, the field ran single file. During the last round of pit stops, Joey Logano sped on pit road, taking him out of contention. Coming to ten laps to go, William Byron spun entering the tri-oval after a tire went down. With only a few laps to go, the field wadded up some serious sheet metal. Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney got close, Busch spun, and ten more cars got caught up, totaling twelve cars.

Remaining in the race were Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, and  Darrell Wallace Jr. On the ensuing overtime restart, Almirola took the lead, but slammed the wall after blocking a run from Austin Dillon. Dillon took the lead, and won the Daytona 500. Behind him, Darrell Wallace Jr. beat Denny Hamlin by inches for second and Joey Logano barely beat Chris Buescher for fourth. Darrell Wallace Jr. and his mother shared an emotional moment during the press conference post-race.

View the full 2018 Daytona 500 results here

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