Ricky Stenhouse Jr Wins Daytona 500
By: Andrew N
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr won the 65th running of the Great American Race on Sunday evening in overtime, narrowly beating out reigning Cup Series Champion Joey Logano in the longest Daytona 500 in NASCAR history.
Stenhouse, Jr. was scored ahead of Logano at the time of caution on lap 212. His victory essentially locks him into the 2023 playoff field just one week into the season. The win was the third in his Cup career – all on restrictor plate tracks – and obviously his biggest victory. RSJ rallied from a 31st starting position to lead 10 laps during Sunday’s race but led the one that mattered most: the final one.
Due to two overtime restarts for cautions at the end of the race, the Daytona 500 was stretched to a record 212 laps (530 miles).
Top-10 Finishers from Sunday:
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Joey Logano
- Christopher Bell
- Chris Buescher
- Alex Bowman
- A.J. Allmendinger
- Daniel Suarez
- Ryan Blaney
- Ross Chastain
- Riley Herbst
With just two laps to go in the race, Daniel Suarez of Trackhouse Racing spun out to draw the caution and send the race to overtime. At the time of caution, Kyle Busch, the 2015 & ‘19 Champ, driving in his first race for Richard Childress Racing, was in the lead. Busch would end up finishing 19th after he was involved in the crash that ended the race on lap 212. Suarez rallied from the spin to finish P7.
Running in his final Daytona 500, future NASCAR Hall of Famer and 2014 Cup Champion Kevin Harvick finished 12th – rallying back from an accident towards the end of the race and then surviving the melee of the two overtimes.
Other notable finishes from Sunday’s Daytona 500:
- Jimmie Johnson made his return to NASCAR after spending the last two seasons in Indy Car. Johnson, who co-owns Legacy Motor Club with fellow 7-time Champion Richard Petty, earned his way into the 500 in qualifying on Wednesday and ran up front most of the day before an accident on lap 204 ended his day. He finished 31st.
- X-Games legend Travis Pastrana, driving for Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing, battled adversity most of the race and avoided most of the chaos until the final lap when he was involved in the wreck that drew out the final caution. Pastrana came home in 11th.
- Reigning NASCAR Most Popular Driver and 2020 Series Champion Chase Elliott had an abrupt end to his day on lap 119 when he crashed in a wreck that also involved Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick. Elliott was scored 38th.
- Brad Keselowski, a longtime restrictor plate ace and the 2012 Cup Series Champion, vying for his first career Daytona 500 triumph, led the most laps on Sunday (42) and was in position to battle with Kyle Busch at the end of the race before the Suarez spin sent the race to overtime. He ultimately finished 22nd after being involved in the lap 212 crash.
- Busch Light Pole winner Alex Bowman had an up-and-down day, starting P1 and leading a total of 12 laps, but was in the right place at the right time and avoided all the wrecks to bring home his Ally Chevrolet in 5th place.
- Chris Buescher (4th), Christopher Bell (3rd), Aric Almirola (21st), Martin Truex, Jr. (15th) and Joey Logano (2nd) all led 10 or more laps on Sunday.
The NASCAR Cup Series starts its West Coast Swing next week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race will be the final run on the 2-mile oval, with plans to convert the track to a 0.5-mile short track beginning in 2024.
Here’s how the Cup Series Standings look after Race #1: