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McDowell beats 100-1 odds for upset Daytona 500 victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Michael McDowell was glued to Brad Keselowski‘s bumper, watching and ready for his probability to win the Daytona 500.

Joey Logano was the chief, the laps had been winding down and but nobody had the nerve to drag out of visitors. McDowell was sure Keselowski would go for it will definitely, and when he did, McDowell would play his hand.

On the ultimate lap, Keselowski tried to dart round Logano, however Logano threw a block on his teammate that crashed them each. McDowell stayed proper the place he was, flat within the gasoline, and drove by a cra-sh scene for a surprising upset.

“I knew he would go for a race-winning move and my plan was to let him make that move,” McDowell stated. ”I knew I didn’t wish to make my transfer too early, so I used to be dedicated to the (Keselowski) bumper and when he made the transfer, the outlet opened up.”

A 100-1 underdog when the race started Sunday afternoon, McDowell gained for the primary time in 358 Cup begins when the checkered flag lastly flew about quarter-hour after midnight. The race was stopped by rain for virtually six hours and ended 9 hours after the inexperienced flag waved at Daytona International Speedway.

“There’s been lots of years where I was wondering what the heck am I doing and why am I doing it?” McDowell stated. “I always knew if I just kept grinding that one day everything will line up and go right.”

NASCAR’s season opener was stacked with storylines. Denny Hamlin was making an attempt for a file third-consecutive Daytona 500 victory, and the staff he began with Michael Jordan was debuting with driver Bubba Wallace.

Kyle Larson was again after almost a 12 months in exile for utilizing a racial slur, and reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott was going for his first Daytona 500 win.

And all the way in which behind the sector, 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope made what he stated could be his last NASCAR begin. At 62 he was the oldest driver within the discipline, and his upset victory 31 years in the past was thought of the largest in race historical past.

McDowell didn’t take that title from Cope, partly as a result of McDowell is a powerful superspeedway racer able to mixing it up with the standard suspects. If he might ever discover himself in the fitting place on the proper time, McDowell figured he might steal a win.

“It’s been a tough road for me. I’ve had to spend a lot of years grinding it out,” McDowell stated. His profession has been stabilized by 4 seasons driving for Front Row Motorsports, a tiny staff within the Ford household that may maintain its personal at Daytona.

McDowell was within the combine even earlier than the 2 Penske vehicles derailed the end. His Ford was robust sufficient to push Keselowski, and McDowell figured with the checkered flag in sight, he’d attempt to go Keselowski as they exited the ultimate flip.

Logano‘s block of Keselowski – it appeared late, Keselowski had already began to drag alongside his teammate – triggered a fiery multi-car pileup that was in McDowell‘s rearview mirror.

“Brad was turning right, Joey was turning left and I went right through the middle,” McDowell stated. “It’s just kind of a blur from there.”

Keselowski subtly blamed Logano for the messy end.

“I wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500 and it ended up really bad,” Keselowski stated. “I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everybody else’s car. So frustrating.”

Logano had no rationalization for the ending.

”Pandemonium, I suppose. Chaos struck,” stated Logano, who then praised McDowell. “It’s an actual bummer that not one of the Penske vehicles gained, however a minimum of a Ford gained and I’m actually joyful for McDowell.

“If we couldn’t win, I’m really happy to see McDowell win this thing.”

McDowell, who led lower than half of a lap, drag-raced Elliott and Austin Dillon till NASCAR lastly referred to as a warning.

A batch of stable contenders had been knocked from the race simply 15 laps in by a 16-car accident that started on the entrance of the sector. It thinned the pack and arrange a showdown between Kevin Harvick and Hamlin.

Hamlin and Harvick had the 2 greatest vehicles however pit technique ended Hamlin’s shot at profitable a file third consecutive Daytona 500. The Ford drivers pitted first as a bunch, adopted by the Chevrolets a lap later and eventually the Toyotas.

But the Toyota group has simply 5 vehicles and so they couldn’t group again collectively to reclaim management of the race. It put Logano, Keselowski and the Ford drivers out entrance, and Logano led the ultimate 25 laps till Keselowski made his transfer.

McDowell held off Elliott and Dillon. Harvick completed fourth, and Hamlin was fifth after main a race-high 98 laps.

Only 11 vehicles completed on the lead lap.

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