Race Winner: Michael McDowell of Front Row Motorsports (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-65):
● Kyle Busch started 10th, finished 12th.
● Busch started 10th and moved up into the top-five by the time the first lap was completed.
● Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Christopher Bell were at the front of the pack when a multicar incident happened on lap 14, causing a red flag. Shortly thereafter, the skies opened up, and the 63rd Daytona 500 went into a long rain delay of five hours and 40 minutes.
● Racing resumed with Busch in the fourth position. He moved up to the runner-up spot behind teammate Denny Hamlin for the majority of the rest of the stage. But on the final lap, the cars of Ryan Preece and Austin Dillon got to his outside and pushed Busch back into the pack, and he finished the stage in the 12th spot.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 66-130):
● Buschstarted seventh and finished ninth, earning two bonus points.
● The M&M’S driver pitted following the stage, and his over-the-wall team performed a strong pit stop to send him out seventh for the start of Stage 2.
● Busch quickly moved up to the runner-up spot behind JGR teammate Bell.
● The two-time Cup Series champion stayed toward the front of the field and was in the lead pack when the stage ended.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 131-200):
● Busch started eighth, finished 14th.
● Busch came down pit road following Stage 2 to take on four tires and fuel, with the M&M’S team gaining him one spot on the stop.
● The M&M’S driver worked his way up to fourth by lap 140.
● Busch came down pit road for the final time on lap 173, taking on right-side tires and enough fuel to make it to the finish.
● The M&M’S driver found himself in the seventh position as the race moved toward the finish.
● Heading into turn three on the last lap, Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano collided, causing a multicar accident that Busch was swept up into.
● While Busch was uninjured in the accident, his M&M’S Toyota took a hard hit, resulting in heavy damage. The racecar did not make it to the finish line, and Busch finished the race in 14th.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“I had a run down the backstretch and everybody was kind of checking up in the middle, so I went high to go around the outside. I figured guys would kind of blend back to the high side, and the 2 (Brad Keselowski) car just landed on my hood. Came out of nowhere. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the wreck and banged up pretty good. Took a couple good licks, but just a matter of plate racing, I guess. For as far back as we were and what was happening, I don’t think we would have won. I think we probably would have been maybe fourth or fifth, so that’s about all we were going to get anyways. Just unfortunate day for the M&M’s Camry. Hate it for my guys. It seemed like every time the points were being paid, we stumbled. First stage we went from second to outside the top-10, and then the second stage we went from third to ninth. Then there at the end, obviously, I felt like we had a top-five and finished 14th looking at the board there. Just a dismal day at Daytona, as usual.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday, Feb. 21, on the Daytona road course. The race begins at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.