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):
● Chase Briscoe started 30th and finished 24th.
● The HighPoint.com driver dropped to the back on the pace laps to start from the 33rd position as a result of the team unloading their backup car following an accident in Thursday night’s Duel.
● The first caution of the race occurred on lap four, allowing Briscoe to pit from the 35th position for fuel only. He radioed to the team under caution that his HighPoint.com Ford Mustang was tight on the splitter in the opening laps.
● Racing resumed on lap eight, and Briscoe settled into the 31st position before a multicar accident on lap 15 brought out the red flag and rain moved into the area.
● After a delay of five hours and 40 minutes, cars returned to the track. The HighPoint.com team elected to pit under caution on lap 18 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Briscoe then topped off for fuel and restarted 20th on lap 29.
● Briscoe was running in the 22nd position on lap 39 when the car in front of him lost control due to a flat tire and contacted the No. 14. The HighPoint.com Mustang sustained damage to the right-front fender after his tire came apart on the way back to pit road. The No. 14 team made multiple stops to make repairs with Briscoe only losing one lap.
● Stage 1 concluded with Briscoe pitting for four tires, fuel and additional repairs to the right-front fender.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 66-130):
● Briscoe started 24th and finished 21st.
● After losing a second lap to the leaders, the HighPoint.com Mustang pitted under green on lap 102 for fuel only and rejoined the field in 24th.
● The yellow flag was displayed for the fifth time on lap 113. Briscoe reported his HighPoint.com Ford Mustang was tight in the front end and pitted from 22nd for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted 21st with 12 laps remining in the second stage.
● Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier elected to stay on track at the end of Stage 2, taking the wave-around to place Briscoe just one lap down to the leaders.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 131-200):
● Briscoe started 21st and finished 19th.
● The final stage went green on lap 137, and Briscoe moved into 19th to place himself in the Lucky Dog position, the first car one lap down.
● Briscoe gave up the 18th position to make his final green-flag pit stop on lap 161 for four tires and fuel. He went two laps down after serving a pass-through penalty for a crew member over the wall too soon.
● The race remained green through the final 37 laps, with Briscoe missing out on a chance to advance his position. He finished 19th in his first Cup Series start.
● The Daytona 500 marked Briscoe’s NASCAR Cup Series debut.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 705th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 16th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona. Ford won its first race at Daytona on February 24, 1963 with Tiny Lund. Ford’s previous NASCAR Cup Series win at the track came via SHR in the 2017 Daytona 500 with former driver Kurt Busch.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 40 laps.
● Only 11 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Dillon leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had some work to do at the beginning of the race, but after avoiding the first big wreck I felt good about our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang and the opportunity we had to work on our handling and gain track position. Unfortunately, there were a lot of torn-up cars and debris, and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the 00 (Quin Houff) ran over some sheet metal. The 14 guys did a great job working on the right front throughout the night and trying to get us in position to get a good finish. Overall, I feel like I learned a lot, and we aren’t starting off the season too deep in a hole. I’m for sure looking forward to getting back on the road course next week.”
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.