The Number-3 Car Back In Victory Lane Again at Daytona
20 years after Dale Earnhardt's first victory in the Daytona 500, the number-3 car was a winner again in NASCAR's biggest race. Austin Dillon passed Aric Almirola on the last lap to win just his second career Cup race. It was the only lap the grandson of car owner Richard Childress led all day, but it was the most important one.
Getting a push from rookie teammate Darrell Wallace, Jr. down the backstretch, Dillon tapped Almirola's bumper sending him into the wall to zoom past him and sprinted to the finish line while Wallace came in second, just edging Denny Hamlin. Wallace's second-place finish is the best by an African American in the history of the Daytona 500. Joey Logano and Chris Buescher completed the Top 5.
Only 10 of the 40 cars that started the race finished on the lead lap. Three big wrecks, one on each of the three stages took out some of the best cars in the field. Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones were sent to the garage in a 9-car crash on the last lap of the first stage.
A 6-car crash on Lap 102 took Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski out of the race. That crash also closed out the NASCAR career of Danica Patrick.
A 13-car pile-up on Lap 199 ended the hopes of pole winner Alex Bowman, last year's race winner Kurt Busch and defending Cup champion Martin Truex, Jr. It also damaged the car of Ryan Blaney who led a race-high 118 laps. Blaney finished seventh.
The schedule continues next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway.