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Everything That Happened in the 2024 Daytona 500

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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What’s Happening?

After days of nothing but rainy weather, the NASCAR Cup Series took to the high banks at Daytona on Monday night for the first time since the conclusion of Thursday’s duel races. With all that pent-up angst, how did the field fair in the first points-paying race of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season? Here is everything that happened in the 66th running of the Daytona 500.

You Need To Know:

  • Heading into the weekend, the situation regarding the weather in Daytona Beach, Florida looked rather bleak. Though NASCAR was able to run the entirety of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday (albeit, not without a short red flag stint for sprinkling rain), the Xfinity race on Saturday as well as the as well as the 66th annual Great American Race Sunday were both washed out.
  • A lack of track time tends to make drivers feel a little fidgety heading into a race and there was no difference here. Within the first six laps of the race, a Big One happened before the drivers calmed down and settled in for the long haul.
  • Fans are ecstatic about the return of NASCAR in spite of the minor annoyance of a couple of postponed races. By and large, the overall fan reception has been a positive one save for the typical gripes about Brad Keselowski’s overly aggressive bump drafting and FOX’s presentation on television.

The First Big One

For 99% of this race, we were green. In the first 180 laps of the 2024 Daytona 500, there were only three cautions, two due to stage breaks. The only caution for the incident, however, would fly within the first six laps of the race. Aggression could be felt through the pack with drivers making very daring moves for it to be that early in a 500 mile race.

The incident in question would happen following an overly aggressive shove from Brad Keselowski to John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 42 Toyota for Legacy Motor Club. This bump got the No. 42 out of shape and while he did manage to save it, the same cannot be said for Harrison Burton and his No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers. The 42 bounced off the side of Burton sending the latter into rookie Carson Hocevar. The two would then slide through the infield grass. Hocevar’s No. 77 would get stuck in the swampy grass but Hocevar’s car would redirect and slide back across the track into oncoming traffic. This would collect Kaz Grala in the No. 36 for Front Row Motorsports, Austin Dillon, and Jimmie Johnson.

The damage done to Johnson’s No. 84 would wound the car though he would continue to run. Austin Dillon would go behind the wall and return later on, 52 laps down. Grala and Burton would both retire from the race.

In the video below, you can get a better, birds-eye view of the early-lap carnage.

Carson Hocevar had this to say after being released from the infield care center.

Harrison Burton was very frustrated with how aggressively drivers were racing him in the opening laps. He had this to say after climbing out of his mangled car.

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Elliott Takes Stage 1

With a most popular stage win, the driver of the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports won the first stage of the 2024 Daytona 500, doing so by holding off his fast-charging teammate Kyle Larson. This hopefully will set the tone for his season as he is looking to bounce back from a lackluster 2023 season plagued by injuries and suspension. With it, Chase Elliott earns 10 points and 1 Playoff point. It’s never too early to take the postseason into account.

Ryan Blaney Wins Stage 2

With another popular stage win, defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney won the second stage of the 66th running of the Great American Race. He did this by making a daring move on in the final corner of the final lap of the stage to hold off his teammate, 2022 Daytona 500 Champion Austin Cindric. This stage win earned Blaney 10 points and 1 Playoff point.

Trouble For Busch

Following the finish of the second stage, the field came down pit road to get some fresh rubber and fill up their cars with fuel. During the No. 8’s pit stop, the jackman let the jack down on the left side before the tire change could get the lug nut sufficiently tight. This resulted in Busch pulling away and leaving pit road with a very loose wheel.

Fortunately, his team alerted him of the situation very quickly, telling him to get down on the apron of the track and watch his speed. Able to limp back around and put a fresh tire on the No. 8 Chevy. Restarting in the back, it did not take long for him to rocket back to the front of the pack.

The Colossal One

As the laps wound down, the belts tightened, and tension started to bubble over, all heck broke loose. William Byron and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Alex Bowman, got a massive run in the middle as Brad Keselowski went low. After an aggressive shot from behind (ironically), Willy B got out of shape and chased his No. 24 Axalta Chevy down the track, getting into Bad Brad. This turned Brad’s No. 6 Ford dead right and he headed straight for the outside SAFER barrier, collecting the No. 12 of Ryan Blaney. Everybody stacked up from there.

According to NASCAR, 22 total drivers had some sort of contact in the wreckage. These drivers include Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Noah Gragson, Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Joey Logano, William Byron, Daniel Hemric, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Preece, Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman, Ty Gibbs, Anthony Alfredo, and Daniel Suarez.

While some of these drivers were able to finish the race, others such as Blaney and Keselowski were knocked out. Below, you can see this massive crash.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the brutal wreckage.

A list of all the cars involved in the incident, as reported by Brett Winningham.

This was definitely a spirit-crusher for Brad Keselowski and the whole RFK crew.

Joey Logano had fun…until he didn’t.

NASCAR reports that all drivers have been checked out and released from the in-field care center.

And Your 2024 Daytona 500 Champion Is…

What a way to kick off their 40-year anniversary celebration! Your 2024 champion of the Daytona 500 is none other than HMS driver, William Byron, though this victory did not come without controversy. As the pack came to take the white flag, a final crash occurred behind the leaders. William Byron and his teammate, Alex Bowman, were side-by-side and NASCAR decided to go to video footage to determine who the leader was at the point of caution.

When the caution flag was waived, Byron was out front. However, when the caution lights flashed on, in an angle shown by FOX Sports, it appeared that the purple Ally No. 48 was ahead by a nose.

Regardless, NASCAR called the race official, crowing William Byron as the champion of the 66th running of the Great American Race. You can watch this glorious occasion in the clip below.

Here is a view of the last-lap crash from pit road.

2024 Daytona 500 Champion, William Byron!

Conclusion

Well race fans, the 66th running of the Daytona 500 is officially in the books and another NASCAR Cup Series Season is underway. What do you think of the race? Was it great? Was it good? Was it average? Was it worse than average? Be sure to let us know your thoughts by commenting on all our social media platforms. As for us here at The Daily Downforce, we still have one more race left in the 2024 edition of Speedweeks! Keep refreshing here at DailyDownforce.com for all the latest news and updates regarding the best racing series in the world, NASCAR.

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts