Sports

McDowell beats 100-1 odds for upset Daytona 500 victory

Michael McDowell won his first NASCAR Cup at the Dayton 500, beating 100-1 odds on Sunday.

36-year-old leaves fiery pileup in rearview for 1st career NASCAR Cup victory

Michael McDowell won the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 on Monday, his first career win after going 0-for-357. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Michael McDowell stormed through a crash scene to win the Daytona 500, snapping an 0-for-357 streak with a fiery pileup in his rearview mirror.

McDowell led just the final lap — maybe half of it, really — when Brad Keselowski turned teammate Joey Logano as the Team Penske drivers jockeyed for the victory.

McDowell stayed flat in the gas and plowed past the two spinning cars to the lead, then won a three-wide drag race until NASCAR threw a race-ending caution.

WATCH | Daytona 500 ends with fiery crash on stretch run of final lap: 

Daytona 500 ends with spectacular fiery, crash on stretch run of final lap

12 months ago
Duration 1:36
The way cleared for winner Michael McDowell from a massive, multi-car, phenomenal crash on the very last lap of a collision filled Dayton 500. 1:36

It was mayhem behind McDowell as a huge pack of cars could not avoid Keselowski and Logano. The collisions were one on top of another, flames erupting all over Daytona International Speedway as the race came to a close early Monday morning, nearly nine hours after it began.

McDowell, a 36-year-old journeyman from Arizona, was a 100-1 underdog at the start of the race and seemed in disbelief after taking his first checkered flag.

"So many years just grinding it out hoping for an opportunity like this," McDowell said. "We're the Daytona 500 champions. I cannot believe this. Luckily was able to make it through."

A rain delay of almost six hours pushed the race into the night and under the lights, albeit without almost half the field. A 16-car accident just 15 laps into the race — moments before the rain — thinned the contenders and set up a showdown between Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin and Harvick had the two best cars but pit strategy ended Hamlin's shot at winning a record third-consecutive Daytona 500.

Reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott finished second and 2018 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon was third. Harvick finished fourth, and Hamlin was fifth after leading a race-high 98 laps.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now