Stenhouse was crowned winner of the 2023 Daytona 500 after an exciting race in which he passed Joey Logano on the last lap. A crash behind him sealed his victory in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The 35-year-old driver took the lead for the first time in the race with a push from Kyle Larson in the first overtime, but a crash sent the race to a second two-lap overtime. In the restart, Logano got ahead of Stenhouse, but a great push from Christopher Bell allowed Stenhouse to pass Logano. Travis Pastrana and Aric Almirola were involved in a crash, which brought out the yellow flag.
Since Stenhouse had already taken the white flag, the race was over and he was declared the winner. This is his first victory in the NASCAR Cup since 2017 and the third of his career, all of which have been on superspeedway tracks.
It is also JTG Daugherty Racing’s first win since A.J. Allmendinger’s victory in 2014 at Watkins Glen, New York. The race set a duration record, with 212 laps or 530 miles. Joey Logano finished second, Christopher Bell third, Chris Buescher fourth, and pole winner Alex Bowman completed the top five.
After the caution between Stages 2 and 3, most of the leading cars pitted. Almirola was the first to exit. However, Ross Chastain was penalized for speeding and had to restart the race from the back. Bell also had to go to the back due to an over-the-wall violation, and Noah Gragson was penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
On the restart on lap 138, Bubba Wallace, who chose not to pit, led the race, followed by Almirola, Buescher, and Byron. However, on lap 140, NASCAR had to show a caution due to debris in turn 2, specifically a blown tire from Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford. At that time, Bowman had to turn around upon exiting the caution.
With 35 laps to go, Buescher stayed in the lead with team owner Brad Keselowski right behind him. Almirola was in third and Austin Cindric was in fourth. Wallace, who did not pit during the stage break, made his green-flag stop on lap 172, coming down the pit road by himself.
Stenhouse was penalized for speeding and had to serve a pass-through penalty. When the green-flag stops were over, Ryan Preece slowed down and slid into the middle of the field, causing a multi-car crash on lap 182 that brought out the fifth caution of the race. With five laps to go, a group of nine cars led the race, with Keselowski still in the lead. Busch, with the help of other Chevrolets, managed to take the lead on the outside.
On lap 198, Daniel Suárez lost control in turn 4 and ended up in the infield grass, bringing out a caution and taking the race into a two-lap overtime. For the start of the extra time, Busch led the race followed by Austin Dillon, Byron, Logano, Larson, Keselowski, Stenhouse, and Buescher. In turn 3 after the restart, Byron collided with Austin Dillon and spun him, causing another multi-car crash and taking the race into a second overtime.
Stenhouse, who was being pressured by Larson, emerged as the leader. At the beginning of the second overtime, Stenhouse was followed by Larson, Bell, Logano, Busch, Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin, and Bowman. Then the last overtime attempt towards the checkered flag eventually finished under yellow where Pastrana sent Larson into the wall also collecting Almirola & several others, before the race officials confirmed Stenhouse as the first-time Daytona 500 winner. Thanks to his breakthrough moment yesterday, he & JTG has now booked his Playoffs ticket into the Round of 16 come early September.
Next stop – Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California – where NASCAR is set for a three-week West Coast tour beginning this Sunday for the Pale Casino 400.