William Byron wins NASCAR's Daytona 500 after The Big One comes late in the race

Shane Connuck, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — William Byron has won the Daytona 500.

Last year’s NASCAR Cup Series wins leader won his first Great American Race. It’s the first Daytona 500 win for Hendrick Motorsports, the legendary NASCAR team celebrating its 40th anniversary, since 2014, and comes on the 40th anniversary of Hendrick running its first NASCAR race.

Byron grabbed the lead late after The Big One occurred with eight laps left. Byron succeeds Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won last year’s Daytona 500 in overtime.

Joey Logano, who started on the pole, ran toward the front for a lot of the race and led 41 laps. Looking to become the first pole-sitter to win the Daytona 500 since Dale Jarrett in 2000, Logano was among 22 drivers caught up in The Big One with eight laps left.

With Ross Chastain holding a late lead, Brad Keselowski bumped him from second. Keselowski’s No. 6 car spun immediately, making contact with William Byron. It prompted a massive wreck that impacted more than half the field, including Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Stenhouse, Logano and Keselowski, among others.

“Speedway racing again,” Logano said after being released from the infield care center. “It’s a lot of fun until this happens.”

Chastain drove off as chaos ensued behind him, and Alex Bowman, William Byron and Austin Cindric surged past the carnage. A red flag came out, and the race was stopped for more than 25 minutes.


The restart came with four laps left with Chastain, Byron, Bowman and Chase Elliott leading the shrunken field.

Kyle Busch and Corey LaJoie moved into the lead early in the final stage. Busch suffered an issue with his left tire following Stage 2 but stayed toward the front. Hamlin took his first lead with 48 laps left, passing LaJoie. He made it toward the front after a few pit stops and reached the front of the pack late.

Ross Chastain grabbed the lead late in the final stage. His Trackhouse Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez, also surged to the front, with Joey Logano and William Byron nearby.

A big crash occurred during Lap 5 that involved seven cars, including Jimmie Johnson. Brad Keselowski initially made contact with John Hunter Nemechek, sending Harrison Burton and Carson Hocevar for spins. Harrison Burton, Carson Hocevar and Kaz Grala were out of the race.

Most of Stage 1 was green following that wreck. Chevrolets raced to the lead late, led by stage winner Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.

Austin Cindric, who won the 2022 Daytona 500 as a rookie, ran toward the front for a significant part of the second stage — before being passed by Ryan Blaney on the last turn. Fellow previous winner Michael McDowell — who earned first Cup win on this stage in 2021— briefly led the race early and then fell way behind after having an engine problem.

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