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Controversial Insider Drops 3-Word Bomb on Rick Hendrick’s 40th Anniversary Daytona 500 Title

Published 02/21/2024, 6:19 AM EST

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The curtains have finally fallen on NASCAR’s biggest spectacle, the Daytona 500. Things were on overdrive when William Byron took the checkered flag that day, finishing the race first just ahead of his teammate, Alex Bowman, snapping the HMS curse and gifting Rick Hendrick a perfect 40th-anniversary gift.

Most of the fans were also thrilled to see the thrilling 1-2 finish from the HMS Chevy where the Fords reigned supreme previously. However, not everyone was ecstatic to see the finish. With the yellow lights popping in the very last lap of the race, many including DBC podcast’s Brett Griffin thought that the finish was problematic.

In the recent episode, the Kaulig Racing spotter uncovered the inside story, revealing what isn’t sitting well with him despite the momentous HMS achievement at the iconic venue.

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Brett Griffin reveals why the Daytona 500 finish was a “can of worms” for him as he cites the anomalies

For one, the “Great American Race” had all the elements, the thrill for the “Big One,” a nail-biting finish, and high-speed chases keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats. While the Fords looked untouchable in qualifying with Cup Series veteran and 2-time Cup Series champion, Joey Logano capturing the pole for the first time for Team Penske at Daytona and Michael McDowell placing himself second, the race was more about the Chevys, especially the ones from the HMS stable.

Rick Hendrick reacting to his driver’s triumph said, “The script couldn’t be more perfect!”  Even though, that itself doesn’t imply anything fishy, the TV broadcast’s untimely intervention and the race’s final lap confusion really made it complicated as per Brett Griffin who with his co-hosts dissected the matter in detail.

Griffin from the get-go took a critical approach. When Casey Boat asked him, “What about the finish?” He simply said, “I thought the finish sucked.” He then got into the explanation part, he said, “I mean, it’s the Daytona 500, its the biggest race of the year you’ve waited 2 days for it to stop raining an it just comes down to a crash, and at one point they throw the caution and TV never really did a good job before they went off the air to come back and say this is when the caution lights come on or this is the shot where you use them to determine the Daytona 500.”  

Adding more weight behind his statement, he added, “There was an angle on the TV, and boy they went from it really fast for it appeared Bowman was in the lead when the caution lights came on and when I say in the lead, I’m talking by a full-car length in the lead but no, we didn’t use that one then they declare William Byron the winner and it’s like, man you guys are opening a can of worms here and I still haven’t seen video proof of when all the caution lights came on who was where.” 

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The veteran spotter then concluded his take with a sly mock, saying, But imagine sitting there for 4 hours of the race and I as a new fan get zero explanation and William Byron is declared the winner.” 

Daytona 500 controversy and NASCAR’s explanation

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A 1-2 finish was a perfect ending, something that HMS was yearning for years since, the Pied Piper of Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr last won the crown jewel race back in 2014. And it indeed was, only for HMS fanboys. For Alex Bowman fans and conspiracy theorists, the race was scripted and NASCAR simply gave the win to the #24 driver at the start of 2024.

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The controversy centered on the interpretation of the organization’s rules regarding race conclusion. The officials waved the white flag signaling the caution, deeming that the next flag would end the race. Aerial photos shared by NASCAR’s X handle confirmed William Byron’s position as the leader at the pivotal moment, solidifying his victory despite the outcry from Alex Bowman‘s supporters, putting a full stop to the fan theories circulating on the internet.

Is Daytona 500 Really Good for NASCAR Despite the Utter Carnage and Severe Financial Implications?

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Written by:

Kishore R

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Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath