IN PICTURES: ‘Fiery’ Last-Lap Crash and Michael McDowell’s Stunning Win in 2021 NASCAR Daytona 500

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February 15, 2021 1:17 pm

In one of the most unexpected finishes ever, Michael McDowell stunned the field to cross the finish line as the winner of the 2021 NASCAR Daytona 500. McDowell’s win came amidst one of the more scary crashes you will see, with many top drivers and contenders collected in it.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano made contact while fighting for the lead, which triggered a massive crash. Kyle Busch was also affected, and so were Bubba Wallace, Austin Cindric, and Cole Custer. The multi-car wreck saw most of the cars go up in flames.

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (18), Joey Logano (22), Brad Keselowski (2) and Austin Cindric (33) wreck during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, for McDowell, it provided the perfect opportunity to go for the win, and he snatched an unbelievable win in the iconic race.

McDowell pounces on the opportunity to win the NASCAR Daytona 500

McDowell bagged his first Cup Series win in his 358th start and let out his emotions after years of hard work and waiting for such a moment.

Just can’t believe it. So many years just grinding it out, waiting for an opportunity like this,” McDowell said, letting out a huge roar, adding, “A first victory at the Daytona 500! Are you kidding me?”

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The crash, on the other hand, ended the hopes for Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, in particular, both of whom had a massive opportunity to win the race.

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (18), Joey Logano (22), Brad Keselowski (2) and Austin Cindric (33) wreck during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (18), Joey Logano (22), Brad Keselowski (2) and Austin Cindric (33) wreck during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Agony for Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch, among others

Keselowski’s car wore a completely damaged look. Fortunately, the Penske driver, his teammate Logano, Busch, and everyone involved safely got out of their cars without major injuries.

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) leads NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliot (9) to win the during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott finished in second place, ahead of Austin Dillon.

Kevin Harvick led for a long period in the race but had to settle for fourth place. Denny Hamlin, a favorite going into the race, finished in fifth place.

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Michael McDowell (34) celebrates winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The race was halted for a long period due to rain, after just 16 laps. But even before that, the NASCAR Daytona 500 saw a massive crash on Lap 14. That wreck ended the night for many drivers that early in the race, including pole-sitter Alex Bowman.

MORE – WATCH: Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, and Others in Massive 16-Car Crash in 2021 NASCAR Daytona 500

Aayush Majumdar

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily. He is an avid tennis and NASCAR follower even when he is not writing about these sports, and looks up to the likes of Rafael Nadal and Jimmie Johnson.

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