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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

Even though the curtain has closed on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series opener, the talk hasn’t died down on social media about whether it was Alex Bowman, not William Byron, who should’ve been crowned the Daytona 500 champ on Monday night. The main fuel for the fire? Footage from Bowman’s in-car camera seems to show him in the lead when the caution lights flashed, along with a bird’s-eye view capturing their showdown. Despite NASCAR’s call being on the up and up, Kenny Wallace reckons there was room for a sharper decision-making process.

Some thoughts on how NASCAR could’ve spiced up the race

Mike Forde, NASCAR’s head honcho for racing chatter, hopped onto X to shed light on the caution’s timing. He pointed out a snap shared by NASCAR showing the No. 2 car making a beeline back onto the track, triggering the yellow flag. “You can also see the No. 2 car coming back up the racetrack. That’s why the yellow was called. Had hoped it would have stayed down on the apron like the 1 did and end under green,” he said.

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To clear the air, NASCAR also tweeted an aerial pic confirming William Byron was in the lead when the final caution waved, sealing his Daytona 500 win. But Kenny Wallace wasn’t having any of it. He stated,I’m mad about this rule. I wanted to see them race it out. […] For 20 years NASCAR would do their very best to race to the checkered flag at Daytona in Talladega and it was the biggest sh*tshow you’ve ever seen in your life. We tried it you know green white Checker wreck well let’s do it again cuz the fans wanted it green white Checker wrecked.”

He went on, “There are times that we did it four times at Talladega. And everybody was like, All right, throw the checkered flag, so I get it. I’m not going against you all. All of us want to see, as the sun sets in the west, the Daytona 500. They’re side by side now. Listen, this race was great for so many reasons, and I’m going to tell you about it in just minutes but this is the rule. The rule is when you take the white flag, the race is over. […] Okay, so NASCAR sometimes gets it right, sometimes they get it wrong, but they went by the rules and let’s just put that to bed.

So, while Kenny Wallace fancied a down-to-the-wire finish, NASCAR’s rules clearly crowned William Byron the rightful champ. Post-race, Bowman didn’t miss the chance to tip his hat to Byron, despite the earlier on-track drama.

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Alex Bowman appreciates his teammate’s win

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Alex Bowman tipped his hat to his teammate after snagging a runner-up spot, marking his second top-five DAYTONA 500 finish in a row. Down the final stretch, Bowman and William Byron teamed up, slicing through the pack to lead the charge.

Bowman was all praise post-race, he said, “Proud of William (Byron) and his team – they deserved it there at the end. They did all the right things and I feel like we did too there at the end. Had to go up and block the top lane and that just hurt the middle for a bit. We got the middle back rolling and then they all started crashing.”

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Read More: Alex Bowman’s Shameful Denial of Triggering the Big One at Daytona Riles Up NASCAR Insider

At the heart of it, racing is a team effort, and the car’s performance is key to a driver’s triumph. Bowman didn’t miss a beat in applauding his No. 48 Ally Racing team for their stellar kickoff to the season.