Michael McDowell Explains How He Escaped the ‘Fiery Wreck’ to Win NASCAR Daytona 500 2021

Published 02/15/2021, 8:45 AM EST
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


Michael McDowell won the 2021 edition of the Daytona 500, but only after escaping a fiery accident. The incident took place on the last lap of the ‘Great American Race.’ Admittedly, McDowell himself triggered the incident and somehow managed to emerge unscathed.

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Speaking after the race, he said, “I definitely was pushing Brad [Keselowski]. In the last lap, we just locked bumpers and pushed as hard as we could. Brad and I had a good run, I gave him a shove, but we actually got disconnected.

“Thankfully we did because it’s when we got disconnected that the contact was made.”

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He noted that he couldn’t see what happened between Keselowski and Logano. However, the contact opened up a small window for him to squeeze past. Otherwise, he would have been caught up in the crash. Michael McDowell observed that when one driver collides with another, the former pushes the latter.

There's nothing like a #DAYTONA500 win!

Congrats, @Mc_Driver! pic.twitter.com/N1Ftz12zxC

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 15, 2021

What else did Michael McDowell say?

He confirmed that his original plan was to give Keselowski a bit of a shove. This was largely because McDowell found himself in a favorable position. He would push the Penske driver for the whole lap, and then try and make a move at Turn 4. Obviously, he knew that the #2 Penske driver was desperate enough to try and make a move.

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

However, McDowell also knew that the Michigan native was smart enough to not show his hand too early. This explained why he was content with sticking behind the driver.

Speaking about the incident itself, he said, “Brad and I pulled out, and next thing you know, Brad was turning right. Joey was turning left and I’m like right through the middle of it. I looked in my mirror and saw that Chase Elliott was around, and blocked him as fast as I could.”

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Michael McDowell describes the final lap and winning the Daytona 500. pic.twitter.com/6Fc7Q4rMGD

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 15, 2021

From there, he could not discern much else. This was largely because everything became a massive blur from there. In the end, McDowell was happy to reach Victory Lane at Daytona.

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DIVE DEEPER

WATCH: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Bubba Wallace in Horrific Final-Lap Crash in NASCAR Daytona 500

2 months ago

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Dhruv George

11318 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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