Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Feb 19, 2023; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47) celebrates in victory lane after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re going to be a specialist on one type of track, be a specialist on the superspeedways. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is just that guy, and he capitalized to win the 65th Daytona 500 after a last-lap crash ended the race under caution. This is Stenhouse’s third career win, all three on superspeedways, and snaps a 199-race winless streak.

All throughout the race, the odds-on favorites were seemingly taken out one by one. First, while leading, Bubba Wallace got sent into the wall as a Martin Truex Jr. bump didn’t go well.

Then a crash toward the end of Stage 2 resulted in Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, among others, crashing. Blaney continued, and somehow finished eighth, but he wouldn’t be a serious contender for the rest of the race.

The crashes really started happening with regularity with less than 20 laps to go. A bunch of the Fords crashed as the field reunited after the final green flag pit stops. Before those pit stops, Ford had eight of the top ten positions and the top six. After the crash, many of them were out of the running and gave Chevy and Toyota drivers a shot.

It wasn’t until Daniel Suárez spun that things really turned to chaos. The Richard Childress Racing duo of Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon controlled the top two spots as the caution came out.

It took a half-lap before the next wreck occurred. Most of the field was caught up in a crash that started when William Byron got in the back end of Dillon’s car.

With about 15 or so cars healthy enough to compete for the win, it was a two-lap dash for the win. A crash toward the back of the pack in Turn 1 of the final lap forced the caution that ended the race. When the caution came out, Stenhouse was ahead of Joey Logano. Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.

Stenhouse was 30/1 odds to win, and if you read our post about who to bet on, Stenhouse was one of the people on the list.

Not only was this a great win for Stenhouse, but it was also a great win for JTG-Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty. Michael Jordan might get the press as the NBA star turned NASCAR team co-owner, but Daugherty has run a NASCAR Cup Series team for over 15 years. This Daytona 500 win was JTG-Daugherty’s second-ever Cup win and their first win since 2014. Daugherty also becomes the first Black team owner to win the Daytona 500.

The NASCAR Cup Series will head to Fontana next Sunday in the final race on the two-mile track. After the race, Auto Club Speedway will be converted to a short track.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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