Finally, we have a winner of the Daytona 500.  After all of the delays in starting, weather issues, crash delays, and finally finishing on the very next day…  the winner is, “Michael McDowell”.

Just 15 laps into the race, driver Christopher Bell pushed Aric Almirola and he took out a host of cars. The crash however, did not cause the race to be halted. About five minutes later, lighting from tropical thunder storms flashed into the sky. Then, the rain came down, so the officials decided to stop the race for a rain delay. This was an appropriate move as the drivers then waited patiently, as the delay lasted for approximately five hours.

Normally, out of a 200-lap race like the Daytona 500, drivers start out very conservative before flooring their cars towards the mid-way and then the end of the race. But these drivers were very aggressive from the start, and perhaps too aggressive, that such an accident happened 15-laps into the race. How else would this happen? Normally, this is rare. But Bell was not the original instigator of the push or was he?

How it all Started

Veteran NASCAR driver Kyle Bush started the wreck with a push to Bell, then Bell pushed Almirola, which then Almirola’s car was bumped into Alex Boman. Then, a even bigger crash happened into the next part of the race. A total of 16 drivers and cars were engaged in the crash, to include longtime teammate of Dale Earnhart Jr., Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Newman who won the Daytona 500 back in 2008. Others included fellow-vet Jamie McMurray, who has never won the Daytona 500. McDowell even hit the wall in the crash, but his car didn’t have enough damage to slow him down. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm, est. Then the big rain delay happened and the race resumed about 9:00 pm.

How it Finished

On the final lap, Joey Lagano was leading the pack and was on pace to winning another Daytona 500 for himself. Unfortunately, fate turned as a massive wreck occurred, leading into another pile of multiple cars and drivers. Lagano’s car was tapped by teammate Brad Keselowski, opening a huge lane for McDowell who was a 100-1 underdog and had no chance heading into the race. Luckily, McDowell was able to hit the open hole and survive the crash without major damage. McDowell was able to hold off Chase Eliot and come up on top with the upset victory.

McDowell’s Background

McDowell was born on Dec. 21, 1984 in Glendale, Arizona. He currently is competing in the NASCAR Cup Series as a full-time driver of the #34 car for Front Row Motorsports. McDowell began his career racing open-wheel cars competing in Formula Renault and Champ Car. He then moved onto sports cars, participating in the Rolex Sports Car Series and 24 hours of Daytona. McDowell started his NASCAR Career in 2006, and in 2008, he then saw his first action competing in a Cup Series. His 2008 season also is known for a violent crash during his qualifying run at the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Up until his win in the 2021 Daytona 500, McDowell never won a Cup Series race in NASCAR, and his best finish in his career was second place behind A.J. Allmedinger in the 2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio. His last series racing win came in Indy-Car when he won four races in-a-row at the end of the 2004 season, in which he won the Star Mazda Championship Series. In 2013, McDowell finished 9th in the Daytona 500, but sadly failed to qualify for the 2014 version.

Our congratulations go out to McDowell on his 1st Daytona 500 Win!

Remembering The “Great” Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Earnhardt Sr. was born on April 29, 1951 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. In 1968 at 17-years old, Earnhardt Sr. married his first wife Latane Brow. The couple then had their first son Kerry Earnhardt in 1969. Then, they divorced in 1970, and Earnhardt Sr, quickly moved on, as he married his second wife Brenda Gee in 1971. Gee and Earnhardt Sr. then had a daughter in 1972 named Kelly King Earnhardt, and Dale, Jr. in 1974. Earnhardt Sr. and Gee rapidly divorced shortly after Earnhardt, Jr. was born.

Earnhardt Sr. was single for 12-more years, until 1982 when he married his third and final wife, Teresa Houston. Houston had their daugther, Taylor Nicole Earnhardt in 1988. Taylor and her husband, Brandon Putnan, are professional rodeo performers.

Earnhardt Sr.’s Final Race

On Feb. 18, 2001, Earnhardt Sr. was on his way to a top-3 finish in the Daytona 500. He was behind his son, Dale. Jr, who would finish in second-place, with eventual winner Michael Waltrip. Then, tragedy began to strick, becoming one of the most critical moments in NASCAR history.

On the final lap, Earnhardt Sr. collided with Ken Schrader after making contact with Sterling Martin. He then hit the outside wall head-on. He was blocking Schrader on the outside and Martin on the inside at the time of the crash. 

Then, tragedy struck as at 5:16pm est, Earnhardt Sr. was officially pronounced dead at the Halifax Medical Center. NASCAR president Mike Helton confirmed the death in a statement to the press. On Feb. 19, Earnhardt Sr.’s autopsy conducted that Earnhardt Sr. suffered a basilar skull fracture. Earnhardt was 49-years-old.

The death was a very sad day in the NASCAR world, especially for Dale Jr. He did not win the race, but sometimes, family comes first. It probably would have honored his father had he won. Known as the “Intimidator”, Earnhardt Sr. carried with him a very impressive career, and also created a talented family of NASCAR drivers and one rodeo rider. Earnhardt Sr. was there for the family, and even taught Dale Jr. how to drive. It also taught Dale Jr. not to drive as aggressive and recklessly, and to always protect your head.

In 2004, Earnhardt Jr. carried the name and won his first ever Daytona 500 in honor of his late dad. “The great” will always be remembered in NASCAR history as a winner. Dale Sr., you made NASCAR fans very proud.

The tweet below was taken before the 2001 Daytona 500 to show what an impact Earnhardt Sr. really did have on the racing community…

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23 Comments

  • KEVIN MALLOY, February 19, 2021 @ 10:15 am

    I am note a huge NASCAR fan. The only race I ever watched was the one Dale Sr. Was Killed. Nicely written piece!

  • Dominic Scafetta, February 19, 2021 @ 10:32 am

    Great article.

  • Dominic Scafetta, February 19, 2021 @ 10:32 am

    Good article.

  • Richard Cresswell, February 19, 2021 @ 10:49 am

    Great story. I remember that day sll too well, huge loss to NASCAR.

  • Joe, February 19, 2021 @ 11:09 am

    Dam wish I taped that demolition derby. Kyle Bush what a surprise? Figured he had to have a part in it.

  • Jv, February 19, 2021 @ 11:28 am

    A legacy lives on, and in a second generation and likely more to come. Great story and recap. Many so admire the man, the action, the spectacle and the sport. Race on!!

  • Susan Becker, February 19, 2021 @ 11:38 am

    I’m really not into Nascar, but know who Dale Sr was and know who his son Dale jr is. It certainly was a sad day when Dale Sr was killed. All in all, this is a great article worth reading whether you’re a fan or not.

  • Colleen, February 19, 2021 @ 12:23 pm

    I do not watch a lot of NASCAR it stresses me out. Congrats to McDowell!! Great article!

  • Janet, February 19, 2021 @ 1:46 pm

    Since I live in “Nascar” country, I should take more interest in the sport. Seeing that these drivers take their life in their hands everytime they get behind the wheel is very scary. Informative article though.

  • Robyn, February 19, 2021 @ 2:40 pm

    I remember that race when Dale Senior was killed! So sad! Great article!

  • Steve Toth, February 19, 2021 @ 9:42 pm

    I still vividly remember that race. The crash looked less than ordinary. I couldn’t believe it took an extraordinary life. Great article Jamie.

  • Tim Robbins, February 20, 2021 @ 6:24 am

    Very nicely written piece here! I don’t watch much television these days and did not watch this race. But, from what I have read and heard other speaking about it, it was quite a mess.

  • Tracy, February 20, 2021 @ 8:44 am

    Not a big race car watcher but felt it was a great article…. great job Jamie ….

  • Emily, February 20, 2021 @ 9:05 am

    Nice article!!

  • Sarah, February 20, 2021 @ 9:12 am

    Great article Jamie!!

  • Marla, February 20, 2021 @ 9:20 am

    It’s nice when the underdog comes thru! Congrats to McDowell! I hope he can continue his success. A good story on Earnhardt, sad but nice to see his legacy live on.

  • Katie, February 20, 2021 @ 10:13 am

    Nice article!

  • Chris, February 20, 2021 @ 12:58 pm

    Very informative

  • Jeff Scafetta, February 21, 2021 @ 8:20 pm

    Wow what an interesting Daytona 500! Thanks for describing the race. I did not watch it, however I
    I now have a good understanding of what happened!

  • Eric, February 22, 2021 @ 6:31 am

    Nice article! Congrats to McDowell who I’m not familiar with but I like hearing about Dale Sr. That man is a legend!

  • Noah Shaffer, February 22, 2021 @ 3:23 pm

    Great intro for me into NASCAR!

  • Tony Street, February 22, 2021 @ 3:25 pm

    Earnhardt’s death was tragic, but not in vain. It led to sweeping safety upgrades in NASCAR, such as head and neck restraints, energy absorbing barriers, and roof-hatch escape systems. There have been no deaths, like the twenty-seven others that preceded Earnhardt’s, in NASCAR’s three major series since the these actions were implemented.

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