The 2018 Monster Energy Nascar Cup season got underway this weekend with the 60th running of its most prestigious event, the Daytona 500.
At the end of the first ‘stage’, drivers started making some desperate moves, causing this wreck.
Then, at just past the halfway point of the race, Brad Keselowski collided with Chase Elliot. That triggered a chain reaction which wiped out several cars.
One of those was Danica Patrick, competing in her last ever Nascar race. Following the Indy 500 in May, she’ll retire from driving.
With two laps to go there was another major shunt when 2017 winner Kurt Busch when spun around by the bright yellow Penske car of Ryan Blaney (who’d led most of the race), triggering a 13-car crash. Despite eventually finishing seventh Blaney actually leads the championship after the first race of the season, because Nascar.
The race headed into ‘overtime’ and on the last lap, Aric Almirola was in the lead and defending in to turn three. The guy in second, Austin Dillon, wasn’t too happy about being blocked, so decided to simply spin Almirola out of the way and snatch the win.
It may have looked pretty blatant but this sort of thing is pretty much par for the course in Nascar. After the race, Almirola said he was fine with the result because he’d have done the same thing!
For Dillon it was a pretty special result as he’d taken the legendary No.3 car to victory 17 years to the day since Dale Earnhardt died, and 20 years after Earnhardt won his only Daytona 500. Dillon was even on the podium as a kid that day too!
DAYTONA 500 recap: Denver's Furniture Row Racing, Martin Truex Jr. finished 18th. Austin Dillon finished 1st in the #3 car, 20 years after Dale Earnhardt won his only Daytona 500. Here's Earnhardt & Austin Dillon (7 years old) to his right, 20 years ago. pic.twitter.com/jzIt7h8bxZ
— Drew Engelbart (@DrewEngelbart) February 19, 2018
There was another legendary car in second place as the No.43 of Bubba Wallace Jr. took second place from Denny Hamlin in a seriously close finish – although with a gap of 0.002 seconds, it was positively colossal compared to the finish in the Xfinity race the day before.