Daytona 500: Austin Dillon takes emotional win after chaotic last-lap

Austin Dillon brought the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet back to Victory Lane for the Daytona 500 for the first time in 20 years.

Dillon assumed the lead in Turn 3 after Aric Almirola wrecked on the last lap. 

“Right now I just want to thank the good Lord above. I did what I had to do there at the end. I hate it for the No. 10 (Aric Almirola) guys. We had a run, and I stayed in the gas. It is what it is here at Daytona. This is so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to Victory Lane 20 years ago. This one is for Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and all those Sr. fans.  I love you guys.  We are going to keep kicking butt the rest of the year!”

Bubba Wallace finished second, .260-seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin. Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10.  Blaney led five times for 118 laps.

“I was just trying to get everybody on the inside line to buy in,” Hamlin said. “We just didn’t quite get it to work.”

Kurt Busch's chances at a repeat end in calamity

A 13-car wreck involving defending Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch with two laps remaining, shook up the field for the final restart with Hamlin in the lead. 

The No. 78 team was penalized during pit stops between the segments for an uncontrolled tire. Kyle Larson’s team had too many men over the wall. 

Blaney led the field to green for the third stage on Lap 126. Joey Logano ran second followed by Menard, Hamlin, Bayne, Gaughan, Almirola, Newman, Austin Dillon, Bowman, Wallace, DiBenedetto, Kurt Busch, Gaulding and AJ Allmendinger. William Byron was the lucky dog and restarted 22nd. There were 29 cars still on the track.

By Lap 130, the front 12 cars were single-file. Bayne pitted from fourth-place and took right-side tires. He dropped to 22nd, one lap down. With 65 laps to go, Menard, who was running ninth, attempted to make something happen on the inside lane with Stenhouse and Kurt Busch.

With 60 laps to go, 12 cars compiled the front conga line. Kurt Busch tested the inside lane but pulled into 13th behind Almirola.

Blaney led 74 of the first 150 laps. Logano, Hamlin, Bowman, DiBenedetto, Wallace, Newman, Truex, Allmendinger and Buescher completed the top 10 with 50 laps to go.

Green flag pit stops started on Lap 156 with Stenhouse, Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan and Kyle Busch. NASCAR penalized the No. 18 car for speeding. D.J. Kennington pitted on Lap 157. Busch served his penalty on Lap 160.

Blaney continued to lead the top 13 cars with 40 laps remaining. Logano, Hamlin, Bowman, DiBenedetto, Wallace, Newman, Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Buescher, Almirola, Truex and Menard completed the parade.

The leaders pitted on Lap 171. Joey Logano, who was running second, was busted for speeding on pit road in Section 1. He served his penalty on the next lap and apologized to the team for not pumping his brakes in time. He fell to 15th.

Hamlin assumed the lead but Blaney passed the No. 11 Toyota entering Turn 2 on Lap 174. Truex ran second followed by Kurt Busch, Bowman, Newman, Wallace, Allmendinger, Hamlin, DiBenedetto, Almirola, Menard, Buescher, Austin Dillon, Gaughan and Logano. 

With 15 laps to go, the front pack caught Logano and put the No. 22 Ford one lap down. Logano squeezed in between Bowman and Truex. Wallace moved to the bottom and dropped to 10th.

William Byron blew a right-rear tire and spun off of Turn 4 with 10 laps to go. The No. 24 Hendrick Chevy stopped just before the entrance of pit road. 

Blaney led 110 laps before the caution. On Lap 191, Allmendinger, Wallace, Newman, Austin Dillon, Menard and Buescher joined Byron on pit road. Truex restarted second followed by Kurt Busch, Hamlin, Bowman, DiBenedetto and Almirola. Logano returned to the lead lap in 15th.

Blaney selected the inside lane for the rear on Lap 193. The No. 12 Ford shot to the front with a push from Kurt Busch, who went low in Turn 3 for the lead. Hamlin went high and took the lead at the line. Busch moved back to the lead on the backstretch with a push from Almirola on Lap 195. With four laps remaining, Blaney passed Busch up top on the backstretch followed by Hamlin. Blaney held the point again with three laps to go. Hamlin took the lead with two to go but as the field went through Turns 1 and 2, Blaney took the air off of the back of the No. 41 Ford and Busch spun into the pack collecting Stenhouse, Gaughan, DiBenedetto, Truex, Bowman and Allmendinger.

Hamlin held onto the lead followed by Almirola, Buescher, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Wallace, Logano, Allmendinger, Blaney, Newman and McDowell—the only cars remaining on the lead lap—when the race went into overtime on Lap 205. 

Blaney led five times for 118 laps. The race was slowed by eight cautions and 37 yellow flag laps.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 207   1
2 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 207 0.260  
3 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 207 0.262 22
4 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 207 0.411 3
5 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 207 0.419  
6 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 207 0.524 1
7 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 207 0.558 118
8 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 207 1.243  
9 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 207 1.247  
10 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 207 1.476 1
11 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 206 --- 1
12 51 united_states Justin Marks  Chevrolet 206 1 lap 1
13 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 206 1 lap  
14 92 united_states David Gilliland  Ford 206 1 lap  
15 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 206 1 lap  
16 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 205 2 laps  
17 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 205 2 laps 13
18 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 205 2 laps 4
19 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 204 3 laps  
20 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 204 3 laps  
21 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 204 3 laps  
22 66 united_states Mark Thompson  Ford 203 4 laps  
23 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 203 4 laps  
24 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 201 6 laps  
25 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 200 7 laps  
26 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 198 9 laps 16
27 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 198 9 laps  
28 62 united_states Brendan Gaughan  Chevrolet 198 9 laps  
29 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 197 10 laps 11
30 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 107 100 laps  
31 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 105 102 laps  
32 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 102 105 laps  
33 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 101 106 laps 4
34 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 101 106 laps  
35 7 united_states Danica Patrick  Chevrolet 101 106 laps  
36 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 59 148 laps 11
37 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 59 148 laps  
38 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 59 148 laps  
39 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 59 148 laps  
40 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 8 199 laps  
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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Track Daytona International Speedway
Drivers Austin Dillon
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Article type Race report