An overtime race of 12 laps (30 miles) concluded with two green-white-checkered finishes, won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after outwitting Joey Logano in a dramatic finish; it marked his third career victory on superspeedways and his 35th birthday.
Stenhouse outraced Logano to win first place for JTG Daugherty Racing, while other notable finishes included Jimmie Johnson making an impressive comeback to NASCAR and IndyCar driver Conor Daly.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse once stood as one of the finest superspeedway racers, but his aggressive driving led to more and more caution-causing incidents on track. JTG Daugherty Racing brought back Mike Kelley from their Xfinity Series squad this season as their driver had struggled last year; with a more robust Next Gen rules-enhanced car and commitments made not to make errors themselves, they have seen two top-10s and one win at Dover already this year!
Stenhouse had experienced difficulties at the start of this season but was making strides back toward contention when Gateway came around. That race would prove pivotal as Stenhouse became a regular top-20 finisher and earned their first playoff appearance since 2015.
Stenhouse had an opportunity to win at Talladega and was leading the Food City 500 when his engine suddenly disintegrated on the final lap. Luckily for Kyle Busch, he was ahead then and could take advantage of Stenhouse’s misfortune by seizing control and holding off Logano for victory – marking JTG Daugherty Racing’s inaugural Cup Series victory since Stenhouse joined them earlier.
At age 26, Buescher is the youngest full-time competitor in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He has an impressive resume in the Nationwide Series (including winning its 2015 championship) and two top-ten finishes during his rookie Cup campaign (2023).
Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing veteran Brad Keselowski started outside of the Top 10, but quickly made an incredible surge to sixth and held track position during the late stages. Keselowski used wrecks, which froze up the field two laps from home, to set himself up for an attempt at victory.
Buescher led eight laps during the second stage, cut short due to a wild crash in Turn 2. That event brought out the final caution and forced overtime racing.
Aric Almirola took the lead during the final restart with two laps left, only to be forced back by Kyle Busch into Turn 1 by contact from Austin Dillon, AJ Allmendinger, and Brad Keselowski – leading to multiple incidents between these drivers as well.
Joey Logano is known to be one of the premier late-race drivers on restrictor-plate races. That was evidenced during Sunday’s Daytona 500 when he started in fourth position and sat behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the outside lane for its final restart.
As the race was restarted with 20 laps left, Stenhouse led on the outside while Logano attempted to draft him on the inside, only for Logano’s No. 22 Ford to lose its advantage and fall back into third.
Seventeen laps later, the first Big One occurred when Byron lost control of his car on the backstretch and collided with Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch causing an immediate caution and Logano taking advantage of this incident to advance into second position.
At Auto Club Speedway in California last weekend, Logano enjoyed an outstanding day. He finished fifth fastest in practice and won his duel. After running in the top 5 for most of the race, an earlier pit road penalty dropped him back down into P2 position, yet he drove himself back into contention in time to guarantee an entry into Chase.
Bowman was Hendrick Motorsports’ top Chevrolet driver at the DAYTONA 500 and has finished within the top 10 of all 10 points-paying races this year for Hendrick Motorsports, acting as Chase Elliott’s replacement at Hendrick. At just 30 years old, he boasts four career wins – Richmond Motor Speedway, Dover Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and Martinsville Speedway) and 16 top-10 finishes this year and a career-high 16 top-10 finishes overall! Additionally, he is competing full time for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, where he boasts five career victories (Richmond Motor Speedway), while also competing full time in Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, where he boasts five career victories overall this year Xfinity Series events, where he holds five career victories to date in total!
On Sunday’s 61-lap 200-mile race, Bowman started alongside Kyle Larson from Team Penske Racing on the front row. Larson led early laps until green-flag pit stops began on Lap 37 of 65; Toyota drivers then gradually took control as Chevrolet drivers cycled through service.
The first stage passed without incident, while the second proved more eventful. Two laps from the end, A. J. Allmendinger – who was one lap down at that point – blocked and slowed the inside line led by Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola to give Hendrick Motorsports teammate Denny Hamlin free passage around them on the outside lane.
Instead it caused contact between Hamlin and 23XI Racing co-owner and driver Denny Truex Jr. which forced Truex into a wall before pushing him onto another lap down track he never recovered.
As we conclude our race-themed adventure, the winner of the DAYTONA 500 2023 has emerged, leaving an indelible mark on NASCAR history. Whether it was a photo finish, a strategic masterpiece, or a display of sheer speed, the victor’s journey adds another chapter to the storied legacy of the Daytona 500.
Stay tuned for more updates, highlights, and thrilling moments as we continue to unravel the excitement in the dynamic world of motorsports. The checkered flags may fall, but the excitement of the races lingers on!