Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins first Daytona 500 after record 212 laps

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins first Daytona 500 after record 212 laps

ESPN News Services3 minute read

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Daytona 500 in double overtime and under caution Sunday night in the longest race of “The Great American Race.”

The two overtimes pushed the 65th run of the race to a record 212 laps – a dozen laps over the scheduled distance and a whopping 530 miles.

Stenhouse’s win in a Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing — a single-seater team partly owned by former NBA player Brad Daugherty — was the third of his career. His only other victories came in 2017 — at Talladega and the summer race at Daytona. His 199-race winless streak was the fourth-longest streak between wins in Cup Series history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Now the 35-year-old from Olive Branch, Mississippi, has another win at Daytona in NASCAR’s biggest race of the season. And he came in his first race reunited with crew chief Mike Kelly, who guided Stenhouse to a pair of Xfinity Series championships earlier in his career.

“I think this whole offseason Mike just preached about how much we all believed in each other. They left me a note in the car that said they believed in me and they were going to get the job done. “said Stenhouse. “Man, that’s amazing. It was the site of my last win in 2017. We worked really hard. We had a few knocks last year to get a win and we fell short.

“It was a tough season, but man, we made it, Daytona 500.”

Defending Cup champion Joey Logano finished second in a Ford for Team Penske, which won the race last year with Austin Cindric.

“Second is the worst, man,” Logano said.

Christopher Bell was third in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and followed by Chris Buescher in a Ford for RFK Racing and Hendrick Motorsports poleman Alex Bowman in a Chevrolet.

AJ Allmendinger was sixth for Kaulig Racing, Daniel Suarez seventh for Trackhouse Racing and Ryan Blaney eighth for Team Penske. Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain and Rick Ware Racing’s Riley Herbst round out the top 10.

Action sports star Travis Pastrana finished 11th in his Daytona 500 debut, and Kevin Harvick finished 12th in his last Daytona 500. Harvick is retiring at the end of the year.

Kyle Busch fell to 0 for 18 in the Daytona 500, but fought for his new team Richard Childress Racing. He was the leader ahead of team-mate Austin Dillon with three laps to go in regulation time when a spin from Daniel Suarez brought out the caution and sent the race into extra time.

“1998 would be the win, boys,” Busch radioed his team in deliberate reference to how the late Dale Earnhardt won his only Daytona 500. There was no overtime at the era and Earnhardt won on bail.

Busch finished 19th after the race-ending crash in second overtime.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson returned to the series and ran in the top 15 for most of the race. He was recovered in one of the overtime crashes and finished 31st. Johnson returned from two years of racing in the IndyCar Series as part-owner of Legacy Motor Club and he plans to compete in a handful of races.

The 65th running of the Daytona 500 marked the first time the defending Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series champions were all part of the field.

Logano Cup champion was second, while Xfinity Series champion Ty Gibbs was 25th and Truck Series champion Zane Smith was 13th.

Smith had to work his way through the 40-driver field and won Game 1 of the Truck Series on Friday night. It was the Daytona 500 debut for Gibbs and Smith.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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