After two weeks of practice, qualifying, and pre-race activities the day has finally arrived – the 60th running of the Daytona 500!

Award winning Country music stars Rascal Flatts entertains the crowd before the race.

After the most unique qualifying format Alex Bowman sits on the pole in the number 88 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet for his first Daytona 500. Bowman was chosen to carry on the legacy of the number 88 car after Dale Earnhardt Jr retired from racing at the end of last season.

Super Bowl winning quarterback Peyton Manning will lead the field driving the pace car for today’s race. Manning compared his job of driving the pace car to the guy who collects the tee after a kickoff in football.

Two time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr is today’s Grand Marshall and gave a rousing rendition of the command.

The lineup for the Daytona 500:
Alex Bowman
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliot
tJoey Logano
Kevin Harvick
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr
Erik Jones
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Clint Bowyer
Kurt Busch
Kyle Busch
Ryan Newman
Austin Dillon
David Ragan
Paul Menard
Daniel Suarez
Trevor Bayne
Jamie McMurray
AJ Allmendinger
Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell
Ty Dillon
Martin Truex Jr
Brendan Gaughan
Kasey Kahne
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Danica Patrick
Justin Marks
DJ Kennington
Brad Keselowski
Corey LaJoie
William Byron
Gray Gaulding
Jimmie Johnson
Matt DiBenedetto
Aric Almirola
Kyle Larson
David Gilliland
Mark Thompson

This year’s 500 is truly an international event with drivers from north and south of the border – Canadian DJ Kennington and Mexican born Daniel Suarez.

The drivers will make 200 laps around the two and a half mile track. Stages one and two will be 60 laps each with stage three lasting 80 laps.

Eight drivers have to move to the back of the field in a backup car:
Brad Keselowski
Austin Dillon
Aric Almirola
William Byron
Matt DiBenedetto
Kyle Larson
Jimmie Johnson
and David GIlliland

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag before a sold out crowd and gets out in front for the lead but gets passed by Denny Hamlin in the inside line.

Lap two the drivers are already three wide across the track.

Lap three Denny Hamlin has a tenth of a second lead on Bubba Wallace.

Lap four, Bubba challenges Denny Hamlin for the lead but Hamlin holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap six, Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race with Babba Wallace a tenth of a second behind.

Drivers are getting three and four wide across the track.

Lap eight, pole sitter Alex Bowman has dropped to eighth place with Denny Hamlin still in the lead.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap eight when Corey LaJoie blows an engine.

Most of the field brings their cars down pit road for service with most drivers taking only fuel. Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road. Denny Hamlin had a pit stop misstep – overshot his pit box – and ended up coming out in 15th place.

Hamlin is in even deeper trouble when NASCAR holds him for a lap for pitting outside his pit box – the fuel man began fueling the car before he was in the pit box.

Trevor Bayne’s crew came over the wall too soon and Michael McDowell was caught speeding on pit road; both will have to restart the race at the back of the longest line.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap eleven and holds on to the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second and Bubba Wallace in third.

Lap 14 Kurt Busch holds on to the lead of the race

Lap 15 pole sitter Alex Bowman challenges Kurt Busch for the lead; the two drivers swap the lead back and forth with Bowman taking the lead on lap 16.

Lap 18 Kasey Kahne brings his car down pit road after getting bumped on the track.

Lap 19 Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman again swap the lead with Bowman holding on to the lead.

After being a lap down, Denny Hamlin has lost the draft but has gained a racing partner after Kasey Kahne had to drive down pit road.

Lap 21 Erik Jones challenges Alex Bowman for the lead with the two drivers swapping the lead back and forth. Erik Jones takes over the lead of the race on lap 23.

Lap 28 Erik Jones holds on to the lead of the race with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second.

Lap 29 the top five are:
Erik Jones
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
oey Logano
Kevin Harvick
Daniel Suarez

Lap 29 Kyle Busch has a flat tire and has to bring his car down pit road, the track stays green.

Lap 31 Erik Jones is in the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second a tenth of a second behind.

Lap 32 there are 36 cars on the lead lap – Mark Thompson, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin are all one lap down with Corey LaJoie out of the race with a blown engine.

Lap 34 Ricky Stenouse Jr takes over the lead of the race. After starting at the back of the field Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski have moved into the top five.

More trouble for Kyle Busch, after changing a flat tire, he is reporting a vibration.

Lap 39 Ricky Stenhouse Jr is in the lead with Joey Logano in second; Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Lap 44 Chase Elliott takes his number nine car to the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in second.

Lpa 46 Chase Elliott is in the lead with Joey Logano in second; Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Joey Logano passes Chase Elliott for the lead as the two swap the lead back and forth with Logano holding on to the lead on lap 47.

Lap 48 Chase Elliot and Joey Logano again swap the lead back and forth with Joey Logano taking the lead on lap 50.

Kyle Busch brings out the second caution flag of the race on lap 50 when he crashes his car after cutting a second tire.

On the crash clock, Kyle Busch’s team has six minutes to repair the car this season, up from the five minutes last season.

Jamie McMurray and DJ Kennington also have damage from the crash.

After coming from the rear to make it into the top 10, Brad Keselowski’s car is on pit road while the team works on the splitter.

Staying out on the track, Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 55 and edges out Chase Elliott for the lead.

Kyle Larson got loose but saved the car and the track stays green.

Lap 47 Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch battle for the lead, swapping it back and forth but Kurt Busch holds on to the lead after Elliott gets caught in the middle.

Joey Logano brings his car down pit road with three laps remaining in the stage. He comes off pit road one lap down…

On the last lap of stage one, Ricky Stenhouse Jr saves his loose car but a big wreck ensures.

Kurt Busch wins stage one and the first playoff point of the season.

Erik Jones, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillon, and Kyle Larson were all involved in the crash.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kurt Busch
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr
Michael McDowell
Chase Elliott
Kevin Harvick
Paul Menard
Trevor Bayne

Kurt Busch slide through his pit box and will have to come around again to make a pit stop.

Alex Bowman brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 67and goes nose to nose with Ryan Blaney for the lead. Lap 68 Ryan Blaney takes over the lead of the race.

Danica Patrick is reporting a vibration.

Lap 71 Ryan Blaney has a tenth of a second lead on Paul Menard; Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.

Lap 78 Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Paul Menard a tenth of a second behind.

Lap 81 Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Alex Bowman in second.

After being a lap down, Denny Hamlin has not only gotten back on the lead lap, he is in the top 15.

Lap 86 Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Paul Menard in second; Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 90 Ryan Blaney has a tenth of a second lead on Paul Menard with Brad Keselowski in third.

Lap 92 William Byron brushes the wall with a flat tire but the track stays green. The caution flag comes out for William Byron as he leaves debris on the track trying to get to pit road.

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

After staying out, Monster Energy Cup Champion Martin Truex Jr takes over the lead of the race and will bring the field down for the green flag restart.

Kyle Larson’s team was charges with having too many crew members over the pit wall.

Lap 97 Martin Truex Jr brings the field to the green and holds on to the lead over Ryan Blaney.

Lap 98 Ryan Blaney passes Martin Truex Jr for the lead of the race with Kevin Harvick in second. Truex gets bumped back to sixth place.

Lap 100 Ryan Blaney is in the lead with Brad Keselowski in second; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Brad Keselowski makes contact with Chase Elliott and crashes into the wall bringing out the caution flag on lap 101. Danica Patrick, David Ragan, Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell, and Kevin Harvick were also involved.

Chase Elliott is out of the race.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 108 with Martin Truex Jr in second.

Kevin Harvick’s team failed to make repairs to the car within the six minute required time.

Lap 110 Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead of the race with Paul Menard and Trevor Bayne swapping second and third place; Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Kurt Busch round out the top five.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s car is blowing steam. He brings his car down pot road.

Lap 113 Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Paul Menard in second; Aric Almirola, Bubba Wallace and Austin Dillon fill out the top five.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr returns to the track.

Three laps remaining in stage two, Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Paul Menard a tenth of a second behind.

Ryan Blaney wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ryan Blaney
Paul Menard
Joey Logano
Aric Almirola
Michael McDowell
Martin Truex Jr
Bubba Wallace
Trevor Bayne
Austin Dillon
Denny Hamlin

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

Martin Truex’s team was penalized for having an uncontrolled tire on pit road. Kyle Larson was penalized for having too many crew members over the pit wall.

Clint Bowyer is running with only seven cylinders.

Team mates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano will bring the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 126 with Blaney getting out in front of the field.

Lap 128 Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Joey Logano a tenth of a second behind with Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne, and Ryan Newman rounding out the top five.

With 69 laps remaining in the race Ryan Blaney leads Joey Logano by a tenth of a second with Denny Hamlin in third, Ryan Newman in fourth, and Alex Bowman in fifth.

Lap 135 Ryan Blane continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second; Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, and Matt DiBenedetto fill out the top five.

Ryan Blaney has some debris on his front grille, but the team doesn’t believe it will cause any trouble.

Lap 140 Ryan Blaney is still in the lead with Joey Logano in second.

Lap 145 Ryan Blaney adds to his laps led count as he continues to lead the field.

Fifty to go and Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with Joey Logano in second, Denny Hamlin in third, Alex Bowman in fourth, and Matt DiBenedetto in fifth.

The drivers cannot make it to the end of the race without making another stop for fuel; with 46 laps remaining in the race, the fuel window is open.

Lap 156 teams are beginning to make green flag pit stops.

Kyle Busch was caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 158 Ryan Blaney continues to lead the race with a tenth of a second lead on Joey Logano.

Lap 160 Ryan Blaney is out in front; followed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, and Matt DiBenedetto.

Lap 167 Ryan Blaney continues to lead the single file field with Joey Logano a tenth of a second behind.

Lap 170, leaders begin making green flag pit stops.

Joey Logano was caught speeding on pit road.

With 27 laps remaining in the race Denny Hamlin leads the race until green flag pit stops cycle through when Blaney regains the lead.

Lap 177 Ryan Blaney has now led 100 laps. Martin Truex Jr is in second with Kurt Busch in third, Alex Bowman in fourth, and Ryan Newman in fifth.

Only 17 laps remaining in the race with Ryan Blaney leading the way with Ryan Truex Jr in second, Kurt Busch in third, Alex Bowman in fourth, and Ryan Newman in fifth.

Ryan Blaney passes team mate Joey Logano to put Logano down one lap.

William Byron brings out the caution flag on lap 189 when he spins out after blowing a tire.

Joey Logano is the “lucky dog”.

There are only 15 cars on the lead lap.

Taking the inside lane, Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart with only seven laps remaining in the race. Blaney holds on to the lead of the race with defending Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch in second.

With the drivers getting three wide Kurt Busch takes the lead of the race.

With six laps to o Ryan Blaney challenges leader Kurt Busch but it’s Airic Almirola that takes the lead briefly before Busch retakes the lead.

Five to go and Kurt Busch is in the lead.

Four to go and Ryan Blaney passes Kurt Busch for the lead.

Denny Hamlin challenges Ryan Blaney for the lead and takes over the top spot with Kurt Busch right behind him.

Big crash with two to go. Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Brendan Gaughan, and Ryan Blaney were all involved in the wreck.

The race will go into overtime.

Denny Hamlin will bring the field to the green flag overtime start.

There are no more overtime lines in NASCAR races, After he leader takes the green flag they run for the white flag and then the checkered flag. Once the white flag waves the next flag finishes the race; but if the caution flag comes out before the white flag, they try it again until the checkered flag flies.

Denny Hamlin takes the green flag but Aric Almirola passes Hamlin for the lead.

Aric Almirola takes the white flag as driver jockey for position behind him.

Crash on the track but in a photo finish Austin Dillon takes the number three car to the checkered flag 20 years after Dale Earnhardt finally won his Daytona 500!

Austin Dillon copied the slide through the infield that Dale Earnhardt did after winning his 500 and follows it with a big burn out.

Austin said that this was for Dale Sr and all the Earnhardt fans.

The unofficial results of the 2018 Daytona 500:
Austin Dillon
Darrell Wallace Jr
Denny Hamlin
Joey Logano
Chris Buescher
Paul Menard
Ryan Blaney
Ryan Newman
Michael McDowell
AJ Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Justin Marks
Trevor Bayne
David Gilliland
Clint bowyer
Jamie McMurray
Alex Bowman
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Gray Gaulding
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Mark Thompson
William Byron
DJ Kennington
Kyle Busch
Kurth Busch
Matt DiBenedetto
Brendan Gaughan
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
David Ragan
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Kasey Kahne
Danica Patrick
Erik Jones
Daniel Suarez
Jimmie Johnson
Ty Dillon
Corey LaJoie

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