Race Weekend Central

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Wins 1st Daytona 500

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, and he’s also been called “Wrecky” by his competitors on national television. 

Now you can call him a Daytona 500 champion. 

Stenhouse was declared the winner of the 65th running of the Great American Race Sunday night (Feb. 19). The veteran was the leader as one final Big One ended the second overtime period. It’s his third career win overall and second at Daytona International Speedway. Stenhouse also snapped a lengthy winless streak with his career making victory. 

The win also snapped JTG Daugherty Racing’s streak that dated back to 2014 at Watkins Glen International. Additionally, the driver of the No. 47 secured a spot in the playoffs, barring more than 16 regular-season winners.

“Yeah, I think this whole off-season Mike [Kelley, crew chief] just preached how much we all believed in each other,” Stenhouse said post-race. “They left me a note in the car that said they believe in me and to go get the job done tonight. I made a few mistakes. We were able to battle back.

“This Kroger Continental team worked really, really hard in off-season, great pit stops, Hendrick engines. Glad a Chevy won.

“Man, this is unbelievable. This was the site of my last win back in 2017. We’ve worked really hard. We had a couple shots last year to get a win and fell short. It was a tough season, but man, we got it done, Daytona 500.”

See also
Xfinity Breakdown: Austin Hill Defeats JRM in Photo Finish

While Stenhouse was celebrating, heartbreak could only be felt for Kyle Busch. Busch suffered a speeding penalty on lap 108 and wasn’t able to make it back up to the front until the very late stages. The driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro looked to be in control right up until Daniel Suarez brought out the caution with two to go. In the ensuing melee, Busch lost teammate Austin Dillon in the first big crash in overtime and was caught up in the race-ending crash. Busch finished 18th for his trouble, and will have to try again next February. 

Heartbreak also found the defending series champion coming up just short of a second Daytona 500 win. Joey Logano struggled with the handling of his race car for most of the day, but was a major player in the closing stages. Logano was Busch’s chief rival for the win when Suarez crashed and was right there with Stenhouse when both overtimes took place. Logano has finished in the top five four times in the 500 after finishing runner up tonight.

Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher and polesitter Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.

AJ Allmendinger finished sixth in his return to the Daytona 500, followed by Suarez, Ryan Blaney, stage two winner Ross Chastain and Riley Herbst, completing the top 10. Those latter four drivers were all involved in major incidents in the race, none more so than Blaney, whose battered Ford was multiple laps down at one point.

Other notables were Travis Pastrana, who finished 11th despite crashing on the final lap, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in 31st. He ran in the top 15 for much of the day.

There were 58 lead changes among 21 drivers, with stage one winner Brad Keselowski leading the most (42 laps). Keselowski finished 22nd after getting caught up in the first overtime crash.

NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 Results

The stars of the NASCAR Cup Series head out west to Fontana, Calif. for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. It is the final race on the track’s current 2-mile configuration. Kyle Larson is the defending winner.

You can catch all the coverage on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. ET. 

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised watching motorsports and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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