Joey Logano was one lap away from his second career Daytona 500 victory when his own Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, nudged his No. 22 car from behind and started a chain reaction that ended in a fiery, eight-car wreck. Meanwhile, 100-1 longshot Michael McDowell snuck by the carnage and crossed the finish line for his first NASCAR Cup Series win.
You would think Logano would be fuming with anger after being robbed of another Daytona 500 victory, but he somehow handled the incident with humility and a cool head. Logano even offered an endearing message to McDowell after his historic win.
Joey Logano crashes out of Daytona 500 glory
As Joey Logano passed the white flag in the Daytona 500 Sunday, he held a slim lead over a tight pack of race cars giving chase. Eventually, Brad Keselowski maneuvered his way into second place just behind Logano, and he made his final move to take over the lead around Turn 3.
At the same time, Logano moved slightly inside to block Keselowski’s move, and the two cars rubbed up against each other down the backstretch. Logano’s No. 22 car immediately spun out and ended up on the infield grass, while Keselowski’s No. 2 car spun to the middle of the track and started a dangerous pile-up. A fireball engulfed the middle pack of race cars as a lucky few survived the wreck and made it to the checkered flag untouched.
Logano went on to finish the Daytona 500 in 12th place. Keselowski came in right behind him in 13th.
Michael McDowell steals a Daytona 500 win
After the carnage on the final lap, Michael McDowell snuck through the wreck and beat Chase Elliott to the checkered flag. The miraculous win marked McDowell’s first-ever victory in his 13-year NASCAR Cup Series career.
When the dust settled, McDowell explained the chaotic final lap in his own words.
“My plan was to stick to (Keselowski),” McDowell said. “I knew he would go for a race-winning move and my plan was to let him make that move and then coming off of four try to get to his outside or inside. I knew I didn’t want to make my move too early, so I was committed to (Keselowski’s) bumper and when he made the move, the hole opened up. It’s just unbelievable.”
Logano also told his side of the story.
“Pandemonium, I guess. Chaos struck,” Logano said. “(Keselowski) kept trying to back up, trying to get a run. I was trying to back up to him to keep the runs from being too big and just, I guess he got to the back of (McDowell) and it ended up being a really big run coming at me and it seemed like we all just collided in one spot.”
Joey Logano sends a surprisingly humble message to Michael McDowell
If you thought Joey Logano was going to unload on Brad Keselowski for crashing him out of Daytona 500 contention, you would be wrong. Surprisingly, Logano was calm after the race, and he even said he was thrilled for his longtime friend, Michael McDowell.
“It’s a real bummer that none of the Penske cars won, but at least a Ford won and I’m really happy for McDowell,” Logano said. “I hate that we didn’t win with our Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. I feel like we had a great shot being where we were and leading on the last lap, but if we couldn’t win I’m really happy to see McDowell win this thing. He’s a great guy, a great person, a good leader in life and has helped me a lot in my life, so it’s very cool to see him win the Daytona 500.”