In a crash-ridden race, Kurt Busch kicked off the 2017 season with a last lap pass to win the Daytona 500.
The Daytona 500 is one of, if not the premier race in NASCAR. Not only is it one of the sport’s most prestigious and most-watched races, but it is also the first official race of every season which adds to the hype and aura of the race.
The Daytona 500 is no stranger to massive crashes and races filled with them. Unfortunately, although the race is marked with so many high points and finishes in its history, it is also scarred in probably the most dramatic and darkest crash in history with the death of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt occurring during the race after his car was flipped and turned along a wall.
Although those horrified actions weren’t repeated this year, and hopeful they never will be, this race was still marked with its fair share of crashes.
The race was also marked with a good amount of cars running out of fuel, particularly during the final lap with drivers like Chase Elliot, Martin Truex, Jr, Kyle Larsen and Paul Menard all having to exit the race do to lack of gas, which opened the door for Busch to push through at the very end.
Things didn’t go perfectly smooth for Busch himself as with 30 laps to go, his rearview mirror fell off. This caused Busch to be unable to see any cars behind him and forced him to drive very defensively to protect himself and the car. Fortunately for Busch, many cars experienced trouble during the race and especially at the end. This mass trouble allowed Busch to make the exciting last lap pass to become the first driver in the race’s history to win the 500 while only leading the last lap.
The victory marked the first Daytona 500 win for Busch in 17 tries and also the first for car owner Tony Stewart who retired from racing last year and also had never won it as a driver.
Notable drivers like Jimmie Johnson (34th) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr (37th) finished towards the end of the pack with this being Earnhardt’s first official series race since he went into concussion protocol midway through last season.
Overall, this year’s 500 was far from a smooth race, but ended with an exciting finish and a new member to the winners club in Kurt Busch.
Was this one of the most exciting finishes in Daytona history? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.