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Daytona 500 Recap

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

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The NASCAR season has begun with its biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500.

The annual race that most fans of the sport call “the superbowl of racing” was held this year on February 18. The race had many different storylines. This was the first Daytona 500 without Dale Earnhardt Jr since 1998, as Earnhardt retired last season and was replaced by Alex Bowman. Also absent from the race for the first time since 1999 was Matt Kenseth, who retired last season as well, and was replaced by Erik Jones in the number 20 car. Danica Patrick, one of the only female racers in the sports history, raced her last NASCAR race in the Daytona 500, deciding to call it a career at age 35.

The race did also have much diversity, as all of North America was represented, as DJ Kennington of Canada was in the race in the 96 car, Daniel Suarez from Mexico in the 19, and of course, 38 other racers from various parts of the United States.

“I don’t usually watch NASCAR, but this was somewhat entertaining, I might watch it a little bit more often now,” sophomore Nick Beasley said.

As for the race itself, it was dominated by Ryan Blaney. Blaney led roughly half of the 200 laps for his new team, Team Penske. Blaney led through most of the crashes, some that took out many good cars, such as Chase Elliott, Jones, Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Kurt Busch. Danica Patrick was also taken out early, ending her NASCAR career about 100 laps before she planned. Another late race crash took out about 5 more cars and set up a two lap shootout to decide the winner.

Into the final lap, Aric Almirola, driving the number 10 car, was leading until turn three, when he was turned around by Austin Dillon, who eventually went on to win the race. Dillon won the the same number three that the late hall of famer, Dale Earnhardt, did 20 years later, to the day. Finishing second was the second full time African American racer in the sport, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr, who was emotional post race when he saw his mother.

“I like watching NASCAR, and I was definitely not disappointed with this year’s Daytona 500,” said freshman Jacob Brewer.

The Daytona 500 was a definitely intriguing start to the NASCAR season, and could set up some interesting story line going forward.  

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Daytona 500 Recap