Ford Authority

Ford Performance Driver Michael McDowell Scores First Victory At Daytona 500

Michael McDowell scored his first victory in a Monday morning finish to the 63rd running of the Daytona 500, missing a final-lap crash to kick off the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season with a triumph in stock-car racing’s most prestigious race.

McDowell led only the last of The Great American Race’s 200 laps, avoiding a last-lap collision between Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski for the lead at Daytona International Speedway. It marked the first win of the Front Row Motorsports driver’s Cup Series career after a span of 357 winless starts.

Chase Elliott came home second with Austin Dillon third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and Denny Hamlin closing out the top five. Coming to the white flag, Ford had the top-four spots locked down before the final push to the finish sent Keselowski into the rear of Logano, triggering a fiery multi-car wreck to close the night.

Ten of the 40 drivers who started the race were sidelined by a massive 16-car wreck on Lap 14, triggered by Christopher Bell’s nudge of Aric Almirola’s number 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang at the end of the backstretch.

Seven drivers were unable to continue and three teams were done for the day after the Damaged Vehicle Policy (DVP) crash clock expired during their repairs, including the Fords of Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Anthony Alfredo, Matt DiBenedetto, Aric Almirola, David Ragan, and Ryan Newman.

The race was red-flagged for 5 hours, 40 minutes with 15 laps complete after rain and lightning hit the 2.5-mile track. The race resumed under green-flag conditions on lap 30 at 9:34 p.m. ET, leading to an early Monday morning finish.

“I just can’t believe it. I’ve just got to thank God,” Michael McDowell said post-race. “So many years just grinding it out and hoping for an opportunity like this.  I’ve got to thank Love’s Travel Stops, Speedco, Bob Jenkins for giving me this opportunity.  I’m so thankful. Such a great way to get a first victory – a Daytona 500. Are you kidding me? I just want to say hi to my wife back home. Happy Valentine’s Day. I know it’s been a tough week. My kids, I love you guys. I wish they could be here with me to celebrate. Maybe NASCAR will send a plane to bring them down here, but we’re the Daytona 500 champions. Thank you Doug Yates, Ford.  We had our Ford partners at the end and they all crashed, but luckily I was able to make it through. I’m just so thankful. God is good.”

The NASCAR Cup Series’ next race is scheduled for Sunday (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) at Daytona’s 3.61-mile road-course layout.

We’ll have more NASCAR coverage soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Mark L Bedel

    Looks like the Mustangs are off to a good start as long as they can keep their wheels on the ground!

  2. Elmer Porter

    Highly disappointed but not surprised in the post race commentary by the race commentators, except for the Charlotte crew. Mike Joy (Mr. Comedian) first thing out of his mouth was a comment of a years’ earlier race when McDowell wrecked his car during warmup, real classy.
    Jeff Gordon, (Mr. Hendrick) seemed to have a hard time warming up to the fact that McDowell won the race…his lungs seemed deflated when Nascar determined McDowell actually was ahead of his fellow Chevy/Hendricks driver, Elliott when the caution came out. NOTHING about FrontRow Motorsports continued efforts as a small team operation over several years and Bob Jenkins efforts as a small company competing with the bigger boys. Totally disingenuous and uncalled for. I turned off the volume throughout most of the race because I’m tired of the continued build up for the bubba, hamlin, jordan race team before, during and after the race. I doubt Gordon has actually met McDowell and has to rely on someone in his ear to tell him who is driving and owns the #34. Congratulations to Frontrow Motorsports, Larry Jenkins and Michael McDowell. Go FORD!

  3. Mike

    It’s the née thing since Austin Dillon flat out wrecked Aric Almirola to win. These guys get a run but know they can’t pass without someone on their butt, so they just drive through the guy in front of them. I like McDowell, and you can’t say his name without mentioning at least the qualifying wreck at Texas, but he drove right through Brad and Joey. They didn’t block late, but he had no chance to win unless they wrecked. It’s bs but the reason I only watch highlights has more to do with Woke and BLM stupidity.

  4. Dave Mathers

    ‘the final push to the finish sent Keselowski into the rear of Logano’? Uh, no, the ‘final push’ didn’t do it, Keselowski, as usual, did it. I expect this will be his last year with Penske. Wait for it.

  5. Elmer Porter

    Yes…keselowski…I believe just signed an extension…but he needs to go…he has pulled this before… lagono has been a good teammate and Sir Brad is a bozo…maybe he will find himself driving for hamlin, Jordan as second car team with blabba…that would be fitting…

  6. Mike

    Sorry to be the odd man out in this discussion but….. this race more resembles a demolition derby than a race. It maybe little surprise that the showcase race is in declining viewer ship as a result of the carnage. The last survivor is not the best race champion, regardless of who they are… just sayin! I hope the rule book guys start awarding points for number of laps lead, positions held or gained and penalties for stupid driving practice’s. If they can’t, there is no business case for faster is better. Your thought’s?

  7. Elmer Porter

    Don’t believe Mike is an odd man out in this discussion, good thoughts I might add…I don’t know much, but only what I hear, don’t hear, see and don’t see over the years. I do believe that declining viewership in NASCAR is a product much deeper than just race car carnage, at least in my mind. If you are going to bunch up 30 some odd racers on a 2.5 mile oval with one lane to race, you pull out hoping that 10 others will go with you to give you a chance to gain a position or few positions as the leaders are going to try and block your advancement along the way, some early and some late blocking at almost 200 mph…NASCAR and viewers can expect carnage, especially late in the race. It’s not as much about the carnage to me, as I have come accustomed to that over the years….as much as the what seems to be dumb commentator comments or lack of good comments during and after the race and NASCAR’s continued promotion of the Hamlin, Jordan, Blabba show this year. Maybe that will calm down later in the season but with Gordan doing his bidding for the Chevy camp, Mike Joy trying again to be comedian of the year, and NASCAR running the line on woke and not woke, bad brad pulling another out of left field. I’m old school and get tired of the drama. Logano handled himself well after the race, sir bad brad didn’t, and that is not the first time. Of course, my opinion.


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