What a race! The 59th edition of the Daytona 500 took place on Feb. 26, kicking off the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup season! After 500 miles of rubber-burning racing, it was Kurt Busch who captured the checkered flag with a historic win!
Under a bright Florida sky, 40 of NASCAR’s racers competed in the series’ most prestigious event. There could only be one winner of “The Great American Race,” and it was Kurt Busch, 38, who walked away with the Harley J. Earl Trophy. Over 35 cars were in wrecks, proving every driver put their heart and soul into the race, even willing to face destruction along the way! Kurt was driving a Monster energy sponsored car when he made history, by becoming the first driver to win the Daytona 500 leading only in the final lap. Talk about a major accomplishment!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 26, 2017
After the nail-biting race, Danica Patrick took to Twitter and revealed, “That was the funnest #Daytona500 I’ve ever had.” Though it’s the first race of the season, the Daytona 500 is considered the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR, as it’s the most famous race of the series. It also carries the largest purse of the season, with Denny Hamlin earning $1,507,592 for his 2016 victory, according to Jalopnik.
Denny’s victory was one of the most dramatic in the Daytona 500’s history. He won by inches, just barely squeaking by Martin Truex Jr. in what would be called a “photo finish.” Denny held the lead for the majority of the race, and he was able to hold off this late-in-the-race challenge. Sadly, Denny wasn’t able to translate this success into a cup championship. Though Denny made the Chase (the NASCAR Playoffs), he was eliminated right before the last race of the season.
Ultimately, Jimmie Johnson, 41, won his seventh NASCAR cup championship, tying him with legends Richard Petty, 79, and Dale Earnhardt for most titles of all time. Carl Edwards, 37, was one of the other competitors eligible to win the 2016 Sprint Cup, but crashed early into the race. That seemed to be it for him, as he announced his retirement ahead of the season. With Carl calling it quits, it allowed Daniel Suarez, 25, to take over his ride in the No. 19 car.
What did you think about the Daytona 500, HollywoodLifers? Did you think it was a good race? Are you excited for the new NASCAR season?