Trevor Bayne Wins Daytona 500: The 10 Biggest Upsets in NASCAR History
Sunday, the racing world witnessed what is likely the most improbable victory in the 53-race history of the Daytona 500.
Trevor Bayne, a 20-year-old Nationwide Series regular with just one Sprint Cup start prior to the "Great American Race," won the race in the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, a team that has ran and still plans to run a limited schedule due to a lack of full-time sponsorship over the past few seasons.
He became the second-youngest winner in Sprint Cup history, the most youthful driver to ever do it at the Daytona 500.
Needless to say, Bayne's accomplishment is a huge upset; however, where does it rank among the greatest upsets in NASCAR history.
Here's a look at where it stacks up.
10. David The Giant Killer (June 17, 2006)
Before David Gilliland sat on the pole for Robert Yates Racing in the 2007 Daytona 500, his claim to fame was the biggest upset in what is now known as the Nationwide Series.
Driving an unsponsored, black No. 84 Chevy for upstart Clay Andrews Racing, the Californian passed Mike Wallace and Denny Hamlin with 23 laps to go and passed then-leader J.J. Yeley—then racing for Joe Gibbs Racing—with 10 laps remaining. Gilliland held his line for the final laps and won the race in his seventh Nationwide start.
Oddly enough, Clay Andrews Racing would be out of the sport less than six weeks later.
9. Donny Lia's Buckeye Bump and Run (May 24, 2008)
In what is the biggest upset to date in the Camping World Truck Series, Donny Lia, driving the No. 71 Chevy for TRG Motorsports, pushed his way to victory in the fifth and final race at Ohio's Mansfield Motorsports Park.
With 23 laps left, Lia bumped aside Todd Bodine to take second place. On the final lap, Lia tried to spin out then-leader David Starr, forcing a three-wide situation between Lia, Starr and Bodine. Lia powered through on the final turn to win his first Camping World Truck race.
Lia's only full-time season in the trucks was 2008, as he returned to the Whelen Modified Tour and won the series title in 2009.
8. Michael Waltrip Wins 2001 Daytona 500 (Feb. 18, 2001)
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Lost in the tragedy that took place on turn four of the 2001 Daytona 500 was Michael Waltrip's first-career Sprint Cup win in 463 starts.
In his debut for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the No. 15 Chevy, Waltrip worked with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and owner Dale Earnhardt for most of the race, leading 27 laps.
Two years later, Waltrip would win the Daytona 500 for a second time, albeit in a race shortened after 107 of 200 laps.
7. "Tiny" Lund Gives Wood Brothers First Upset Daytona 500 Win (Feb. 24, 1963)
DeWayne "Tiny" Lund's 1963 Daytona 500 win—and the circumstances surrounding it—are the stuff of legend.
Marvin Panch, original driver of the No. 21 Ford (some things never change), was injured during testing for what would later become the Rolex 24. Lund saved Panch from the fiery wreckage of the flipped-over machine, and Panch told the Wood Brothers to put Lund in his car as a reward.
Lund passed Ned Jarrett with three laps to go in a fuel-mileage race stopped twice by cautions and won his first career Sprint Cup race.
6. Jamie McMurray Wins in Second Career Sprint Cup Start (Oct. 13, 2002)
Prior to Bayne's win on Sunday, the only other driver to win a Sprint Cup race in his second-career start was Jamie McMurray, who won the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2002.
Replacing Sterling Marlin—who had suffered season-ending injuries while leading the Sprint Cup standings at Kansas—McMurray led 96 laps and cruised to victory in the No. 40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
The performance gave McMurray a full-time ride for the 2003 season in the No. 42 Dodge. Little did anyone know that it would take almost five years for "Jamie Mac" to return to Victory Lane.
5. Earnhardt's Flat Tire Allows Cope To Win Daytona 500 (Feb. 18, 1990)
It was supposed to be the day in which Dale Earnhardt finally reached Victory Lane in the Daytona 500.
The "Intimidator" led 155 of 200 laps and held the lead in turn three of the final lap when disaster stuck. Earnhardt ran over debris and flattened a tire, causing him to fall off the pace.
At that point, the win fell into the hands of Derrike Cope for his first Sprint Cup victory. While Cope would win at Dover later that season, he would never visit Victory Lane again.
4. Rookie Ron Bouchard Wins at Talladega (Aug. 2, 1981)
The winner of the 1981 summer race at Talladega was a rookie that didn't run the full Sprint Cup campaign.
Ron Bouchard, a New Englander known for his prowess on the modified circuit, passed Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte at the start-finish line in a photo finish. It would be the only win for Bouchard, who disappeared from the Sprint Cup circuit in 1987.
3. Greg Sacks Doesn't Start and Park, Wins Firecracker 400 (July 4, 1985)
Imagine if, say, someone like Michael McDowell was told by his owners at HP Racing not to start-and-park his No. 66 Toyota at Daytona. It turns out he has one of the best cars in the field and winds up winning the race.
A similar situation happened in 1985 to Greg Sacks for DiGard Motorsports. Acting as a research and development car for teammate Bobby Allison, Sacks was to park his car after a few laps. Once his team saw that he was running with the leaders, however, DiGard told Sacks' team to run the entire race.
Sacks won the race, and replaced Allison as a full-time driver for the team after the legend quit DiGard's operation following the event.
2. Kevin Harvick Holds Off Jeff Gordon in Atlanta Stunner (March 11, 2001)
In what many regarded to be the most shocking victory in NASCAR history until Sunday's Daytona 500, rookie Kevin Harvick—driving the white No. 29 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing after the team retired Earnhardt's black No. 3 after his death—held off Jeff Gordon in a photo finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his first career win in just his third-career start.
1. Trevor Bayne Wins Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, 2011)
Since most of what could be put on this slide was included on the first one, here's this tidbit of information: Bayne lost his Nationwide ride with Michael Waltrip Racing last September due to a lack of sponsorship.
Five months later, he became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history with a team that hadn't visited Victory Lane since March, 2001.
It's going to be pretty hard to top Bayne's achievement.
Thoughts? Comment below.