Daytona 500 2018 Results: Top Finishers and Reaction from Great American Race

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2018

Austin Dillon (3) celebrates on the track after winning the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Austin Dillon returned the No. 3 car to Victory Lane at the Daytona 500 20 years after Dale Earnhardt won with the legendary car.

Dillon came out of nowhere on the final lap of overtime, as leader Aric Almirola wrecked and paved the way for the grandson of car owner Richard Childress to win his first Daytona 500.

NASCAR's official Twitter account captured the moment Dillon crossed the finish line in first place at Daytona International Speedway:

Dillon dedicated the victory to all of the loyal Earnhardt fans who have remained supportive of the No. 3 car since he took over, per NASCAR Alerts:

The 27-year-old received praise on Twitter from Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he captured the most important victory of his career:

Behind the No. 3 car in second place was Darrell Wallace Jr. in another historic NASCAR ride, the No. 43 car. Denny Hamlin took third, while Joey Logano and Chris Buescher finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10. Blaney was in front for more than half of the race, as he led 114 laps, but he couldn't finish off the victory because of the cautions that brought the field back together.

Almirola, who finished 11th after the crash on the final lap, admitted that he has no hard feelings directed at Dillon, per Jeff Gluck of JeffGluck.com:

Overtime was set up by a wild final 10 laps of regulation in which one of three big wrecks to occur Sunday took out a slew of contenders.

With three laps to go, defending champion Kurt Busch lost control of his car on the outside line and collected a wide array of drivers, including Alex Bowman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fox Sports' official Twitter account gave us a glimpse of the accident:

Busch appeared to have the advantage after a restart with seven laps remaining, as he pushed past Blaney, but the final crash of the race ended his quest for a repeat.

Although the race wasn't marred by a large number of crashes, the ones that occurred at the end of each stage of the race were violent and took out some of the sport's top competitors.

While drivers were jockeying for position behind Busch at the end of Stage 1, Stenhouse Jr. made an amazing save as his car slid up the track. As the No. 17 car avoided trouble, the cars behind it had to adjust, and it caused a crash, as NASCAR on Fox's official Twitter account captured:

The race was fairly clean throughout Stage 2, but once again a crash at the end of the 60-lap segment collected a few big names.

Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski were directly behind leader Blaney before Elliott got loose and bumped into Keselowski, a move that triggered a multi-car wreck, as NASCAR's official Twitter account showed us:

Both Elliott and Keselowski expressed their disappointment with their respective days ending early.

Elliott, who won one of the duels on Thursday, thought he had a car capable of winning the race, per Hendrick Motorsports' official Twitter account:

Keselowski said he couldn't prevent the wreck from happening on his end because of how the cars were set up, per Performance Racing Network's official Twitter account:

The second wreck of the day also collected Danica Patrick, who made her final NASCAR start on Sunday. ESPN's Darren Rovell gave us a look at Patrick's final career numbers in stock car racing:

NASCAR's Monster Energy Series schedule continues in a week's time with the second race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

     

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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