Daytona 500 2021 Results: Top Finishers and Reaction from Great American Race

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2021

Michael McDowell runs during a NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying session Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Michael McDowell prevailed as the finish of the 2021 Daytona 500 was overshadowed by a wreck that involved race leader Joey Logano.  

Because the caution flag waved, NASCAR officials had to review the video to check if McDowell was in first place and thus the race winner.


Daytona 500 Results

1. Michael McDowell

2. Austin Dillon

3. Chase Elliott

4. Denny Hamlin

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Ryan Preece

7. Ross Chastain

8. Jamie McMurray

9. Corey LaJoie

10. Kyle Larson

Full leaderboard available at NASCAR.com


Logano had the finish line in his sights when he got bumped by Brad Keselowski. The fiery crash looked far worse than it proved to be as all the drivers involved exited their cars.


Retweet to congratulate Michael McDowell on his #DAYTONA500 WIN after a huge crash coming to the finish! @Mc_Driver | @Team_FRM https://t.co/lTsyYF7Gxq

Logano and Keselowski are teammates, but Logano probably isn't feeling a ton of unity at the moment.

Brenden Schaeffer @bschaeffer12

Keselowski was clogging up everything for a minute to where I thought he would end up just gifting it to Logano by stalling out the whole line. But then he... Crashed his teammate while gunning for the lead?

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Keselowski says on FOX that he didn't feel he made a mistake.

That opened the door for McDowell's improbable triumph. He led only one lap on the night and made it count. This is the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career, and it means he'll collect one of the coveted 16 playoff spots.

On what proved to be such an unusual day, he was an appropriate victor.

br_betting @br_betting

The 7 people in the world who bet Michael McDowell to win the Daytona 500 https://t.co/vELxmCAkAp

Jeffrey Wright @JWright929espn

Michael McDowell has 1 win in 358 races, the Daytona 500. That’s opportunism at it’s finest.

Mike Davis @MikeDavis88

My God. Michael McDowell just won the Daytona 500. I'm writing it just to see the words.

Denny Hamlin dominated much of the race, winning the first and second stages. He maintained the lead into the final stage until the cars all headed to pit road with just under 30 laps remaining.

As they exited pit road, the Ford cars formed a convoy as Hamlin and his fellow Toyota drivers became separated. That left Hamlin vulnerable and powerless to stop the line of Fords led by Logano. A small pack of Chevrolets pushed Hamlin further back, and he was running by himself on the inside.

The three-time Daytona 500 champion was unable to recover.

Marty Snider @heymartysnider

Toyota's have no shot here. They're separated by 15 car lengths.

Kelly Crandall @KellyCrandall

Denny Hamlin is the last car in the single-file train, 12th. It’s an uphill battle to win his third straight Daytona 500 with 18 laps to go | #NASCAR

Hamlin's stage wins at least ensure he doesn't come away totally empty-handed in an event that got off to an inauspicious start.

Fans didn't have to wait long to see "The Big One." On the 14th lap, Kyle Busch bumped the rear of Christopher Bell, who made contact with Aric Almirola. Almirola took out Alex Bowman before hitting the wall, and a 16-car wreck was underway.


CRASH! Multiple contenders are collected in this early accident in the #DAYTONA500. https://t.co/qZro3YXsTj


.@NASCARONFOX takes a closer look at what caused this multi-car accident. #DAYTONA500 https://t.co/sS8wJkt9La

That left track officials with a massive cleanup effort to get the action back underway. Then Mother Nature intervened. Lightning and inclement weather forced the race to be delayed. Motorsports.com's Jim Utter noted the red flag extended for more than five-and-a-half hours.

For the teams involved in the massive crash, that set up a race against the clock to get cars back up to the standard required to re-enter the race. Tyler Reddick's No. 8 car was in rough shape as he warmed the engine back up.


RED IS LIFTED! Time to get (back) to work. They're on the clock. #DAYTONA500 https://t.co/4zK3vERMyG


Tyler Reddick and the No. 8 team don't know the meaning of the word "quit" ... it looks FINE. #DAYTONA500 | @RCRracing https://t.co/ayDvONWnxO


No quit in these teams. 💪 📺: FOX | #DAYTONA500 https://t.co/9CmzWACazf

As they awaited the signal to return to their vehicles, drivers had to get creative to pass the time.

Chip Ganassi Racing @CGRTeams

.@RossChastain out here in the drive thru ordering @McDonalds for the entire 42 team during this rain delay 😂🍟 #NASCAR | #DAYTONA500 https://t.co/Gt3Z47leJs

Marissa Briscoe @MarissaBriscoe_

Not only does Chase go to Panda during a red flag but also plays bball in bedroom slippers #wearebored https://t.co/H6Rkf00zaY

Tyler Reddick @TylerReddick

Things are starting to turn around. 😋 https://t.co/Hn0XTykg5M https://t.co/v4vJ6lHWrD

Jimmie Johnson reflected on one positive from his retirement:

Jimmie Johnson @JimmieJohnson

There’s plenty I’m going to miss about racing in @nascar... rain delays are not one of them.

There were some initial problems in terms of getting the track fully dry. Once the green flag waved, the action largely went without any issues right up until the last lap.

The NSACAR Cup Series stays in Daytona for the upcoming week. The O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona will run Sunday on the road course, and it will have a high bar to clear to match the chaos from the 2021 Daytona 500.