NASCAR: Stenhouse Jr. wins Daytona 500 crashfest

Driving the #47 Chevy, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was leading when the 8th and final caution flew on the last lap to win the Daytona 500 crashfest to celebrate the start of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary.

With a crowd of over 100,000 looking on, Stenhouse held off Joey Logano on the final lap of overtime as a wreck involving Kyle Larson and several other drivers caused the caution flag to come out. Once the caution came out, Stenhouse was the leader and Logano finished in second in the annual crap shoot.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet, celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 65th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Christopher Bell finished 3rd for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Stenhouse is the 42nd different driver to win “The Great American Race.” Stenhouse claimed his third career Cup Series win by beating out 39 other drivers in the annual Daytona 500 crashfest.

Nothing but green waved during the race’s opening stage, seeing only a handful of cars dealing with on-track issues, including Bubba Wallace, who scraped the outside wall and was forced to pit road to change tires with 13 to go in the stage. Martin Truex Jr. — who made contact with the No. 23 — capitalized via a strong high lane before losing momentum up top as Brad Keselowski won Stage 1.

Green was all the field continued to see through the waning laps of Stage 2, until the first non-stage caution flew following a Tyler Reddick slip that eventually culminated with a total of nine cars being involved, including Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney.

Although Fords — spearheaded by the RFK Racing tandem in Keselowski and Chris Buescher — dominated through the late going, multiple wrecks initiated NASCAR Overtime, where the Chevrolet in Stenhouse Jr. eventually prevailed in what amounted to the longest-ever Daytona 500 in terms of laps.

Brad Keselowski scored the Stage 1 win as he fended off a charging Ryan Preece and Ross Chastain narrowly topped pole-sitter Alex Bowman for the win in Stage 2.

Today’s DAYTONA 500 produced 52 lead changes, the fourth-most in the history of the Great American Race; behind 2011 (74 lead changes), 1974 (60) and 1983 (58). The race produced 204 Green Flag Passes For The Lead – which is the most all-time at Daytona International Speedway surpassing the previous record of 177 GFPL set in the 2014 DAYTONA 500.

Q. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., it has been a long time coming. The one difference? Mike Kelley, your crew chief, is back. You won two championships together, and now you won the Daytona 500. Was it just magic together that made the difference here?

RICKY STENHOUSE JR: Yeah, I think this whole off-season Mike just preached how much we all believed in each other. They left me a note in the car that said they believe in me and to go get the job done tonight. I made a few mistakes. We were able to battle back.

This Kroger Continental team worked really, really hard in off-season, great pit stops, Hendrick engines. Glad a Chevy won.

Man, this is unbelievable. This was the site of my last win back in 2017. We’ve worked really hard. We had a couple shots last year to get a win and fell short. It was a tough season, but man, we got it done, Daytona 500.

Q. You have a knack for this style of racing, and we went into overtime, so you had to do it a couple of times and earn it. What were those moments like, and what were you watching, what made the difference initially at the end?

RICKY STENHOUSE JR: Yeah, when the 8 went to the bottom there I was able to push the 22 and the 5. We had a huge run. I was hoping we were going to get to the white there, and we didn’t, so I knew I was going to take the top. I was hoping the 22 was going to follow, and he did. He was able to push us out.

I went to the bottom, the 8 and the 22 got a huge run. The 5 split me in the middle, but another fellow dirt racer with Bell gave me a good shot down the little short chute into 1, and we were out front when the caution came out. We were out of fuel so the fuel light was going crazy.

I hope y’all had fun. That was a heck of a race.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 65th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Q. Joey, you had a clear shot out front; you could see where you needed to be. What are the emotions right now?

JOEY LOGANO: Second is the worst, man. You’re so close. Leading the white flag lap there, I was up front. Kyle gave me a good push and, yeah, you’re watching in the mirror and you’re three wide across there. I felt like the three wide was going a hurt a lane; looked like Kyle was getting pushed ahead, and then Ricky started getting pushed ahead.

I knew if I went to the bottom my car didn’t handle good enough. I already got pushed off the bottom once and I thought, if I go down there I’m probably going to get wrecked, and I don’t know if I can get down there in time to throw the block and so I didn’t want to wreck my car either.

Then you don’t expect them to wreck either. You think you’re racing to the checkered flag and you put yourself in the best position to try to win at the start-finish line, and just caution came out — you wish you could race to the end. Obviously you can’t when they wreck that much.

Congratulations to Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it stings so much finishing second.

Still proud of the team, still proud of the effort coming off the championship last year and bringing this Shell-Pennzoil Mustang back toward the front and getting a Ford close to the front. Wish it was in Victory Lane, though.

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 DeWalt – Rheem Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 3rd

Can you tell us about your race?

“If you would have told me pre-race that I was going to run third, I would have jumped up and down and been smiling ear-to-ear. I’m very happy. I’m very, very thankful that I could get this Rheem and DeWalt Toyota Camry a good solid finish, but just so close to a crown jewel. I feel like if it would have stayed green, I would have been on offense – but who knows. I’m very proud and thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing. I’m happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). That’s really cool. I’m very happy for him.”

What was your perspective on those last couple of laps?

“I don’t know. I’m very thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing driving this Rheem, DeWalt Camry. I hate superspeedway racing. It has been my Achilles heel for a number of years now, so just running third at the Daytona 500 is a really big deal, and I’m sure tomorrow I will be really happy – but right now, I’m just bummed because I feel like we were in position there, but overall – I’m really happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). He’s won multiple speedway races and been very close at others. Happy for him and can’t wait to go to Auto Club.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet, and crew celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 65th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Race Results

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Status
1 31 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet 212 Running
2 3 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 212 Running
3 5 20 Christopher Bell DeWalt/Rheem Toyota 212 Running
4 9 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 212 Running
5 1 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 212 Running
6 29 16 AJ Allmendinger Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 212 Running
7 24 99 Daniel Suarez Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet 212 Running
8 7 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford 212 Running
9 23 1 Ross Chastain AdventHealth Chevrolet 212 Running
10 38 15 Riley Herbst(i) SunnyD Ford 212 Running
11 40 67 * Travis Pastrana Black Rifle Coffee Toyota 212 Running
12 13 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Ford 212 Running
13 17 36 * Zane Smith(i) Wellcare Ford 212 Running
14 35 51 Cody Ware Biohaven/Jacob Co. Ford 212 Running
15 16 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 212 Running
16 12 7 Corey LaJoie Celsius Chevrolet 212 Running
17 18 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx 50 Toyota 212 Running
18 2 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 211 Accident
19 36 8 Kyle Busch 3CHI Chevrolet 211 Accident
20 15 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald’s Toyota 211 Accident
21 4 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 211 Accident
22 10 6 Brad Keselowski Nexlizet Ford 211 Accident
23 6 2 Austin Cindric Discount Tire Ford 210 Accident
24 22 42 Noah Gragson # Wendy’s Chevrolet 210 Running
25 33 54 Ty Gibbs # Monster Energy/Interstate Toyota 210 Running
26 19 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Ford 210 Running
27 14 38 Todd Gilliland gener8tor Skills Ford 208 Accident
28 11 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 208 Running
29 34 50 * Conor Daly(i) Chevrolet 206 Running
30 32 78 BJ McLeod Power Slap Rumble Chevrolet 204 Running
31 39 84 * Jimmie Johnson Carvana Chevrolet 203 Accident
32 28 31 Justin Haley Cirkul Chevrolet 203 Accident
33 27 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops Club Chevrolet 202 Accident
34 21 24 William Byron Chevrolet 202 Accident
35 30 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford 182 Accident
36 20 41 Ryan Preece Ford 181 Accident
37 25 43 Erik Jones GUNS N’ ROSES Chevrolet 118 Accident
38 8 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 118 Accident
39 26 45 Tyler Reddick Monster Energy Toyota 117 Accident
40 37 77 Ty Dillon Ferris Chevrolet 26 Engine