Tyler Reddick, Elliot Sadler, NASCAR Xfinity, Daytona, 2018

Final-lap crash decides Daytona 500 after closest-ever NASCAR finish in support race

Weekend Racing Wrap

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A dramatic opening NASCAR weekend at Daytona saw the 500-mile race decided by a final lap crash and the series’ closest-ever finish during Saturday’s Xfinity race.


Race 1: Daytona 500

Austin Dillon dedicated his dramatic victory in the Daytona 500 to “Dale Earnhardt Snr and all the Snr fans” after taking Earndhardt’s number three to victory 17 years since ‘The Intimidator’ was killed in on the final lap of the same race.

Dillon took victory from Aric Almirola after pushing his rival out on the final lap of the race. Rookie Darrell Wallace Jnr, who Lewis Hamilton declared his support for on social media before the race began, edged Denny Hamlin for second place as the pair made contact at the line and hit the wall.

In her final NASCAR appearance Danica Patrick was eliminated in a mid-race crash, one of three major shunts during the race. The third crash led to an overtime period in which Dillon produced his controversial race-winning move.

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Guest series: NASCAR Xfinity

Race 1: Daytona

We have an early contender for closest finish of the year – Tyler Reddick beat Elliott Sadler to the line in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity race by a mere 0.0004 seconds. It took five ‘overtime’ attempts to produce the result which was the closest ever finish in NASCAR history.

World Rally Championship

Round 2: Sweden

Thierry Neuville overcame a gearbox problem and a spin in his Hyundai to win after round one winner Sebastien Ogier lost time hitting a snow bank on Friday. The latter recovered to collect four useful points by finishing second to Esapekka Lappi in the power stage. Craig Breen took a career-best second overall in the rally for Citroen ahead of Andreas Hikkelsen’s Hyundai.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Thierry Neuville, Hyundai, WRC, Sweden, 2018
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai, WRC, Sweden, 2018

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Final-lap crash decides Daytona 500 after closest-ever NASCAR finish in support race”

  1. yes, apparently that’s legal in NASCAR

    1. You have just learned why I refer to NASCAR as “lowest common denominator” racing.

      Well… “racing”. I should really drop that word from it.

      1. quite!

        1. you guys must have had quite a joyless existence if you’ve never gone to a stock car meet up. this stuff happens every night, it’s brilliant!

          1. i was lucky enough to be at silverstone and witness mansell overtake piquet at stowe in 1987. now that’s a real overtaking manoeuvre.

          2. @graham228221 – to use a cricketing analogy, its the difference between test cricket and twenty-twenty “cricket”. One is more about strategy, the other is more about brute force*. Both have their own fans and detractors.

            * This may not be the best way of differentiating then, but that’s all I can think of for now.

          3. Bruh if the only thing in life that has brought you joy in life is watching auto racing crashes I actually kind of doubt whether you’re a serious motorsports fan.

            I mean it’s okay if all you care about are crashes, but that’s something I’d expect from a casual fan not someone on a forum like this.

            CRASHCAR is about crashes evidently, so forgive me for wanting some racing instead.

      2. Why this isn’t an issue is because in Nascar (depending on the track) you need others to push you to the front.
        But when it comes to the finish you don’t want them to have a run at you.
        So what happens. They will block you with all the risks involved. That is what happened here.
        And it is accepted. Why risk a good finish? Because in Nascar winning is so important to get into the chase.
        Plus it’s the Daytona 500, the biggest race for them so they’ll risk that bit extra.

  2. I happened to see the end of the Daytona 500 and the finish as well as the way it was applauded as ‘move of the race’ with the TV crew doing there best to not be critical of it as well as obviously been reluctant to show replays of it highlights a lot of why I don’t have much respect for the series.

    The fact that after the 1st race of the season the championship leader is the guy that finished 7th also says everything you need to know about the value of there ‘championship’.

    1. Lol I noticed that too “Guilty knowledge” is the phrase needed I believe. They knew it was a poor way to win but their idiot fans will love anyone using the number 3, can’t go and spoil that now can we?

    2. Judging NASCAR based solely on the flavour of racing in the Daytona 500 is a bit like judging F1 based solely on the racing at Monaco. They may be the most prestigious events in their category, but they are hardly representative of them.

      As for the championship points format, the multi-stage approach is a bit unorthodox but ultimately little different from other series that have multiple points-scoring races per event. And notably, it’s a format that the drivers themselves proposed and approved to reward hard racing through the entirety of events.

      1. @markzastrow I know that the plate racing at Daytona/Talladega is not representative of the racing elsewhere, However my feelings about Nascar comes from more than just the plate racing.

        I cannot stand the gimmicks. Things like Green White Chequred, The ridiculous chase for the cup format, The newer stage format etc… are all individually massive turn off’s for me.

        I have no respect for a series that has any racing format which effectively encourages wrecks. The whole attitude surrounding this latest one highlights the problem to me. At 190-200mph contact should not be acceptable regardless of the situation.
        @passingisoverrated If your the car behind & the one ahead moves to block then you lift & accept that your not getting by him at that point, Just running into the back of him & driving him into the wall at those speeds should be completely unacceptable & the fact that it isn’t is ridiculous in my mind as is the fact that drivers seem to accept it. IT’s just stupid, Completely & utterly dangerous & stupid.

        1. @stefmeister Fair enough that you don’t like the gimmicks. I certainly wouldn’t have much interest in it if every race was as much of a lottery as the plate tracks. But it’s really only the plate tracks that feature this format that you say “effectively encourages wrecks”. And since in North America the attitude towards blocking is not so cavalier, if you throw a block, you’re held responsible to a greater degree for any contact. I don’t think it’s worse—just different rules of engagement, as others have said.

          I’d argue that while of course no form of motor racing is completely safe, what matters is whether the risk is manageable and acceptable to the participants. Based on the available evidence, it doesn’t seem entirely stupid to me that the drivers feel that risk is manageable and acceptable. The cars are incredibly strong, the tight packs they run in reduce closing speeds, and the tracks are constructed with lots of space to dissipate the energy. And, of course, safety innovations like HANS, SAFER walls, and roof flaps have contributed as well. We typically see dozens of “big ones” in any given year across NASCAR’s three main series and ARCA, and there have not been any life-threatening injuries at plate tracks in a long time—much better than IndyCar’s record at superspeedways over the same period. That’s not a guarantee that nothing bad will happen, and you can’t say NASCAR have been proactive in getting to this point. But it’s a testament to the amount of work that they have done since 2001 that they have achieved the safety record they have.

          1. Good points you made;)

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      19th February 2018, 11:09

      This move is considered totally normal and legal by everybody racing. Even Almirola said so. Almirola was blocking hard to win it and in nascar that means most likely a crash if you are slower. Either the guy behind has to make to many moves and crashes, or the guy in front does by getting touched or sometimes just by taking the wind away from an angle. The faster car is always going to try something to win and the slower car is always going to defend to the max.

    4. Steif Master, although the points indicate Blaney as the points leader, Dillon is ahead in the respect that he has a win and right now is locked into the playoffs.

  3. Still waiting Max to doing an Austin..

  4. He’s Andreas Mikkelsen, not Hikkelsen, LOL.

  5. I dont care what series or level of racing you do. What honor comes from crashing the leader out on the final lap of the race so you could win? Earnhardt Sr was dirty that way and always had a half assed excuse about what he did and got away with it. Only a chump would feel good about winning the Daytona 500 by crashing the leader out on the last lap.

  6. When will F1 adopt 1000th or even 10000th second timing.
    Makes it look quite antiquated

    1. The F1 timing system is already capable of upto 10000th second timing & has been for 10 years or more.

      They don’t include the extra decimal points as part of the graphics package because they rarely need to use them, As well as broadcasters feeling it’s an added layer of complexity that is unneeded.

      1. @gt-racer It would have been handy at Jerez 1997 :P

  7. That last lap move, the celebration and the whole thing, how noone batted an eyelid…


  8. For those criticising Austin Dillon for his move, Almirola has come out himself and has said Dillon did nothing wrong (source below), which I think is a classy move given how gutted he must be. Dillon’s reaction (basically saying “I’ve won, whatevs”) is less so.

    The rules of engagement in Nascar are significantly different to those in F1, we need to remember that when analysing this post race.


    1. @geemac And that is a part of why i’ve little respect for the series.

      At 190-200mph contact should be unacceptable. If the car ahead blocks then the car behind should lift, Having a situation where its considered perfectly acceptable to just run through him & put him in the wall at those speeds should be completely unacceptable.

      This attitude just also highlights how ridiculous the plate/pack racing is.

      1. The guy in 1st could block all race if he wanted, you think a guy running second should just lift and run second?

      2. If you think contact is unacceptable, why aren’t you blaming the guy who threw the block?

  9. What happened last night in the 500 seems to be the new normal in restrictor plate racing. Although I don’t agree with the way Dillon won I can’t blame him too much. On the last lap when someone throws a block, you can’t just let off and surrender a chance to win especially when your headed for turn 3.

    1. A bit stunned by what you wrote.
      You believe if the racing is tight and that crashing your way to victory IS OK. Its not and is a sign of little tallent. If you cant beat the guy who wins maybe its because he is simply better than you. So that makes it OK to crash him out ?? Sorry your very wrong about this

      1. I said I didn’t agree with how he won. But when your going 200mph and someone throws a block on the 2nd place car on the last lap on a restrictor plate racetrack,it’s taking a huge chance and it worked out the way it did. Almirola threw a block and Dillon stayed in the gas. As for your comment on Dillon having little talent, I completely agree with you as do most.

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