DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – The white flag is off The race leader hit the hammer but both eyes are glued to the rearview mirror What he sees is a pack of angry racers who want to be where Then suddenly this leader is no longer the leader The pack is no longer the pack It’s a junkyard Meanwhile someone who wasn’t the leader is the leader and not only that, he’s also the newest champion of the greatest stock car- Race of the world

Shortly after midnight on Monday, the Daytona 500 went on like this. Michael McDowell drove his underfunded, sympathetic loser Pittsburgh Pirates of a Front Row Motorsports Ford into NASCAR’s holiest Victory Lane, not Joey Logano, who was half a lap ahead Not Brad Keselowski, the runner-up ex-serial champion whose only missing gem is a win at the sport’s most prestigious event, just a mile from his second Daytona 500 win

No, they both ended up in the fence, along with six other machines that slipped and collided Some exploded in flames while others threw mud and grass in the air. McDowell Drag crossed defending champion Chase Elliott and 2018 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon before the warning flag froze the field and ended the race

Keselowski said, “I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everyone else’s car. So frustrating ”

McDowell said, “I know a lot of people are crazy. I know a lot of people are asking,” Who the hell is Michael McDowell and how does he wear that Daytona 500 ring? “Joey walked one way, Brad that others and it was like opening a door “

When he was told that people (more specifically, internet folks) were asking how that door opened – as in, he had used his front bumper to open it – the racing driver who had just finished a career The winning streak smiled, shrugged and giggled

“This is the Daytona 500, man,” McDowell said. “If you were shocked or surprised how this just happened, you haven’t seen this race, especially not in the last few years”

The racer they call McDriver is McCorrect final lap falls and leadership changes used to be the Daytona 500 exception There’s a reason we grew up on front stretch grass in 1976 with repetitions of Richard Petty and David Pearson and “There’s a fight!” Between Cale Yarborough and the Alabama Gang in 1979 It was literally extraordinary moments. It used to happen on the last lap without knowing who was going to win

Now it happens every year chaos and pandemonium are the modus operandi The Great American Race became the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show

To paraphrase the great philosopher Richard Flair, you may love it or hate it, but you better sit down and see it because that’s the Daytona 500 today

In the first 57 editions of the 500, there were nine changes in leadership in the last lap. Now it has happened four times in six years. And that’s just the lap leader’s official statistics, scored at the start-finish line. It counts no exchange like a year ago when Ryan Newman took the lead in the round with the white flag and held the point down to the tri-oval before turning his now famous fall into the wall as the winner Denny Hamlin came over

Before 2017, nobody had won the Daytona 500 by just leading the last lap of the race, Michael McDowell was the third driver in the last five years

What exactly does it all mean? Should we feel manipulated because these surfaces could be the product of a system that is increasingly being manipulated to create parity? Should we wrestle with our motorsport morals because today’s Great American Race is so much different from what the Greatest Generation won? Did we sell our stock car souls on behalf of CGI imagery that is better than CGI and that crashes and flames and heroics of the banzai move finish line come straight from Mario Kart?

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Is General Maximus about to toss his hands in the air and expose our desire for more by exclaiming, “Aren’t you entertained ?!”

“I don’t know everything,” McDowell said early Monday morning on an empty Victory Lane, watching the video of his entry. It was the first time he’d seen it, and his eyes went wide as the Crash played and the reporter’s smartphone screen turned orange with the images of flames

“As a sports fan, you just can’t know what’s next, can you? The big goal in the end,” he continued. “You never know what’s next in this race. Certainly not these days so it’s pretty entertaining and fun, I would think “

McDowell stopped, turned and pointed to the massive Harley J Behind him, the Earl Trophy, railroad workers were already screwing on a silver plate freshly engraved with his name, along with the likes of Petty, Pearson, Earnhardt and many former Daytona 500 winners he had just escaped including potential winner Logano, the had come in a few moments earlier to personally congratulate McDowell

Michael McDowell

World News – CA – “It was like seeing a door open”: Last-lap wins are now the norm at the Daytona 500