The 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series shot out of the gates with a bang yesterday when Austin Dillon captured his second career win in the 60th running of world’s most historic race, the Daytona 500.
Even with the likes of Matt Kenneth, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. walking away in recent years, the sport is healthy and has been jolted with an influx of young, hungry and talented drivers. Hell Hendrick Motorsports just became the first team to field a team with three drivers under 25 years old to go along with veteran 7-time champ Jimmie Johnson.
These drivers are displaying their talents, bringing new fans to the sport like Bubba Wallace with his infectious personality and inspiring the next generating of racing fans. They will have their moments and the passing of the guard is officially underway in NASCAR. The veterans aren’t going down easy though as we saw just how much of a force guys like Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch were all day each nearly securing their second wins in The Great American Race.
The restrictor plate track offered everything spectators could ask for with great racing throughout, big wrecks and even a little drama to take into future weeks. There was a lot of blocking going on early on the part of young and aggressive drivers like Ryan Blaney that sent many favorites to the garage much earlier than they would’ve hoped, but at the end in overtime it was up to one final restart to see who was the victor.
Aric Almirola jumped to the lead in his first race driving for Stewart-Haas looking to secure his second career win in the biggest race of the year, but it was Austin Dillon who with the help of Bubba Wallace pushing in the draft got to his bumper and made the pass after Almirola got loose trying to block and shot up the track. Dillon was the winner of the Daytona 500 and the No. 3 for Richard Childress was back in victory lane 20 years later after Dale Earnhardt captured his only 500 win in ’98. What a day, what a race and what a great season we’re in store for.
An appreciative Austin Dillon was overcome with emotion during his post-race interviews, “I said (after) my first win I couldn’t beat it, but this does. My grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There is a lot of pressure on me to perform, because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No. 3. There is a lot of pressure behind that. But I’m willing to take that and go with it. I’m just thankful for all the people that support us along the way—Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family for letting us bring this number back. It comes full circle. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for this opportunity.”
NASCAR racing is back baby, can ya dig it?
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