Daytona 500: A Recap in GIFs
By Steve Luvender | Monday, February 18, 2019
1 of 28
Let's recap the biggest race of the year with the best form of media, shall we?
2 of 28
Hey! Hey! Excuse me! Haven't you heard? It's time to kick off the 2019 racing season.
3 of 28
Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman started the Great American Race from the front row after some speedy qualifying laps.
4 of 28
After NFL stars J.J. Watt and Julian Edelman kicked off pre-race festivities, Dale Earnhardt Jr. did what he's done best for years -- lead the field at Daytona, though he was driving the pace truck this time.
5 of 28
On Lap 11, Joe Gibbs Racing led a tribute to the late J.D. Gibbs.
6 of 28
Gotta minimize that time on pit road during green flag pit stops.
7 of 28
Corey LaJoie's beautiful metal face was torn to shreds after an early tire issue on his No. 32 Ford.
8 of 28
A multi-car crash started when Kurt Busch's car went around while racing near Ricky Stenhouse Jr., collecting Bubba Wallace, Jamie McMurray, and Austin Dillon.
9 of 28
Kyle Busch, searching for his first Daytona 500 trophy, secured the first stage victory of the season.
10 of 28
Underdog Matt DiBenedetto looked fast in the first half of the race, leading a pack of six cars dicing through a larger pack of cars that had visited pit road in Stage 2.
11 of 28
Fortuitously timed for DiBenedetto and the lead pack, Parker Kligerman went for a spin after contact with Casey Mears.
12 of 28
It's safe to say Kligerman wasn't too pleased with Mears, judging by the, "What the heck, dude?" hand motion out the No. 96's window.
13 of 28
After employing strategy to end the second stage, Ryan Blaney won Stage 2.
14 of 28
In 2019, Austin Dillon was the one imprinting others' rears, instead of the reverse last year.
15 of 28
Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and B.J. McLeod tangled while coming to pit road, snarling Jimmie Johnson, Tyler Reddick, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the process.
16 of 28
It was clear the final stage was when sheet metal and tempers would start to get a little bent out of shape.
17 of 28
Could it be because of the full -- err, well, waxing gibbous -- moon?
18 of 28
Caution for my Twitter drafts folder on the track.
19 of 28
Kyle Larson ran into some trouble after a tire issue -- a rare single-car spin in Daytona. Between Kurt Busch's crash and Larson's incident, it wasn't a banner day for Chip Ganassi Racing.
20 of 28
Brad Keselowski's Discount Tire Ford went for a spin and shredded the tire off his car, creating the ultimate sponsorship irony.
21 of 28
Then, of course, the inevitable happened -- yep, The Big One. Paul Menard made contact with Matt DiBenedetto, collecting 22 cars.
22 of 28
When you only have six minutes to repair the car, desperate times call for desperate measures.
23 of 28
Another multi-car crash occurred shortly after returning to racing action when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson made contact. If you look closely, you can see rookie Ryan Preece miraculously avoid disaster on the apron.
24 of 28
With Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch leading, the race restarted again. The action was short-lived, though, when Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell collided on the backstretch, collecting another pile of cars.
25 of 28
The Bowyer-McDowell crash sent the race into overtime, meaning the race became the Daytona 509.5.
26 of 28
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch executed the overtime restart perfectly, falling in line and working together, unlike the Ford duo of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell, which separated on the final lap. Denny Hamlin held on to win the 61st running of the Great American Race.
27 of 28
Hamlin dedicated his victory to J.D. Gibbs -- the man who hired Hamlin to drive the team's car. Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three finishing positions, led by the No. 11, a number significant to the late Gibbs. It was a storybook ending for the organization.
28 of 28
With his win in NASCAR's biggest race, Hamlin ended a winless drought dating back to September 2017. That's reason to celebrate with some post-race burgers, as the team did after Victory Lane celebrations concluded -- the same way Joe Gibbs Racing celebrated its first Daytona 500 victory in 1993.