The White Zone: That just happened!

Michael McDowell just won the Daytona 500. I repeat: MICHAEL McDOWELL JUST WON THE DAYTONA 500.

Even hours after the checkered flag flew, I’m still dumbfounded by what transpired.

He shoved Brad Keselowski down the backstretch on the final lap, and drove through the spinning Team Penske cars and fiery carnage to win for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career.

He had a 100-1 odds chance of winning.

That guy just won the Daytona 500.

Prior to Monday, he started 357 races without winning, had just 12 top-10 finishes and led just 88 career laps. His best career finish was fourth (at Daytona in July 2017).

That guy just won the Daytona 500.

Prior to Monday, McDowell’s career highlight was a qualifying wreck in 2008, in which he barrel-rolled down the banking of Texas Motor Speedway. Go onto YouTube and search “Michael McDowell.” Until a few hours ago, that wreck was the top result.

That guy just won the Daytona 500.

In 2010, McDowell took an unsponsored PRISM Motorsports Toyota and raced it into the Daytona 500 through the Duels. Afterwards, he said it felt like he “won the Daytona 500.”

That guy just won the Daytona 500.

McDowell drove the motorhome of another Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne (though prior to that victory). He drove his own motor coach to Daytona this weekend.

That guy just won the Daytona 500.

And the list goes on and on.

Everyone was so taken aback by this, that it messed up all our post-race routines. During his winners teleconference, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications (the league’s PR people) brought on his brother, Bill, to give him a special message. Yes, it’s not on the level of Bubba Wallace’s mother running into the deadline room to hug him on stage, but it’s not something I’ve ever seen done on one of these.

In many ways, McDowell’s this generation’s Michael Waltrip. Which is fitting, given it’s the 20th anniversary of Waltrip’s first victory (as well as a tragic event).

Previously, a vicious wreck defined their careers. Now, both will forever be winners of the Daytona 500.

Even if McDowell never wins another race, nothing will ever negate that he’s one of 196 people who’ve ever won a Cup Series race.

That man just won the Daytona 500.

TOP IMAGE: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.