2024 Daytona 500 results, highlights: William Byron wins for first time after crash forces race-ending caution

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Daytona 500 belongs to Hendrick Motorsports once again. William Byron is the 2024 winner after taking the lead on a restart with four laps to go. Byron then took the checkered flag after Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric crashed to bring out a race-ending caution after the lead pack took the white flag. Byron led a Hendrick Motorsports 1-2 finish over teammate Alex Bowman, kicking off the team's 40th anniversary season with their record-tying ninth win of The Great American Race.

Byron's Daytona 500 win marks his 11th career Cup Series win, and comes one year after he led the Cup Series with six wins on his way to a Championship 4 spot in 2023. It also brings the Hendrick No. 24 back to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500, a place it visited three times with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon behind the wheel in 1997, 1999 and 2005.

Byron secured his victory at the white flag with defensive driving as he sought to block a run that Ross Chastain had coming from the outside line. As Byron swung high, Chastain tried to go low, but the hole he had was closed up when Austin Cindric on the inside line was turned sideways following a push from Corey LaJoie. Chastain and Cindric slid through the trioval and then back up into traffic, prompting NASCAR to throw the yellow flag as both cars came to rest past the end of the trioval.

Per NASCAR rules, the race was declared official at the moment of caution, as the leaders had already taken the white flag. Byron was declared the winner, as he was just ahead of Bowman when the caution was called.

Daytona 500 unofficial results

  1. #24 - William Byron
  2. #48 - Alex Bowman
  3. #20 - Christopher Bell
  4. #7 - Corey LaJoie
  5. #23 - Bubba Wallace
  6. #16 - A.J. Allmendinger
  7. #42 - John Hunter Nemechek
  8. #43 - Erik Jones
  9. #10 - Noah Gragson
  10. #14 - Chase Briscoe

Byron's ascent to the top ranks of NASCAR was as uncommon as it was fast, as he got his start in racing mostly through the iRacing motorsports simulation software before his talent behind the wheel of real racecars became very clear. Now -- if it hadn't already been before -- Byron's path to being one of the best drivers in all of NASCAR is validated with his first Daytona 500 win.

Not only does Byron's win move Hendrick Motorsports into a tie for the most Daytona 500 victories (nine) by any race team all-time with Petty Enterprises, but it also comes 40 years to the day that the team made its debut in the 1984 Daytona 500 with Geoff Bodine behind the wheel. Byron is the sixth driver in company history to win the Daytona 500, joining Bodine (1986), Darrell Waltrip (1989), Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999, 2005), Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014).

"I have so many emotions ... Just so proud of this whole Axalta team. 40th anniversary to the day on Monday," Byron told Fox Sports. "Just extremely blessed and thankful for all the opportunities. We just want to keep it going. We have a lot to prove this year, and this is a good start, obviously.

"Daytona 500! It's frickin' awesome! Let's go!"

In addition, this is also the fourth time that Hendrick cars have finished together at the top of the running order in the Daytona 500. Darrell Waltrip beat Ken Schrader in a Hendrick 1-2 in 1989, Jeff Gordon led a 1-2-3 finish over Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven in 1997, and Jimmie Johnson beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the line back in 2013.

The Big One

Much of Monday afternoon's 500 miles took place at altering tempos, varying from the lead pack trying to stretch its fuel mileage as much as it could under green flag conditions to high intensity three-wide racing. The presence of three-wide packs -- which had been largely missing from the past two 500s as drivers tried to adjust to the Next Gen car and how it raced on superspeedways -- showed up early. Too early for Harrison Burton and Carson Hocevar, both of whom saw their races end on lap 5 when they were in a grinding crash in the trioval that also collected Austin Dillon, Kaz Grala, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Preece.

From there, cautiousness and aggression was much better balanced through the first 190 laps. But at lap 191, things couldn't hold as the lead pack jostled for the win in the biggest race of the year.

Going down the backstretch entering turn three, Brad Keselowski tried to make his move for the lead to the inside of Chastain, but Chastain was able to block the inside and put Keselowski in a position when he could not go below the double-yellow line. As that happened, Byron received a monster push from his teammate Bowman that sent his car into the right rear of Keselowski's, turning him in front of traffic and triggering a 22-car crash that took out many cars that were contending for the win.

Byron was apologetic over the accident in his post-race interview, attributing it to the push that he received getting him sideways. The drivers involved -- including polesitter Joey Logano, who led the most laps with 45 -- attributed the accident to the nature of superspeedway racing and what can happen in large packs.

"It's speedway racing. It's a lot of fun, until it sucks," Logano told Fox Sports. "And I'm on this end of it today."

What could have been

For those who were involved in the crashes that decided the Daytona 500, there was plenty of lamenting to go around. For Brad Keselowski, his bid to finally win the Daytona 500 ended with his RFK Racing Ford in a heap in the turn 3 infield, just as it did for others like Logano, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

When it came to the accident at the white flag, Alva, Fla.'s Ross Chastain was left lamenting as well. Speaking outside of the infield care center, Chastain felt that he was not patient enough in trying to make the winning move.

"I just was too aggressive with my turn left and should have just waited, maybe, longer," Chastain told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. "... Ultimately, my turning left self-spun myself and took out the 2."

Cindric took a different approach, pointing the finger at Corey LaJoie for the push that he received sending him sideways and into Chastain.

"He tried to fit a car where there wasn't a car and just continued to push through my left rear until I wrecked," Cindric told Pockrass. "I understand trying to shuck me out or put up an opportunity, because I probably wasn't in the best spot possible coming to the white. But, yeah, I'm at the care center and I don't even know where I finished. It really sucks, but that's racing."

For his part, LaJoie explained that he felt Cindric left the bottom open and that they made mutual, lazy moves -- LaJoie tried to fill the gap lazily, and Cindric tried to block lazily. Overall, LaJoie made a point to note that he was racing for the win, and that there isn't necessarily any love lost between himself and the 2022 Daytona 500 champion to begin with.

"It's the last lap. I've seen him do a lot of dumb things to, and we're not friends," LaJoie told Pockrass. "So that's that."

Race results rundown

  • A few hundred more feet could have made all the difference for Alex Bowman, but a runner-up in the Daytona 500 is hardly a bad way for him to start a bounce-back season following a 2023 that was spoiled by a back injury. Bowman's runner-up is his best overall finish since he ran second at Circuit of the Americas in 2022, and marks his second-straight Daytona 500 top 10 after he finished fifth in 2023.
  • Through his fourth-place finish, Corey LaJoie continues to establish himself as one of NASCAR's best speedway racers. Not only does it tie LaJoie's career-best finish, but it also marks his third such finish in the last six speedway races after he earned the same result at Atlanta last March and Talladega last October.
  • The big wreck with nine laps to go was a massive break for Bubba Wallace, as would not have been able to make it to the end of the race on fuel had the caution not come out. Wallace was able to top off under caution and drive back to fifth, earning his third top five in the Daytona 500 after runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2022.
  • Due to rain throughout the weekend pushing the NASCAR Xfinity Series' season opener to Monday night, five drivers in the Daytona 500 pulled double duty in both races. A.J. Allmendinger was best in class of those drivers with a sixth-place finish, besting John Hunter Nemechek (seventh), Riley Herbst (24th), Anthony Alfredo (27th), and Daniel Suarez (34th). For Nemechek, his seventh place run marked a new career-best finish.
  • In his first race back since his diastrous rookie season ended with a midseason parting from Legacy Motor Club, Noah Gragson started his second year in Cup on a much better note: His ninth place finish marked his second career top 10, and he also led a career-high five laps.
  • After becoming the first driver to make a NASCAR Cup Series start after being named to the sport's Hall of Fame, Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 ended up being a disappointing one after he sustained damage in the lap 5 accident. Johnson finished four laps down in 28th, but there was a silver lining in him doing so: It marked the first time since Johnson returned to Cup part-time last year that he was running at the finish of a race.
  • Michael McDowell had a strong car from the outside pole, leading six laps early and showing that he had a car capable of winning his second Daytona 500. But midway through Monday's race, electrical issues caused McDowell's car to lose power, and he had to labor through the rest of the race with a car that could not run at full speed. McDowell finished some 24 laps down in 36th, the next to last car running.

Next race

With the Daytona 500 now committed to the history books, the NASCAR Cup Series season continues next week with a trip to the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Ambetter Health 400 on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on Fox.

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CHASTAIN AND CINDRIC CRASH AT THE WHITE FLAG! They come back into traffic, caution is out as the leaders take the white flag, and this race is over! William Byron is going to win the Daytona 500 for the first time in his career!

1 - #24 - William Byron
2 - #48 - Alex Bowman
3 - #20 - Christopher Bell
4 - #7 - Corey LaJoie
5 - #23 - Bubba Wallace
6 - #16 - A.J. Allmendinger
7 - #42 - John Hunter Nemechek
8 - #43 - Erik Jones
9 - #10 - Noah Gragson
10 - #14 - Chase Briscoe

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William Byron and the inside line go out to a big lad and now Byron has to play defense. Chastain trying to fight back on the outside. White flag this time by!

 
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Still two-by-two throughout the lead pack. Chastain started to clear Byron, but Byron got a big push from Cindric. Third lane forming with Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott. Two to go!

 
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Chastain and Byron at a stalemate. Three to go.

 
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Four laps separate the field from the Harley J. Earl Trophy. Chastain and Byron lead them to the green flag. And anyone in this lead pack can win it!

Here we go!

 
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One to go at the line. Restart will come with four laps to go.

Of the top 10 cars, only one has ever won the Daytona 500: That would be Austin Cindric, who runs fourth. Chastain chooses the outside, Byron chooses the inside.

 
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Pit road is open. Briscoe, Preece, Allmendinger, Nemechek, Gragson, Wallace, Ragan, Haley, Berry among those who pit.

The race leaders stay out.

 
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The red flag has been lifted and we are back under caution. Ross Chastain leads William Byron, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric and Chase Elliott.

 
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Some notice that Ryan Blaney seemed to be favoring his wrist after he was involved in that crash. This is from him directly on MRN radio:

 
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