Byron adds his name to historic list, wins 66th Daytona 500

After nearly a day of waiting and four hours of racing, William Byron can add Daytona 500 winner to his list of career accolades. 

After a chaotic run to the finish with four laps to go, Byron took control and led the field to the white flag before a crash between Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric brought out the fifth caution of the night. 

Because the white flag was displayed before the yellow, officials analyzed video footage and declared Byron the winner of the 66th Great American Race.

William Byron, No. 24, and Alex Bowman, No. 48, cross the finish line as officials decided to end the race under caution. (Courtesy Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

His teammate, Alex Bowman, finished in second.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, so I feel like it’s just kind of a blur,” said Byron. “I feel like there’s just so many things that have to go your way to win a race like this.”

The race was postponed to Monday for the third time in history as rain washed through the Daytona Beach area. For the 26-year-old, it’s his second win at the World Center of Racing. 

This is also his first finish in this race on the lead lap. Previously, he had never finished better than 21st. 

“I knew we had the ingredients and the knowledge to win it,” said Byron. “I feel like I make the right moves inside the car, the right blocks, but you’ve got to get there, and I never saw the white flag, so it’s nice now.”

This is the second time in the last three years that the Great American Race finished under the yellow flag. The previous time was last year when a large wreck triggered the caution on the final lap, handing the win to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

While Chastain finished 21st in his second Daytona 500 attempt, he does not regret his attempted pass on Byron at the end. 

“I can go to sleep at night knowing I took the white flag making a move to win the Daytona 500,” said Chastain.

Christopher Bell, Corey LaJoie and Bubba Wallace completed the top five.

The Cup Series will go superspeedway racing for the second event of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 24. FOX will have the broadcast coverage.

Kenneth Bueno is a junior majoring in the Digital Broadcasting field. He is a sim racing commentator for Podium eSports and aims to apply his love for sports into the sports broadcasting industry after graduating.